Monday, June 26, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x11: "World Enough And Time"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay

The Master: "Hello Missy, I'm the Master. I'm very worried about my future. Give us a kiss."

After ten weeks of episodes that ranged from good to great to middling and an overwhelming sense that things were maybe coasting along a little too much until the next era, we finally got an episode where things actually happened in a big way and appropriately enough, it was the first part of the finale to boot.

For weeks we've had the hype of both Mondasian Cybermen and two Masters in the mix, so the anticipation for this particular finale was a little higher than usual. The good news is that this episode more than delivered. The bad news - Bill really got fucked over, big time here.

It's not unusual for companions to put in tricky fates and Moffat's penchant for doing that to his main players has been noteworthy throughout his reign on the show, River Song herself is now a data ghost after sacrificing herself for the Doctor while her parents Amy Pond and Rory Williams got sent back in time by Weeping Angels to live out their lives and never see the Doctor again.

Last series, Clara Oswald's own hubris became her undoing when a raven marked her for death and while there was a cheat of sorts with both her and Ashildr gallivanting in a TARDIS, the former's days were still pretty numbered though. Then there's Danny Pink.

He was hardly the most popular character on the show and yet he was given both a gruesome exit by being somewhat converted into a Cybermen for Missy's arm back in 2014 and then he sacrificed himself to save the world or Clara, depending on your stance in the matter. The reason why I bring up Danny is because thanks to this episode, Bill underwent a similar but somewhat horrifying fate.

The episode opened with the Doctor persuading Bill and Nardole to aid him in a test to see if Missy could be good after all by exploring a spaceship heading into a black hole and dealing with time dilation. This resulted in the blue skinned Jorj shooting Bill for being human and then Bill being dragged away by a group of bandaged patients in order to give her a new heart.

The focus of the episode then is on Bill stuck in the creepiest of hospitals with the most ill and dying of patients suffering the worst kinds of pain ever while befriending the offbeat caretaker Razor and waiting for the Doctor to come and get her. Despite knowing exactly who Razor was from the get go, I actually quite like the 'friendship' of sorts between him and Bill and when he handed her over to that surgeon and nurse from hell, I was a little bit shocked.

Having Bill converted into the first Cyberman ever was not something I expected the show to do. I knew that when she first appeared in the show that Bill was going to be a one series only companion but even I didn't think that Moffat would give her such a horrifying ending of sorts. Whether or not this fate sticks though is the other thing, considering Moffat's track record with death.

However horrible as Bill's current predicament, it's also a timely reminder of how dangerous the Master actually can be. Sure, Missy might be making some of the right noises about wanting to change but we all know that the Master can never be good. It's why this two parter has given us two of them, so that the former Master (Simm) can stop the current one (Gomez) from turning over a new leaf.

I've enjoyed Michelle Gomez's take as the Master/Missy immensely during Capaldi's era of the show but it was nice to see both her and John Simm finally meet and I'm genuinely surprised that it happened. While Simm was largely in disguise as Razor for most of the episode and worked well with Pearl Mackie, his brief scenes with Gomez and Capaldi at the end were the highlight of the episode.

As for the rest of the episode, it was delightful enough. I loved the use of flashbacks and a flash forward to an impending scene and bonus points for the Doctor giving Bill a summary of his complicated relationship with the Master to boot. Nardole didn't really have that much to do in this one though but that was hardly a bad thing.

- The episode opened with the start of the Twelfth Doctor regenerating on a snowy planet. Expect to see that scene again next episode but we still have him until Christmas.
- I had to laugh at Missy's meta commentary on the show's title as well as her dabbling. And then I laughed a little at the Master's accent while pretending to be Razor.
- We can thank Steven's son for the use of black holes and time dilation for this episode. I do think it worked rather well though.
- The Doctor and Bill have adventures on Saturdays? I guess not anymore though.
- Previous origin stories for the Cybermen have included the likes of Big Finish audio, Spare Parts as well as comics such as  The World Shapers and The Cybermen. There was a Genesis Of The Cybermen story planned but it never materialised.
- Chronology: Mondas for the most part, or specifically a ship that seemed to be connected to it. I'm not sure how long since The End Of Time it is for Missy's "ex" though.

World Enough And Time provided a thrilling punch to proceedings. The start of a regeneration, the death of a companion, the origins of the Cybermen and two Masters all in one episode? I don't know how the next episode will live up to this one but I definitely can't wait to find out though. It's just a shame the ratings are still not great this series though.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cucumber - US Remake For ABC With New Title

Well, it only took Showtime a year and a half to do their own version of Queer As Folk, so are we surprised that Cucumber too would be getting a US remix?

Produced by Shonda Rhimes company, Shondaland, the US version of Cucumber will now have the title of Adult Behavior and will be showrun by Allan Heinberg and air on ABC. Heinberg will be familiar to people in recent times as the writer of the current Wonder Woman movie but he's also the man responsible for The Catch and has written for shows such as Looking and Sex And The City to boot.

