Friday, November 30, 2018

Batman 66 - Episodes 85-88 Reviews

It's time for a crossover as our Dynamic Duo meet another team of crime fighters while a certain Pharaoh makes another appearance.

2x51: A Piece Of The Action

Despite an earlier episode actually featuring them on television, it seems that the Green Hornet and his trusted companion, Kato exist in the Dozier Batman universe as well. Van Williams and Bruce Lee take their characters to Gotham City for this two parter and there's an implied rivalry between Bruce Wayne and Britt Reid as well as a rivalry between the Dynamic Duo and Green Hornet/Kato. There's also a rather pink wearing villain in Colonel Gumm (Roger C. Carmel), who has something of a thing for alphabet soup and stamp - the latter being the cliffhanger as one duo gets turned into giant stamps while the second group await the same fate. 8/10

2x52: Batman's Satisfaction

A strong second part to this story. I did like seeing both groups working together in order to take down Colonel Gumm's plot while his former female assistant Pinky and her also pink dog Apricot when they weren't taken being held captive by Gumm seriously, also seemed to be of the belief that Bruce was the Green Hornet and Britt was Batman, much to the amusement of Gordon and O'Hara. For a team up episode this was a lot of fun and while it's nice that another one happened in the Batman 66 comics, it's a pity it didn't happen here again. 8/10

2x53: King Tut's Coup

Ah good, another appearance for King Tut. He started off again as his mild manner professor with two new college jocks wanting to take his class before resuming his King Tut persona and crashing a fabulous party in order to kidnap socialite, Lisa (Lee Meriwether) whom he believes is a reincarnated version of Cleopatra. Needless to say, things don't end well for the Dynamic Duo as Batman finds himself entombed and Robin is powerless to stop himself when Tut isn't calling him a tattle tale, which as a line cracked me up. 8/10

2x54: Batman's Waterloo

Concluding this two parter, Batman managed to get out of his predicament but Robin spent a good deal being captive along with Lisa while both the Caped Crusader and King Tut had an amusing exchange of words courtesy of radio host Jolly Jackson while Lisa's father attempted to come up with a ransom for his daughter. Let's just Tut has something of a potty mouth when provoked while a lady in waiting did her best to save both the Boy Wonder and 'Cleopatra' before Tut's usual downfall came into play. As for Bruce and Lisa - well, we know Adam West and Lee Meriweather have chesmitry as Batman and Catwoman and here, they did as well when Bruce accepted Lisa's invitation for milk and cookies after ten o'clock. Bruce, you cad. 9/10

Next blog I'll delve into Black Widow Strikes Again/Caught in the Spider's Den and Pop Goes the Joker/Flop Goes the Joker.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x06: "Tender Is The Nate"

Written by Phil Klemmer & Matthew Maala
Directed by Dean Choe

Nate (to Sara): "Coming back here, I thought it would be like the old days but I don't know what's so surprising, the fact that so much has changed or at some point, this became the old days?"

Going by this exchange, I'm beginning to wonder if this show is setting up a potential departure from Nate altogether. It definitely feels like his days on the Waverider are over and done with and while it did take a while to warm to his character, there's no denying that he got a lot better as the series progressed with him.

If this episode was a finale for him as such, then it certainly ended things on a fine note for Nate. He got one more mission with his former crew and even further cemented his father's approval during a trip to the roaring 1920's that involved Ernest Hemingway and a Minotaur because this show and it's merging of very different things results in a winning format.

It was fun watching Hank going from wanting to slash the Waverider's budget (they really do spend a lot on period clothing) to find himself in full fanboy mode when he encountered Hemingway, much to Nate's own disdain for the writer himself.

The 1920's setting was a lot of fun and wonderfully utilised as Constantine and Nate tried to calm the Minotaur down, only for Hank's vocal chords to be the thing to save the day while Nate also discovered Charlie on board the Waverider, realised quickly why she looked like Amaya, struggled with it before eventually telling her that she'll find her place on the team. Any other show would've over egged that particular plot but here, it was handled head on and I do think Nate's words clearly meant a lot to Charlie, who to me fits in pretty well with this band of misfits as it is.

Speaking of fitting in, I wasn't particularly sure about Mona's purpose for the show with her first two appearances but this episode really slotted her in effortlessly. Putting her in a cell with both Nora and Ava was a genius move and the conversations between all three of them was a lot of fun to watch. While I do think Mona's bouncy personality might be a little much, I did like her shipping of Nora and Ray though - the latter who decided to visit through an envelope of course.

As for Ava, I'm loving the continuity of her being a clone and how not having an actual childhood/real parents has effected her. It was nice to see her opening scene with Sara before Hank interrupted it while also seeing her connect with Mona and Nora as well. Something tells me though that Nora won't be stuck in that cell for much longer though.

- Gotta laugh at Gideon pointedly mentioning that she was also a member of the team. Aren't we due another physical appearance from Amy Louise Pemberton at this point?
- Sara in suspenders as a birthday present for Ava and Constantine doing naked yoga. This show really does know it's fan base, don't they? Constantine can also do a better US accent than Charlie it seems.
- Standout music: Gotta be Hank singing Sweet Baby James to a Minotaur, doesn't it?
- Chronology: 2018 at the Time Bureau and 1927 Paris for the mission.

Tender Is The Nate certainly felt like an ending of sorts for Nate as a character, at least from the Waverider, if not the show itself. The 1920's setting was a lot of fun and the Nora, Ava and Mona cell scenes were another highlight to boot.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 26, 2018

My Review of Titans 1x07: "Asylum"

Written by Bryan Edward Hill & Greg Walker
Directed by Alex Kalymnios

Kory (to Dick, re Robin): "You gonna wait til the bitter end?"

Well, this felt like an ending of sorts. Let's see - Rachel reunited with her mother, Adamson and his main cohorts were basically incinerated and we got to see Dick somberly watch his Robin go up in flames. And yet, there are five episodes left to go this season.

I guess it's an interesting way to go with the show and it should certainly make the remaining episodes a bit more interesting to watch as well. With Rachel reunited with one parent, it can't be any further away from her reuniting with the other. Adamson might have failed to have gotten Rachel to summon her father and not lived to tell the tale but it doesn't mean that Trigon won't be a future problem for her and the rest of the Titans.

Taking place in an asylum (not Arkham, though this place was just as bad), a lot of this episode did feel a little like torture porn for Dick, Kory and Gar with that sadistic female Doctor taking a little too much pleasure in having pain inflicted on all three of them.

Gar so far has been the more lighter of the four main Titans and even here we got to see him caged up and tortured that later in the episode he resorted to killing another Doctor in order to protect Rachel and Angela and was somewhat horrified by his actions. Poor Gar, those scenes were brutal to watch and this episode had it's fair share of brutal scenes.

For example, we saw Dick strapped down and drugged up to the eyeballs where he spent a great deal of his time beating himself up. No, really, it might have been the most cliched thing they could've done with Dick's subconscious but it did make some sense to see him project his anger onto himself before Rachel was able to snap him out of it.

As for Kory, we also had her strapped down and on the verge of being gruesomely experimented on before the rest of the gang stepped into her rescue. I was pretty glad that we didn't have to witness the extent of that scene and having Kory incinerate the asylum was probably the best thing that could've been done.

- Kory seems to be sticking with the shiny purple pants suit now for the second half of the season while Dick now seems to be down a costume.
- I do find the Batcave in this show quite strange looking, but I did like this episode giving us a better look at it this week.
- Next episode will give us Donna Troy, though we did see a photo of her earlier in the season.
- Chronology: Not long from where Jason Todd left off.

Asylum wasn't as great as the last few episodes but at least it pushed things forward - Rachel and her mother are reunited, the main baddies after her seem to be out of the picture for now and Dick has shed one identity, so I can't wait to see him step into the other one in the remaining episodes of the season.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x08: "The Witchfinders"

Written by Joy Wilkinson
Directed by Sallie Aprahamian

The Doctor (to King James): "You want to know the secrets of existence? Start with the mysteries of the heart."

