Saturday, July 31, 2010

Torchwood - SFX Discusses Series 4

Everyone's favourite sci-fi magazine nowadays, SFX have done a cover for Torchwood with their latest issue and an interview with Russell T. Davies as well. Having read the interview, there's plenty for the new season that's intriguing me, even if the new setting is going to be all American. I know RTD said it would be international but the entire thing is being filmed in America and I have a feeling that London and Cardiff themselves will be barely seen at all.

In terms of the arc, it's supposed to be darker and something RTD planned a long time ago but after Children Of Earth, I was hoping for something closer to the first two seasons to be honest. Then there's also the new characters - CIA Agents Rex Matheson and Esther Katusi who seem like Owen and Toshiko all over again and new baddie, Oswald Jones, convicted murderer and paedophile, who do all have potential as newbies. Casting has yet to be announced but RTD did mention in his interview that he wanted familiar actors for the roles.

Filming for Series 4 begins in January 2011 with transmission expected during the summer.

SFX Interview: http://www.sfx.co.uk/2010/07/23/interview-russell-t-davies-talks-torchwood/
Rex/Esther/Oswald Descriptions: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/07/15/new-characters-from-the-us-torchwood-revealed/

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Doctor Who - Christmas Spoilers/Proms Talk

It's been over two weeks ago since work on the Christmas special has begun and unlike last year when filming for Series 5 began, not much seems to have been revealed. Maybe security has gotten better this year perhaps.


Picture of Michael Gambon on set but I've seen nothing of Katherine Jenkins. Neither of their roles or the title of the episode have been disclosed but there are rumours that the special will go from Victorian era to 1980s, although how that happens will be interesting to see. Also there's a strong allusion that this episode will do it's own version of A Christmas Carol.

Matt Smith seems to be donning a new tweed jacket for the special but what else will be different about Eleven's costume this year? Much as some people might like to see the fez return, there's rumours that he'll get a long coat and a scarf for the winter months the show is being filmed. As for Series 6, both Amy and Rory are remaining as companions for the whole season, we'll learn about River and the Silence and Neil Gaiman is penning episode 3.

The Proms 2010 concert was on Saturday and was presented by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill with Matt Smith joining them later. However, he also went on stage as the Doctor and was bloody fantastic at it. Also in the audience was Steven Moffat and Peter Davison. I so can't wait to see this on screen.

Like the 2008 version of Proms, we had monsters on stage. This time around it was Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Saturnynians and Silurians to name a few and for those (like myself) who didn't get to see it, BBC3 are airing it soon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Review of "Hamlet"

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Gregory Doran

Hamlet: “On Fortinbras, he has my dying voice. So tell him with the occurents more and less, which has solicited, the rest is silence.”

Okay as Shakespearean plays tend to go, I’m more of a “Merchant Of Venice” sort of guy compared to a “Hamlet” one. I don’t dislike tragic plays but this one isn’t really a favourite of mine and if it wasn’t for a certain depiction of it, I don’t think that I would be writing a review of it for my blog.

“Hamlet” as a story has always seemed rather simplistic in its own complexities as well. You’ve got your titular prince bordering on madness, trying to avenge his father’s death but losing himself more to the point where his death always seemed painfully inevitable. That doesn’t mean I’m unsympathetic to the character or his plight but he’s far from my favourite character in classic English literature.

Plenty of actors over the years have taken on the role of Hamlet and it’s certainly an interesting role for a certain actor to take on in their career. Kenneth Brannagh has probably done one of the best versions of it and in recent months, it was also announced that John Simm would be taking on the Prince Of Denmark for the stage as well.

Back in 2008, David Tennant took on the role with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon for nearly six months and I was one of the unlucky people who didn’t get to see his performance of it on stage, which is why I was glad to learn that the BBC were doing their own version for broadcasting in 2009.

I watched this on original transmission and since then, I’ve bought the DVD to watch it again and I have to admit that I’m impressed. I know some of the acclaim that David Tennant got for playing Hamlet really bordered on hyperbole and while there have been more storming versions of the tragedy, the man does good with the role.

I think that’s down to the fact that David was a veteran with the RSC, knows his Shakespeare like the back of his hand, even got to meet the bard in an episode of Doctor Who and also because director Gregory Doran modernises the play without doing the source material a massive disservice in any way, shape or form.

Okay, so I’m not used to Hamlet jumping between modern clothing, the use of video cameras or the leading man bound and gagged to an office chair when quizzed about the death of Polonius but all of these bits did add to this version of the play with plenty of aplomb.

In terms of performances, I’ve already mentioned how good David Tennant is as Hamlet but for me, it’s Patrick Stewart who stole the entire thing. His performance as Claudius is the most captivating thing about the whole affair and I would also like to give some props to Mariah Gale as the unfortunate Ophelia and Penney Downey as Getrude who are all brilliant but to be fair, there isn’t a duff performance from any of the cast in this at all.

- This aired on Boxing Day 2009 and to be honest, it was one of many times we saw David Tennant during the Christmas period.
- Edward Bennett who played Laertes also played the role of Hamlet on stage when David Tennant had to have back surgery.
- During one of the nights this was performed, David had announced that he was leaving the role of Doctor Who to a shocked NTA audience.
- The extras for the DVD include a commentary by director Gregory Doran, Sebastian Grant and Chris Seager and a Making Of feature.

As a stage/screen version of “Hamlet”, this already has it’s own notoriety going for it and for David Tennant, it’s definitely going to go down as one of his best performances in both mediums to date. A worthy take on the play, that’s for sure.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 3x06: "I Got A Right To Sing The Blues"

Written by Alan Ball
Directed by Michael Lehmann

Eric: “You mean nothing to me understand? Nothing! I’m very close to getting something I’ve wanted ever since I was still human. Do not get in my way.”
Sookie: “I hate your fucking guts, Eric Northman. I promise I will pay you back for this.”

There’s also a great line in this episode where Russell frankly told Sookie that there was a fine line between feisty and delusional. If there were ever an apt description for the character of Sookie Stackhouse it would lie in that line, which is why it’s highlighted later in the review.

For two and a half seasons now, Sookie has towed the line between bravery and recklessness and while there have been plenty of examples of both in nearly every episode so far in the series; this one seemed to go to town on the matter on Sookie’s penchant for rising to the occasion and leaving herself without a paddle.

In terms of leaving herself without a paddle, Eric had to literally silence at one point in the episode because she wouldn’t shut up. I don’t want Sookie to be meek and do as she’s told but it should’ve been obvious to her that Eric was playing a long game with Russell, hence the coldness he displayed towards her in this episode.

But Sookie had to keep pushing it and at one point, Eric actually had to be a complete bastard towards her in order to get her to pipe. I don’t doubt that Eric is on Sookie’s side for a moment but there are more things he has to worry about and for that, it makes me grateful that Sookie’s isn’t the be and end all for Eric.

Even Russell found himself sort of put out by Sookie’s density in parts of the episode. Okay, so maybe asking if he was the king of all kings isn’t the worst thing that Sookie could’ve uttered but it did seem silly at the time and she was a little too quick to overplay her hand as well. Did she really think a couple of tears were going to get Russell to prevent Lorena from killing Bill?

Still, I did like the twenty question segment with Sookie and Russell and god knows, I want more screen time between the two of them in later episodes. Russell asked all the right questions in regards to Sookie’s abilities and she answered them because she was smart enough to realise that she had no choice in the matter. Plus some of the comments she made in order to convey her own confusion about her abilities made me laugh. Would actual aliens work on this show? Highly unlikely!

However to add insult to injury for Sookie was that not only did Russell keep her captive while he left but he certainly took pleasure in telling her that Bill had been spying on her all along for Sophie-Anne’s benefit. I kinda wished that we had seen Sookie react more to the revelation but I’m guessing there’s plenty of time for that in later episodes, right?

As for Sookie wanting to rescue Bill, maybe it was reckless but did fans really expect her not to? Never mind the fact that she’s besotted with him. If it had been Jason, Tara or Sam who were being tortured in the slave quarters, I don’t doubt for a second that Sookie would try and go to their aid too. I didn’t see Sookie risking her life for Bill as a shipper thing but more a commentary on her loyalty and given what she just learnt about Bill, it does show certain strength to her character as well.

That being said, I also completely expected Lorena to still be in the slave quarters and to finally attack Sookie. Lorena’s wanted to do it since Godric humiliated her and Sookie presented her with the perfect opportunity. Funnily enough while the situation looks bad for Sookie, it’s only going to be worse for Lorena.

If Sookie and Bill themselves don’t get the opportunity to stake Lorena, then I’m pretty sure that either Tara or Alcide might get the chance. Personally I’m hoping that Tara does it if Lorena’s death doesn’t go the same way as “Club Dead”. However for some odd reason though, I actually felt a little bad for Lorena in this episode.

