Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Downton Abbey/Upstairs Downstairs - Battle Of The Period Dramas

Oh yeah, let the battle commence as both period heavyweights release tantalising spoilers for their 2012 episodes.

While we have ages for Downton Abbey's third season to air, it's now been revealed that Shirley MacLaine has been cast as Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Cora Grantham (Elizabeth Mcgovern) and we can expect her character to be clashing with Maggie Smith's Countess Violet of Dowager throughout the series. Filming for the third year begins in February with the series slated to air on ITV in September. Now that's an impressive coup for the series.

Not to be outdone, Upstairs Downstairs, whose second year begins airing next month for six weeks is set to have a lesbian relationship between Alex Kingston's character, Dr Blanche Mottershead and Emilia Fox's character Lady Portia Alresford as well as some other steamy affairs between the main characters. However it's been reported that Eileen Atkins will not be appearing in the second season of the show. I watched the first series over the Christmas and it's actually quite a decent show, so I'm intrigued to see where the second series goes.

Upstairs Downstairs Season 2 airs Sundays at 9pm on BBC1 from February 19th while Downton Abbey Season 3 will air on ITV from September.

Soap Discussion - January 2012

And here's my penultimate blog for the month and it's a soap discussion one.

Coronation Street: After six years, Becky has finally left Weatherfield and while her exit was something of a mixed bag, at least it wasn't boring. The issues I have with her hooking up with a new bloke she barely knew, I can almost leave to one side in order to revel in her wrecking Steve and Tracey's reception by revealing when exactly the latter miscarried. The other interesting storylines this month include Carla's day in court with Frank (and not her pointless affair with Peter) and the issues raised with Owen smacking Faye for killing his fish. The writing hasn't improved that much from last year but this was a better month than most.

EastEnders: And keeping with big soap departures, I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the house when Pat Butcher finally met her maker after having many a visitor at her bedside. An excellently crafted episode, highlighted by the return of David and then Simon at the last minute of her funeral episode, Pat's death certainly sent the right amount of shockwaves throughout the month. Actually this has been a really strong month for the show, especially with Derek still trying his damndest to be the hard man of the Square, Phil getting banged up thanks to Ben, well it's been a solid month. Okay, maybe Bianca/Ricky splitting up for the billionth time and Lucy vs. Mandy have been a bit annoying but the rest has been great.

Emmerdale: I am really struggling to care about this show at the moment. It seems like nothing of real interest is happening. The fact that the writers continue to struggle for a decent storyline with Aaron is making more happy he'll be leaving soon and I wish the writers would just drop this unconvincing Marlon/Laurel/Ashley nonsense and fast. Plus Debbie and Andy's plots have been tiresome to watch so only Hazel's exit and Charity and Jai's wedding have been the highlights of an extremely dull and uninvolving month.

Hollyoaks: It's interesting what a couple of months can do for a character. George previously went from having no character at all to getting a surprisingly engaging storyline involving his character being homeless and Callum trying to help him out. I'm glad the show is tackling the issue because no other soap is right now and it's certainly easy to sympathise with George and his abrasive pal, Phoebe as well. Too bad the same cannot be said for Maddie, whose tedious interfering in her friends relationships have gotten irritating to watch and that's even more annoying than Brendan's usual bully boy antics (thumping Ste, rejecting his kid, annihilating the 6th formers in football). Still, I also enjoyed the girls antics in the cells, Cindy's money woes, Darren and Nancy's storylines, so overall a solid month of storylines.

Monday, January 30, 2012

True Blood/Game Of Thrones - New Season Trailers

Okay, before anyone goes any further, there are SPOILERS here for both trailers/upcoming seasons of both True Blood and Game Of Thrones. You have been warned, okay?

True Blood - Season 5: No actual clips in the 30 second trailer, but the caption of 'Nothing Stays Buried Forever' could mean a lot of things. Russell's not due for the first few episodes and Salome is the main villain for the new year, so perhaps it's her the trailer is alluding to more. Plus, there's more antics in both the fairy and were story lines this year to contend with as well.

Game Of Thrones - Season 2: This minute long trailer certainly has a lot of spoilers, including Joffrey upping his cruelty towards Sansa, Arya pointing out that anyone can die, Daenerys aiming for her birthright, Catelyn turning on Littlefinger, Jaime tied up, Tyrion giving Cersei a fair warning about her people and other fun stuff. If anything, Season 2 looks like it's gonna be ten times more addictive than the first season will be and it's the show we're getting sooner as well.

Game Of Thrones - Season 2 Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOzXsqoJhtE
True Blood - Season 5 Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzcX-vCOFis

Game Of Thrones Season 2 will air on HBO/SkyAtlantic from April 1st/2nd and True Blood Season 5 will air on HBO from June 10th.

How To (Re)Solve A Problem Like Torchwood?

According to a recent interview with actress Eve Myles, apparently she wants to see a closure to Torchwood but has admitted nothing is happening with the show this year. Also considering that RTD is back in the UK and currently focusing his energies on upcoming CBBC series, Aliens Vs. Wizards and personal matters, it looks like we'll be waiting a while but the question is - how do you resolve a problem like Torchwood? Miracle Day wasn't the show at it's height and I have been wondering if there's actually much left to tell, story wise anyways. I suppose two options for resolving Torchwood could be ...

a) Commission a 90 minute special, finish up the storyline with the Families, reverse Rex's immortality and have Jack and Gwen FINALLY go their seperate ways.
b) Commission 6-8 episodes, bring it back to Cardiff, having Jack/Gwen/Rhys reopen the Hub, add some new characters and keep the tone closer to the first two series.

Either are decent options but at this rate, which one is the most likely to happen? Regardless of the quality of the last series, the show does deserve some form of closure, doesn't it?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x08: "Treachery"

Written by Ryan Scott
Directed by Bobby Roth

Emily: “You came.”
Amanda: “I told you I would.”
Emily: “People have a way of breaking promises when it comes to me.”

Oh dear – what a pickle this is. On one hand, the presence of the real Emily Thorne posing as Amanda Clarke should be firing up all kind of alarm bells but at the same time, I can’t help but feel sorry for this girl in a way. She’s ultimately another in a long line of pawns in the real Amanda’s scheming but one that should be treated with kid gloves.

The real Emily had no qualms with bumping off Frank in order to protect herself and Amanda and it’s the same Emily that wasn’t too enamoured with being shipped off to Paris as well. Now anyone who didn’t see her not taking up Amanda’s offer to go to the capital of France has clearly never watched a TV episode of anything in their lives.

Margarita Levieva is certainly a great addition to the show right about now. As the real Emily, she offers a different type of a threat to the real Amanda Clarke that both Tyler and Victoria necessarily don’t but at the same time, all she really wants is to connect with the woman who decided to become her friend all those years ago in the detention centre.

The only thing she doesn’t know is that Amanda was coached by Sharon into manipulating people and by doing that, getting lonely people like Emily on side. This was something Amanda managed to do effortlessly because all it’s taken was some basic kindness and the offer of half a million dollars for the real Emily to be a willing participant in identity fraud.

It’s sort of a shame really because there’s a part of me that’s hoping that deep down Amanda actually cares about Emily and that her motives for trying to get her out of the way actually had some shred of selflessness in them but I guess not. Also, possibly because of that, she’s going to have to learn to play nice with Emily all the more.

Emily as Amanda certainly managed to make impressions on both Nolan and Jack in this episode too. Nolan was automatically suspicious of her, noticed that her clothing was bloodied and quickly deduced that she was responsible for Frank’s death. Nolan might be cool with a lot of thing but apparently aiding murderers is not one of them, which Amanda wasn’t particularly thrilled with.

