Saturday, January 30, 2016

How About A Smile?

It's been over a month since I've last done a TV jumble blog and for my last hit in this month, here's one for you.

Agent Carter: Season 2 of the not exactly a rating juggernaut but still good show has arrived and while UK viewers are only an episode or two behind, things have gotten off to a promising enough start. The action has moved to LA this time around with most of the first season cast back and the rapport between Peggy and Jarvis is as wonderful as ever (we even met the latter's wife). The main storyline in the first episode, surrounding a mystery mystery worked pretty well and it does seem like there's an interesting arc being set up for the rest of the season as well.

Beowulf: You wait ages for ITV to do some more genre television and then all of a sudden, you've got two of them in less than a few weeks from each other. Unfortunately, just like Jekyll & Hyde, it does look like this is going to be a one and done only series, given the lacklustre ratings for it. It's a shame in a way because while it did seem a little too heavily influenced by Game Of Thrones (the title sequence practically rips off the HBO hit), I found the opening episode enjoyable enough. I'll admit I haven't seen subsequent episodes so I don't know if things took an upturn, quality wise or the very opposite. I do hope that if this show does get axed (and I'll be surprised if it doesn't) that ITV aren't discouraged from trying more genre drama though.

Jessica Jones: Okay, I finished this show up a few weeks ago and I can honestly say that it is without a doubt, it's Marvel's best TV offering at the moment (or streaming offering, whatever). The second half of the first season gave some brilliant insight into all of the characters, truly upped the ante between Jessica and Kilgrave, alluded towards Luke Cage's inevitable solo show and even showed some great character growth for both Malcolm and Trish as Kilgrave caused a lot of carnage before being taken out of the question. If there was a weak point, it usually involved Simpson but even he couldn't deter the overall excellence of this show. Thank goodness it's coming back for seconds.

Supergirl: With the second half of this season yet to air on Sky1 (along with Arrow, The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow), the first three returning episodes were certainly excellent to watch. While I thought the show copped out a bit with Cat learning about Kara and Supergirl being the same person and then having her tricked into thinking she was wrong, I did like the introduction of her other son, Adam and the episode that focused on Winn's Toyman father was brilliant too. However the best bits were the focus on Martian Manhunter/Hank's harrowing backstory and Maxwell becoming more than aware of Supergirl's identity, making him into a bigger problem than he had been in previous episodes.

The X-Files: And it's back. Fourteen years since the last series (and eight since the second movie), the show has returned to TV screens and I have to admit, I didn't realise how much I had actually missed seeing Mulder and Scully. While I enjoyed the show when it was on the air, I wasn't as religious about watching it as I had been with other shows but The X-Files has always been a classic series and one that's heavily influenced so many modern shows and with 20 million viewers returning to catch up with the FBI's most infamous of agents, I bet FOX will be desperate to get Chris Carter, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson back for more episodes. The first two episodes themselves felt both like a reboot for the series and an actual continuation from where things had last left off with Mulder and Scully investigating more alien and government conspiracy, brooding about their son William and encountering talk show hosts like Tad O'Malley (Joel McHale) for starters. I know the episodes generated some mixed reviews but I honestly thought they were a return to form compared to some of the shakier seasons and hopefully the remaining four will also deliver as well as the opening two did.

- Jada Pinkett Smith will be reprising her role as Fish Mooney for multiple episodes in Gotham's second season. The second half of the season has title of Wrath Of The Villains.
- UK viewers can catch The X-Files, Mondays 9pm from February 8th on Channel 5.
- American Horror Story's sixth season will not be focusing on Slender Man despite recent rumours.
- Vixen will appear in episode 15 of Arrow's fourth season. Stephen Amell will play an older version of Green Arrow in an upcoming Legends Of Tomorrow episode.
- Gilmore Girls is officially coming back for an eighth season, courtesy of Netflix with the original cast.
- Mike Colter revealed that Iron Fist has been cast. A Punisher spin-off is also being considered by Netflix ahead of the character's appearance in the second season of Daredevil.
- Ricky Whittle has been cast in the lead role of Shadow for Starz's upcoming adaptation of American Gods.
- Corey Hawkins and Miranda Otto have been cast as the leads for 24: Legacy.

Friday, January 29, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x02: "Pilot Part 2"

Written by Phil Klemmer & Marc Guggenheim & Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by Glen Winter

Kendra (to Carter): "I'm not afraid of my past. I'm just unwilling to believe you're my future. The more you keep repeating we're destined to be together, the more I wanna prove you wrong."

One of the issues that I've had so far in both the Arrow/The Flash crossover episodes and even the first part of this pilot was the whole destiny between Kendra and Carter. I haven't felt the connection between them and the show itself reflected that even with Kendra struggling to connect with Carter as well, until this episode kind of resolved the problem in an unexpected way.

As characters, both Hawkman and Hawkgirl are meant to die over and over again with the goal of finding each other. It's a never ending circle they're trapped in along with Vandal Savage but actually having Carter die in this episode was not something I expected. I mean, I expected him to die because character wise, there's more scope with Kendra than him but I thought his death might have been kept until later in this season. His demise in this one however has opened up possibilities.

