Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Soap Discussion - May 2011

And here endeth the month of May with a soap blog ...

Coronation Street: Another month of mixed delights. On one hand, there's the tedium of Steve and Becky's crumbling marriage and Tracy's involvement in matter, except this time around, even Amy is getting a little scheming as well. That couple with the boring Tina/Graham/Xin plot and you have more of a disaster than Kevin Webster's near death experience. On the plus side, the last few episodes have been building towards John Stape's exit and with him involving Fiz into his schemes and holding Chesney and the Hoyles captive, there's a silver lining to a somewhat uninspired month. Oh and Sean and Marcus got back together but that was handled in too a rushed manner for me to properly care.

EastEnders: One of their better months, taking the sheer dreck of Heather's internet dating storyline out of the mix, I liked this month. There was even comedy - mostly from Kim being her usual madcap self and the hilarious banter between Janine and her grandmother, Lydia and the show even gave us a post sex scene with Syed and Christian in last night's episode. Still, this being Walford, misery was still there - Kat laying into a recently bailed Ronnie about Tommy, Zainab and Masood's marriage going down the crapper thanks to Yusef, the temporary departure of Jane and the pernament one of Jim. I have to admit it but the show is starting to improve now. Even Fatboy and Mercy's sham marriage storyline has been surprisingly decent as well.
Emmerdale: Okay, so Debbie's pregnant - great, another thing for her to scowl at and another reason for Cain to cement his hatred for Cameron. Is there anyone on this show that Cain actually likes nowadays? Nope, thought not. Still, this month has it's moments - Jackson's days are numbered, Amy managed to scheme nicely for a bit, Adam/Ella's affair is giving their characters something to do, the Nicola/Jimmy/Kelly triangle is better than it should be and Rhona has finally given birth. And that's including the fact that over the new few weeks/months this cast is going to get a little lighter.

Fair City: Not too bad a month but apart from the whole twisted dynamic between killer and cover up man, Barry and Denzo, not too much of interest happened. Damien and Mark's sister, Laura returned and we learned she's gay, Yvonne/Niamh/Jo/Carol recreated Come Dine With Me again and there was considerable screen time given to both Dean/Caoimhe and Esther/Charlie's relationships as well as Keith and Orla's in case viewers had actually forgotten they were dating in the first place.

Hollyoaks: I hate when this show finally put Silas back in the fray last month, he's now relegated to the sidelines. Come on, show, surely he can kill off some more people - like his gormless grandson, Riley who managed to be duped spectacularly by Warren this month with a robbery over a stupid football cap of Carl's. Warren, thankfully had a much better storyline when he was forced into admitting to Mitzeee that he was responsible for Louise's death and the fact that he managed to derail Ethan at every turn was a lot better than Brendan's attempts of tearing both Noah and Ste apart - those two need to get smart and fast. In lighter plots, Ruby's scheming over her illiteracy and Pete was amusing as was Texas and Mandy's fleecing of Cindy at every opportunity and the rom com elements of Lee and Amy. I guess this was the best soap this month or had the least aggravating plots.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Review of Doctor Who's 6x06: "The Almost People"

Written by Matthew Graham
Directed by Julian Simpson

Ganger Amy: “Doctor, I’m frightened. I’m properly, properly scared.”
The Doctor: “Don’t be, hold on. We’re coming for you, I swear. Whatever happens, however hard, however far, we will find you.”

In retrospect, I really should’ve seen the last three minutes of this episode coming a mile off. I mean, certain clues had been there – TARDIS’s inability to detect the pregnancy, Eye Patch Lady’s constant appearances and even the bits of xenophobia that our Amy might not have displayed but damn, that’s how you do a cliff hanger.

I take it that at some point in between or during “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day Of The Moon”, the real Amy was snatched and replaced with a Ganger version but how and when? I’d ask why but I assume it’s something to do with the baby she’s about to give birth to, given the interest that Eye Patch Lady displayed at the end.

In terms of game changing stuff, it’s certainly daring enough for Moffat and company to attempt and I’m curious to know that if Gangers can remember every experience of their human selves, does that mean Amy remembers every adventure her Ganger has had with the Doctor and Rory for the last while too?

More to the point, where the hell is Amy being kept as well and what exactly will her baby bring forth? I’d like to say the child could possibly be ordinary and that the trailer for the next episode was just alluding to something emotional but I have a feeling that physically, Amy’s baby is going to be a threat of some kind or can at least be utilised as one.

Also in terms of the ‘who’s the daddy?’ bit, I’m not playing this game. I don’t for one second believe that anyone else except Rory can be the father but at the same time, I don’t believe the baby is completely human or unaffected by time travel either. Am I grasping at straws? Probably but until next Saturday, I’ll keep a hold of them.

It certainly took a lot for Rory to let go of his wife long enough for the Doctor to expose that she was a Ganger. Given the amount of ethics there has been about keeping the Gangers, the Doctor certainly ended the Ganger version of Amy rather quickly but seeing as our Amy was keeping the Ganger version going, it was only a matter of time before she became goo once again.

As for the rest of the story itself, I complained about the first part suffering from being plodding and the second part has the same ailment as well, though not nearly as bad. The scenes with Doctor and his Ganger were certainly some of the best we’ve had but I don’t think anyone was going to say no to the prospect of two Matt Smiths for the price of one.

I found it interesting that Ganger Amy had all these prejudices for the Ganger version of the Doctor but it was more interesting to see how the Doctor seemed a little freely in accepting his other self with ease. I suppose it was also handy that the use of two Doctors was also a means in helping with cutting the signal out between Amy and her own duplicate as well.

As for the stuff with Ganger Jennifer, I was kind of disappointed that she went fully evil, especially when the rest of the Gangers were beginning to come around. Sarah Smart played it well enough but I guess Jennifer’s turn was going to end up becoming a means of thinning the human and Ganger herd in this story.

The human versions of Buzzer, Dicken and Jimmy all managed to meet their end at the hands of Ganger Jennifer and even the Ganger versions of Cleaves and the Doctor ended up dying after managing to stop Jennifer all together. I guess it felt a little too clean, even down to Original Cleaves being given a cure for her blood clot and making peace with Ganger Dicken while Ganger Jimmy went home for Adam’s birthday.