As for Jack – of course he’d have to try and forge a connection with her. The flirting was instant between Jack and the woman pretending to be Amanda, so when she showed up at the Stowaway at the end of the episode, Jack really wasn’t all that shocked to see her there. Of course, it’s a complication for the woman pretending to be Emily, but hey, it’s not just her former roommate that was the only complication for her this week.

The real Amanda had to think on her feet pretty quickly when Victoria set the police on her about Frank and because of it; she was actually forced to be a bit more honest with Daniel about her past than she would’ve liked to have been. I hope for the Fake Emily’s sake that Daniel’s guilt tripping tirade to his mother buys her some more time because it does look like she’s having more and more problems being handed to her at the moment.

Another problem that also surfaced was Lydia being taken care of by Victoria and the woman’s attempts to remember that 2003 photograph. It’s probably a good job for Emily that Nolan’s Photoshop skills are decent and that Victoria and Conrad were too busy scoring points off each other to really pay attention to Lydia’s accusations though.

Speaking of Lydia, it’s interesting trying to figure her out this week. How much did she actually remember before Victoria attempted to fill her and how much of Victoria and Conrad’s conversations about Frank did she actually take in as well? I have a feeling that Victoria’s gonna have her work cut out for her trying to keep her former friend sweet.

Last but not least – am I really supposed to give a damn about Tyler and Ashley’s relationship and classism issues? Seriously, the whole ‘us vs. them’ mantra those two had bored the living daylights out of me (even if both raised excellent pointers), so Tyler actually getting a hold of Lydia’s original speech from “Guilt” was the only interesting thing that happened with those two this week.

Also in “Treachery”

Now that Daniel has moved in with ‘Emily’, she’s gonna have to be a bit more careful with her nightly antics. Also Daniel’s gone from working for Jack to working for his father.

Amanda: “You’re funny, cool house.”
Nolan (to Emily): “Thanks. Does Miss Manners have a name?”

If you thought that was an amusing nickname, then the woman pretending to be Emily has earned the moniker of Bossy Pants.

Ashley: “You do not see me here. This is the very picture of mortification.”
Daniel: “Ah, the walk of shame.”
Ashley: “More like a bloody knuckle crawl.”

Conrad: “It’s not all bad news, Victoria. The secrets died with Frank. In many ways, you can see this as a relief.”

Declan and Charlotte need some stronger plots as well because their relationship/her parents’ problems isn’t strong enough. I’m also glad that Jack apologised to Nolan as well.

Nolan: “Let’s play a game of twenty questions.”
Amanda: “I don’t like games.”

Amanda: “Come with me.”
Emily: “I wish I could.”

The real Emily was given another alias in this episode – Kara Wilkins, the name of the real Amanda’s mother.

Emily: “Amanda would never hurt me.”
Nolan: “Right, cos that’s such a stretch for a violent psychopath.”

Standout music: Widowspeak’s “Limbs”.

Emily (to herself): “The past is a tricky thing. Sometimes it’s etched in stone and other times, it’s rendered in soft memories.”

Chronology: From where “Charade” left off.

Another enjoyable episode. “Treachery” certainly proves that Conrad and Victoria really should get a move on with divorcing each other but personally for me, the real Emily and Amanda scenes were the highlight of the episode. I can’t wait to see more of those two playing off each other.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Review of We'll Take Manhattan

Written And Directed by John McKay

Jean: “You don’t know anything about me.”
David: “I know you’re posh.”
Jean: “I’m not posh. I feed the pigs.”

Okay, confession time – if Karen Gillan hadn’t been cast in this one-off drama for BBC4, then chances are I probably wouldn’t have watched this, let alone actually review it. Fashion is not my thing in the slightest and a lot of what happens in this 90 minute drama cements my reason why it’s an aspect of journalism/media I wouldn’t want to have that much involvement in.

Also, I’ve never heard of either model/muse Jean Shrimpton and her photographer lover, David Bailey at all but after watching this, I was a little more interesting in learning a bit more about both of them, which BBC4 partially helped with airing a documentary on the latter after this aired.

The strand of this story mostly covers an infamous shoot between Shrimpton and Bailey for Vogue Magazine in 1962 New York and its one where we have iron lady like Claire Rendlesham telling us to the point of nausea that that Bailey’s an arrogant so and so and that Jean is too plain looking to really stand out as a model.

It probably comes as no surprised that we’re supposed to side more with Shrimpton and Bailey as they love and argue their way through the story while eventually proving to Claire that their way for the photo shoot is the best way after all. It’s amazing how charismatic and frustrating Bailey is in equal measure but it’s hard not to see where he’s coming from, even during his less likeable moments in the story.

This production won’t win points for it’s classism commentary but it is rather gratifying to see the likes of Claire taken down a peg or two as well, more so for relentless haranguing of beleaguered yes man Larry rather than anything she says to Jean or David. Larry’s probably the most likeable of the four leading characters here, even if we know next to nothing about the fella.

In terms of performances, Karen Gillan is excellent as Shrimpton but this piece really more for Aneurin Barnard, who bloody well commands your attention throughout the entire production as David Bailey, whose unshakeable belief in both his muse and his abilities as a photographer really are captivating to watch.

Helen McCrory has some good moments as Claire but often she does feel a little too one-note as a character, even if the piece does make a decent attempt to justify her behaviour and even try to play nice to the very people she kept fighting with for the most of the 90 minutes here. At one point, I could even empathise with her a little but her elitist behaviour whilst realistic more or less justifies my own misgivings about the fashion, considering that it’s an attitude than hasn’t changed in five decades.

Apart from the photo shoot elements itself, there’s not much to explore with Jean and David as lovers. They have a certain passion and belief in each other but theirs wasn’t always a harmonious of unions. It probably also didn’t help that Jean’s involvement with a well known married man also cost her having a relationship with her family but that’s something that’s glossed over a bit though. I think I would’ve liked to have seen a tiny bit more of Jean’s family life in this story.

- Along with Helen McCrory, another famous face was Vogue woman Diane, played by Frances Barber. I missed not seeing an eye patch on her this time.
- Points to the cinematography for this story. Some of the scenes in New York just looked beautifully shot.
- Karen Gillan has recently done a photo shoot with the real David Bailey, according to her interview with Radio Times.
- Unlike Matt Smith last year with Christopher And His Kind, there wasn’t that much sauciness in this story.

While a part of me would’ve liked if this hasn’t been relegated to BBC4 only, I have to admit that We’ll Take Manhattan was a pretty good move for Gillan, who as a former model herself was a good choice for the role of Jean Shrimpton and after this, I bet there’s going to be a lot more people who will want to see more of Aneurin Barnard on their screens.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x07: "Charade"

Written by Mark B. Perry And Joe Fazzio
Directed by Sanford Bookstaver

Amanda: “You obviously know who I am, who are you?”
Emily: “Emily. Emily Thorne.”

As in holy shit – there’s an actual Emily Thorne out there and now she’s made her way to reconnect with the woman who’s been using her name for the last while and we can all thank Frank for this little reunion. Well, we could but sadly, he’s no longer with us thanks to the real Emily actually taking care of him to protect herself and Amanda.

I know this is kind of strange but I actually feel bad for Frank here. Okay, his part in making sure Victoria ruined David Clarke’s life obviously doesn’t do much to endear him but it’s painfully obvious how much he values Victoria’s opinion, especially considering the lengths he went to in this episode to make amends to her.

