Saturday, October 29, 2016

My Review of A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)

Written by David Chaskin
Directed by Jack Sholder

Freddy (to Jesse): "You've got the body, I've got the brain."

For a horror movie franchise that has often generated the most divisive of sequels, I'm surprised that this one has been slightly more divided than others. Forget Hellbent (actually don't, I liked it), this quickly released sequel is the original gay slasher movie and probably the Halloween 3 of the Freddy Krueger franchise.

Set five years after the original movie, A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge sees the Walsh family move into the Thompson's place with son, Jesse (Mark Patton) getting Nancy's old bedroom. Of course it's not the only thing he gets off Nancy too as everyone's favourite nightmare menace Freddy (Robert Englund) is also back and sets his sights onto making Jesse his protege, whether the young lad likes it or not.

At the time of this movie's release, the writer and director insist on the fact that any of the overt gay text from this movie was completely coincidental but it's obvious to anyone that it really isn't. Sure, Jesse has a likeable girlfriend of sorts with Lisa (Kim Myers) but most of the time in this movie he seems far more interested in spending time with his hunky jock friend, Ron Grady (Robert Rusler), even going as far as to evade having sex with his love interest to sleep over with his friend. In fact, it seems kind of obvious that Jesse had the hots for Grady at times during this movie.

Truth be told, the whole movie in itself feels like something of a metaphor for a closeted teenage boy coming to terms with his sexuality. You have Freddy trying to bring out his secret desire by using Jesse as a host to murder characters left, right and centre and a lot of the dialogue isn't particularly subtle about Jesse's own internal struggles with himself either. If this movie was being remade for today's audience, then the character would be openly gay from the off, wouldn't he?

Then there's also the fact that Jesse at some point in the movie ends up visiting a gay S&M bar where he spots his coach, Schneider (Marshall Bell). The coach in question is something of a bully boy and his death however sparks one of the most risque but memorable deaths as does the unfortunate demise of Grady as Jesse loses control and Freddy is able to take over the poor boy's body and cause some havoc before he's eventually defeated.

While Jesse is technically the protagonist and final boy of the movie, it's actually Lisa who saves the day and somewhat defeats Freddy. Her defeat of him isn't quite as great as Nancy's was in the first movie but it does the job. As for Jesse, he's sympathetic enough as a character but a little too whiny in some parts and his screaming are unintentionally comical in some places.

Freddy is pretty strong as a threat second time around but it did seem like this movie ditched some of the first one's original rules in order to have Freddy attack people in the real world instead of their dreams. Of course it would be later movies before the character would truly descend into a parody but here he's used well enough and still packs a punch as the main antagonist of the piece.

- Apparently Brad Pitt, Christian Slater and John Stamos all auditoned for the role of Jesse in this movie. Patton was probably still the better choice. He came out as gay after this movie was released.
- Jesse was considered to be the first male scream queen and he's the only male protagonist in the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. He's also never referenced in follow up movies.
- Freddy's body count is one of the highest as well. All the victims are male too,
- Standout music: Jesse dancing badly to All Night Long by Wish & Fonda Rae.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is one hell of an interesting sequel. One of the most striking as it tries to do something a little different to the original but at the same time, it doesn't go quite off the rails as later ones will eventually do. Jesse isn't as compelling as Nancy was in the first movie but he's engaging enough and the homoerotic subtext is more literal text than the producers were willing to admit to at the time.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Halloween 2 (1981)

Written by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Graham: "No fillings. He's young. Maybe seventeen, maybe eighteen."
Sam Loomis: "Michael Myers is twenty one."

With the success of the 1978 original movie, a sequel was inevitable and while this one took three years to materialise, the events of the first movie still heavily factor into Michael Myers's second outing. Considering this one picks up from where the first one left off, that's not really much of a shocker though.

I have to admit that I've seen subsequent sequels to the Halloween franchise before clapping eyes on this one and while the sequels have had their hit and miss quotient, this was an okay first attempt of expanding the menace that is Michael Myers for the wider audience.

In this sequel, the events move a little from the neighbourhood of Haddonfield right into the hospital of it as Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) continues his hot pursuit of babysitter, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) while Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) does everything in his power to try and stop the rest of Halloween night from becoming a complete carnage fest.

Of course, this is easier said than done as Michael works his way through killing a few more neighbours before tracking Laurie in the hospital in an effort to finish his original intent. Of course with Jamie Lee Curtis taking something of a backseat in this sequel of sorts, time is given to some more of the characters.

Loomis in particular seems to have more screentime as we learned the connection between Michael and Laurie and looking at the first movie in context, it's a reveal that doesn't seem like it was planned from the start. I don't mind that Michael and Laurie are actually related (although he looks more 41 than 21 to be honest) but it's revealed in something of a hamfisted sort of way that it jars somewhat with the story as Michael goes out murdering most of the hospital staff in some gory and inventive ways before reuniting with both his sister and Loomis.

The final confrontations that Michael had with both of them are strong enough and there's certainly an intensity felt like there was in the first movie but I do feel a bit more time could've been spent on Laurie in this one. The ending had things not panned out differently could've provided some decent closure to Michael Myers but instead it served as a temporary pit stop until the character would resurface in the fourth film.

- The song Mr Sandman bookends the movie as it does further sequel, Halloween H20.
- Rick Rosenthal would later go on to direct the final movie, Halloween Resurrection twenty one years later.
- Picking a death from this one that stood out (and many did) was seeing poor Karen getting boiled to death in the hot tub.
- Jamie Lee Curtis's wig stands out a few times in this movie. Still better than Michael's hair though.

Halloween 2 is a decent, if not spectacular sequel Setting it straight after the events of the first movie certainly worked in it's favour but it's main revelation was something that could've been addressed better. However with the slew of inventive deaths though, it's a strong enough follow up to it's iconic original.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 3x06: "Is Someone Really Dead?"

Written by Fernanda Coppel
Directed by Sharat Raju

Asher (to Michaela): "Is someone really dead?"

Asher, it's been two and a half years, mate - when is someone not really dead on this show? Sam, Lila, Rebecca, Sinclair, Caleb, Mahoney and so on. Of course, going by this episode's ending, it's now confirmed that Asher is safe as Michaela found him at his dorm having the time of his life until she revealed that someone died and Connor's MIA.

The flashbacks this week also revealed that Annalise had called most of the Keating 5 to the house or at least that's what Asher himself believes. Now that leaves Wes, Connor, Frank and Nate to be ruled out, although we know that one of those four will end up being the dead body. I'm still thinking Frank or Nate though.

Speaking of Frank, even by not being around, he's managed to cause some tension. Annalise spent most of the episode snapping at Bonnie for her betrayal, even though Bonnie had actually recorded Frank's murderous confession while Laurel confronted Annalise on her attempts to kill Frank, which the latter ended up dismissing.

However in a rather unexpected twist of fate though, Frank somewhat manage to solve a few of the problems he created (and arguably created more) by actually framing Mahoney's other son for Wallace's death, just around the same time everyone else was convinced that Wes was about to turn himself in for a murder he didn't actually commit.

Keeping with Wes for a moment, this episode had Annalise trying to rein him in from doing something stupid, had both Bonnie and Connor blame him for their current problems while Wes also dumped Meggy and slept with Laurel (guess that maybe solves the baby daddy side of things). This episode saw both Wes and Laurel finally getting closer while Michaela and Asher also formed more of a connection with each other too.

Of course, it wasn't just those two couples getting along more nicely. We had Nate confirm to Annalise that he was dating ADA Renee Atwood (whom Annalise went up against once again) while Connor had to learn that Oliver was beginning to date a hunky acupuncturist named Thomas, who seems nice.

Elsewhere following his outing as the poster guy, Simon tried to endear himself a little this week and even managed to get the first chair in Annalise's case with a lesbian soldier versus a jerky straight guy. I'm not sure what the show is trying to do with Simon just yet as his attempts of playing nice were largely spurned and when Michaela openly sabotaged him, he promised to go after her as well.

- Asher dancing to Cotton Eyed Joe was one of the funniest moments we've had in the series. I'd still like to know what Michaela's issue with her adopted mother is though.
- Frank is coming back to Philadelphia as this episode showed in it's closing moments.
- Looks like someone's going to betray Annalise in next week's episode.
- Chronology: Three weeks still before the events of the fire.

