Monday, February 29, 2016

First Look: Daredevil - Season 2

The other day I discussed the casting for Iron Fist and now the first of the Netflix/Marvel shows is back with a second season due to be release very soon - Daredevil.

Back for another 13 episodes, Netflix have been pushing the boat out in terms of trailers, character posters and cast photos for the upcoming season of Daredevil. The recent trailer really upped the ante with Charlie Cox's titular hero meeting up with ex-girlfriend, Elektra (Elodie Yung) in order to fight off the chaos descending on Hell's Kitchen but we know that Elektra isn't the only new addition this season to the show.

Step forward, the Punisher as played by former The Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal, who is also a regular this season and may or may not be another character who possibly gain their own show somewhere down the line (there has been conflicting rumours about this). Then there's also Stephen Rider as newcomer Blake Tower while audiences can also expect to see Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson and Rosario Dawson reprise their respective roles of Karen Page, Foggy Nelson and Claire Temple during the new season as Matt's relationships with all three are challenged.

Things are certainly hotting up. I can't wait to see the new season unfold.

Season 2 Trailer:

Daredevil Season 2 will be released on Netflix from March 18th.

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 2x12: It's A Trap

Sorry for the delay with this one (there may be a delay with the next one too) but I finally caught up with the latest episode and it seems that mommy issues and blackmail was the order of the day here.

Written by Joe Fazzio And Tanya Saracho
Directed by Mike Listo

1 Million In 36 Hours To Go Please: Philip didn't so much as appear in this episode but he certainly made an impact as he decided to blackmail Annalise and the Keating Five for a sweet million in exchange for not turning over an incriminating video or two of the night Annalise was shot/Sinclair died. Connor and the gang spent most of the episode panicking, Wes was out of the loop and Laurel simply didn't give a damn because other things were of a more pressing concern for her. Annalise on the other hand played it rather cool and decided to call Philip's bluff. Initially it might have looked like it worked but then another message suggested otherwise. Oh dear.

What She Knows: That is the question. We learned about the case - rich, racist white couple the Mahoneys want their son Charles not to go to prison for possibly killing his fiancee and only Rose's testimony can do that. I felt bad enough for Rose - everyone was coming at her from every corner during those flashbacks to help Charles and when Annalise wasn't dealing with casual racism and sexism in flashbacks, she also discovered that Rose might not know as much as she claimed to either. Then the ending of this episode where Christophe/Wes was holding a bloodied knife while standing over Rose's dying body. Did he actually kill her though? It certainly looks bad.

They Went There: Keeping with the present day stuff, both Wes and Laurel were primarily kept away from the blackmailing main plot (Wes because Annalise didn't want him around and Laurel because she was avoiding Frank after that truth bomb about Lila) but on the otherhand when they weren't making out (really, show?), they were uncovering bit by bit more information on Rose Edmond and the Mahoney trial as well which Laurel confronted Annalise about towards the end of the episode.

Connecting Again: This episode was an odd one for Caleb. On one hand, he probably got way too much information about Catherine's relationship with Philip that he really wanted to know but on the other hand, both him and Michaela seemed to resume their relationship once again (as did Annalise and Nate during a tense cooked meal). With three episodes left to go, I really do hope this show can end both the Hapstalls and the Rose mysteries with a satisfying conclusion to them.

Confession Boy: Meanwhile when Asher wasn't freaking out about the blackmailing plot of the week, he was actually willing to hand himself into the police for Sinclair's murder, only for Bonnie to dissuade him while remaining cold and distant. Speaking of Bonnie, did anyone else notice in the flashbacks for this episode how much she was seriously crushing on Sam? That's going to lead somewhere, right?

Next week, Eve is back and Philip ups the ante.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Iron Fist - Finn Jones Cast As Title Character

With Daredevil's second season due in three weeks, Jessica Jones confirmed for a second season, Luke Cage in production, lead casting for the other Netflix Defender series, Iron Fist has been confirmed and it's ....