As for Rory, losing Amy aside, this was sadly an episode where his compassion nearly resulted in disaster thanks to Jennifer’s mind games but if the trailers for the mid-season finale are anything to go by, he’s going to be kicking all levels of butt next week. Now this is a side to Rory that should be interesting to see.

Also in “The Almost People”

The original title for this episode was meant to be “Gangers” but there’s something more unsettling about the title it ended up with.

Ganger Doctor: “So, what do we do now, Doctor?”
The Doctor: “Well, time to get cracking, Doctor.”

Ganger Doctor managed to invoke aspects of his first, third, fourth and tenth incarnations. There are voice cameos from Tom Baker and David Tennant in this one.

Ganger Amy: “Doctor, you said earlier to breathe.”
The Doctor: “Very important, Pond, breathe.”
Ganger Amy: “Yeah, well I’m struggling to.”

Ganger Jennifer’s monstrous transformation might have looked naff but the disposed Gangers and the wall of eyes were nicely creepy.

Ganger Cleaves: “Revolution? Look, I just, I just want to be left to live in peace, Jen.”
Ganger Jennifer: “They will melt you. Have you become so human you’ve forgotten the truth?”

The Doctor: “Sure you’re not prejudiced?”
Ganger Amy: “Nice try but I know, okay? We’ve been through too much. You’re my Doctor, end of.”

At one point in this story, the Doctors swapped shoes and it took me a while to click about his plan in regards to Amy.

Ganger Dicken: “You don’t look good.”
Ganger Cleaves: “Monsters never do. I’m fine, I remember medics doing tests.”

The Doctor: “The eyes have it.”
Ganger Amy: “Why are they here?”
The Doctor: “To accuse – us.”

The company the humans and Gangers worked for was called Morpeth Jetsan and Cleaves used the code of ‘bad boy’. A friend of mine thinks it might mean something else.

Ganger Cleaves: “Look at you, Jen, you’re a sweet kid. Look at you now – stuff of nightmares. I don’t want my world populated by monsters.”

Ganger Amy: “I never thought it was possible.”
Ganger Doctor: “What?”
Ganger Amy: “You’re twice the man I thought you were.”
Ganger Doctor: “Push Amy, but only when she tells you.”

It seems that we have lost our first person in the new era of this show. Piers Wenger has left the series and BBC for Film Four. Good luck, Piers.

Eye Patch Lady (to Amy): “Well dear, you’re ready to pop, aren’t you? Little one’s on it’s way. Here it comes. Push.”

Chronology: Well, Amy’s been pregnant for nine months but we don’t know how many of them she’s been in captivity.

The curse of plodding along aside and not doing anything too original with the clone vs. human debate, “The Almost People” is definitely a much stronger and engaging episode and with those last three minutes, definitely somewhat hard to forget too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, May 27, 2011

True Blood - Season 4 Posters

What's black, white and red? Er, the latest posters for Season 4 of True Blood naturally. HBO, you really do spoil us.
In the red, you've got Sookie and her men - vampires Bill and Eric and werewolf Alcide but which one of these luck lads gets the part-fae this year?

In the black, you've got vampire ladies Pam and Jessica and everyone's favourite lad about town, Jason Stackhouse.

Last but not least, there's shapeshifter Sam and cousins Tara and Lafayette in the white zone of these posters.

Only four weeks to go. Are you excited yet?

The Cowell Factor

I was tempted to resist not posting this but er, it got me thinking the same thing a lot of other people are thinking.
Cheryl Cole being sacked from the US version of The X Factor - was it shocking? No, it actually wasn't. If anything, how could anyone not see it coming? The omens were certainly there. Cole lacked the experience and familiarity with US audiences and her accent was one of many barriers that she had going against her. The others aside from the lack of experience and familiarity are the simple fact that hyperbole aside, Cheryl just isn't that interesting a judge and FOX seemed to have made it pretty clear that they didn't want her in the first place. I know there are certain showbiz acolytes out there acting like Cole's exit is a travesty but it's really not. I think she wouldn't have gone down well with the US audiences at all and in their own messed up way, FOX might have done her a favour.

Still, though it's another in a series of cock ups for Simon Cowell. Now only is his new baby not generating as much positive buzz as he'd hoped but the show he left - American Idol has actually managed to do even better without him. The recent finale clocked in around 29 million viewers and the ratings are up 20% from last season. Looks like not having Simon Cowell pulling the strings is the midas touch for a reality singing show nowadays.

Even NBC's The Voice (set to be replicated by the BBC soon) has been doing well and generating much more buzz than the US X Factor. Then again, given it's format, maybe this show is the way forward with singing competitions and The X Factor itself is becoming outdated. I know I'd rather look at Adam Levine than Cowell's ugly mug every week on TV if I lived in America. Cheryl's axing aside, I have a feeling that the US X Factor is not going to be the spectacular hit that both Cowell and FOX are hoping for.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 5x19: "Wouldn't It Be Nice?"

Written by Michael J. Cinquemani And Michael Halsey
Directed by Ken Olin

Brody: “I couldn’t get your mother out of my mind.”
Justin: “You managed to for the last forty years.”

This episode might have been named after a cool Beach Boys song but sadly, it would’ve been nice if at least three of the main plotlines this week had been handled far better than they actually were to be honest.

Take Brody for example – I really do love him and Nora as a couple and I was relieved when it appeared that he wasn’t Sarah’s bio-dad after all but this episode had to blow that relief out of the water thanks to Justin’s burning curiosity.

I’m not gonna rant at Justin here – he thought he was doing the right thing when Brody was sweating in the kitchen during game night and I guess when you’re a Walker, it probably makes some kind of sense to investigate people who come into your life but at the same time – god damn it, show – why?

Why did you have to go and make Brody Sarah’s father? Wasn’t the fact that he was an old flame of Nora’s enough of a bloody hook? This storyline bombed back in the second season with Rebecca and David, so why repeat a storyline that previously failed for goodness sake?

Worse still while the scenes with Justin facing off with Brody were suitably dramatic and effective, the show also made sure that his taking off would affect Nora big time. Of course, she’d have to go and fall back in love with him and consider moving away with him as well, just so Brody could go and break her heart like that.

