Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Rounds

My last blog of the year and appropriately a look into some of the final episodes that aired for various shows as well.

Arrow: I have to be honest, aside from the flashbacks still not working for me (and even they are a step up from last season), the fifth season has been something of a marked improvement for the show. The dynamics with the team - old and new has given the show some renewed energy, the Olicity stuff has been kept to a bare minimum, there's been some interesting guest allies like Human Target and Prometheus has shaped up to become one of the toughest villains that Oliver has gone up against. Oh, and there was that appearance of Laurel at the end too to spice things up in the New Year.

Once Upon A Time: Keeping with the improvements, this season has also shaped up rather nicely. While it was disappointing that Jekyll & Hyde were abruptly done with too quickly and the Evil Queen has outstayed her welcome, I did like the arrival of grown up and clearly evil Gideon and the reveal of the Black Fairy being Gold's mother was a nice twist along with the latest curse to affect Snow and Charming. Then there's Emma and Regina stuck in a different world which should generate a few more episodes in the Spring before the former faces off Gideon.

Scream Queens: I kind of binged through this divisive show's second season and with E4 even giving up on it and relegating it to a midnight slot (along with the abysmal ratings it actually got on FOX), can we assume that this show won't be coming back for a third season? The Green Meanie plot had it's moments with more characters being bumped, the reintroduction of a character from the last season before the killers were unmasked and subsequently killed off. I did like the coda of Brock/Hester going on their own killing spree, Cathy setting up her own sex clinic, Zayday/No5 still working at the hospital and No 3 assisting Chanel on the latter's TV series. If the show doesn't come back, then the final episode wrapped up things better than expected for the series.

Supergirl: It seems a little weird talking about this show as I've actually discussed the mid-series finale when I reviewed the crossover event earlier in the month. Anyways, the episodes before that though saw the series going strength to strength. While I haven't been keen on Jimmy's Guardian storyline, I have liked Mon El as a character and Alex and Maggie's growing relationship has been fantastic to watch unfold this season. Along with the dynamic between J'onn and M'gann, the uses of Parasite and Cyborg Superman and a genuinely interesting baddie in Lillian Luther and the nice ambiguity felt with Lena, the show's new characters have certainly added brilliantly to the series.

The Flash: Season 3 hasn't been always the strongest we've had with the show but it certainly continues to deliver and the mid-season finale left us and Barry with one hell of a dilemma concerning both Savitar and Iris. I did like that we found out the Julian/Alchemy connection and that he's becoming a grudge friend of sorts with the gang. Caitlin's Killer Frost arc has also been pretty satisfying to watch (more so than Wally's reckless abandon with his newfound powers). Overall though, we've got some exciting stuff ahead of us when the show returns.

Final Note: I just want to say to everyone who reads this blog a) thank you and b) have a Happy New Year. Let's hope 2017 continues to be brilliant in television but also better for us all in our day to day lives.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Doctor Who - Series 10 Trailer: First Look

While I was a little disappointed with The Return Of Doctor Mysterio, I was however a little more intrigued with the trailer we got at the end of the episode for the upcoming tenth series of Doctor Who.

My Name Is: Bill Potts. This is the full name of Pearl Mackie's more grounded (compared to Clara and Nardole) companion and this trailer revealed that she works in a canteen serving chips while sneaking into lectures. There's elements of Ace, Rose and Donna in Bill, which could definitely work in the character's favour and Bill certainly asks a lot of questions. The rapport between the Doctor, Bill and Nardole should be interesting to see unfold this series.

Power Packs At The Ready: It seems the first episode, A Star In Her Eye will not only deal with puddle like creatures possessing people but it also looks like we're getting an extended look at that Friend From The Future scene where the Doctor, Bill and Nardole will not only encounter a Dalek but also maybe the Morvellans (last seen in Destiny Of The Daleks) going by this trailer alone. Not the first time the show has brought one of the lesser races but will they be stuck in a stalement with the Daleks yet again?

Totes Emoji: The trailer for the new series has some newer monsters on offer as well, including these strange looking emoji like robots from episode 2. There's also a glimpse of a blue skinned alien from Jamie Mathieson's episode 5 and a wooden creature sneaking around the place as well. No signs of Missy in the trailer but then again, Michelle Gomez's return was only filmed prior to The Return Of Doctor Mysterio airing.

Guests Ahoy: It seems the upcoming series will have it's fair share of familiar faces. Sarah Dollard's historical episode 3 will feature Nicholas Burns while The Haunted Hub (written by Mike Bartlett) boasts an appearance from David Suchet and Kieran Bew will show up in episode 5. Heading into the last few episodes of filming, I'm hoping some bigger guests will also be announced.

The Power Of Three: I just realised that this will be the first series since Series 6 where we will have the Doctor with two companions from start to finish. Can the dynamic between the 12th Doctor, Bill and Nardole be a successful one? I have my reservations on Nardole as a character but I do like the idea of a non human companion (though human looking) travelling with the Doctor and Bill though. It's certainly been a while, hasn't it?

Series 10 Trailer:

Series 10 of Doctor Who continues filming from next month onwards and will air Spring 2017 on both BBC1 and BBCAmerica.

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x00: "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Ed Bazalgette

Grant: "Life's not a comic book, right Doctor?"
The Doctor: "Possibly, I'm not the right person to ask."

It's been twelve months with no new series and a divisive spin-off that is now going to be burned off on BBC1 in double bills next month, so I was hoping that when Doctor Who finally graced our screens again, the result would be something pretty amazing. Sadly for all it's best intentions, this episode wasn't quite that to be honest.

I'm going to be honest - I had no issue with the idea of a superhero themed episode. Sure, it's not something that you'd expect on the show but if we could have a Christmas special that actually featured Santa Claus (Last Christmas back in 2014) and for it to turn out to be one of the best festive specials we've ever had, then surely this episode could've gone a similarly surprising way? Apparently not.

Steven Moffat is a man who certainly likes revisiting his own old favourites - tropes, that is and here seemed to be packed with them. The Doctor winds up in New York in the early 1990s to deal with a time disturbance and encounters a young boy named Grant Gordon (Logan Hoffman) who has an affinity for comics books, in particular Superman, which this episode shamelessly rips off with gleeful abandon.

Involving a gemstone of some kind that young Grant mistakes for medicine and swallows, the Doctor has now inadvertently created a superhero with the young lad and his general advice to Grant is not to use his powers at all costs. Of course, we all know this isn't going to last as aside from a flashback that dealt with the hell of puberty, a grown up Grant (Justin Chatwin) has become the very thing the Doctor advised him not to become - a superhero.

A superhero who sounds like Batman, dresses a little similarly to Nightwing and more or less has a backstory not entirely dissimilar to Superman, Grant now goes under the name of the Ghost and when he isn't saving the citizens of New York, he's also playing nanny to his crush Lucy Lombard/Fletcher (Charity Wakefield) baby daughter, Jennifer.

The main bones of the story involves an alien invasion courtesy of the Harmony Shoal from last year's special, The Husbands Of River Song. Also returned from that special is Matt Lucas's Nardole, now with his head back on his body, assisting the Doctor as the duo encounter Grant/Ghost, Lucy and the Shoal folk themselves who have taken over the bodies of Mr Brock and Mr Sim in order to give the episode a human looking set of villains.

The invasion plot itself while stirring up reminders of both Morbius and Slitheen (while being connected to neither of them) is easily the weakest aspect of the episode. Yes, we get a four way team up between the Doctor, Nardole, Grant/Ghost and Lucy but aside from the hint that the Harmony Shoal will resurface again following a UNIT clean up, the story in itself didn't exactly compel me.

Unfortunately not a lot about this special really did if I'm being honest. I saw a lot of fans on Sunday saying Peter Capaldi was brilliant in this episode but I can't help disagreeing as it felt like his Doctor really didn't do all that much. The only scene where he seemingly shone was during the last moment where he talked to Grant and Lucy about an old flame and moving on.

As for Nardole - let's be honest, of all the characters that Steven Moffat could've brought back going into his final series, Nardole is by far the oddest choice going. I can't think of anyone (myself included) who was particularly clamouring for him to come back. To be fair on the character though, he was far less annoying here than his previous appearance, except for one scene but saying that, I genuinely don't feel this episode or even next series will benefit from actually having him there.

