Saturday, May 30, 2015

Suicide Squad - Cast Promotion Picture/Various Set Spoilers

After being somewhat underwhelmed by the trailer for Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice released last month (not completely writing the movie off though), my excited piqued a bit more for the upcoming Suicide Squad movie thanks to a slew of leaks. If you're a spoiler phobe, don't read further on. You have been warned.

First of all, we got this rather mean and moody cast shot with the Squad all present and accounted. Rounding off the Squad, banded together by Amanda Waller (How To Get Away With Murder's Viola Davis) are Will Smith as Floyd Lawton/Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Dr Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Waylon Jones / Killer Croc, Cara Delevingne as June Moone / Enchantress, Jai Courtney as George "Digger" Harkness / Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Karen Fukuhara as Tatsu Yamashiro / Katana, Jay Hernandez as Chato Santana / El Diablo and Adam Beach as Christopher Weiss / Slipknot. Other confirmed cast members include Jim Parrack, Scott Eastwood, Raymond Olubowale and Common in yet to be revealed roles.

Then there's Harley Quinn herself. This is the first time for everyone that we're getting to see the character properly in a movie (Assault On Arkham aside) and I have to admit, I was apprehensive on how they would depict her. Casting wise, I think Margot Robbie is a perfect choice but given how naff some of Harley's later looks have been, the general look that Suicide Squad have given her is actually a pretty perfect modern take for the character. The pink and blue highlights in the blonde hair, the white face make up, the baseball bat, the tattoos and clever use of diamonds. I'd even go as far as to say it's the best version of the character since The Animated Series and should bode well enough for the movie too.

As for the relationship aspect - let's be honest, the biggest draw of the Suicide Squad movie is going to be the onscreen depiction between Robbie's Harley Quinn and Jared Leto's Joker and going by the filming pictures that have leaked, it seems like the movie won't be glossing over the dark and toxic relationship the pair of them have. Personally I'm glad because fascinating as the Joker and Harley are as a pairing, a part of me did fear that the movie might have downplayed that aspect in order to sate a certain contingent of the movie goers for this movie. While I'm still not too sold on Leto just yet, I do like how terrifying he looks as the Clown Prince of crime though.

Meanwhile more recent set pictures and videos have also confirmed that Ben Affleck's Batman will also be appearing in the movie as one scene has him chasing down both the Joker and Harley Quinn. On a side note - how cool does Joker's car look? As for Affleck's Batman appearing in the movie - I'm actually glad he's factoring into it. I think it's a wise move to be honest but I imagine that Batman's role in this movie might be an even smaller one than his role was in Assault On Arkham was though. Either way, I'm definitely getting more excited for Suicide Squad at the moment.

Spoiler Pictures/Videos:

Suicide Squad continues to film and will be released in cinemas from August 5th 2016.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The New Batman Adventures - Episodes 13-16 Reviews

Fourth blog and I have to admit with the exception of one episode, this batch were mostly on the clunker end of the scale to be honest.

Episode 13: Love Is A Croc

One of two team up episodes in a row where things start well and then inevitably go wrong. Here, it's the rather unlikely pairing of both Killer Croc and Baby Doll as the latter feels a connection to the former's isolation from people and springs him free in order to become the Bonnie & Clyde of Gotham. The team up works for a while but Croc did tire of Doll's clingy behaviour and she retaliated by trying to blow the city up. It wasn't a terrible episode but I wasn't particularly excited by it either. 6/10

Episode 14: The Ultimate Thrill

The second team up to go awry this week was both the Penguin and reckless former stunt woman turned criminal Roxy Rocket in a slightly better story than the previous episode. On the plus side, the pairing isn't built on an ill fated romance of sorts and as a side antagonist, Roxy is pretty funny at times, even if the flirting with Batman doesn't really work. A little better than the previous episode but slightly forgettable though. 6/10

Episode 15: Cult Of The Cat

Now this is more like it. While You Scratch My Back wasn't exactly a classic and technically neither is this one, this felt like a far better episode for Catwoman than we've had in a while. Adding into the fact that we've got a creepy cat worshipping cult led by Thomas Blake (who sadly didn't become Catman in this episode) and a great battle of wits between Batman and Catwoman, this was probably one of the most enjoyable episodes from the series. Still not really digging Catwoman's revamped look though. 8/10