Finn Jones. Yup, the role of Danny Rand will be played by Loras Tyrell himself, which means that Jones's role on Game Of Thrones is clearly coming to an end, which might not be a bad thing in some respects. Needless to say, thanks to social media reaction, the casting for the role unlike the castings for Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter has seemingly gone down like a lead balloon. My own thoughts on this are as follows ....

1: From the limited knowledge I have of the character, I do know that Danny Rand is white in the comics, so casting a white male actor isn't the crime of the century that some social media types are trying to claim it is.
2: Had they cast an Asian-American actor, that would've been fine and maybe they did miss an opportunity by not doing so but saying that, wouldn't Marvel/Netflix have been accused of stereotyping as well had they done so?
3: I like the actor from previous things I've seen him in and I'm willing to give him a chance and given past casting for Marvel shows on Netflix, I'm willing to bet Jones will be fine in the role.
4: I'm bored of social media outrage and this is all this is amounting to - people complaining for the sake of it rather than there being an actual problem.
5: Diversity matters - of course it does and I want more of it on television as much as the next person but Jones's casting shouldn't be seen as some kind of slight either.

What are your thoughts on the casting? Right choice, too safe a choice or a missed opportunity?

Press Release:

Filming for Iron Fist will begin shortly for Netflix.

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x06: "Star City 2046"

Written by Marc Guggenheim & Ray Utarnachitt
Directed by Steve Shill

Oliver: "Look at me, Sara. I am literally half the man I used to be."
Sara: "Then that's the half the city needs."

Following from where the previous episode had left off, this episode really did take a break from Vandal Savage related missions by having both Sara and Ray back in their home city thirty years from where they left it and the results were not good.

First of all, the place literally became a war zone courtesy of Deathstroke's son, Grant Wilson taking up his father's mantle while Connor Hawke had essentially taken up Oliver Queen's mantle as the Green Arrow. The twist though was revealing that Hawke was really John Diggle Jr and that Oliver had been maimed rather than dead as everyone else previously believed.

Of course everyone else from the Arrow verse was either dead or had left (i.e. Felicity) and with Oliver being too dispirited into taking out Grant, it had fallen to Connor to try (and nearly fail) and to Sara to get Oliver back into the fighting game. I have to admit that dramatically, losing his arm and city aside, it didn't feel too different to the Oliver Queen we generally know in present day Star City.

Stephen Amell did pretty well in the episode and it was nice to see him interact with the regular (Sara especially) but this story was rightfully drawn from Sara's point of view more than anything. She was horrified to see what her city had become (more than Ray was to be honest) and it led to her arguing with Rip at different points while she tried to change things.

Ultimately there was some success to be had as Deathstroke Jr for his grand standing and general being a pain in the backside was taken out rather easily by a re-energised Oliver and I did like the idea of him and Connor/Diggle Jr protecting the city while the regular renewed their mission to take down Vandal Savage.

As for the rest of the episode, it was interesting to see some actual conflict this week between Cold and Heatwave as the latter embraced the chaotic Star City a bit too much for the former's liking. It's also interesting that both characters are having their own perceptions about what they want challenged through their recent experiences as well. I still think that Cold is probably closer to antihero status than Heatwave may be.

As for the triangle elements with Ray, Kendra and Jax - I liked that it was mostly played for laughs (the episode really needed), I also liked Stein being an unwilling part in the situation and his screwball reaction to things but I also liked that it was nixed pretty quickly. The lack of romances on this show are doing it more of a favour than anything else. Kendra is better off being friends with Ray and Jax than hooking up with either of them for now.

- Despite the mentions, we actually didn't see Savage at all in the episode. I did not miss him.
- Palmer Tech was clearly taken over by Felicity and renamed by her too. Maybe we should've seen her in this episode.
- I quite like the idea of Diggle's son taking on the mantle of Connor Hawke but surely they could've mentioned his sister as well during this episode.
- Now that we've seen Star City, are we going to see a version of Central City in a later episode?