Of course as soon as he pieced that Emily Thorne was really Amanda Clarke and the real Emily was a stripper working in a seedy looking bar, he was obviously gonna die. Amanda hasn’t quite yet gotten to the level of actually killing those who threaten her (good thing for Tyler that) but Emily on the other hand had no problem with killing Frank to keep him quiet.

The only problem is that she should’ve timed it quicker. Frank had more or less heightened Victoria’s doubt in Fake Emily and because the real Emily has now made contact with Amanda, it doesn’t take much to guess that both girls are going to be under fire for the next couple of weeks.

As for the real Amanda and Emily relationship – two troubled girls in a detention centre who went from trying to beat the crap out of each other to aiding each other in pursuing false identities. Of course, with one of these girls living it up in the Hamptons and the other one lap dancing for a living, it’s hard to tell how much of a bond these ladies really have. In other words, Emily/Amanda is basically screwed.

It’s a good plot though and one that’s certainly going to make the next couple of episodes all the more exciting as Fake Emily certainly has had to deal with a lot of problems in the last few weeks. The arrival of Fake Amanda was definitely something she could’ve done without, couldn’t it?

Speaking of problems, you have to admire Tyler and his determination, don’t you? Despite Daniel actively warning him not to stir the pot, Tyler went out of his way to continue his hostility with Fake Emily, all by getting some reporter to write a piece of the budding romance of the year. I admire the way Fake Emily dealt with it but at the same time, I think I would’ve preferred seeing her kicking seven shades of crap out of Tyler instead.

Thankfully then, Nolan managed to come into excellent use this week by doing some actual research on Tyler and finding out some interesting tidbits. If I hadn’t read the spoilers beforehand, I wouldn’t have guessed that Tyler was some form of a gay hustler but the bit about his family’s financial crisis however seems to make a lot of sense considering his brownnosing with the Graysons.

As for the Tyler and Nolan tryst, nice to get a confirmation on both characters sexualities (Tyler’s basically gay for pay, Nolan’s bisexual) but this definitely not a relationship to look at with rose tinted glasses folks. Tyler’s willing to sleep with Nolan in order to keep him out of his hair and similarly, Nolan’s only doing it to help out Emily, though he was savvy enough to film their encounter though.

Also, I’m sure people have noticed that I’ve complained a bit about Ashley’s lack of character development and now that she’s gotten one, I’m not sure if I like it though. Ashley more or less admitting that she wants to be Victoria really makes me hope that she fails in her endeavours or learns from her role model’s screw ups because there are certainly better things and people in life to aspire to.

As for Victoria, I think this episode gave her more layers. I actually gave a crap when Conrad openly admitting his annoyance that she doesn’t love him like she did with David and her advice to Daniel about love in relation to Fake Emily was pretty much on the money as well. However, it’s still really hard to tell how much real affection Fake Emily actually has for Daniel though, especially in light of her conversations with Nolan this week, which justifies Victoria’s dislike for the woman.

Also in “Charade”

Another episode minus getting revenge on someone. In fact, this week, Fake Emily actually got Sharon Stiles to help cover her tracks with Frank. Too bad it didn’t work out so well for her.

Emily (re Big Ed): “You hired a bodyguard?”
Nolan: “You would too if Frank had almost blown your kneecaps.”

Jack lost my respect this week when he took being rejected by Emily out on Nolan but I did like that him and Emily got to clear the air.

Emily: “You should leave before I call the police.”
Frank: “Go ahead, though I suspect you don’t want them nosing around.”

Sharon: “What is the first thing I taught you?”
Emily: “Never underestimate your enemy.”
Sharon: “And never let your guard down. This one seems determined.”

The real Emily Thorne was put in the detention centre for attacking her father, who was a child abuser.

Conrad: “I thought you didn’t believe in luck.”
Victoria: “I don’t believe in good luck.”

Emily: “About the other night?”
Jack: “Can we pretend it didn’t happen? I’m still pretty embarrassed.”
Emily: “Don’t be.”

Victoria was paying for Lydia’s medical bills in this episode. Lydia also woke up while Conrad visited her and both Victoria/Conrad’s 25th anniversary dinner ended in disaster.

Tyler (re meeting): “I won’t be there.”
Nolan: “You will and you’ll be prompt. I can be a very impatient person.”

Nolan (to Tyler): “Ambiguous sexual identity. I guess I’m about a three on the Kinsey scale myself. Still doesn’t tell me what you’re up to.”

Even though he had a point, I found Declan’s whole attitude during Victoria/Conrad’s party a bit out of line actually. I don’t know why Charlotte puts up with him. Maybe she’s too nice for her own good.

Frank: “Actually I just wanna talk.”
Amanda: “You’re one of those. It’s your money. What do you want to talk about?”

Daniel (re Emily): “Why don’t you like her?”
Victoria: “I don’t want to see you getting hurt.”

Standout music: Kurt Vile’s “Baby’s Arms” during Emily and Daniel beach frolics.

Emily (to herself): “Just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every person. One we reveal to the world, another we keep hidden inside.”

Chronology: A few days since the events of “Intrigue”

Now, this was definitely a lot of fun. “Charade” saw Frank bumped off, introduced us to the real Emily, saw Lydia wake from her coma, completely obliterated Victoria and Conrad, gave us more back story for certain people while also changing the game a little. This show is definitely becoming an increasing joy to watch every week.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Doctor Who At NTAs 2012/Series 7 News

And the winners of last night's NTAs, well the ones that matter to me anyways ...

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan both scooped Best Actor and Best Actress gongs for their roles as the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond and while Doctor Who lost out to Downton Abbey for Best Drama, this is still excellent. Maybe now the anti-Moffat brigade will finally get their heads out of their arses and realise that despite their mindless wittering, the show still is actually popular with the general public. Probably not but one can dream though.

As for Series 7, preparation for the new series begins on February 13th, with filming due for the 20th of that month. Already various rumours are flying about the place but Matt Smith isn't leaving just yet, the new companion has not been cast, Mark Gatiss will be penning an episode with the words, 'meat', klaxon' and 'Vienna' in it, there's rumours that River will be in the opening episode and that a famous American actor will also be appearing in the series, though as to who they are and what their role is remains to be seen.

NTA 2012 Results: http://www.nationaltvawards.com/winners

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RTD's New Project

It's been a while since we've heard a lot from Russell T. Davies, apart from the news about his partner (get well soon, Andrew) and while it's hard to determine what the future holds for Torchwood or even that Cucumber series that was being discussed last year, RTD does have another project in the pipeline though.

Called Aliens Vs. Wizards, the show for CBBC will focus on two young boys who are wizards and battle aliens. Writers for the series will include both Joseph Lidster and Phil Ford. To me, it sounds like a replacement of sorts for The Sarah Jane Adventures but considering how well that show went, this could be another success story for Russell. I'll certainly give it a look when it airs during the Autumn period.

Press Release: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16677583

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

True Blood - Season 5 Casting News

Haven't done this in a bit but here's some casting new for the upcoming fifth season of True Blood.

First off all, the role of Claude has been recast. last year, Neil Hopkins played the role in the fourth season episode, She's Not There but this year, British actor, Giles Matthey will be taking on the role of the fairy stripper who encounters Jessica earlier in the season. There's been rumours that a supernatural strip club will appear during Season 5, so I'm guessing that is how Claude is going to factor into the show.

Elsewhere former Law And Order: SVU actor Chris Meloni has also gotten a prominent role on the series. He's playing a member of the Authority and one that could spell trouble for Bill and Eric as well. Another actor playing an Authority based vampire is Christopher Heyerdahl as Dieter Braun. The titles for the first four episodes of Season 5 are Turn, Turn, Turn, Authority Always Wins, Whatever I Am, You Made Me and We'll Meet Again.