Adult Behavior, is described as “a sexy, multi-generational, comedic drama” and is based on the British gay comedy series Cucumber and Banana, which US viewers were able to see on Logo back in 2015. The show will be executive produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers along with Russell T Davies, the creator of the UK version of both shows.

While I'm wary of US remakes and with this show being on a network, there will be a limit to how much we can see, sex wise (though How To Get Away With Murder certainly pushes the boundaries), I'm cautiously optimistic for this show and I bet we'll see a few Shondaland alumni heading up some of the cast too and ABC do have a solid history with LGBT themed shows.

Press Release:

I'll post more details about Adult Behavior when it becomes available.

Dracula - Moffat/Gatiss To Write Miniseries For BBC

With his time on Doctor Who coming to a close this Christmas and Sherlock over for the foreseeable future, Steven Moffat along with Mark Gatiss will be bringing another icon to the BBC.

From the press release ....

The brains behind the BBC's Sherlock series are to make a new version of Dracula, the corporation has confirmed.
Talks are under way with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss about a series of 90-minute films based on Bram Stoker's novel about the Transylvanian vampire.
No scripts have been written and the Count has yet to be cast. According to the Radio Times, though, the series is likely to air in 2019.
Moffat's wife Sue Vertue will produce the show for Hartswood Films.
According to Variety, it is unclear whether Dracula, like Sherlock, will have a modern-day British setting.

I have to admit, I'm a little mixed on this one. The last time the BBC adapted the most infamous of vampires, it was back in 2006 with Marc Warren and it wasn't particularly a riveting adaptation. I'm not also sure if a miniseries will work, although it has to fare a little better than NBC/SkyLiving's attempts of a series back in 2013 with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I'm also hoping that both Moffat and Gatiss resist the urge to make their version of the character into a Sherlock clone as well.  That said, I'm sure the casting for this will be exciting though.

Press Release:

I'll post more information on Dracula as soon as it becomes available but hey, at least we know what Moffat and Gatiss's first Doctor Who/Sherlock project will be.

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x10: "The Eaters Of Light"

Written by Rona Munro
Directed by Charles Palmer

Bill (re Picts/Romans): "You're wrong, Doctor, it's their destiny, not yours."

Well, this felt very much like an episode that belonged in the Classic Series and with Rona Munro back at the helm after her last effort with Survival nearly thirty years ago, perhaps that was the intention.

Bill wanted to solve the mystery of the missing Ninth Roman Legion and the Doctor along with a bed wanting Nardole decided to placate her by going to Aberdeen at the very moment in order to see if they could put the mystery to bed. Cue scenes where Bill showed off her history knowledge and got separated from her mates at the same time.

For Bill, being split from the Doctor and Nardole meant that she got the honours of encountering the monster of the week first time round but she also got the honours of finding the missing Legion, which seemed to be comprised of fit gay and bisexual lads, led by Lucius who fell into the latter category. Seriously, some people really do have all the luck, don't they?

The Doctor and Nardole on the other hand, end up meeting up with the Picts, led by the headstrong Kar and I have to admit my attention dwindled a little there. It's not that I'm shallow or anything but I was slightly less interested in the Picts until Bill and the Legion reunited with them and the Doctor and then the last few minutes picked up a little.

The creature itself killed a few cast members but unlike the Cheetah People from Munro's previous story, there wasn't really much of a story here. Both the Picts and missing Ninth Legion decided to band together in order to stop the creature from rampaging and only after Bill had to stop the Doctor from doing something otherwise reckless.

If you're looking for a highlight (aside from one I mentioned earlier), then really it's the Missy scene that's it. The Doctor's let her out of the Vault and even trusted her in the TARDIS while they were off attending to the story this week. Missy picking up on Nardole and Bill's bemusement of her to one side, the last scene between the two Time Lords was certainly powerful.

In Munro's previous story, she really caught the Doctor/Master dynamic to perfection (part of the reason why it's one of my all time favourites) and here, she did it again. The scenes where Missy was affected by the Scottish music and the Doctor wondering if they could be friends again. You just know by next week's episode we're going to get the answer to that looming question.

- There was a talking crow in this episode and for a moment, I did think about a certain episode from the previous series. Just for a moment though.
- I had to laugh a little when Lucius commented on Bill liking girls and comparing her to Vitus, who liked men.
- The scenes with at Devil's Cairn gave me a bit of an Outlander vibe to be honest.
- Will we learn when the Doctor became a vestal virgin in a later story?
- The ratings for this episode really did dip badly this time around. Shame, considering this was a solid episode.
- Chronology: 2nd century Aberdeen.

The Eaters Of Light is a solid return episode for Rona Munro and after watching it, I wouldn't oppose to seeing her once again write for the show. That said, the pacing was a little slow in parts, maybe too much for it's own good at times and the creature itself wasn't that good or interesting in any way at all. Other than that, still a decent episode.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Let's Blow Up The Island

I was meant to post this last week but things got in the way, so here's a look at some of the more recent finales I've watched.