Episode 16: Critters

Probably the worst episode of the series (well, I still have eight to go), this was just one of those installments, I couldn't wait to end. I'm not really a fan of mutated bugs/animal type of stories I suppose and this one had them in spades thanks to the rather nuts Farmer Brown and his daughter. I guess there was some great moments with Batman, Batgirl, Robin and Bullock but other than that, it was a pretty terrible episode. 4/10

Next blog will cover Animal Act, Old Wounds, Legends Of The Dark Knight and Girls Nite Out.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

First Look: Channel 4/AMC's Humans

And the trend of US and UK co-productions continues as AMC and Channel 4 have banded together to produce their own version of hit Swedish sci-fi drama, Humans.

The eight part series set in suburban London, Humans takes place in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a Synth – a highly developed, artificially intelligent servant eerily similar to its living counterpart. Fresh Meat actress, Gemma Chan plays Anita, one of a group of rogue synthetics bought for drifting couple Joe and  Laura Hawkins (Tom Goodman-Hill and Katherine Parkinson) with Merlin actor Colin Morgan takes on the role of Leo, a man with his Synth Max (Ivanno Jeremiah), are desperately searching for someone from Leo's past.

Other plot strands include widower George Millican (William Hurt) has formed a close relationship with his out-of-date Synth, Odi (Will Tudor), whom he treats more like a son than a piece of machinery. When Odi begins to malfunction, the National Health Service forcefully upgrades him with a new stern elder-care model named Vera (Rebecca Front) and George must hide the bond he has with Odi or risk forfeiting him to the authorities.

I'll admit to never seeing the original and I'm hoping a station over here will air it at some point but this looks absolutely fantastic. A slew of impressive actors, an interesting commentary on man versus technology and with one of the best promotional campaigns I've seen in ages, I really hope Humans is a total success for both Channel 4 and AMC.

Promotional Pictures/Trailers/Press Releases:

Humans airs Sundays 9pm on Channel 4 from June 14th and AMC from June 28th respectively.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 2x04: Evil Spirits In Heavenly Places

And we're back to an episode that while not progressing things a huge amount still had plenty of moments to pique interest though.

Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas

Sensible Shoes: Now I'm enjoying the witches as villains (and something about them reminds me of Roald Dahl's The Witches) but in this episode alone, aside from an attack at the house where some of Vanessa's hair was stolen, nothing has actually progressed with them. Hecate tried and failed to seduce Ethan (who thought she was working for his father) and Evelyn seemed to do nothing other than scowl at her daughter's failure as well. However as this episode also showed, Ethan should be less concerned about his father and more worried about that detective that's getting closer towards him.

Not My Colour: A couple of little things I enjoyed in this episode. One was learning that Vanessa eats dessert for breakfast (thanks for that tidbit, Sembene), another was learning that Malcolm might need glasses (and like Ethan, he didn't seem adverse to Lyle lightly flirting with him) but a surprising highlight of this episode was watching Vanessa and Victor do a spot of clothes shopping for Lily/Brona (she'll always be Brona to me). It was a delightful little scene which showed that Eva Green is great with the comic moments along with the serious intensity this show throws at her as well. Anyways, onto the Lily bit of the week ...

The Woman In White: Okay, I'm not crazy about Brona/Lily's new look and I'm still not sure I like where this whole storyline with her and Victor is actually going either. On one hand, I do like that Victor isn't trying to force Lily into doing anything she doesn't want to do but the plot still feels very skeevy and it's only a matter of time before Ethan finds out what actually happened to Brona and I can't see that ending well for anyone really. As for Caliban - I'm actually enjoying his slow burning connection with Lavinia more than expected.

A Night Out: Still divorced from any of the main plots, I will admit that as a side story, Dorian's romance with transgendered working girl, Angelique is still a rather lovely subplot. Not only is it showing a kinder side to Dorian (though this version has never been edgy) but I'm really enjoying Angelique in her own right as a character too. This show's fluidity with it's characters sexuality is handled with subtlety but once again, I am hoping that Dorian does become more involved in the central plots fairly soon though.