Season 4 will air on FXUK, Sundays at 10pm from February 5th while Season 5 will premiere on HBO from June.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Voice Of Ireland - Holy Crap, RTE1 Didn't Screw Up Alert

It's been three episodes, so I know I've given it a fair chance and it pleases me to admit that for once, RTE1 have produced a Sunday evening entertainment/reality TV series that hasn't made want to write an angry letter to Montrose/head for the sick bucket.

I was delighted when I heard that The All Ireland Talent Show was getting the boot in favour of The Voice Of Ireland. It might have been a nice little ratings earner for RTE1 but it was the type of show that seemed horrendously behind the times and with 60% of that judging panel just being personalities, rather than experts, I was delighted to see the back of it. But at the same time, I didn't know if the replacement they had lined up would be any better.

Thankfully, The Voice Of Ireland has been good viewing in the three episodes that have aired so far. Presenters like Kathryn Thomas and Eoghan McDermott have been entertaining without being cringe worthy and the coaches in question - Niall 'Bressie' Breslin, Sharon Corr, Kian Egan and Brian Kennedy have actually been fun to watch as coaches, probably because they actually know what they're talking about, which always helps with these sort of shows.

I think the bigger question remains to be asked - why did it take RTE1 this long to actually air something this enjoyable? Have they only started doing effective market research because a lot of the stuff that they've been commissioning over the last few years has been horrible to watch but The Voice Of Ireland has been their best effort in a while (apart from Raw and Love/Hate, naturally) and it's been a nice success for them.

I'm just wondering though when the BBC version kicks off in March and turns out to be a success, will that be a nail in The X Factor's coffin? Any thoughts?

The Voice Of Ireland airs Sundays at 6.30pm on RTE1.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Doctor Who - Series 7: 10 Characters/Monsters Who Could Return

Okay, Blogtor Who has done a similar list to this (a few actually), so I thought I'd do one more of 10 characters/monsters that I'd like to see return in the next two years on Doctor Who and possibly could. There's an element of humour in this but there's also some serious suggestions. Also, you'll notice there are obvious exemptions but they're not on the list because I assume that they're characters/monsters who will resurface during Series 7 and the 50th anniversary. So, without further ado, here's the list.

1: The Master

I honest to God love this character. To me, he is the best villain this show has ever done and there's nothing out there that will convince me otherwise. I think every incarnation of the character has been interesting and John Simm was particularly wonderful as well. Perhaps Simm could have one encounter with Eleven before he regenerates into another non-predictable choice. It'd be the best of both worlds, wouldn't it?

2: Davros

For the man responsible for the creation of the Daleks, it's probably an impressive feat that Davros has been used so sparingly over the course of 32 seasons of the show but surely, it's time for another encounter. Something epic and grandiose (and cohesive too, right)? I think so. Another character that when written right is a far more superior villain than his creations or the Cybermen. Also an encounter between him and Eleven seems like an opportunity too good to miss right now.

3: Craig Owens

I think it can actually be argued nicely at this point that minus actually travelling in the TARDIS, Craig Owens really is a companion of the Eleventh Doctor. Twice, he's helped the Doctor out of serious scrapes and the chemistry/rapport between Matt Smith and James Corden has been so wonderful to watch that surely another outing with these two needs to happen, right? If Gareth Roberts is contracted to write for Series 7, I would actually be disappointed if he doesn't get to return the lovable fella from Colchester one more time.

4: Canton Everett Delaware III

Arguably one of the best things from the opening story of the previous series, Canton actually can also be argued as another companion of the Eleventh Doctor. He certainly went above and beyond in helping the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River in defeating the Silence and the reception for him has been pretty damn good. I'm not sure how Canton could be reintroduced but I'm sure Moffat would think of a believable way of reusing the character again.

5: Jo Jones

We saw her last in The Sarah Jane Adventures classic Death Of The Doctor and her rapport with the Doctor in that story was nothing short of magnificent. Perhaps it's more than time she returned to the parent show. I'm curious to learn what else she managed to get up to in the last few decades and I can't be the only one.

6: Madame Vastra/Jenny

Ah, A Good Man Goes To War certainly produced two of the most well received characters when it came to these two. It's not everyday you get a human/Silurian coupling and while The Brilliant Book 2012 more or less covered their back story, I still don't see why we can't get a ripping Victorian adventure with these two ladies and the Doctor/New Companion. After all, this show does have a fondness for that particular time period.

7: Jenny

The Doctor's Daughter is always a conflicting episode for viewers. Some love/like it and some thoroughly detest it/generally found the whole thing pointless and while I don't want a series of the Doctor travelling with his offspring (because the next regular companion needs to not be related to him), I do think an episode where Jenny catches up with her father could actually be a rather fun episode. I mean, we've seen River more frequently over the last two series, so an episode with Jenny could work alright.

8: UNIT

One of the oddest things has been the lack of a UNIT presence in this series, apart from the fourth series. While I don't want the show to become any more Earth bound than necessary, it would be nice to see a bit more of the organisation helping the Doctor out from time to time and if we can't have Martha/Mickey representing them, surely the lovely (if trigger happy) Erisa Magambo could come back for a bit. Like Colonel Mace, Marion Price etc, she did seem to actually like the Doctor.

9: Ice Warriors

You would've thought that this lot would've resurfaced on the show by now. They were in more episodes than the Silurians in the Classic Series, we've had them mentioned in The Waters Of Mars and they did last appear in the book, The Silent Stars Go By. Actually, thinking on it, the Ice Warriors would be a perfect foe for a Christmas special. Please, Moffat, go there. In some ways, the story practically writes itself.

10: Jeff Angelo

Okay, probably the least likely of choices (especially considering the actor's busy as a hunky knight on Merlin) but I had a rather soft spot for Jeff and after his contribution in The Eleventh Hour, I am a little curious to find out what job he landed. Plus, I think there was a slight missed opportunity in not featuring him in some of the Amy/Rory/Mels flashbacks in Let's Kill Hitler, so maybe a brief appearance during Series 7 could happen. Just me then.

Okay, those are my choices - what are yours?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x06: "Intrigue"

Written by Dan Dworkin And Jay Beattie
Directed by Tim Hunter

Tyler: “You might want to be careful with who you’re dealing with.”
Emily: “I’m always careful and I know who I’m dealing with.”

Oh, Emily and Tyler – you can just see the tension rolling off the pair of them, can’t you? I don’t think either of these two could make their hatred for each other any more obvious if they tried. Still, both of them would want to heed Tyler’s advice though, especially given the events of this episode.

Tyler should learn for himself that trying to come between Emily and Daniel could prove to be a disastrous thing for him. Daniel still pretty much had the hump with him over the phone antics and Emily certainly took a gleeful pleasure during the double date with Daniel and Ashley when she took Tyler down several notches.

As a scene went, that was actually rather gratifying to watch but it was also one where Emily went a bit too far and attracted suspicion from Ashley, which is probably the only reason Emily decided to go and make nice with Tyler during the Fourth Of July party this week. Of course, Tyler wasn’t really buying it, so again Emily needs to watch herself.

Tyler’s definitely proving to be quite a slippery little snake in the grass as it is. Victoria doesn’t have that high of an opinion of Emily anyways but it’s interesting that Tyler is able to plant further doubt about Emily’s influence on Daniel with such ease into Victoria though. Why Victoria seems to trust Tyler is a little baffling at this point but I suppose there has to be at least someone she’s not suspicious/disapproving of at the moment.