Arrow: I have to say that overall, the fifth season of this show has been something of an improvement compared to previous ones and finale wise, I definitely think this was one of the strongest we've had. Featuring so many returning characters (Deathstroke, Malcolm, Nyssa, Black Siren etc) and a fantastic battle of wits between Oliver and Prometheus (who really did turn out to be a great villain this season), the episode ended on a rather explosive cliffhanger. I have a feeling there won't be that many casualties going into the next season, but it definitely a good way to keep viewers in suspense though.

Once Upon A Time: Solid flashback episodes for Zelena and Black Fairy/Fiona to one side, the last three episodes really seemed to serve as a series finale and had ABC been smart, they would've ended the show end here. I know we're getting an older Henry next season with his own kid and Regina/Rumple/Hook are remaining, but this show is going to suffer without Emma, Snow and Charming and I'll miss Zelena and Belle a bit too. As for the last three episodes, I loved the musical episode and thought it was one of the best episodes the show has ever done while the two Final Battle really should've served as the series finale with the amount of stuff it resolved.

Prison Break: I have to admit that this revival hasn't been half as exciting as it could've been. Despite only being nine episodes long, the show did suffer from a bit of a mid series lull and keeping the action in Yemen for the majority of the season wasn't actually that great an idea in retrospect. Michael's reunions with Lincoln and Sara were great but Jake/Poseidon lacked as a villain, Whip was a bit annoying (and super contrived that he happened to be T-Bag's son), Sucre was underused and none of the other newer characters really stood out. That said, the last episode did serve more as a series finale than the one we were given back in 2009 and unless there's a better thought out story to tell, here would be a good place to end the series again.

Supergirl: The final few episodes of the show's sophomore season were pretty enjoyable to watch. As a villain, Rhea certainly upped the ante with her Daxamite on Earth antics and the returns of both Superman, M'Gann and Cat Grant added some momentum into the mix as well. While the show seems to have put both Kara and Mon El's relationship on hold (where did he end up?), it did give us a proposal for Alex and Maggie, gave Lena something interesting to do while Lillian made for a fun grudging ally for about five seconds. Oh and there's another pod to mull over for next season as well.

The Flash: Not going to lie - Savitar has been the weakest villain we've had in the show's three years on air and I beyond glad that next season's Big Bad won't be a speedster. On the other hand, I loved how the finale subverted things. While it was sad to lose HR (but not Tom Cavanagh, he's not going anywhere), it was better that we didn't lose Iris instead and the fact that she was the one to end Savitar's reign of destruction was also a nice twist along with Caitlin mapping out another destiny for herself as Killer Frost. Barry being trapped in the Speed Force provides a little obstacle for the start of next season but I imagine he won't be stuck there for too long though.

- Odette Annable has been cast as a series regular for Supergirl's third season. She will be playing the main antagonist, Reign while Floriana Lima will be recurring next season.
- Tala Ashe will be playing Muslim-American activist superhero Zari Adrianna Tomaz as a regular for the third season of Legends Of Tomorrow. The character will be from the year 2030.
- Gotham's fourth season premiere has the current title of Pax Penguina.
- UK viewers will be able to see Outlander once again as More4 have acquired the rights to the series and will be airing it soon.
- BBC1/BBCAmerica have announced that Luther will be coming back for four new episodes for 2018.
- Fargo's currently airing third season may be it's last.
- Midnight, Texas will air on SyFy for UK viewers shortly after it's US transmission on NBC.
- 24: Legacy has been cancelled by FOX.
- Freeform have ordered a pilot for a US version for Misfits. Casting has yet to be announced.
- Game Of Thrones eighth season will be six episodes (now confirmed by HBO) but it might not air until 2019.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x09: "Empress Of Mars"

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Wayne Che Yip

Alpha Centauri: "This is Alpha Centauri. Welcome to the universe."

So, that cameo happened then and I wish for once, I had resisted my usual impulse for spoilers and remained blissfully ignorant of Alpha Centauri popping up for a few seconds to set up events from the Peladon stories in the Third Doctor's run but it was a nice little moment in an episode that's surprisingly better than expected.

Let's be honest about Mark Gatiss - the guy's a terrific writer and a decent actor but too often his efforts for Doctor Who have a tendency to be marred by his nostalgia fueled writing and this episode certainly had a fair chunk of this. On the other hand, why has it taken this long for an actual Ice Warriors on Mars episode?

The Doctor, Bill and Nardole start the episode with a trip to NASA and quickly realise there's a human colony on the red planet when the words 'God Save The Queen' appear on the surface so they go off to investigate and wouldn't you know it, a bunch of irritating Victorian soldier types are on the planet and they've got an Ice Warrior whom they've named Friday as their skivvy.