When she was torturing Bill, there was a clear distress over it and even when Debbie and Cooter (could those two be any more trashy?) were feasting on him, Lorena didn’t look totally happy with it either. Even some of Bill’s comments about Lorena suggested that she wasn’t always as pathetic and psychotic as she is now. I almost wish we could’ve seen that side to the character.

Speaking of sides, I adored Tara in this episode. I loved how she seduced Franklin one minute and then caved his skull in with a mace the next so that she could rescue Sookie. This is the kind of Tara that we need to see more of. Maybe Tara does have darkness in her but she’s also smart, brave and resourceful and this episode definitely highlighted these attributes all the more. Plus I just liked seeing her rescuing Sookie instead of the other way around. It keeps things in my opinion.

Also interesting are Russell’s increasing machinations. Not only did he manage to get Eric into coercing Sophie-Anne into accepting a marriage proposal but he also expressed a desire to overthrow humanity. I like that Russell thinks big but if Maryann couldn’t succeed permanently with having humanity bend to her will, it’s unlikely that he will either.

Plus it’s obvious that he’s being set up for a fall. Eric might have vengeance on his mind but Talbot’s comments about Russell being surrounded by sycophants is very telling because the second a large amount of these sycophants decide to rise up, Russell will definitely have some major problems on his hands.

As for Sophie-Anne, I went from hating her guts in the season premiere to actually feeling a little bad for her again. No-one should be forced into a marriage (and I did notice the irony of a gay man asking/forcing a lesbian woman into marriage) and the fact that she was calling out for Hadley when Eric decided to restrain her shows that she has some humanity. That being said, she was dumb enough to try and frame Eric and now it’s come back to bite her in the ass so my sympathy for her is a little limited in some regards.

Something else that’s rather limited is my patience with Jason and Crystal’s storyline. Six episodes in and it feels like very little has actually happened. She’s honed the mystery act down fairly well and even cheesed off Jason by having a fiancĂ©e but apart from Jason being put out and acting like a dick with Kitch, he could’ve been very easily written out of this episode if I’m being totally honest. Also please tell that there is actually something up with Kitch because if there’s not, then Jason is just being an asshole for the sake of being one and that is something I could do without and I also detest the depiction of the Hotshot community as a bunch of violent, homophobic, meth dealing thugs. I was so happy when Lafayette smacked the shit out of a few of them who bashed up his car.

Also in “I Got A Right To Sing The Blues”

This is the first episode to be written by Alan Ball this season and I have a feeling that it might be the only one as well.

Sookie: “If you kill him, I will kill you.”
Lorena: “Oh please, please try without that sanctimonious prick Godric to save you. I would just love to rip you open and wear your ribcage as a hat.”

It looks like Lorena’s been watching some Buffy in her spare time because that is quote of sorts from the episode “Becoming Part 2”.

Jason: “I ain’t letting you go.”
Crystal: “Ain’t nobody owns me.”
Jason: “When am I gonna see you again?”
Crystal: “Never. This can’t happen again, it’s too dangerous.”

Jesus: “Bitch, my name is Jesus, bro, the polar opposite of Satan.”
Lafayette: “It better be.”

I might be in a minority but I actually understand Jesus’s discomfort with Lafayette being a drug dealer, though the god talk was interesting and we learned about Jesus for me to think he’s gone for good.

Russell: “Honey, there’s a fine line between feisty and delusional. You’re not in any position to bargain.”
Sookie: “You don’t know that.”

Sookie: “There is a queen?”
Russell: “Oh sweetheart, you really don’t know anything, do you?”

Sookie talked about the incident with chain around Mack Rattray’s neck but upcoming spoilers indicate that wasn’t her doing entirely.

Bill: “You’ve always enjoyed making people suffer.”
Lorena: “And there’s nothing wrong with, especially when you’ve been made to suffer as I have been.”

Tara: “Untie me. Two hands are better than none.”
Franklin: “Why you wicked little strumpet.”

What were the card games that Eric and Talbot were playing in this episode and did Lorena allude to Russell being her maker? That would be interesting if he was. Plus Talbot’s been married to Russell for 700 years.

Talbot (to Russell): “Deep down my darling, you’re a very weak character.”

Russell: “If all the supernaturals would stop squabbling and unite, we could conquer the humans in a matter of days.”
Eric: “Is this you plan?”
Russell: “I prefer to call it my dream.”

Sophie-Anne’s attempts to get the IRS off her back was to blow her money on scratch cards and hope for the best. That made me chuckle a lot. And Alcide’s wolf is a timber colour.

Sophie-Anne: “Momma’s feeling lucky tonight.”
Russell: “Momma couldn’t be more wrong.”

Sophie-Anne: “They have no dominion over me, I am a queen.”
Russell: “Please. I’ve known some of the finest queens that have ever lived. You my dear girl are no queen.”
Sophie-Anne: “Go fuck yourself.”
Eric: “No, sweetheart, you go fuck yourself.”

This episode revealed that Melinda and Joe Lee were forcing Tommy into dog fighting and I liked that Sam took off to try and save his brother. Plus the scenes between Arlene/Jessica and that irritating customer this week were funny, even if Jessica did feed off the customer.

Debbie (re Bill): “Come on, let’s just have a little taste. He’s gonna waste on the floor like that.”
Lorena: “Of course. Suck whatever’s left right out of him.”

Melinda (to Tommy): “Sam may be blood but he ain’t family and he ain’t never gonna be.”

Standout music: Billie Holiday’s “I Got A Right To Sing The Blues” during Lorena’s torture of Bill.

Lorena (to Sookie): “Well, isn’t this heart warming? This is all your fault.”

Chronology: From where “Trouble” more or less left off.

Not one of the best episodes of the season but the ending is amazing and “I Got A Right To Sing The Blues” is at least forwarding some of Russell’s storylines if not many others. With six episodes left, we do need things to pick up the pace but other than that, this is another enjoyable episode.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Review of Sherlock's 1x01: "A Study In Pink"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Paul McGuigan

Sherlock (to Watson): “The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221b Baker Street.”

And as introductions go, that is somewhat snappy. On a list of flatmates that John Watson could’ve ended up, it’s safe for him to assume that life with Sherlock Holmes will never be boring again. In fact, it will certainly be anything but.

Modernising something like Sherlock Holmes for a 2010 audience is definitely a dodgy thing to do. The Victorian era has always been the staple of whatever televised incarnation of the legendary detective and even Guy Ritchie wasn’t daring enough to make the character and his complicated world as recent as the 21st Century.

However in spite of the reservation, it actually worked perfectly. Not only will it be the most obvious thing to set it apart from all the others but it also manages not to feel like a generic cop show while almost taking a devilish glee in sending up some of the more slick and over polished shows that we’ve had in the last decade from both sides of the Atlantic.

A murder mystery can only be done in so many ways and even when it looked like the first three victims all killed themselves, as an audience member, there’s the nagging feeling that something isn’t right. Sherlock wasn’t the only person who had certain jubilation in realising that fourth victim; Jennifer Wilson was murdered instead of voluntarily taking her own life. Even I was ecstatic to have my own suspicion confirmed that it was murder all along with the bodies piling up in this episode.

And there was the villain of the piece himself – bored, dying cabbie driver Jeff. Phil Davis has this uncanny knack to imbue his villain of the piece with a duality of sinister malevolence and total a pathetic need to have his genius glorified. Like Sherlock, he had a need to exercise his genius but by taking lives, he showed little regard for the consequence of his genius.

Sure, he was dying and there was something sponsoring his killing spree (Moriarty of course) but you could also detect the pure desperation in him when Sherlock refused to play his game. Sherlock also exhibited a lesser desperation in wanting to know whether or not he had guessed correctly with the vial containing the pill that could kill or save him.

Jeff’s method of killing his victims was certain less gruesome (bar Jennifer of course) than expected but it also served as a testament to Moffat’s genius as well. Where else would we get a moment where poor Jennifer was able to trick Jeff in being found, only for Jeff to use the opportunity to snatch Sherlock literally under the police noses?

In terms of depictions, Benedict Cumberbatch played the role of Sherlock as if he were auditioning for Doctor Who. I’m not saying that in a harsh manner because when you think about it, both the Doctor and Sherlock Holmes are actually similar characters in their own way and you could definitely say that Watson fills the companion role in more ways than one.

Writing him as an army vet who misses being in trenches was a clever move and it certainly played with Martin Freeman’s strengths as well. Mycroft needled him perfectly about the war aspect but also openly revelled in the fact that his brother now had a partner to fight crime with. As a team goes, this is definitely a different but interesting take on Sherlock/Watson and I certainly approve, even if the gay jokes seemed a little tacked on. What am I kidding, they were funny.

As for the other police members, well they were largely written as clueless in order to highlight Sherlock’s genius. Lestrade himself had to organise a drug bust in order to try and get Sherlock to play ball and Sally herself also came across as too embittered as well. Hopefully they’ll develop better in later episodes along with housekeeper, Mrs Hudson.

