Friday, June 28, 2013

Soap Discussion - June 2013

And it's been an interesting enough months in the main four soaps, hasn't it?

Coronation Street: Mainly it's been about the surrogacy plot gone predictably sour with Tina deciding to keep Izzy and Gary's baby and renaming the boy from Jake to Joe after her father. I'm glad that the show isn't trying to make us side with Tina because while I'm not liking the likes of Anna and Owen making her life a misery, I do think she's in the wrong here over the baby situation. Meanwhile, I'm loving the return of David's evil side even if he seems to be mostly venting rage towards Nick instead of Kylie but perhaps that isn't the worst thing to do. Well, aside from that recently upcoming spoiler but evil David is rather entertaining at the moment. And the plot with Roy beginning to lose it is another masterstroke for the show at the moment.

EastEnders: This has been the most talked about month the show has had in a while. In tonight's episode and after seven years, Tanya Branning/Cross/Jessop will leave the show and Lauren's spiral into alcoholism will play it's part in that. Lauren's been both frustrating and compelling enough to watch over the last fortnight and the arrival of Kirsty's volatile ex-boyfriend Carl and the exposure of her pregnancy lie has added a little to the story as well. Plus we've had the sixth incarnation of Peter Beale, a bizzare snake plot with Dot, Bianca and Alice both charmed by Carl, Michael spilling the beans about Tommy's parentage, Danny's returning and Janine being her usual scheming self and the opening of Scarlett's as well. The only real dull plot has been Sam and Ava to be honest.

Emmerdale: A solid enough month. I'm all for Debbie getting her comeuppances and all that (let's face it, she's been in need of a smackdown for a while now) but not at the advantage of someone like Robbie. That guy is one of the worst characters on the show and it's mystifying that he's still here at this rate. Can't Cameron y'know, just kill him off? I don't think anyone would hold it against him. Other than that, it's been storylines involving Belle being a bitch to her mates and necking dodgy vodka and Katie getting her own back on Declan by shagging Adam.

Hollyoaks: It might not have been a Red Wedding but Mercedes and Browning's special day was always going to be as volatile as those two combined and this month didn't disappoint, did it? I don't quite like the idea of Myra knowing that Browning killed Lynsey (when he wasn't attempting to rape the other Lindsay), mainly because her hammy acting really has become more and more off putting with each episode but I am liking Mercedes/Browning more and more as a couple and they've been one of the better storylines this month along with the reveal of Vincent's backstory, Anna's return (and the consequences it's had for Patrick, Sienna and Will) and Tony's battle with cancer. Better plotlines that Ste's drug dealing and Sinead taking up too much screentime as per usual. Or Sienna's creepy behaviour with the Osbournes. Oh and some nice John Paul/Doug and Esther/Tilly moments this month as well.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dates - Episodes 6 & 7 Reviews

Third week of the dating saga and sandwiched between shows about asking why two people are singles, Dates has continued to be an interesting viewing experience as the stories become more and more interlinked with each other.

Episode 6: Erica & Callum

This was a strange episode to watch. The last thing I wanted to see was Erica being shoved back into the closet to appease her homophobic family and having her brother choose her a boorish date in Callum (Greg McHugh) meant this episode could only go down. Callum certainly had his moments in this episode, that's for sure. His "zero tolerance" policy mostly involved him being rude to waiting staff, questioning Erica about her sexuality and nearly losing the plot when she told him that he was arrogant. On the plus side, he did get her to come to terms with being gay and the episode managed to end on an encouraging note that she might pick up where she left off with Kate. Sadly Kate did not briefly cameo in this one though, 8/10.

Episode 7: Stephen & Heidi

Okay, this episode is actually called Stephen & Mia but given that the latter isn't in the episode at all (bar an offscreen phone call where she dumps Stephen), it seems more appropriate that it should be called Stephen & Heidi, given how prominent Sian Breckin's character is in this episode. In some ways, I kind of felt like this episode retreaded similar ground with Stephen that his previous one did and Heidi's anger when she realised that he had lied to her about his name and job was justified enough. However, it was a pretty fun episode though Heidi seems to have a similarly free spirited nature (though not as caustic) as Mia, who kind of proves that Stephen seems to be attracted to a certain type of woman, 8/10.

A good bunch episodes here and definitely some lively performances from Greg McHugh and Sian Breckin in their respective ones as well. Hope the last two installments cap off the series nicely and that we get a second run.

Reviews for the last two episodes will be on the blog next week.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Doctor Who - Top 50 Companions: Part 1

With various blogs and what not doing their own little things in relation to Doctor Who's upcoming 50th anniversary episode and with the second half of Series 7 finally aired and reviewed on my end, I've decided to do something else.

Namely a rundown of some of the fifty most interesting companions that the Doctor has traveled with or encountered for a certain period of time. However given the extensive media there is out, this list will also factor some of the companions that perhaps a mainstream audience isn't entirely familiar with but overall, I hope you enjoy it. Without further ado, here's 46-50 on the rundown  ...

46: Thomas 'Hex' Schofield (Philip Olivier)

The Eleventh Doctor wasn't the only incarnation to travel with a male nurse as the Seventh Doctor and Ace beat him to it as early as 2004 with the arrival of Hex Schofield. From the year 2021, Hex travelled with the Doctor and Ace for several audios over the years, being placed into many a danger before an interesting encounter with a former foe of the Seventh Doctor took him out of the mix quite permanently. Or did it?

47: Evelyn Smythe (Maggie Stables)

If ever there was proof (and we've had plenty in the show itself anyways) that an older companion works brilliantly within the show, then surely Evelyn Smythe proves it, doesn't she? A chocolate fixated, fifty something professor who proved to be more than a match for the softening Sixth Doctor and she got to meet the Seventh Doctor as well. More power to her.

48: Dodo Chaplet (Jackie Lane)

Maybe not always seen as the most fondly remembered of companions from the First Doctor era, but was Dodo Chaplet really that bad? Not even close to be honest. She might have gotten a terribly rushed non event of an exit (not the first time this'll happen to a companion) but her teaming up with the First Doctor and Steven was still fun to watch, especially during The Celestial Toymaker in particular.