As for the main guest stars themselves, I thought both Justin Chatwin and Charity Wakefield did a good job with their respective roles but I had a hard time buying into the love story that Moffat set up with Grant/Lucy. To me, it just didn't gel and the idea that Grant might give up being a superhero because the girl of his dreams finally acknowledged him in the way he wanted her to just left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Lois Lane would've never have done that to be honest. Hell, Moffat could've been a little more subversion and actually revealed Grant/The Ghost to be gay instead of going the obvious route with him and Lucy.

- The Superman references were stronger in this episode. We got an almost visual of the Daily Planet, Lucy was an investigative journalist and the creators Shuster and Siegel got name checked too.
- Doctor Misterio (i instead of y) is the name the show is given in Mexico. Grant even called the Doctor that at the start of the episode.
- I'm surprised they didn't Christmas up the titles. However Matt Lucas's name was added into them. I also liked the references to River and Osgood in this episode.
- With BBC3 no longer being a physical channel, BBC2 will be repeating the episode tonight at 2.30am. A vanilla DVD release for the episode comes out next month.
- The Series 10 trailer gave us plenty of new companion, Bill Potts as well as a few monster returns as well as new foes for the Doctor, Bill and Nardole to face.
- Chronology: Christmas 1992 and present day 2016. This was by far the least Christmassy episode we've had out of all the Christmas special. Also 24 years after the last Christmas special.

After a year off the air, I hate to say it but The Return Of Doctor Mysterio was somewhat lacking in parts. The superhero references felt a bit too distracting, even if they were fun, Capaldi's Doctor felt little more like a guest star in his own show and the main alien invasion plot just didn't engage me. Hopefully though the upcoming series will be a far better send off for Steven Moffat and possibly the Twelfth Doctor.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, December 24, 2016

My Review of It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

Written by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra & Jo Swerling & Philip Van Doren Stern & Michael Wilson
Directed by Frank Capra

Clarence: "You see, George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?"

Slight confession: I've only ever seen bits of this movie on various Christmases so a couple of weeks ago, I bought the DVD, so I could properly appreciate this movie. It's a timeless Christmas classic that's been referenced so many times since it's release seventy years and I can see why.

Our protagonist is a man named George Bailey (James Stewart) whose spent most of his time helping others but on one particular Christmas considers killing himself, only for an angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) to step in and show George what his life would be had he not been born in the town of Bedford Falls.

It's an interesting cautionary tale as George sees the impact of his own existence on other people and the scenes between him and Clarence (as well as Clarence and the other angels) are rather startling. George is the type of every man to really drive home the appreciation of having loved ones and the emphasis on a life well lived.

In the movie itself, George's selflessness is highlighted throughout flashbacks as a young boy and young man as well as through his family with wife Mary (Donna Reed) and children, including a little girl named Zuzu. Seeing George fall apart prior to Clarence's intervention works a treat as does the world where he doesn't exist in the first place.

Now I'm not going to pretend this is my favourite Christmas movie of all time but having finally seen it in full, I can see why it resonates so much with people. Out of all the characters, George and Clarence are the most formed with everyone else more or less there as part of the former's development throughout the movie but they do work as supporting players, including the tetchy antagonist Mr Potter (Lionel Barrymore).

- Frank Capra has said this was one of his favourite films that he made.
- Despite being a classic, the movie was considered a flop upon it's initial release.
- Apparently this was the only film in history to originate from a greeting card.
- Chronology: This movie takes in from 1919 to 1945.

It might have taken me a while to properly have watched It's A Wonderful Life but as I've said in this review, I can see why it's a classic. It's gorgeously shot with some universal themes and a wonderful central performance from James Stewart.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, December 23, 2016

My Review of Beauty And The Beast (1991)

Written by Brenda Chapman & Chris Sanders & Burny Mattinson & Kevin Harkey & Brian Pimental & Bruce Woodside & Joe Ranft & Tom Ellery & Kelly Asbury & Robert Lence
Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise

Beast: "And at least... at least I got to see you... one last time."
Belle: "No, No! Please. Please... Please don't leave me. I love you!"

Seeing as it's due a live action release in 2017 that I'm looking forward to actually seeing, I thought it was time to give the animated version from 1991 another view. It's been a long while since I've last seen this version of the classic fairytale and the opening scene alone was a stark reminder as to why it's one of the best Disney movies ever made.

The movie starts with a vain prince (Robby Benson) turning away an ugly beggar woman. The woman then reveals herself to be a beautiful enchantress who then turns curses the prince into a beastly creature while also transforming both his castle and staff for good measure. The Beast now has to learn to love someone for more than their looks and they in return have to love him back before the last petal of an enchanted rose falls.

This is where a young, slightly odd village girl named Belle (Paige O'Hara) factors into things. More interested in books than marrying the brutish Gaston (Richard White), Belle finds herself trading her own freedom for her foolhardy father, Maurice (Rex Everhart) when the latter overstays his welcome at the Beast's gothic looking castle.

Needless to say, both Belle and the Beast initially clash and with his inability to control his temper and her snooping into the West Wing, it certainly wasn't getting off to a great start with the pair of them. Of course Belle nearly getting mauled by a pack of wolves and the Beast showing a little softness did however seem to smooth things between the pair.

Then there was the ultimate romantic moment as the Beast's staff - candled Lumiere (Jerry Orbach), clock Cogsworth (David Osgden Stiers), tea pot Mrs Potts (Angela Lansbury), her son the tea cup Chip (Bradley Pierce), the foot stool that clearly was a dog and a wardrobe to name a few arranged for both Belle and the Beast to get closer, only for the latter to return home to her ailing father and the monstrous Gaston along with bumbling Lefou (Jesse Corti) to use the opportunity to mount an army after the Beast.

Gaston is one of the best Disney baddies and probably one of the most realistic too. He's an angry, brutish lout, equally as vain as the Beast had been prior to his transformation, only without any redeeming features. His downfall at the end of the movie, coinciding with the Beast's curse finally being lifted is a thing of beauty though.

The relationship between Beast and Belle is definitely open for a lot of debate but it's still a compelling one and clearly one that has influenced a lot of modern romances (and two less than stellar book and movie franchises). It's hard not to fall in love with both of them as their connection comes through beautifully throughout the movie.

- Aside from a sequel, Belle also makes a blink and you'll miss it cameo appearance in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.
- Belle is an only child in this movie where she's usually the youngest of three girls in the source material.
- This movie was the last one to feature music from Howard Ashman. There's a dedication to him as well.
- The music highlights - Beauty And The Beast (Angela Lansbury and Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson), Gaston's Song, Be Our Guest and Little Town. The score music in this movie is gorgeous though.

I could gush and gush about this movie and I will. The animation is beautiful, the music incredible, the love story between Belle and the Beast is genuinely effective and it's just a gorgeous movie from start to finish. Beauty And The Beast is easily one of the best movies of all time and definitely one of Disney's best to date.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Review of Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)

Written by John Hughes
Directed by Chris Columbus

Kevin: "You can mess with a lot of things, but you can't mess with kids on Christmas."

This probably won't be a controversial (or maybe it will, depending on who reads this), but this is one of those sequels that in my opinion manages to edge out the original. There's also about three other sequels but like most people, I'd prefer not to acknowledge their overall existence.

On the surface of it, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York isn't actually that much different from the first movie, except for the bit where Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) winds up in the city that never sleeps without his family but it's not long before he's checking into the Plaza with an eccentric staff (including Tim Curry) on his tail and a reunion with the world's least competent thieves, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) to boot.

Of course, there's a nice view of New York in this movie and the place never looks more beautiful onscreen (and I imagine in general) than it does when it's filmed at Christmas with plenty of festive and wintry imagery. If you're going to get 'lost' in a place during this time of year, then New York certainly wouldn't be the worst place to be lost in.

Seeing Kevin outsmart the hotel staff is amusing as is his second confrontation with Harry and Marv. You'd think after the first movie, they would've wised up to his antics but yet again, they become victim to a barrage of painful pranks that realistically should've killed the both of them on the spot. This kind of over heightened violence though is too funny to watch and there's something rather glorious in seeing the two of them being outwitted by Kevin for a second year running.