In a 10 episode series, I'm not sure if three historical episodes is one too many or just about right, but after spending time in 1950's Alabama and 1940's India, it was time to go a little further back into a village named Bilehurst Cragg where the TARDIS team find themselves in the midst of a witch trial, led by land owner, Becka Savage (Siobhan Finneran), who seems to be a bit overzealous when it comes to drowning women whom she suspects to be in league with Satan himself.

Needless to say, the Doctor's attempts to save the life of one woman rouses Becka's suspicions until the Doctor is able to pass herself off as a Witch Finder General, but even that cover is somewhat scuppered by the arrival of King James (Alan Cumming) to the village.

To say that Alan Cumming gave a subdued performance with this role would be a massive lie. For a good portion of the episode, he hammied up the role with aplomb as James found himself dismissive of the Doctor while also barely containing his clear attraction to Ryan, even though he had the strapping Alfonso (Stavros Demetraki) to protect him. Except, for the fact that poor Alfonso became an early casualty when the baddies of the piece made themselves known.

Like The Shakespeare Code about eleven years ago, this episode did manage to deliver on a witchy front but while we didn't get a much needed return of the Carrionites, the Morax did make for a similarly imposing threat as Becka managed to pressure her cousin, Willa (Tilly Steele) into even accusing the Doctor of witchcraft. It probably didn't help that the Doctor kept waving the sonic screwdriver around more than usual as well.

As baddies, it was pretty obvious that Becka was involved in the Morax plot, albeit unwillingly as she succumbed to the possession of the Morax Queen and intended to make King James her Morax King for good measure but at least it meant that we finally got an alien menace who was actually menacing, even if the Doctor's defeat of them seemed a little easy.

Baddie wise, the Morax are definitely the best and most threatening aliens we've had this series but it shouldn't have taken the show this long to deliver on that front. I am pleasantly surprised that instead of making King James the main villain of the piece here, they went with these baddies. Speaking of James, it was also nice that the show didn't shy away from his homosexuality as well as having the Doctor call him out for his obsession with witches and the innocent people that have died as a result of it.

As for the companions - the episode worked reasonably well with them but again, I think Ryan was the one who seemed to have the most to do here. It still didn't prevent the episode from having Graham quoting Tarantino or Yasmin recalling a tale to Willa about a school bully that she had, which even the Doctor later recalled in a scene with Becka.

- Was this episode meant to air earlier in the series? It felt like it would've been a perfect Halloween episode and even Yasmin wonders about the day at the start of it.
- Keeping with the Shakespeare comparisons, we had a scene where James called Ryan a Nubian Prince. Though Ryan definitely seems to be straight, he didn't seem too bothered by James being flirtatious with him.
- Seeing as we're mentioning Houdini again, can we please get an episode with him next series?
- The Doctor said here that she didn't believe in Satan, so are we not counting that encounter she had in The Satan Pit with him then?
- Nice use of Clarke's Law in this episode as well during one conversation with the Doctor and King James. We also didn't see the inside of the TARDIS yet again.
- Chronology: 17th Century Bilehurst Cragg, located in the shadow of Pendle Hill.

The Witchfinders for me is easily a series high. Finally, it might have taken them eight episodes (which is shocking) but we managed to get a worthy and threatening alien menace with the Morax and a female antagonist with Becka Savage (even without the alien possession, she murdered her grandmother and killed horses) as well as a fun depiction of King James for good measure. Definitely an episode worth rewatching.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Batman 66 - Episodes 81-84 Reviews

It's a case of robots and blackmail for one baddie while another finds mischief in college and fencing expensive jewels.

2x47: The Joker's Last Laugh

The Joker's back and this time, along with another female assistant, he's got a slew of robot bank tellers to try and help him seize control of Gotham's banks while Bruce Wayne goes undercover in an attempt to undo the Clown Prince's latest scheme. It does go somewhat wrong for Bruce when Robin ends up getting captured and Bruce is forced to be the one to pull a lever. I do find it amusing how the show sends up Bruce's unconvincing undercover story with the Joker doubting it initially before deciding to go along with it. 7/10

2x48: The Joker's Epitaph

You have to give it to the Joker. When his attempts of blackmailing Bruce Wayne fail, he then gets his female accomplice to force the latter into an engagement and it almost worked, until Batman and Robin managed to get the Joker's teller robots to work against him that. Then there was the subplot of having Bruce almost committed by Gordon and O'Hara along with the absurdity of Alfred in Batman's costume for good measure. 7/10

2x49: Catwoman Goes To College

You'd think with her many crimes, Catwoman would be setting up her own courses in criminology rather than wanting to take one of them but it seems not. Instead, she's attending a lecture by Batman, sipping sodas with him while also getting one of her minions to pose as the Caped Crusader in order to discredit him towards a new police Captain. When none of that works out, she then resorts to putting the Dynamic Duo in a large cup so they can be scalded but again, this is another one that shamelessly plays on the BatCat dynamic. 9/10

2x50: Batman Displays His Knowledge

A fantastic second half to one of the best two parters of the episode. I loved the little meta commentary the Dynamic Duo had as they escaped the boiling coffee pot of doom while finding Catwoman's inability to get rid of some hot diamonds absolutely hysterical, more so when Freddy the Fence told her they were actually fake for good measure. Then there was that particular scene with Batman and Catwoman as the latter tried to bring him over to the dark side and failed yet again. Given that this was the last time Julie Newmar properly played the role again until 2016's Return Of The Caped Crusaders animated movie, this was a superb last outing for her fantastic take on the character. 9/10

Next blog I'll delve into A Piece of the Action/Batman's Satisfaction and King Tut's Coup/Batman's Waterloo.

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x05: "Tagumo Attacks!!!"

Written by Keto Shimizu & Ubah Mohammed
Directed by Alexandra La Roche

Sara: "Guys, we're gonna need a bigger time ship."

Never mind a bigger time ship. An episode that decides to mix in the lore of Japanese monster monsters with a bit of Celtic goddess, St Brigid is going to be a winner for me. How the hell does the show come up with these frankly bonkers ideas?

Again, it's one of those things that shouldn't work in the slightest but when you have Sara, Mick, Zari and Charlie in Tokyo trying to find a giant octopus creature named Tagumo, they find themselves in the midst of a monster movie being filmed and a director's creativity getting the better of him.

I liked that Shiro was less of a baddie and more of an unfortunate guy whose creativity just got out of hand surrounding his monster creation. It was great seeing Sara show him some compassion and the team up with Sara and Charlie this week in order to shrink Tagumo was highly amusing, along with the two of them finding some common ground with each other.

However it was Zari who got Mick to embrace his creative side in order to save the day though. I didn't know we needed a three breasted warrior to defeat Tagumo but seemingly we did and the fact that this episode tapped into Mick's creative side to deal with the main threat was brilliant. This is another episode in a row where we haven't needed to send the baddies to hell in order to deal with them. It probably helped that Constantine was otherwise in dispose as well.

This week, Constantine mostly sat this one out as Ray got Nora to try and help. Nora seemed uneasy about helping Constantine out at first, due to her efforts to try and not give into her own dark streak but it didn't take too long for her to actually help John out and get a vision of the man who he's hiding from. The more surprising part was seeing Nora turn herself into the Time Bureau, but given her determination to reform, it's probably the best thing she could do for a while.

Keeping with the Time Bureau this week - I guess Mona will be a member now. While I'm not too sold on the character just yet and think she might be one regular too many, at least this episode showed that she has some ability to control creatures, which Hank will clearly be using to his advantage as the last scene hinted at a Project Hades.

Having Hank being shady was something that I did see coming and of course, the show would reveal it just as Nate's relationship with his father was in a better place. Speaking of Nate as well - I am enjoying the friendship with him and Ava this season and the Thanksgiving scenes were delightfully chaotic as well. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Nate's grandmother in a later episode too.