Another crucial flaw in some of Gatiss's scripts has been his tendency to waste guest actors and this episode is a bit hit and miss in that regard. The soldiers themselves are mainly red shirts, some of whom are killed in a rather daft way but at least two of them are given a bit of a personality during this episode.

The first one being Catchlove, played by Ferdinand Kingsley. The episode needed a bad guy and for once, it wasn't going to be the Ice Warriors of the piece, so Catchlove fulfilled that role by repeatedly ignoring the Doctor and Bill, undermining his fellow soldiers and declaring war on the Ice Warriors as well. Unfortunately he was a pretty one dimensional and dull baddie that his death was a blessed relief as well as a deserved comeuppance for him.

On the other hand, I do think Godsacre, played by Anthony Calf was more of a pleasant surprise. At first, he too seemed a little more generic though receptive to the Doctor and Bill but as the episode went on, his desertion was brought into play and worked on a thematic level when he attempted to sacrifice himself in order to appease the Ice Warrior Empress herself, Iraxxa.

Speaking of Iraxxa - it was nice to meet a female Ice Warrior on the show and for the most part, I think Adele Lynch was fine in the role, if a bit OTT at times. I did find it interesting that Iraxxa initially listened to Bill before attempting to declare war on the Victorian soldiers and I definitely liked that Friday (Richard Ashton) was pretty reasonable too.

As a story, it felt somewhat bigger than the previous Ice Warrior we had back in the seventh series but still reasonably small scale enough. Of course while the Doctor and Bill were in the thick of things, Nardole was relegated to a more shorter role this week. In fact, his only real contribution to the episode was that he let Missy out of the Vault and the look that was shared between herself and the Doctor really spoke volumes. Does Missy know that the Doctor is due another regeneration or what?

- There were a lot of movie references in this episode, courtesy of Bill but the best was the moment when the Doctor revealed that he had watched Frozen.
- Ysanne Churchman, who previously voiced the role of Alpha Centauri returned for this episode, which was a nice touch.
- There was a sly reference to Gatiss's last episode, the divisive, Sleep No More. We almost got a sequel to that story.
- Anyone notice the portrait of Queen Victoria from Tooth And Claw in this one? Ferdinand Kingsley is also a regular on ITV's Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman.
- Apparently there were plans for Ian McNeice to appear in this episode as Churchill. I don't think the episode really justified him at all.
- Chronology: 1881 on Mars.

Empress Of Mars might highlight some of Mark Gatiss's worser excesses (the man is very nostalgia bound) but compared to his previous efforts for this era alone, I actually think this was a strong episode. Godsacre was a surprisingly engaging character, both Friday and Iraxxa worked well enough, I loved the Alpha Centauri cameo, Mars looked great onscreen and that last scene with Missy also worked a treat.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sense8 - You Want A War?

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski

Will (to Whispers): "You want a war? We'll give you one!"

And the show ended there? Really, Netflix? I get that this series is super expensive to make and while I can understand if not approve of your reasons behind cancelling it, would it kill you to give us at least another Christmas special to tie up the remaining loose ends?

This episode itself though, whilst great, still felt very set up though. Lila made an unwelcome return and it turned out that Cannibal and Whispers are the same person and poor Wolfgang ended up being kidnapped and tortured by the guy with Kala's identity also being outed in the mix. Another reason for an extra episode should be Lila getting her just desserts too.

However the episode did take a more interesting twist when Kala worked on more blockers and Will managed to deceive Whispers into actually meeting him publicly for a change. I have to admit, the twist genuinely surprised but there was something joyous in seeing the tables turn on Whispers along with Jonas also having to suffer some consequences for his flip flopping ways too.

Of course though, we didn't actually see Wolfgang rescued and now we'll never know if he is (one assumes he would've been in another episode/season, Netflix) but when he wasn't being tortured, he was instrumental in Sun's storyline and things between him and Kala were also about to move forward in a big way too.

Speaking of Sun, her storyline took something of a mixed turn. On one hand, Mun showed up to the Gala to arrest her brother but he ended up being shot and while Sun came close to actually taking out her treacherous sibling, the police turned up to arrest her. On the plus side and with the grudging help from Puck, she did manage to escape them but at the same time, it seems like we're still back at square one with her being on the run from the law. Unless Mun succeeds in punishing her brother off screen of course.

As for the rest of the episode, Kala came close to telling Rajan that she had voices in her head but he sort of took the wind out of her sails with his own reveal. Anyone hoping that Rajan wouldn't become a villain, you'll be relieved to know that instead he's going to be informing on them instead (including on his mate that clearly fancies Kala and left that wedding gift a few episodes back). It's not a bad reveal and I bet had we more episodes/seasons to enjoy, then Rajan probably would've been a dead man walking because of this storyline.

- Nomi and Amanita both proposing to each other was pretty sweet and lovely. Another thing we won't get to see now.
- Another Cluster visited Capheus in this episode while Puck's infatuation with Riley has effected his hairstyle. We also saw another woman from his Cluster but no Old Man Of Hoy though. Not a lot of Hernando and Daniela in this one either.
- The fact that all of the gang (and Amanita) are actually together in London is fantastic. I loved that moment. Damn you, Netflix, I want more.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off.