Is Someone Really Dead ruled out another one of the Keating 5 as the potential victim and while I don't think/hope that either Connor or Wes are the dead body, a part of me is wondering why Annalise wanted them all at the house on that night.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, October 28, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 2x03: "Shogun"

Written by Phil Klemmer & Grainne Godfree
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen

Mick (to Amaya): "Told you ninjas were real."

Now this was heaps of fun. The joy having a show that explore history is actually seeing some of the characters show some joy at seeing it with their own eyes and Mick's unbridled glee about landing in Feudal Japan and eagerness to see ninjas had me grinning from ear to ear while watching this one.

It also helped that with Mick's enthusiasm, there was the counterbalance of Amaya's cynicism whom for a person who has just seen the possibility of time travellers seemed determined not to believe in the existence of ninjas, even with Sara more or less having to cite herself as an example of being one.

Speaking of Amaya, this episode opened up with her nearly taking out all of the crew on the misguided belief that Mick was responsible for Rex's death. Thankfully and because this episode had another major issue to work with, Amaya soon realised her mistake and grudgingly began to soften towards Mick as the episode progressed. The back and forth between Heatwave and Vixen was certainly one of the highlights of the episode.

The other of course being Sara. Seeing her as the leader of the gang not only feels right but she really does make it look effortless. While Rip was constantly being challenged by the lot of them, Sara seems to be running the Waverider unopposed and she had some nice bonding moments with Amaya in this episode when she wasn't fighting off and slaying assassin with her usual charm and bad ass skills. Her fight scenes with the Shogun's henchmen were some of the best scenes done on this show.

As for the main plot itself, trust the goofing around with Ray and Nate to land the gang in Feudal Japan. I like that the show didn't waste time in showcasing Nate's new powers and giving him the name Citizen Steel but at the same time, I noticed that tonally both Nate and Ray really aren't that dissimilar to each other. Their mutual desire to being a hero caused some conflict in this episode as well as some problems.

Nate constantly kept mouthing off to the baddies and nearly got himself killed and Ray got captured, tortured and had his suit stolen yet again (really, it's becoming a meme now) and it somewhat took until the last minute for the both of them to get their shit together and actually take down the shogun of this episode. As for the daughter and father that Nate befriended, their connection to a certain was a nice nod.

Last but not least, there was also Jax and Stein. While they were mostly ship bound, they weren't idle though. Jax discovered that Rip had a secret room with a lot of weapons and Stein realised that Barry left the former captain a message from 40 years in the future. On a frustrating but predictable note, both of them decided not to convey said message to Sara though.

- Mick and Nate were fairly throwing out the references tonight. Wookies, Yoda, Chuck Norris and so on.
- Barry's message seems like it will be more linked to the overall arc than the upcoming crossover episodes with Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl.
- This was the first episode not to feature Rip at all. We also didn't see Eobard but Sara showed an awareness that he's a problem though.
- Chronology: Feudal Japan this week for the majority of the episode.

Shogun certainly had it's moments. While I had some issues with the Nate/Ray bits at times, everything involved Sara, Mick and Amaya certainly made up for things though. Those three played off each other well enough and the main villain of the week was a step up from last week's hulking mess.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Review of Hellbent (2004)

Written And Directed by Paul Etheredge-Ouzts

Eddie: "Two guys got murdered in their car last night."
Chaz: "Holy shit! Were they boning each other?"

Audaciously billing itself as the first ever gay slasher movie (I think A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge might have something to say about that), this low budget horror flick from 2004 feels very familiar but also a tiny bit different. Namely because all of the main characters are primarily not straight but at the same time, like in all horror movies they're being picked off one by one.

A sickle wielding hunky killer, never given an onscreen name (Luke Weaver) opens the movie by bumping off a gay couple in the woods on the night before Halloween itself. On the actual night of Halloween though, the killer then decides to go after our main characters after they make the unwise move to moon him in the middle of the woods prior to heading to a carnival themed party for the night.

The main characters in question fall into predictable enough tropes - final boy/wannabe cop Eddie (Dylan Fergus) who really is the embodiment of the boy next door lusts after bad boy biker Jake (Bryan Kirkwood) while psyched for the Halloween party with his friends - pansexual party boy, Chaz (Andrew Levitas), male model Tobey (Matt Phillips) who spends the duration of the movie in drag and likeable shy nerdy guy, Joey (Hank Harris) as the killer stalks all of them and manages to kill the majority of them as well.

The characters while not original are decently acted and memorable enough that when they are picked off one by one, their deaths actually count for something. Chaz might be obsessed with sex but he's happy to help a friend out in need while Tobey raises a valid point about male superficiality as Joey got to connect with a hot jock prior to coming to a horrible ending.

It's predictably Eddie and Jake who actually make it out of the movie alive as they get to know each other, nearly have sex and fend off being murdered by the sickle wielding menace. I did like that the movie gave Eddie a fairly decent backstory and while Jake is one of the least convincing bad boys I've seen in a movie, I can at least see why Eddie is somewhat drawn to him throughout the whole thing and their connection feels believable enough to engage with.

As for the killer himself - we never learn his name or his backstory, even though we got one scene where the main characters made some theories about both. I'm not too sure if not having this information actually helps or hinders the movie but as a villain, he's effective enough with at least one kill being truly innovative and his first attack on Eddie proved innovative in revealing something about the character. The fact that he survived the movie seemed like a sequel was being potentially set up but one hasn't surfaced since this release.

- Porn performer Colton Ford made a cameo appearance in this movie during the club scenes. The punky soundtrack for this movie is a bit of a mixed bag.
- The MeatLocker place is actually a church. Now that I genuinely found shocking.
- The movie shares a producer from Halloween/A Nightmare On Elm Street. It's mentioned on the DVD extras.
- The writer and director of this movie has also penned episodes for Dante's Cove.

Whether or not, Hellbent is truly the first gay slasher movie is debatable but what isn't is the movie itself. While it might not have exactly revitalised the horror genre or possibly spurred more LGBT horror, it is however a thorough engaging and decently acted/characterised movie that doesn't needlessly outstay it's welcome or devolve into torture porn territory either. It definitely feels like a smaller movie but it's definitely a worthwhile horror flick to give a whirl to over the Halloween and the cast are certainly great guy candy as well, even if most of them end up on the cutting floor.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of American Horror Story: Roanoke: Chapter 7

Written by Crystal Liu
Directed by Elodie Keene

Agnes (to the Butcher): "I only wanted to be on television."

And this episode ended with the firm lesson that impersonating homicidal ghosts will eventually get you killed. Agnes got to live the 'dream' as the Butcher and add to the body count (notably Sidney, though she also came close with Shelby) but her own encounter with the real Butcher resulted in her arguably deserved demise while Shelby and Dominic looked on in horror themselves.

However, I wouldn't feel too sorry for those two just yet though. In this episode alone, Dominic admitted that his purpose for Return To Roanoke: Three Days In Hell was to be the villain of the bunch while Shelby reacted to Matt's love for the witch by caving his brains in, Negan style. Granted, she did show some remorse over her actions, but damn it, Shelby you murdered your husband with a shit tonne of cameras capturing your every move.

I honestly thought that Matt and Agnes might have been possible survivors of the latest Blood Moon bloodbath but it turns out not to be the case. Similarly in a case of twisted fate, I even considered Sidney being a possible survivor until the first five minutes undid that one too.

Going into the last three episodes, we've got Shelby, Dominic, Audrey (whose accent is still off putting) and Monet currently alive. As for Lee, it's hard to tell right now. She got captured by the Polk family and lost her foot.

Speaking of the Polks, the real life version managed to look even more unkempt and were also far more menacing and deranged than their TV counterparts as they took some joy in tormenting the captive Audrey and Monet, who really were relegated to the scream queens role this week. I'm really hoping a violent death is imminent for that lot.

I'm not sure what else is going to happen or whom the remaining survivor is going to be but I am loving the total lack of subtle commentary on fame whores though. If one of them has to make it, maybe it should be Monet.