- Are the show going with a potential pairing with Gary and Mona? Not the pairing I want and they do seem a bit too tonally similar to each other if I'm being honest.
- On the other hand, I could get behind a potential Mick./Charlie pairing and we all know Ray/Nora aren't far off from happening either.
- The man after John I'm convinced is a recast Papa Midnite. I loved that the episode had the title sequence written in Japanese as well.
- Chronology: 1951 Tokyo and Thanksgiving 2018.

Tagumo Attacks!!! was another delightfully madcap episode. I loved the mixing of Japanese monsters with Celtic goddess, the show tapping into Mick's creativity, Charlie's natural inclusion into the team and all the Ray/Nora/Constantine scenes this week. I am hoping the Project Hades isn't the show's attempt of doing an Initiative story but if it is, then I hope it's better handled.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 19, 2018

My Review of Titans 1x06: "Jason Todd"

Written by Richard Hatem & Jeffrey David Thomas
Directed by Carol Banker

Jason (to Dick): "You want to know the difference between us? I know who I am. I kick ass with Batman and I fucking love it. Who the fuck are you? Fuck you!"

Breaking away from the main series and keeping Rachel, Kory and Gar's screen time more limited this week, the focus instead fell onto Dick being confronted with his replacement Robin, Jason Todd (Curran Walters) and to say, it was a sobering experience would be underselling it.

I've been looking forward to see Jason Todd and this episode did not disappoint. We know that Jason is volatile and reckless in the comics, something which will lead into his eventual death and resurrection as Red Hood (though this show is not guaranteed to go there as such) and I loved that this episode fully went with that depiction as well.

For the most part, Jason seemed eager to meet Dick and compare notes while at the same passive aggressively mentioning that Batman seemed a bit more indulgent of his antics compared to what Batman probably was when Dick was the Robin of the day. The fact that Dick learned Bruce didn't wait long to replace him clearly stung along with the reveal of a tracking device planted inside him as well.

The tracking device bit threw me off. For me that felt extremely wrong for Bruce/Batman to do and I refuse to believe for a second that someone with Jason's personality would be cool about it either. In fact, shouldn't he have been more furious with Bruce a tracking device inside him than Dick to a certain extent?

Of course whatever friendly rapport that could've been formed with Dick and Jason in this episode really didn't last long. Dick's past became a bigger focus this week when Tony Zucco's son, Nicholas (Tony Mac) waged a murderous campaign against Dick by killing some former Haly's Circus members in revenge for the former Robin allowing his father to die at the hands of Maroni's gang.

Nicholas was a decent enough villain and there was the fact that former strong man Clayton was used as bait to smoke Dick out for a decent confrontation as well, which Jason then wrecked when he decided to beat up some cops to externalise his own anger issues. I liked that Clayton survived, and the Dick/Jason confrontation was effectively done as well. If anything, I do think Jason making himself known to Dick might help the latter properly move on with things in the second half of the season.

- Adamson spent most of the episode unconscious before telling Kory that he won't talk to anyone other than Rachel. Kory also seemed to have a little costume change in this one.
- Nice look of the Batmobile and Batcave in this episode along with the mentions of the Maroni crime family, Two Face and the Haly's Circus flashbacks.
- I noticed the show played around with the title sequence this week to add Jason into the mix. I wonder will they do that when Donna Troy shows up.
- Chronology: Flashbacks were in 2002 and the present day seems to be 2017.

Jason Todd had some of the more violence and swearing that hampered the first two episodes but wasn't nearly as jarring here as it was back then. A strong rapport between Brenton Thwaites and Curran Walters along with an engaging guest baddie and various Bat related allusions certainly elevated the episode as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x07: "Kerblam!"

Written by Pete McTighe
Directed by Jennifer Perriot

Kerblam Bot: "Delivery fulfilled. And remember, if you want it... Kerblam it!"

Anyone hoping for a week's reprieve of social commentary, well, you're not going to get it here but on the other hand, you will get a story that feels like a Doctor Who story, so that's a turn up for the books, right?

This week, the Doctor, Ryan, Yasmin and Graham end up on Kandoka's Moon as they investigate an outer space version of Amazon in the shape of Kerblam! following the Doctor getting a special delivery from one of their robots and a message calling for help.

Once our TARDIS team end up there, they're split into groups - the Doctor and Ryan are in packing with the rather bubbly Kira Arlo (Claudia Jessie) while Yasmin works with family man Dan (Lee Mack) - the latter ending up a victim of the main threat this week as Graham ends up in maintenance with a young lad named Charlie (Leo Flanagan).

Then there's the head of HR herself, Judy Maddox (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and the boss himself, Jarva Slade (Callum Dixon) and to be fair, I pegged both of them as the ones involved in the workers disappearing and assumed would be the human antagonists of the episode. Jarva in particular was definitely a clever case of misdirect as he seemed the most hostile towards the Doctor and her companions but this episode decided to surprise us with the human baddie this week.

A bit like last week with Manish, Charlie is a human antagonist willing to kill and endanger lives and pass it off as an end to justify the means. Of course his great scheming went wrong when his crush Kira became a victim of killer bubble wrap and Kerblam's own system  named Twirly was trying to fight against his actions by summoning the Doctor.

Charlie also bucked the trend by being the first antagonist to actually die this series along with the other Kerblam worker bots as well. While I would've preferred not having a human baddie and an alien villain instead of sinister robots, at least Charlie seemed more conflicted compared to previous humanoid antagonists this series and the robots actually had some menace to them as well. It still doesn't disguise the fact that the show needs to up the ante with the monsters but at least an actual antagonist got a comeuppance this week.

As for the TARDIS crew, there was some great moments here as they all played individual roles in helping to figure out the main mystery and interact with the main guest stars well this week. I do think this was the strongest episode for Ryan in particular since possibly Rosa, though Graham and Yasmin weren't lacking in great moments as well.

- Bit of a Broadchurch reunion this week with Jodie Whittaker (the Doctor), Julie Hesmondhalgh (Judy Maddox) and the voice of Kerblam being Matthew Gravelle as well.
- The episode made strong references to Ryan's dyspraxia and being a warehouse worker and even alluded to Yasmin being a police officer.
- I did smile seeing the Doctor wearing a fez again along with the reference to The Unicorn And The Wasp. Plus, some more Venusian Aikido as well.
- Writer Pete McTighe will be known to some people for being responsible for popular Australian prison drama, Wentworth but he's also worked on Doctor Who content for the Season 19 DVD set as well.
- I'm pretty sure Graham isn't 310 but I did laugh at him telling Charlie that he was though.
- Chronology: Kandoka's Moon in the Kerblam factory in the near future.

Kerblam! in some ways isn't tackling anything new in terms of workforces or consumerism (Planet Of The Ood, anyone?) but it's certainly an engaging episode with some stakes attached and does well with utilising both the main and guest casts this week. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing another script from writer Pete McTighe next series, going by this one alone.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, November 16, 2018

My Review Of How To Get Away With Murder's 5x08: "I Want To Love You Until The Day I Die"

Written by Joe Fazzio
Directed by Stephen Cragg

Connor (to Oliver): "I wanna love you until the day I die and you better not die before me, because life would not be worth living without you."

Good news people: Oliver doesn't die. I mean, despite some of the flashforwards earlier in the season, I didn't think he was going to but two seasons ago, the writers did pull a similar fake out with Wes and we know what happened there.

It's amazing that out of everything that happened in this episode, Connor and Oliver's wedding day by comparison was the least dramatic thing of the bunch. Now, that's not a criticism. They're one of the few couples I actually ship these days and wedding wise, we got lovely vows from both guys, a great reception and of course, Conrad Ricamora's beautiful vocal chords. For Coliver fans like myself, this episode was a treat. For everyone else, less good things happened.

Starting with Bonnie first - I really thought she landed on her feet with Miller and after spending a good portion of the season portraying him as a decent guy who genuinely cared for Bonnie, I have to admit I'm disappointed if he genuinely played a role in Nate Sr's death. I am however not surprised that Miller ended up being the one who died at the wedding. Didn't we all see this coming to be honest?