Of course amongst all the cartoon violence (the scene earlier in the movie with the piano teacher getting hit with a wooden tree cracks me up), the movie also has a lot of heart to it as well. Kevin's motivations for going after Harry and Marv was to stop them robbing a toy store and the friendship he struck up with Brenda Fricker's Bird Lady was lovely (though exactly like the one he struck up with the snow guy from the first movie). There was also the usual falling out and making up with his family which still managed to be effective second time around.

- I loved the use of an inflatable clown, that Talkboy and Angels With Even Filthier Souls to wreck havoc on the hotel staff.
- A recently elected President makes a brief cameo in this movie but don't let that deter your enjoyment.
- I loved the music in this movie, especially Darlene Love's All Alone On Christmas.
- The turtle doves were created for the movie by John Perry, known for his sculptures of sea life. I thought they were a lovely touch for this one.

In some ways, this is a sequel that's almost close to being a remake of the first movie but saying that, I just think Home Alone 2: Lost In New York is the better movie and definitely a recommended movie to watch during this Christmas week.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Review of Batman 66's: Return Of The Caped Crusaders (2016)

Written by Michael Jelenic & James Tucker
Directed by Rick Morales

Robin: "We were almost done, Batman!"
Batman: "To put it more accurately, well done, Robin!"

It's been 50 years this year since Batman 66 had made it's campy debut and what better way than to bring back the cast members still alive for an animated movie that captures the spirit of the beloved series? With this movie, you've got that and more.

Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) are back to take on Catwoman (Julie Newmar), the Joker (Jeff Bergman), the Penguin (William Salyers) and the Riddler (Wally Wingert) as the foursome team up once again but it seems that all is not what it seems this time.

Sure, the fickle foursome invade a live show and are able later to trick Batman and Robin into an elaborate trap at a TV dinner food factory but things take something of an interesting turn once Catwoman tries to use her Batnip on an unsuspecting Batman upon the latter somewhat apprehending three out of the four on a rocket ship in space (yup, that actually happened here).

Going all a bit Superman III on us, Catwoman's Batnip worked a little too well as Batman and Bruce became affected big time in this animated movie. First there was him kicking out Alfred and Robin and upsetting Aunt Harriet but then we saw Batman having both Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara fired from their jobs before running the whole of Gotham with a slew of Batmen, courtesy of a fault duplicate gun.

Seeing Batman delve into his bad sign was a little shocking as this iteration of the character has always been so squeaky clean compared to every other version but there was something rather fun about this character's bad side as well, especially when he admitted to wanting attention during a live show too. Not only that, but it led to a rather inspired alliance between Catwoman and Robin as well.

Seeing those two characters try and band together to save Batman was a lot of fun and their scheme for releasing nearly every criminal from prison meant we got some delightful cameos to boot. Of course, it was Alfred who was the one to truly get Batman back to his normal self and the real plot with the Joker, Riddler and Penguin going for priceless artifacts came at nearly the last minute of things. In the end, three of them got arrested while Catwoman escaped and Harriet got to celebrate her birthday.

- The new mix for the classic theme was a nice touch along with the addition of new words for the fights and Robin getting his fair share of 'Holy' moments.
- Along with Julie Newmar's Catwoman we also got a brief glimpse of Lee Merriweather and Eartha Kitt's versions too. I loved that. Actually this whole movie was great for Bat/Cat shippers.
- The other villain cameos included Mr. Freeze, The Mad Hatter, False-Face, King Tut, Bookworm, The Archer, The Minstrel, Ma Parker, Egghead, Shame, The Sandman, The Siren, Clock King and Louie the Lilac.
- There's going to be a sequel featuring William Shatner as Two Face.

Return Of The Caped Crusaders was an absolute blast of a movie to watch. While a little longer than needed, it certainly captured everything I loved about the series with West, Ward, Newmar and everyone else on fine form. The animation was pretty nice too and the overall camp factor only added to things.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Review of K9 And Company's: "A Girl's Best Friend"

Written by Terrence Dudley
Directed by John Black

K9: "We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year."

Before the days of Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, K9 and Class, there was another hope for a spin-off in the Doctor Who universe. It was the year 1981 and Tom Baker had departed in Logopolis earlier in the year and Peter Davison was waiting in the wings.

The BBC and John Nathan Turner tried their hand at a spin-off by having two of the most popular companions working together - Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and K9 (John Leeson), along with a young male companion type in Aunt Lavinia's ward Brendan Richards (Ian Sears). This opening episode gave us a preview of what that partnership would be like. Sadly it was the only time onscreen we would see that.

From the hysterical opening sequence to the final moment where our titular robotic dog would sing 'Merry Christmas' down the phone, this was certainly a series that would've had a lot of fun with itself had it come to fruition. The central plot in the pilot episode alone centred on a Hecate cult with a penchant for human sacrifices and initiations.

For these plots, this was where both Brendan and the reluctant Peter (Sean Chapman) were both being primed. The latter seemed to be suckered into the dark cult by his overbearing father and expressed his reservations about the thing while Brendan was kidnapped and nearly sacrificed by the cult until K9 and Sarah Jane were able to save the day.

Unlike Doctor Who with most of it's festive outings, while K9 And Company's pilot episode is set during the Christmas season and even ends with Sarah Jane talking about having her dinner, there's not much festive cheer. The witchcraft theme itself is hardly the most festive but it works a treat and had this show gotten an actual series, it might not have been a one time only thing either.

Sarah Jane is pretty much on top form in this 50 minute pilot episode while K9 is also just brilliant to watch as well, especially with his defeat of Hecate's members. Brendan's a bit of a mixed bag and not entirely dissimilar to Adric if I'm being perfect honest but he does nothing that's really annoying throughout though. As for Lavinia, I kind of wish she had been more involved but her brief scenes were great to watch though.

- Some nice references to a certain someone but did it really take Sarah Jane this long to actually go to Lavinia's and collect K9?
- Ian Levine was responsible for the theme music. The title for this are something else altogether.
- This story had the working titles of Sarah and K9 and One Girl and Her Dog. I think the title they went with was fine.
- Chronology: Christmas 1981, am I right?

Pilot episode wise, K9 And Company makes a decent stab of it with A Girl's Best Friend. Considering that it pulled in over 8 million viewers, it did seem odd that a series wasn't commissioned. Who knows what other gems we might have gotten had we seen more of Sarah Jane, K9 and Brendan working together.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, December 16, 2016

DC Extended Universe - Current Spoilers & Rumours

This week has been something of an interesting one for the ongoing DC Extended Universe as several things seemed to be confirmed almost all at once. The highlights.

In the least shocking news ever, it seems that Margot Robbie's hope for a Harley Quinn movie have become a reality. Running with the title of Gotham City Sirens, Robbie will reprise her role as Harley Quinn and will be teamed up with both Poison Ivy and Catwoman (both yet to be cast), potentially against the Birds of Prey (that bit is speculation). The movie will be directed by Suicide Squad's David Ayer from a script currently being penned by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider reboot). Robbie will also served as an executive producer along with Geoff Johns. The movie is also being fast tracked with a 2018 release in mind for it. This movie was rumoured back in May and it's nice that seven months later, it's pretty much a confirmed reality. I definitely cannot wait to see who gets cast in this movie.

Elsewhere on The Batman front, we've had stories this week of Ben Affleck admitting that he's not going to rush the movie's release but at the same time, we've also been told that the Justice League sequel may be delayed a little to make way for the movie. Aside from also knowing that Joe Manganiello is playing Deathstroke, we've had next to no new information on the movie either, although rumours are that filming will begin next year for a 2018 release. Whatever is going on with the movie, I do hope it isn't rushed as it's definitely going to be the most anticipated release from the DCEU in the next two years regardless.

Meanwhile Aquaman seems to be further steam ahead. More filming for the movie will take place in Australia next year but the biggest news items this week came courtesy of Jason Momoa showing some new filming clips in his short movie and the casting of Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, who will be the main antagonist of the film. Wilson is no stranger to the DC universe, having previously portrayed Nite Owl in the 2009 movie, Watchmen as well as voicing the role of the US president in Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice earlier this year. The movie is also slated for an October 2018 release now.