Unexpected Words: Another fun side moment in this episode was having both Ethan and Sembene sort of competing (but not really competing) as to whom could 'protect' Vanessa but at the same time also enjoying each other's company at the same time. We still haven't learned a great deal about Sembene and I'm worried we might not either. Other than that, I did enjoy this episode but having come after the brilliant origin story from last week, it's probably the weakest one we've had to date.

Next week Evelyn sinks her claws in a little further into Malcolm while Victor and Caliban come to blows.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The New Batman Adventures - Episodes 9-12 Reviews

Third blog and we've got a few interesting minor villains and a maybe death of a beloved crime fighter? All is not what it seems, folks.

Episode 9: Mean Seasons

The media industry is cutthroat and horrible - hardly an original premise and the modelling industry especially being age unfriendly? Never would've guessed. It might sound like I'm being snarky here but this turned out to be an episode that took a fairly old hat premise and did something pretty great with it. Having former model Paige Monroe turn into a slightly Grim Reaper-ish, Calender Girl and seek revenge on those who destroyed her career did make for a great episode and the team up of just Batman and Batgirl worked pretty well within the context as well. A surprising gem here. 8/10

Episode 10: The Demon Within

An episode focusing on a magical, evil bratty kid wasn't exactly something I was clamouring for but like the previous episode, I was plenty surprised by this one. I mean, Klarion was an annoying little shit but he had a cat that could morph into something to what Selina became in Tyger, Tyger and picked up a magical branding iron to control a demon named Etrigan to get one over on his also magical 'uncle' Jason. The episode was chocked full of decent humour, some nice visual, a great comeuppance and also a pretty good role for Robin as well (well, mostly Tim). 8/10

Episode 11: Over The Edge

Oh no - Batgirl's dead. At least this was what the episode wanted us to believe for the majority of it as it looked like the Scarecrow had sent Barbara hurtling towards her death and had Gordon gunning for Batman, Robin and Nightwing. Of course, it turned out that Barbara was actually fighting the effects of Scarecrow's fear gas but while the episode did seem like an unintended sequel of sorts to Perchance To Dream (and not as riveting as that one), I did like the inclusion of Bane in this one as well as the cameos from Harley, Riddler, Mad Hatter and Ventriloquist and the actual last scene between Barbara and her father was a brilliant ending for the episode. 7/10

Episode 12: Torch Song

Yeah, this one wasn't a favourite of mine. While Calender Girl and Klarion turned out to be fun minor antagonists, I have to admit that jilted Firefly guy wanting revenge on his popstar girlfriend Cassidy was more annoying than threatening to watch. Sure, he had some choice moments and I felt bad enough for Cassidy but the episode was probably the weakest of the bunch so far for me. Good use of the Batman/Batgirl dynamic though. 5/10

Next blog will cover Love Is A Croc, The Ultimate Thrill, Cult Of The Cat and Critters.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Eurovision 2015

Saturday was an interesting day. First of all, there was the referendum on gay marriage in Ireland, which proved to be the most wonderful thing ever and then to cap it off, we had the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision. Now, live from Vienna, Austria, a new winner was about to take Conchita's prize and it turned out to be ....

Well, Sweden of course with popstar/television presenter Mans Zelmerlow's slightly Guetta influenced Heroes bagging the top prize with a whopping 365 points. I have to admit it was one of my favourite songs from the night and while the singer himself did generate controversy last year for some unfavourable comments he made about being gay (which as I should point out, he has since apologised for and made amends), it did seem early on that Mans was going to emerge as a clear winner, especially given his country's penchant for pop music and the guy's general crossover appeal. He might have lacked an eccentricity that some of his fellow contestants had in spades but it's pretty easy to see why Mans emerged the winner in the end, even if both Italy and Russia did initially give him a good run for his money.

Speaking of Russia, they managed to generate controversy once again. While their entry - Polina Gagarina had a decent song with A Million Voices and didn't seem to generate boos that her predecessors had done in 2014, Russia did themselves no favours with the apparent editing of Conchita from their broadcasts of the contest. They did however manage to come in second place with 303 points. It's a shame that with Russia continue to display such an abhorrent attitude towards LGBT citizens, something which they are thankfully continuing to get deserved criticism for. Sort yourselves out, Russia.