As for Daniel, he varied with me in this episode. His scenes with Emily were nice and it was interesting that he didn’t take her to task over her humiliating Tyler but it’s also rather worrying that he allows Tyler to lead him astray. His first night working at the Stowaway and he decides to get hammered on the job because Tyler needles him a bit. This is not a particularly good sign for the character.

Less good is the fact that Tyler bashed his forehead in and made it look like a drunk Daniel did it to him. I’m not too surprised that Victoria seemed to believe but I was rather pleased that Emily saw through it as well. I think I’m gonna enjoy future scenes between Emily and Tyler in the next few weeks.

Speaking of future scenes – how the hell did Lydia survive that fall? I’ve seen characters on other shows die for less but either way, I can’t help noticing the contrasting reactions here. Nolan felt some actual guilt over Lydia’s current comatose state whereas Emily really couldn’t have cared less. I’m beginning to think that Emily might have a dark passenger that would give Dexter Morgan’s a run for it’s money.

Okay, I suppose Emily did have some reaction. I mean, she didn’t intend for Lydia to actually get hurt but at the same time because of Lydia’s contribution to her father’s downfall, she wasn’t exactly in a sympathetic mood either. Still, this only continued to show that Emily’s actions are getting out of her hands, don’t they?

Also, getting out of her hands is Nolan. This episode seemed to be the straw that broke his back here. Lydia being placed into a coma was one thing for Nolan but Frank paying him a visit was clearly another thing. I didn’t think Frank would actually succeed in killing Nolan but I can see why it was a moment that made Nolan reconsider helping Emily, though I have a feeling something else will pull him back into the cause.

Frank seemed to be on fine form in this episode as well. He found out that Nolan had bugged Lydia’s place after Conrad discovered what really happened to his mistress and promptly fired Frank and he also tried to reach out to Victoria as well. Unfortunately for Frank though, it seems that he’s cottoned onto Emily and that can only end badly for him of course. It’s not like Emily is going to be bested by a disgruntled bodyguard, is it?

Onto less mystery driven stories, Jack made an ass of himself this week by actually following Declan and Nolan’s advice in relation to Emily. I knew she was going to reject him when he poured his heart out to her and this episode proved me right. It’s hard to tell how deeply Emily feels about Jack because she certainly took no pleasure in casting him aside but at the same time, she does seem to actually like Daniel as well.

Also in “Intrigue”

This was actually the first episode not to feature any flashbacks at all, which meant no appearances from David for that matter.

Daniel: “How is it possible to wake up looking this good?”
Emily: “It isn’t. You’re just half asleep.”

This is also the second episode in a row where Emily hasn’t exacted revenge on someone new as well. I guess every now and then, that’s going to happen on the show.

Emily (re Lydia): “I can’t believe she survived.”
Nolan: “I can’t believe I survived.”

Emily: “You got lucky.”
Nolan: “You might want to redefine your definition of ‘lucky’ in the dictionary.”

Declan and Charlotte managed to get to the next phase in their relationship and we learned that Adam is out of the picture.

Ashley: “I don’t do well with rejection.”
Emily: “Obviously, that was 200 years ago.”

Tyler: “What’s your point?”
Emily: “Either you’re confused or you’re giving spectacularly bad advice.”

Again, Ashley needs more development as a character. Tyler’s been in fewer episodes and we know more about him than we do her.

Jack (to Declan): “Call your girlfriend. You’re going to that party tonight and so I am.”

Victoria: “There’s nothing so precious as freedom, is there?”
Emily: “There isn’t.”

Standout music: Silver Swans version of “Anyone’s Ghost” played at the end of the episode.

Jack: “Am I making any sense?”
Emily: “You’re making perfect sense; just you’re saying it to the wrong girl, Jack. I’m seeing Daniel, I thought you knew that.”

Emily (to herself): “Like life, revenge can be a messy business and both would be simpler if our heads could figure which way our hearts will go.”

Chronology: It’s the fourth of July, presumably 2011.

“Intrigue” was certainly an intriguing episode to watch. I did like the ramifications of Lydia’s fall played throughout the episode and the hostility between Emily and Tyler was certainly a highlight to watch as well and Nolan was a highlight as ever.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x05: "Guilt"

Written by Nikki Toscano
Directed by Kenneth Fink

David: “Never underestimate the power of guilt, Amanda. It can compel some people to pretty remarkable places.”

Guilt, guilt, guilt – what an interesting and obvious theme for this show and respective episode. Everyone here had something or another to feel guilty about and at least one person really paid for it this week as well.

Lydia – well, I expected her continuous presence in this show to come to an end at some point, so her death at the hands of a scuffle with Frank was a good way of exiting the character but before she went – just how guilty did Lydia really feel about her relationship with the Graysons?

She certainly didn’t feel guilty with the ten million dollars she took from Conrad and even didn’t feel all that guilty with a plot to humiliate him and Victoria in one of the worst ways possible before Victoria was able to nuke her in her tracks but even then, I felt a little bad for her to a degree.

Lydia, underneath it all did seem to be a rather pathetic but tragic-ish type of a person. Her attempts to make amends with Victoria seemed genuine to a certain degree and while her death was imminent, it wasn’t entirely deserved either. Of course, she had made too many enemies at this point and if Frank hadn’t inadvertently caused her to fall to her death, then Emily might have been put in a rather awkward predicament as well.

I was waiting for someone other than Nolan to finally piece together that Emily is Amanda Clarke and thanks to a little digging and some spotting on a photo, Lydia actually pieced Emily’s real identity together rather nicely. Lydia also spent most of this episode determined to get Emily out of her house and now she’s failed in a big way.

For all the pushing Emily has been doing with Nolan, she really should be thanking her lucky stars that Nolan had her back this week. Yes, he had no right to put a camera in his house but without Emily sending the thing in Lydia’s direction, Emily wouldn’t have been prepared for Lydia nearly wrecking her best laid plans. I think it’s time Emily actually accepted Nolan’s help because she certainly can’t rid of him at this moment in time.

This wasn’t Nolan’s best episode but the few scenes he did appear in were great and worthwhile as always. He managed to get the list of the catering staff off Lydia’s fax before anyone else could get it and he did have Emily’s back once again, so Emily really does need to start trusting the guy because at this rate, he’s more than earned it, hasn’t he?

Speaking of trust, nice to know that Victoria’s inability to trust Conrad continues to be more and more justified with each passing moment. Lydia created enough tension between them and Daniel also didn’t help matter either. I personally think Victoria should just divorce the guy already. Lydia might be dead now but something tells me she wasn’t the first person Conrad’s cheated on his wife and she won’t be the last either for that matter.

As for Daniel and Emily, it was nice to see that they did manage to sort out their differences in this episode (they even ended this one with them two having sex for the first time) but I can’t help thinking both of them need to keep a watchful eye on Tyler rather sharpish though. Daniel was annoyed that Tyler lied about Emily but didn’t really do anything about it though. As for Emily, she sensed that Tyler was going to be a problem so I hope for her sake she knows how to deal with him when he does create more havoc.

When it comes to havoc though – I thought Charlotte’s little joyride with Declan was oddly light hearted. What, no booze and drugs during their antics? I think Charlotte’s going to have to try a lot harder if she wants to get her mother’s attention and having Daniel and Emily bailing her out probably won’t help matters though I did like that once Daniel and Jack got their hostility out of the way, the former asked for a job in the latter’s bar. Now that could be an interesting little side story.

Also in “Guilt”

Another week, another function – this time Victims United for the Open Arms gala for the families of the victims of Flight 197.