- The Flash meanwhile has lost it's director. Rick Famuyiwa has left the project and a replacement has yet to be announced for the movie.
- Doug Liman however will be directing a Dark Universe movie but aside from that, no new information on this potential project has surfaced.
- Along with the Sirens movie, it's also been announced that a Deadshot movie is also being considered.
- Armie Hammer is also being rumoured to be joining the DCEU but no confirmation on which character he'll be playing as of yet.
- Wikipedia still has Shazam, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps as potential projects along with sequels to both Suicide Squad and Man Of Steel (the latter confirmed a few weeks back).

More News:

Right now, there definitely does seem to be a good few projects to look forward to in the next two to three years. I do wonder/fear that some of these projects might not come to light or be delayed/stuck in development hell but the signs are definitely good for both Batman and Harley Quinn's movies, which will definitely be the bigger draws outside of next year's Wonder Woman and Justice League movies.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Review of Empire's 3x09: "A Furnace For Your Foe"

Written by Ilene Chaiken & Mike Pyken
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Andre (to Shyne): "Time to kill my father."

And we're into mid season finale territory where a few more skeletons came out of the closet and two characters seem to be in cahoots for a plan that is inevitably going to fail when the show returns next year.

Andre telling a victorious Shyne that he wants to kill Lucious is all well and good but it's doomed to fail. Still though I'm loving the darker Andre and this week we were given some closure with him and Ghost Rhonda as she gave him a checklist to complete (make Nessa a star, destroy Anika, hardly Legion of Doom stuff) and he's certainly getting on with it.

Of course, the Anika is something they're going to have to leave for a bit, even though this week we had Leah disrupt another sex scene between Anika and Lucious. It's almost as though the character is speaking for everyone when she laments about the both of them. However when Lucious wasn't getting his rocks off with Anika, he did have better storylines this week.

His team up with Diana in order to break up Cookie and Angelo began and ended a little messily when Diana backed out of their arrangement and Lucious retaliated by outing a former DUI Angelo was involved in that resulted in a woman's death. I have to admit, it's a bit of a juicy spoiler and it'll be interesting to see how the show deals with the fallout when it returns.

Speaking of things that need to be dealt with, the show finally saw Cookie and Lucious actually send Jamal to rehab and it was more than overdue at this rate. I'm glad that Jamal is going to get actual help now. Hopefully this will mean we get the character back on track in the latter half of the season.

As for Shyne and Tariq - both have been scheming against Lucious and only Shyne has actually succeeded in getting his feet further into the Empire table while Tariq has had his connection to Lucious exposed and had Shyne gloat about playing him. I still don't really care about either of them as characters though.

- Hakeem and Tiana may have just decided to give their relationship another go when the former kissed the latter on stage.
- Nessa won't take care of Andre like Rhonda did with him. That may be the best thing for Andre in the long run.
- Standout music: Hakeem/Tiana's Starlight and Jamal's Born To Win.
- This episode was given an earlier timeslot to make way for Star (premieres January 4th). The second half of this season will air from March 2017.

A Furnace For Your Foe was a solid mid season finale. I do think the episodes before it were a little better but there's some nice stuff set up here to be explored in the remaining nine episodes of the season and Star should help fill in a nice void until it's return.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Review of Empire's 3x08: "The Unkindest Cut"

Written by Attica Locke & Jamie Rosengard
Directed by Dennie Gordon

Cookie (to Andre): "You're changing in some way that I'm not sure I've got a handle on."

And Cookie would be right about that one. Andre has been changing this season and it's now that other people are picking up on it. Cookie made the point of telling him that she can't get a handle on Andre's new self and I'm not sure I can either.

On one hand, I am loving the devious new team up between Andre and Nessa, but unlike with Rhonda, it seems like Andre is going further and further into shady activity than he has done in the past. Even in this episode alone a little girl's hair ended up being cut because her racist society mother (Gina Gershon) posing a problem in this episode.

The society person in question had an event that Empire were collaborating on her with and it was an opportunity for Nessa to completely sabotage Tiana and she did so with aplomb. Tiana went on one hell of a damning (if accurate) rant, which ended up being viral and ruining her chances to perform at the event. Tiana talked about how the situation made her into a diva but at least the episode gave her a bit of fire for once too.

It also seemed to see Hakeem soften a little towards Tiana as well as he managed to clock onto the fact that Nessa and Andre had sabotaged Tiana. This episode was probably one of Hakeem's less annoying one but I still found myself siding with Andre during their fight for some reason.

As for Jamal, Philip got him to try another method of confronting his fears. A little bit of virtual reality seemed to be doing the trick until Lucious had to ruin it. On the plus side, it did result in a lovingly biting song from Jamal, which Lucious then deflated by having Cookie confess her role in the whole Freda thing along with the family threatening to turn on Lucious again.

On the plus side for Lucious, it seemed that both him and Leah managed to work together in order to find Tariq's weakness (actually didn't see that coming) and have a bit of fun with it. It's an interesting plot and Leah's reaction to seeing Lucious and Anika almost shag on the table also cracked me up as well. This was also a rather good episode for Anika to be honest.

- No Becky, Shyne, or Derek this week.
- Gina Gershon had one of the worst looks in this episode, which seemed fitting for her horrible character.
- Next episode is the mid-season finale.
- Standout music: This episode had plenty but let's focus on the brilliance of Jamal's Cold, Cold Man, Nessa's Black Girl Magic and Rae Sremmurd's Black Beatles.

The Unkindest Cut certainly had some great moments in it. The music was truly on point, Andre's dark path is certainly compelling and Lucious had some great moments with various family members in this one as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 2x08: "The Chicago Way"

Written by Sarah Nicole Jones & Ray Utarnachitt
Directed by Ralph Hemecker

Sara (to the gang): "Grab your fedoras, we're going to the 1920's."

The mid-season finales in the DC universe so far have seen Selina Kyle encounter her mother, Kara somewhat outsmarted Lillian Luthor with Lena's help, Oliver inadvertently kill unfortunate Billy while encountering Laurel again and Barry has to save Iris from being killed by Savitar. By comparison, our Legends might have fared a bit better but only just.

First of all, the Legion of Doom who still haven't fully formed came a little closer to that by roping in Malcolm Merlyn into their little club and to be honest, I'm finding this little unholy trinity (for now) a lot more fun than Vandal Savage ever was. Malcolm is far from one of my favourite characters but he was somewhat well used in this episode.

When Sara and Stein were captured by Thawne, Malcolm tried the softly approach to getting the amulet Sara stole by trying to appeal to her desire to change. I like that while Sara refused Malcolm's offer, she admitted to being tempted by the prospect of an easier life with her sister alive (about that, Sara, talk to Oliver) and that it also led to Stein opening about Lily's existence as well, which Sara was initially worried about before accepting.

The more scenes the show wants to give us with Sara and Stein, the better in my opinion. Also truly satisfying to watch was that fight scene between Sara and Malcolm as the two of them duked it out. Actually seeing the Waverider by Malcolm and Eobard certainly added to the tension of this particular one as Sara was forced into making a compromise in order to save Stein.

As for trio of baddies, well they managed to get the amulet(s) back and Eobard also revealed his intention to Damian and Malcolm that he wanted the Spear of Destiny to change fate while at the same time, the 1920s backdrop meant that the gang were able to use both Al Capone and Eliot Ness in order to play with the Legends and they did pretty well to be honest.

Along with the exploration into the roaring 1920s and our gang having to deal with gangsters, we also had both Ray and Nate embark in a little friendly rivalry while Mick continued to be drawn to Amaya while experiencing visions of Leonard as well. This is the second time we've had Snart but not really. I really want him back now. Oh and it seems like Rip is a director of a sci-fi show or movie in the 1960s, so he's back then.

- I do wonder if the show is planning to go there with Mick/Amaya. They feel like this season's Sara/Snart, don't they?
- Gideon managed to get a funny line in this episode when Nate discovered she can also help people with brain damage.
- When the show returns in 2017, it will air in a 9pm slot with The Flash.
- Chronology: Chicago 1927 and California 1967.