You Want A War? is a great season finale, loaded with some brilliant action sequences, character moments and a promise of more to come. Except we're not going to get it and while I'm usually resigned to shows I love getting cancelled at times, this is one of those times where it stings a little. While I wasn't expecting the show to run for multiple seasons and get that it's expensive as hell to make, it's sad though that we won't get some resolution to what's ultimately been a very compelling two year arc with eight of the best characters I've seen in the last few years. A shame, Netflix.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, June 09, 2017

Sense8 - If All the World's A Stage, Identity Is Nothing But A Costume

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Tom Tykwer

Hernando (to Lito): "So tell me, my love… If your dream isn’t worth the risk, what is?"

The penultimate episode of the season and unfortunately now, series (and yes, I will rant about Netflix's ill advised decision to cancel this wonderful show but that'll be for later though) but while things didn't progress on the BPO front aside from Whispers being a right C U next Tuesday about Will losing his father, other stuff of interest did happen in the episode.

For instance, Lito's Hollywood career is off to a bit of a flying start. Thanks to Sun's emotive skills, he managed to successfully bag that movie role that Daniela set up for him in the previous episode then sees Lito. Hernando and Daniela attending the type of vacuous Hollywood party that we've seen on countless US shows over and over again but on the plus side, at least Lito's soon to be co-star, Blake was playing by a familiar face. Extra points allotted for getting Cheyenne Jackson to appear in this series.

As for Hernando, once again he gave an inspired speech to a hesitant Lito and then we had a gorgeous sex scene between the pair of them on the beach. This is going to be another thing I am seriously going to miss about the show.

When Lito wasn't bagging movie roles though, things were a little more serious as Capheus's first public speech ended up in another riot and attempt on his life. The assassin bloke though from the last episode ended up saving Capheus's life in this one, which was a nice enough surprise. That said, Capheus's political storyline has gotten very dangerous very fast for him though.

Meanwhile, Sun was putting her own plan into action to get back at her brother. With Lito's cocktail making skills, she bagged a job at his gala and the last few minutes of the episode had the rest of the Clusters banding together to help Sun get justice for herself. However with one more episode, will she be able to achieve that or will she end up killing her sibling?

- Kala and Wolfgang were making some progress in order to get together properly. I did like Kala/Riley's conversation at the start of the episode.
- Angelica showed up to briefly comfort Will as a contrast to the sadistic pleasure that Whispers took in the death of Will's father.
- Very little of Nomi in this episode or was that just me? Nice to see Zakia again though and that Marc Jacobs cameo too.
- Chronology: A few days from where What Family Actually Means left off I think.

If All the World's A Stage, Identity Is Nothing But A Costume wins the award for longest episode title we've had on the show but as a penultimate, it didn't push anything BPO wise remotely forward but still won for all the lovely little moments throughout. I am now anticipating and dreading the finale just that little bit more though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, June 08, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 3x22: "Heavydirtysoul"

Written by Robert Hull
Directed by Rob Bailey

Selina (to Tabitha): "I'm tired of surviving. I want more."

Going by the looks of it, does anyone get the sense that next season could possibly be the last season of Gotham? Unlike last year where it's renewal seems a certainty, there was an element of apprehension as to whether or not it would go into a fourth season and now we have it on the horizon, could it be that the writers are also preparing for the worst/best too?

In this episode alone, a lot of dynamics shifted here. Selina might have been relegated to two scenes, one where Bruce rejected her and another where Tabitha took her under her wing but Selina said it herself - she wants more. In one moment we saw take a hold of Tabitha's whip and whirl it like it came naturally, pushing her that one step closer to her future self.

Similarly Bruce was pushed into his future self in a bigger way than before. Stabbing Alfred snapped him out of his conditioning and while he rejected Ras Al Ghul this time around, the latter was also quick to point out that they would cross paths again. Here though, Bruce was focused on saving Alfred's life (which he did with some of the Lazarus water and medical staff) while at the same time, also trying to figure out who he really is.

That clearly came to him at the very end when Bruce went into Year One mode by donning a disguise and subverting the very event that has defined him with another family walking down an ally at night. I honestly thought we wouldn't see a moment like that until the show's actual series finale, so I'm intrigued to see how this vigilante role is going to play out next season considering that Bruce is still just a teenager. Then again, it could also be his clone, seeing as that plot thread is still dangling.

As for the rest of the episode, Gordon's savagery came in handy when he extracted a lot of Tetch's blood in order to get a cure. The city became cured as did Leslie herself, who still kept her promise and left Gotham but the virus infection itself fell into the background with even Tetch himself being relegated to little more than leverage between various characters as a contrast to the Big Bad he had been at the start of the season.