With three episodes, I’m going to presume that Sarah knowing who her father really is will be the fuel of the show’s final run along with her wedding but while I still like Brody as a character, I really wished the show hadn’t gone there, story-wise. Again, it just seems like a bad idea rehashing a plot that previously didn’t work in the show’s favour.

And while I’m on Sarah related storylines – I guess I should see Luc’s bout of childish sulking as reassurance that he’s not all that perfect after all but honestly, it just pissed me off to no end. So, Luc didn’t want Sarah to put her house up for sale – why couldn’t he have just said that at the start of the episode?

It would’ve been far better than watching him act like a spoiled brat when Sarah cleaned up his study and during his bloody art show as well. You know, it’s storylines like that make me understand a lot of people hate Sarah and Luc as a pairing. As a couple, they often lack depth and storylines like the one we had to endure in this episode sort of reinforced that fact.

Of course though, seeing as this is Sarah and Luc, they did eventually hash out their problems and made up but even that failed to move me in any way. Maybe Sarah should’ve consulted Luc about her moving plans but at the same time, Luc came across kind of badly in this episode for me.

Speaking of coming across badly, I’ve never been a massive fan of Michelle but I’ve never seen her as a horrible person. Flaky and vapid at her worst, yes, but not horrible. After this episode, I’m not sure how I should feel about her. I suppose I should reserve judgement until she explains herself properly next week.

In a plot more convoluted than the baby swap storyline in EastEnders, it turns out Michelle didn’t have a miscarriage. Nope, she had a healthy baby boy and when Scotty got up in her business a little too much, she decided to flee LA for New York again with baby in tow and ending this episode on a decent cliff hanger.

Kevin and Scotty’s shocked expressions aside, the one thing that Michelle’s return also addressed was Olivia’s own insecurities about Kevin and Scotty reasons for adopting her. I think both Kevin and Scotty took ages in this episode to reassure Olivia’s fears but I also saw where Olivia was coming from, character wise and it was consistent enough.

However, I can’t help but be disappointed by this storyline. If the writers wanted Kevin and Scotty to have a baby so much, why go about it in such a ridiculous, roundabout way? This season has been too dominated with them trying to be parents and I was hoping for a bit of a breather but with the discovery of a new baby, it’s not looking very likely. Bad move, show.

Also in “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”

It sounds terrible but some of my least favourite episodes this season have opened with Sarah/Luc. It’s almost as if these two are a bad omen, episode wise.

Nora (re Brody): “How do you know he’s in love with me?”
Kevin: “Oh, come on.”
Justin: “Ma, he’s clearly in love with you.”

I liked the return of game night, even if it was just Nora, Brody, Justin and Kevin. At least Olivia and Scotty managed to escape with ice cream.

Scotty (re Michelle): “I wanna help her. She wasn’t just our surrogate, Kevin.”
Kevin: “I don’t think she wants you to help, Scotty. Michelle doesn’t want to go back there now. I know I don’t.”

Brody: “I can’t believe you caught a foul ball.”
Nora: “I can’t believe I ate three hotdogs.”

Scotty had some interesting moments to talk to Kevin about his history with Michelle. I’m going to reserve judgement until the next episode on her actions.

Sarah: “I think he’s really mad at me.”
Kevin: “Well if you’d cleaned my office, I’d kill you.”

Justin: “I think that’s the less crime now, don’t you? Are you Sarah’s father?”
Brody: “It’s possible.”
Justin: “You don’t know?”

Both Brody and William turned out to be Type B. I guess Sarah is Type B as well, right? Also both Kitty and Saul were absent in this one.

Justin (re Nora): “You do realise you’re gonna break her heart?”
Brody: “She has her family, she’ll be okay.”

Chronology: I guess maybe April 2012 and musically, this episode was named after the Beach Boys song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” and it’s the song used in it too.

I wanted to like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” more than I did because while it had some decent moments in it, the handling of the three main storylines bothered me more than it should’ve and it made me realise that this is probably why it’s been cancelled. Well that and ABC’s diabolical treatment of it as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Ringer - Season 1 Trailer

You have the wrong girl!

I'm not gonna lie - as a big fan of Sarah Michelle Gellar, I am excited for Ringer. It could be wonderful or it could be terrible but either way, after the recent spate of trailers and clips the CW have launched, I am in. Consider me watching it. Scratch that, I'll be reviewing this episodically for the blog.

As a twin myself (I have a sister, we look nothing alike), I love the premise of Gellar playing twins - rich bitch Siobhan Martin and her estranged, drug addicted sister, Bridget (who seems the nicer of the two) and one of them appearing dead as the other assumes the dead one's identity, with illuminating and dangerous results.

The trailer the CW released is definitely tantalising - both women have messy lives, one of them is on the run from the mob and another tried to kill her sister. Add some interesting guy candy with Ioan Gruffud (playing Siobhan's husband) and Nestor Carbonell (Bridget's saviour of sorts) and I think this show could be a winner. It's a shame CBS passed on this but hopefully with the CW, it will gain a loyal audience.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTqT3-A4TMw

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lip Service - Season 2 Exclusive

Yes, I come bearing some news, folks ....

It might have taken BBC3 way too long to announce a second season for Scottish lesbian drama, Lip Service but it's back for a second round and apart from Roxanne McKee, the majority of the cast will be back. Yup, that means Kat, Sam, Frankie/Eleanor, Tess, Sadie, Ed and Jay will be returning but the series itself will not air on BBC3 until 2012. To be fair, I totally saw that coming but I can wait that long.

The best part of the second season - Being Human actress Sinead Keenan will be appearing on the series, though it hasn't been confirmed what character she'll be playing. Other guest stars include Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who, Single Father) as well as Anna Skellern, who'll be playing Australian doctor, Lexie (or the Lexinator), who will also be creating ripples within the Frankie/Cat/Sam triangle as well. Out actress Alana Hood will also be appearing in the series but her role too has not been disclosed.

Anyone else excited for the new season?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fandom Buzz Or Overkill?

Yesterday popular gay media websites AfterElton and AfterEllen released their Hot 100 poll for 2011 and to say that Glee dominated the bloody lists is a surprise would be a massive lie. If anything, I would've been horribly shocked if the show hadn't made a dent on either list.