It's nothing against the actor but at the same time, Carter's death just didn't affect me. I felt a bit bad for Kendra and it did certainly make Savage feel a bit more of a threat but I hadn't connected with the character enough for it to be truly affecting. Even the gang's "for Carter" speech at the end wasn't quite as effecting but prior to his death, at least Kendra was remembering more of her past and we do know she's the one who can actually take Savage out in the long run, so that's something.

The rest of the episode along with Carter's death was seeing our gang of misfits screwing up massively in the past. An arms deal in Norway 1975 went massively awry due to both Stein's own arrogance and Ray leaving bits of his suit behind while a meeting with a younger Marty also caused some near catastrophes as well.

I did however like a lot of the pairings in this episode. Okay, the Kendra/Carter scenes lacked a little even if they were plot necessary but the joy of Stein, Sara and Jackson interacting with the younger version of Stein was absolutely priceless. Sara really has emerged as the star of the show with Caity Lotz clearly having such a ball exploring the newer facets of her unpredictable assassin and also finding some perfect comic timing as well. Especially during a moment where younger Stein got a literal bong hit too.

Then there was the scenes with Ray, Cold and Heatwave. Personally I actually liked both Cold and Heatwave taking Ray down a few notches and I also liked getting a bit more insight into Cold as a character. Ray himself also improves a lot as a character when his hubris is challenged and considering that he messed up a bit (leaving bits of his suit, setting off an alarm etc), it's nice to have other characters call him out when it's needed.

As for Rip, he was mostly background in this episode. Any scene he did appear in was purely to scold members of the team for screwing, effectively playing the straight man but he also showed Stein that the latter hadn't wrecked his own future as well. Rip probably wasn't as well used in this one as he was in the first part but he still had his moments though.

- Keeping with the crossovers, Damien Darkh popped up in this episode briefly. I hope we get to see Zoom or Reverse Flash next.
- Sara flirting with the younger Stein was so funny. Central City being potentially destroyed in 2016 is a bit worrying.
- I'm guessing despite Carter biting it in this one, we'll be seeing other versions of him for most of the season though.
- Chronology wise, more or less in Norway and Ivy Town in 1975 this week.

The second part of this pilot certainly helped to explain the mostly known time travel rules churned out by every show/movie but it did it well and with some genuinely funny moments, character insight and a nice curve ball in the status quo as well. I'm definitely sticking with this series.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Galavant - Season 2: Episodes 1-5 Reviews

It's the little show that could and did by coming back with a second season on ABC in spite of some bad ratings. Fortunately, the fun is also back with the show too.

Episode 1: A New Season AKA Suck It Cancellation Bear

It's a new season and what a better way to acknowledge that fact by highlighting the show narrowly avoiding cancellation in an opening song. Everything has changed though. Madalena is ruling Valencia with Gareth not quite king yet and Sid being stuck in the middle, Isabella is about to marry a boy king, the chef, Jester and Gwynne have new employment and then there's the joy of seeing both Galavant and King Richard becoming the best of frenemies as they hide out in a gay bar run by Kylie Minogue (I'm not kidding here) called the Enchanted Forest. Music highlights include Off With His Shirt and of course A New Season.

Episode 2: World's Best Kiss

This one focused on several funny things - King Richard being followed by a unicorn, Galavant and Isabella having the world's worst miscommunication as their perfect kiss was heavily discussed by every other character while Madalena and Gareth managed to find some common ground with a little help from Sidney. Look out for an amusing cameo by Simon Callow and this show's method of Face Time as well. Music highlights include World's Best Kiss and of course, Let's Agree To Disagree.

Episode 3: Aw, Hell The King

This episode starts with Matt Lucas being put to better use (and with a cheerful song) here than he was in the recent Doctor Who Christmas special and then you've got Gareth feeling guilty over his betrayal of Richard and Isabella at the mercy of a mischievous wedding planner played by Robert Lindsay. Keeping with Richard, he was in for a shock this week when he learned what happened to his former kingdom while the episode debuts a potential love interest (and third member of the gang) in Roberta (Clare Foster). Music highlights include Build A New Tomorrow and If I Were A Jolly Blacksmith.

Episode 4: Bewitched, Bothered And Belittled

It's another fairly big Madalena episode as we see her getting roasted by two vile sisters who also tormented her as a child but on the plus side, the experience does bring her and Gareth closer and gets her a little in touch with her own feelings while Gwynne and Chef adjust to their new status and Isabella is a little too happy about the wedding she previously didn't want any part of. There was also the amusing subplot of Galavant trying and failing to set up both Richard and Roberta. Music highlights include Serenade (Maybe You Won't Die Alone) and What Am I Feeling?

Episode 5: Giants Vs. Dwarves

First of all, the main quarrel between Galavant and Richard and them joining different teams who really didn't differ in size was hilarious, especially with Roberta as peacemaker in the mix. A good performance from Nick Frost as a giant in this episode but he's outdone by Sheridan Smith who popped up as bisexual ladette princess Jubilee, who gave us a song and managed to release the wedding planner's hold on Isabella purely by accident. Of course, the downside in this episode had Gareth breaking the bro code and getting Sidney into some deep trouble with Madalena but bless, he's in love though. Music highlights in this one included My Dragon Pal And Me, Dwarves Vs. Giants and of course, Different Kind Of Princess.

I'll do the final five episodes of the second season by next week.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Review of Exam (2010)

Written by Stuart Hazeldine And Simon Garrity
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine

Blonde: "Let's get started."