Nolan: “It wouldn’t kill you to try and be nice to me.”
Emily: “Not part of the plan.”

It’s been five episodes already and I feel like Ashley is the least developed character of the bunch. The girl needs more to do than be Victoria’s whipping girl already.

Declan (to Jack, re bar): “This place drove Dad to his grave. I’m not going out like that.”

Victoria (re forgiveness): “Exactly how many times do I have to apologise before you do?”
Charlotte: “You wish I’d never been born. Do me a favour and pretend I wasn’t.”

Emily used the fact that Lydia had been a patient of Michelle and hadn’t her session exposed to plant doubt Victoria about the woman’s motives and made it look like Lydia was responsible for everything so far. Smooth work, Emily.

Daniel: “I’m such an idiot.”
Emily: “Yeah, a little bit.”

Nolan (re Emily’s catering past): “I’m surprised you didn’t go all ninja on them then and there.”

Emily catered as Amanda at a New Year’s Eve Party in 2003 that was for the victims of Flight 197, attended by Victoria and Lydia. Flight 197 crashed in 1995, when David Clarke was framed for his involvement with it.

Victoria (re Lydia’s plans): “You have proof of this?”
Frank: “I’m staring at it right now.”

Victoria: “Understand something, Lydia. Every time I smile across the room or we run into each other at luncheon or I welcome you into my home, let that smile be a reminder of just how much I despise you and every time I hug you, the warmth you feel is my hatred burning through.”

Standout music: Little Dragon’s “Twice” which played at the end of the episode.

Emily: “Guilt is a powerful affliction. You can try to turn your back on it but that’s when it creeps up behind you and eats you alive.”

Chronology: More or less from “Duplicity” left off.

Now this was a brilliant episode. “Guilt” might not have done anything inventively thematically but in terms of showing just how much Emily’s actions are costing the people she’s attacking; it certainly does make the show a lot more interesting to watch.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Proposal Or Two

And here's my first TV jumble of 2012. I was meant to do this last week but things keps coming up, so here it is.

American Horror Story: Okay, an interesting selection of episodes here. I was certainly surprised with the reveal of what really happened to Violet more than I was about Tate being rubber man (I mean, who didn't see that coming?) but stories about Dahlias, Patrick/Chad's relationship and antichrist babies aside, what can the final two episodes really do to shock us all? Though, again in the unexpected category if this was Larry's last hurrah in the show, then it's been fun time.
Desperate Housewives: I've seen the first three episodes of the eighth and final season and I'm conflicted. On one hand, the majority of the storylines have been interesting and some of the side one have been less tedious than previous series but at the same time, watching these episodes has made me realise that it really is time for the show to end. It's amazing how Alejandro's death is affecting each of the characters but watching Renee's storyline sometimes feels like a different show, though I'm sure Ben has more to him than what we've seen so far. Oh and Bree's totally shot herself in the foot with Chuck, hasn't she?

Glee: It's been a month and while some fans seem to be wanting to abandon this show for Smash (which I will give a chance to), I enjoyed last night's episode. Who would've thought that Helen Mirren would be what Becky's mind sounds like? More importantly, the proposals in this episode certainly were interesting enough, though Finn's motives for popping the question seemed to make less sense compared to Will's though and even with the smallest amount of snark, Santana still had some wonderful moments in this episode and I enjoyed the swim team plot but not that coach. Oh and song wise - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Without You and We Found Love were the highlights.

Mrs Browns Boys: To be filed under 'extreme guilty pleasure' - I absolutely love this show. I don't think about the storylines, I don't overanalyse a thing about it. I sit back and listen to the jokes and while I know most of them from past DVDs and stuff, it's still great fun to watch. The second run of episodes have been every bit as funny as the first (organisms, lion attacks, robot babies, etc) and I'm pleased that UK viewers seem to be enjoying this show as much as I am. Brendan O'Carroll really does play Agnes Brown too well.

Shameless: It's the return of this show (and it's US version) and once again, it's a mixed bag. I enjoyed some of the moments but I do think it's gotten to a point now where this show needs to be put down for it's own good. Frank is even more pointless as a character and with the imminent departure of Carl in a few weeks time, there really won't be a just reason to keep him on board. Also, am I the only who doesn't care about Mimi and Billy? I can't be, surely - they're just embarrassingly bad to watch and the plot with Operation New Start fizzled out pretty sharpish. That being said, Gloria seems like an alright character and the handling of Kelly's miscarriage has been one of the better plots for the series.

The Vampire Diaries: Now that was excellent. Isn't this usually the time fans turn on shows like this and whinge on them for being stale/repetitive/etc? They better not with this show because if anything, the antics of Mystic Falls and beyond have gotten more and more interesting - Elena's crappy 18th birthday, Jeremy's new ability, the unusual Klaus/Stefan partnership and even Caroline/Tyler have made the first two episodes of the series an unbridled joy to watch. An excellent start to the opening of this year.

- Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell have been cast as Rachel's dads, Hiram and LeRoy Berry for Glee's Valentine's Day episode. About bloody time. Samuel Larson will also debut in that episode too.
- CBS have commissioned a modern day version of Sherlock Holmes called Elementary. Er, why?
- Expect some violence at an upcoming Klaus dinner party in The Vampire Diaries.
- Grant Bowler will be playing a leading role in upcoming SyFy drama, Defiance.
- Jessica Lange is considering returning to American Horror Story, even though the second year will be radically different to the first one.
- Game Of Thrones second season will return on HBO April 1st and on SkyAtlantic April 2nd.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Review of Sherlock's 2x03: "The Reichenbach Fall"

Written by Steve Thompson
Directed by Toby Haynes

Moriarty (to Sherlock): “Every fairytale needs a good old fashioned villain. You need me. We’re just alike you and I, except you’re boring.”

And if there’s one thing that I cannot accuse this episode of is boring. Can it be that the same who wrote both “The Blind Banker” and “The Curse Of The Black Spot” was really responsible for this episode? If so, then Steve Thompson is an adept hand when writing for a pivotal episode.

It’s actually funny when you think about Moriarty in this version of the show. Sure, he’s popped up in four out of the six televised episodes so far but this is the second one where he really gets to shine and honey, this fella certainly knows how to wear a crown and cause chaos in his wake. I apologise but I had to work that line in there somewhere or at least paraphrase the bloody thing.

I actually think at times that Andrew Scott is a slightly better actor than Benedict Cumberbatch and while his depiction of Moriarty has been panned by some as cartoonish (then again, John Simm has had those accusations as well as the Master), his level of maniacal zaniness actually worked in this final episode’s favour as we headed toward the final problem for both Moriarty and Sherlock.

You have to hand it to Moriarty – he really knows how to contrive a situation after a situation – the multiple break ins, manipulating a trial, making Sherlock appear to be both a child abductor and a fraud and even replacing his own existence with an out of work actor named Richard Brook. If Moffat and company can write this well for Moriarty, we can only imagine what could be accomplished with the Master when he returns to Doctor Who.

The ruses were a clever way (along with that computer code and the trained assassins) of slowly unravelling Sherlock and the rooftop confrontation between both private detective and public menace was compelling to watch. Moriarty threatened everyone Sherlock loved – Lestrade, Hudson and Watson and Sherlock made the ultimate sacrifice by jumping towards his death to save the very people he cared for.

Except, even a fatalistic fall like that can’t seem to stop Sherlock. Watson and the world might believe he’s perished but the appearance at the last minute proved otherwise. What exactly did Molly do to help Sherlock because a fall like that should’ve finished him off for good? Also, by that logic if Sherlock can survive, does that mean Moriarty can too? Probably not but if this is the last we’ve seen of Jim, it’s a good ending for the character.