- Finn Wittrock finally appeared as the camera waving member of the Polk family. Robin Weigert (Jessica Jones) played the real Mama Polk and she was unrecognisable.
- We might have seen the real Edward Mott this week along with the Witch and Butcher. Rory's body was also hanging from the trees.
- The more I think on it, the more I want Lee to survive this. Audrey's comments about not being used to carnage because she's not American was hilarious too.
- Chronology, exactly from where the previous episode left off.

Chapter 7 certainly delivered on the bloodbath front. I wouldn't be surprised if by next week we're down to only two survivors or whatever but at the same time, this season seems to be the ultimate unreliable narrator, so who knows what 'twist' is coming next for us viewers.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DC TV & It's LGBT Characters

Actually inspired by a Tumblr post that came up in my timeline yesterday, I thought I'd have a bit of a look at the current LGBT characters on the DC shows in question.

1: Legends Of Tomorrow (CW/Sky1)

Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) is the best thing about this fun and chaotic show and with Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) currently not in the frame, the current season made the logical decision to make Sara the leader of the ragtag crew on the Waverider (with added Citizen Steel and Vixen). What I love about Sara is that the show and parent series, Arrow has never defined her character by her bisexuality but neither have they shied away from it. In four years and two connected shows, we've seen Sara in significant relationships with both Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law) as well as a near relationship with Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) and a couple of onscreen dalliances with the female guest stars, including a closeted 1950's nurse, the women of Salem and the Queen of France. To say Sara Lance is the best LGBT character on television might be an overstatement but she's certainly up there, that cannot be denied.

2: Arrow (CW/Sky1)

Arrow has been something of a divisive series since it's third season and the producers incessant pandering to the Olicity fanbase but between dull flashbacks and some extremely hit and miss minor and major villains, it's had some great moments. Sara's death in the third season and resurrection and departure in the fourth season could've limited Nyssa's use in the show but it seemed to have the opposite effect and instead, the show successfully fleshed out the character even more (let's pretend that marriage thing with Oliver didn't happen, yeah?). Then there was that nice little episode in the fourth season that guest starred John Constantine (Matt Ryan) but mostly importantly since last season, we've had the delightful Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), who this season has become part of Oliver's new crew and has donned the mantle of Mr Terrific. Despite some of this show problems, Curtis is one of the best things to have happened to it and I'm glad he has a bigger role this year.

3: Gotham (FOX/Channel 5)

Let's get the elephant out of the room first of all, shall we? Back in the first season, Gotham had possibly the best gay character on this show with Detective Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartegena) and the show wasted her completely with a lifelessly dull relationship with Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) and then gave her an off screen exit where she's never been mentioned since. Then there's Barbara herself who despite being more entertaining as a sociopath than she ever was as James Gordon's (Benjamin McKenzie) fiancee feels like every regressive bisexual trope known to man. Her 'relationship' with Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) feels like it's little more than a straight guy's fantasy but it seems that while their relationship may continue to be just there in the background, things could be heating up elsewhere. Recent episodes have seen a growing closeness between rogue gallery members Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), especially as they now work together and it's been revealed that Oswald harbours romantic feelings for Edward. Now whether or not, Edward feels the same for Oswald is anyone's guess but it's certainly an interesting development in the series.

4: Supergirl (CW/Sky1)

The first season of this wonderful show didn't exactly feature anything LGBT wise, but it certainly felt inclusive as a series. However this season, it definitely seems like things are going to change here. First of all, the third episode of the second season introduced Detective Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) and let's just say, the chemistry between her and series regular, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) made itself rather apparent in their first interactions. Out of all the previous established regular characters to explore their sexuality, Alex actually makes the most sense to be honest and I'm glad that it appears the show is going to go there with her and Maggie. Of course, you could also argue that the show could've gone there with Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) but their dynamic is definitely more akin to Clark and Lex's from the first few seasons of Smallville and it's more likely that Kara will be paired with Mon El (Chris Woods) at a later time in the season, which I'm not opposed to.

5: The Flash (CW/Sky1)

Now I love The Flash to bits. It's a brilliant series, even overtaking Arrow at this point and it's certainly treated us to a slew of great characters since it's 2014 launch but on the LGBT front, it's a little bit of a mixed bag. Not so much that the characters but more that we've barely seen much of them to be honest. Look at Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui). Aside from having a husband we've met once and being Barry and Joe's boss, he still feels rather under cooked as a character. We've had one off characters with more scope to them than Singh but on the other hand, despite only popping up in three episodes so far, the show has better utilised Hartley Rathaway/Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) and I'm hoping at some point this season we get to find out if the events of Flashpoint have changed his character for the better or worse.

Overall, the current DC television universe does seem to have a good and somewhat depiction of LGBT characters. It could be better in some places but it's still really nice to see that these shows are willing to add these characters into the mix and do significantly interesting things with them for the most part.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 3x06: "Follow The White Rabbit"

Written by Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt
Directed by Nathan Hope

Jervis: "Welcome to our tea party, James. We've been expecting you."

And this week, it's a case of dull, cliched A-plot versus somewhat engaging but also frustrating and inconvenient B-plot but seeing as the former actually made my teeth gnash a bit more, let's delve into that one first, shall we?

Tetch reappeared in this episode and started proceedings off by kidnapping a married couple and forcing Gordon to choose between saving them or a little boy. Needless to say, James chose the latter after a cryptic man in white relayed the message to him but also showed the right amount of scorn when the couple subsequently plummeted to their deaths.

The vendetta that Jervis seems to have for Jim has already lost it's momentum and we're about four or five episodes away from this half season arc ending. This episode took an offensively predictable route when Jervis decided to kidnap both Valerie and Leslie in order to force Gordon's hand into choosing the woman he really loves and so on.

Of course, even when Gordon thought he was being clever, one of the ladies still got and the other one wasn't best pleased with Jim's actions. I'm actually a little surprised in the midst of all this, that Tetch didn't add Barbara into the kidnapping mix but on the other hand, that was definitely for the best even if she has done nothing this season but just snark and so on.

It's disappointing that after four episodes since his debut that I'm actually eager for Tetch to exit stage right. Benedict Samuel is good in the role but already the writing for him is feeling too repetitive and there's only so many scenes I can tolerate with him taking no responsibility for terrorising his sister and I'm rapidly losing patience with him. Once again, it didn't help that Gordon also let him slip away as well.

Onto the B-plot, I can't believe the show is actually going there with Oswald and Edward. Even if the latter doesn't feel the same way (and it's very likely he doesn't), the fact that in another frustrating episode, Gotham effectively outed Oswald is kind of cute. And we're talking about a man here whose literally killed for a sandwich in the past.

Of course Oswald's hopes of confessing his feelings to Edward over a romantic dinner more or less went down the pan when Nygma encountered a woman who looked a lot his dead ex. Isabella, looking like she's stepped out of a Hitchcock movie even charmed Nygma with a riddle, so it's pretty obvious that she's a trap of some kind and that Edward is in for a rotten time ahead. As for whether or not the show will properly go there with him and Oswald, I guess we'll have to wait and see, huh?

- Barnes is hulking out a little with Alice's blood taking effect on him. Bullock picked up on him being off.
- No Bruce, Selina, Alfred, Lucius or Ivy this week. Butch was mentioned and it was implied that Tabitha might be sleeping with him again.
- I think Oswald just triggered a future sociopath with the advice he gave to Luke during his school trip with Edward there.
- Chronology: Not long from where Anything For You left off.

Follow The White Rabbit was one of the weakest episodes we've had in a while with a main plot that this show has done to death so many times that even the writers must realise they're taking the piss. On the other hand, at least the Oswald/Edward stuff was better viewing.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Recruits

It's been a while but here's a look at some of the returning shows that I've been watching over the last few weeks.

Arrow: After an extremely disappointing fourth season and a fanbase who have taken cringe to new lows, this show has returning for a fifth year and the first three episodes have been okay so far. Tobias Church and Prometheus are intriguing enough villains but have yet to reach Damien Darhk levels of potency yet while the flashbacks are a bit of an improvement on last season. However with Thea and Diggle out of the field, we've had to get used to some new recruits with Mr Terrific, Artemis, Wild Dog and Ragman somewhat stepping in to help defend Star City with a hero who is also trying to be the Mayor. It's not been bad so far to be honest.