It was a bleak episode, maybe the bleakest one they've done so far but I really liked Star City 2046. For a diversion episode (and this was a proper diversion from Savage), it really worked and it was nice to see Future Oliver as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 2x11: She Hates Us

After the rather hallucinatory previous episode, things sort of got back to normal here before quickly going to hell in the last few moments as well.

Written by Erika Harrison
Directed by Bill D'Elia

Remembering Rose: This week, both Wes and Annalise were feeling burned out and this week, it nearly cost both of them. Wes ended up with a brief stay in a psych ward where he talked a bit about his mother's death and in more flashbacks, we actually saw a still heavily pregnant Annalise trying to get Rose on side over some potential case. I knew last week it wasn't a coincidence that Annalise and Rose met and this week confirmed it. Speaking of flashbacks.

10 Years Ago: When Annalise wasn't trying to get Rose on side, the flashbacks also focused heavily on her pregnancy and happier times with Sam. Yes, there was a time when the two of them seemed to be on the same page and excited for imminent parenthood. More interestingly was seeing both Bonnie and Frank (the former with longer hair) in the same position as the current Keating Five are and even then the relationships that Annalise would have with the two was clearly defined back then. The flashbacks were certainly a nice surprise and worked pretty well too. What exactly happened to Annalise and Sam's child and what was going on with Rose as well? I'm definitely intrigued by both stories.

Matters Of The Heart: Both Laurel and Michaela had some romantic problems in this one. If things hadn't been sour between Michaela and Caleb in the last episode, they definitely became that way when Caleb unfairly called her a whore and Michaela took her anger out on Annalise, as did nearly everyone this week (except Nate, he brought comfort food). As for Laurel, when she wasn't trying to get Wes out of the psych ward and reason with Annalise, she also managed to get Frank to admit that he killed Lila, which would've been a perfect way of ending the episode if something else hadn't appeared. Like Connor receiving a rather incriminating email that reminded audiences how much of a loose cannon Phillip is now going to be.

Welcome Outstayed: Last week Asher proved to be the handful as a roommate and this week, the welcome was well and truly worn out. Oliver's attempts to palm Asher off on Michaela were a bit mean but kind of understandable as was Connor's sympathy towards Asher. Actually this whole plot along with Annalise being cold with the gang actually united the Keating Five for probably the first time since the show actually began. That in itself was actually rather nice.

Mother's Love: Amidst the flashbacks, confessions and incriminating videos, there was also a case involving a mother not wanting her son's killer to get the death penalty. It was certainly one of the better cases we've had in a while, especially for the moment where the mother in question gave Annalise a piece of her mind. The case had some nice twists and turns and a certain level of poignancy.

Next week, the gang have to deal with being blackmailed.

Friday, February 19, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x05: "Fail Safe"

Written by Beth Schwartz & Grainne Godfree
Directed by Dermott Downs

Stein: "I hate to break this to you, Dr Vostok but you are on the wrong side of history."
Valentina: "For now, but you will help us change history."

And the second part of this story turned out to be a lot better than the first part. Is it wrong for me to wish that this show would slightly ditch Vandal Savage and retain Valentina as a primary antagonist? She's just a lot better in the role of crazy villain than Savage happens to be.

In this episode alone, her scenes were primarily with Stein and they were also the best of the bunch. They certainly had a degree of power play, flirting (one sided of course) and even a cheesy moment of country comparing/bashing but they were endlessly entertaining as Valentina managed to deduce without any help that Stein was part of Firestorm himself.

Then we got the merging scene where Valentina decided to make herself a part of Stein's Firestorm in order to fulfill Savage's mission but that didn't exactly pan out so well for her when Jackson entered the fray and for the first time in five episodes, both him and Stein were on the same page. The Russian prison camp might have met an explosive end in this episode but is it really too much to hope that Valentina might have survived? As I said, she was a heck of a lot more interesting than Savage has been.