In terms of character moments – I think this episode was rather rich with the stuff. As much as the likes of Donovan and Anderson are annoying, I can actually see why them of all people would easily believe that Sherlock would be capable of faking crimes in order to build a bigger profile for himself and the likes of Kitty Riley I could also see being so easily taken in by Moriarty’s lies too.

I did appreciate the moments where Molly talked about really seeing Sherlock as well and it was a good thing that she was instrumental in how he pulled off that stunt. Also, underneath some of his gruff, it’s also rather clear that Lestrade has a fondness for Sherlock too and Hudson’s moments of grief at the graveyard felt truthful. Even Mycroft admitting to his remorse for putting Moriarty on Sherlock worked extremely well too.

But it was John who shined the most. I honestly do believe at this point that Watson is often the better character of the pair and his moments with Sherlock throughout the entire episode were excellent from start to finish. I can only hope that Watson becomes privy to his friend’s real well being that he’s rather understanding of the situation.

- Moriarty did several IOU moments throughout the episode with apples and windows. Even Watson managed to get in one during the graveyard moments.
- Douglas Wilmer appeared briefly in this episode. He also played Sherlock at one point for the BBC.
- Sherlock was labelled Boffin, Reichenbach and Sir Boast-A-Lot at several points in the episode. Watson got Bachelor.
- Both Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were quick to tweet afterwards that the show had been renewed for a third series, though whether it airs in 2013 remains to be seen.

Now this was a finale. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen but for this show, “The Reichenbach Fall” does represent an undeniable high for the show. It’s gonna be very interesting to see where the show can go from here though.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 1x04: "Duplicity"

Written by Wendy Calhoun
Directed by Matt Shakman

Michelle: “Emily, we’ve been circling this theme for a year now. It’s time for you to stop playing the victim. Time for you to start an active role in your own happiness. Until you do this, the only thing you can expect in this new relationship or any other is that it will end badly.”

Oh, Michelle and you should’ve expected that if you play a part in causing a young girl years of misery that one day, it will come back and bite you in the arse in a pretty spectacular way. Now, this was a compelling segment in Emily’s ongoing revenge scheme if ever there was one and Michelle was more than a deserving candidate to be taken down as well.

Victoria might have loved David but she clearly cared nothing for poor little Amanda if bribing Michelle with a lavish job for institutionalising the poor girl was anything to go by. Evil on Victoria’s part and even more evil on Michelle’s part too, who abused her position as a child psychological in such a horrendous manner.

I’ve got to praise the young actress playing Amanda. Very few kids on American TV nowadays seem to be naturalistic but this little girl was. I felt bad for Amanda trying to maintain the belief that her father was a good person while having Michelle constantly pick away at the girl’s faith in her father at the same time.

For those reasons alone, I think we’ve really gotten a better picture as to why Emily finds it difficult to allow herself to be vulnerable towards and why it’s another reason why Nolan should be careful when it comes to how far he can get away with pushing her. We all know at this point what Emily is capable of her and here was another blinder as well.

Grabbing Michelle’s recorded sessions with her clients (including her own session as well) and making sure they were displayed during the Mother/Daughter Tee was a masterstroke but one that made sense. Emily had already admitted to Victoria that she was a patient of Michelle’s so it would’ve looked awfully suspicious if her therapy sessions hadn’t been made public knowledge either.

Still I found it amazing to an extent that even with Emily covering herself that Frank would still be a tad suspicious but at the same, I love the idea that every now and then, Emily will have some difficulties in fooling people. It keeps the show interesting and it also keeps Emily on her toes as well, so kudos on that one.

As for Michelle – a bit of public humiliation, a vow that Victoria will ruin and Emily locking her in a storage facility owned by the Grayson’s, I’d almost be inclined to think that she got off lightly before remembering that Emily also vowed to ruin the woman’s career and when Emily said that, she actually did sound a bit scary as well. Perhaps this is proof that Van Camp is improving big time with her acting.

Of course, Michelle wasn’t the only headache for Emily in this episode – step forward Tyler Barrol. I thought he was a creepy little shite bag in the previous episode and this one went above and beyond to drive home that point, when he was trying his case on with Ashley of course.

His fixation on Daniel definitely violates several best friend codes. I mean, you don’t go out of your way to keep your friend away from his new girlfriend and you don’t get your friend steaming drunk when he’s trying to be more sober nowadays. Neither of those things seemed to be an issue for Tyler though.

I suppose though it’s good that we have Tyler on the show. He’s a character that we can take an active dislike to and he’s also someone that can go toe to toe with Emily, once she privies herself to the bloke’s true motives. Tyler didn’t exactly hold back his contempt for Emily when was he was talking to her and when Daniel believed she was cheating on him either.

As for the cheating thing – nah, Emily didn’t go there. Her meal with Jack was perfectly innocent but it’s pretty obvious that a Daniel/Emily/Jack triangle has been set up and while there are compelling arguments for which guy should get Emily, I think the bigger question should be – who does Emily love? She might be using Daniel to a degree but I think she cares something for him and her feelings for Jack were also highlighted in this episode, mostly through Nolan who was a joy if underused here.

Also in “Duplicity”

I think this episode felt more flashback heavy than the first three. I’m not complaining because they are needed and enjoyable though.

Victoria: “The future depresses me.”
Michelle: “Why is that?”
Victoria: “Because I can’t see things improving.”

I’m really enjoying the budding friendship between Jack and Nolan in this episode. I mean Jack seemed to actually enjoy the fella’s company.

Victoria: “So, I imagine I’ll be seeing you at the Tee then?”
Emily: “I wouldn’t miss it.”

Tyler: “Danny tells me you were an orphan, that sucks. Money can buy a lot of things but family isn’t one of them.”
Emily: “Family can be overrated.”

I felt bad for Charlotte discovering what Victoria seemed to think of her, though she does have a knack for making Declan more likeable though.

Nolan: “Jack and Emily sitting in a tree.”
Jack: “Really?”

Nolan (to Emily): “Correct me if I’m wrong but I smell the distinct aroma of retribution here.”

Lydia and Conrad have resumed their affair and I got the impression that Victoria has started one with Frank as well. Also was Tyler going to kiss an unconscious Daniel at one point?

Victoria: “You recorded my private sessions?”
Michelle: “For my own use.”
Victoria: “I am going to destroy you.”

Nolan: “You can be satisfied the good doctor will never practice again.”
Emily: “Count on it.”

Standout music: Agnes Obel’s “Riverside”.

Nolan (to Emily): “Boys will be boys. Come on down, testosterone is on the house.”

Emily: “The greatest weapon anyone can use against us is our own mind by preying on the doubts and uncertainty that already lurks there.”

Chronology: Not too long since the events of “Betrayal”.

I think “Duplicity” was my favourite one so far. I guess as a victim, Michelle was probably the more interesting of the bunch and perhaps every character apart from Ashley had something of interest to do as well. I can also say that four episodes in, I really am enjoying this show a lot.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Doctor Who - The Next Companion Speculation Casting Male

Yesterday I did a list of potential actresses who could be the next TARDIS occupants on Doctor Who but seeing as male companions also exist, I thought I'd do a male list as well. It was harder compiling this one but here are some possible candidates for the new guy in the TARDIS.

Craig Roberts: I'm not gonna lie here, the only thing I've seen this guy in is his guest appearance on Being Human last year and the online spin-off but if we're in need of a cheeky chappie male in the TARDIS to counter the Doctor, I can't think of a better actor than Roberts for the gig. He's certainly got a biting sarcasm, one that could even draw blood too.