Once Upon A Time: And we're into the sixth season of this show. Who would've thought when the series started off back in 2011, we'd still be here. The first four episodes have been an interesting bag. On one hand, I am disappointed that they wrapped up the Jekyll & Hyde storyline so quickly and the Count of Monte Cristo episode was a damp squib but at the same time, we're seeing Belle stand up to Rumple a lot more, the Evil Queen arc is being handled better than expected and the prophecy storyline with Emma isn't too bad. Plus we're getting the Aladdin/Jasmine/Jafar storylines and Cinderella had another great backstory episode, so overall I'm content with this season so far.

Scream Queens: Let's be honest, considering the dire ratings this show got last year, it's amazing it's back for a second season and considering the dire ones it's still getting, it's unlikely to be back for a third run. The first two episodes of this season has replaced the Kappa sorority for a creepy hospital and the Red Devil for the Green Meanie while Hester does her best Hannibal Lecter impression for a limited amount of characters to see. The Chanels, Denise, Zayday and Dean Munsch haven't greatly changed as characters and there are times when the show still thinks it's funnier than it actually is. There are also times though when it's pretty creative but even I don't think that will be enough to prevent FOX from striking the killer blow and taking this show out.

Supergirl: The most feel good superhero is back and while it's now on the network it should've been from the start, it feels like everything and nothing has changed all at once. Tonally, it's still the same as the first season but within the first two episodes, we've had Kara battling Metallo with her famous cousin (Tyler Hoechlin truly giving a superb performance), the departure of Cat Grant (she'll be missed) and the arrivals of the mystery man in the pod, Cadmus's brutal doctor lady, Lena Luthor and Snapper Carr as well as Winn and Kara themselves switching jobs and Alex working through some past anguish as well. An absolutely super star to the second season.

The Flash: We've waited all summer for the arrival of Flashpoint and it came and went in the space of one episode. Technically this is true, but truthfully while that arc did play out for one episode, it's obvious the consequences are going to be very ongoing with even the other shows being affected by Barry's actions. The first three episodes have had their moments and I've enjoyed the slow reveal of Caitlin's icy new powers along with Jessie being a speedster, Harrison's return and the arrivals of both Julian and Alchemy as well. That being said, is it me or does Cisco really need to get back to his usual self?

Victoria: The second half of this series has fortunately been as strong as the first. It's great that in her first proper post Doctor Who gig, that Jenna Coleman really managed to bag yet another iconic role. I wasn't sure of the idea of Victoria being an ongoing series but having seen the last few episodes, I'm really glad that ITV have found a new jewel in their Sunday night crown and that we've got another series and a Christmas special for 2017. Long live the queen.

- MTV have renewed Scream for a third season.
- The Walking Dead just revealed who Negan killed and holy shit, while I'm not a religious viewer, that death was fucking brutal. The show has also been renewed for an eighth season.
- Sean Maguire will be appearing again in Once Upon A Time for multiple episodes.
- Chris Pratt will guest star in the fourth season of Mom.
- CMT have released a promo for Nashville's fifth season, due to air in January.
- American Horror Story has officially been renewed for a seventh season.
- Alyssa Milano has joined the cast of Wet Hot American Summer for it's second season.
- BBC3 have acquired the rights to gay themed Australian swimming drama, Barracuda.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 3x05: "It's About Frank"

Written by J. C. Lee
Directed by Jann Turner

Frank: "This is a woman who wants me dead."
Bonnie: "Because she blames you for the baby, and that's fair. You know that."
Frank: "Of course I do."
Bonnie: "Then come home and tell her that. She'll forgive you. You just need to forgive her first."

Holy shit! That is pretty all I can say about this show and yes, it'a weekly reaction because this series constantly seems to top itself and this episode was an absolute hell of a doozy with some many answered questions, including to ones that I hadn't even thought about to begin with.

First of all, in flashbacks which ranged from 1999 and near enough the present day, we saw Annalise and Sam when they first moved into their home and then we saw Sam persuade Annalise into helping out Frank from a prison cell. With the episode title having Frank's name in it, it wasn't exactly a shocker to see that this would detail all of his significant history with the Keatings and it managed to do so with aplomb.

Coming away from this episode, I definitely got a better understanding of Frank's character and the relationships he's had with Sam and Annalise. In the present day, we saw Bonnie track him down and thank him for bumping off her father. On top of that we also had Bonnie trying to convince Frank to apologise Annalise and sleep with him, only for Frank then to do a runner.

Of course, Frank can run all he wants but at the end of this episode, both Wes and Annalise became privy to his former whereabouts thanks to Laurel spilling her guts to them about things. I'm not sure what Annalise is going to do with Bonnie and Laurel but I imagine it'll something pretty drastic. However, the one thing we can also take away from this episode is that someone male died in Annalise's house as Michaela was revealed to be safe and sound too.

Speaking of Michaela, she really had her moments in this episode. Her verbal annihilation of Simon was without a doubt one of her best moments this week but the delving into her history was also rather unexpected. I wasn't expecting to see Brett Butler pop up as her adoptive mother, Trishelle and I'm also curious as to why Michaela is in possession of Connor's phone as well.

As for Simon Drake, he's been something of a minor thorn in the Keating Five's side for the last few episodes but this week, it was revealed that he was responsible for sending out the killer fliers about Annalise. I'm cool with it being Simon but I'm kind of hoping a motive appears for his actions outside of jealousy for the gang and Annalise though. I do think Annalise dealt with him well enough, though I'm still sure that Drake may pose a problem down the line.

Keeping with Annalise, she seemed to go through the gamut in this episode. She was a mess in some respects but she also got herself back together and even managed to get her teaching licence as well. I did like the reveal of Hargrove also being in the AA meeting too and I certainly appreciate that she's not actually that much of an antagonist towards Annalise either.

- Wes was on the verge of breaking up with Meggy after meeting her father in this episode.
- Nice cameo appearance from Mary J. Blige as Annalise's hairdresser this week. Nate is also still sleeping with the female lawyer whose hatred for Annalise is intensifying.
- Connor is now the only person whose parents we've not met so far out of the Keating Five. I still refuse to believe that he's under the sheet.
- Chronology: Three weeks before the events of the big fire.

This was one hell of an episode. It's About Frank certainly lived up to it's title, delving more into the character's backstory while also giving us some genuinely gripping flashbacks and present day moments for Annalise and the gang while tying up one mystery in a satisfying manner. It really does feel like all bets are off now til the mid-season finale.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 2x02: "The Justice Society Of America"

Written by Chris Fedak & Sarah Nicole Jones
Directed by Michael Grossman

Sara (to Nate): "Out here, even the strongest and bravest of us die."

Ah, yes, of course Sara would come out with a line like that and by the end of the episode, it had more potency when the Justice Society of America lost a member as well. Goodbye, Rex Tyler/Hourman, we barely knew you but the show had to reinforce just how much of an actual threat good old Eobard really was and you dying cemented that yet again.

However before Rex was unceremoniously bumped off, we did spend the majority of this episode having our Legends working with the Justice Society of America and it was certainly a bumpy union of sorts as both teams somewhat clashed and connected of sorts.

Jax managed to get his flirt on with Stargirl who seemed a little taken with him while Sara and Rex butted heads over leadership tactics. Stein's temporary appointment of the Legends leader came to a swift end though when he handed the reins over to Sara without even hesitating. Now, I wasn't opposed to Stein actually being the leader but this episode proved that out of all of the Legends, Sara is the logical choice for the role until Rip returns.

Then there was Ray and Amaya/Vixen as well who clashed and connected quite a bit in this episode. Amaya (Mari's grandmother) wasn't best pleased with the Legends and particularly Ray stepping into stop the Baron's super soldier plan in 1942 and when the two ended up being captured together, we had some moments that made me wonder if we're going to get a future pairing down the line. I like Ray but I'm not sure if the show should be touting him as a romantic lead as such and I'd rather see Amaya develop on her own without a romance so soon.

As for Nate - well, this episode certainly gave him a bit more scope, didn't he? He had some nice choice moments with Sara (please, don't go there, show) and learned a bit more about the team dynamics when he wasn't foretelling some bad stuff going down. More to the point, the show also tackled the relationship between him and his grandfather, Commander Steel and we even learned that he's a hemophiliac. Also going by the trailer for next week, it seems that he will also become more than just the historian on board the Waverider.