The Chicago Way maintained the DC TV mid-season finales well. The use of Capone and Ness worked brilliantly along with the forming Legion of Doom and various returns in this episode. I can't wait to see what the second half of the season offers us.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, December 09, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x08: "The Lost"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Julian Holmes

April: "Why is everyone looking at me like that?"

After eight weeks (or seven mainly as we did open with a double bill), this spin-off comes to a conclusion for now with an episode that managed to partially resolve one threat while setting up a whole new and far more interesting one.

The Shadow Kin have not been a great antagonist for this series overall. While the design for them has been decent enough, as villains they've felt rather toothless and while they upped the kill ratio here by bumping off Ram's father and Tanya's mother in scenes that didn't really hit the mark they were hoping for, this episode finally saw them defeated.

Granted we had to have April's mother being threatened, Tanya's brothers nearly killed and Matteusz used as leverage (they seriously need to give him something substantial) before April and Charlie ultimately stepped up to the plate. Thanks to combination of mutual sacrifice and finally using the Cabinet of Souls, the Shadow Kin were taken out as well as April and Charlie too.

Except that Quill decided to save Charlie at the very last minute and it now seems that April's soul is stuck in Shadow King guy's body, ending this episode on a slightly awkward note. Even more awkward if this show doesn't get picked up for a second series. Either way, let's be glad that they're mostly gone for now.

As for the second threat, we finally got to see the Governors and Cyril Nri certainly had a nice creepy factor as the Chair. Ames on the other hand found her days being numbered when a Weeping Angel stepped in and murdered her. Whatever the Arrival is, it involves both the Governors and Weeping Angels, which means you almost have to hope the show gets a second series in order to see more.

I do think had the show started off with the Governors as the ongoing threat, the show would've benefited from it. The Shadow Kin simply didn't cut it as baddies but this lot have actual potential. Then again if this show does get cancelled, then perhaps this plot can be resolved briefly on the parent series itself.

- Quill is only carrying one offspring. I quite liked the scenes with her and Tanya in this episode. She's slightly warming to the kids here.
- Cyril Nri was previously The Shopkeeper in the The Sarah Jane Adventures stories, Lost In Time and Sky.
- Music in this episode was on point with Jim Moray and Sophie Hopkins The Lost as well as Black Is The Colour.
- Chronology: Over a week since the events of The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did.

The Lost rounds off an okay ending to a series that's had a few moments of potential but ultimately feels like it could've been a little better. I do hope if the show gets a second chance that some of the characters are fleshed out better and that the Governors/Weeping Angels/Arrival storyline leads to something truly great.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, December 08, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x07: "The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Wayne Che Yip

Quill (to Charlie): "I'm no longer your slave, prince. I have my free will back and I have my gun and things, things are gonna change around here."

Last episode we saw the kids in detention, turning on each other due to a confessional monster but at the end of that episode, we also saw that Quill had been through the ringer herself. This episode covers exactly what happened to her.

The upshot is that the Arn is finally out of Quill's head and it was something a trauma for that to happen. Dorothea kept to her word and decided to help Quill regain her freedom by enlisting a shape shifting criminal/surgeon named Ballon (Chiké Okonkwo), who like Quill and Charlie also happened to be the last of his species too (but not really as we later learned his niece was alive on Earth).

The trip itself really did become metaphysical as the three of them explored a gorgeous pink forest, which we soon learned was the Arn idea of heaven while things took a less pleasant turn when Ballon was forced to face his people's version of the Devil with Quill then later having to deal with her people's Goddess that she even had serious doubts of existing.

Exploring all three of these particular worlds took up the right amount of screen time. It never felt like things were being needlessly dragged out and there was something interesting in seeing both Quill and Ballon confronting some of the customs of their own people to boot. Quill's conversation with her Goddess in particular was pretty riveting stuff until Ballon stepped in to kill her.

Speaking of Ballon, he's easily one of the best characters we've had on this show and sadly, he only lasted this episode. I loved the rapport he had with both Quill and Ames and the deeper connection he forged with the former felt authentic enough so that when Ames turned them against one another, there was a twisted tragedy to them.

Keeping with Ames for a bit, she really does like to stir the pot, doesn't she? She kept telling Quill and Ballon their mission was likely to be a failure and then she dealt the killer blow by revealing they were in the Cabinet of Souls all along and only one of them could return. I wasn't expecting Ballon to survive but I was a bit surprised with his sacrifice for Quill though.

As for Quill, the episode ended with her freedom regained, her hair much longer and as Matteusz exclaimed in the very last moment, Quill was also revealed to be pregnant. The dynamic between her and Charlie for the finale is certainly going to be an interesting one to watch out for.

- Ballon's species is Lorr but we learned that he posed as a Zygon at some point.
- Quill quoted the poem Home to Ballon during the scene with the Quill goddess. We also learn that Quill children eat their mother after being born.
- Standout music: MIA's Bad Girls gets an appropriate playing at the end of this one.
- Chronology: Set within the events of Detained.

Easily the best episode of the series. The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did took a break from the teen angst and focused on the best character of the bunch along with Ames and Ballon and delivered an episode so good, it could've easily been one from the parent show itself.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x06: "Detained"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Wayne Che Yip

Charlie (to everyone): "Is detention always like this?"

The Breakfast Club episode. It had to happen and to be honest, I would've been a little disappointed if Class hadn't done it. Quill decided to lock Charlie and the gang in a classroom while she went off on her own little unseen (til the next episode) story.

Except she didn't really lock them in a classroom. They were actually locked outside of time and with a deadly asteroid/meteor/rock containing a deadly unseen prisoner, the gang were forced to spend more time with each other than usual and with that came it's own problems.

The obvious one being everyone of the gang forced into revealing the very things they would've preferred to have kept hidden from each other. Matteusz talked about coming out to his grandmother and being afraid of Charlie's alien side while Tanya recalled a tale of nicking sweets and feeling like the rest of the gang simply tolerate her.

Keeping with Tanya for a moment - Patrick Ness gave her some truly cringey dialogue in this episode. I'm all for Tanya calling out racism but seeing her attack people (April mainly) who aren't even being racist to begin is something of a sore point in this episode. On the other hand, I did like that Tanya figured out that the gang could get the rock to actually give them information along with making them confess things.

As for the rest of the confessions, both Ram and April talked about their feelings and by the end of this episode, it seemed that their fast developed relationship has come to a standstill. I don't think this episode overall succeeded in making me care for them as a couple and while Ram had some good moments, he also had a few unpleasant ones too as the creature's influence grew on the gang.

Then there was Charlie. He spent most of the episode having a panic attack (the guy really doesn't like small spaces) and then reacting badly to the gang's confessions before picking up the rock and revealing a bit more about himself. None of which was too surprising but it was well played as Quill reentered the fray and took out the prisoner and the gang effectively legged it out of the room.

It seems that in the space of forty five minutes, a day has passed for Quill. Her hair has become longer, she's got a rather fetching scar around her eye and the Arn has also been removed from her. If I were Charlie, I'd be very nervous about now.

- It really was one set this week with the action in that classroom. I thought the use of Charlie's claustrophobia played well into things here.
- Wayne Che Yip who directed this episode and the next one will be directed two episodes for Series 10 of Doctor Who.
- No Dorothea in this one but it seems like she'll have a bigger role in the Quill episode.
- Chronology: Not long from where Brave-ish Heart left off.

Detained was an interesting venture. We've had bottle episodes on the main show (Blink and Turn Left, anyone?) and they've produced something great and here, we got a satisfying episode. However it seems like Quill's adventure will be the more thrilling prospect.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

My Review of Empire's 3x07: "What We May Be"

Written by Diane Ademu-John & Malcom Spellman
Directed by Kevin Bray

Cookie: "My daddy was my life until I met Lucious."

Ah, more Cookie backstory and yes, that is a good thing. I like that the show hasn't been obvious about the dynamic between Cookie and her father in the flashbacks so far and this episode added another facet to it as we went back to when she was thrown out of her home for getting involved with Lucious.