- This was originally meant to be four 90 minutes episodes but the BBC scrapped one of them and now we’re left with three.
- I was really hoping for a second that Mark Gatiss would turn out to be Moriarty, though I like his take on Mycroft.
- Sherlock’s use of texting in this first episode was pretty amazing actually, even if it did come across as a little on the gimmick side.
- John Watson has a blog and Sherlock’s site The Science Of Deduction has some interesting comments from a certain someone. Plus I loved his intrigue when he learned about Moriarty.

For a 90 episode, “A Study In Pink” certainly flew by and with a good team in Cumberbatch and Freeman, this is certainly a promising take on things. Here’s hoping that the next two episodes are equally as strong.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Wish Some People Would Stop Believing

Okay, losing two people in Big Brother sans eviction is pretty careless in the space of a week but there's always a bit of a bright side, isn't there? Except not really. Sure, I never really liked Caoimhe but she was getting more bearable without Shabby and Keeley at least won pointers for calling certain people out on things but it's still a little sad to see them both leave when we're still stuck with pompous Ben and religious nut Dave (WTF was up with that puritanical rant about Caoimhe in a wet shirt last weekend?). I'm not sure if adding more people was the right solution either, especially with the housemates choices. Other JJ's cute though I doubt Mario will get to get up and close with him and Laura and Jo just seem a bit meh to be honest. As for the Glee inspired task this week with Pineapple Dance Studios Andrew Stone (what, Louie Spencer too big to do the show?), can I sue for noise pollution because that version of Don't Stop Believing was horrible and that's being nice on the matter.

BBC3 are trundling through their Family Guy episodes and occassionally, I'll sit down and watch one. The one I ended up watching last time was Quagmire's war hero father coming out to his son that he was becoming a woman. As usual, it's largely played for laughs, mostly politically and Brian's reaction when he finds out that the mystery woman he slept with was formerly a man is far from great in one way but hilarious in another one. Also, who knew that Quagmire could really get mad that badly?

Catching up with the second and third episodes of Misfits first season and I can honestly that I am loving this show. I wish it wasn't airing on Saturdays but I'm glad that unlike Skins, Channel 4 are airing it in a 10pm slot. Nathan still doesn't seem to have powers but his sarky banter is providing some of the best moments in the episode and I felt bad for him when his liaison with Ruth resulted in her being revealed as way older than her years. The interpersonal dynamics are certainly interesting - Alisha's abuse of her powers, Curtis's attraction towards, Simon's increased isloation from the group and Kelly making peace with the girl she battered after said made her bald for a few days. I'm also liking the arc with Sally trying to find out who murdered her boyfriend, even though it's gonna be a long wait for that to bear fruit.

Smallville have been painting doomy futures for a bit of a while now, so why am I not surprised that an Earth ruled by Zod would be an unpleasant place? At least I don't have to feign shock that Tess would also be one of the few humans to willingly join up to his cause in order to save the planet. Yeah, Tess, you keep telling yourself that. The look into Lois's memories of a dystopian future certainly seems to have given Clark food for thought in regards to how to handle Zod but I'm not so sure that treating Zod like a friend is a good way of stopping him in his tracks. And you don't need to be Chloe to worry that once again that Clark is shutting people out to try and beat the bad guy.

- Joe Manganiello is being signed on as a regular for the fourth season of True Blood. Lara Pulver's Claudine is also appearing on the show soon and look out for the character of Holly.
- Kevin and Scotty's baby plans are being scrapped for Brothers And Sisters. They'll end up taking in a homeless kid instead.
- John Barrowman is rumoured to be appearing in the second season of Glee. New cast member, Charise also denied having a makeover for her role in the series.
- Indira Varma is joining up as new team leader Lisa for the next series of Human Target.
- Joss Whedon has blasted networks for not embracing serialised dramas.
- Emma Caulfield has landed a role on Life Unexpected. Why do ex-Whedon people keep signing onto shows I don't watch or want to watch?
- Weeds will not end after it's upcoming sixth season, according to executive producer, Victoria Morrow.
- Emily Bergl has been cast as Paul's wife, Beth for the seventh season of Desperate Housewives.
- The character of Cat Grant will be introduced into the tenth and final season of Smallville. John Schneider will also be reprising his role as Jonathan Kent in the new season.
- An upcoming episode of Family Guy will poke fun of Return Of The Jedi.





Saturday, July 24, 2010

True Blood - Comic Con Trailer/Panel Discussion

It's that time of year when it really is a joy to be a fan of a cult series, especially when it's True Blood as this year's Comic Con provided some delights.

With the exclusion of Alexander Skarsgard, pretty much the whole cast along with Alan Ball and Charlaine Harris were at this year's event, citing spoilers for the remaining seven episodes of Season 3. Hence the caps from this trailer.

Bill (Stephen Moyer) finds himself a little tied up by Lorena and while it's looking likely that she's set to die soon enough, Bill's relationship with Sookie is certainly doomed. Which will inevitably lead the way for either Alcide or Eric to get the telepath.

Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and Crystal (Lindsay Pulsipher) seem to have a forbidden relationship of sorts. Book wise, we already know that Crystal's a werepanther and spoilers in recent weeks indicate that Jason is going to go against her nasty uncle Calvin in the next few weeks as well.

Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) are certainly getting closer, much to the displeasures of Bill, Eric and psychotic Debbie Pelt (Brit Morgan). I'll be genuinely surprised if Sookie/Alcide actually do become a couple and personally, it might not be a bad idea if they do for the time being.

Still both Debbie and Lorena can bond over their hatred of Sookie and the fact that both women are seen in the trailer as trying to kill her. Debbie with a pack of wolves at her side (following Cooter's death, as Alcide's also on her hitlist) and Lorena with fangs. I'm not sure which lady succeeds (if anyone of them do) but Sookie is seen comatose at the end of the trailer as well.

Which leads to the introduction of one of my favourite characters in the books, Claudine (Lara Pulver), who seems to be speaking in her natural British accent and her arrival also will seem to give us more on Sookie's abilities. Other spoilers that have been flying around are Russell getting revenge for Talbot's death, Franklin's exit, Lafayette/Tara's family darkness, Sam's scumbag parents exploiting Tommy, Sophie-Anne and Pam in respective dangers, Nan Flanagan investigating the Magister's disappearance, Jessica/Hoyt reuniting, the introduction of witches with the arrival of Holly in Merlotte's, more on Hadley and the season ending with Eric in a memory wiped state. Boy, this season really is going to be busy, huh?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alex Kingston In New TV Series

For those of you who want to see more of Alex Kingston on UK television that isn't Doctor Who, then you'll be delighted to know that ITV have commissioned a five part supernatural drama called The Oaks with Alex in a leading role. The series was created by Stephen Greenhorn, who has scribed the TV episodes The Lazarus Experiment and The Doctor's Daughter. Other cast members include Jodie Whittaker, Anne Reid, Shelley Conn and Dean Andrews.

Press Release: http://primetime.unrealitytv.co.uk/alex-kingston-and-jodie-whittaker-lead-the-cast-of-itvs-the-oaks/

Monday, July 19, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 3x05: "Trouble"

Written by Nancy Oliver
Directed by Scott Winant

Eric: “You learn any tricks?”
Talbot: “Eric, you know as well as I there’s nothing new, except someone new.”

And isn’t that interesting little bit of information? When Talbot isn’t dishing out bitchy comments, he’s certainly doling out perceptiveness to Eric. I seriously did not expect that the sight of a Viking crown would ignite certain memories of Eric’s to resurface but I sure as hell should’ve done.

Russell’s not stupid and the second that Eric came to be in his captivity was the same one that meant he would be tested by Russell, just like Bill has been for the last three episodes. The only difference will be whether or not Eric can retain his cool. Talbot unlocked memories that really should set Eric like a time bomb.

Werewolves killing off Eric’s parents would’ve been a shocker if it hadn’t been implied in previous episodes that Eric had a personal grievance with werewolves in general. So, things just fall into place when viewing that flashback and having Russell be the one responsible for the death of Eric’s family was an interesting twist. Undoubtedly it will also play a major role in later episodes.

Eric coming/being brought to Russell couldn’t have come a moment sooner. Not only was Russell able to see through Eric’s initial facade but he almost seemed sympathetic when he realised that Pam’s life was endangered by the Magister. If vampires have given the Magister the power to be judge, jury and executioner then it makes perfect sense that they will also be the ones to strip him off his powers as well.

But back to Eric, now that he knows about Russell’s involvement in his parents death = how will he strike? He’s crafter than Bill but he’s also capable of losing it too and I got the impression that Talbot could easily pick up on his discomfort over seeing the crown instantly. I just hope that Eric has more of an advantage when going up against Russell than Bill does about now.