49: Adric (Matthew Waterhouse)

Has there ever been a companion so polarised in fandom (cough Rose/River/Amy)? I'm not gonna pretend that Adric is the greatest companion ever or that Matthew Waterhouse gave a BAFTA winning performance during his two series on the show but he did work nicely with the Fourth Doctor and his death in the Fifth Doctor story, Earthshock still ranks as one of the series most shocking of moments. And he's not that bad in some parts too.

50: Kamelion (Gerald Flood)

I almost pity Kamelion as a character. Sure, he's made it into my Top 50 but at the same time, he felt like the show's attempt of another K9 and one that only made it to two stories before being conveniently taken out of the equation. On the plus side, at least in both stories he played a part in the Master's scheming going wrong, even if he was used in both stories by the Master. Maybe in another universe he would've been great.

Part 2 will be up next week.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

First Look: Orphan Black

Okay, so the first series has aired completely on BBCAmerica and a second one is in the pipeline but for UK viewers, Orphan Black is going to be pretty new when BBC3 start airing it during the summer months.

The 10 episode series starring Tatiana Maslany sees the actress playing a number of clones all born in 1984 to various women through IVF. The main focus however seems to be on Sarah Manning, a con woman who comes to the startling discovery that they are various clones out there with all different names and lives. Clones that include a policewoman named Beth Childs, a soccer mom named Alison Hendrix, a biologist named Cosima Niehaus , as well as an unknown in the mysterious Helena and the Russian clone, Katja Obinger who figures out Sarah pretty early in the run of episodes. It's quite a feat for Maslany as an actress but given the bits I've seen, she does an excellent job in seperating each of the characters she has to play in the series.

The show features quite a supporting crew as well with The Commitments actress Maria Doyle Kennedy appearing in the series as Mrs S, the woman looking after Sarah's daughter, Kira but other main players in the series include Beth's boyfriend, Paul who seems to be suspicious of his girlfriend's change in attitude (seems that Sarah has a thing for changing her identity) and then there's also supporting character such as Cosima's mentor/lover, Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) and Alison's neighbour, Aynsley (Natalie Lisinska) to watch out for as well during the first ten episodes of the season.

Of course the main supporting character I think will interest most people though will be Jordan Gavaris's Felix - Sarah's foster brother, confidant and all round quipping machine and dubious moral compass for the main clone of the show. The show itself raises some interesting discussion on the nature of cloning and personal identity and given that the main arc itself seems to be involving Sarah bringing down the very company that are responsible for multiple versions of her (the Neolutionists), it's certainly got enough going for it to make for gripping viewing.

Season 1 Trailer:

Orphan Black will be airing soon on BBC3.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Review of True Blood's 6x02: "The Sun"

Written by Angela Robinson
Directed by Daniel Attias

Burrell (to Eric): “It’s time for humans to bite back.”

Well, so far the human race seems to have finally caught up to vampires and it seems that Truman Burrell is actually a legitimate threat to vampires in a way that the Fellowship Of The Sun managed to be but only better. He even managed to get the better out of Eric until the latter resorted into a little kidnapping in order to even the playing field.

Silver bullets with UV light and contact lenses to prevent glamouring are the sort of things that you would’ve thought humanity would’ve been using for a while but it seems that Burrell’s influence and his growing laws against vampire rights has made things into a living hell for those with fangs.

Tara suffered with the bullets until Eric had saved her and the latter’s attempts of getting Burrell to call things off with his battles against vampires backfired on him big time. At least taking Burrell’s daughter captive might help Eric but I get the feeling it won’t work entirely in his favour. I’m not supporting Burrell’s actions but I like that in two episodes he’s become a credible foe and we need that seeing as his opposite Warlow still hasn’t materialised yet.

Getting onto Warlow – it seems Rutger Hauer is actually playing Sookie and Jason’s grandfather Niall and it even seems like he might not be that too far off from the book depiction of him as well. His scenes with both Stackhouse siblings in this episode were some of the best ones we’ve had as well.

Jason himself seemed to be easily charmed and awed by his grandfather and even seemed a tiny bit bummed out when he realised that he wasn’t a fairy prince. More to the point, he was also thankfully far less head wrecking than the previous episode but Niall wasn’t wrong about him being unprepared for Warlow though.

Of course the better scenes involved Sookie though as we learned that Warlow massacred Niall’s family and because she’s a Halfling, any ball of energy she might use to destroy the thousand plus year old vampire may use up her fae powers altogether. It’s interesting timing for Sookie given that she had already indicated to Ben that she had a change of heart of losing her fae abilities altogether.

Speaking of Ben – is he just a nice, charming Halfling himself or is there something more there? It did seem a little too convenient that he met Sookie in the manner that he did and he was a little quick to point out that she reminded him of a former flame of his. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it and he’s just a nice bloke but you can never tell nowadays with those who come to Bon Temps, can you?

Keeping with newcomers – I didn’t care that much for Nicole at all. I get that she has point about shifters making a stand and coming out given that Luna forced their hand with her televised reveal but the way she was badgering Sam and then recording Emma being taken by Alcide and Martha pissed me off to no end. Hopefully Nicole improves as a character because so far this was a pretty bad start to her presence on the show and Sam’s been through enough, especially in this episode.

Which leads me to my point – I don’t like this side to Alcide at all. Martha’s actions I can understand but Alcide and Sam are friends and the fact that he did nothing as Danielle attacked Lafayette to get Emma from Sam seriously left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m really hoping we’re not going to see Alcide drunk on werewolf power this season, especially if it leads to horrible moments like this episode.

As for power – I did not need to see Bilith drain blood from that woman in the manner that he did. On the plus side, at least Bill’s trance scenes with a fully clothed Lilith were both useful (in that we learned some much needed stuff) and weren’t as tedious as the crap we had to endure last season. I also liked the fact that Bill can now see the future and Jessica’s prayer for everyone towards the end of this episode was the most affecting thing we’ve seen this season so far. Jessica really has been placed in quite the unenviable position with Bill.

Also in “The Sun”

Both Rob Kazinsky (Ben) and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Nicole) have been added to the opening credits.