The tagline for this psychological thriller is "The Apprentice go to hell" and it's one that is apt within the first few minutes of this movie. Eight candidates are put in a room with a blank sheet of paper and have only eighty minutes to not only answer the question but to actually figure it out in the first place and earn a position in the prestigious company that they are vying for in the first place.

In one of several interesting twists, none of the characters are given proper names onscreen. Instead they're broken down and credited with nicknames based on physical attributes and are referred to White (Luke Mably), Black (Chuk Iwuji), Brown (Jimi Mistry), Brunette (Pollyanna McIntosh), Blonde (Nathalie Cox), Dark (Adar Beck), Deaf (John Lloyd Fillingham) and Chinese Girl (Gemma Chan) as they're ordered to obey several rules, one of which is not to communicate with the Invigilator (Colin Salmon).

Throughout the movie, each of the candidates in question either screw up of their own accord or are picked off namely by White and the list grows shorter and shorter for the job vacancy while they all attempt to figure out what is actually being asked of them when they're not picking each other apart rather personally.

Keeping with the fact that it's a psychological thriller, it's a very talky sort of movie with each of the candidates getting decent amounts of focus as we slowly learn more about each one of them. If there was a villain of the piece, then it's White, who literally embodies every nasty, overly competitive stereotype of an actual Apprentice candidate. There is at least one glorious moment where he's bound and gagged by Black after pushing his luck one time too many, before his hubris screws him over at the last minute.

White is literally the only candidate of the bunch (except for one moment where his life's in danger) whom as an audience we're expected to detest and it's really not hard to do as he's thoroughly unpleasant towards everyone else in the room. The rest of the candidates have their moments, even a few dark and selfish ones but are generally written to be more sympathetic.

The running theme about a cure for a pandemic is also explored within the confines of the movie as it's something that most of the candidates have in common and it's the winner's eventual victory, level headed behaviour and compassion that sees them accepting a position to help save mankind. I have to admit the actual twist at the end genuinely surprised me but it did seem to make sense given everything else that had proceeded it.

Exam is certainly a clever movie, the kind you might not have heard of or probably would've caught by accident on Horror Channel or something but it's definitely worth a look at. It also rightly evokes the horror of an actual exam and job interview pretty succinctly as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Doctor Who - Steven Moffat To Step Down In 2017/Chris Chibnall Take Over In 2018

This has been coming for a while and given the frustrating lack of information being handed over, the BBC have finally admitted as to what the future has in store for Doctor Who.

Bad news out of the way first - all we're getting in 2016 is a Christmas special with Series 10 due to air in Spring 2017. Filming for the series will begin later in the year and while suspected for a while, it's been confirmed that Series 10 will be Steven Moffat's last one as he'll step down from the role of executive producer and showrunner in 2017, handing the reins over to someone else, who I'll mention in a minute. Moffat's statement on his upcoming exit from the show ....

 “Feels odd to be talking about leaving when I’m just starting work on the scripts for season 10, but the fact is my timey-wimey is running out. While Chris is doing his last run of Broadchurch, I’ll be finishing up on the best job in the universe and keeping the TARDIS warm for him. It took a lot of gin and tonic to talk him into this, but I am beyond delighted that one of the true stars of British Television drama will be taking the Time Lord even further into the future. At the start of season 11, Chris Chibnall will become the new showrunner of Doctor Who. And I will be thrown in a skip.”

And the new showrunner is Chris Chibnall. Yup, the man whose credits include Broadchurch, Camelot, Life On Mars and Law & Order: UK and the same man who penned eight episodes for the first two series of Torchwood will take over the show from Series 11 onwards, due to air in 2018. Chibnall's contributions for Doctor Who have previously included 42, The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, Dinosaurs On A Spaceship and The Power Of Three. On his new role, Chibnall had this to say ....

"Doctor Who is the ultimate BBC programme: bold, unique, vastly entertaining, and adored all around the world. So it's a privilege and a joy to be the next curator of this funny, scary and emotional family drama. I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was four years old, and I’m relishing the thought of working with the exceptional team at BBC Wales to create new characters, creatures and worlds for the Doctor to explore. Steven’s achieved the impossible by continually expanding Doctor Who's creative ambition, while growing its global popularity. He’s been a dazzling and daring showrunner, and hearing his plans and stories for 2017, it’s clear he’ll be going out with a bang. Just to make my life difficult."

Thoughts? I'm cool with this. Going by his CV alone, Chris Chibnall makes a lot of sense and for those hoping for a similar run to the Russell T. Davies era, you may get your wish with Chibnall at the helm. In terms of Steven Moffat departing, I'm neither happy nor sad. Moffat had a good run on the show and I don't doubt he'll make Series 10 an epic send off/conclusion to his era but we've been needing some new blood for a while and while we'll have to wait a year until his final run of episodes, we still have enough to keep us ticking over until then, such as upcoming spin-off series Class and the announcement of the companion for Moffat's final run.

Now the more interesting question is where does this leave Peter Capaldi? He did recently mention the possibility that Series 10 could be his final series and if he is due to leave the show in 2017 with Steven Moffat, he will have clocked in only slightly less episodes that both David Tennant and Matt Smith (still more than Christopher Eccleston) did during their times on the show. It's likely that Chibnall's era will be a whole reboot, especially with the show now returning to the Spring time but for the time being, it's also possible that Capaldi could stay on to help with the transition from Moffat to Chibnall. I guess we'll know soon enough though. Either way, I do think the show is going to be in a safe pair of hands with Chris Chibnall at the helm and as for Steven Moffat, I'd like to thank him for his contributions to the show and wish him luck on future projects.