Douglas Booth: Like with Imogen Poots in the female list, Douglas has previously worked with Matt Smith in last year's Christopher And His Kind and the two of them, erm, certainly had sparks, didn't they? Nah, seriously Booth is a good actor and has cropped up in recent productions such as Worried About The Boy and Great Expectations, so maybe a more permanent TV gig would be good for him.

Iwan Rheon: Another former star of Misfits and arguably the best male actor in his 20s as well, Iwan is definitely on a list of actors who just should pop on Doctor Who, even if it's just for a guest role. Then again, maybe in a few years, he could be the Doctor but if not, he'd make an awesome companion. Maybe another Turlough, though better written this time?

Mark Sheppard: I hate doing the whole tick the boxes thing but if we have to, then Canton would be the perfect next companion - male/gay/older/period/not British and played by an awesomely reliable actor in Mark Sheppard. Even if he doesn't return as a recurring/new companion, I think one more story with Canton is definitely warranted, yes? He's so wonderful a creation, he could usurp Jack. Yes, I actually went there.

Theo James: You'll probably know this guy from getting physical with Billie Piper in A Passionate Woman or causing Mary Crawley a lot of headache in Downton Abbey or more likely, you'll have seen him as the leading character in SkyLiving's Bedlam, a show that's now scrapped it's original cast for a new lot. He's easy on the eye, can act and I could see him playing a brooding character who finds that he's more of an open book compared to the mad man in the box.

Okay, that's my list of fantastic fellas who could be in the TARDIS - what are yours?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Doctor Who - The Next Companion Speculation Casting Female

Okay, so it's gonna be another few months (if not sooner) before the next companion after Amy/Rory on Doctor Who is announced and I'm going to take a wild stab and assume the next person is going to be female. Don't get me wrong, another male companion during Moffat's era is entirely possible/likely but here's a list of female actresses I think are possible/have been rumoured to play the next TARDIS occupant. If anyone wants, I'll do a male version of this list too.

Amara Karan: She's already played a character named Rita in the utterly wonderful The God Complex and unlike Carey Mulligan, it's more possible that Karan may return to the show, despite her character's fate. Heck, this show has a knack of casting actors in guest roles before having them play either companions or a Doctor at one point. Just ask Lalla Ward, Colin Baker, Freema Agyeman or Karen Gillan. Amara could easily reprise the role of Rita (via some timey wimey) or portray a totally different character.

Antonia Thomas: Already known to everyone for the last three years as Alisha on Misfits, Antonia's currently a little freer, time wise and as an actress, the girl has a certainly likability and presence about her. I could see her tonally playing a different character to the one that she's made famous over the last three years.

Imogen Poots: Imogen has the interesting advantage of previously working with Matt Smith on last year's BBC2 drama, Christopher And His Kind and the two of them had an excellent rapport with each other on that one-off drama. I think her and Matt working with each other again on a bigger show - the chemistry would be immense. A year ago, she would've been perfect as a younger version of River but I think with Mels in Let's Kill Hitler, that boat has sailed but maybe as a period companion, Poots would flourish.

Jessica Brown-Findlay: Sometimes I despise The Sun. It would take them to suggest the most excellent choice of an actress for the next companion, which probably means the chances of them actually playing it are non-existent. Jessica's a prime example of this. Yeah, she's one of my favourites as Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey but she's also been excellent in genre shows like Misfits and Black Mirror and I could just see her as a companion. Given her current TV commitments, it's bloody unlikely though, isn't it? Damn, because I really, really want her as the next companion now.

Miranda Hart: Okay, there's a reason behind this one. I'm not a big fan of Miranda myself but as Catherine Tate and James Corden have taught us, never judge a book by it's cover and there's a chance if Hart ever got cast as a full time companion, she could be good. The Doctor thrives with older companions (Jack, Donna and River attest to that) and Hart was supposedly rumoured to feature in The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe, so even if she doesn't get cast as the next companion, I think it's almost a fair bet that she'll appear in the show within the next two years.

So that's my list of lovely ladies who could be the next TARDIS occupant - what are yours?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Review of The Mystery Of Edwin Drood

Written by Charles Dickens And Gwyneth Hughes
Directed by Diarmuid Lawrence

John Jasper (to Reverend Septimus Crisparkle, re Edwin): “Let the man who killed him hear my vow – I devote myself to his destruction.”

Destruction is an apt word and almost one that sums up this entire piece. The Mystery Of Edwin Drood is one of the lesser adapted of Charles Dickens’s work and given that it was his final and incomplete story, we’ll never know how the great man intended to end the piece but Gwyneth Hughes certainly does a fine job in offering her own interpretation on how this particular story should’ve ended, one that I actually found satisfactory for a multitude of reasons.

As a character, there are many things that can be said about choirmaster John Jasper but the one thing he definitely cannot be accused of is being boring and even if he had been a rather dull character, Matthew Rhys sure as hell breathed enough life into him for the duration of the story.

In both parts, John Jasper managed to be a morally repugnant and oddly sympathetic character to a certain extent. His moral repugnance stemmed from the obvious of course – that psychotic fixation he had for Rosa Bud and the relentless attempts he made in order to get her affection, even taking an odd pleasure when she finally admitted that she could never love him. Of course, these were words that Jasper did not take heed to all that much.

His sociopathic hatred for his nephew Edwin certainly didn’t help matters either but the mystery here was that Jasper killed an Edwin but not his nephew. The Edwin he had murdered had been the father that disowned him as a boy and cared nothing for him as an adult.

I have to admit that given the bits I generally knew of the story, it was a rather surprising and interesting twist for the story to run with. Making the younger Edwin then a sibling rather than a nephew for Jasper made his exasperation over believing that he had murdered his brother all the more wrenching as well. I told that you that in the second half of this update that Jasper is given moment where sympathy could be laid at his feet.

As for the opium addled scenes, I wish we had seen the blue elementals but I loved the moderation of those scenes. They helped with John losing grip with reality without feeling overly gratuitous to the story itself. I won’t actually spoil what fate befell John Jasper in the final five minutes of this story but let’s say it’s one that made sense within the context of this adaptation and leave it at that.

As for the rest of the characters – a tremendous support cast here. I did love Rosa and her guardian, the good Reverend and his mother as well as brother and sister duo, Neville and Helena Landless, whose roles in this whole part were pretty prominent while other supporting characters like Princess Puffer, Grewgious, Durdles and Bazzard also added to the mix. I did find myself a little annoyed with Freddie Fox’s depiction of Edwin but he improved in the second half of the story so only the young boy with his super thick cockney rhyming grated in an otherwise excellent production.

- This was the third Dickens adaptation to air in the last month and was definitely the best of the three. I’m glad it aired on BBC2 instead of BBC4.
- I have to admit after seeing this; I know a certain actor I want to see as the Master in another show I watch.
- There was a lot of replaying over the younger Edwin’s ‘death’ scene during this. It did help cement Jasper’s loss of grip on reality though.
- The scenes in the tombs and the cathedral were definitely some of the most atmospherically shot scenes of the two parter.

Making this into a two hour long episode story did wonders for The Mystery Of Edwin Drood. It kept the story and made sure there was no dragging and the performances were excellent. I mean Matthew Rhys was on fine form as Jasper but the likes of Tamzin Merchant, Rory Kinnear and Alun Armstrong were also wonderful. An excellent adaptation – wonderful stuff, BBC2.

Rating: 9 out of 10