Niall (to Jason): “I am not Warlow. I am your fucking fairy grandfather.”

Warlow has been in Bon Temps for the last 24 hours. Then again so has both Niall and Ben and that’s obviously not a coincidence.

Nora: “They fucking did it. The humans are fighting back.”
Pam: “What did you expect? They’d lie down and take it?”

Nicole: “I know what you are.”
Sam: “Excuse me?”
Nicole: “You’re a shifter, right?”

Nora and Pam seemed to get along a little better in this episode and it was nice to see the latter share some blood with Tara out of a milk carton.

Lilith: “You must complete my work.”
Bill: “Why me?”
Lilith: “You proved yourself when you won the battle for my blood.”

Sookie: “It wasn’t so long ago I wanted to get rid of my light.”
Ben: “Why would you do that?”
Sookie: “I’m sick of being different. Sick of all the pain.”

Andy tried and failed to contact Maurella in this episode and Arlene and Terry had to lie to Patrick’s wife about his whereabouts.

Burrell: “What’s your point fella?”
Eric (re whooping crane): “I’m just saying it’s a tough fucking bird.”

Standout music: The Naked And Famous’s “The Sun” at the end of the episode.

Lilith: “You must save us, save us all.”
Bill: “How?”
Lilith: “You will know what to do. Trust what you see.”

Chronology: Pretty much from where “Who Are You, Really?” left off.

“The Sun” was a pretty solid episode with some great set up moments with the likes of Niall, Lilith and Burrell but I really do hope they’re not going to try and drag out Warlow’s identity for too long though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dates - Episodes 4 & 5 Reviews

It's the second week and instead of three episodes, Channel 4 have given us two of them and I have to admit that due to being sucked into Big Brother once again, I ended up watching both these episodes on Tuesday and Wednesday at 11pm, courtesy of Channel 4 + 1 but here's goes the reviews nonetheless ....

Episode 4: Erica & Kate

The one thing you can trust about Bryan Elsley and his shows is that we do get some decent LGBT content and this episode, whilst far from perfect nicely managed to maintain that tradition. Gemma Chan (Fresh Meat) played the rather closeted Erica who ends up meeting Kate (Katie McGrath, Merlin) and while she likes to be bossed about it a bit by the Irishwoman, she's less enamoured when Kate makes her opinions on closeted lesbians who sleep with men pretty known. Let's say Erica being in the closet is a source of contention throughout the entire episode as even when they sleep together, it's still an issue the next morning between the ladies. There's some good performances from both Chan and McGrath and the ending has a surprising moment that will have repercussions in the sixth episode. That being said, it's probably the weakest episode so far, but not by a huge margin though, 7/10.

Episode 5: David & Ellie

This one was pretty interesting. A growing strand in this series is that certain characters keep resurfacing and because of them, we end up meeting newer people as well. David (Will Mellor), still stung by Mia (Oona Chaplin) dicking him about decides to go on a date with the rather bubbly Ellie (Montanna Thompson) on his birthday in a burger bar with singing staff. More to the point is how long it took David to suss that Ellie was only 19 (which was bloody obvious from the moment she appeared) and the fact that he wanted to bail despite Ellie's desperate attempts of keeping him interested in her. Of course, it did manage to go wrong for Ellie when her attempts of getting Mia out of David's system only drove him back into her arms. I quite felt sorry for Ellie in this episode. Yes, she was a tad immature (who uses Tumblr to catalogue their sexual history?) but she seemed like a nice enough girl and hopefully we'll see her again in a future episode. I'd also cite Thompson as the standout performance of this week's episodes, 8/10.

These two episodes were solid, if not as strong as the first three we've had in the previous week. Still, this is an absolutely cracking series and I'm definitely intrigued to see where the series will go with the final four episodes, in spite of my reservations for episode 6.

Reviews for the sixth and seventh episodes will be on the blog next week.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Fall - Series 1 (Spoilers Included)

It's been a little over a week since both RTE1 and BBC2 have aired the first series finale of The Fall and now I've decided to have a look back at the series itself.

What can I say about this show that hasn't been said already? Well, the basic synopsis for the five episode first series mainly comprised of serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan - Once Upon A Time) bumping off many a young girl in Belfast whilst being in hot pursuit by ice queen Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson - The X-Files) and it was certainly an interesting pursuit, given how sparing their interactions were over the course of the series.

Let's focus on Paul Spector, shall we? It's not too radical a thing for television nowadays to try and generate sympathy for serial killers. Dexter has managed to run for eight seasons, due to the fact that we can sympathise more for him and far less for his victims. With Paul, it's a different kettle of fish. His victims are innocent women, none of whom have done anything to deserve the violent and partly sexual deaths inflicted upon them and yet, at times, it's been hard not to like Paul. We've seen his good side through his job as a grief counsellor and his love for his wife, Sally (Bronagh Waugh) and children has shone throughout the series that Gibson's accusation of misogyny for his selected victims doesn't entirely feel true. And that's in spite of the fact that he really does have a specific sort of woman he tends to terrorise and kill as well. Either way, Dornan has given a very layered and nuanced performance throughout the series as Paul.

And then there's Stella Gibson herself. If there was ever a character to have Gillian Anderson really escape the shadow of Dana Scully, it's certainly the more sexually unapologetic Gibson. One of the more interesting female protagonists that we've had in this genre for quite a while (Saga from The Bridge excluded), I've enjoyed Stella's steely determination to track down the murderer in Belfast over the last five weeks, even if every rebellious cop cliche was utilised and her startling phone conversation with Paul in the final episode as the two of them sized each other up. A finale that shockingly decided not to resolve things with Paul Spector but instead ended up with him escaping with his family as Stella miscalculated his final move.

It's certainly been a source of contention for viewers. Some have been vocal in their disappointment over a lack of resolution of the Spector storyline as it will now bleed into the show's second series (BBC2 were a little eager in announcing it would come back in 2014). Personally, I don't mind it too much but I do hope that the Stella/Paul cat and mouse game, interesting as it is, is brought to a satisfying conclusion at the end of the series second run though. The Fall might not be the most original of cop dramas we've had but it's certainly been one of the more interesting and deserving of acclaim ones we've had though. Watching the five episodes again, it's not too shocking to see why it's become BBC2's biggest dramas in the last eight years as well.