As for Australia - this was the first time the country were allowed to participate in the contest and while Guy Sebastian's effort - Tonight Again sounded a bit too much like a Bruno Mars B-Side, it was still a pretty solid effort that managed to bag the country a respectable 196 points and fifth position as well. Rounding off the top five were Italy's Il Volo's Grande Amore, pulling in 292 points and coming in third place while Belgium's Loïc Nottet's Rhythm Inside came in fourth position with 217 points. On the flipside, both Germany and Austria's efforts came last, with 0 points each while Britain's somewhat offbeat entry - Electro Velvet's Still In Love With You only pulled in 5 points altogether. Other memorable moments from this year came courtesy of Serbia, Latvia, Georgia and Azerbaijan to name a few. Not to mention that the presenters were a step up from last year as well.

Of course I couldn't end this blog by yet again mentioning Ireland's misfortune with this event. Our bad luck continued this year when our entry - Molly Sterling's Playing With Numbers didn't make it into the final and we were left out in the cold once again. I have to admit that Molly's song wasn't particularly bad but like last year's near effort, it did seem a little forgettable. Maybe we need a better system than The Late Late Show for picking future songs, now that Sweden are gaining momentum on our winning record.

For a night commemorating 60 years of Eurovision, it was a good one with a strong winner as well. Overall, I found it rather enjoyable myself.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Taking Over From The Demon

A look at some of the shows I've caught up on, mostly finales too.

Arrow: Finally, this whole Ras Al Ghul storyline has been put to bed and about bloody time too. I said in a previous blog that I felt the story didn't really work for this show's verse (bar the wonderful Nyssa) but for now, I'm cool with the way it ended and the outcome it had for both Oliver and Malcolm as a result. The finale itself was probably the weakest we've had from the series so far but it was still a solid way of ending a solid if not entirely amazing third season though.

Game Of Thrones: Oh dear. You'd think after that ill-advised scene with Cersei and Jaime from last season, the writers wouldn't have gone there with Sansa and Ramsay on their wedding night, but unfortunately they did and a bit of an internet shit storm ensued as a result. Don't get me wrong - I hated that scene as much as the next person and felt it wasn't needed for the plot but at the same time, the online reaction over it was a bit much though. Other than that, there has been a slow progression with Arya's Braavos storyline, Cersei seems to be digging her own doom but not before taking the Tyrells down with her and the Jaime/Bronn and Tyrion/Jorah scenes have been fun to watch as well.

Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD: Season 2 has been a solid, fun romp and an overall improvement on the show's predominantly shaking first year and this finale was definitely a good note to end things on. The writers stuck to their guns and made sure there was no way that Ward would ever be a good guy again, it raised the stakes by putting several characters in danger (where the hell has Simmons gone to) and it put to bed some other plots, such as Skye's screwed up family and Raina of course. All in all, count me in for next season.

Once Upon A Time: A finale where most of the characters take on different roles courtesy of a narcissistic Author? Why the hell not? For the most part, it was a blast to see an Evil Snow, bandit Regina, mad Emma and Heroic Rumple at play and I did like that it was Henry who mainly saved things (along with Emma) while the show beautifully set up things for the fifth season with a certain someone becoming the new Dark One and the promise of Camelot too.

Scandal: Am I a really awful person for hoping that this show would be ballsy enough to actually kill off Jake? Even though I knew deep down that he wasn't going to die (despite it being very touch and go), the idea cutting the tedious with him, Olivia and Fitz was so appealing. Other than that, I do like that Olivia quickly worked out that Russell was working for her father (shame, he was fit) and at least the show isn't making Mellie's bid for Senator an easy ride either.

The Flash: That finale was just brilliant but the last two episodes in general were just amazing. The show has had an incredible first season and it ended on a wonderful note with the promise of a more expanded universe for it's second run. I really hope that given the breakneck speed in which the way the show operate that it doesn't burn out during it's sophomore season. Oh and getting a peak at Caitlin's future along with various character sacrifices was pretty nifty too.