As for the Society members themselves - Rex, Amaya and Commander Steel are the only one who truly got some immense screen time, even if the former died by the end of this one. Mid-Nite, Obsidian and Stargirl had their moments but were a bit underutilised while the Baron's super soldier self was guilty of some of the worst CGI we've seen on the show.

- There were references to both Rip and Snart in this episode. We also briefly saw Rip in flashback this week when learning more on Rex's warning to the gang.
- Ray punched a Nazi in this episode and this was after telling Jax not to respond to a racist comment.
- Standout music: Stein singing Edelweiss of course. Get Victor Garber to sing more on this show.
- Chronology: More or less from where Out Of Time left off.

The Justice Society Of America definitely provided a good introduction for that particular group of people and it'll be interesting what will motivate Vixen to leave them and join the Legends by next week. The main baddie of the week was a bit lame though the episode did manage to make Reverse Flash more of a threat in those final moments than Vandal Savage ever was last season.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Review of American Horror Story: Roanoke: Chapter 6

Written by Ned Martel
Directed by Angela Bassett

Sidney: "The Butcher is not real. We only want real people this year."
Agnes: "I'm a real person."

And just like that we've somewhat predictably gone into Scream 3 territory. Back when this season started, there was also the suspicion that we'd move from re-enactments to real life with both worlds colliding and in this episode, that's exactly what happened.

Cheyenne Jackson finally appeared on camera as My Roanoke Nightmare creator, Sidney Aaron James and he was every bit the cliche of a sleazy producer you'd expect but I mean that in a good way. Knowing that his show was a smash hit, Sidney didn't waste time in pitching the sequel series - Return To Roanoke: Three Days In Hell and getting it as well. Warning though: everyone died and the series never made it to air.

Now this is where things get a little nuts - Sidney's second series meant getting the original Shelby, Matt and Lee back into the house along with their re-enactors, Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson's British accent though), Dominic Banks (whom the real Shelby had an affair with), Monet Tumissee (who seems to despise the real Lee) and Edward Mott's re-enactor, Rory Monahan who actually married Audrey and ended up dead by the murderous nurses at the end of this one.

Seeing both world collide certainly was an interesting experience. The actors themselves come across as a tad vacuous but even with the meta roles, there's no denying that Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Cuba Gooding Jr and Angela Bassett were having a blast as their characters slowly began to realise they were really stuck in a haunted house.

However if there was a performance of the week, then it was certainly Kathy Bates. Taking method acting to a whole new level, Bates was an absolute delight as Agnes Mary Winstead who took to playing the Butcher a little too seriously that she terrorised Audrey over a Saturn award and was told by Sidney that she wasn't allowed to be a part of the second show. I think we all know that's not going to stop Agnes, especially now that the real fun has actually begun in the house.

- Angela Bassett directed this episode and she did a brilliant job as well. Given that Kathy Bates has previously directed for Six Feet Under, I hope she gets a chance to helm an episode of this show.
- My Roanoke Nightmare was apparently beating football, The Walking Dead and Empire in the ratings.
- There's still no title sequence for this season. I know I go on about it, but I miss having one this year.
- Chronology: Over a year since the events of the first five episodes/re-enactments.

Chapter 6 had a twist that we all speculated was going to happen but it didn't stop the episode from being a reboot within the season itself and it's going to be interesting to see how the rest of this motley crew are picked over the next four episodes.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 3x05: "Anything For You"

Written by Denise Thé
Directed by TJ Scott

Nygma (to Oswald): "I hope you know, Oswald, I would do anything for you. You can always count on me."

And this week, this also included setting up a lovely little scheme where Butch's own back stabbing was publicly outed, therefore making Nygma Oswald's number two even more so. How sincere Edward actually is about being there for Oswald, I don't know because for a moment, even I believed that he was willing to betray his friend for a slice of the action.

I knew Butch was going to be part of the Red Hood gang (nice use of them, by the way) and I knew that his scheming boiled down to currying more favour with Oswald. I also knew that Butch would conveniently silence the gang as well but also that Nygma would somehow become privy to things and use it his own advantage.

Having the action set place in Sirens (I guess that place has replaced Oswald/Fish's nightclub of the first two seasons) with most of the principal characters there was brilliant. Along with Victor Zsasz returning and Tabitha briefly in danger, Butch's betrayal got a very public showing along with Nygma's "heroism" for good measure.

Speaking of Nygma, when he wasn't inserting himself further into Oswald's life/cause, he was also back at the GCPD and ruffling feathers in order to help out with the Red Hood gang. I did enjoy the scenes he had with Leslie and Lucius though, both of whom made sure that Nygma knew exactly where he stood with both of them,

Elsewhere in the episode, we also got to see some more continuity from the events of Jervis Tetch's antics from beforehand. It seems like whatever effect Alice's blood has is now starting to take a hold of Barnes while Gordon and Valerie both did their own brand of research into learning more about it while Tetch resorted to kidnapping a woman and forcing her to live out his sister fantasy before killing her at the end of this one.

As for Bruce, I quite liked his scenes with Gordon and Selina in this episode. It's nice to see the show trying to explore his public persona and for Bruce/Selina fans, this was definitely a good episode for them as they grew a little closer in this one.

- Ivy was one of the guests at Oswald's party and took some delight into taunting Selina. I hope the show knows what they're doing with her.
- Tabitha went out of her way to rescue Butch by the end of this episode. This can't end well for her, right?
- The statue tribute to Oswald's mother looked awful. Maybe the Red Hood gang did Oswald a favour, taking that garish thing down.
- Chronology, not long from where New Day Rising left off.

Another superb episode. Anything For You certainly had a lot of fun moments with two of the best characters getting the best amount of screen time together but I am a little concerned if Hatter is sustainable for the rest of the year's episodes though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 3x04: "Don't Tell Annalise"

Written by Erika Green Swafford
Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Laurel (re Frank): "He killed your father, didn't he?"
Bonnie: "Don't tell Annalise."

Can I just say to begin with that looking at the ratings for this current season are making me a little sad. I understand shows have their ups and downs but this season so far has been so ridiculously great that it's a shame the ratings aren't somewhat higher than they should be.

This episode in general could easily be one of my favourites. Not only did we see Annalise having to face some genuine consequences for her actions (even if that guy from last week totally deserved that slap) but we also saw the differences in her relationships between Nate and Eve. Annalise really turned on the former at the worst possible time and he ended up sleeping with another woman while the latter supported Annalise but ultimately had moved on to another love.

I do like that Annalise's confrontation with Soroya didn't get her what she wanted until Annalise realised that claiming to be an alcoholic was the only way of getting her licence back. It was a clever enough move but it also had some truth to it as well.

I really do think that the dead body is going to be either Nate or Eve, if not Frank. This week, Laurel was ruled out of the equation but only as the dead body. She was the second alive one in the house that the ambulance rescued and thanks to Meggy at the end, we also learned that she was pregnant while Bonnie and Oliver at the hospital remained oblivious to this.

The big question as to whom the father is though - Frank or Wes should be interesting to learn down the line. This week though, Frank continued his killing of bad fathers by heading up to a low security prison in Coalport to bump off Bonnie's abusive father and now both Bonnie and Laurel have a secret from Annalise of their own.

Speaking of Bonnie, with Annalise losing her licence, it was up to her and Asher to help a misguided teenager named Tristan avoid a prison sentence. The case took something of a dark turn when we learned that Tristan was stealing to provide for his biology teacher, whom he got pregnant. I do like that the case had both Bonnie and Asher mull over their past this week and while Tristan was a little justified for calling them horrible people, I do think Bonnie in spite of her methods did the right thing.

- Simon took some delight in implying to Connor that he hooked up with Oliver (they didn't by the way), Connor hooked up with two younger guys onscreen and a silver fox off screen and Annalise can't say the word "bisexual".
- Last week we saw Laurel's father again and this week it was Frank's who told us he was in prison years ago.
- Michaela spent a lot of time this week trying to hook Oliver up with other guys when she wasn't downplaying her thing with Asher and being a little drunk around Meggy.
- Chronology: Not long from where Always Bet Black left off and four weeks prior to the fire at Annalise's as well.