The Fall - Series 1 is out on DVD and US viewers can see it on Netflix.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Review of True Blood's 6x01: "Who Are You, Really?"

Written by Raelle Tucker
Directed by Stephen Moyer

Sookie: “What are you?”
Nora: “Are you Lilith?”
Bill: “I am Bill Compton, though clearly I am something more. I see that now. I see everything so differently now.”

For those potentially hoping that the arrival of Bilith would mean that a certain Mr Compton might be on borrowed time, then there’s a chance this episode might end up disappointing you. Bill Compton might be no more to a certain degree but there’s still a part of him that lives on a little.

This part was evident by his refusal to kill any of the gang, especially Sookie who actually staked him defending Eric and more importantly, his compassion for Jessica asserted itself nicely when she elected to stay at his side. I’m not sure where the writers are intending to go with Bilith but I am certainly intrigued but then again, I also spotted a trend in this episode too.

Bilith seems to be one of three main antagonists for this season but the more fanatical side of the character seemed absent in this episode. Sure he might have blown up the Authority and used a horribly extreme method of summoning Jessica (hasn’t that girl been through enough?) but again, he didn’t kill anybody or perpetuated any of the annoying Lilith spiel we had to endure last season.

Basically, he’s an unpredictable loose cannon and truth be told, Stephen Moyer has never been on finer form either. He really has had some new life breathed into his character and it definitely reflected in the performance this week. I don’t think Bill has ever been more interesting than he is right about now and the nice thing is that the other two antagonists are similarly interesting too.

Take Governor Burrell for instance. He might be imposing curfews for vampires and seizing control of businesses such as Fangtasia but he’s also meeting up with Tru Blood factory people as well and offering them a place of operation too. I’m not entirely sure what his game is yet but Arliss Howard managed to impress me with only two scenes. I really hope that unlike the Authority he doesn’t peter out and become less interesting as the season progresses.

As for the last villain – who was shocked to learn that Rutgar Hauer would be playing Macklyn Warlow? Anyone? I didn’t think so. What I was shocked about is how long it took Jason to piece it together before Warlow did a disappearing act in the truck. And he’s left some words on a bloody parchment for Sookie to look at as well, so along with Bilith and Burrell, I can’t see him being a straightforward villain either. So far, so impressive on the baddies front.

As for our main characters – I can’t decide who annoyed me more – Jason or Pam. Pam certainly pissed me off with her annoying petulant behaviour throughout the episode that I was delighted to have Eric, Nora and more interestingly, Tara actually put her in her place a few times throughout the place. Pam and Tara might have had sex in this episode but it’s certainly not the start of something beautiful just yet. It also didn’t help that Tara suffered once again for standing up for someone she loves when Fangtasia was raided by Burrell’s men as well.

As for Jason – we get it, vampires killed your parents. I sympathise with the bloke as much as the next person but he behaved like a jackass towards Sookie and he stupidly divulged information to Warlow as well. Seeing Jason behaving in the same thick manner that made him a chore to watch during the first season isn’t great television. Hopefully he wises up as the season progresses though.

Last but not least – I think this was kind of a good episode for fans of Sookie and Eric. I’m not a shipper of them but they had some lovely moments. Eric was right to give Sookie back her home and she was right for the time being to rescind his invitation. I don’t think she was harsh to do that, even if Eric has been gradually earning her trust and given that Alcide’s off the market and Bilith is Bilith, maybe some Sookie/Eric might happen this year.

Also in “Who Are You, Really?”

Added to the opening credits are Robert Patrick (Jackson), Kelly Overton (Rikki), Arliss Howard (Burrell) and Rutgar Hauer (Warlow).

Eric (to the gang): “I think it’s time to ditch this party.”

Luna’s death was sad for Sam and Emma but I saw it coming a mile off though. I did like Lafayette comforting both Sam and Emma though – he’s a trooper, isn’t he?

Pam (re Nora): “Who the fuck is Mary Poppins and can I please kill her?”
Eric: “She’s my sister.”

Jason (to Nora/Eric): “I am sick as fuck of you bloodsuckers brain raping me against my will.”

We learned in this episode that Warlow is Lilith’s progeny, so I’m expecting scenes with him and Bill fairly soon now. Is Warlow – half-fairy/half-vampire by the way?

Martha (re Alcide): “God help him.”
Rikki: “Seems like he’s got all the help he needs.”

Andy: “Look at me, Arlene. Do I look like someone’s parent to you?”

Arlene and Terry’s parental advice to Andy was amusing but the fact that his kids are already ageing fast didn’t exactly shock me as a viewer.

Warlow: “Long time ago I had family here.”
Jason: “What are their names? Maybe I know them.”

Burrell: “I am not the Big Bad everyone needs to fear.”

Alcide’s plot of the week was the dullest of the bunch and that threesome with him, Rikki and Danielle was pretty naff too. I do hope he gets better storylines this year.

Eric: “Stay away from Bill.”
Sookie: “I will.”

Standout music: Mikky Ekko’s “Who Are You Really?”

Jason: “How do you know my sister’s name?”
Warlow: “Who the hell do you think I am, Jason?”

Chronology: From where “Save Yourself” left off.

“Who Are You, Really?” was fun, maybe one of the most fun openers we’ve had and certainly an improvement on most of last season. There’s a lot of great plots here that have been set up and I do hope that the show (producer swapping aside) can deliver nicely on them.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, June 14, 2013

Doctor Who - Who Could Be The 12th Doctor?

It's been nearly a fortnight since Matt Smith announced that he will be stepping down as the 11th Doctor during this year's Christmas special of Doctor Who and already the internet/papers have been flooded with rumours and requests from fans as to who should play the Twelfth Doctor, so here's a rundown of some of the more interesting/favoured of choices ...