Press Release:

Filming for Doctor Who's Christmas special and Series 10 will begin later in 2016.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x01: "Pilot Part 1"

Written by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg & Phil Klemmer
Directed by Glen Winter

Rip (to the team): "I know it's difficult for you to fathom but where, when I'm from in the year 2166, you and everyone on this roof aren't just considered heroes, you're legends."

It might seem a little strange that I'm reviewing this show in bigger detail than I do with parent shows Arrow and The Flash and the possibly related Supergirl but then again, I guess I really am a sucker for a time travel story and this is one that has eight misfits brought together with them all being guided by the mysterious and enigmatic Rip Hunter.

Let's get the Doctor Who comparisons out of the way because there are a fricking lot of them to be had with in this opening episode. The biggest one being that Rory Williams himself, Arthur Darvill is Rip Hunter and Rip himself comes across as a bit of a Doctor/Jack Harkness mash up and it works surprisingly well. Then couple that with nicking a Time Ship, the concept of Time Masters and altering/not alternating timelines and an immortal psychopath in the shape of Vandal Savage with plans of world destruction and they're slightly overwhelming.

Then there's our gang of 'legends' themselves. Immortal couple Kendra/Carter aka Hawkgirl/Hawkman, the newly renamed White Canary/Sara Lance, tech genius Ray Palmer/The Atom, both Firestorms themselves Professor Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson and bad boys themselves Captain Cold/Leonard Snart and Mick Rory/Heatwave. They're quite the motley crew and a bit reluctant about becoming legends even though they quickly accept a ticket onto Rip's time ship called Waverider.

The great thing about this pilot (of which it's first episode of a two parter) is that while there is emphasis on setting up main events that will bleed over the first season, Rip is the only main character we need to get to know. Everyone else, it's a case of catching up with them and having them find their sense of purpose, especially it's revealed that Rip's reasons for taking them out of 2016 was less glorious than expected. I like that the show got that out of the way.

Then there was Rip's backstory. Like Kendra and Carter, Rip has more of a personal interest in besting Savage (who was kept to the shadows and only appeared in two prominent scenes) and Darvill certainly plays all the moments with him to perfection while Kendra and Carter got closer to each and met their son, Professor Boardman who didn't make it out of the episode alive.

There are a lot of highlights in this opening episode and plenty of beautiful character moments. The budget certainly looks a bit higher than both Arrow and The Flash and the various trips to different places per week is certainly going to add a lot of excitement to proceedings as well. It's also going to be interesting to see how various cast members play off each week as well.

- This is the first DC show to actually have DC in the title as well. I wonder why they did it now and not with previous ones over the last few years.
- No regular from The Flash (aside from Gideon and a Cisco mention) appeared in the opening episode but we did get Oliver and Laurel from Arrow here guiding Ray and Sara.
- Sara's bisexuality is still there, viewers. Aside from an upcoming episode where she gets a female love interest, she did wind up an aggressive bar patron by flirting with his girlfriend and causing a bar fight. I do like the rapport with her, Cold and Heatwave though.
- Main times in this episode were 1975, 2016 and 2166 of course. Locations included most of America, London and Tibet.
- A minor critique but the male/female ratio for the cast does seem a little off. Any chance we can get Lisa or another female character to pop up too?
- I'm surprised the CW didn't air both parts of the Pilot on the same night. I also wonder if they're going to do a two part finale for this one.

Considering this was only the first half of the actual pilot episode, I think Legends Of Tomorrow has managed to get off to an impressive start. It feels bigger than it's parent shows but every bit as good as them and with 15 episodes at their disposal, I think the show will be more able to sustain Vandal Savage as an ongoing threat as well. I can't wait to see what the second part of this pilot brings to the show.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, January 21, 2016

DC Week: Movie Spoilers & TV Show Returns

Yup, this week really has been the week for DC, in terms of both small screen and big screen stuff and on Tuesday, the CW gave us some specials in relation to the upcoming movies.

The most exciting stuff of course was Suicide Squad. Not only did we get an official poster and some individual character ones but the main thing was a brand new trailer for the movie, which certainly revealed a lot. In the two and half minute trailer, we saw the dynamics of Joker and Harley, how the Squad were formed, Amanda reciting that they were the worst and the fun tag of 'Worst Heroes Ever'. Also with the use of Queen's Bohemien Rhapsody as part of the soundtrack, this is definitely going to be the movie of the year for me.

Meanwhile a new clip for Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice has been released after the trailer from the previous month. It seems that Kryptonite will play a role in the movie and as we've learned from last month, we know that Doomsday is also a main villain in this movie as well. The clip is pretty decent but it wasn't the only clip we saw during the special on the CW.

Although due next year, we were given a tiny clip from the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, which showed us a bit of a backstory for Gal Gadot's titular heroine and with the image I've posted we were also given a glimpse of the upcoming Justice League movie including Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg too. Things are certainly hotting up now with the DC movie franchise.

Small screen fans though this week had the Toyman pop up in Supergirl, both Arrow and The Flash return to finish up their respective seasons and tonight will also mark the debut of Legends Of Tomorrow, which I fully intend to watch tomorrow morning.