What did surprise me a little was the red mist that descended with Nate, following him learning about Miller did. Nate has never been the most interesting of characters to watch and five seasons in, a part of me is still surprised that he's actually there, so I don't know if making him a killer will suddenly make him a more compelling character or possibly just shorten his time on the show.

Though technically, it wasn't Nate who did Miller in. Bonnie, having learned nothing from Rebecca was the one to finish her boyfriend. I actually felt sorry for Miller in this episode, which is odd if he really was responsible for Nate Sr's death. As for Bonnie, this will inevitably put her back into a dark path that she was just about getting her out of.

As for the other big reveal of the episode - that one was a disappointment for me. Having Gabriel be revealed as Sam's son might have had more impact about two seasons ago but now, it really does feel like the show should be past Sam at this point. I like that the show doesn't forget him but I do wonder if sometimes they're too beholden to the character as well.

I did find Gabriel's scenes with Annalise at the church and then her apartment at the end a bit chilling, so I guess it'll be interesting to see where the second half of the season goes with the character I guess. Gabriel might be out to get Annalise but he also might not be. I do wonder if he should've been Bonnie's son though.

- Is there a bit of a mystery with what Oliver's father actually does? I'm hoping we see him in the second half of the season.
- I had forgotten that Annalise wasn't Sam's first wife. I guess that means Gabriel's mother might have been.
- Standout music: Gotta go with Oliver's version of John Legend's All Of Me. Cheesy as hell but it did work though.
- Chronology: Clearly in December at this rate.

I Want To Love You Until The Day I Die might not have packed a punch compared to previous winter finales and at times, it did feel like Asher, Michaela and Laurel had bugger all to do while Frank was the one to break the Gabriel news to Annalise. Saying that, I did enjoy that Connor and Oliver's wedding mostly went without a hitch and there should be interesting consequences for Nate in the second half of the season, now that he's joined the murder club.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 15, 2018

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Apocalypse Then

Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Myrtle (to Cordelia): "It appears as though we're fucked my dear."

Well, this has certainly been a rollercoaster of a rather flashback heavy season that even this episode spent a quarter of it's time explaining to us why Coco and Mallory had the personalities they had while they were in Outpost 3. The fact that Coco's new personality was somewhat based on Madison did make me laugh of course.

While we probably didn't need that trip down memory lane, it was nice to see Myrtle open the episode with a fleeting interaction with the likes of Venable, Jeff and Mutt to secure Coco and Mallory's places at Outpost 3 while Madison became an Uber driver and had vengeance in mind for Dinah, following her deduction of the latter betraying the witches to Michael.

Dinah getting her comeuppance in this episode was somewhat glorious with Cordelia teaming up with Nan in order to extract Marie Laveau from hell in order to send Dinah right there. With every other Coven character appearing this season, I'm somewhat surprised they didn't find a way to slip Fiona into the mix but it seems Marie was quickly sent back to hell when she tried to hold Michael off though.

Speaking of Michael - he did his villainous gloating and watched as Cordelia killed off the Meade robot while at the same time he also killed off Madison, Marie and Coco without barely tensing a muscle but it was Cordelia's own self sacrifice that helped Mallory rise to the supremacy that the show has been going on about for weeks now.

Mallory's genius plan for stopping Michael meant going back to 2015 and mowing him down with an SUV a good few times. Plans wise, it was a bit crude but it seemed to do the trick as a frustrated Constance watched her grandson die and did nothing to alleviate his suffering. Michael was a fun antagonist for this season but can you really kill the Antichrist and prevent the end of days?

The obvious answer to that one would be no, as we learn in 2020 when Timothy and Emily from earlier in the season meet up under different circumstances, fall in love, have a kid and soon enough, when the kid reached three, the babysitter died. The ending with Meade, Anton and the other Satanist proved that the cycle will continue again.

As for Mallory - well, she did save the world and somehow managed to prevent both Zoe and Queenie from dying while also getting Nan to release Misty from hell. Bumping off the Antichrist apparently gives you some underworld street cred, but at the same time, Myrtle was never brought back to life and despite her character growth this season, Madison is still stuck in hell. Here's hoping when the apocalypse re-emerges, Madison and Myrtle will be back again.

- Did Myrtle inadvertently inspire Venable's "greys" and "purples" caste system for Outpost 3? Venable might have been trying to save us all with her no sex policy after all.
- What was with Dinah and Queenie's wigs in this episode? Queenie's looked especially bad.
- Nan continues to love being in hell. It's also nice to see that LaLaurie is continuing to suffer there as well.
- Chronology: October 2021 for the main event, before we went back to 2015 and then both 2020 and 2024.

Apocalypse Then had the task to wrap this fun but flawed season up and while I thought it might have struggled to do so, it did a good job in doing. I do wonder with the ending here, are we being set up for a sequel series? I think after the OTT stylings of this year, we might need a more stripped theme for next season but I wouldn't mind revisiting the end of days on this show again though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x04: "Wet Hot American Bummer"

Written by Ray Utarnachitt & Tyrone B. Carter
Directed by David Geddes

Ray: "I'll have you know, I am no stranger to the world of magic."
Constantine: "Yeah, don't think I haven't heard how Nora Darkh had you eating out of the palm of her wicked little hand."

It might be winter right now, but for the Legends this week, summer has come early with a spate of child related deaths at a summer camp getting their interests when a movie franchise going by another DC character's name has their attention. Swamp Thaaang, anyone?

Heading to Camp Owaga in the summer of 1995, you've got Sara, Ava, Ray and Constantine as the kind of counsellors you've expect them to be. You've got Ray being cheerful and super helpful with the kids, Sara being something of a cool aunt, Constantine mostly snarking in the background and Ava being something of a drill sergeant, which was enough to earn her an unflattering nickname and to become the victim of a fairly tame prank as well.

One of the strengths of this story was the reminder that Ava doesn't actually have a childhood so her inability to deal with children made more sense here. I knew the show wasn't going to drop the implications about her being a clone but this wasn't one of the ways I thought the show would also tackle the issue.

Having Constantine give Ava and Sara a spell to turn them into kids in order to get the other kids to open up about their real fears of a monster chasing after them worked pretty well to boot. There was a good enough likeness with the younger actors portraying Sara and Ava and it was amusing that cheerful and cute Chad turned out to be the monster rather than the more mean spirited Paula.

As for Constantine and Ray - pairing those two characters together was always going to be a good thing and having them work through their differences to help save the kids as well made for some characters moments. While Constantine did come across as a bit too nasty to Ray over Nora, he wasn't exactly wrong either about Ray's feelings for her. Speaking of Nora, she came back and just in time as Constantine's self sacrifice took a lot out of him and the Legends will need another magical person to help save him.

Away from the main plot this week, the B plot also had Charlie trying to escape her prison by tricking Zari, bonding with Mick over alcohol and shared prison experiences and even giving the Legends tips on how to deal with the baddie this week. It was enough to earn her freedom and a place on the Waverider with the gang. When Nora joins up as well, it really is going to be a very female led ship. Not a criticism by the way.

- Swamp Thing might not be appearing in this universe (but he'll have his own show in 2019 on DC Universe) but Constantine mentioned his association with the guy.
- Nate and Gary were no shows here. Nick Zano has his reasons as to why he didn't appear in this episode on his latest Instagram post.
- Did the show really quote a previously negative review that AV Club gave them? That's something else, alright.
- Chronology: 1995 for the most part. Not sure when Nora is but I guess probably 2018.

Wet Hot American Bummer was the camp tale I didn't expect but it was definitely one that I enjoyed a lot more than I expected to. There wasn't anything in regards to what Constantine is running away from this week but the continuity on Ava's clone origins and Charlie's insertion into the team, coupled with Nora's return, it's all good though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 12, 2018

My Review of Titans 1x05: "Together"

Written by Bryan Edward Hill & Gabrielle Stanton
Directed by Meera Menon

Jason: "Wow, Dick Grayson in the flesh. Nice to meet you bro, I'm the new Robin."