1: Ben Daniels

One of the first rumoured choices - apparently as early as a few months ago (I saw his name mentioned on GallifreyBase back in March) and to me, my favourite choice for Twelve (which totally means it's not him). It's interesting because there's been contradicting rumours that he had been cast but dropped out and ones that say he hasn't been cast at all but unlike other actors rumoured, Ben hasn't commented a peep about it. Even when his former Law & Order: UK co-star Freema Agyeman said 'he'd smash it' upon being asked by someone on Twitter if he'd make a good Doctor, he didn't reply at all. It might not mean anything but it is rather interesting though. Personally I think he's perfect for Twelve - great actor, not conventionally Doctorish/eccentric (which isn't actually a bad thing), tonally different to Tennant and Smith and older as well - he'll be 50 by the time Series 8 would air in 2014. Moffat and the BBC would almost be mad not to cast him to be honest.

2: Damien Molony

Another name that's being mentioned but more through fan forums and Twitter than actual press (though Digital Spy did an article recently marking him as a favourite), I have to admit that Molony is making me want to break my desire for an older Doctor rule for Twelve. In his two series of Being Human, playing OCD vampire, Hal Yorke, he's displayed a versality that any potential actor would need for a role like the Doctor and when he was asked about the role February on the Blog for Being Human, he did mention "being honoured" as well. Again, it might not mean anything but Molony is an appealing choice for Twelve and already has something of a steady fanbase too and he does seem to be quite the rising star as well too. Personally if the BBC are keen on keeping a younger Doctor, he's a brilliant choice and he would be 30 by the time Series 8 would air in 2014.

3: Dominic Cooper

Last week, Starburst on their website mentioned three names that were in the running for the Twelfth Doctor - Daniel Kaluuya, Domnhall Gleeson and Dominic Cooper. The latter certainly seems to have generated a fair amount of interest and recently while the actor did deny his involvement (as has Gleeson too), he did seem pretty open to the idea of playing the Doctor. While I can't necessarily see Cooper putting his movie career on hold to play the Doctor - even for a series (and I really can't see the BBC wanting a one series only Doctor either), he's probably the better choice out of the three suggestions Starburst have made to be honest if he did decide the role was worth taking on after all.

4: Idris Elba

Come on - who wouldn't want Luther himself for Twelve? Elba himself hasn't commented on the prospects of playing Twelve and the papers have only mentioned him in passing on a list of candidates but to me, he's another interesting choice for the Doctor. He's certainly got the chops for it and I definitely think he'd offer something different to the role, which is needed as well. It probably won't be him though but with Luther coming to a conclusion with it's upcoming third series, he might have the spare time for a newer/longer television role. Assuming he would want it of course.

5: Stephen Mangan

Okay, he's already denied being Twelve and has teased fans about Steven Moffat calling him seventeen times but if we have to have a more comedic actor in the role, well he's a better choice than Chris Addison and this is coming from someone who found Mangan rather meh on Dirk Gently and loathed Episodes. I think he has a certain potential which could make him an interesting Doctor. Plus again, he's an older choice and I am thinking an older Doctor is needed again, much as I've enjoyed Matt Smith's portrayal over the last three series.

Now this is a more simplistic rundown of some of the many names that are seriously (and largely not seriously) being thrown out there by both the media and fandom alone. With filming due on the Christmas special for August/September and events such as Comic-Con and The Proms taking place in July, hopefully the casting will be announced within the next month and the speculation/debates (especially the female Doctor one) can be rested for another while.

So, what do you think of those choices? Any of them worthy of being Twelve or has the right actor not been mentioned at all yet? The role has apparently been cast though, according to some spoiler sources on GallifreyBase. And no, it's definitely not Rory Kinnear folks, though I'm sure he would've been cool. Whoever does get to play the Twelfth Doctor is going to have some adventures ahead for them in every aspect possible.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dates - Episodes 1-3 Reviews

It's Mating Season on Channel 4 and given that we haven't been able to move without trailers to remind us of that fact, at least something good has come out of it with this nine part series.

Dates is the latest show from Skins creator Bryan Elsley with each half hour episode focusing on a particular potential couple. The first three aired between June 10th and 12th and here's an overall review of them.

Episode 1: David & Mia

An interesting opening installment with widowed lorry driver David (Will Mellor) meeting up with a woman named Celeste (Oona Chaplin) in a posh restaurant. Except her name is actually Mia and she's already decided that David isn't worth the effort until his ribbing of her to a waitress motivates her to actually stick with the date. It's a terse date, mainly due to Mia's acidic behaviour towards the more earnest David (who does manage to get some revenge in sussing out her reasons for her bitchy behaviour) but as the episode progressed, we did see a slightly softer side to Mia before she decided to stick to her original convictions about David not being her type. Also, fans of EastEnders will recognise the waitress - Madeline Duggan aka, the first Lauren Branning. Overall, a great opening episode for the series, 8/10.

Episode 2: Jenny & Nick

If Mia was something of a nightmare date, then it's amazing how Nick manages to surpass her in the annoying stakes here. Nick (Neil Maskell) is an annoying, belligerent City Trader who spends most of his date with primary school teacher, Jenny (Sheridan Smith) making snide remarks, lamenting about his hangs up with the opposite sex, generally coming across as a sleazy wretch and then adding insult to injury - he actually shags someone in the bathroom on the pretext of taking a phone call. On the plus side, at least Jenny managed to get the last laugh when she took his wallet and showed him up for the annoying tit that he was. It's a brilliantly awkward date with both Smith and Maskell on fine form too, 8/10.

Episode 3: Mia & Stephen

The third date but second episode for Mia. If the first one was geared more from David's point of view, then this episode is definitely from hers. In this episode, Mia ends up going on a date with surgeon Stephen (Ben Chaplin and no, he's not related to Oona as the Ch4 announcer was keen to point out), a bloke whom she's previously slept with when she was an escort/Celeste and one that Mia wastes no time in reminding of their previous liaison (as well as his appendages). It's a fun, tense episode, almost an intellectual battle between the pair which takes an interesting turn when Mia ends up going to the hospital with Stephen and a patient's death stirs a tender moment from both characters. Easily the best installment from the first three and it's a bit appropriate that Mia is given a Dr Watson alias, considering that she did briefly play a girlfriend of his in A Scandal In Belgravia last year, 9/10.