The various characters themselves were Oswald, Nygma, Barbara, Tabitha and Butch, all of whom were trying to one up the other with some delightful results. I loved that Oswald allowed Nygma to think he had the upper hand, only for Freeze and Ivy to show up and Eddie himself to become an ice sculpture as a result while the Babs/Tabs/Butch triangle came to a rather messy ending too.

I have to admit that I was wondering whether or not Barbara would realise she was a dead woman walking before her confrontation with Butch left the latter with a bullet in the head and in a coma. The face off with Barbara and Tabitha though was better with the latter putting her whipping skills to the best use they've ever had on the show. With Butch now protected by plot armour (more on that in a bit), are Barbara and Fish the only casualties from this finale? I guess we'll know next season.

- Butch's real name is Cyrus Gold, so it seems we've gotten Solomon Grundy on the show all this time. There were rumours of Harley Quinn appearing in this finale but that didn't happen. I'm betting we'll see some variation of her next season though.
- I'm assuming Barnes was cured off screen. The second part also seemed short on Hugo Strange and Firefly as well.
- The episode's title is named after the Twenty One Pilots song of the same name, but I don't remember it actually being played in the episode.
- Chronology: From where Destiny Calling left off.

Heavydirtysoul was definitely a strong conclusion to mostly a great season of the show. We certainly had a lot of characters, potential departures, new alliances, secret identities revealed and basically more than enough to drive the next season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 3x21: "Destiny Calling"

Written by Danny Cannon
Directed by Nathan Hope

Barbara (to Nygma): "Let's make Gotham beg."

Finally, it's time for the finale, at least a fortnight or so after nearly every other network show has aired theirs and for good fun, it's a double. However, I'm watching both episodes separately and therefore doing separate reviews, so let's get on with the first part, shall we?

Gotham has fallen under the Tetch virus thanks to the now diminished Court of Owls and Gordon is doing his level best not to succumb to his darker impulses while under the influence of said virus. For the most, he was kind of succeeding, then half way through, things went a little to pot and Fish ended up being dead during a crucial moment where the antidote for the Tetch virus then got destroyed.

Once again, Gordon really does blunder a situation but in terms of deaths, what an anticlimatic way of actually writing Fish out though. I did like that Oswald mourned for her and she told him to take over the city but ultimately, what was the actual point of Fish being brought back in the first place? Maybe she should've stayed dead after all.

As for Strange, I have to admit to taking some pleasure in seeing him being repeatedly bested throughout this episode and I was more than happy with Oswald, Freeze and Firefly all banding together to torture the crap out of him as well. However, he's needed for making more of the antidote as is Tetch himself but there was a bit of a snag there.

Because Barbara and Nygma needed some kind of victory in this one, they managed to intercept Tetch's police truck and kidnap him along with Butch and Tabitha (still scheming but not really doing anything of note). Despite finding Tetch rather annoying, there was something highly amusing in his mistaken belief that Babs and Eddie were his saviours though.

As for the rest of the episode, Bruce was still heavily under the Sensei's influence and despite a bloody good try from Alfred, there was no getting through to him. The most important bit though was the swift introduction to Ras Al Ghul and no disrespect to Matt Nable's version in the Arrow universe, but a few minutes alone and Alexander Siddig already captured the role far better. The last scene however, I really didn't see coming in the slightest. Definitely a yell at the screen sort of moment though.

- Leslie might be mildly insane while currently on this Tetch virus but her assessments of both Butch and Tabitha's roles are still rather spot on and they clearly know it to an extent.
- We saw the Lazarus Pit in this episode and despite Ras's talks of not having an heir, I'm betting we'll see a version of Talia next season on the show.
- Absent from the episode were Selina, Ivy and Barnes.
- Chronology: More or less from where Pretty Hate Machine left off.

Destiny Calling was a great start to the finale. While Fish's death was crappily handled, the rest of the episode certainly upped the ante, ended on one hell of a cliffhanger and seeing the various factions fighting out amidst the chaos of an airborne virus - only on this show. Can't wait for the second part.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x08: "The Lie Of The Land"

Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Wayne Che-Yip

The Doctor (to Bill): "Regeneration a little bit too much?"

Understatement of the century there, Doctor. We know you're about to do that for real in six months at Christmas like your predecessor did, so having a fake out here, even if it was designed to see whether or not Bill was under the influence of the Monks was just one of the most head desk inducing moments the show has produced.

It's moments like this that actually cheapen the wonder behind regeneration and while it made for a good trailer moment, ultimately resulted in a moment that both was insulting to audience intelligence and generally just aggravating to bits.

While it was nice to know quickly in the story that the Doctor wasn't actually under the Monks 1984 esque influence, the show could've found a less patronising way of conveying that information. Bill's reaction to being tested by the Doctor and Nardole on the other hand was delightfully on point in an otherwise disappointing conclusion to this trilogy.

Yup, the Monks thanks to Bill have managed to take over the world and they're like the best and most benevolent leaders ever and if you say otherwise, then fake news and all that jazz. Of course, like every other creature that's invaded the planet they can be defeated and this is where Missy was made use of for this episode.