AfterElton really showed their Glee love with 11 members of the male cast (regular, recurring and guest stars) cropping up in the list with the following results ... 1: Darren Criss, 3: Chris Colfer, 7: Jonathan Groff, 12: Cheyenne Jackson, 18: Chord Overstreet, 20: Mark Salling, 23: Cory Monteith, 48: Matthew Morrison, 51: Harry Shum Jr, 64: Max Adler and 90: Kevin McHale and the reactions were pretty interesting to say the least.

AfterEllen also gave much love to the ladies of Glee as well with the following results ... 1: Naya Rivera, 2: Heather Morris, 8: Dianna Agron, 10: Lea Michele and 65: Jane Lynch but the reactions on their site seemed less hostile and that's what I want to talk about - not the results of these polls but the reactions they've generated.

In the last 24 hours, I've seen a lot of criticism flung in Darren Criss's general direction and a lot of people blaming his win on overexcited fan girls. While it's true that women do tend to vote in online polls more voraciously compared to male viewers, I have to ask - what's the big deal?

Polls like this are usually supposed to be harmless fun and while people can have hang ups about Glee til they're blue in the face, the show has become something of an inescapable pop culture phenomenon and while I would've liked to have seen certain men/women fare higher in both of those lists, at the end of the day, they're only lists and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

AfterElton List: http://www.afterelton.com/2011-hot-100-results
AfterEllen List: http://www.afterellen.com/2011-hot-100-results

Monday, May 23, 2011

Torchwood - Miracle Day New Trailer/Spin-Off Web Drama

And with a month and a half left before Miracle Day hits the airwaves, Starz are upping the ante with this enticing trailer from Access Hollywood ....

The minute and a bit trailer released some newish clips. The first few including the world announcing of Miracle Day itself as well as Rex and Esther both actively pursuing Jack and Gwen. I had to admit to laughing when Gwen was unimpressed with Rex being from the CIA and gasping a little with Jack and Esther landing in a fountain.

I found this scene a little creepy but also rather similar looking to V For Vendetta as well. I guess this is one interesting way for the world to respond over death being taken out of the equation. Also both Rex and Oswald were, erm, injured looking (well, Oswald was set to be executed) in the trailer as well. And Gwen - shooting a gun while holding your baby - might look stylish but it ain't practical.

Oswald is set for fame and the bits we saw in the trailer, it definitely looks like Jilly wants a slice of the action. I'm actually looking forward to the Oswald/Jilly relationship and I also hope that Andy is better utilised in this series than he has been in the past too.

Hot on the heels of Miracle Day will be a web spin-off called, Web Of Lies, which is set to be a precursor for the events that unfold in the fourth season. Also if Jane Espenson's tweets are anything to go by, that little gem might be featuring Eliza Dushku. What are the odd that if this is true that will mean that if Dushku's character in the web spin-off does survive, she'll either pop up later in the fourth season or be held for the fifth season? I could see it happening myself.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U9_fsoWwrc

Miracle Day airs on Starz/BBC1 from July 8th.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Review of Doctor Who's 6x05: "The Rebel Flesh"

Written by Matthew Graham
Directed by Julian Simpson

Ganger Doctor (to Amy): “Trust me, I’m the Doctor.”

Anyone get a sense of déjà vu with this episode? We did the cloning storyline back in the fourth season and much better with the addition of Sontarans in the mix and as for that ending? I saw it coming a mile off.

After a slew of impressive episodes, we kind of hit a slump with this one, the start of a two part story where the Doctor, Amy and Rory wind up at a mysterious factory/monastery following a solar tsunami that gets them there and to say there isn’t a certain oddness about the place would be a bit of an understatement.

With the Sontarans, we had Martha cloned against her will, doing their bidding and sabotaging the Doctor, Donna and UNIT at every turn. With the workers here – Cleaves, Buzzer, Jennifer, Jimmy and Dickens we have them cloning themselves with programmable matter called the Flesh in order to carry out the more difficult of tasks.

Cleaves herself basically reminds the Doctor and the audience as a result that while the matter has some independence, it still needs controlling by having the original people in safety harnesses as they work but this episode also didn’t waste a lot of time showing the error of Cleaves assertion on the Flesh.

For instance, another solar storm managed to wake the original people from their harnesses and the gangers themselves ran amok with only the original versions of Jennifer and Cleaves not being accounted for. It’s also amazing to a degree how quickly both the originals and the gangers turned on each other as well.

Trying to voice some sympathy for the gangers was having Rory spending a lot of time with the duplicate of Jennifer and to be honest, despite some really good actors in the roles of the guest characters (Marshall Lancaster as Buzzer for example), only Sarah Smart managed to really stand out as Jennifer.

Part of the ganger Jennifer did seem rather clingy and cloying with Rory but it was nice to see Rory actually lead a storyline rather than just react to the Doctor and Amy. I think that while parts of his sympathy for Jennifer the ganger could bite him in the backside next week, it also made sense. Rory’s a nurse, people in pain, even if they’re not real does seem to affect and it was nice to see him independent of Amy for a bit as well.

Rory wanting to help Jennifer was noble and all but it was a pity that the real Cleaves had to go and ruin everything by turning the original people against the gangers nearly less than a minute after the Doctor also trying to get the originals and the gangers actually working together but at least this episode managed to subvert a recurring trope for once.

I was convinced that when Rory fought Cleaves for the cattle prod that she was going to wind up killing him, so it was actually a nice change that no such thing happening. Then again, Rory’s already ‘died’ enough times this season, so it’s high time the poor guy had something of a breather.

However while Rory and the Doctor had done their best to actually try and bring about peace, the impending just had to go and break out. Ethical debates about the right to kill a doppelganger aside; it’s interesting how the Jennifer ganger seemed to usurp Cleaves for leadership with surprisingly little fuss. Maybe Rory was misguided after all in helping her or maybe he’ll be the one to get through to her in the next episode. One can hope, right?