Well, look who decided to show up earlier than expected? I guess I should've seen the writers not being able to resist temptation and have Jason Todd (Curran Walters) appear in the final moments of this one to set up his proper debut in the next episode. Not that I'm complaining mind.

Having Jason show up to help Dick out of a jam with the assassins sent to kill off Adamson was a nice way of conveying that even Dick seemed to be unaware of the fact that he had a successor. It's even more appropriate as well, considering that he finally had come out as Robin to Kory, Rachel and Gar in this episode when they had to deal with the Nuclear Family yet again.

Speaking of the Nuclear Family, well they got a younger looking father this week but their time as antagonist came to something of an abrupt end when Adamson decided to blow their heads up with a remote device he had before Kory could get around to torturing them for more information on their pursuit of Rachel.

As antagonists, they were an oddly amusing bunch but now that we're about to enter the second half of the season, the show does need to show it's hand with the baddies here. I get the feeling by next week, Adamson himself will be out of the picture so if Rachel's father really is the main antagonist, isn't it well overdue that we actually see him now? I really do hope the show can actually deliver with Trigon.

As for our main heroes themselves, they're still not going by a certain title but this episode did really solidify them as a group, especially now that Dick has come out to them as Robin. We even got to see some potential pairings with both Dick and Kory and even Rachel and Gar seem rather fond of each other as well.

Dick and Kory even had sex in this episode to the delight of many shippers I don't doubt but there's still some tension there with Kory not remembering who she actually is and Dick trying his damndest to avoid talking about himself. I'm hoping now that the character will lighten up a little more but I have a feeling meeting Jason might have mixed results as to whether or not he can move past his feud with Bruce at the moment.

- The training montage with Kory, Gar and Rachel was pretty amusing as Dick kept trying to deflect what he could actually do with the gang.
- Bryan Edward Hill, who co-wrote this episode has written for Detective comics and The Outsiders as well.
- Aside from naked Dick and Gar, we also had the former being propositioned by both Kory and the motel owner this week.
- Chronology: From where Doom Patrol more or less left off.

I'm pleased in the last three weeks that the quality of this show has taken a turn for the better. Together continues the trend of strong episodes, the violence seems a little more toned down compared to the first two episodes and the humour is more at the forefront. Good show.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x06: "Demons Of The Punjab"

Written by Vinay Patel
Directed by Jamie Childs

The Doctor (to Umbreen/Prem): "Something I believe in in my faith, love, in all it's forms is the most powerful weapon we have. Because love is a form of hope and like hope, love abides in the face of everything."

One of the biggest complaints about this series surrounding the new companions was that Yasmin has been the least focused on out of the three and it's been a valid enough argument. This episode then is something of a focal shift for the young police officer as we get to have a delve into her grandmother's past during a rather volatile time in India's history.

When Nani Umbreen (Leena Dhingra) seemed cagey about revealing the story of a broken watch on her birthday to her family, Yasmin implored the Doctor to take a trip down memory. You'd think after Father's Day, this would be the last thing any Doctor would with a companion but apparently the lesson from that episode was forgotten as the gang materialise in the Punjab in late 1940's where Yasmin gets some history lessons.

First of all, she gets to meet a younger version of her grandmother (Amita Suman) on the eve of the latter's wedding to former soldier Prem (Shane Zaza), which freaks Yasmin out as Prem isn't actually her grandfather so she's not too pleased that her nana was previously married to another. The other vital bit of history is that the TARDIS crew had landed in India during the Partition and that by the end of this episode we would see one hell of a family falling out between Prem and his younger brother, Manish (Hamza Jeetooa) as the latter disapproved of Umbreen for being Muslim while Manish and Prem were Hindu themselves.

I'm not going to lie - prior to this episode at all, I had very little knowledge of the Partition and I thought it was not only handy of writer Vinay Patel to give us one of many stories alluding to the event itself but also to post out some helpful links as well. I think the show deserves praise for exploring a part of history not touched on often in other media, something about this episode just didn't come together as it could've done.

Once again, like Rosa a few weeks ago, this was a part of history with a certain situation unfolding (the divide between India and Pakistan and of course, Prem and Manish, resulting in the former being shot by the latter) where the Doctor and the companions couldn't influence or change anything but even the monsters of the week themselves, the Thijarian were absolutely useless here.

This has been a growing problem with this series now and it's becoming a massive source of irritation at this point. I wouldn't have minded the Thijarian abandoning their assassin ways to become chief mourners if this series hadn't been riddled with absolutely toothless new monsters, which is ironic considering that one of them collected teeth. It's all well and good for Chibnall to rest classic foes but when he isn't coming up with new compelling baddies himself (and he hasn't if we're being honest here), then you realise the show has a major problem on it's hands.

The main cast as usual are great though. I do love this Doctor and I've grown to really care for Graham, Yasmin and Ryan and the series has had some beautiful character bits but the lack of jeopardy, excitement and compelling monsters is increasingly becoming a hindrance to the show at this rate. I'm really hoping the remaining four episodes will inject some menace into proceedings now.

- Anyone else starting to get the feeling that Graham's cancer has returned? I thought it two weeks ago when he saw Grace but something about his conversation with Yasmin has convinced me he's not making it out of this series alive.
- The Doctor made another reference to being a man as well as officiating Prem and Umbreen's big day. We had the Hindu tradition of hands being tied together.
- The timing of this episode was fairly appropriate as it aired on Remembrance Sunday.
- Shane Zaza who played Prem technically has been in the Doctor Who universe before, having played a character named Atif in the TARDISODES series. The Partition also was previous explored in the 10th Doctor/Donna book, Ghosts Of India.
- Segun Akinola's music really was a high point for this episode as well. He's been a worthy successor to Murray Gold so far.
- Chronology: August 17th and 18th, 1947 and present day 2018 in Sheffield.

Demons Of The Punjab is something of a strange episode. It's undeniably a step up from the misfire of the previous week and I commend it tackling a piece of history not often discussed but for some reason, it just didn't really land for me. I really wanted to love this episode and there's a lot to recommend but between the ineffective monsters and some of the guest cast lacking a little, it was a little disappointing.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, November 09, 2018

Meeting Your Enemies Again

Yeah, it's been a few weeks since I've done one of these but here's a rundown of some of the programs I've watched since there. Finished up in a few cases too.

911: Since I last blogged about this show, I have finished up the first season and watched at least the first three episodes of the second season, due to SkyWitness being speedy with the latter. For a show that I initially thought was going to be tame by Ryan Murphy's standards, I've really grown to love this series. The Buck/Abby might have petered out but I've quite liked the Athena/Bobby one and so far, both Maddie and Eddie have turned out to be likeable new additions to the series. The earthquake two parter was also a series highlight as well.

Arrow: Four episodes into the show's seventh season and I am beyond bored of Oliver's prison storyline. It's been dull and cliched at every turn and Felicity has managed to become even more insufferable apart from Oliver than she was with him. The flash forwards with older versions of Roy, William, Dinah and Zoe have been thankfully good and the current splintered gang along with the new Green Arrow (totally a female character) have been better but what does it say when the weakest aspect of the show now revolves around the title character? On the other hand, props to the show for it's clear commitment in giving Black Siren an organic redemptive storyline and for her deadpan snarking as well.

Killing Eve: This has easily been the best UK show so far this year (sorry, Bodyguard fans) with both Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer giving it their all as Eve and Villanelle respectively and the last three episodes certainly upped the cat and mouse ante between the two as the latter went off script and killed her Konstantin for good measure. With the show renewed for a second season and a new showrunner (Call The Midwife's Emerald Fennell replacing Phoebe Waller-Bridge), I really do hope the show avoids the pitfalls of difficult second album syndrome after this rather superlative first outing.