And that leads to Bill nicely. He was doing so well and for a tiny bit, he might have totally won Russell over but there were several drawbacks this week. The first one being that his research into the Stackhouse family tree at the behest of Sophie-Anne was exposed thanks to Franklin’s snooping and Bill certainly did a bad job of trying to bluff his way out of that one with Russell.

Then there was Sookie and her life being in danger yet again. Of course Cooter would take Bill aside and goad him about Sookie and Alcide and of course Bill would have to go and find them. As a viewer, I knew as soon as he did that, both Russell and his goons would come to snatch Sookie and the end of the episode didn’t disappoint in that respect.

Having Sookie pull the same telepathic/electrical stunt on Cooter that she did with Maryann back in “New World In My View” was impressive. Russell certainly seemed entertained by it and I’m hoping that within this season, there are some concrete answers behind Sookie’s developing abilities, preferably before Russell tries to use them for his own ends as well. I can’t see him killing off Sookie when she could prove to be useful for him, even if Lorena might happily do it.

As for Sookie, this episode was actually surprisingly light with her as well but when she did appear on screen, things were being progressed along. Alcide grudgingly found himself falling into line with her over talking to his pack master, Colonel Flood and it was through that conversation that showed an emphasis on how much influence Russell has over the werewolf community.

Then there was Debbie. She’s still an absolute bitch but until realising that Sookie was staying with Alcide, I got the impression that she was trying to help her ex-boyfriend in some weird way. I like the areas of grey that this show and Brit Morgan are doing with this character that it’s beginning to make me despair more for the book version of the character. I can’t see Debbie living long enough to redeeming herself but she’s certainly more interesting here than I expected her to be and that’s a plus.

Also interesting is Franklin’s history with women. I should’ve seen it really. Franklin fixates on a woman and if it goes wrong, then there are bodies as a direct result. Sadly for Tara, she’s become the very woman that he’s fixating on right now but on the plus side, being put in this rotten predicament is giving her a semblance of strength.

Don’t get me wrong, Tara still showed signs of fear from Franklin and she did try to make a break for it, even if Cooter did stop her but she’s also smart enough to try and keep Franklin on side to keep herself safe. I noticed that her facial expressions changed when she was slowly manipulating him. And if she’s smart to find a way of making sure that he doesn’t turn her into a vampire, then more power to Tara. I like seeing this clever side of her and I definitely hope that she does overpower Franklin’s grip on her soon, even if he is a fun addition to the series.

Speaking of overpowering, has Sam lost his fucking mind? I’m all for him giving Tommy some work at Merlotte’s and the two of them spending time with each other but he seriously needs to ditch Melinda and Joe Lee pretty soon. There’s always been tell tale signs that Joe Lee is rotten to the core but this episode proved it tonight. Why else would Tommy not want to be around his father?

I found it suspicious when Joe Lee lost the plot and both him and Sam nearly came to physical blows. Fair play to Sam for standing his ground with Joe Lee but I have a feeling that Tommy’s scars that we saw earlier in the series might have a lot to do with his no good parents. Any chance that Tommy’s being forced into fighting for his parents’ income? It certainly would explain some of Joe Lee’s comments come to think of it.

Also I’d like an explanation for Jesus waiting nine hours to spend time with Lafayette. I’m all for Lafayette getting a love interest, especially one as gorgeous as Jesus but the more I watched their scenes, the more I thought something was off. I’ve heard rumours that Jesus might not be all he seems to be and that does worry me.

I’m less worried about Jason and Crystal because while I know who/what the latter really is and can guess what will happen to the former as result of hanging around the mystery blonde, it’s the only plot that didn’t jump out as much to me. Granted, it was preferable to Sam’s parents but it’s a slighter weaker plot in this episode. That being said, I actually do like Crystal and despite Jason’s lack of efforts/blackmailing, I do think that he probably would be an interesting cop.

Also in “Trouble”

I found it a little odd that when it came to Sookie and Alcide that we didn’t get anything on the wolf bit from the club.

Tara: “What is going on here? What’s wrong with you?”
Lorena: “Yes, Bill. Your behaviour is somewhat erratic.”
Tara: “Help me.”
Bill: “No.”

I did feel bad that not one vampire in Russell’s home had any desire for Tara at all. Bill refused to help, Lorena saw her as undesirable, Russell barely acknowledged her and Talbot patronised her.

Bill (to Lorena): “You know, Russell’s right, you’re not very smart. You’ve painted yourself into a corner, you tiresome cow.”

Russell (re Bill/Eric): “A king in front of them, a queen behind them and they're talking about a human girl.”
Talbot: “Men.”

Arlene is still coming across as a bitch in this episode. Not only is she getting Terry’s hopes up but she can’t even manage to be civil towards Jessica. I don’t blame Jessica for glamouring the customers not to give Arlene tips.

Debbie: “I will fuck you up, I will cut you.”
Alcide: “Sookie, back off!”
Sookie: “Where is Bill Compton?”

Arlene (to Sam, re Terry): “I never thought it would happen again and again and again and that other time too, but especially now.”

Despite being mentioned several times, this episode was a Pam free zone. Hopefully we see her next and the Magister hasn’t killed her.

Sookie: “Work with me, Alcide, it gets easier.”

Flood: “I am saving us from extinction.”
Alcide: “Well, I’d rather be extinct than slave to a dead man.”

Alcide seems to have an inability to keep his shirt on for very long, doesn’t he? Also the growling thing is rather neat as well.

Jason: “Are you resisting me because if you are, please observe the official police vehicle I came out of?”
Crystal: “Where’s your badge? Where’s your gun? Where’s your shirt?”

Franklin: “You’re afraid of me? Of me? That’s insane!”
Tara: “But you tie me up.”
Franklin: “To keep you safe. Oh my God, what other reason could there be?”

There was some flirting going on between Jessica and Tommy in this episode. Also, it was a little silly of Hoyt to bring his date to the same place where his ex-girlfriend was working.

Jesus: “So we gonna play?”
Lafayette: “I’ll play and I’ll break.”

Jason: “Those things you can’t explain, I don’t care about them.”
Crystal: “That’s what you say now.”

Standout music: Honeycombs “Little Moon” and Jackie DeShannon’s “Trouble”.

Tara: “We need to talk.”
Franklin: “Don’t say that. Women say that, everything goes black and I wake up surrounded by body parts.”

Cooter: “I’m gonna get you.”
Sookie: “Maybe not”

Chronology: Little bit from where “9 Crimes” left off.

These episodes are getting busier and busier by the week. However to be fair towards “Trouble”, a lot of progress has actually been made in this one and it’s nice to see that Sookie and Russell are finally getting some screen time with each other. It’s definitely making me eager for the next fix.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Superpowered ASBOs

I've never really been big into My Family as a show. It's always been one of those series that's just been there. It's never awful but it's never awfully exciting and given the big deal made into the fact that the character of Michael Harper was going to come out to his family, the episode didn't do anything that extraordinary with it. Sure, they played on Ben's oversupportive stance and had Michael's partner's father take the homophobic but aside from that, nothing new. Still, maybe that's better than how EastEnders have been dealing with the Masoods over Syed in the last few months.

It's interesting to see how two weeks in the Big Brother house have changed things. The likes of Sunshine, Nathan and Ife all became evicted and temper tantrum maker Shabby stormed out of the show, not noticing that no-one really cared. Even Caoimhe (who surprisingly has become more bearable) has forgotten about Shabby. However the last two weeks have been a mixed blessing. Hats off to the producers for the delightful appearances from Titan during the man versus machine task and new housemates Andrew, Keeley and Rachel have fared well enough so far. The Come Dine With Me and Uber Cougar challenges were also funny to watch as well as that parrot spouting off quotes. On the flipside, Ben is still painfully pompous, Mario needs to keep his cock to himself (and to stop whining when put up for eviction), Dave's religious banter still annoys me and JJ continues to argue with everyone, even if he was right in both circumstances to read both Ife and Ben the riot act.


I hate not catching something first time round. I made the mistake of not watching Misfits during it's E4 transmission but aren't I glad that Channel 4 decided to air it on Saturdays? In ways, it's just Skins meets Heroes but damn, it's bloody funny. Five ASBO kids getting superpowers after a storm is a nice enough twist. I assume that smart-arse Nathan has them too, even if we haven't seen them yet. As for the rest of them - Curtis gets to mess with time, Kelly can hear people's thoughts, Simon gets to be invisible when seriously ignored and Alisha bring out the worst in people sexually when she touches them. If this was an American series, they'd be the added angst factor but here, yeah they're freaked out but you get the impression that each of them is going to have some fun with their powers. They need to avoid getting banged up for murdering their probation officer and the fact that there are other storm freaks out there does seem to a continuing strand in the series.