An impressive slew of installments, nicely linked with some great performances from both Chaplins, Mellor, Smith and Maskell and the theme tune is actually quite luscious and addictive as well. I'm definitely excited to see what the remaining episodes will offer us.

Theme Tune - Hannah Peel - Chloe:

Next week, I'll be doing another review for the fourth and fifth episodes and subsequent reviews for the remaining episodes will also follow in this format.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Two Weddings And A Liberation

It's been an interesting few weeks for some of the programmes I've watched. I'd like to also point out that shows such as In The Flesh (courtesy of BBCAmerica airing it recently), Dates (courtesy of Channel 4), and The Fall (courtesy of RTE1/BBC2/Netflix) are not being covered here but will be in later blogs during the week. Promise. Anyways, onto the shows I've taken note of here ...

Banshee: This show is ... it's there, isn't it? Seven episodes in and it's good viewing but it's not really compelling stuff. The main interest still seems to be Proctor because the Ukranian mob that are after Lucas and Carrie (who decided to leave her ex tied to a bed in the last episode) are boring as fuck, character wise. Lucas and Carrie are another point of contention as well to be honest. I think I'm getting a little less interested in their backstory but maybe the final three episodes will change my mind on things.

Defiance: Like Banshee, this is becoming another show that just feels there to be honest. It's still probably one of SyFy's better shows but eight episodes in, it's still not really gripping me. It doesn't help that aside from Irisa and the Tars at times, most of the characters don't feel fleshed out enough. It also doesn't help that Nolan is one of the dullest every man characters we've had on TV for a while and while the affair between Stahma and Kenya has shown some interesting enough facets to the characters, it's still the type of tryst that makes me wish this show had an actual gay character as well. On the plus side, at least Irisa is still interesting to watch though.

Game Of Thrones: Did anything remotely discussion worthy happen in the final three episodes of this show? Oh yeah, that's right - every flipping thing was discussion worthy. Season 3 has hands down been the show at it's very best and with the likes of Tyrion/Sansa engaged, the horror of the Red Wedding, Daenerys becoming a liberator and Jon/Ygritte's relationship taking a sour turn of sorts, Melisandre's continued devotion to Stannis's claim for the Iron Throne and Jaime finally returning to King's Landing, it's been a busy bunch of episodes. The finale did feel more like a set up for the upcoming fourth season but it's been such a triumphant season, it's hard to complain. There's a reason why this show has been the best thing on television this year.

The Americans: It's been about five years since ITV last aired a US show in a prime time slot on Saturday and that was the excellent but short lived Pushing Daisies. Thankfully, this show doesn't seem destined to be short lived just yet. Having watched the first two episodes, I can honestly say I love this show. It's got a great premise, a wonderful onscreen partnership with Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell as KGB agents Philip and Elizabeth and it certainly makes you think. I can see why this has gone down a storm and it's nice to see that ITV are going to air another US show, they've picked a worthy candidate like this one. If you're not watching this show, give it a go. You won't be disappointed.

The Returned: It's been hyped to the rafters and the trailers have been aired relentlessly but was the French supernatural thriller worth it? Judging by the first episode alone - absolutely, yes! There are very few original things that can still be done with this particular genre and while I dread that a generic US version is in the works (or will be within a year), the show definitely offered something new as the focus mainly pivoted from creepy child Victor hanging around the local nurse and school girl Camille and her family's reactions to seeing the girl barely aged since her death. It's a wonderful show with some brilliant performances, genuine chills and a nice sense of mystery and confusion. This deserves to be a huge hit for Channel 4.

- Christopher Eccleston has signed up for apocalyptic drama The Leftovers, in which he'll play a reverend. The series will be airing on HBO. Justin Theroux will also feature in the series, playing the lead character
- Speaking of HBO, they'll also be doing a first contact series named The Spark as well.
- Lauren Graham will be adapting her debut novel Someday, Someday, Maybe into a TV series.
- Amanda Noret and Sam Huntington will be returning for the Veronica Mars movie.
- Christian has joined TNT crime series, King & Maxwell.
- Vinnie Jones will be a brutal criminal in the eighth season of Psych.
- Stephen King's Under The Dome will air on Channel 5.
- Marc Gugghenheim has said that Oliver will go from vigilante to hero in the second season of Arrow.
- Bridget Regan has been cast as Neal's love interest for Season 5 of White Collar.
- Michelle Fairley will be guest starring in the third season of Suits.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

My Review of DaVinci's Demons 1x08: "The Lovers"

Written by Brian Nelson And Corey Reed And David S. Goyer
Directed by Michael J. Bassett

Riario: “God’s vengeance is upon you.”

Well, I’d say a religious fanatic with a big gun is upon Lorenzo and DaVinci but that might be considered nitpicking, even if it is the bloody truth though. As a cliff hanger scene goes, it’s pretty good but this episode really does feel like the sum of it’s parts to be honest.

The attempts of assassinating the Medici clan was always going to be a mixed bag because not only would they have the likes of DaVinci, Lucrezia and even Dragonetti (who suddenly changed his mind about betraying them) on their side but of course, Francesco’s impatience would also go against Riario’s grand scheming as well.

Francesco could barely contain his bile towards the Medicis during Easter mass and when Giuliano managed to make into the church after surviving both Lucrezia’s stab wound and Dragonetti’s fickle mind (seriously, there’s no motivation whatsoever as to why that guy switches teams halfway through the episode), all hell managed to break loose in big style but it felt kind of off to be honest.

Maybe it was after seeing the shock of a certain Red Wedding on another show this week, but the near extermination of the Medici clan just didn’t feel as shocking as it could’ve been. It was certainly violent alright with Giuliano being stabbed to death and Vanessa telling him that she was carrying his boy but the rest of it was a bit on the meh side of things. Giuliano however as a character will be missed though. He certainly did surprise and charm over the course of the first season and the fallout with Vanessa’s pregnancy next season should be interesting to explore too.

However as for the rest of the Medicis – Clarice and her daughter came close to death, only for Lucrezia to do something good for a change and kill their would be assassin. I can see that the writers are going to try and redeem Lucrezia next season and while saving Clarice and the children (as well as her kindness to the blind man in the church) is a good start, it’s going to take more than that to convince me she should stick around.