Speaking of Savage, he didn't really do much in this episode. He watched Vostok work on Stein and then watched both Ray and Heatwave get tortured a bit but the only scenes of substance he had were the brief ones with Kendra and Rip and even then he didn't really do much that was of any consequence. To be honest, this episode easily could've not featured him and it might have worked out for the better.

As for the rest of the episode - once again, the mixing of characters worked beautifully. I liked seeing both Kendra and Jackson work together to save the day (and it really was them stepping in at the last minute that helped things), the various charged scenes with both Sara and Cold as the latter challenged the former's morality (Rip gave her a side mission of taking out Stein if things didn't go to plan - fortunately, they did, right?) and Ray and Heatwave as prison buddies was endlessly entertaining as well.

Then there was the way the episode ended. Having Chronos chasing after them at the end was a bit unexpected but actually having them land in Star City 2046 and then meet Connor Hawke was a brilliant jolt. I literally cannot wait to see what the hell is going to happen next week.

- The amount of Prison Break references in this episode could've turned this into a drinking game. I did love them though.
- A lot of male shirtless action in this episode, which should've pleased both the female audience and the gay/bisexual males too.
- Cisco actually appeared in this episode, albeit as a hallucination courtesy of Valentina.
- Chronology, still mainly 1986 Soviet Union and of course, Star City 2046 at the end.

Easily my favourite one so far. Every character brought their A Game (maybe not Vandal but he wasn't awful either) and every interaction was brilliant, even if the Russian stereotyping did make for the odd cringe moment. Fail Safe certainly hit the right spots.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 2x10: What Happened To You, Annalise?

And we're back. Three months since the moment Wes shot Annalise, we're into the final hurdle of episodes as things opened up on a rather confused note with this particular installment.

Written by J.C. Lee
Directed by Laura Innes

Holding The 'Baby'? Yeah, the weird bit of this episode was Annalise convinced that a woman named Rose dropped her baby off at Keating Manor and then took off while Bonnie was doing her level best to convince Annalise that there's no baby at all. Like I said, a bit of an odd one but given that Annalise was shot by Wes and only a fortnight has passed since then, we were given moments where it did look like she was losing the plot a little bit. Then those flashbacks happened.

Taking The Rap: Two flashbacks actually - first of all, we had Laurel covering for Wes and pretending to be the one who shot Annalise, which everyone seemed to accept a little too readily for my liking but then there was the stuff with Christophe, which this episode seemed to confirm was Wes when we saw a heavily pregnant Annalise meet his mother, Rose in flashbacks about ten years ago. You don't have to be a genius to see that Annalise intentionally gravitated towards Rose but considering how in and out of it she was this week, it's hard to know whether she was being confronted by Wes or not. Either way, this Christophe mystery is moving along nonetheless.

Second In Command: Bonnie might have been the one taking care of Annalise in this episode and Frank might have tried his hardest to keep her out of court but it seemed like Laurel was the one whom Annalise was truly relying on this week. Mostly in relation to Wes, whom Laurel managed to get back into the real world and interact with the rest of the cast. I guess in situations like this, having someone like Laurel is probably for the best, right?

All Over The Place: The courtroom scenes this week definitely felt like some of the most erratic we've had on the show. One moment, it looked like Catherine was about to be sent down for an actual crime she didn't commit, then the next minute we had Catherine manipulated into turning against Philip while Caleb spent most of the episode glaring daggers at both Michaela and Annalise. I'm not sure where they're going to go but the sooner we find out who actually killed the Hapstalls, the better though.