Don't Tell Annalise certainly intensified things a lot this week. Between the moments of Connor and Oliver trying to move on from each other and all the new secrets and lies this week, we're certainly leading into things really going to hell.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, October 15, 2016

My Review of Empire's 3x04: "Cupid Kills"

Written by Matt Pyken & Attica Locke
Directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Andre (to Nessa): "If I had your musical talent, I'd already own Empire."

After last week's somewhat poor offering, this was an episode that really felt like the show at it's genuine best. Maybe it was the lack of three certain characters or the amplification of other plots but whatever it was, it certainly made for an exciting hour.

First of all, having Andre and Nessa become a couple (along with ghost Rhonda for an awkward threesome) was an interesting and slightly unexpected. I was convinced the show was going that route with her and Hakeem but having her and Andre connect over their academic sides was a powerful move.

Similarly powerful was Andre appealing to Nessa's self interest and ultimately taking away some of Shyne's hold on her. Four episodes in and can we just accept that Shyne is a dreadful character who needs to go away now? I'm bored of his thuggish behaviour and cheered when Lucious and Andre banded together to beat the crap out of him at Empire as well when Shyne tried to attack Andre.

Also if we're going to have Shyne and his group start shooting up the Lyons, then surely that's another reason to hope that the character won't be long for the series. Nessa can stay though. She's a brilliant character and has been a great addition to the season and is talented to boot.

Speaking of talent, Cookie getting the idea of using Gia's aria into Tiana's clap track was a stroke of genius and one of the musical highlights of this week's episode. Her relationship with Angelo though is a bit of a concern. Aside from Lucious's conceited determination to break them up, there's also the fact that Angelo kind of set up Cookie up as a bit of rough for a black tie event and the fact that he's also running for mayor too. Cookie and Angelo won't last beyond this season, will they?

In other plots, when Hakeem wasn't getting royally played by Shyne, Jamal found himself being duped by Lucious and Freda in order to get the latter freed but have her discredited in case she decided to turn on Lucious later on. A truly nasty move on Lucious's part but hopefully Jamal will actually listen to his sponsor friend and truly get himself back to where he was. As for Freda, how is she going to work for the rest of the season?

- More young Cookie/Lucious flashbacks this week whereas we learned that it was Lucious who gave Cookie her name and Berry one hell of a beating.
- Becky didn't get promoted. Instead we got a cute but idiotic guy named Xavier getting the job that Becky deserved more. Porscha has purple hair now.
- Standout music: Tiana's Me and Jamal's I Am What I Am.
- Chronology: Not long from where What Remains Is Bestial left off but the series won't be back until after World Series is finished.

Cupid Kills delivered big time. The best episode we've had so far this season and an interesting one to take a break from too. I really hope now this is a genuine sign of an improved quality for the rest of the season.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 2x01: "Out Of Time"

Written by Marc Guggenheim & Phil Klemmer & Greg Berlanti & Chris Fedak
Directed by Dermott Downs

Rip (to the crew): "And remember, history is yours now my dear legends."

And we're back. Over the last week or so we've had The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl return and now, it was time for Legends Of Tomorrow to make it's return and within this episode alone, it was definitely worth the wait.

This show may never win awards for it's writing but it certainly deserves them for the madcap chaos it effortlessly pulls off and within this particularly opening instalments, we had new characters enter the fray, some fun cameos, various places in time and of course, the forming of a whole new threat and a temporary exit of sorts for Rip.

Rip left towards the end of the episode after sending most of the gang back in time (minus Mick who got stuck on the Waverider) but is he really gone for good? The safe assumption is no but for now, it looks like the gang will have to look for him but at least they've got the help of time historian/detective Nate Heywood as part of the team and perhaps the Justice Society of America who rocked up at the end of this one.

Seeing the gang without Snart took a little getting used but without the Time Masters as a threat to them, it was also up to them to correct certain things. In this episode, we had the gang twice trying to influence Einstein so Damien Darhk couldn't pull off one of his plans and during that, we also had Sara going off script and unsuccessfully trying to avenge Laurel's death in the process. More interestingly though was the fact that Damien is now working with Reverse Flash as the show slowly showed the formation of it's own Legion of Doom.

As for the rest of the episode itself, it certainly had it's character moments. Mick being left on the Waverider meant that he was able to fill in the gaps with Oliver and Heywood about the gang's antics over the last few months and I did like seeing him and Nate team up to get Ray, Sara, Stein and Jackson back. I also liked seeing Rip actually praise his crew while revealing that he was teaching Jackson more about the ship as well as well as Sara and Ray's rather caustic moments too. It's those little things that truly make this show the most fun of all the DC TV series on the air at the moment.

As for the baddies in question, you could make the argument that the show should've gone for someone new as we've had quite enough of Darhk and Eobard to last a lifetime and that's not getting into the fact that two other members have yet to make an appearance but right now, they're a slight improvement on last season's Big Bad.

- The credits now have Nick Zano (Heywood), Maisie Richardon-Sellers (Amaya) and Matt Letscher (Reverse Flash) as regulars. Stein also did the opening narration.
- Sara certainly got a lot of action in this episode what with seducing the queen of France and the women of Salem, where she was nearly executed as a witch.
- There was a lot of times in this one. We had most of the action in Star City 2016, 1942 New York as well as 17th Century France and Salem, 700 million years BC and 9th century England to name them all.
- Chronology, it's been six months since the events of Legendary. We didn't see Rex along with the rest of the Justice Society of America but he's back next week though.

Out Of Time certainly got the ball rolling with our band of heroes and antiheroes back and more mischief making than ever. This show may not be perfect but it's unbridled sense of fun amidst the madness and darkness continues to be a great selling point and without Rip to guide, it'll be interesting to see where things go in the next few episodes.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Review of American Horror Story: Roanoke: Chapter 5

Written by Akela Cooper
Directed by Nelson Cragg

Edward: "I love them you know, the paintings, even more than I love you."
Manservant: "Stop talking and make love to me."
Edward: "Fine but first, let's rouge each other's nipples."

Yes, that was an actual exchange of dialogue in this episode and after a four episode absence, Evan Peters finally made his debut in this season and it was certainly worth the wait. Is it really too much to say that Edward Fellipe Mott is now my favourite character he's ever played? Maybe but I really don't care.

Like with March from last season, Peters just shine better when he's playing a more theatrical character than an angst ridden one and here we got to see Mott cherish his paintings over human company to the extent that he took his vengeance out on the servants before coming to a rather sticky end at the hands of the Butcher and her crew within the first ten minutes of this episode.

Also after playing a slew of lady killers (well, two technically). Evan's character here was not only a descendant from Gloria and Dandy Mott from the fourth season but he was also openly gay and seemed to have no problem kissing his hunk of a manservant in front of people while wanting them to rouge each other's nipples (that line is going to stick with me all day now). Alas though, things did sour with them over the wrecked paintings debacle and the former being killed off.

However while Edward was highly strung and needlessly horrid to the rest of his staff, he did somewhat manage to redeem himself in this episode. Namely by helping Matt, Shelby and Flora twice get away from the Butcher but he couldn't exactly help them get away from the equally as menacing Polk family.

For those of you missing Frances Conroy, this episode was a joy because she finally returned to the series after sitting last season out. Here was she was the scary Polk matriarch (of which Chaz Bono's character was also a part of) terrorising Matt, Shelby and Flora when she wasn't trying to feed them some of Elias's foot for good measure. I've missed Conroy and if this is her only appearance this season, then it was certainly worth it but I hope she shows up again of course.

As for the Butcher storyline, the ending for it felt a little abrupt and with the absence of Scathach, also a little strange. I did like that Ambrose conveniently developed a conscience and sacrificed his murderous mother and self in order to prevent Flora from being killed while Edward untied Matt and Shelby and Lee managed to also provide a getaway vehicle as well.

Now the question seems to be where do remaining five episodes go? It seems that going by the trailer for the next episode we'll finally be going behind the scenes of My Roanoke Nightmare and more than likely Matt, Shelby and Lee are probably going to be forced to revisit that house as well.

- So we got nods to The Grudge, Misery and Texas Chain Massacre in this episode.
- Another voice added into the episode was real life historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and next week we finally get to see Cheyenne Jackson's producer in the flesh. Still waiting on Matt Bomer and Finn Wittrock though.
- Five episodes in and still no opening credits. For crying out loud, can we please sort this out already? I miss not seeing strange titles to accompany this strange show.
- Chronology: Shelby talked about being there for months but surely it was only a week or two since the first episode.