I've been watching more of Smallville and I'm actually liking it for the most part. The last few episodes seem to be cementing the uneasy alliance between Zod and Tess and can I say that Callum Blue is a welcomed addition to the series? I've always liked him in other series but he's really bringing a nice sense of menace to Zod without making him into a one-dimensional baddie. Also, the episode where twins Zan and Jayna tried to help out with the Blur/Clark's legacy was also a lot of fun. Well, certainly more fun than watching Lois doing therapy and talking about her sex dreams in regards to Clark.

- Sherlock Holmes will be airing Sundays 9pm on BBC1 from July 25th.
- The US version of Being Human will have Sam Witwer playing the role of Aidan (the Mitchell character) and Mark Pellegrino playing Bishop (the Herrick character). The roles for Sally (Annie) and Josh (George) have yet to be cast.
- Expect the death of a male character in True Blood soon. Also expect the arrival of Lara Pulver's fairy, Claudine in the seventh episode of the latest season.
- HBO have picked a drama from Dustin Hoffman called Luck. The drama will focus on horse owners, gamblers and jockey and sees Hoffman in a role of a man who's recently left prison.




Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tom Hopper - Gay Times Tidbit From DW


So what do you think your character Jeff was looking at on his computer that caused the Doctor to be so shocked?

"Me and Matt Smith decided that it was maybe some hard-core animal porn. Because we needed something that would absolutely shock. And I know that there's been some talk about, 'it was definitely gay porn he was looking at'. I probably shouldn't say this actually, but there was a cut line where Annette Crosbie came in and said, 'is this one of your gay friends, Jeff?' and I go, 'Gran, I'm not gay!' And they cut it in the end, maybe for that reason, but me and Matt were saying it was definitely some hardcore animal porn, pure shock!"

Maybe some of that scene should've been kept in. Interesting factoid though. Maybe we'll get it in deleted scenes for the Series 5 DVD. You can read Tom's interview with Gay Times now as it's currently out in the shops to buy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Look: Christopher And His Kind

Want more of Matt Smith on your screen but before Christmas? Well, then, get ready for BBC2 biopic, Christopher And His Kind, due to air later in the year.

Filmed in Northern Ireland a month ago, Christopher And His Kind is a biopic on writer Christopher Isherwood (Matt Smith) breaking from his suffocating mother, Kathleen (Lindsay Duncan) for the hedonistic lifestyle of Berlin between the period of 1929-1939, the events that inspired the musical, Cabaret.

A bevy of different actors appear in this 90 minute biopic including Douglas Booth, whose character Heinz becomes a love interest for Christopher as well as Imogen Poots as aspiring actress, Jean Ross and Toby Jones as Gerald Hamilton, the man who provided inspiration for Isherwood's book, Mr Norris Changes Trains. Christopher And His Kind is written by playwright Kevin Elyot and directed by Geoffrey Sax. Expect a review for the biopic on this blog.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 3x04: "9 Crimes"

Written by Kate Barnow And Elizabeth R. Finch
Directed by David Petrarca

Bill: “I am death. I will bring you only suffering. Our worlds are too different, our natures too. We were doomed from the start.”
Sookie: “I don’t believe you.”
Bill: “Believe what you want. You are no longer of concern to me. Don’t try to find me, I do not wish to be found.”

They say breaking up is the hardest thing to do but Bill made damn sure when he did with Sookie to be as extra callous as humanly possible in the hopes that she would give up her pursuit of his whereabouts. Well, as plans go, it’s safe to assume that this was an utter failure through and through.

Don’t get me wrong – I was pretty convinced by Bill’s utter coldness towards Sookie as well with that phone call and it sure as hell helped that he told her about banging Lorena and allowed Lorena to get a snarky moment in the conversation as well but surely Bill knows something about Sookie by now?

Sure, she was upset as hell, even more so given that this was her first proper relationship seemingly coming to an end but she was still determined to find Bill so he could say it to her face. I couldn’t help but admire and want to face palm Sookie at the same time for that. The girl certainly has gumption and a little stupidity in her corner.

Alcide himself wasn’t exactly a great help either, which was an interesting thing given that he was going through his own woes with Debbie’s engagement to Cooter of all weres. However while his comments were harsh to Sookie, they weren’t exactly all that misplaced and even without prior knowledge to the books, there’s a building of an attraction between him and the telepath.

Sookie herself certainly didn’t want him out of her sight after being dumped by Bill and even liked what she saw when Alcide wasn’t wearing a shirt. To be fair, I don’t fecking blame her for it either. While I’m mixed on him as a character, I definitely can’t help but find him rather nice to look at as well and I don’t find myself annoyed with his annoyance at being Eric’s henchmen either for some reason.

But Alcide and Sookie as a couple? One word: rebound! Sure, there’s Alcide’s biker chick sister, Janice trying to play matchmaker with the pair of them (and please tell me she’s coming back – I really like her) but Sookie’s in an vulnerable position and Alcide himself is too wrapped up in Debbie that I don’t think a relationship between him and Sookie is viable, especially not a lasting one.

I wasn’t especially looking forward to see Debbie Pelt on screen because in the books, she’s rather one dimensional, even if she is a danger to Sookie but I have to admit that Brit Morgan is off to a good start in arguably one of the least thankful roles you could snag on this series. I don’t suddenly love Debbie Pelt but this episode is something of a good indicator for making me at least give a crap about her and that’s something.

Okay, so she’s a horrid bitch towards Sookie in the were bar and pretty damn spiteful towards Alcide as well but for a moment until Cooter interrupted, I almost got the feeling that both Sookie and Alcide were getting through to her. Then she threw it back in their faces and allowed herself to be initiated into Cooter’s pack with some old fashioned branding.

The branding is one of many scene in this episode that sees a female character getting seriously pained. I didn’t particularly enjoy watching that scene and the atmosphere intensified when Russell came in and gave all the weres a shot of his own blood to send them into a frenzy. No wonder the lot of them are so loyal to them. Russell sure as hell knows how to inspire/instil loyalty in various ways.

Threatening Sookie for the past two episodes was the very thing that had Bill in his corner and this episode had him finding out about Sophie-Anne and Eric’s V dealing antics. I actually hated Bill for dobbing them to Russell, even though I understood his motives behind it but it was still a reckless thing to do.

He might hate Eric’s guts but Eric’s probably closest thing to a strong protector that Sookie has outside of Alcide and putting him in danger with the Magister is undoubtedly going to have repercussions down the line. The Magister himself certainly seemed to enjoy making an example of Pam as well by torturing her in front of her maker. I hope Eric is clever enough to come up with something in the next two days or else Pam’s an even deader woman as a result.

When Bill wasn’t dropping Eric right in it, he was also making it clear to Lorena that he despised her. I don’t think Bill gets it really. Lorena’s so bloody obsessed with him that as long as he’s in her proximity, she’ll be content even if that means he does despise. Sadly though, I don’t see Russell eager to actually Lorena anytime soon unless she outlives whatever usefulness she has for Russell. Either that or angers him in some way because I’m struggling to think as to what Lorena is good for when it comes to Russell’s schemes.

As for the killing of poor Anne the stripper, that slippery slope for Bill just keeps getting worse and worse. In some ways though, its good writing but I do wonder when it comes to eventually redeeming Bill whether or not this show will go the easy route in doing it. I hope not but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

Speaking of routes, Tara really doesn’t get much fun in this episode either. Throughout the entire hour, she’s being glamoured by Franklin, used to locate Sookie and when that fails, she’s bound and gagged on a toilet seat and bitten by her vampire lover. Franklin sure as hell has a funny way of showing a girl how interested he is in her.

In the book, Franklin didn’t really give a shit about Tara and in spite of the cruelty he subjects her to in this episode alone, there’s an obsessive streak in him as well. Instead of killing Tara or leaving her in his motel, he decided to take her to Russell’s house and then there’s the moment where he talked about opportunity on the car ride as well. He sees Tara as a opportunity of satisfying his own emotional needs and for Tara; this will definitely not end well. That girl really cannot catch a break at all.

Whereas thanks to Sam, both Tommy and Jessica are given ones but in different ways. Jessica scored herself a job at Merlotte’s and seemed to take to it pretty well and Tommy seems to have earned Sam’s sympathy and trust. In some ways that’s a good thing but I’d still be wary of Tommy as well and if I were Sam, there’s no way in hell I would’ve offered Melina and Joe Lee a place to stay. That’s just asking for trouble in a big way. These two will literally have to die if Sam wants rid of them.

Also in “9 Crimes”

No new cast members were added to the opening credits but Jesus still hasn’t shown up again though.

Alcide: “How many relationships have you been in?”
Sookie: “What does that matter?”
Alcide: “All I’m saying is there’s no nice way of getting out of those things.”

I just caught the name of the were bar in this one – Lou Pines! Just like vampires, werewolves seem to enjoy puns as well when it comes to naming bars.

Tara (re Jason): “I thought I loved him for a long time but he never loved me back.”
Franklin: “Then he’s an idiot.”