Unwanted Houseguest: Good news, Asher's moved in with Connor and Oliver. Bad news, he spent most of the episode criticising Oliver's music collection (Flashdance soundtrack, anyone?), downing booze every minute and going on about his father being potentially murdered. Is it horrible that I don't care about Millstone Sr being killed? Maybe Asher should be a bit more concerned about getting away with killing Sinclair but aside from the moping, there were some feel good/family type moments with the main characters at two different points in this episode, so that's something.

Next week, we've got a case about someone on death row.

Friday, February 12, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x04: "White Knights"

Written by Sarah Nicole Jones & Phil Klemmer
Directed by Antonio Negret

Vostok: "It was sweet of you to think of me as damsel in distress but I am not the one who needs rescuing."
Cold: "Don't flatter yourself, sweetheart. I'm not the sentimental type."

I've mentioned in my live tweeting for this show that there are times when it reminded me of Alias and not just because of Victor Garber and once again, the comparison seems apt as our trip into 1986 took in both Washington and Moscow where things went pear shaped in a variety of ways.

Kendra unleashing her inner demi-goddess didn't exactly help the team during the first part of the latest mission to stop Vandal Savage when she went berserk on a guard but it did lead to a great plot where both her and Sara got to know each other better. It's kind of amazing that it took four episodes for the only female regulars to properly interact with each other but their training session revealed that both ladies certainly had a lot in common and demons to fights.

Unfortunately while the bonding session was great to watch, the downside to Sara and Kendra getting to know each other better was that they were also taken out of the main action for the second part of the episode. Of course, we did get some great interactions between Cold and Ray as both men pursued Russian scientist and Savage acolyte Valentina Vostok (Stephanie Corneliussen), except that it was only Cold who managed to truly impress her.

Now I do like Ray as a character and he's rather endearing when he's in Eagle Scout mode but like Stein, he too often lets his own arrogance get the better of him and in this episode alone, both Ray and Stein repeatedly ignored sound advice coming from both Cold and Jackson as well, which resulted in them along with Heatwave getting captured by Vostok and her men by the end of the episode.

Cold's sense of honour actually shone in this episode as well, given his reaction to Heatwave and the others being captured and along with Sara/Kendra, we had a great subplot with Rip and Heatwave dealing with the former's Time Master mentor, Zaman. Heck, we even got to see Chronos again as Heatwave wisely deduced that Rip was about to be assassinated by his own people. Needless to say Rip managed to dodge being bumped off this time but the real lesson of the episode is that it pays to listen to both Heatwave and Cold happen to tell you.

As for Stein and Jackson - I'm actually on Jackson's side in this one. I get why Stein is pushing Jackson and I liked that he articulated his motives to Ray, even if it should've been Jackson who heard them but at the same time, Stein needs to learn to ease off and listen to Jackson as well. As for Savage's plan to create his own Firestorm army - that was a neat twist to the episode overall.

- Lot of nicknames being thrown around tonight such as Sara calling Kendra "Big Bird" and Cold labelling Ray as "Pretty Boy" and "Boy Scout".
- The first episode so far that didn't feature either Vandal Savage or Hawkman. I have to say that I didn't really miss either of them. Is that bad of me?
- I wouldn't mind a pill that helped me speak any language going. It'd be pretty fantastic actually.
- Chronology for this episode was 1986, both in Washington and Moscow.

White Knights was probably the weakest of the first couple of episodes we've had so far but the two parter method in which this show seems to be working on does have some potential. I am continually impressed with the various character interactions with Cold/Ray being the best ones this week followed closely by Sara/Kendra, then Stein/Jackson and Rip/Heatwave.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Star Trek Revival: Bryan Fuller Named As Co-Showrunner

Although it won't hit screens until another year and we're probably a bit off from casting yet, CBS did announce more details about their upcoming Star Trek reboot.