- The pilot for Supergirl has leaked online. This happened last year with The Flash.
- Speaking of The Flash, the show will introduce other speedsters in it's second season while Arrow's fourth year will go for a lighter tone.
- Matthew Goode won't be returning for the seventh season of The Good Wife.
- Empire's second season will be 18 episodes. Guests confirmed for now include Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz and Chris Rock.
- Morena Baccarin has been confirmed as a regular for the second season of Gotham.
- Selma Blair, Paul Kim and Bruce Greenwood have joined the cast of American Crime Story.
- Danny Pino has left Law & Order: SVU.
- Dougray Scott has exited upcoming ABC drama, Quantico.
- The Following has been axed after three seasons.
- Harry Shum has been cast as Magnus Bane for the upcoming Shadowhunters series.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The New Batman Adventures - Episodes 5-8 Reviews

Second blog and this time around, we've got some unlikely team ups, a villain coming quids in and the first signs of young love in strange circumstances.

Episode 5: You Scratch My Back

One of my favourite characters returned here and with a strangely Gothic look to boot. I'm always happy to see Selina Kyle/Catwoman on the show and after the events of Catwalk, it did seem like things were more antagonistic between her and Batman than before. Of course for the most part, Selina teamed up with Nightwing (this episode being the first one to properly utilise the character) and while I didn't really dig the flirting with the pair of them, I did like that Nightwing wasn't so easily taken in by Catwoman as the episode initially led us into believing. It's a strong episode, even if Selina's look is a little too severe and different from what we saw with her in The Animated Series. 7/10

Episode 6: Double Talk

Okay, I think I need to admit - I just don't care about the Ventriloquist all that much and to be honest the preceeding series have done slightly better near redemptive episodes (like the Harley Quinn ones) that this one just didn't really do it for me. I did appreciate the use of psychological warfare on Arnold to get him to resume his role with Scarface and having Lucious Fox pop up wasn't a bad thing either but episode wise, this was a rather dull one, 5/10

Episode 7: Joker's Millions

I really loved this one. The last Joker episode we had before this one (excluding his vignette in Holiday Knights) was great but sort of lacking something and this seemed like a return to form for the character. I just love that despite being the most dangerous criminal in Gotham, even the Joker's shitless of the IRS and the fact that a former crime rival managed to dupe him into spending millions of fake money was a delicious twist as well, along with that hilarious auditioning for a replacement for Harley as well. Throw in some cameos for the Penguin and Poison Ivy and this one was a gem. 8/10

Episode 8: Growing Pains

I have to admit that while I like Tim's version of Robin, I didn't really miss his absence in the previous episodes. That being said, I actually think this might have been his strongest episode going as his connection to amnesiac girl 'Annie' actually worked pretty well along with the unexpected reintroduction of Clayface and the connection the latter had to the little girl. It was a great use for the character (even though Batman felt sidelined in this one a little) and seeing Tim's slightly darker side as well even worked within the narrative. 9/10

Next blog will cover Mean Seasons, The Demon Within, Over The Edge and Torch Song.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 2x03: The Nightcomers

A break from the usual goings on with a flashback episode that detailed some of Vanessa's history with witches. If you loved last season's Closer Than Sisters, chances are you'll love this one a little more. I certainly did.

Written by John Logan
Directed by Brian Kirk

Despised & Needed: Every aspiring powerful person needs a mentor and flashing back to a couple of years ago, a confused and distraught Vanessa went to the moors to seek out the cut wife - a powerful witch (and abortionist) in order to better understand her powers and to try and save Mina. Can I just compliment the show on Patti LuPone's casting here? Having her play the role of this powerful witch who took Vanessa under her wing was an absolute stroke of genius and seeing both LuPone and Eva Green play off each other was just superb. Both women were incredible from start to finish and props to the episode for not going for a completely cliched mentor/student relationship between the Cut Wife and Vanessa too. Also the fact that Vanessa's scorpion got it's own backstory was a nice little twist among a few others.

Adder Sisters: One of the biggest twists in this episode was the reveal that Evelyn Poole and the Cut Wife were actually sisters, both of whom fighting over Vanessa. With Evelyn determined to please her Master and Cut Wife equally determined to train Vanessa not to succumb to the Devil. It turned out to be one hell of a battle of wits between the two of them and a part of me is hoping that a later episode will expand (more likely through flashback) on the relationship between Evelyn and her sister. I also noticed that despite there being at least two moments here, the episode made a point of making sure that Vanessa and Evelyn never actually saw each other as well.