Taking on a Hannibal Lecter type role in her glass cage, Missy was quick to get the Doctor and Bill to work out that the latter dying or being reduced to a vegetative state was the best way to get the Monks to leave the planet (their influence would be broken, people would be woke, etc) and of course, the Doctor was determined to find another way. Bill on the other hand had her own ideas on the matter.

Given that Bill herself was the one who gave the Monks the power to throw the world into it's current dystopian like state, it made sense that she was the one to take it away from them too. Unfortunately for all the good intention the show had, resolving the plot through Bill's false memory of her mother was just unbelievably bad this time around. The show has done the trope too many times and here, it just felt like too swift a resolution for an arc that perhaps didn't need to be three episodes long in retrospect.

As for the Missy bits of the episode, I would've liked for her to have been in the thick of things but at least her scenes lit up the affair. I don't for one second believe that she wants to turn over a new leaf but I am loving the more sombre and reflective performance Michelle Gomez is giving this series and I'm definitely going to miss her the most from this era as well. That said though, I'm waiting for Missy to escape from that Vault because I definitely believe she can but for some reason she's buying her time before doing so.

- Some of the images we saw in the Monks glass ranged from the likes of the Spice Girls to the USA's current president. The Planet Earth style opening from the Doctor was a nice touch.
- Bill did some narration in this episode too and there some clear echoes of both Last Of The Time Lords and Turn Left.
- How many body parts has Nardole actually lost or has replaced? And when she wasn't threatening to beat the shit out of him, Bill also called him Nardy.
- Wayne Che Yip has previously directed the Class episodes Detained and The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did.
- The ratings for this episode really did suffer under the Britain's Got Talent finale.
- Chronology: Six months from the events of The Pyramid At The End Of The World.

Truth be told, the idea behind the Monks was good but with the lack of explanation for their motives and being expanded into three episodes probably wasn't the smartest move. The Lie Of The Land isn't as bad as some have said, but it's undeniably an unsatisfying way of concluding what should've been a compelling story though. Some nice emotional bits but this should've been so much better though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, June 03, 2017

My Review of Wonder Woman (2017)

Written by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs
Directed by Patty Jenkins

Diana: "I will fight, for those who can not fight for themselves."

Her time was imminent. After years of movies and television pilots that failed to materialise, one of the few things that even the most staunchest of critics in relation to the DCEU were united in was the fact that Wonder Woman herself was a revelation within the current DC movie universe.

After stealing the show from both her fellow superheroes in last year's Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the time had come for Gal Gadot's Diana Prince to go it alone and let's just say there was a lot riding on this movie. Perhaps more than any other superhero movie we've had in the last decade if we're being frank here.

Female led superheroes have been a rarity and when they've happened, they haven't been quite successful (Supergirl and Catwoman being two obvious examples) but while Marvel have been late in the game with a female superhero led movie, the DCEU on their fourth effort have gone in guns blazing and the result is nothing short of spectacular.

I know it's in our nature to be wary when critics gush about movies, especially when they go overboard with it and when a superhero movie is drawing comparisons to Christopher Reeves Superman and The Dark Knight trilogy, it's one hell of a mountain to be climbed. The thing is though, the hype is entirely justified. Wonder Woman is that good. It's arguably even a little bit better.

The movie opens with a present day Diana Prince in the Louvre looking at that photograph we've previously seen and the flashes back to Themyscira when she was a little girl, eager to fight much to the reluctance of her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) but with the support of her aunt, Antiope (Robin Wright). Hippolyta and Antiope are merely supporting characters but their screen time is essential and Themyscira is gorgeously captured on the big screen.

The movie charters Diana's transition from childhood to adulthood on Paradise Island as she learns the story of the Amazons, the Gods, humanity and the dreaded Ares, who's a threatening returning presence. This only goes to fuel on Diana's desire to fight even more and the arrival of spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) along with some following Germans and a few deaths soon has Diana grabbing the Godkiller sword and determined to make her own path with Hippolyta realising that she cannot stop her daughter from fulfilling her destiny.

With Diana and Steve both leaving Themyscira and having the shared goal of stopping the war (Diana through wanting to kill Ares, Steve by stopping two baddies from advancing a deadlier version of the mustard gas), the two of them soon end up in London to bag some more allies - Charlie (Ewen Bremner), Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) before heading to the Western Front in Belgium to stop the war from reaching a horrific conclusion.

It's during this where the movie really comes to life. Diana's essentially a fish out of water and her first experiences with mankind are definitely a mixed bag. While she enjoys simple things like seeing a baby and eating an ice cream along with trying on dresses, she's also caught in the horrors of battle and the scenes where she charges through No Man's Land are nothing short of glorious as Diana really becomes a hero.