Along with Alex Kurtzman, it's now been revealed that Bryan Fuller will be serving a co-showrunner for the upcoming series. Fuller's credits include Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal and the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods for Starz will be running the show. Fuller of course is both a fan of the franchise and has also written for previous spin-offs Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

I have to admit (and you can probably tell) that I do find Fuller's appointment to the series to be an interesting enough one. He's got some good ideas for shows but his writing has been rather niche in parts and with something like Star Trek, he might need to be a little more mainstream minded but his clear enthusiasm for the franchise and prior experience actually writing for it should definitely work in his favour.

As for casting, it's going to be interesting to see who will captain this version of the enterprise, what the subtitle for the show will be and whether or not it'll fare better than the last show Star Trek: Enterprise, which ran for four seasons on the now defunct UPN between 2001-2005 or even the current movie franchise since 2009.

One potential problem ahead of the series is the method that CBS intend to air the series. I'm not sure if relegating it to the online service such as All Access is the wisest of ideas, even if we do live in a culture where Netflix and Amazon are growing in popularity for television shows.

Press Release:

The upcoming Star Trek series is slated to air on CBS All Access from early 2017.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

My Review of Psycho (1960)

Written by Joseph Stefano
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Norman (to Marion): "We all go a little mad sometimes."

Indeed, sometimes we do have a tendency to do that, Norman. This movie is certainly one that everyone knows and very few have seen. I remember seeing bits of it as a child and then seeing it in full during a college course about eleven years ago. A lot of what happens in this movie even with a slightly jaded cinema look still holds up pretty well.

I think the reason why this movie works so well is due to it's simplicity in nature to the characters and the unexpected twists it then takes. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals money from her place of work and leaves town, hoping to eventually catch up with her lover Sam Loomis (John Gavin) but first decides to stop by a nice motel barely visible on the road.

The motel's owner is the odd but seemingly harmless Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins who first comes across as a bit of a lonely man before Marion probes him a bit too much about his relationship with his mother and the darker side then emerges. The shocker isn't so much that Marion is later stabbed to death in the shower and disposed of in the swamp but more everything that follows on the death.

The team up of Sam and Marion's sister, Lila (Vera Miles) with private detective Arbogast (Martin Balsam) as they try to discover what happened to Marion but end up learning a lot more about Norman Bates and his mother instead.

The twist of Norma killing his mother and her lover and assuming the mother's personalities to deal with arousal and desire holds up pretty well and Anthony Perkins certainly flits between charm, innocence and menace in such an effortless manner. It's no wonder that over fifty years later that his portrayal of Bates continues to hold up so well and has gone on to inspire so many other fictional killers in television and the movies.

The cinematography in the movie is absolutely gorgeous with some beautifully shot moments that add to the overall tension and macabre manner of the movie. The end scene with Norman sitting in his cell, fully taken over by his mother is the most effecting moment of the entire thing and certainly a powerful way of ending the movie. While there are great performances from Janet Leigh, Vera Miles and John Gavin, this is ultimately Anthony Perkins movie though.

- The novel for this movie is actually a lot more violent with Bates depicted as having an overt interest in porn and occultism. Marion was called Mary in the book and had a minor role.
- Anthony Perkins would reprise the role for three sequels that came out in 1983, 1986 and 1990 respectively - the last one being two years prior to Perkins death.
- Remake wise, we got one of this movie in 1998. One word: avoid.
- Apparently this was the first movie in which people got to see a toilet being flushed.

There's a reason why even fifty plus years on that Psycho is a classic piece of American cinema. Now whether or not it's Hitchcock's best movie, I don't know but it's definitely a movie that has stood the test the time and influenced a lot of modern horror nowadays. Oh and if you want to see a further worthwhile connection to it, check out Bates Motel.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Supergirl: The Flash To Appear

It was rumoured for the longest while and a couple of days ago, it was finally confirmed - Kara Danvers is going to meet Barry Allen.