As for the ganger version of the Doctor – I’ve been hearing wild theories that this might tie back to the events of the opening two parter but what I found most surprising was the Doctor’s lack of reaction to seeing his double. Okay, it’s not the first time for him but it was rather jarring for the predictable cliff hanger but having seen this episode at least three times already, the Doctor’s rather off in general. I hope that means something next week.

As for Amy, this was not her week. Seriously, if Karen Gillan had been absent for the episode, I don’t think it would’ve been such a bad thing because she pretty had nothing really to do. Both the Doctor and Rory had their respective roles in this one but apart from some jealousy/worry over Rory with Jennifer and briefly seeing the Eye Patch Lady, this one was not Amy at her most useful.

Also in “The Rebel Flesh”

Matthew Graham previously wrote the second season story, “Fear Her” as well as creating both Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, both of which starred Marshall Lancaster.

Buzzer (to Jennifer/Jimmy): “Oh, lighten up. It’s not like anyone was hurt.”

We got another scene of the Doctor scanning to see whether or not Amy is pregnant behind her back. Just reveal it already, show.

Rory: “My mum’s a massive fan of Dusty Springfield.”
The Doctor: “Who isn’t? Right, let’s go and satisfy our rapid curiosity.”

Cleaves (to the Doctor): “If there’s another solar storm, what are you gonna do about it? Hand out sun block?”

Amy seems to have forgotten that because of his 2000 years of memories, Rory effectively is (or should be) a medieval expert.

The Doctor (re the Flesh): “Well, I can see why you keep it in a church, miracle of life.”
Buzzer: “Don’t get poncey, it’s just gunge.”

Ganger Jennifer: “I couldn’t get out of my harness. I thought I was going to die.”
Rory: “Welcome to my world.”

The Doctor really did seem evasive throughout this episode. Why do I get the feeling he’s experienced this before or something else?

Ganger Jennifer (to Rory): “My name is Jennifer Lucas; I’m not a factory part. I had toast for my breakfast. I wrote a letter to my mum and then you arrived. I noticed your eyes right off.”

The Doctor: “Hello, how are we all getting on?”
Ganger Cleaves: “Why don’t you tell us?”

The Doctor did a pretty brutal attempt of a Northern accent. Thanks for reminding me of the 9th Doctor/Christopher Eccleston, show.

The Doctor: “We were all jelly once. Little jelly eggs sitting in goo.”
Amy: “Yeah, thanks, too much information.”

Chronology: I have no idea, apart it being Earth based and on an unknown island. Musically, though – Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” and Muse’s “Super Massive Black Hole” – excellent choices.

I wanted to like “The Rebel Flesh”, I really did but as good a writer as Matthew Graham is, I just don’t think he really works for this show at all. The episode just felt like it was plodding along and the main story wasn’t as engaging as I’d hoped it would be. Here’s hoping the next part is far better.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Funeral Blues

And here's another look at the last few shows I've been watching ...

Desperate Housewives: Ah, Susan. You try to do good and you wind up nearly getting sent down for trying to poison Paul. As if Susan would have enough braincells to try that for starters. Still, the last two episodes that I've seen were actually quite good and with RTE2 set to air the finale on Tuesday, I'm intrigued to see where the show ends, given that both the Paul and Felicia strands have been dealt with. I suppose there's still Gabby coming face to face with her stepfather and Bree's relationship with Chuck. As for Lynette and Tom's shaky marriage - I'm really struggling to care at the moment because neither of them are remotely sympathetic.

Game Of Thrones: Another two episodes I've managed to watch together, I have to admit that this show is really gathering apace. The fanservice scenes between Renly and Loras aside, the characters in this episode are clicking more for me - Tyrion, Dany, Ned, Cat and Jon Snow are all definitely getting stronger with each episode and while I do find both Cersei/Jamie horrible people, they are however decent antagonists for the series and more effective than the King at the moment.

Glee: Great set of episodes. Okay, the Prom episode hardly reinvented the wheel for that particular theme and the cynic in me thought that Jean's death was an excuse to give Jane Lynch an Emmy submission but the uneven writing aside in places, I actually am looking for the finale the finale. It's nice that more progress with Santana, still happy that Brittany/Artie are no more, officially bored to death with Jesse/Rachel/Finn/Quinn quadrangle but musically the last two episodes did give us numbers from Adele, Amy Winehouse and ABBA and that was a lot better than Kurt and his neverending showtunes. Step out of your comfort zone, Kurt and nice Sue will not last for long.

The Walking Dead: Really brilliant last two episodes. I definitely want more of this series. Everything seems to have clicked better - the characters, the pacing, the introduction of Jenner and his abrupt demise but either way, I left watching the last two episodes wanting more from the series. Season 2 can't start soon enough as far as I'm concerned.

V: I still have to catch up with the double bill episodes that SyFy to end the series but the last two I watched were strong enough episodes. I like that Lisa's trying to play the game with Anna while scheming with Diana and even Erica's brutal methods with the Fifth Column make more sense than Tyler's increased gullibility. Only Ryan's storyline with his daughter and Jack are beginning to be sore points of each episode. Looking forward to the last two.

- Joseph Morgan may become a regular in the upcoming third season of The Vampire Diaries.
- Ricky Gervais has recently complained about the celebrity cameos in The Office finale. Er, you were one of them, Ricky.
- Chris Vance has signed up for a series based on The Transporter movies.
- Supernatural has been picked up for a seventh season but Misha Collins won't be a regular.
- Peter MacDissi will be playing a vampire in an upcoming episode of True Blood.
- TNT have confirmed that a decision has not been made on the Dallas reboot just yet.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 5x18: "Never Say Never"

Written by Sarah Kucserka And Veronica Becker
Directed by Bethany Rooney

Brody: “Is everything alright?”
Nora (re Ida): “She died this morning.”
Brody: “She died?”
Nora: “My mother died. I guess I have to plan a funeral now too.”

I figured at some point in this show the writers would actually go there and kill Ida Holden off and I have to admit that I’m surprised they waited as long as they did in order to do it but as death episodes go, this one worked pretty well to be honest and this is just after I’ve seen Glee do the same thing with Sue’s sister.

In terms of the reactions, I don’t think there was a single one that was over the top with the exception of Kevin’s. His intense opposition over Ida seemed a little forced considering that we never really saw her ‘disappointment’ with him on screen at all, so it didn’t entirely resonate here compared to everyone else’s.