Having Lucrezia revealed as a traitor to everyone other than Lorenzo is certainly going to make things difficult for her next season as well as the fact that she was revealed to be Riario’s cousin too. I can’t help thinking maybe the finale should’ve killed her off too because all of her actions this season have amounted to nothing.

The father that she was desperate to free declined DaVinci’s offer of escape and this was something he had no problem telling Lucrezia when he finally confronted her on her betrayal and the same father in question also turned out to be Pope Sixtus IV’s brother as well, which I guess wasn’t that shocking in the end.

Then there’s Lorenzo too. He came pretty close to death in this episode and probably would’ve died had DaVinci not listened to Lucrezia and saved his life at the last minute. Of course this would also turn out to be the same time that Lorenzo would find out about his artist and mistress shagging around and decided to threaten their lives while Riario was trying to end his own. Lorenzo really should learn to prioritise at times, shouldn’t he?

Keeping with DaVinci, this episode made a few more advancements on the Book Of Leaves by having Cossimo’s Mariner’s Astrolabe come in handy for an overseas journey with Nico and Zoroaster. It might have been better for DaVinci had he listened properly to Al-Rahim and his friends just this once as well and just left Florence when he had the chance. If he survives Lorenzo’s wrath next season, he’ll probably end up being banished from court anyways.

Also in “The Lovers”

Another title for this episode probably should’ve been The Chariot if Zoroaster’s Tarot cards were anything to go by this week.

Al-Rahim: “I’m afraid I cannot give you any reassurances. If the future indicated by these signs comes to pass, only one of us will live to see it.”
Cossimo: “So, which lucky one gets to survive?”

According to Solomon, it’s the unlucky one who outlives the Sons Of Mithras, which means that a grisly is probably awaiting Al-Rahim as we speak.

DaVinci: “This particular man is tired of being manipulated.”
Al-Rahim: “If you are lost in a forest, you see a landmark. Is that landmark manipulating you along a certain path? I am merely your guide.”

DaVinci: “The question answered.”
Verrocchio: “Which leads to another question.”

A falcon lead to DaVinci finding Al-Rahim yet again and it was the use of axis that got him Cossimo’s Mariner’s Astrolabe as well.

Dragonetti: “That’s not what spurs me.”
Giuliano: “Then what does?”
Dragonetti: “A desire for a Florence that fears God, not it’s monsters.”

DaVinci (to Lucrezia): “I couldn’t care less what they do. Let the politicians kill each other. It’s their forte.”

Not only is Lucrezia’s father played by the same actor playing Sixtus but I could swear the music in the opening/closing credits was done a little differently in this episode.

DaVinci: “I think I’d rather go down fighting.”
Francesco: “As you wish.”

Chronology: As we were told several times throughout this episode, it’s Easter in Florence.

“The Lovers” was a solid enough finale for the show but I can’t help thinking that it could’ve been better though. Perhaps that’s the overall feeling of the show in general – a lot of interesting things but often it could be better. Perhaps next season it will. It’ll certainly be interesting finding out.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Dexter - Season 8: How Should It End?

If you can guess from my blog, I don't tend to watch a lot of procedural dramas and usually the exceptions to the rule are that for good reasons - and let's face it, Dexter is most definitely an exception to the rule.

It's amazing that Showtime have managed to get eight seasons out of Jeff Lindsay's book series of a serial killer Dexter Morgan who mainly kills bad guys but with an excellent lead actor in Michael C. Hall, a wonderful supporting cast (namely Jennifer Carpenter as the utterly magnificent Debra Morgan) and a brilliant writing staff, the time has come to say goodbye to this wonderful show and Season Eight is that season. Now the question remains - how should it end?

Away With Murder: Why not? After all - this is a television show and not real life and Dexter's victims have primarily been actual threats to society and bigger monsters than himself. Do we really want the Brian Moser/Lila Tournay/Arthur Mitchell/Travis Marshall to name a few out on the street terrorising and slaughtering innocent victims? In his own twisted, Dexter has done good in that respect even if his motives were anything but altruistic.

He Has To Pay: Then again, Dexter's actions might have resulted in some of the most dangerous people being taken off the street but they haven't come without prices as well. People like Doakes, Maria and Rita have all died as a consequence of the double life that Dexter has led and he has killed at least one or two undeserving victims as well. Worse still, without meaning to, he's actually compromised Deb, who ended up shooting Maria in order to protect his secret and then there's Harrison to consider as well. Perhaps Dexter should pay for his many, many crimes over the years with the options being incarceration or his own demise.

Either of these scenarios will end up the ultimate result as the eighth and final season begins to air next month and it's nice to see that Showtime are ramping up the promotions for it. The concept trailers focusing on Masterpieces, Masks and Killer Or Innocent Victim are a nicely way of highlighting the dark journeys both Dexter and Deb have gone on over the series and the use of Tom Odell's Can't Pretend (funny, the final season of Being Human used the same song) has certainly ramped up my own enthusiasm for the last season. I'm gonna miss this show but it certainly seems like it's going out with a bloody bang.

Season 8: Killer Or Innocent Victim Trailer:
Season 8: Masterpiece Trailer:
Season 8: Behind A Mask Trailer:

Dexter's eighth and final season will air Sundays at 9pm on both Showtime and FOX from June 30th and July 7th respectively.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Skins - Series 7 First Trailer

Well, it's due to air next month, so it's about time E4 got a move on and with this first trailer for Skins seventh and final series, it's a good way to go about things.

The minute long concept trailer, promoting the stories - Pure, Fire and Rise go back to this show's love of concept trailers as they tease the new fates of Cook, Effy and Cassie. Cook, it seems still in trouble with the law while Effy is in a high powered position and Cassie herself seems to be wandering about aimlessly again.

It's a nice trailer, though the lack of Emily and Naomi (supporting characters in Effy's story) is a little disappointing but overall, I can't wait to see what these final three stories bring for out returning characters.