Suicide Squad Trailer:
Batman V. Superman/Wonder Woman Clips:
Justice League:

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice is released March 25th and Suicide Squad will be released August 5th. Both Wonder Woman and Justice League are due in 2017.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

FOX News

Yeah, I'm doing a blog discussing some of the recent new items in relation to a few shows that air on FOX. Some of it good, some of it a bit odd. Anyways, here goes nothing ....

It was rumoured a couple of months and thanks to the Television Critics Association last week, we know that FOX want more of 24. The snag however is that the proposed series, titled 24: Legacy will be the first series not to feature Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer and will instead focus on a brand new cast. I have to say, I don't love this idea one bit. For a lot of people (myself included), 24 is Jack Bauer and this just smacks of desperation. If they were desperate for more, they should've tried harder to get Kiefer back on board.

In the least surprising recommissioning news ever, Empire has been given a third season. While the first half of it's second season did divide viewers and dip a little rating wise, it's still one of television's highest rated network dramas and easily one of it's most talked about online as well. The remaining eight episode of Season 2 will air from March 30th. Meanwhile a spin-off formerly titled Star is also in the works with most of the main players for it cast, including Queen Latifah.

In other confirmed news, FOX have announced that Prison Break is indeed being revived with both Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller reprising their roles as Lincoln Burrows and Michael Schofield as soon as both actors finish up on CW series, Legends Of Tomorrow. The series will also feature other familiar faces (yet to be confirmed) and will begin production possibly as soon as late March with maybe nine episodes to boot. Personally, I'm not sure we really need the show back and if Heroes: Reborn is anything to go by, maybe some things are better left the way they were.

For a mixed response, FOX have also decided to take a chance and give Scream Queens a second season. Rumoured to be returning so far for the show's sophomore year are Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis and Lea Michele with the setting this time around being in a hospital. I know Murphy doesn't always take note of criticisms to his work but considering how tonally the first season could be a mess at times, I'm hoping he calms things down a bit for Season 2. A part of me also hopes that he actually does go the American Horror Story route and literally bring back his cast as different characters along with some new blood as well. It could give the show a bit of boost as well.

Last but not least, The X Files. We're less than a week until the premiere of Season 10 (that's what it is, isn't it?) and for Irish viewers, you'll be able to see the series on RTE2 from January 26th while UK viewers can watch it on Channel 5 soon enough. The trailers have certainly ramped up the excitement as David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprise their iconic roles for six episodes. Creator Chris Carter has recently admitted that while FOX haven't asked for more of the series, he has written a third movie though. Either way, it's time to get to know Mulder and Scully all over again.

More Information:

I'll be doing a TV jumble blog again shortly.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Recap/Review: American Horror Story: Hotel - Be Our Guest

Finale time and like previous one, expect a few deaths and an oddly feel good feeling as we take one last look into the Hotel Cortez and it's murderous residents.

Written by John J. Gray
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Plans For The Future: Since the Countess was taken out, both Iris and Liz effectively took over the Cortez, modernised the shit out of the place but with the likes of Will and Sally unable to quench their bloodlust, it was up to both Iris and Liz along with March to get the rest of the ghosts (Swedish girls, guy they killed, Miss Evers, hot lumberjack dude and Marcy the realtor to name a few) in order along with finding ways of keeping Will and Sally in line. This was achieved by inspiring the former (Liz excelled here) and introducing the latter to social media (Iris's bright idea). Now if only they had thought about these things earlier in the season. Oh well.

Death By Violent Kindness: This finale had Liz being the main point of view character and when her and Iris weren't bringing the Cortez into a whole new era, they were also talking to both Donovan and Tristan via the help of another past season character. We also had Liz become a grandmother and then learned that she had prostate cancer, which resulted in her decision to get the ghosts to band together and kill her so she wouldn't leave the Cortez. I have to admit it was a nice move having the Countess be the one to do it and a part of me did like the reunion between Liz and Tristan as well, even if the show should've done a better job earlier in the season fleshing out that relationship.

Ghost Whisperer: Keeping with the Murder House connections, Sarah Paulson pulled double duty for this episode by reprising her lesser known role in the franchise as medium Billie Dean Howard, who initially had contact with Donovan and Tristan before using the Cortez to host a couple of Halloween shows. However when it became clear that she was getting a little too over familiar with the place, a certain departed spirit stepped into sort that problem. As an aside, can I just say the episode missed an opportunity by not having Billie interact with Sally and why is it that Paulson looked more like an older version of Cordelia than Billie in this one?

Devil's Night: Because Billie somewhat overstepped the mark in this episode, it was up to John (who had been caught/killed by cops close to the hotel) to scare the living daylights out of her. He did this by introducing her to Gacy Jr, Dahmer, Wuornos, Rivera, Zodiac and March and the desired effect took place as Billie ran screaming from the place - with a little help from Ramona too. While John did die outside the Cortez, he visits the place once a year and reunites with his family (Scarlet escaped being killed or turned into a vampire), so in a weird way he kind of got a happy ending as did virtually everyone to an extent in this one.