Sarah was pretty distant about her grandmother’s death because as the episode emphasised a great deal, Ida hadn’t been the best of relatives to have in the Walker/Holden family but I have to admit that I found Justin’s reaction to Ida’s death the most interesting.

Having Justin empathise and understand his grandmother’s loneliness might not win points for subtlety but let’s be brutally honest – Ida wasn’t all that bad really. Yes, it’s easy to see why she drove Nora and Saul crazy but I do remember seeing some moments in the first season when she did admit that she was proud of her kids as well.

It’s just a shame that episode wise, we didn’t actually get to see Ida one last time on screen. A parting word to either of her elderly children would’ve been nice but the letter that she had written for Saul instead was a good gesture. I’m not surprised that she knew he was gay, especially considering when you think about that conversation Nora and Kevin had in “If You Bake It, He Will Come” and I thought it was sweet that she wanted Saul to be happy.

I also thought Saul’s anger towards his mother in this episode was believable as well and expertly played by Ron Rifkin. However, it was nice that the letter made him take stock of things and be more open about his relationship with Jonathan as well. Some viewers said it was rushed but considering this show doesn’t have long to go, I can deal with that.

As for Nora, I didn’t envy her having to go up and talk about Ida in front of her family and the few people that attended her mother’s funeral but it was another excellent moment for Sally Field as well. I also liked the fact that despite his unconventional approach, Brody really was a help to Nora in her hour of need as well.

The absences of Kitty and Tommy however were the only thing about the episode that felt a little off though. Like with “Safe At Home”, this episode should’ve featured both of them and it was really sloppy on the producers part not to have them factor into the overall episode but it’s only a small blemish in an otherwise wonderful episode.

Adding the return of Bertha into this episode also proved to be a triumph as well. The parallels between Bertha and Ida were also rather well done. Bertha’s disapproving but she’s not a bad person and her attempts of connecting with Olivia to try and repair her relationship with Scotty made narrative sense as well.

It’s also interesting how far along Bertha has come too as a character. Last time around, she barely talked to Kevin but in this episode she was able to open up to her fears about Scotty and actually listened to him as well. That’s a nice bit of progress with the character and I was actually quite pleased when she was at the Walker table for the Ida tribute as well.

Ida’s death wasn’t the only occasion in this episode as well – there was Justin’s 30th and it was interestingly handled too. I liked that list he had compiled and I certainly liked the scenes with him and Kevin throughout the episode. In fact, nearly everything with Justin over the last few episodes has been enjoyable to watch and this continued the trend, so nice work, show.

Last but not least – Sarah and Luc. It’s a relief at this point that Kevin got the role of wedding planner (hey, even I found his enthusiasm for cake testing amusing) because if I have to endure another episode of Sarah being dismissive of planning a wedding, I probably would die of boredom. I should mention however that I did side with Luc because Sarah, despite her logic was being a tad harsh with him. I can understand why the wedding is a big deal for Luc, considering that he’s a romantic guy and all.

Also in “Never Say Never”

Marion Ross apparently said in an interview that she wished she had been able to film Ida’s death.

Sarah (re Justin): “I can’t believe our little brother is turning 30.”
Kevin: “Yeah, I don’t think he can either.”

Even though I totally knew it was happening, ABC announced last Friday (the 13th of all days) the show wasn’t coming back for a sixth year.

Justin (re list): “Oh my God, I gave this to you?”
Kevin: “Isn’t it amazing? We’re gonna do every item on this list.”
Justin: “You know someone with a flying car?”
Kevin: “Every item that doesn’t require time travel.”

Scotty: “This isn’t anxiety, this is dread. There’s a big difference. She’s meeting Olivia for the first time.”
Saul: “And where’s Kevin?”
Scotty: “Hiding.”

I take it from the lack of dialogue that Bertha and Wally are still seperated at this point in the show.

Bertha: “Not to worry, I’m here now.”
Scotty: “I wasn’t worried, until now.”

Sarah (re Nora): “How’s she doing?”
Brody: “The woman’s a whirling dervish. She hasn’t stopped planning the funeral since she got the call yesterday.”

Kitty was away with Seth and Tommy was unable to get time off from his job, hence their reasons for not being at Ida’s funeral.

Nora: “My mother, my mother was ... the truth is, I can accept the things she was. It’s the things she wasn’t that breaks my heart. I can’t do this.”

Saul: “It’s my turn, mother, I’d like you to meet the love of my life – Jonathan.”

Chronology: A couple of weeks since “Olivia’s Choice”.

“Never Say Never” is a terrific episode in dealing with the departure of Ida and giving both Nora and Saul something interesting to do. The inclusions of Brody and Bertha in this episode also helped a lot too.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Glee - From Channel 4/E4 To Sky1?

It might seem like a case of history repeating itself but yes, it's true - Sky1 have snagged the rights to Glee from it's third season onwards after Channel 4/E4 refused to pay for further seasons. Remember this also happened five years ago with Lost as well and it's one of many incidents in the last couple of years where Sky1 have previously bagged successful US shows from other channels - Prison Break, 24, House, anyone?

Now, my own thoughts - I'm naturally divided on this. I don't depend on either Channel 4/E4/Sky1 in relation to watching the show but the move to Sky1 will definitely see lesser ratings for the series (but possibly increased DVD sales) and there aren't many shows that the channel can pair it up with - maybe Modern Family or something like that but it seems like a stupid move on Channel 4/E4's part not to keep the show, considering their original programming has now extended to dreck like Made In Chelsea.

Also, it's a painful reminder now that we're beginning to reach a worrying point where it seems like no US import, ratings juggernaut or not will ever air in a primetime slot on a terrestrial UK channel again for long. I'm all in favour of original programming but I do think more care should be taken into imported US shows and that they shouldn't be relegated to morning/afternoon/graveyard timeslots or digital channels only.

What does everyone else think? Are Channel 4/E4 right or reckless to lose Glee? Will any US show (apart from Desperate Housewives and that's hardly the ratings gem it was when it first started) get a decent primetime slot anymore?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sherlock - Season 2 News

It's been a while but with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and the show itself all being nominated for BAFTAS this Sunday, it's timely that news about the series second year has leaked.