Eric: “How goes the search?”
Sookie: “Turns out, he’s not who I was looking for.”

That seduction sequence was brilliantly played, even if it was in Eric’s head. And Sookie could smell his memories – very interesting.

Sookie (re Alcide/Debbie): “Why did he stay with her for so long?”
Janice: “She was his first love, he never felt so alive, all that shit.”

Russell: “You’re playing coy, William. Which do you doubt – my intention or my power?”

Talbot didn’t especially look all that pleased to see Franklin with Tara. I sensed a bit of tension between Franklin and Talbot.

Franklin: “I can’t stop thinking about you. Something about you is – what’s the word?”
Tara: “Motherfucker.”
Franklin: “Magical. We have so much ahead of us.”

Calvin: “You’ll have to kill me first.”
Eric: “No, I think I’ll kill your brother cousins first. Does that sound lovely?”
Lafayette: “That sounds good.”

I’m not sure I like this sleazier depiction of Calvin Norris in the TV series and once again, Crystal only briefly appeared and did nothing.

Tommy: “Why did you look us up anyway?”
Sam: “When I was your age, I had no example.””

Pam: “Magister, what a pleasant surprise.”
Magister: “There’s nothing pleasant about this. This is blasphemy. Take her.”

Jason tried to blackmail Andy into getting him as an officer while berating Kitch about getting older. Bud also had a retirement party and Arlene didn’t take to Jessica (who glamoured bible pal Chip into forgetting he saw her working at Merlotte’s) while Terry also thinks Joe Lee and Melina are crap parents.

Russell (to Bill): “You said you were a procurer, now procure.”

Magister (to Eric, re Pam): “They say the loss of a child is the deepest despair. Two days, Mr Northman or she dies.”

Standout music: Massive Attack’s “Paradise Cirus” and Damien Rice’s sublime “9 Crimes” at the end of this episode.

Debbie (to Alcide): “You brought this skank here to make me jealous.”
Sookie: “Skank? Wow, coming from you that’s funny.”

Chronology: A little bit from where “It Hurts Me Too” left off.

After the previous disappointing episode, “9 Crimes” is definitely a massive improvement. We’re not getting much in the way of answers, which is a little frustrating but a lot of this build up and the influences that Russell has both vampires and werewolves certainly is intriguing stuff nonetheless.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

First Guests Announced For DW Christmas Special

It's been nearly three weeks since Series 5 concluded on TV and now the 2010 Christmas special of Doctor Who has a Welsh opera singer and Dumbledore in it's cast. No, I'm not being snide, I'm actually intrigued/delighted by this.

Katherine Jenkins tweeted this morning about her filming with regular cast members Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill (whose name will be in the opening credits from now on). And she will be playing a character, rather than herself.

But I bet more people will be delighted with the casting of Michael Gambon as well for this special, especially given that he was rumoured a few weeks ago to be appearing and now he is. Filming pics should start surfacing within the next few hours, so expect this blog to update you on it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First Look: Sherlock Holmes

Okay, so we're a while from this actually transmitting but at least we finally have some images from the BBC adaptation of Sherlock Holmes by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and directed by Euros Lyn. Yes, there's another one.

I don't want to make comparison but the first picture of Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) does remind a little of the Doctor and Martha cast shots from the third series of a certain show. Anyways, both Cumberbatch and Freeman look like they'll make for a more dynamic team than Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law last year.

The BBC are airing this in three parts and it's rumoured that a fourth part was scrapped due to quality but it's definitely going to be one of the biggest things on TV during the Autumn season and something I'll be looking into review wise.

Benedict Cumberbatch Interview: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/tubetalk/a223953/benedict-cumberbatch-talks-sherlock.html

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My Review of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's 8x35: "Twilight Part 4"

Written by Brad Meltzer
Artwork by Georges Jeanty

Angel: “No. You’re wrong, Buffy. The orcs aren’t coming.”
Buffy: “But – that’s not – the orcs always come.”
Angel: “Until the day they don’t.”

I could give you reasons as long as my arm as to why it’s taken two months on my part to actually get round to reviewing this issue but I’ll go with one – this comic is horrible. I’ve been one of the biggest defenders of this Season Eight comic story but even I’m now convinced that Joss Whedon and company are pulling this out of their arses.

This was one of the reasons why I ditched the Angel comics last year because it was blatantly clear that nothing was actually happening and it’s why I’ve been lax with these last few issues. I never used to believe that one issue alone would be enough to turn me off these comics but the second Angel was revealed as Twilight, I suddenly did.

The previous issue really didn’t help matters with Buffy and Angel astral-shagging all over the place and with the both of them seemingly birthing new reality; I’m still as confused and unsatisfied as I was beforehand. Also I find it hilarious and uncharacteristic of Angel to be so quickly accepting of their new utopia as such.

A part of me probably should’ve found Angel’s enthusiasm a tonic to Buffy’s increasing cynicism and ‘woe is me’ of the world but it turns out that being a raincloud of doom (thank you, Nathan from BB11) can actually have some positive. Like knowing that your new world is way too good to be true.

The orcs that are constantly mentioned seem to be Buffy’s vocal way of conveying her doubts but it’s overanalysing the sex from the last issue and Angel picking up on the fact that their clothes kept changing that also provided a bad omen. Then again, if you had to read some of the cheesiest shit coming from Angel’s mouth, you’d know that you were basically up the creek without a paddle.

I find it interesting that this place reacted a lot to Buffy and Angel, suggesting that they had some control over their own destiny. That idea in of itself could’ve been used better to show a level of resistance for Buffy as well but I am actually proud of the fact that she decided to abandon this world to help out her friends.

It’s not much of a shocker that Angel too decided to abandon it as well but it was Buffy that motivated him into ditching utopia as such, even if his desire to be with Buffy seemed to be more intense (but not as engaging) than on the actual series itself.

However if you’re a Buffy/Angel lover and you were hoping that after so many years that this comic alone would seal them permanently as a couple, then you really should’ve anticipated the final moment. Does Joss Whedon and his writing staff like happy endings for couples? Not remotely!

Of course Spike would have to resurface at the end of this comic and a part of me groaned. His return was pretty inevitable and while he does/did work better in Buffy’s world than in Angel’s, I just have a feeling that we’re going to subjected to fan pandering of the worst kind in the remainder of this season.

Joss Whedon knows that fans are either Team Bangel or Team Spuffy and by trying to either appease to both ships or set them on each other; it could end up backfiring on him big time. Sales for the comics have dropped over the last year and this could easily be perceived as a desperate ploy in trying to generate more interest.

Normally that wouldn’t be a bad thing but it also smacks of laziness as well. I’m not big into either ships for different reasons and this season has also been rather crap in recent issues with handling already established couples such as Willow/Kennedy and Xander/Dawn. Plus more character development and growth for the Scoobies would be preferable to an ill advised love triangle that we don’t need.

As for the rest of the issue, meh, it just reeked of filler to be honest. Both Willow and Xander tried in different ways to take Giles to task over his knowledge of Buffy’s potential world creating destiny but neither could really get a constructive argument with the amount of times the comic kept chopping and changing back to Buffy and Angel.

It also didn’t help with the raincloud of monsters attacking the team, the horrid subtext of Warren showing something vaguely resembling decency (do not, I repeat, do not try to redeem that Tara killing scumbag) and Spike’s beyond silly entrance in the issue. If I could pick a positive with this issue, it’s probably down to the fact that out of every character, Amy is still the only one being consistently written along with her general mate.

Also in “Twilight Part 4”

Jo Chen continues to give us beautiful covers with Willow, Giles, Xander, Faith, Angel and Dawn all above Buffy’s head.

Buffy: “No, the moment you look away – the bad guy jumps out ... there’s a bomb under the car ... the apple’s been poisoned.”
Angel: “Apple, maybe. Poison no.”

There’s a subtitle for this issue: The Final Chapter: The Power Of Love. Jennifer Rush or Frankie Goes To Hollywood version?

Xander (to Giles): “So these demons pouring out all over us are some sort of afterbirth? What! Placenturians! That I’m gonna copyright.”

Andrew: “And F.Y.I. – the shield doesn’t boomerang back like you think.”
Warren: “Then why do you want it so bad?”
Andrew: “Why do you think?”

Why the hell did Spike arrive in a spaceship in this issue? I know Buffy/Angel shagged above the Earth in the previous one but come on.

Amy: “Warren does know we’re going to kill them after all this, doesn’t he?”
General: “Relax, Amy. Current problems first. Our erstwhile leader and his cooze are AWOL and if I were guessing, I’d bet that boy has no idea what he just ripped open.”

Angel: “The universe we’re going to make ... it’s not just that we get to be together, Buffy ... we finally get to be happy.”

At one point during the several costume changes between them, Buffy was wearing Angel’s Twilight jacket as well.

Angel: “You do understand that being here is what you’re meant for?”
Buffy: “Don’t you know me by now, Angel? I never do what I’m meant for.”