Krypton: With the second season currently filming, E4 blitzed through the remaining episodes with a spate of double bills and I have to admit, the latter half of the season was mostly good. I like the set up for Doomsday for next season, hoping that we don't have to wait too long to see Adam Strange and thought that Colin Salmon did a pretty good job as Zod while Seg El, Nyssa and Lyta made for a strong team as well. Prequel wise, I still feel like this isn't a show that we particularly need but it's been somewhat better than expected, so I probably will give the second season a watch.

Supergirl: Four episodes into the fourth season so far and I've not been greatly impressed with what we've got here. In terms of the newbies, so far both Nia Nal and Manchester Black have been good but Agent Liberty, Mercy and Otis Graves have been extremely dire to watch. The show has never been subtle with it's political commentary but even in it's second season the writing for it never felt as sloppy as it has been this season. So far, nothing is especially gripping me this season. Hopefully it picks up before so far, it's as poor as Arrow has been.

The Flash: Somewhat better than Arrow and Supergirl at the moment but at the same time, not doing anything too compelling outside of focusing on Nora's relationships with Barry and Iris and giving us a bit of a sympathetic-ish backstory for metahuman serial killer, Cicada. So far the latter seems like a decent enough antagonist and I've not minded Ralph and Caitlin working together to find the latter's father but Cisco hasn't had much to really do and I'm not too keen on Sherloque as of yet. Other than that, it's still pretty solid stuff so far.

- Andy Bean and Derek Mears have been cast as Alec Holland and the title character alike for DC Universe's upcoming Swamp Thing TV series.
- Charmed has been picked up for a full season of 22 episodes. UK viewers will be able to see the show on E4 in 2019.
- Gotham's final season will now be 12 episodes and premiere on January 3rd 2019 for US viewers. Shane West will also be playing Bane.
- A Discovery Of Witches has been renewed for a second and third season by Sky1.
- John Barrowman will be returning to Arrow's seventh season.
- Orange Is The New Black will end with it's seventh season but Netflix are in talks to do a sequel series.
- Jeremy Irons will play an older Ozymandias in the upcoming Watchmen series for HBO. Jean Smart will also be co-starring in the series as an FBI agent.
- Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina are being sued by a Satanic Temple over copyright on using one of their images.
- Veronica Mars will be adding Patton Oswalt in a recurring role for it's upcoming revival on Hulu.
- Both Loki and Scarlett Witch will be getting series on Disney's upcoming streaming service.

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 5x07: "I Got Played"

Written by Maya Goldsmith
Directed by Eric Laneuville

Annalise (to Birkhead): "I can't wait to take you down."

Hopefully when this does inevitably happens, it will be pretty glorious. In three episodes, the show has certainly made Birkhead into a decent enough antagonist for Annalise as the fall out of Nate Sr's death also resulted in Annalise also botching Nate's chances of getting an inquest for his father. Like the title of the episode says, but it does seem like Annalise was a little too easily played here.

I was disappointed to also learn that Annalise had been drinking again but at least Bonnie took some steps to try and get her back on track while Tegan also stepped into the fray by giving Annalise enough dirt so that Emmett would take her back at Caplan & Gold. The Emmett bit took an interesting turn as Annalise offered to help him rather than blackmail him and he accepted her offer. Perhaps Emmett might not be a baddie after all.

Then there's the adoption bit of the episode - did Annalise successfully adopt a kid and lose them? Birkhead tried to hold this over Annalise in order to get her to back down but it wasn't successful. It's possibly that Gabriel might be that kid but surely, Annalise would've remembered him, right? Speaking of Gabriel it does seem like he's got his hooks into Michaela as Frank and Laurel continue to do nothing more than just spy on him.

As for Connor and Oliver - well, they talked to a nice female priest about their upcoming nuptials, went out with everyone else for the least "Gays Gone Wild" on network television before the former got into a fight with a homophobe. This at least answers as to why Connor is covered in bruises on the big day.

Speaking of the big day, the flashbacks seem to now indicate that Bonnie is not the killer but that she does know who the killer is though. The victim also seems to be male and the killer clearly had help in moving the body as well. It's probably the most exciting part of the flash forwards that we've had and hopefully next week's winter finale will give us a satisfying answer.

- Asher had some nice bits with Bonnie/Ronald and the gang this week but it's becoming obvious that the show has no idea what to do with him though.
- Connor hates Mamma Mia apparently. Yeah, I could live with that if I were Oliver.
- Laurel openly teased Michaela about her Tegan fixation but I'm still hoping for an Annalise/Tegan pairing at some point this season.
- Chronology: Not long until the big day now. A month has passed since Nate Sr's death as well.

I Got Played did little to advance Bonnie's storyline and I'm not sure about this previous adoption storyline with Annalise (who was floundering a lot this episode) but the flash forwards were the strongest we've had and hopefully this Gabriel storyline will be done with soon as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, November 08, 2018

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Fire And Reign

Written by Asha Michelle Wilson
Directed by Jennifer Arnold

Michael (to the witches): "I told Cordelia exactly what I was going to do to you all."

Ah yes, between brooding about not having an instruction manual for being the Antichrist, Michael might have mentioned something about getting revenge for Meade's death. Here, he somewhat did that by taking out most of Cordelia's girls and only three of actual importance as we had to watch Zoe, Queenie and Bubbles die and Michael made sure that Cordelia wasn't able to bring them back either.

Of course, Cordelia, Myrtle, Madison, Mallory and Coco all managed to survive and when Cordelia didn't flip out over Madison not telling her about Michael's ability to burn souls or cry about her failure as a Supreme, Myrtle at least was made of sterner stuff. I've not always been the biggest fan of Myrtle but she has been a great mentor to Cordelia yet again and at least she was trying to come up with ideas to deal with Michael bringing about the end of days.

Trying to ally themselves with the Warlocks however turned out to be fruitless, considering that Michael quickly dispatched of them. A shame as I enjoyed both Behold and John Henry but not a surprise either that he'd slaughter them all.

However the solution to stopping Michael now seems to be falling into Mallory's hands. This week, Myrtle and Cordelia tried to test the future Supreme's powers by having her go back in time to prevent the assassination of the Romanovs. It also seems that Anastasia was a witch, albeit not a powerful enough one to prevent her family's death and even Mallory wasn't able to get a handle on this ability as of yet.

It was predicted ages ago that time travel would play a role in Michael's inevitable defeat and while Mallory failed at it here, she'll probably get the handle on it by next. I don't know how this show is going to wrap up this all by next week but I have a feeling some short curs are going to be made in order to do it.

As for the rest of the episode - Jeff and Mutt were mainly pulling the strings through Michael in order to get the Cooperative/Illuminati in order for the end of days while at the same time charming a rather fed up Venable into taking over one of her outposts. It is a little annoying that Michael was seemingly manipulated by two coked out nerds for most of this episode but with any luck, both Jeff and Mutt have some horrible deaths coming their way when their big plan does come to fruition.

- Misty was out gallivanting with Stevie Nicks while Cordelia and her remaining coven were hiding out in Misty's shack.
- Dinah helped Michael kill the witches so she could get thirteen episodes of a talk show? There's got to be some kind of a comeuppance for her next week.
- Looks like we're getting another appearance from Constance next week going by that trailer.
- Chronology: From where Sojourn left off as well as the visit to 1918 Siberia.

Fire And Reign certainly marked an improvement on last week but it's still odd to me that we are still in flashback mode with only one episode to go. I'm also not sure why the last few episodes have been shorter than usual but at least we're back towards the present where hopefully next week's finale will bring about a satisfying ending for things.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x03: "Dancing Queen"

Written by James Eagan & Morgan Faust
Directed by Kristin Windell

Ray (re Charlie): "She definitely isn't Amaya."
Mick: "No, but I do like her."

With this season upping the regulars, it was high time we met two more of them as we've already had Ava and Constantine firmly bedded into the season. First up - it's Charlie and she's quite something else as the Legends (mostly Ray) learned in this episode.

Taking things 1977 London, Charlie is the lead singer in a punk group named the Smell and she's determined to cause her own anarchy in the UK by having the Queen acting all punk and getting an undercover "Rage" to indulge in a bout of Corgi napping for good measure.