According to The Sun (yes, they can be reliable on a rare occasion), the three stories that will form the show's second run will be A Scandal In Belgravia, The Hounds Of Baskerville, and The Reichbach Fall. I can't wait to see how all three of these are brought to life.

Again these stories will be scripted by Steven Moffat (A Scandal In Belgravia), Mark Gatiss (The Hounds Of Baskerville) and Steve Thompson (The Reichbach Fall) and while Moriarty will also likely to be returning for the second run (am I the only one who liked Andrew Scott?), Irene Adler will also be the main focus in the show's second year.

Press Release: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2011/05_may/16/sherlock.shtml

Season 2 of Sherlock will air on BBC1 in the winter.

Monday, May 16, 2011

True Blood - Season 4 Concept Trailer

Blimey, I wasn't expecting HBO to do a concept trailer for Season 4 of True Blood but fair play to them for going there. The screen test one is excellent.

Tara Thornton: We've seen her getting gun happy in the trailer and we also see that she's involved in the witches arc as well, what with her siding with Marnie/Hallow over Pam. Not sure what else she'll be doing this season.

Jessica Hamby: Both her and Hoyt will have to deal with the fallout of Russell's public attacks as hostility towards vampires has reached fever pitch again.

Eric Northman: He falls victim to to witches and promptly has his memories erased, leaving him in a vulnerable position and also altering his relationship with Sookie.

Alcide Herveaux: He's got feelings of his own for Sookie and there's supposed to be more happenings with the wolves this season. Plus I wouldn't be surprised if Debbie reared her head to cause trouble.
Jason Stackhouse: Crystal turns his life upside when his involvement with the Hostshot crew takes another interesting turn.

Lafayette Reynolds: Last season, Jesus got him into the world of witches and this year, Lafayette will be joining a coven as more of his background is revealed.

Sam Merlotte: A new love interest with Luna aside, Sam will be finding neutral ground with estranged brother Tommy in the new season.

Sookie Stackhouse: She's spent a year with Claudine and the fairies and now that she's back in Bon Temps, not only is she contending with Eric, but she's also having to deal with the presence of witches in her town.

Pamela Swinford de Beaufort: With Eric not himself, it's up to Pam to keep things from descending into chaos as Marnie/Hallow grows in power.

Bill Compton: He's estranged from Sookie, managed to escape his brawl with Sophie-Anne and now he's also factoring into the witch storyline as well.

Season 4 Screen Test Promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNuR7U6Ltys
Witches Vs. Vampires Promo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpPVwV2WeWE

Season 4 airs on HBO from June 26th, Sundays at 9pm.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Review of Doctor Who's 6x04: "The Doctor's Wife"

Written by Neil Gaiman
Directed by Richard Clark

The Doctor: “You’re the TARDIS?”
Idris: “Yes.”
The Doctor: “My TARDIS?”
Idris: “My Doctor. Oh, we have now reached the point in the conversation where you open the lock.”

Let’s get the obvious thing out of the way first – this is not technically the first time we’ve seen the TARDIS in human personification as books and audios have tackled that thorny subject before but it is the first time it’s been done on TV and to say it’s been a success would be pretty apt. I’ll keep the gushing to a minimum but there was a lot I loved here.

For months I wanted the mysterious Idris to turn out to be Romana because I wanted an end to this whole last of the Time Lord mantra the show has been stuck and while this episode cruelly teased the possibility of other Time Lords out there and took it away in a spin, I have zero complaints in Idris turning out to be the TARDIS.

Well, to be honest, she’s actually the TARDIS matrix trapped into a human body so that the asteroid House can feed off the rest of the TARDIS but either way, it’s been long overdue for the best spaceship to have a mouth piece and for forty five minutes, this episode was perfection in dealing with a human TARDIS.

Suranne Jones was the perfect choice for the role as well. I don’t think many actresses could’ve pulled off being both beautiful and bonkers at the same time but Suranne certainly did that in spades and her chemistry with Matt Smith for the whole episode ensured that Amy and Rory weren’t too missed either.

Setting the adventure outside of the universe on a sentient asteroid was a smart idea. I liked that House controlled/repaired the likes of Auntie, Uncle and Ood Nephew and that his underestimation of Idris would later contribute to his downfall as well.

Although Auntie and Uncle didn’t get much to do apart from explaining House’s motives and warning the Doctor about Idris’s insanity, there were a great bunch of side characters and the whole fact that they were patched from parts of other life forms (mostly other Time Lords) was a nice touch too. You could tell that the Doctor was seriously pissed off when he realised he had been lured into a trap.

As for Idris though, her speech patterns and behaviour might have come across as erratic but given that it was the TARDIS trying to make sense of her temporary body and surroundings, I can’t complain too much. And again, did I mention that Suranne Jones played a blinder in this episode?

The interactions between the Doctor and Sexy were fantastic from start to finish. The biting and kissing discussion was one thing but I loved the way Idris revealed her real identity to him as well. Definitely one of those moments that will live on in the series history and their later conversations revealed a lot of depth with the Doctor and his constant companion.

It’s odd because I’ve never looked at the TARDIS as a character and because of that, I’ve nearly done it a disservice. The show has made countless allusions to it being alive and female and fanfiction sites always seem to cite the TARDIS as a character as well, so I guess my overall look of the TARDIS has changed thanks to this episode. Also this episode wasted no time in showing us how much she knew the Doctor.

She knew he was mad enough to take her across all of time and space and she promptly chose him and she finally answered a long term question by revealing that she always took him to where he needed to go. I know some fans might complain that the mystery’s now ruined but I honestly don’t care because it’s nice that the show finally answered that question.

Another thing I also loved in this episode was how when Idris and the Doctor were trying to save Amy and Rory from House’s crazy antics, it was Rory that Idris seemed to favour. Sure, it was Amy who got them into older console but it was Rory that Idris kept psychically communicating with and it was also Rory that reacted to her ‘death’ as well.

The Doctor using Idris to trick House into defeat was nice enough and worked well, considering that he was stupid enough to let her slip back into the main console room and death wise, even Idris isn’t actually really dead, I still found her passing scene really touching. The fact that she just wanted to say hello to the Doctor was one of the sweetest things going.