Holding The Cane: While this wasn't exactly a sex heavy episode, we did get one scene where Evelyn and the landowner she was manipulating/sleeping with indulged in a little caning as the former worked her charm into getting the latter to do her bidding and take out her sister. We've seen a lot of Evelyn's ruthless and sadistic streak in the first two episodes this season, so killing a field of cattle and coercing her lover into organising a witch hunt to execute her sister felt perfectly in character for the scheming Devil worshipper.

A Fiery Death: Sadly the downside to this being a flashback episode was that someone had to die in order to slightly further Vanessa's story in the present day and that person of course turned out to be the Cut Wife herself. We did learn prior to her being tarred and burned alive that her name was Joan Clayton and she entrusted Vanessa with a dangerous book that will clearly later be useful in taking down Evelyn. Watching Joan the way she did was horrible (and this hasn't been a comfortable week for cable shows) and LuPone was nothing short of amazing but as a guest actress, she pulled in a performance that clearly warrants an Emmy nomination if ever one was needed.

Telling The Story: With the exception of both Evelyn in flashback and Ethan at the start of the episode in the present day (this episode oddly didn't end with his reaction to Vanessa's story), the rest of the main cast were pretty much absent from this episode. That leads to one thing - with seven episodes left for the season, I do hope that at some point another of the main characters gets an episode than focuses on them. Right now either Ethan, Dorian or Victor for that accolade. However aside from that, this was an amazing piece of television that continued to highlight the complexity of Vanessa Ives but now is definitely the time to see both her and Evelyn finally face off though.

Next week, Vanessa does some shopping with Victor and refuses to accept that she's being hunted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Scream Queens - Extended Trailer/Gifs

Last week we got a simple thirty second one from the upfronts for the upcoming horror/comedy series, Scream Queens. Now we've got another one and this time, it's three minutes long. Some highlights from it.

Sorority Hating: Already I love Jamie Lee Curtis's Dean Cathy Munsch and watching her tear apart everything that vacuous Sorority head, Chanel (Emma Roberts) believes in was probably the best part of the trailer. That being said, does Cathy's hatred for sororities extend to her being the Red Devil killer? I'd say quite possibly yeah.

The Devil Themselves: The killer of the piece shows up several times in the trailer, especially to terrorise the new sororities members (in a moment harking back to Heathers) and at least two or three people (aside from the death back in 1995) are clearly going to be gone within the first two episodes. However, despite the above gif, I do not think Chanel will be one of them.

Pretty Scared Boy: Nick Jonas - I guess it's a case of enjoy him while you can because his character Boone definitely looks like one of the first victims of the piece as he's later seen sprawled on a table in the Kappa sorority as well. Oh and there's some wimpy looking frat boys also terrified of the killer too.

Comedy Cops: One of the funniest and cringey things from this trailer was Niecy Nash's Sheriff Denise vowing to catch the killer, even though she reacts quite strangely when her fellow cop Chantelle is killed in their police car.

Showcase Those Lungs Ladies: This show does seem to literally live up to it's title as there's a lot of screaming amongst the corpses as well. On the plus side, at least both Zayday and Grace seem like decent rivals for Chanel (more likeable too) and there's the quirkiness of both Jennifer and Hester to balance out Chanel's vacuous minions as well. As for the Killer and their motive - the trailer threw out various teasers and misdirections, so trying to guess their identity over the 15 episodes as the bodies drop on a weekly basis will be a lot of fun too.

Scream Queens - Extended Trailer:

Scream Queens will premiere Tuesdays 9pm on FOX from September. A UK broadcaster has yet to be confirmed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The New Batman Adventures - Episodes 1-4 Reviews

Last year I tackled Batman: The Animated Series and with Gotham's first season now completed, my attention is now going to be focused on The New Batman Adventures for the next few weeks.