Mostly played by former Sarah Jane Adventures actor, Anjli Mohidra, Charlie is a fun enough antagonist for this episode, forming a rather nice bond with Ray before the rest of the Legends stepped into the fray with Constantine removing her shape shifting abilities and complicating things for the group by having her stuck in the form of Amaya. Acting wise, this will definitely give Maisie Richardson-Sellers an interesting challenge and allow her to use her own natural accent.

Needless to say, this is going to cause further tensions within the group, especially as Nate has been avoiding going back to the Waverider so he's not reminded of Amaya at all. Speaking of Nate, keeping him at the Time Bureau isn't a bad idea as his scenes with Ava and Gary have been rather fun to watch and this week, they also included a fight with a deadly plant from another time period.

Onto our other new regular - this episode also debuted delivery girl, Mona (Ramona Young) who  seemed to take a shine to Gary when the latter wasn't wiping her mind. Right now, I'll admit the character left me a bit cold and with Nora also due to resurface at some point, I can't help wondering if we really need Mona as a regular. Hopefully the next few episodes will do something interesting with the character though.

As for the rest of the episode, when there wasn't fun being pulled at Ray's lack of rebellious streak, we also had Constantine and Mick nearly coming to blows and the former also having a rather fraught reunion with his parents. I did quite like Zari's scenes with John this week and her gesture at the end was rather sweet. As for the rivalry between Mick and Constantine, well that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

- Zari's air totem is now a bracelet thanks to some modifications Ray made to it. Ray also ended up confessing to Sara that he let Nora loose.
- It seems that John and Gary "broke up" off screen. Boo to that one. Did we also see Papa Midnite in that flashback?
- Bit tacky to get the "dare to defy" CW tagline in there with Gary, wasn't it?
- Chronology: 1977 London and the Pleistocene period.

Dancing Queen marked a good debut for Charlie but I could've done without Declan's fake Irish accent and even though I am enjoying Constantine as a regular, sending the baddie of the week to hell can't be the only solution all the time. Granted, Ray managed to stop that happening to Charlie but it's still a format I don't want the show to fall into continuously though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, November 05, 2018

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x05: "The Tsuranga Conundrum"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Jennifer Perrot

Monitor: "Risk to life: ultimate."

It had to happen at some point, didn't it? After a strong opener, entertaining if diverting second and fourth episodes and a series highlight with the third offering, we've finally hit our first and hopefully only dud episode of the series. I'd like to say I was surprised with how badly this one turned out to be but I'd be lying.

Things start with the Doctor, Graham, Yasmin and Ryan on a scrapyard planet before blasted and teleported to a space hospital where they soon find themselves having to stop the most dangerous thing in the universe.

Now this could've been a great moment to wow viewers with the return of a classic foe but instead Chibnall opted for another one of his own creations with the - Pting. It's small like an Adipose, slightly looks like a Porg and like a Gremlin, it's something of a greedy little bugger, eating everything on sight.

It doesn't largely help sell the threat of the Pting when Yasmin at one point is able to kick it around as a football but the Pting comes in handy for absorbing the energy of a bomb before it's left to fend for itself in the vacuum of space. Five episodes in and aside from the humanoid baddies, none of Chibnall's alien monsters are actually landing. I'll admit, much as I am enjoying our current TARDIS crew, this is starting to become a concern for me.

Speaking of the crew - Yasmin was mostly with the Doctor this week and with the latter, she largely interacted with sister and brother duo - Eve and Durkas Cicero as played by Suzanne Packer and Ben Bailey-Smith respectively. The Cicero family dynamic was explored decently enough and they had a hunky robot in Ronan (David Shields), who wasn't really that useful but truth be told, this was a story that arguably suffered from too many guest characters.

Separated from the Doctor and Yasmin, both Graham and Ryan found themselves being birthing partners to a pregnant man named Yoss (Jack Shalloo). I hate Mpreg as a fanfiction trope to the point where I will outright not read a fiction containing it, so it was something I could've done without in this episode. The character was likeable enough and it was a means at looking into Ryan's own father issues but other than that, I don't think the episode would've suffered from cutting Yoss out of the script.

As for crew members - we did get two of them. Astos (Brett Goldstein) had a bit of an interesting rapport with the Doctor but was too quickly taken out of the story to make a real impact. Faring somewhat better was Mabli (Lois Chimimba), who also managed to survive the episode and had some nice scenes with the Doctor but other than that, my mind drifted a lot with this episode.

- Something's wrong with the Doctor's exo-spleen and going by next week's trailer, this will continue to be a thing for her.
- Apparently there was some clips of past monsters in the episode for a brief moment. I really hope Chibnall brings back one of them in the next five episodes.
- Ryan opened up about his mother's death to Yasmin while Yoss's species birth males and carry them for a week.
- I just realised that this is the second episode this series not to actually feature the TARDIS.
- We got references to Call The Midwife and Hamilton in this episode.
- Chronology: 67th century on board the Tsuranga.

Without a doubt, The Tsuranga Conundrum is one of the worst episodes that the show has ever produced. I don't think any era that did this episode would've pulled it off well and as horrible as it was to watch, it doesn't negate the good work we've still had this series and will probably have in the remainder of it. However, it was the first time where it felt like there were too many characters in a short space of time and Chibnall needs to come up with a new monster that can actually land for audiences as well.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Saturday, November 03, 2018

My Review of Titans 1x04: "Doom Patrol"

Written by Geoff Johns
Directed by John Fawcett

Caulder (to Rachel): "This is for your own good."

Months before this show finally hit DC Universe, it was announced that a spin-off centering on the Doom Patrol was going to be a thing and in some ways, this episode is something of a back door pilot to that spin-off. It's also not considering that three of the characters we meet here will be played by different actors when that show launches in 2019.

Having fled the convent in the previous episode, Rachel managed to hook up with Gar again and witness his tiger form while scaring two hunters in the process. Last week hinted at a friendship between Rachel and Gar and this one went to town with it as Gar brought Rachel back to his old home while giving her a bit more on his backstory as well.

In the home itself we met Robotman aka Clifford Steele (Jake Michaels), Negative Man aka Larry Trainor (Dwain Murphy) and Elastiwoman aka Rita Farr (April Bowlby) as Rachel got an insight into each of her potential new friends before having to meet with the Chief himself, Niles Caulder (Bruno Bichir ), who was less than enthused with Gar bringing a stranger into his sanctuary.

Of course, Caulder soon took an interest in Rachel's abilities when he witnessed her calming a potential patient down and then made the unwise decision to try and experiment on her. Seriously, this is a thing the show needs to knock off at this point with Rachel. How many more episode are we going to have to see her either being locked up or possibly experimented on? Four episodes in and it's already a trope that needs to be done away with already.

Caulder's plan naturally goes wrong, first with Gar turning on and then with Rachel embracing her demon once again to break Caulder's back and put him in a wheelchair again. I'm not surprised (for obvious reasons) that Gar opted to go with Dick, Kory and Rachel in the end but I am glad that Clifford, Larry and Rita gave him their support to do so.

Aside from Caulder, I think the episode did do a good job of setting up this particular group of outcasts for their upcoming spin-off series and after being somewhat underused in the first three episodes, it was also nice to see Gar in a bigger role than he has been in so far. It's also about time that all of our four main players are finally together as a group too.

As for Dick and Kory - they spent most of their time looking for Rachel while Kory also got to witness Dick's anger issues first hand. I liked that she was able to talk him down but this dark side of Dick just doesn't work that well for the character. Saying that though, this still does mark an improvement on the largely hit and miss first two episodes.

- For the upcoming series you can expect to see Timothy Dalton, Matt Bomer and Brendan Fraser as Niles Caulder, Negative Man and Robotman respectively.
- Gar has been Beast Boy for at least two years going by the opening flashback we saw in this episode.
- Oh dear, Rachel brought a dear back to life. I hope it's not going to go all evil in those snowy woods.
- Chronology: From where Origins left off.