Chapter 5 easily could've been the finale for this season and I think for some viewers, it would've been a relief but instead it offered an illuminating history lesson, finally got Matt/Shelby/Lee/Flora away from that house, stunning performances from both Evan Peters and Frances Conroy and a nice shake up for the remaining episodes.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 3x04: "New Day Rising"

Written by Robert Hull
Directed by Eagle Egilsson

Oswald: "How did you know I would win?"
Nygma: "I believe in you, Oswald, even when you don't believe in yourself."

And just like that, Oswald and Edward have become the new Harley and Ivy. Just think, we've gone from a brief interaction back into the first season, a briefly explored rapport within the second season and now something of a true connection has been forged between the two of them and it only intensified within this episode.

One of the reasons why Harley/Ivy has struck a chord with people was because it originated as a legitimate friendship between two villains who had each other's best interests at heart and with Oswald and Edward, it seems that the Gotham writers are perhaps drawing on that too. Last week, Oswald used his influence to get Edward out of Arkham. This week, he's getting Edward dolled up in nice suits.

Then you've got Edward himself who this week decided to repay Oswald's kindness by trying to make his friend run for Mayor more honestly. This involved pay a girl scout to make a point about buying people and undermining Butch's use of backhanders to curry Oswald's favour. Of course, Oswald wasn't initially pleased with this and Edward came close to getting his brains splattered by Butch until Oswald realised that people genuinely wanted to vote for him.

While this show is making really unsubtle parallels of sorts between Oswald's political aspirations and the current election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Oswald at least has the good fortune of being more likeable than either of them so I'm not really surprised that people chose him over the inept Aubrey James yet again.

Of course while the politics was a delight to watch, we still had to finish off the Mad Hatter plot and this week it came to something of a blood spattered ending. I really liked Alice and felt bad for her, so I was kind of miffed to see her actually be killed off in this episode while the Mad Hatter managed to slip away. I did however like the internal struggle Gordon had throughout the episode while still under Jervis's influence and the fact that Barnes got some of Alice's blood on him means they might actually do something interesting with him now.

Last but not least, Five and Selina made for a good subplot this week. Selina managed to figure out that 'Bruce' was a clone and Five himself got to needle the real Bruce and Alfred before the Court of Owls got to him. It seems a good time to maybe put that story on pause but no doubt we'll get back to it before the show breaks for Christmas.

- Jim went to Barbara for help in relation to Jervis but it was Leslie who actually helped him break Tetch's hold on him. Oh and Jervis had to dress his sister up as that character, didn't he?
- It's been two episodes since her re-introduction and Ivy has been nowhere to be seen. We're getting back to her soon, right?
- No Tabitha or Lucius this week as well as missing Ivy.
- Chronology: From where Look Into My Eyes more or less left off.

New Day Rising certainly wins points for all the election buzz and scenes with Oswald/Nygma while the Bruce and his Clone and the Mad Hatter plots moved along nicely with some stops for the time being.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, October 10, 2016

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 3x03: "Always Bet Black"

Written by Joe Fazzio
Directed by Stephen Cragg

Annalise (to Toby): "You killed two innocent women and you still think you get to complain? Say you'll take the deal. Say it!"

The one thing I've really been enjoying this season so far is that the cases of the week have actually been a lot more interesting than some of the ones from last season. This week we had Annalise and Michaela (before the latter was dropped) defending the rather sleazy Toby Solomon whose actions resulted in two women being killed.

Of course, Toby only went down for one murder and only after Annalise and Bonnie had discovered that he was being blackmailed by another lawyer. Personally, Toby is one of those cases that a part of me would've been happy to have seen Annalise lose but I do think she came up with an effective way of making Toby pay for his crimes while getting even on the opposing council who had it in for Annalise.

Not to mention the fact that Annalise's little victory also curried some favour with college President Soraya as well. However going back to the night in question though, we've got Annalise getting a mugshot down the police station, Oliver erasing the contents of her phone and another person whom we can rule as dead - Bonnie. More to the point, the episode also revealed that two bodies were in the house and one of them still has a pulse so the game has certainly been upped a little here.

Keeping with the game, the hunt for Frank took an interesting turn this week. Laurel was sent to make nice with her father (the role recast with Esai Morales) and while that was a mixed bag in the sense that neither of them completely resolved their issues, we did get at least an insight as to where Frank was hiding even if Laurel decided to keep that information from Annalise and Bonnie. I liked that we learned a lot more about Laurel's family in this one.

As for the rest of the episode, there was moments of domestic bliss with Annalise and Nate, Bonnie making a point of not caring about Asher/Michaela being a thing while also going over her past with Annalise and both Connor and Oliver being awkward around each other during a night out at a casino. I did like that Connor stood up for Oliver when a vacuous himbo was dismissive of the latter, so maybe there's hope of the two of them reuniting, yeah?

- Annalise slightly outed herself as a Connor/Oliver shipper too but Asher is really taking home the crown this season with it. I also loved Oliver's gaping at Nate.
- Frank told Laurel about Annalise trying to kill. Meggy suspected that Wes is into Laurel and Laurel herself was kidnapped when she was 16.
- Going by the trailer for next week, Annalise is going to have to deal with the consequences for slapping her client, even if he did deserve it.
- Chronology, from where the end of There Are Worse Things Than Murder left off.

This season keeps flying off the charts with it's craziness and Always Bet Black continued with that as well. Now on top of trying to guess who died, we also have to guess who is barely holding on as well. This certainly got more interesting.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Doctor Who & Class: Spoilers From NYCC 2016

The last few the casts for both Doctor Who and Class have been at New York Comic Con and as a result, some genuinely tantalising information has finally been unveiled for both shows. A rundown of said information.

First of all, we've finally got a title for Christmas 2016 - The Return Of Doctor Mysterio! Written by Steven Moffat and directed by Ed Bazelgette, the 60 minute special will star Justin Chatwin (Shameless US) as a superhero named Grant/Doctor Mysterio who teams up with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and an investigative journalist (Charity Wakefield) to battle an invading alien force in New York during Christmas. The special which also sees the return of Nardole (Matt Lucas) will also feature  Adetomiwa Edun, Aleksandar Jovanovic and Logan Hoffman. I have to admit a superhero themed episode certainly seems a little odd (though the idea was previously explored in The Mind Robber) but the look of Chatwin's costume and the preview clip for it certainly has piqued my interest for this upcoming episode.

Elsewhere and with the show debuting in exactly two weeks time on BBC3, two trailers were unveiled for spin-off series, Class. The first trailer focused more on Peter Capaldi's Doctor but the second trailer gave us more of a look into the main characters themselves - Miss Quill (Katherine Kelly), Charlie (Greg Austin), Ram (Fady Elsayed), April (Sophie Hopkins), Tanya (Vivian Oparah) and Mattheusz (Jordan Renzo). References to certain television shows, hooks up among certain characters and that impending sense of doom aside, I do think both trailers helped to really sell the show. While Class certainly feels closer to Torchwood than The Sarah Jane Adventures, I do think both trailers helped to sell the show somewhat better and it looks like it will be a worthy addition to the Doctor Who universe.

As for the upcoming tenth series, while we didn't get any trailers for it (aside from the Christmas special footage), we did get some intriguing bits though from cast and crew. Pearl Mackie who plays Bill did mention that her character will be "geeky, have a big heart and a bit of a temper" while Steven Moffat hinted that Nardole will be something of a valet for the Doctor but could also have a "sinister" side to him. Peter Capaldi also let slip that a haunted house episode will appear in the upcoming series and there's currently rumours that a writer from the Classic Series will be scribing an episode for the show.

Christmas 2016 Press Release:
Class Trailers:

Doctor Who will return with The Return Of Doctor Mysterio on Christmas Day on BBC1 and BBCAmerica. Class will air Saturdays from October 22nd on BBC3 and on BBCAmerica from Spring 2017 with Series 10 of the main show.

My Review of Empire's 3x03: "What Remains Is Bestial"

Written by Diane Ademu-John & Eric Haywood
Directed by Millicent Shelton

Tariq (to Andre): "You are your father's son after all. We shall see. It doesn't take much to put the screws on a black man once he's part of the system and you ain't no ordinary black man."