Okay, maybe that bit is a tad predictable but anyone hoping for a reason as to why Cookie, Candace and Carol all have difficulty getting along with each other for any lengthy period of time will probably be satisfied with this episode as we saw the fallout of Cookie being estranged from her father and the way it managed to tie into some present day stuff too.

Jamal in particular used some old movies from Cookie's childhood for his visual and when the latter freaked out, Jamal went to Carol to get some answers. Meanwhile Cookie herself went to Candace so she could slightly posh herself up in a bid to impress Angelo's mother. The first attempt saw Cookie miss out on a fundraiser. The second attempt was a dinner disaster.

Having Jamal showing up high, Hakeem with a screaming Bella, Andre skipping the whole thing altogether along with Lucious and Anika making themselves at home. However while Diana came across a bit of an ice queen, she was nowhere near as horrible to Cookie as I expected her to be, though there's still time for that I guess.

As for the rest of the episode, it seems that you've got DMajor and Philip as both love interests for Jamal and both of them with opposing attitudes towards Jamal's drug use as well. Right now, I guess Philip would be the better choice for Jamal romantically but the sooner this storyline concludes and Jamal really does get his shit back together.

Meanwhile, the episode seemed to further Andre's attraction with Nessa as he chose her event over Cookie's while at the same time managing to reach out to Freda. The latter I'm glad he did even though it seems like he's falling into Shyne's ongoing machinations against the Lyons though. Other that, I'm more than fine to see Nessa and Freda make more music together.

- Tiana seems to be giving Cookie the cold shoulder this week and Becky/Thirsty's scheming on Xavier took a backseat too.
- It looks like next week's episode has remembered Leah.
- Standout music: Nessa/Freda's Heart Of Stone and Jamal's Mama.
- Chronology: Not long from where Chimes Of Midnight left off.

A strong enough episode. I liked that What We May Be filled in some more gaps with Cookie's past and the music numbers were definitely some of the strongest we've had this season too. I do want Jamal's plot to wrap up though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, December 03, 2016

My Review of DC TV's Crossover: "Invasion!" (Supergirl/The Flash/Arrow/Legends Of Tomorrow)

Now, this is going to be something of a different kind of review. Usually, I do bigger reviews for one show, but with all four forming a crossover, I think it's only fair to look at each episode of Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow for this one.

Written by Aaron Helbing, Todd Helbing, Marc Guggenheim, Wendy Mericle, Phil Klemmer, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Dermott Downs, James Bamford and Gregory Smith

Felicity: "Best team ever!"

First of all in National City, things started off on a completely different route as the consequences of Kara having her blood taken from Lillian Luthor resulted in the deadly Medusa virus being used in a bid to wipe out all aliens in the city. This meant for the second week in a row that Mon El found himself in danger while J'onn's White Martian storyline came to a rather abrupt conclusion, following the welcomed return of Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater) and Lena turning on her own mother. I was initially surprised to realise that this was actually the mid season finale but it was a good one nonetheless. As well as taking in Thanksgiving and putting a temporary defeat on Lillian (a great antagonist), there were also some lovely character moments, including Alex coming out to her mother and starting a relationship with Maggie and the dynamic between Kara and Lena continues to intrigued. Less successful was the predictable route they went with Kara/Mon El and I'm struggling to care with the Winn and Jimmy/Guardian storyline. As for the crossover, well, Barry and Cisco did appear at the end in need of Kara's help.

Then the action came into Central City where the Dominators have arrived and Barry and Cisco (the latter who can barely tolerate Barry for most of this crossover) work together to rope in, not just Kara but also Oliver, Diggle, Thea and Felicity along with most of Sara's crew (except Nate and Amaya, who sit this part of the story out). Seeing both Cisco and Felicity practically squee with the delight of so many heroes in the same room all at once. This year we've had DC do the big screen team up with Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and next year we've got the Justice League. Here though, you've got several heroes meeting for the first time and Oliver's crew wrapping their heads around the idea of aliens and spaceships. Not only that but we also had the collection of heroes (except Supergirl here) reeling from the revelation of Barry's Flashpoint antics and a little bit of mind control as the Dominators didn't mess about in showing their hand with how powerful they truly can be. There was also moments for ongoing Central City storylines to continue such as Iris's overprotective side to Wally's newfound powers (he did manage to help and get hurt here) along with Caitlin continue to grapple with hers while helping Stein meeting his daughter for the first time. There were also some lighter moments, particularly with Mick's reaction to Kara but the end scene where Oliver, Sara, Thea, Diggle and Ray all got beamed aboard set up some craziness.

Of course in the midst of all this crossover madness, a 100th episode had to be celebrated. Back when Arrow debuted in 2012, I did wonder if the show would ever get to the same accolade that Smallville had managed to (and then surpass with over 200 episodes) but here we are, and this episode had to really walk a tightrope. On one hand, it needed to commemorate everything that the show had accomplished in the last five years along with playing it's part for the big crossover. On both fronts, it succeeded. Oliver, Sara, Thea, Diggle and Ray found themselves in a dream world where Robert/Moira were alive, Laurel was about to become a Queen, Diggle was the Hood and Ray/Felicity were engaged. Of course, Oliver began to realise that it was all false and soon enough, so did everyone else, even if Thea herself was a little unwilling to abandon the false reality. While it's a total cliche plot to run with, it's one that works to great effect as a slew of past faces are seen/heavily alluded and to be honest, it's actually one of the best episode that Arrow has also produced in the longest while as well. I also dug the team up of Felicity and Cisco in the present day as well as Barry and Kara having to work with the recruits (minus Evelyn, who was suspiciously absent here). As for the Dominators, they managed to lose their five captives but their plans were still going to go full steam ahead.

As for the final segment, well it certainly brought everything to a nice conclusion. Connecting the Dominators ongoing scheme with Barry's Flashpoint and also the mercy that Cisco and company had shown their leader in 1951 was certainly something of a shocker and the battle between all of the heroes and the Dominators was pretty epic stuff for the small screen. Over the course of these four episodes, we've had plenty of great moments here and there, but the main thing I can take away from this crossover is that all four shows are more connected than before (Cisco has given Kara a device to cross dimensions) and the sheer joy of seeing all of these different characters interact with each other onscreen. Even if Oliver was a prat towards Kara, he did embrace her towards the end of this crossover and all of the gang have managed to forgive Barry's messing with the timeline while Stein himself has now embraced fatherhood, even if there will undoubtedly be consequences later in the series for it, no doubt.

- Both The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow somewhat altered their title sequences for this crossover. Arrow and Supergirl on the other hand didn't.
- Each of the shows this week had an expected rise in their ratings for this.
- I loved the look of the Dominators in this episode and it seems that Barry/Oliver/Sara's universe may have a female president now the previous one was murdered.
- Chronology: Let's assume it was shortly after Thanksgiving. Two of the main shows will be celebrating Christmas episodes next week.

For a crossover event, Invasion! set up the bar rather impressively. The Dominators made for a great threat, the merging of so many team ups and the fallout of Flashpoint all got the best look into here. There's been a lot of great television moments this year and this glorious crossover event was certainly one of them. I genuinely can't wait to see how they top this next year.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, December 02, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x05: "Brave-ish Heart"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Philippa Langdale

Shadow King: "This is not the end of this."
April: "No, I get the last word."

And here's the conclusion to this two part adventure. Is it me or was that a little too simplistic a temporary defeat for the Shadow Kin? I know this show is influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer (something we're reminded of once per episode) but April's scimitar wielding skills seemed to be on a par with older Amy's from The Girl Who Waited? Basically this lot gave up their King a little too easily and allowed April to use them to solve the other alien menace of the week.

I did like the scenes with April and Ram on the Underneath world, which was decently shot for a planet/quarry. I also liked the frank discussion both of them had about knowing the other for a month and even the inclusion of Varun and Huw during the latter half of the episode had it's moments too. As for the scenes with Jackie regaining her mobility, that was a bit of a dicey one for me. The intention behind it seemed well meaning but a little misguided as well.

Of course, April would've been better having the Shadow King annihilated and it's pretty obvious that her leniency will backfire on her in the series finale. Of course, April wasn't the only one having to juggle their morality in this one.