Doom Patrol might be the strongest episode yet in the series and while there's still plenty the show needs to iron out in it's overall quality, there is definitely hope for it yet. I did enjoy the guest cast this week and it's nice to see our main players all banded together now.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Titans 1x03: "Origins"

Written by Richard Hatem & Geoff Johns & Marisha Mukerjee & Greg Walker
Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Koriand'r (to Dick, re Rachel): "She's the destroyer of worlds."

After the first two episodes going overkill on the violence, swearing and bad attempts of grittiness, this episode surprisingly toned some of that down as Rachel found herself quickly rescued from the Nuclear Family by Kory, who happened to be in the neighbourhood at the time.

For one moment in this episode, we get a scene where all four of our main characters shared a moment together. For the majority of the episode, it's largely a splintered group with Kory and Rachel getting to know one another before Dick re-enters the fray with them all in Ohio as Rachel meets up with some nuns from her past.

I'm not surprised that the nuns turned out to be a slightly sinister but misguided bunch with their attempts of locking Rachel in the basement to protect her from herself and the world. It also seemed appropriate enough for Rachel to finally get a hold of her powers and use them to escape from St Paul's as well by the end of this episode.

This episode to its credit does deserve points for moving things along a little further. Kory might not have her memories back but she does know that there's a doom laden prophecy surrounding Rachel and now, so does Dick for that matter. I quite liked Dick and Kory's dynamic in this episode along with Rachel and Kory's and even the brief moment that Rachel also got to share with Gar, even though he's still divorced from the main plot as of now.

As for the Nuclear Family - the father got taken out by Kory and for a moment, I thought the remaining lot were about to be killed by their boss until the daughter managed to get them a brief reprieve. They're somewhat amusing enough as temporary baddies but I won't be too sad to eventually lose them as characters.

Between all the Rachel stuff, there was a fair amount of time dedicated to flashbacks for Dick as well. Mainly involving his adoption and going to live at Wayne Manor, coupled with his murderous desire for revenge. They were decently shot but somewhat frustrating when you know that this show is unlikely to show us either Bruce Wayne or Alfred Pennyworth any time soon.

- Amy is dead but Dawn fortunately is not. Even Hank was thankfully more toned down compared to his previous episode.
- The episode heavily implied that Rachel's father (also known as Trigon) is the main antagonist for the season.
- Locations this week included Illinois, Ohio, Washington and Gotham to name a few.
- Chronology: Late 2018. Kory at least began looking into Rachel around November 2017.

Origins still wasn't perfect as an episode but definitely felt like a marked improvement on the first two. The various back and forth scenes between location and main characters worked more or less in it's favour and it's nice to have the main plot move a little forward as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, November 02, 2018

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 5x06: "We Can Find Him"

Written by Tess Leibowitz
Directed by Jonathan Brown

Annalise (to Emmett, re Birkead/Nate Sr): "I had every intention of turning her down but then I couldn't. Not when I could free the man whose case gave me back my career."

And going by the title for the next episode, we can all say that Annalise got well and truly played here. One proper episode in and Laura Innes has already managed to cement Governor Birkhead as a pretty potent antagonist for Annalise by the way she used Nate Sr as a means to get Annalise to quit Caplan & Gold while at the same time ensuring that Nate Sr ended up a dead man.

Dramatically, this episode was off the charts brilliant with it's three main plots. Much as I wanted the Nate Sr done and dusted, I didn't want him to die. The moment he started writing that letter and Nate was allowed to feel happiness at his father being a free man, it seemed pretty obvious that Nate Sr's days were numbered. A horrible way for the character to go but damn, did it certainly end this episode on one hell of a punch though.

Annalise certainly bit off more than she could chew here and along with Birkhead gunning for, she also made an enemy out of Emmett as well. I mean, that was always going to happen as he's shown his vicious streak in earlier episodes. He certainly showed his true colours when Annalise made the foolish decision to go with Birkhead though.

Also foolish was Bonnie and Julie's scenes together. Bonnie can't genuinely believe that her baby is dead and after all this build up, I don't believe it either. I do however believe that Gabriel is clearly not Bonnie's son, though his actual purpose is something I wish the show would get on with already. The scenes with Bonnie and Julie though were pretty electric to watch along with Frank, Annalise and Ronald all playing good supporting roles for Bonnie's arc here.

Then there was the arrival of Connor and Oliver's mothers - Pam and Joanne. I liked both of the characters and the respective relationships each one of them have with their sons. I'll admit the scene where Oliver talked about having HIV to his mother was extremely poignant while Pam's flirting with Asher seemed to be setting up that little flash forward moment we witnessed at the end of the previous episode.

As for Laurel and Michaela - when the former wasn't blowing hot and cold with Gabriel, she was also competing with Michaela for the case of the week. The Gutbusters plot was amusing as well and I'm liking that Tegan continues to put both Laurel and Michaela through their paces, even if she's slowly softening to both of them.

- The flashfoward this week showed that Ronald is safe and planning to propose to Bonnie. Interesting that we got it at the start of the episode rather than the end of it.
- Connor caved in and called his father, who will undoubtedly stump up the cash for a bigger wedding. Where is Oliver's father though?
- Emmett admitted to Annalise his previous misconduct was the result of him getting involved with a client. I bet there's a bit more to the story though.
- Chronology: A month from the big event it seems.

We Can Find Him is definitely the strongest episode of the season. After the previous two feeling a little more like filler, this episode had some proper meat on it with all of the main plots. Obvious the Connor/Oliver/mothers and Bonnie/Julie stuff was the most riveting but nothing fell apart this week and we have one more character whom we can rule out for good measure.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 01, 2018

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Sojourn

Written by Josh Green
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Madeline: "You're the Antichrist."
Michael: "But nobody gave me an instruction manual."

As we head towards the end of the season, do we really need what essentially amounts to a filler episode when we should be getting back to the present day? Apparently we do and it's a good job that Cody Fern is such a talented actor and that Michael is engaging enough as a character to carry this off, otherwise this episode really would've been insufferable to watch.

Things begin with Michael realising that Cordelia has killed off his allies and when she wasn't lording it over Michael, she tried to reason with him. For a flicker of a moment, it almost appeared as though Michael might have been tempted but he soon told Cordelia that he planned to get back at her for her murder of his allies and placing Meade's soul somewhere out of his reach.

For the rest of the episode, we had Michael in self doubt with his father being no help at all until Michael found himself encountering a group of Satanists and befriending one of them named Madeline, as played by Harriet Samson Harris. Madeline took on a similar role to Meade for Michael, bolstering his confidence and ultimately leading him to a path of Silicon Valley guys, who had at least one use between them.

Finding other roles for Evan Peters and Billy Eichner, we got to see the two of them played coked out morons Jeff and Mutt, who when they weren't pissing off Ms Venable (yup, she appeared again, dressed in purple), actually did Michael a solid by constructing the robotic Ms Meade for him. Personally speaking while Evan and Billy were fine in the roles as such, would it have killed Murphy to have gotten two other actors (with less ridiculous wigs) for these roles? Just a thought perhaps.

Anyways, between the parodies of Satanism groups with Sandra Bernhand as a leader and those awful Silicon Valley lads, it was mostly Michael's journey for getting his evil groove back that dominated the episode. It's down to Fern's performance as an actor that essentially carried this one if we're being candid here.

- Interesting that Michael got tempted with an underwear model wearing angel at one point in this episode when there wasn't menacing kids and a goat that ended up spewing out snakes when killed.
- I don't entirely get how powerful enough Cordelia was that she was able to hide Meade's soul somewhere Michael couldn't reach.
- Apparently making a deal with the devil means you can get Ryan Reynolds on a Thursday or a Friday. Does he come with a Deadpool costume?
- Chronology: From where Traitor left off.

Sojourn is easily the weakest episode of the season and definitely reeked off filler, even if it did give us a pre-apocalypse version of Venable and the origins of the Meade bot. Had this episode been a little earlier in the season, it might have worked a little more but alas, it wasn't.

Rating: 6 out of 10