The Jawline Come On: Being killed in the previous episode, the Countess was pretty much relegated to two scenes in this episode. The first one involved her role in Liz's latest transition while the second one saw her coming onto a handsome man who looked similar enough to Donovan by commenting on his jawline. Something tells me that pretty boy won't be leaving the Cortez by the end of the night. Twelve episodes in and Gaga pulled in a decent performance as the Countess but this season belonged to Denis O'Hare, Evan Peters, Mare Winningham, Kathy Bates and Sarah Paulson. That being said, if Gaga was to return for the sixth season in any capacity, it would be fine by me.

I'll be discussing/reviewing the show's sixth season when information surfaces. I may also do a Top 20 Character list for the five seasons of the show soon though.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Galavant - Season 1: Episodes 5-8 Reviews

And now onto the second half of Galavant's first season, which continued to the fun and mayhem as enemies finally met, true love was declared and power dynamics shifted.

Episode 5: Completely Mad .... Alena

Has there ever been a female character in fairytale so delightfully self absorbed and mean? Er, yeah, loads actually but Madalena certainly takes the biscuit and having a moment where she revels of her own self importance produced one of the funniest musical numbers of the series (No One Like You). There was also the slightly less funny, Hey, Hey We're The Monks but the main point of this episode was Galavant and King Richard finally facing off, Isabella's 'betrayal' being revealed and Madalena trying and failing to make Galavant into her plaything. There was also nice romantic subplot between the chef and Madalena's maid (Daisy from Downton Abbey) which was more fun than expected.

Episode 6: Dungeons And Dragon Lady

An episode that saw everyone acknowledging the attraction between Galavant and Isabella while Madalena seemed somewhat pissed off that her former lover has turned on her. There was an exploration into King Richard's past thanks to a wizard played by Ricky Gervais and an acid trip. Is it wrong that I've felt sorry for Richard all this time? Anyways in the past we met his horrible older brother and in the present, said horrible older brother now played by Rutgar Hauer has showed up to take Richard's kingdom and wife in one fell swoop. As you do. Music highlights in the episode included A Day In Richard's Life.

Episode 7: My Cousin Izzy

So, one of the things I wasn't expecting was that Isabella was engaged to her cousin who turned out to be a child. That's one for the brain bleach I think. On the other hand, the rivalry between Richard and his brother continued to gather pace as both Gareth and Galavant were challenged to joust for respective brothers. There was also an amusing subplot where the chef and Gwyneth plotted to poison everyone in the kingdom, only instead for them to feed the kingdom everything they were allergic as an alternative. Music highlights in this episode included Galavant's various attempts of singing Moments In The Sun and being stopped at every chance too.

Episode 8: It's All In The Executions

And it's the season finale but aside from the knowledge of a second season, I did like that the show inserted their own hope of getting one as well. Now this episode was absolutely hysterical. Galavant and King Richard work so much better as allies than friends and watching the two of them getting drunk, dissing Madalena (sorry, but it's funny) and plotting to kill Richard's brother (and failing spectacularly) were some of the highlights of this episode. Other highlights included Gareth helping virtually everyone except Sid escape, Madalena essentially becoming the main ruler of the kingdom and the musical numbers of Secret Mission and Goodnight My Friend. This show might not have ratings to sing about but it's unbridled fun, so no wonder ABC wanted seconds.

I'll review the first five episodes of Season 2 of Galavant sometime next week.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Marvel's Most Wanted: ABC Order Pilot

A couple of months ago, there was the potential for a spin-off with Agents OF SHIELD regulars Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) and husband, Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) and now, a pilot for one is on the way.

Titled Marvel's Most Wanted, the pilot see both Palicki and Blood leading the spin-off. Filming for the pilot will begin during the spring and by May at the upfronts, we'll know whether or not we've got a future series in the show.

Reading some of the reactions online for this news have been interesting. Both Bobbi and Lance are likeable characters who have helped to inject some vigour into the main series, so losing them would definitely feel like a loss. There's also the chance that this show could be seen as a replacement for Agent Carter, which debuts it's second season next week and may not go further than that.

Right now, only a pilot is guarantee but it seems that ABC are committed to producing more shows with Marvel as there's a committed for a comedy series named Damage Control also in the works, along with another yet to be titled show in the pipeline.

My own opinion is that while it would be a loss for Agents Of SHIELD losing both Bobbi and Lance, I could imagine Most Wanted being very much a fun, Mr & Mrs Smith type of show. I could definitely see myself tuning in for it.

More Information:

The pilot for Marvel's Most Wanted will film in the spring for ABC.

Monday, January 11, 2016

First Look: Netflix's The Crown

Adding something a little regal to their impressive slew of television programmes, Netflix have an upcoming series, titled The Crown, which will focus on Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy).

The 10 part series is biographical look into the royal family of the Commonwealth Realms and is created and written by Frost/Nixon's Peter Morgan. The series will also feature former Doctor Who actor, Matt Smith as Prince Philip Mountbatten as well as Dexter's John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, Jared Harris as George VI to name a few.

Although an exact release date has yet to be confirmed, Netflix did recently release a trailer for the series and it certainly looks wonderfully lavish. While exploring Queen Elizabeth has been done in recent times (notably with a certain Helen Mirren movie), this certainly looks like it'll add another interesting slate on the Royal family and with the powerhouse casting for it, I imagine it's going to be another jewel in Netflix's impressive crown.


The Crown is coming to Netflix in 2016. Release date to be confirmed.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Recap/Review: American Horror Story: Hotel - Battle Royale

With only one episode left until the finale, the penultimate episode of Hotel delivered a few more kills and the return of a character from a previous season.