However it's her battle with Ares that motivates her actions and while she mistakes Danny Huston's sadistic, General Erich Ludendorff for the war god, the real Ares himself doesn't actually emerge until nearly the very end of the movie. Expertly played by David Thewlis, Ares is without a doubt the best villain we've seen realised in the DCEU so far and while his screen time is less than expected, he truly delivers on the menacing front when Ares's true intentions are revealed.

The battle sequence between Diana and her half brother are stunning but also feel consistent with the same sequences we've seen in the previous three DCEU movies as well. As for Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) herself - she too had some decent screen time, a nice sense of menace and was the only baddie who made it out of the movie alive, so maybe she could be seen again perhaps.

As for the love story between Diana and Steve - I loved it. Both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine have incredible chemistry and throughout the movie, the connection they forge is very organic and beautifully done. Steve himself is a fantastic character, well drawn out and his own sacrifice definitely delivered a gut punch to the heart.

Along with some beautiful action sequences, gorgeous effects and direction from Patty Jenkins as well as the timely commentaries on mankind and humanity, the movie also has some really lovely light touches. Lucy Davis in particular is great as Steve's secretary Etta Candy and Diana's bemusement at human customs is done brilliantly without ever demeaning the character or jarring the narrative to boot. The movie may capture the horrors of war but it also showed the beauty of humanity too with a hero truly rising from the ashes in it's title character.

- I loved the new DC logo with most of the main players at the start of the movie. I have to try and find it somewhere so I can spot the rest of the characters though.
- The alias of Wonder Woman is never mention in the movie though. The movie opened and ended with present day Diana, pre Justice League I imagine.
- The filming of this movie actually finished up the same day Diana's creator, William Moulton Marston was born - that would be May 3rd.
- I liked that there were some subtle homages to Lynda Carter's Diana as well in the movie. Have fun spotting them.
- Rupert Gregson-Williams soundtrack to the movie is gorgeous. I also quite like Sia/Labyrinth's To Be Human song at the end credits too. The end credits were also beautifully done.
- Chronology: Set during the ending of World War 1. A sequel (which is definitely going to happen) will be set in the present day, according to rumours.

Wonder Woman is without a doubt a triumph. I've enjoyed the previous three DCEU movies but there weren't without their flaws but this movie really raised the bar. Hollywood no longer have the excuse of pretending that female led superhero movies cannot sell as this movie is a testament to how much they truly can. Whatever your stance is on the DCEU franchise, put it to one side and go see this movie. In some respects, it's a mission statement. In every other respect, it's one of the best superhero movies of all times. This movie is an icon in the making.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Sense8 - What Family Actually Means

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski

Will: "No, Dad, don't go!"

Okay, I really didn't see that coming either. With all the other stuff going on in this episode, I wasn't expecting Will's father to show up and die at the very end. I'm not gonna lie - he's not a character I greatly cared about in the first season even if later episodes tried to make him more sympathetic but the impact of his death was certainly felt here though.

Of course it was Riley who had to see Will's father die along with Will also witnessing it but along with some poignant flashbacks, the last scene really did pack an emotional punch. Just when you think you can predict what the show will do next, it surprises once again.

Keeping with the family theme, Nomi, Amanita and Bug attended the former's sister's rehearsal dinner and then wedding, both filled with discussion worthy moments. Nomi did slightly make her wedding speech to Tegan a little about herself but it was a nice way of also showing much support Tegan has been to Nomi and when Agent Bendix disrupted Tegan and Tom's wedding, we got a nice moment where her father stepped in as well.

However while two thirds of Nomi's family have been supportive towards her, Janet on the other hand still remains quite horrible. On both occasions she was a bitch to Nomi but hopefully with the way things escalated in this one, her treatment of Nomi will no longer be tolerated in future episodes.

Meanwhile Lito managed to snap out of his funk when Daniela found him the perfect part to play. The best part however was seeing Daniela in full agent mode, blagging Lito an audition for the part and the bemusement of both Lito and Hernando while she worked her magic. With the three of them heading to the US, it can't be long before Lito and Nomi actually meet face to face, right?

As for Capheus, his political storyline intensified a little as he fled from would be kidnappers/killers while learning that the man who wants to help him is also in love with his mother. Compared to the other strands this episode, it's probably the weaker one of the bunch and I kind of miss seeing Zakia as well, who seems to have disappeared.

- Kala got left a suspicious looking from Ajay while Rajan was away this episode. I did like Kala's scenes with her mother in this one.
- Wolfgang has decided to finally get out of Berlin while Sun helped Nomi deal with Tom's asshole of a best man.
- Will was seen by his father at the end. That could raise some questions but it could also be just have been a signal that he was dying too.
- Chronology: A couple of days since the events of All I Want Right Now Is One More Bullet. Lila was nowhere to be seen here either, though we had some Whispers/Angelica flashbacks and learned Riley's BPO contact was called Carol Cumberland, who's dead now.

What Family Actually Means had some nice moments on the topic and while very little was actually advanced with the ongoing BPO plot or much sensate interactions, this was still an incredibly enjoyable episode.

Rating: 8 out of 10