Charlie found his hand being forced by both Quill and Ames (both of whom were working with and against each other at different points here) into using the Cabinet of Souls and both very nearly got what they wanted here had it not been for April's last minute plan with the Shadow Kin. I did find myself more on Quill's side at times than I did Charlie's, which I'm not sure I was supposed to. As for Matteusz, he was mostly the voice of reason between three very morally skewered aliens here.

Keeping with Ames, the show certainly seems to be having fun with her ambiguity. She had no problem pointing a gun at Matteusz in order to get Charlie to play along with her demands but also had some fun in playing Charlie and Quill off each other. We did learn that the Governors aren't strictly bad though and she seems sincere in her promise to help Quill regain her freedom though.

- Tanya was also the voice of reason in this episode by getting through to April and Ram's parents. I liked that about her.
- Even though April has somewhat become their ruler, the Shadow Kin refer to her as a King though.
- Come to think of, the Cabinet seems to have a slightly similar design that the Moment has, doesn't it?
- Chronology: A month since the events of For Tonight We Might Die.

Brave-ish Heart was a decent conclusion to this two-parter. I do think the Shadow Kin were temporarily defeated a little too easily but again, there were some nice enough character moments throughout the episode, so point there and I liked the killer petals.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Star Trek: Discovery - First Three Castmembers Announced

You wait ages for Star Trek: Discovery news and then all of a sudden, a fair chunk of it finally surfaces. First off all, it seems that Bryan Fuller himself will be taking a backseat from things as Akiva Goldsman takes over the show and then there's also the casting news we've gotten in the last few days.

First of all, Michelle Yeoh. The actress whose credits include Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be playing the role of Captain Georgiou, who will be manning the USS Shenzhou. This isn't the first time that the franchise has had a female captain and following Fuller's previous comments about having a female captain, it's nice to have confirmation and Yeoh is terrific casting.

Meanwhile Doug Jones, whose credits include Batman Returns, Hocus Pocus and Buffy The Vampire Slayer to name a few has been cast in the role of Saru. The press release has confirmed that the character is a Science Officer serving as an lieutenant aboard the Discovery as well as the reveal that Saru is a member of a new alien race for the franchise. Given the actor's history of being behind makeup and prosthetic, it'll be interesting what the series has him look like.

Last for now (as more will be cast, including the mysterious Number One character) is Anthony Rapp. The Rent star will be taking on the role of Lieutenant Stamets, a Science Officer specializing in astromycology (the study of fungi in space) and it's also been confirmed that he will be the TV franchise's first gay character, following Star Trek Beyond revealing that John Cho's Sulu had a husband and daughter during the summer.

The upcoming series, set a decade before the events of the original Star Trek television series will feature a new ship, new characters, and new missions, while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers. I'll discuss more casting as it's announced.

Press Release:

Star Trek: Discovery starts filming next month with the series set to premiere on CBS and CBS AllAccess from May 2017.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 3x11: "Beware The Green Eyed Monster"

Written by John Stephens
Directed by Danny Cannon

Barbara (to Nygma): "Think about it, Ed. Your brains, their brawn, my me."

Into mid-season finale territory now and this certainly wasn't a dull affair as quite a lot of new things were neatly set up for the second half of the season, including the return of yet another formerly dead character.

First of all though, how much like a future Batman and Catwoman were Bruce and Selina in this episode? Okay, it's hardly the first time they've been like that but this week we saw the both of them along with Alfred and Whisper Guy plan to break into the Court of Owls vault to get the thing they're so bent out of shape about.

It was more of a side plot but actually a lot more interesting even the artifact itself turned out to be an actual glass owl. Then there was Talon bumping off the rest of the Whisper Gang before attempting to kill Alfred, Selina and Bruce. However it seems that this situation was the perfect moment for Selina's mother to be added into the mix with Banshee's Ivana Miličević taking on the role of the mysterious Maria.

Going into the second half of the season, it'll be nice to learn a lot more about Selina's family situation but it also raises the issues as to why Maria would let her teenage daughter live on the streets. I really do hope the series doesn't waste the character and the potential dynamic that's there with Selina and her estranged mother.

Speaking of dynamics, this episode might have torpedoed Nygmobblepot for the time being. Barbara pretty much spelled it out to Edward that Oswald was responsible for Isabella's death and when Nygma realised that the current Mayor was in love with him, it was apparently enough for Edward to indulge Barbara's scheme to become Gotham's underworld supreme. If she succeeds where Fish failed in the first season, I'll be genuinely impressed.

As for the main meat of the story, it was a sort of resolution to Alice Tetch's blood story (or was it?) with Gordon doing his damndest to persuade everyone that Mario was infected with the blood (after Jervis let slip during a brief scene) and everyone else proceeding not to believe, including Leslie who then married him.

Of course, Falcone eventually realised that his son was infected with the blood and let Gordon off to get him with the latter promising not to kill Mario. Of course that promise soon disappeared when Gordon had to save Leslie from being stabbed by her new husband. Leslie wasn't even married a few hours before becoming a widow but either way, Mario might have succeeded in his bid to turn Leslie against Gordon, once and for all.

- The trailer for January episodes have shown that Jerome will be returning or will he?
- Ivy and Barnes sat this episode out. I found Jervis's paper mache hat hilarious. At least we know you can do arts and crafts while at Arkham these days.
- The music for this episode during the Leslie/Mario wedding scenes stood out a bit more than usual. I'm curious as to how many people were there for Leslie though rather than the Falcone family.
- Chronology: From where Time Bomb more or less left off.

Beware The Green Eyed Monster was a solid mid-season finale. Ultimately, there was more set up than pay off with certain plot strands but going into 2017, at least we have plenty of things to look forward to and dissect.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 28, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x04: "Co-Owner Of A Lonely Heart"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Philippa Langdale

April (to Ram): "I'm going to get my heart back."

With the previous three episodes all giving Charlie, Ram and Tanya their moments to shine, it was April's turn to get her moment and with this two parter, things are off to a solid enough start. April may be sweet but with the Shadow Kin, she's also given her chance to unleash hell.

The person in particular who got both barrells of April's wrath happened to be her father, Huw, who chose the wrong time to reach out to the family he nearly killed. It seems with this episode we got a bit more on the car accident that left April's mother, Jackie in a wheelchair and seeing April under the Shadow Kin influence try to kill her father twice was certainly something.

In both incidents, Ram was there to hold April back from doing something she'd truly regret but when the episode ended with the Shadow Kin King finally realising where she was, April made the decision to go to the Underneath in order to get her heart back once and for all. Ram of course naturally decided to follow her while April's parents along with Charlie, Matteusz and Tanya didn't have time to do anything to stop either of them.

I have to admit this was a fairly strong episode for April. She seems to be a bit of a perfectionist, character wise and the episode showed her unravel a little while her connection with Ram (despite that horrible Shadow Kin inclusion) came into it's own this week as well. As for the Shadow Kin, at least something is being done with them now.

As for the rest of the episode, I did like Quill meeting the obviously alien/new principal Dorothea Ames (Pooky Quesnel), who seems wildly unpredictable. She certainly managed to make her presence known in a handful of scenes and her offer to remove the Arn from Quill is clearly something the latter will take up in the next few episodes.

- Both Tanya and Matteusz challenged Charlie on his treatment towards Quill. Charlie also tried to get Quill to pose as his guardian for parents/teachers night.
- Quill goes under the name of Andrea according to Ames. Ames is also part of the Governors.
- The killer petals idea has a nice enough subtletly but we also had that planet like things with the Lan Kin from the previous episode.
- Chronology: Not too long since the events of Nightvisiting.

Co-Owner Of A Lonely Heart is a strong enough start to the show's first two part story. I liked the exploration into April's family (though what did she do to her mother?) and getting more information on the Cabinet along with seeing the Shadow Kin world, this was a good one.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x03: "Nightvisiting"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Ed Bazalgette

Tanya (to Jasper/Lan Kin): "You don't get to have my closure, so how does that taste?"

I have to admit that out of all the main characters, Tanya is arguably the one I've least been interested in but this episode certainly saw something of an upswing as the series delved a little more into her in a nicely character driven episode.