Spike: “Enough of this. You wanna put these demons down and end this ‘Twilight’ crap once and for all? You talk to me.”

There’s a Riley one shot due out in August before the final arc, “Last Gleaming” starts in September.

As I said at the start of the review, I didn’t really enjoy this one a lot. I struggled with “Twilight Part 4” and I have serious reservations about Spike being added into the mix. Hopefully I’ll be proved wrong though.

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x24: "On The Road Again"

Written by David Marshall Grant And Geoffrey Nauffts
Directed by Ken Olin

Robert (to Kitty): “Then I saw you holding him so strong, so loving and I knew that you would. I knew this.”

And so after four seasons, Rob Lowe is no more. Hey, it happened with The West Wing so I guess it was going to be inevitable than he wouldn’t stick out Brothers And Sisters until the bitter end (which more than likely will be next season) and in case some people think I’m being harsh on the guy, then look at his reasons.

Rob Lowe apparently decided to abandon ship with this series because he felt that his character was underused. The lamest excuse ever when you consider the fact that Robert has generated more screen time in the last four years compared to the likes of Saul, Justin, Tommy, Scotty and Rebecca. There were plenty of times when I wanted less of Robert on my screen rather than more.

With this episode I guess my wish came true. There always was the suggestion that his attempts of going up against Bill would generate a death of some kind and the conspiracy theorist in me found that whole car crash pile up at the end a little too suspicious for their own good.

All of the Walkers in different ended up crashing, except for the car with Rebecca and Justin. That was extremely odd in the least. Robert’s death however actually packed more of a punch than I thought it would do for some reason. I wasn’t exactly tearful when Kitty realised that he was dead but the scene certainly was effective.

Whatever issues I’ve had with Robert throughout the series, the one thing I would never deny is the chemistry between Rob Lowe and Calista Flockhart on this show. Both of them were well suited and did their best to make me care for Kitty and Robert, even during moments when it was bloody hard to do so.

Flockhart herself has been on fire all season, first with the cancer storyline, the political trail and now the death of Robert. Although the show will survive without him, it will be a little strange not seeing him with Kitty and the fact that it’s rumoured that the series will be jumping a year is a little worrying as well. I don’t want Kitty’s grief skimmed over as well as other plots.

The question is though, was this an accident or was Robert genuinely bumped off because of those tapes? It’s way too coincidental that the second Robert and Kitty decided to hand them was the same one in which we got multiple car crashes in one. The other weird thing is that we never see the crashes either, just the aftermath when Justin and Rebecca stumble upon it as well.

Robert being dead wasn’t the only problem that the crashes brought up. Sure, some of the Walkers were shaken, bruised and confused and while Holly looked in rough shape as well, I doubt that this is the end of her. If Patricia Wettig was leaving the series, it would’ve been announced around the time that Rob Lowe’s departure was.

Back to the other bit, Saul – does he have HIV? He was very adamant about neither Nora nor Kevin touching him in the wreckage and the whole episode made a huge deal out him not getting tested, finally getting tested and the sharp way in which he told Nora he was fine when it clearly suggested the opposite.

I’m all for Saul having bigger storylines next season but I was kind of hoping that we wouldn’t get this one. Still, my biggest complaint with this show has been the writers giving Ron Rifkin naff all to do and this does seem like a storyline that he could do justice to. I just hope that the opening episode next season doesn’t tease things out, especially if we are jumping a year as well.

The strangest thing about this episode wasn’t just the way that the episode led to Saul’s possible HIV reveal but more about his sexual history. I often forget as a gay person that socially I do have a comparatively easier time of it compared to what Saul would’ve endured at my age and Scotty and Kevin themselves despite meaning well also seem to have that lapse in perception.

This episode also revealed a lot more about Saul’s sexual history than any episode ever has as well. I liked the scenes with him and Nora in the Ojai ranch talking about his past and the fact that he had stave off loneliness in rather desperate manners. In that respect, this is another reason why I don’t want Saul to have HIV. The poor guy suffers enough without this being added on to him. Why can’t he just get a nice boyfriend and be happy?

Speaking of happiness, I bloody well knew that Narrow Lake would end up solving the Walkers finances again. A friend of mine (and fellow blogger) pointed out how reminiscent this whole plot has been to a certain one from the first season but that aside, I actually don’t mind. They’ve lost one business so here’s hoping that they’re successful with another and let’s face it, everybody does need water so congrats to them on that score.

Also if I had to sit through another episode of moping Sarah, I might have chucked something at the screen. Rachel Griffiths can do comedy brilliantly but even Sarah was getting on my nerves here with her self-pity that I found myself actually feeling bad for Luc at the start of the episode when he was trying to get her to eat something properly.

The road trip bits with her, Nora and Kitty on the latter’s campaign trail also suffered because of Sarah’s moods, so seeing her elation when Narrow Lake literally sprang a leak was a bloody relief. Just don’t let this business go under, eh writers.

As for Justin and Rebecca – seriously Justin, I don’t blame Rebecca for actually taking the job even if she didn’t tell you about it until after the fact but if you want to go to Haiti, then bloody do it. Next season the writers really do need to iron out these two because their constant arguing has more than become a source of tedium.

I did however enjoy most of Justin’s scenes with Robert in this episode, especially when he discovered that Robert was taking medication for arrhythmia and the cryptic bits about a mystery safe deposit box as well. Why is it that Justin and Rebecca are better people when they’re involved in other people’s storylines? Two seasons later and the writers still haven’t progressed them enough in my book.

Also in “On The Road Again”

It’s interesting that both the opening and final episodes of this season have had the word ‘road’ in them.

Robert (to Kitty): “You should take her. You have sixteen stops. You need someone to play cards with.”
Nora: “I play cards. Where are we going?”

In the space of a couple of hours, Kitty’s campaign trail was in Sacramento, Oxnard and some other place. Geez, couldn’t the writers have picked another city?

Saul: “Did we wake you up?”
Kevin: “What, with all the banging, the clanging, the Olivia Newton John playing? Absolutely not!”

Saul: “Look at this. I just got another friend request.”
Scotty (to Kevin): “Saul’s just discovered Facebook.”

It was nice to see Saul and Scotty using the rest of the Walkers as test subjects for the food they were planning to serve in their restaurant. And Saul was born on August 11th 1938.

Sarah: “I’m not self-medicating, mom, I’m grieving. There are stages.”

Kevin: “Saul, are you holding a glass against the wall?”
Saul: “No, but I have my new hearing aid in.”

I’m surprised to an extent that Robert didn’t entrust the key to the safe deposit box to Kevin, given the bromance the writers have been building with them for the past two seasons.

Justin: “Rebecca, we just got married. The point is to stay together.”
Rebecca: “I took the job, Justin.”

Sarah: “Mom, I love you but you have to stop. You cannot solve everyone’s problems – mine, Kitty’s, Saul’s, just leave it alone.”

Obviously no Ryan or David in this episode, very little of Luc but no Tommy either, which was a shame given that he was in the previous episode.

Saul (to Nora): “I spent most of my life living in shame. There were no role models for me when I was growing up and you can be alone but there were times I let myself.”

Kitty: “I heard you were part of a covert operation this weekend.”
Justin: “Yeah, so covert I had no idea what was going on.”

Standout music: “12” by Alex Murdoch during the final few minutes of this episode.

This season has been uneven in places, magnificent in others but in terms of finales, I have to say that while “On The Road Again” has its drawbacks, there’s a lot going for it as well, particularly with Robert’s death and Saul’s storyline for next season.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x23: "Lights Out"

Written by Brian Studler And Molly Newman
Directed by Michael Morris

Tommy (re Ojai): “It’s just a building.”
Nora: “It’s not just a building, it’s our history. It’s my history.”

In the past we’ve had far more exciting penultimate episodes and watching this one twice, I was a little underwhelmed with it. And that’s not a good thing because an end of an era is being represented here and the last feeling I want to have is being underwhelmed.

I’ve liked and loathed the Ojai Foods side of this show a lot of the times in the past four seasons. For the most part, the family business part has been a vital asset to the show but every season we’ve had some disaster or another nearly ruin the business, so in a way the fact that it’s going out of business should be a good thing.

Post-Ojai, Sarah, Saul, Holly and Rebecca are free to gain employment that won’t bog up the screen too much while at the same time, maybe not have to deal with the big burden of financial ruin. Well, maybe not Saul in that case if he and Scotty are actually successful in opening up a restaurant together.

For Sarah though, the emphasis on her shame with Ojai’s failure drove this episode a lot. There are many moments where even I was frustrated with Sarah. I liked the fact that she wanted to ensure that all of Ojai’s loyal staff had further employment elsewhere but she was reckless in giving those semis to Sergio and no-one needed to hear Kevin reading her the riot in order to come to that conclusion.