Last week the episode ended with Andre getting attacked by cops. This week the episode ended with uncle Tariq threatening more cops on Andre. In between that, Andre also was charged for assaulting cops, which he didn't do. Needless to say that along with another Ghost Rhonda appearance and Lucious being unsupportive, this wasn't Andre's week at all.

Tariq's obsession with taking Lucious down has certainly gotten nastier and more desperate after the camera in the stuffed bear was discovered. Threatening Andre like that at the end of this episode means that Andre for all his protestations otherwise will probably end up having to snitch on Lucious after all. Considering that Lucious continues to treat Andre like dirt at times, it wouldn't be the most shocking of developments.

This week though, it seemed like Lucious was more and more determined to antagonise everyone. He continued to ridicule Jamal's PTSD, lament on Hakeem being spoiled when he wasn't having a go at Andre and calling his kids out for the privileged life that he's given them. On top of that, he also went behind Jamal's back and released the Black & White album before declaring war on Cookie.

On the plus side and in spite of my current feelings for the character, at least Anika was a little better at playing Lucious at his own game. I did like that she pulled exactly the same stunt on him that he did to her in the episode earlier and I also liked that she genuinely rattled him as well. I'm also loving the growing hatred between Leah and Anika as well because it's inevitable that something crazy is going to come out of that too.

As for the rest of the episode, between seeing Hakeem acting like a spoiled brat over Tiana performing with another rapper and being disturbed by Shyne's treatment of Nessa, he was somewhat annoying in the episode. Using Tiana's track was an act of spite even if it upped his vocal game though.

Jamal didn't fare much better in this one either. His attempts of group therapy were a bust and seeing Freda in prison did more to intensify his anxiety than anything else. On the other hand, I did like his scenes with Kitty (Mariah Carey giving a serviceable performance) and their duet was definitely the highlight of the episode but I really want Jamal to get his groove back fairly soon.

- I do like that Angelo is posing a good threat with Lucious and Cookie as the latter seemed more enamoured with him this week.
- I wonder how many more ghostly appearances of Rhonda we're going to get this season.
- Standout music: Easily Jamal/Kitty's Infamous.
- Chronology, more or less from Sin That Amend left off.

Not really an amazing episode. Duet aside and the final scene with Andre/Tariq, I found myself drifting during most of What Remains Is Bestial if I'm being honest. I guess I'm waiting for something bigger to happen than what currently is at the moment.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Friday, October 07, 2016

My Review of American Horror Story: Roanoke: Chapter 4

Written by John J. Gray
Directed by Marita Grabiak

Matt (re the Butcher): "Her message was clear. We were next."

Well, this was one episode that continued to escalate things. Flashbacks, gory deaths, lapsed memories and a good history lesson with a bit totty thrown into the mix. Needless to say, I enjoyed this episode a lot.

Flashbacks first though - thanks to Cricket we learned a lot about Lady Gaga's Witch of the Woods character or Scathach. Mainly that she's pretty ancient, powerful, got burned at the stake centuries ago for witchcraft and is the real power behind the Butcher but to be honest, the last episode more or less confirmed that one. Oh and she has a thing for Matt.

The last bit was made abundantly clear as she refused to entertain Cricket's curiosity until he agreed to get Matt for her and when he did, Scathach gave the dodgy psychic a little history trip that didn't end particularly well for him as this one came to another abrupt but violent conclusion.

Cricket might have been somewhat dodgy and happy to play on Matt and Shelby at their most vulnerable but he did manage to help locate Flora, even if by the end of the episode he paid a heavy price for it. Let's just say that the Butcher doesn't exactly mince her words. If she wants you dead, she's definitely going to do it herself.

Cricket got one hell of a gory onscreen death and in flashbacks we also got to see those murdering nurses from two episodes back suffer a similar fate as Shelby and Matt were told by Elias Cunningham about some of the ways in which the previous occupants were taken out by the colony spirits. Unfortunately even Elias himself didn't survive the episode as he sacrificed himself to save the couple.

As for Shelby and Matt, was it me or did it seem like their conflict disappeared a bit too quickly? I'm not complaining but I do think Matt could've confronted her a bit more on shopping Lee to the cops and Shelby did quickly believe that Matt lost his memories when he was having sex with the witch, something which he also did for a second time this week.

However between some violent deaths and flashbacks, we do have one more voice added into the mix in the form of a hunky Uber driver named Rhett Snow (possible relation to Myrtle?). When Rhett wasn't being asked if he was "gay for pay" by Cricket, he did see his fare go off into the woods chasing after Flora. I'm not sure if the character will appear again but it was nice to have another witness outside the three we've had so far with this series.

- Lee didn't appear in this episode and we've still only gotten a voiceover role for Cheyenne Jackson.
- There was a link made to Freak Show with the Mott family getting a mention in this episode.
- The Butcher killed the Colony at the behest of the Witch, thus starting the whole legend in the first place.
- Chronology: from where the end of the previous episode left off.

Chapter 4 certainly had the gory moments but I do feel like the show just killed off two potentially interesting characters a bit too quickly for it's own good though. On the plus side, the Uber driver was hot and the flashbacks continue to be the best part of this season, even if the protagonists are in solid need of a kick up the backside.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, October 06, 2016

My Review of Gotham's 3x03: "Look Into My Eyes"

Written by Danny Cannon
Directed by Rob Bailey

Jervis: "Are you ready to do something impossible?"

Did anyone else get the feeling that this episode was something of a season premiere, mark 2? With the first two episodes wrapping up the Indian Hill storyline kind of and having Fish Mooney take her leave of the city, this episode decided to add another member of the Rogues Gallery into prominence. Enter Jervis Tetch, aka the Mad Hatter.

Mad Hatter is one of the most unsettling villains in the Batman universe for a number of reasons and this episode went to town with two of them. Armed with a pocket watch and hypnotism, Jervis made himself a popular hit within Barbara and Tabitha's nightclub that he even decided to kill one of his victims (after getting them to murder their own spouse) and set up shop in Gotham.

Tetch's ability to hypnotise was certainly eerie and when Gordon predictably got on his nerves, Jervis attempted to get the bounty hunter to kill himself, only for Alice herself to step in and get a little trigger happy. While Alice managed to save Gordon's life, Tetch is still a problem for the city at the moment.

While I do think the show shouldn't have revealed Tetch as a villain as quickly as they did in this one, I will give Benedict Samuel props though. He's off to a great start with Jervis and has certainly embedded the character with a suitable amount of menace. Similar praise should also be heaped onto Naian Gonzalez Norvind as the desperate Alice, unable to escape from her clingy brother while having to deal with some Poison Ivy esque powers to boot. However unlike Jervis though, it does seem like Alice is meant to be more of a sympathetic character despite her powers.

Speaking of Ivy though, Selina decided to step up her own investigation into her friend's disappearance by going to Bruce but he was a little too preoccupied to really be any use to her. However, number Five or Clone Bruce decided to offer his help after giving himself a haircut and treating himself to some of Bruce's clothes and one of the cars. Of course, nothing could possibly go with this particular plan but it certainly didn't take long for Five to reveal his true intentions though.

Keeping with the big storylines, Oswald decided to put himself up for Mayor and considering how much of an incompetent boob Aubrey James has been in the role, I'd be voting for Oswald too. While it's obviously paying lip service to the same plot from Batman Returns, it's certainly entertaining and the fact that it's also resulted in Nygma also getting the all clear to leave Arkham means the potential is truly there for some great stuff ahead.

- Leslie has resumed working in GCPD and it was revealed that she's engaged to Mario Falcone (whom Gordon briefly met). Carmine on other hand seems understandably wary of Leslie. Gordon and Valerie are also a thing now.
- Despite her appearance last week, Ivy sat this episode out along with Lucius.
- Both Jervis and Alice had an Indian Hill connection as the latter was there under Hugo Strange's care. Benedict Samuel has also been promoted to a series regular.
- Chronology: not too long since the events of Burn The Witch.

Another strong episode, Look Into My Eyes has certainly given the Mad Hatter storyline a satisfying start, while setting up some new and interesting plotlines and intensifying a few others. While I do think they should've held back on showing Jervis's villainous side all at once, I was still pretty impressed with this one.

Rating: 8 out of 10