Written by Ned Martel
Directed by Michael Uppendahl

I Wanna Be Adored: The Countess's death was inevitable but despite being subjected to a hail of bullets by Liz and Iris, it wasn't them who killed her. No, she escaped them, had Sally tend to her and ate her remaining kids in order to survive. It wasn't Ramona either who got to kill her. The Countess managed to actually get her on side a little so the only person who succeeded in the deed was John as a result of him completing his Ten Commandment thing that everyone stopped caring about. Weirdly enough, the Countess is now a ghost in the Cortez attending permanent meals with March but she did manage to get Miss Evers out of her hair, so a minor victory in a way.

Abandonment & Addiction: Words that could easily describe Sally all too well and now we're in the penultimate episode of the season, it seemed the right time to delve a little more into her past, involving her role as songwriter and drug dealer and a threesome with two musicians that resulted in death and the debut of the Addiction Demon as well. In the present day, when Sally wasn't lording power over the Countess, she was also actively trying to kill John as well. I have a feeling that's something she'll probably succeed with better in next week's finale.

Moving Forward: With Scarlett being aware that her family are mostly vampires (was John made into one?), you have to feel bad for the poor girl. She literally the only normal, non murderous members of her family and considering that her father's killer instincts are unlikely to stop and that her mother cares for Holden than her, if I were Scarlett, I'd get as far away from the lot as physically possible. Then again, they'll probably all be ghosts by next week anyways.

Not Your Protein Shake: I was hoping that this season would have a link to Coven and when Queenie popped up, I was actually delighted to see her. That soon went the other way when Ramona decided to feast on her and March ultimately killed Queenie (being a ghost made him immune to her voodoo abilities). Seriously, what the hell was the point of having the character show up, just to kill her? A bigger and better surprise would've been Queenie outsmarting Ramona and March and getting the hell out of the Cortez. This just felt like a dick move on Murphy's part to be honest.

Dying Pretty: Can I point out how great Matt Bomer usually is an actor? I feel I should mention that because as great as Bomer is, Donovan turned out to be one of the most disappointing and annoying characters of the season? Of course he'd foolishly die protecting the Countess but upon some gentle persuasion to Iris, he at least died outside the hotel though. That being said though, I won't miss Donovan and unless he's given an interesting character next season, I'm not sure I'd want him back on the show. As for Liz and Iris, well they seem to be in a better place emotionally now both Donovan and the Countess are done with.

Next week is the finale as a new era awaits the Cortez and a past character also shows up. 

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Galavant - Season 1: Episodes 1-4 Reviews

I had meant to catch up with this show a bit earlier but with the surprising renewal of a second season, which premiered a few days on ABC, here's a brief rundown on my thoughts for the first four episodes of Season 1 of Galavant.

Episode 1: Pilot

And so begins the noble story of a knight named Galavant (Joshua Sasse) who loved and lost the beautiful Madalena (Mallory Jansen) to King Richard (Timothy Omundson) and has been on something of a drinking spiral ever, much to his squire Sid (Luke Youngblood) chagrin. Enter, Princess Isabella Maria Lucia Elizabetta of Valencia (Karen David) who needs Galavant's help in getting her parents and her kingdom back from King Richard, which Galavant is only motivated to do as the episode draws to it's conclusion and he's given a tiny bit of hope of getting Madalena back. The song highlights from this episode are Galavant and She'll Be Mine.

Episode 2: Joust Friends

With Isabella secretly working for King Richard (which she nearly gave away), things take a detour into a hilariously awful jousting tournament between Galavant and the aptly named Jean Hamm (John Stamos). As the two bicker, resort to 'Yo Mamma' jokes and eventually spar, there's also some sympathy given to King Richard. Yes, he's a horrible brute but oddly enough, Madalena when she isn't shagging the court jester (Ben Presley) is also just royal bitch to her husband as well, not mention Gareth (Vinnie Jones) dishing out marital advice is brilliant. It's a fun second affair with the song highlights being Stand Up and Maybe You're Not The Worst Thing Ever.

Episode 3: Two Balls

An episode giving Sid some much focus as Galavant and Isabella head to the former's home town, meet his parents and realise that Sid has a reputation they were previously unaware about. It's another fun piece with Galavant himself having to pose as a squire and getting a crash course into how knights are really viewed while a public party at the castle saw King Richard learning from an eunuch that Madalena has been copping off with the Jester behind his back. Music highlights in this one include Jackass In A Can and Dance Until You Die.

Episode 4: Comedy Gold

Still desperate to win back Madalena properly, Richard spent most of this episode enlisting the Jester's help into becoming quite the comic, which only worked when pies were added into the equation. The Jester got some decent screen time in this one before suffering Madalena's wrath and being sent to the dungeons. Elsewhere Galavant, Isabella and Sid bickered, got captured by pirates (lead by Hugh Bonneville) and then saved them. Isabella also had a moment of conscience and nearly confessed her true intentions to Galavant. The music highlights of this one were Togetherness and Comedy Gold.

I'll cover episodes 5-8 of Galavant's first season next week.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My Review of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996)

Written by  Tab Murphy And Irene Mecchi And Bob Tzudiker And Noni White And Jonathan Roberts
Directed by Gary Trousdale And Kirk Wise

Clopin: "Clopin will tell you. It is a tale, a tale of a man, and a monster."