Also she was a little too keen to initially sell Ojai to a buyer who only wanted it for parking space. I get her reasons behind not wanting to be sentimental about a building because she couldn’t afford to but at the same time, she still should’ve looked into other buyers who might have actually wanted to do something with the building.

It’s weird that during her arguments with Nora that I found myself mostly on the latter’s side. Sarah really does have this complex to try and fix everything and usually ends up doing a bad job because she shuts other people out. She’s far from stupid but she does need to let people in at the same time as well.

I did love that her argument with Kevin and Tommy about the semis did open her eyes a little as did her later conversation with Nora. I think Sarah’s had to deal with a fair amount of failures in the space of four seasons but even with Ojai Foods being no more, it’s obviously that the Walkers are going to bounce back in some way.

Besides, why were we shown schematics to a house that William had intended to build in Narrow Lake? William for all his numerous faults at least seemed to believe in having several backup plans. Clearly there’s going to end up being something in Narrow Lake that will improve the Walkers finances. I don’t think it’ll be enough for them to save Ojai Foods but definitely for them to bounce back next season.

The last scene with everyone in Ojai Foods – Sarah, Kitty, Kevin, Tommy, Justin, Saul, Nora, Holly and Rebecca however is one of my favourite moments from the series. The last drink to Ojai Foods and Scotty’s rendition of “The Parting Glass” was just wonderful. It’s also odd given that I come from a family that largely listens to Irish music and yet this was the first time I have ever heard that song and I don’t even like Irish music.

Still Scotty’s excellent vocal chords aside, this isn’t a huge episode for him. In fact apart from great singing and ridiculing the jokes Kevin got from a joke writer for Kitty for a function, Scotty has naff all to do in this one. Even Luc is surprisingly underused as well, only providing food for Sarah in one particular scene but I’m not too sad that Luc wasn’t in our faces a lot this week.

Besides in terms of significant others, you’ve got both Robert and Rebecca vying for different jobs and both of them getting different results. I’m not really too bothered that Rebecca managed to snag a vice president role in a company where Holly didn’t even get a look in. Some things, regardless of how implausible they are just aren’t really worth overanalysing that much, even if there more tension between her and Justin.

As for Robert’s job – well, he sucked, didn’t he? If he was hoping to expose his new corrupt friend from the previous episode, he failed because he was caught conversing with Joe. I have a feeling that Robert will probably have to worry a lot more about his corrupt pal beyond a potential disaster for Kitty’s political career.

By the way, the jokes section – they were terrible, so technically that’s good writing, isn’t it? The fact that both Kitty and Kevin were hurling completely terrible political jokes at each other to see what would stick was awkward to watch. Scotty’s snarky comments during one of those scenes just about made it bearable to be honest.

Speaking of bearable, Roger’s return was a mixed affair. He was being a smarmy git when Nora was trying to get interest in Ojai Foods but at the same time, I like that he actually took her words to heart and gave her the original drawing to Ojai Foods and Narrow Lake, especially for the reaction Sarah managed to get out of her with regards to William. I guess he really did love her, even if he was incapable of being faithful to her.

Also in “Lights Out”

I liked the idea of Paige documenting the fall of Ojai for her oral history project. One of the best uses for Paige in an episode, in my opinion.

Kitty: “You see, I can’t tell a joke.”
Kevin: “Tell it faster.”

Kevin worked on trying to get all the employees some work for Ojai in this episode. Maybe it’s something he should try doing until he figures out what he wants to do career wise.

Sarah: “It’s a building for god’s sake. While it might hold some sentimental value for us, I can’t keep that from letting us make the right deal.”
Nora: “Fine. Then I will find someone to buy the building myself.”

Saul: “Dating? Could you imagine if we had stayed together?”
Holly: “Yeah, you and I in our platonic relationship, snuggled in front of the TV watching classic old movies. That should’ve been my first clue.”

Justin wanted Rebecca to move to Haiti with him during the episode so he could help out with disaster victims. I have to admit that maybe Rebecca was right to decline on this one because I don’t think Justin thought it through.

Kevin: “I paid good money for these jokes.”
Kitty: “Yeah, well they must’ve been having a two for one sale.”
Scotty: “At the lame joke store.”

Roger: “I had no idea that you’d my dating a younger woman so personally.”
Nora: “I don’t give a rat’s ass about your girlfriend. It’s the disdain you have for your own past that bothers me.”

Where has David been for the last few episodes? And when are they going to remove Luke Grimes’s name from the credits given that Ryan has clearly no intentions of coming back?

Saul (to Paige): “I have been very lucky. I’ve gotten to work with people I love but there’s a danger to it.”

Sarah: “I’m sorry you didn’t have your camera with you, Paige. You could’ve gotten the real story about the end of Ojai.”

Standout music: Obviously Luke Macfarlane’s take on “The Parting Glass”. Nothing else came close this week.

Kitty: “Besides you’re funnier than I am.”
Robert: “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
Kitty: “I said you’re funnier than I am.”
Kevin: “That’s true.”

Sarah: “This is more than a house, mom, it’s a love letter. He really loved you. You’re allowed to lean into those feeling you know.”
Nora: “Yes, I guess he did.”

Chronology: I’d guess that it would still be May 2010 at this point.

Not as exciting as I had hoped and certainly elements were rushed, but there are some wonderful emotional scenes in “Lights Out” that work beautifully. Scotty’s use of an Irish song being a valid case in point.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Tree Is At Arms

Yeah, I've been getting into the last season of Big Brother for some reason. I mean, it's not like it used to be but it's an improvement on the last few years. I could do with less of Shabby and John James strops and the unrequited attractions between Sunshine/JJ, Shabby/Caoimhe and Mario/Ben are a bit depressing but I am beginning to like the tasks and Ben does seem to be unintentionally hilarious. For a guy who perceives himself as being so smart, he can be a little dense at times. How hard is it to organise an arm wrestling match? I did get a laugh out of the Tree Of Temptation calling him Brideshead at one point. Eerily timed as well, given the comments about Caoimhe and Ife were making about his sexuality. As for Dave's 'drunk on the Lord' spiel, has he ever considered going cold turkey? I suppose until he does, I should be grateful for the mute button.

Okay, so Spartacus: Blood And Sand has been airing for the past month on Bravo (who watches that station?) and last night, TV3 decided to air the first episode. I'll admit that it's actually better than I expected and that some of the sexual content/violence isn't any more shocking than Rome. I even love Andy Whitfield in the title role and any show with Lucy Lawless is worth watching alone. I'll be keeping more of an eye on this show as it progresses.

Ah, Grey's Anatomy, of course you'd do a miserable finale. Last year, you went and killed off George and left Izzie in dire states. This season, it's a madman shooting up the hospital and injuring/killing as many main characters as humanly possible. Both Alex and Derek got shot, Reeds was killed and Meredith had to miscarry. Really, Shonda Rimes? Meredith couldn't actually be happy for a few minutes. On the plus side, it does seem that Callie and Arizona seem to have made a compromise on the issue of children and Teddy's been less annoying in the last few episodes than she was at the beginning of her debut this season.

Sky 1 sure as hell do love their Terry Pratchett adaptations, don't they? The latest one, Going Postal aired over a month ago and it was actually a pretty good one as well. Richard Coyle made for a good Moist Van Lipwig and he was backed up with an able cast comprising of Claire Foy, David Suchet, Charles Dances and Steve Pemberton. It'll be interesting to see which other Pratchett story gets adapted next.


Southland - I've never heard such hype for a show that's been cancelled before. Also, why did More4 take so bloody long to air it? Anyways, I caught the first episode last night and I did like it. I even thought Benjamin McKenzie was convincing as the rookie cop of the piece and Michael Cudlitz's John Cooper is certainly a promising enough character as well. It's certainly got nothing on The Wire but it's got a grittiness that instantly makes it preferable to the slick and overpolished CSI franchise but given the show's fate, I don't know if I want to stick with it, get attached and then annoyed when I realise that there's no more to follow.

- Kevin Alejandro has promised that there will be some raunchy content between his character Jesus and Lafayette in True Blood.
- Lacey Turner and Robson Green will both be appearing in the third season of Being Human. Lacey will play a character called Lia who forms a bond with Mitchell and Robson will be playing a werewolf.
- Dexter's fourth season will air on FXUK from August 27th. Maria Doyle Kennedy and April Lee Henderson will be appearing in the series fifth season.
- Futurama have done a spoof of Susan Boyle in a recent episode.
- Russell Brand is the latest celebrity to be featured in an episode of The Simpsons.
- Sandra Oh will be appearing as Det Sarah Chen in Thorne: Scaredy Cat with David Morrissey for Sky1.
- Vanessa Williams character in Desperate Housewives is called Renee Filmore-Jones, a former work colleague of Lynette, who has a secret. Oh and Harriet Samson Harris will be reprising her role as Felicia Tillman for the new season.