Series 7 Trailer/Press Release/Photos:

Skins - Series 7 will air on E4 in July.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

My Review of DaVinci's Demons 1x07: "The Hierophant"

Written by Sarah Goldfinger And Corey Reed
Directed by Michael J. Bassett

Riario: “I see you escaped.”
DaVinci: “And I see a key you’ll be giving to me.”
Riario: “You best kill me first. I will follow you to the ends of the Earth to retrieve what is mine.”

Well, well, Riario. Even when he’s bound and gagged to a tree and outsmarted by both Nico and Zoroaster, he still manages to get the last word in and I don’t doubt he’ll deliver on his promise to kill one of DaVinci’s loved ones in the next episode. I suppose the question does remain as to who it will be though.

It could be both Nico and Zoroaster who managed to make a fool of him this week or maybe even Lorenzo, given another plot outlined in this episode. Lucrezia is also a viable candidate for a finale death, in fact possibly the most given her antics here but either way, I’ll be surprised if Riario doesn’t deliver on his promise to kill someone next week.

It was certainly an interesting episode for Riario, wasn’t it? The joy he seemed to take in baiting Nico was one thing but losing the second key he had been keeping from DaVinci was an oversight for him though. Still, I guess he can still use DaVinci to find the Book Of Leaves for him though, so maybe it wasn’t all bad for him this week.

Speaking of DaVinci – the scuba suit looked more like a strange fetish outfit but it did manage to do the job into sneaking into Pope Sixtus IV and the confrontation between the artist and the fanatical zealot was a highlight of this episode. For the first time, Sixtus actually came across as an interesting character rather than a one dimensional baddie for a change.

I knew his attempts of trying to entice DaVinci into becoming an explorer of the Secret Archive were more of a distraction than anything else but it did seem like for a moment, Sixtus believed he could genuinely get DaVinci on board. He even played the mother card and DaVinci still managed to stick to his guns and escape the place with some help from some ancient weaponry.

As for Lucrezia – this was her episode in a lot of ways too. While it’s been blatantly obvious from the first episode that the only reason she was a Medici spy was because Riario was holding her father captive, at least this episode confirmed it by revealing the prisoner to DaVinci who in turn realised what Lucrezia was really up to all along.

Unfortunately learning this information hasn’t done anything to make me sympathetic towards Lucrezia’s plight in the slightest. Her father might be a prisoner but seemingly one that doesn’t want to be set free and factoring both Lucrezia’s husband and aunt only reminded me of the damage her actions have caused over the last few weeks.

More to the point – Lucrezia stabbed Giuliano. While there might be a chance he’ll actually survive being stabbed by her, any sympathy I might have had for Lucrezia pretty much died in that moment. I was even feeling sorry for her when Riario’s men were inches away from killing her but not when Giuliano took his anger out on Lucrezia and she stabbed him for realising she was the traitor. I’m not sure how the show is going to be able to justify keeping Lucrezia for next season because right about now, it really does feel like she should pay the consequences for her actions over the last few weeks.

Last but not least – was anyone surprised by the assassination plotting on the Medici family? It makes sense for Francesco to come up with such a scheme whilst pretending to humour an arranged marriage with Giuliano and his sister and the fact that Dragonetti is also in cahoots with him wasn’t that great a shock either to be honest. Hopefully this does mean they’re both dispatched by the end of the finale though.

Also in “The Hierophant”

Hierophant means a person who brings religious congregants in the presence of what is deemed holy and it did seem to tie in nicely with the assassination plot of this episode.

Giuliano: “I always knew I’d pay for being me.”

Giuliano at least did manage to have sex with Vanessa in this episode. Vanessa didn’t seem adverse to the idea of becoming his mistress either.

Lucrezia (to DaVinci): “It is easier to resist in the beginning than it is in the end but then again, perhaps you’re not capable of love.”

Giuliano: “You’re a saint.”
Vanessa: “I think we disproved that last night.”

Clarice’s brother was one of the conspirators in Francesco’s meeting. He seemed a little too casual about potentially murdering her along with Giuliano and Lorenzo.

Pope Sixtus IV: “You make quite an entrance.”
DaVinci: “I had to ensure a private audience.”

Francesco: “That is how the Medicis will die – quickly. Stand with us or not at all.”

In the Secret Archives we saw a sword in a stone, a spear of destiny (which DaVinci used to kill someone) and even a manuscript that changed texts.

Pope Sixtus IV (to DaVinci): “The world needs secrets. Powerful ideas can wreak havoc if unleashed before their time.”

Zoroaster: “I wish I could see his face when he figures it out.”
Riario: “Wishes come true.”

Chronology: Not much time since “The Devil” and Lucrezia was revealed to be a Gemini in this episode, which seemed appropriate in a few ways too.

As a lead in for the finale, “The Hierophant” was definitely an interesting episode to go with. Not sure what will end up happening next week but it does look delightfully chaotic for DaVinci and company, doesn’t it?

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Doctor Who - Matt Smith's Departure Confirmed/12th Doctor Rumours

Well, I think this was sadly expected, wasn't it?

While it’s been heavily speculated for a while that 11th Doctor actor Matt Smith would leave the series during the anniversary period, it’s now been confirmed that he will in fact be regenerating during the Christmas 2013 special.

The episode, due to be filmed in September will be the final episode to feature Smith’s Doctor and while both series writer Steven Moffat and Jenna-Louise Coleman have been confirmed for the eighth series (rumoured to be consisting of 12 episodes to air in Autumn 2014, according to a leaked source), a new Doctor will be joining them for the next series.

So far rumours seem to be indicating that former Cutting It actor, Ben Daniels is in line to take on the role of the 12th Doctor. The actor has previously worked with former companion actress Freema Agyeman on Law And Order: UK and if cast, will be 50 when his first series will air next year as well as the show's first opnely gay actor to take on the role of the Time Lord.

However, these are just rumours in relation to Daniels casting but Matt’s exit has definitely been confirmed and while it’s been an interesting three series with his vibrant Doctor, I’m pretty sure the next guy in the TARDIS will be equally as wonderful to watch.

Matt Smith’s Departure:

N.B: Good chance this blog will edited later on in the night if more news surfaces.