In the eighteenth episode of Supergirl, titled World's Finest, Grant Gustin's loveable speedster Barry Allen/The Flash will pop up in National City. Now we don't know if this is going to be Barry jumping through different Earth dimensions like he's currently doing in his own show but given that Legends Of Tomorrow recently confirmed the existence of both Batman and Superman in their universe, it's likely that Supergirl also exists within this verse as well (makes sense too).

In less than a year, this is the second crossover with DC characters from different shows and networks. We already had John Constantine rock up in Arrow back in November and he fitted there like a glove and I can imagine that Barry will easily fit into Kara's world and maybe at some point we can get Kara appearing in The Flash too.

Either way, this is very exciting news and kind of show that the DC TV universe is continuing to expand in some rather fun ways.

Press Release:

US viewers can catch The Flash appearing in Supergirl on March 28th on CBS.

Friday, February 05, 2016

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 1x03: "Blood Ties"

Written by Marc Guggenheim & Chris Fedak
Directed by Dermott Downs

Savage: "I pity you. You have no idea what it's like to have people willing to follow you up to the gates of hell."
Rip: "Actually I have a little bit of an idea."

If the first part of the pilot episode was very much Rip's story, then this episode certainly had elements of exploring him more while also making sure the rest of the main players (except Kendra) weren't left behind with nothing to do either.

First though, Rip - he's reckless, almost stupidly so and this episode highlighted it in a massive way by the fact that it was his own carelessness that put his family into Vandal Savage's cross hairs in the first place. Why the bloody hell did he tell Vandal the names of his wife and son? He knows the guy doesn't stay dead for long, so passing on that sort of information to someone as dangerous as Savage seemed like an irrevocably stupid thing to do.

For a guy who has lectured the rest of his team (something which they ignore) about messing with the timelines, Rip did exactly that in this episode alone. Maybe Rip should think before opening his mouth next time. On the plus side though, all of his scenes with Sara and Savage were the best part of the episode.

I liked that for the first time in this series, we're exploring the effects of Sara's resurrection. Her blood lust came into full display here by her merciless killings of Vandal's various henchmen - first at the bank and then at Savage's place towards the end of the episode. I don't think Sara is a monster either but she's certainly an unknown quantity with the effects of the Lazarus Pit still playing the role they currently are in her life.

As for Savage - well, Rip did kill him but it's hard to care because we've got several episodes left and we know the only person who actually kill Savage and have him stay dead is Kendra, who spent most of this episode suffering the effects of being stabbed by her own dagger. Of course this was where both Stein and Ray stepped in as the latter used his suit to destroy the shards internally while at the same time getting over some confidence issues and dealing with a rather thorny relationship with Stein himself.

Then there was Heatwave and Cold wanting to use Jackson's help in getting a hold of a certain diamond. Like Rip, Cold messed with the timelines in a bid to try and prevent his father from going to prison and becoming an abusive asshole but it didn't make any difference. I did like the subplot quite a bit and the various mixing up of team members with different plots is certainly keeping things fresh for the show at the moment. I do wonder though if it might have the odd episode not focusing on stopping Savage though.

- Shallow comment but how hot did both Rip and Sara look during their undercover stints in this episode? I also liked that Cold ditched the parka for something else this week too.
- No Arrow or The Flash people appearance in this episode, though there were clips from both shows at the start and a Thea mention.
- Heatwave isn't stupid. He knew what 'thick' meant after all and seemed to display some logical advice to Cold during their plot. We also had Carter's funeral when Savage wasn't drinking blood from his corpse.
- Chronology this week, 1700 BC Ancient Egypt and Leipzig, Germany in 1975. We are moving to 1986 next week though.

This was another fun episode. Effectively, Blood Ties had three different but relevant to each other plots, all of which connected quite nicely. I do like the mixing up with team members per episode and I do feel for the most part the show is doing a great job defining all of the characters pretty well. However the odd episode without Savage might help things as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Galavant - Season 2: Episodes 6-10 Reviews

And so as we get to the second half of Galavant's fun and inspired second season, things certainly take some rather interesting twists and turns.