Episode 1: Holiday Knights

Let's get one thing out of the way - this was a continuation of The Animated Series, airing two years later after that show finished up and it mostly had all of the characters going through an overhaul look wise. This opening episode on the other hand, is largely set during the Christmas season with four villains vying to make things difficult for our heroes. Harley and Ivy teamed up to put Bruce under a love spell and get a shopping spree while trying to kill Batman, then Barbara, Bullock and Renee had to deal with Clayface during a mall scene and then Batman and Robin (the Tim Drake version) try and stop the Joker going on a killing spree before the New Year kicks in. It's a wonderfully festive and bonkers opening episode. 9/10

Episode 2: Sins Of The Father

This is a weird one. In the first episode, we saw Tim Drake's Robin fighting alongside Batman against the Joker, but this is the episode that gives him a back story (deadbeat father involved over his head in crime) that ended up being connected to Two Face - one of the few villains (along with Harley) that wasn't radically altered as well. It's a solid episode, even if Tim is a little bit too much of a smart arse in parts. The end scene though where Dick showed up to watch the newly established gang of Batman, Robin and Batgirl was nice though. 7/10

Episode 3: Cold Comfort

He had two episodes on The Animated Series and got a movie but it seems like Mr Freeze turned out to be too good a character to stay away from and here was a solid if not an amazing episode for him. In this one, we learned that Nora was cured, rejected him and remarried and Victor spiralled back into crime by kidnapping scientists and attempting to kill Bruce Wayne's loved ones. It's not exactly a Heart Of Ice in terms of  doing anything innovative but I do like the new dynamic with Batman and Batgirl in this one and Freeze's new abilities are interesting. 7/10

Episode 4: Never Fear

Keeping with the returns, this time around a rather bulked up version of the Scarecrow resurfaced and like with Mr Freeze, it wasn't his best one. However, I do find his new look pretty intimidating and his fear toxin this time around managed to bring out a slightly homicidal version of Batman with Robin being forced to step in to save his friend from crossing the line. Out of the first few episodes, this was probably the best one for Tim's version of the Boy Wonder. 7/10

Next blog will cover You Scratch My Back, Double Talk, Joker's Millions and Growing Pains

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Review of Atlantis's 2x12: "The Queen Must Die"

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Julian Murphy

Pasiphae (to Jason): "You stupid boy. It'll never be over."

It's been a week for last ever episodes (possibly a year too) and something tells me that one won't be winning any polls. That being said, while this episode didn't exactly end the show on a high and had a lot of the usual meandering that's been a hindrance to the series, there was some good stuff as well.

First off all, while it didn't stick, this episode at least had Pasiphae temporarily pay for her crimes by getting captured by Jason and executed by Hercules with her men then choosing to follow Ariadne once again. However, given that this show clearly enjoys Sarah Parish's OTT antics, it wasn't long before Pasiphae was resurrected and took over the city yet again.

Which means that between getting married and dealing with the issue of Medea, Jason and Ariadne were mostly on the run once again with Pythagoras and Hercules but their numbers were increased when both Icarus and Cassandra joined the team as well. As for that cliffhanger - Colchis is a long way away but the hope of obtaining the Golden Fleece is alluring. Oh wait, that's right - it's something the show won't be able to resolve. Well, boo to that one then.

Other than that, it was kind of the same as usual. The story deserve props for some nice characters and moments but too often, it was also the same repeat of scenes that we've have as well since the first episode. That being said, props to the show for the way it revealed Pythagoras and Icarus's relationship, topped off by a rather appropriate reaction from Hercules as well.

- Along with revealing Pythagoras/Icarus as a couple, we also got to see the latter use his wings as well. Fortunately, this didn't result in death.
- Medea was smart enough to get the hell out of Atlantis during the first half of this episode and wait in Colchis for Jason. Leading to another point ...
- Instead of this being two episodes, it was just a 90 minute episode merged into one.
- We even got a dragon in this episode. Does this count as a Merlin crossover? I'm joking.

It wasn't a bad finale but "The Queen Must Die" still suffered from the one step forward, several ones backwards syndrome that's always been a problem with the show. Atlantis had the potential to be an enjoyable slice of Saturday night telefantasy and maybe if more effort and care had been put into it, it could've been but sadly, it was more a case of wasted potential. I wish the cast well in future projects though.

Rating: 7 out of 10