As the previous episode stated, Tanya's father Jasper died two years ago and coming up to his anniversary, she encounters a ghostly version of him who is a little too desperate to reconnect with his grieving child. Naturally, Tanya finds this all a bit suspect and it soon becomes obvious that her father's convenient return is part of this week's alien invasion story.

The race this time being the Lan Kin, who seem to be playing on the 'Nightvisiting' folk myth that April info dumps Ram about. They seek out people who've lost other and target them. With Tanya seeing her father for the duration of this episode, there's also Ram encountering Rachel for a few scenes as well as Charlie getting a brief look at his parents one more time.

More interestingly though was seeing Quill herself encountering a nicer, humanoid looking version of her sister. I like that along with Tanya that Quill wasn't buying into the Lan Kin's attempts of connection for one moment and waited for Charlie and Matteusz to show up so she could use the former to help get some answers about the creature's true motives.

I have to admit, there was some genuinely nice character moments in this one. We had some lovely conversations with Charlie/Matteusz (including a sex scene), an insight into Tanya's relationship with her family as well as the dynamic that Quill has her with her own kin too. I do think the Lan Kin were a little hastily defeated but other than that, the characters moments made up for it though.

- Matteusz has been kicked out by his parents and is now living with Charlie and Quill. This should be interesting to see unfold.
- April is into folk music because of her father and Tanya's mother enjoys swimming.
- The flashbacks of Tanya's family life reminded me of the same thing Russell T. Davies did last year for the Lance episode of Cucumber. It was pretty effective. I also enjoyed the opening song by Jim Moray for this episode as well.
- Chronology: Not long from where The Coach With The Dragon Tattoo left off.

Nightvisiting might have left Coal Hill out of the mix, but it certainly gave the show a little more breathing space. The character moments made the episode, the music was nice and having it primarily set at night made it a little eerie too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, November 25, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x02: "The Coach With The Dragon Tattoo"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Ed Bazalgette

Ram (to Tanya): "When did you know it was the right time to start talking?"

The difficult second episode. After the opening one that set up the entire premise of the show and quickly linked itself to the Doctor Who universe, this was an episode that wanted to show people it could also stand on it's own two feet without a Time Lord stepping in to save the day. More importantly, it also gave Ram some decent focus too.

Things for Ram since Rachel's death and losing his leg/gaining a new one haven't been especially great. He's losing it on the football field to the derision of his mean spirited but hot Coach Dawson (Ben Peel) and he's also unable to talk to his father about things. He is however able to talk to Tanya while at the same putting up some distance between himself, Charlie and April.

Then there's also the fact that a scaly and scary dragon is looming around Coal Hill and is eating people up. In the first half of this episode, Ram witnessed both another coach and a cleaning lady (whom he bummed a smoke off) getting brutally killed before Charlie, April and Tanya also later witnessed the same thing happen to Mr Armitage while Quill used a robotic inspector for sacrifice too.

I liked the dragon idea and I even liked how it was Ram who effectively saved the day, even though it was his total nihilism and hopelessness resulted in the murder of the coach. Now the coach was a horrible character who seemed to have no problem in keeping the male dragon in line by threatening the female dragon's safety but he was kind of hot though. The CGI for the dragon was pretty decent though.

As for Ram, he's a bit of a dick but not a totally unlikeable one though. I like the rapport both him and Tanya have and he did seem to start to accept Charlie and April towards the end of this one. The scenes with his father were surprisingly effective too. Fady Elsayed definitely is a solid performer, even if the football stuff did slightly bore me.

As for the rest of the episode, the subplot with Quill and the robotic Inspector (Jamie Reid Quarrell) was certainly amusing. Quill should be thankful he wasn't a real school inspector, otherwise she'd never be allowed to teach in any school ever again. As for who the Governors are, well, I guess that's something to look forward to later on in the series.

- Matteusz appeared briefly in one scene during this episode. The Inspector also played Colony Sarff/Veil/Cloister Wrath last year on Doctor Who.
- Charlie's got some pretty cool drawing skills if this episode is anything to go by.
- If you think this episode feels familiar, watch the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, Go Fish. You get added Wentworth Miller too. I'm just saying is all.
- Chronology: Not long from where For Tonight We Might Die left off.

The Coach With The Dragon Tattoo had it's moments of gore, it's moments of frank discussion regarding grief and certainly saw the team slowly come together to beat the dragon. The episode wasn't amazing and I do think the show is lacking a little something but it was a solid enough second episode for the show.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Review of Class's 1x01: "For Tonight We Might Die"

Written by Patrick Ness
Directed by Ed Bazalgette

The Doctor (to the gang): "Time has looked at your faces and time, time, never forgets."

I know, it's been over a month since BBC3 online dropped this show and between catching up with other series and shaking my head at the overall shoddy promotion for the latest Doctor Who spin-off and reading the mixed comments online, I've finally sat down and properly watched the first episode and you know what, it's not bad.

I think we forget that when Torchwood started off a decade ago when BBC3 was a physical channel, it didn't impress straight away and took a little time to really grab audiences (whereas The Sarah Jane Adventures impressed everyone from the off). Whether or not Class will get that chance remains to be seen but it's certainly a decent set up here.

First of all, you've got the Prince of Rhodia himself, Charlie Smith (Greg Austin) with his enemy turned forced bodyguard and physics teacher Miss Quill (Katherine Kelly) taking refuge on Earth, attending Coal Hill and generally trying to avoid trouble until the Shadow Kin managed to track them down and cause a little mayhem at the prom.

Caught up in the mix of things as well are kind hearted April MacLean (Sophie Hopkins), soccer hunk Ram Singh (Fady Elsayed), brainbox Tanya Adeola (Vivian Oparah) and Polish student Matteusz  Andrzejewski (Jordan Renzo), who was also Charlie's date for the prom itself. All of these kids are given quite the education on monsters from time and space but it's really two of them that suffer the consequences of the new discovery.

Ram himself has to suffer seeing his date Rachel (Anna Shaffer) being butchered in front of him by Shadow Kin leader Corakinus (Paul Marc Davis) while losing his leg (though he's given another one later on in the story) and April finds herself very much linked to the Kin that it forms most of the dilemma for this story as Charlie has reservations about killing her.

Then there's the appearance of the Doctor. With Coal Hill being a tenuous link to the parent show, having Peter Capaldi pop up for a few minutes to help partly resolve the story while informing the rest of the gang why he won't be showing up every week. Capaldi's appearance is nice but a part of me is wondering whether or not it actually helps or hinders the episode and set up for the series in general.

The main characters themselves seem like a decent bunch. Miss Quill probably stands out the most and seems a little amoral, while the rapport between her and Charlie has all the potential to really boil over throughout the series, especially with that cabinet in the mix as well. Ram and Tanya also have some good moments and their 'secret' friendship is kind of nice while April kind of feels like the sort of person you'd expect as a companion of the Doctor. Matteusz has some quippy moments and religious parents but he's the least emphasised of the characters in this opening story.

As for the Shadow Kin, they look impressive enough though something of a mash up of the Vashta Nerada and the Pyroville creature from the parent show's fourth series. Going by the trailers though, it does seem like they won't be the only problem that Coal Hill's rift/crack thingy will be attracting throughout the series.

- Both BBC1 and BBCAmerica should be airing this show along with the BBC3 releases. Holding off seems foolish in retrospect.
- Is it me or are April, Ram and Tanya all from single parent families? Whereas Quill is technically viewed as Charlie's legal guardian to less savvy people perhaps.
- Mr Armitage from Into The Dalek/The Caretaker is still principal and we got to see Susan, Clara and Danny's name on the board during one scene with the Doctor.
- Alex Care's Up All Night is the theme tune for the series. I'm not too taken with the credit sequence but I might grow to like it as the series goes on.

For Tonight We Might Die is a strong enough opening episode for the series. Like Torchwood's first episode, it's far from perfect but the general set up isn't bad. I do think the show overall has more in common with series such as Being Human or Misfits than it does with being a Doctor Who universe series. It's not perfect but it's got something though.

Rating: 7 out of 10