Episode 6: About Last Knight

We've had some rumblings about Galavant having a less than desirable father and in this very episode, we actually met him and he's played by Greg Wise. Arnold spends most of the episode acknowledging that he wasn't the best of parental figures (though clearly he's liked by others) to his son and they kind of patch things up while Isabella banishes the wedding planner. Of course the big moment of the episode is Sid's reunion with Galavant and the way things end in this particular episode. Music highlights include Today We Rise and He Was There.

Episode 7: Love And Death

Thanks to Sid, Galavant did spend most of this episode hovering between life and death and seeing so many familiar (and not so familiar) faces during his brief moments in limbo. On the plus side, Richard, Roberta and Sid did take him to a healer (Reece Shearsmith putting in a fun but within his comfort zone kind of performance) and the issue of Richard's virginity served as a valuable plot point while both him and Roberta got closer. Then there was the wedding planner getting cosy with Gareth and Madalena. Music highlights Time Is Of The Essence and Goodbye.

Episode 8: Do The D'DEW

It's war time, bitches! Yup, now we've got thanks to that wedding planner's meddling, both Madalena and Isabella are out to war with each other and they finally got their animosity out in a beautifully and hilariously daft musical sequence while Madalena delved further into the dark side, Gareth showed some hesitance, Galavant raised an army of the undead and Richard and Roberta's budding relationship hit a brief snag. Oh and there's something involving a sword and the one true king to unite them all. Music highlights, well, obviously that's I Really Don't Like You but there's also Finally and A Dark Season to boot.

Episode 9: Battle Of The Three Armies

With this episode, it was less of a bloodbath and more a hilarity fest as Isabella and Madalena set their armies on each other while Galavant and Richard with their zombies then stepped in the middle of things. Of course, things really took a fun turn when it turned out that the wedding planner could control the dead and Madalena embraced her evil side even more than usual. There's also a rather sweet reunion with Galavant and Isabella but no more sweeter than Richard and Gareth though. Music highlights include A Good Day To Die and Do The D'Dew. The latter one being ridiculously catchier than others we've had this season.

Episode 10: The One True King (To Unite Them All)

And it's the finale. Will Galavant and company return for a third season? It's hard to say but for a last episode, this felt like a really good place to end things. Richard overcame his cowardice, defeated the wedding planner, turned out to be right about Tad Cooper and saved Roberta from Spinster Island. Galavant also married Isabella, the latter's parents got their kingdom back and Gareth and Sid teamed up to save Madalena from her evil self. If the show doesn't come back for a third season, then it ended on a creative high but truthfully, I really want one more hit of this infectiously daft series. Music highlights include Will My Day Ever Come, A Real Life Happily Ever After and Season 2 Finale.

That was fun. If this show comes back for a third season, I'll certainly be watching.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Justice League Action - Cartoon Network Ordered Series

If the thought of having Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman sharing the big screen together in next month's Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice wasn't enough for you, then a small screen animated series is also on the way, courtesy of Cartoon Network.

From the press release itself ....

Cartoon Network has ordered Justice League Action, a new animated series from Warner Bros. Animation based on DC Comics’ iconic team of superheroes, led by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Each episode will be 11 minutes long, following a similar format to Cartoon Network’s other DC-based animated show, Teen Titans Go, and will feature a rotating roster of DC Comics heroes, who will battle everything from threats in space to the bizarre forces of magic.

The series will feature the return of Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman, a role he began in the critically-acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series in the ’90s and has subsequently reprised in numerous animated shows, films and games […] Mark Hamill will also return to voice The Joker, with James Woods playing Lex Luthor, and Diedrich Bader portraying Booster Gold.

Sounds like it should be a rather fun series to watch, plus having both Conroy and Hamill reprise their roles is a good motivator to give the series a go.

Press Release:

Justice League Action will air on Cartoon Network later in 2016. Date to be confirmed.