I have to admit that while Disney have adapted many fairytales and pieces of literatures, the adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel seemed like a strange choice even for them and while there are some glaringly obvious changes from the source material, this is another triumph for them as even though some of the darker aspects are omitted from this movie, it's still a tad darker than some of the other classics from the Disney.

Released in the late 1990s, this adaptation does cover the basics with cruel judge (not an archdeacon in this one), Claude Frollo (Tony Jay) looks after the deformed Quasimodo (Tom Hulce), keeping him trapped in the bell tower of Notre Dame as the bell ringer while holding onto Paris in a terrorising iron grip. It's a grip that soon becomes challenged both with a rebellious Captain Phoebus (Kevin Kline) and charming gypsy girl Esmeralda (Demi Moore) entering the fray.

Esmeralda is the character that pivots everything arguably more than Quasimodo does in this movie (and every other adaptation to if we're being honest). She's the object of affection for both Quasimodo and Phoebus and even Frollo, must to his horror harbours romantic feelings for her which he then attempt to quench by having her nearly killed in the movie.

More to the point, it's a movie very much like it's source material that's discussing prejudice, religious intolerance and acceptance in quite a vocal manner. It is heavy handed in parts? Maybe a little but it doesn't stop the messages from being important and effective nonetheless. Esmeralda and Quasimodo suffer from severe degrees of prejudices and Frollo is the embodiment of every intolerant fanatic known to man. He's also one of the greatest villains in any form of literature and his eventual comeuppance is suitably karmic as well.

However this is still undeniably a Disney movie and the love story between Esmeralda and Phoebus while sweet enough is a massive departure what really was their relationship in the source. In fact, Phoebus really is written and portray as the dashing hunk and of course, Quasimodo himself is given three all singing/mischief making gargoyles named Victor, Hugo and Laverne while Esmeralda's goat Djali also proved handy in a crisis too.

- Five writers to adapt Hugo's novel? Blimey, it's a lot, isn't it?
- Musical highlights are many but for me Frollo's "Hellfire" and "Someday" by All4One/Eternal are still the favourites for me.
- There's plans for a live action version of this movie in the works.
- Apparently this was the last Disney movie to use mildly bad language such as 'hell' or 'damn'. Now that was something I really didn't know.

This was a risky one to adapt and while there's a slightly bland sequel that exists, I actually do think that Disney provided a very interesting and of course timeless take on The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, retaining the book's spirit and intent, even with some very noticeable changes with certain characters and events.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, January 02, 2016

My Review of Sherlock's: "The Abominable Bride"

Written by Steven Moffat And Mark Gatiss
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Sherlock (to Watson): "The game is afoot."

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Now ever since the third series (and arguably even in aspects of the first two), Sherlock as a show has been getting a little too metatextual for it's own good and for a one off special until the fourth series arrives next year, we've got this Victorian laced episode that was certainly not quite what it seemed.

It was 1895 and both Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have met for the first time and are soon working to solve the case of murderous dead bride, Emilia Ricoletti (Natasha O'Keeffe) who has been going on something of a murder spree, targeting certain men in spite of the fact that she's meant to be dead herself. How can a woman supposedly dead be killing people if ghosts don't actually exist?

More to the point, how can a man who blew his brains out actually be alive for that matter? I should've copped on earlier into the episode that this was literally a case of crackfic coming to life with Sherlock using a Victorian unsolved case in his mind palace to figure out how Moriarty can still be a problem for him.

To say I was a little relieved that this episode was actually going to try and resolve (or further enhance, mystery wise) the cliffhanger from His Last Vow would be an understatement but it certainly helped to make what could've been a daft but pointless one-off a little more impactful.

The truth of the matter is that between mind palace escapades, Sherlock getting high in both Victorian and modern times, the interesting use of a women's rights group (hello Janine and posing as a man, Molly) and of course, the recreation of an iconic moment then subverted, the truth is that Moriarty is actually dead. Or is he? By this time next year, we're likely to have a proper answer but logically, how can anyone survive blasting their brains out?

I was initially a little wary of the show playing around with Victorian times but there was certainly a lot of fun to be had with some hilarious interpretations and commentaries not just on Holmes and Watson but also Lestrade, Mary, Mrs Hudson, Mycroft (Mark Gatiss putting in a hilarious comic performance and also a touching one too), Molly, Janine and Anderson. This isn't the sort of experiment the show should ever repeat again but for one night only, it was a great effort.

- The episode opened with a handy recap of the first three series, which turned out to be relevant to the actual episode itself.
- Irene did not appear in this episode, other than in a photograph. I would've loved to have seen her with Janine and Molly. As for that sign language, hilarious.
- I liked the variation of the theme and the sight of a rather heavier Mycroft was funnier than Molly dressed as a male doctor. In Victorian times, she's not a Sherlock fangirl.
- Filming for the fourth series begins in April, so assuming there's no hiccups, we should have it on BBC1 this time next year.

It was indulgent, took a tiny bit to follow in parts and was certainly sillier than usual but other than that, The Abominable Bride made me actually miss the show more than when it was off the air, glad it was on air and kept my Twitter entertaining for several hours. Oh and it was actually an enjoyable episode, so that was a plus too.

Rating: 8 out of 10