The other thing noteworthy in this shameless love letter to the TARDIS was Amy’s comments about how it’s always the Doctor and his ship. It is really and it always should be. There’s no way in hell this show could go without the TARDIS and this episode more than reminded me of it’s importance to the Doctor as well as the series itself.

Of course, Doctor/Idris stuff aside; I’m really interested in how much Amy/Rory can hold off not telling the Doctor about his future death or the meaning behind the phrase ‘the only water in the forest is the river’. I have a feeling that with at least one of them, I won’t have to wait too long for an answer.

Also in “The Doctor’s Wife”

This episode title was originally supposed to be used during the John Nathan Turner era of the show to seek out those who were leaking spoilers.

The Doctor: “Oh come here, come here you scrumptious little beauty.”
Rory: “A box?”
Amy: “Doctor, what is it?”
The Doctor: “I’ve got mail.”

The message boxes were the same ones that were used in “The War Games” and we heard of a good Time Lord called The Corsair, whose arm was given to Auntie. Oh and Time Lords can change gender upon regeneration.

The Doctor: “Why am I a thief? What have I stolen?”
Idris: “Me, are you going to steal me? You have stolen me, you are stealing me. Oh, tenses are difficult, aren’t they?”

Amy (re Time Lords): “You want to be forgiven.”
The Doctor: “Don’t we all?”

This episode was meant to air in Season 5 where “The Lodger” had aired. I’m glad it got pushed to this season so that Rory could be in it.

Rory (re the Doctor): “He’s a Time Lord, he’ll be fine.”
Amy: “It’s just what they’re called. It doesn’t actually mean he knows what he’s doing.”

The Doctor (to Auntie/Uncle): “You gave me hope and you took it away. That’s enough to make anyone dangerous. God knows what it’ll do to me. Run.”

House was voiced by Michael Sheen and apart from the ‘die/kill/hate Amy’ stuff we got in blood, we also saw Rory aged 2000 years and as a rotting corpse.

The Doctor: “You’re dying.”
Idris: “Yes, of course I’m dying. I don’t belong in a flesh body; I could blow the casing in no time.”

The Doctor: “You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.”
Idris: “No, but I always took you where you needed to go.”

The Ood were credited as being created by Russell T. Davies. I don’t remember this happening last season when the Judoon featured.

Rory: “2000 years I waited for you. You did it to me again.”
Amy: “I didn’t mean to, I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

Idris (to the Doctor): “Oh my beautiful idiot. You have what you always had, you’ve got me.”

The makeshift TARDIS we saw the Doctor and Idris use was from a Blue Peter winner. Also Idris referred to the dead TARDISes on House as her sisters.

The Doctor: “You’re doing it, you sexy thing.”
Idris: “See, you do call me that. Is that my name?”
The Doctor: “You bet it’s your name.”

House: “Fear me; I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords.”
The Doctor: “Fear me; I’ve killed all of them.”

This was supposed to be the third episode of the season as well but it was pushed to fourth when “The Curse Of The Black Spot” was brought forward.

Idris: “There’s something I didn’t get to say to you.”
The Doctor: “Goodbye.”
Idris: “No, I just wanted to say hello. Hello Doctor, it’s so very, very nice to meet you.”

Amy: “Look at you pair. It’s always you and her, isn’t it? Long after the rest of us are gone. A boy and his box off to see the universe.”
The Doctor: “You say that if it’s a bad thing but honestly, it’s the best thing there is.”

Chronology: None actually specified and this episode didn’t mention anything in relation to Amy’s pregnancy either.

“The Doctor’s Wife” when you think about it isn’t a cop out title for this story. Okay the Doctor and the TARDIS/Idris aren’t actually married but their relationship can easily be compared to one and their connection is certainly something that can’t be denied either. A real masterpiece of an episode.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Brothers And Sisters - Cancelled

Now this is a spoiler I'm sure everyone's been aware of for the last two days and I would've reported it sooner but I got caught up in other stuff.

It comes with sadness (but resignation) to report that on Friday 13th this month, ABC officially announced that after five seasons and 109 episodes, Brothers And Sisters was no more. In fairness, I think most people saw it coming but while Season 5 was something of a mess in places, I think it's a shame the show's been canned, especially when worse ones are on that station.

Yes, the writers fudged a lot of storylines (unneeded time jumps, mishandling Kevin/Scotty's parenting storyline, Sarah's paternity) and god knows, ABC were awful in promoting this season (they couldn't even be arsed to do promos for the 100th episode or cast promos this year), I am still going to miss this show, in particular Kevin and Scotty, which still beat every other gay character on TV. It's been swell, show. Season 5 comes out on DVD in August for US buyers and September/October for UK ones. Needless to say, it'll be in my collection.

It's been nice knowing you show but I can't help but think if Jon Robin Baitz hadn't been pushed off his show, certain storylines wouldn't have happened. I mean the bad ones.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

True Blood - Season 4 Trailer

And with six weeks to go, HBO are finally giving us a trailer for the fourth season of True Blood. Here's hoping cast shots are next ...

I thought that was Jessica in that screencap but it turns out it's a character called Daisy, who Bill interrogates and who's also a part of Marnie's coven. I was disappointed with the lack of Marnie in the trailer.

Bill and his crazy hair. I love it. In fact if Bill and Sookie remain not a couple this season, I can imagine myself enjoying Bill a lot more. He's already well aware of the fact that there are witches out there that can control the dead.

Sookie and a shirtless Alcide here. Actually there's a lot with Sookie in this trailer, particularly as she's the one who finds an amnesiac Eric and punches him before realising that he's not faking it. Eric's also seen at the coven, Tara's seen with a gun and Pam fends off an attacker at the dungeon in Fangtasia.

Other bits that can be seen are Jason tied to a cot, Jessica getting her groove on, Hoyt punching a bigot, Sam and Luna getting rather close to each other and Bill and Sophie-Anne's scrap coming to an abrupt end.

Season 4 Trailer: http://www.foreverafangirl.com/2011/05/song-future-starts-slow-by-the-kills.html

Season 4 premieres on HBO, Sundays at 9pm from June 26th.