Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cucumber - US Remake For ABC With New Title

Well, it only took Showtime a year and a half to do their own version of Queer As Folk, so are we surprised that Cucumber too would be getting a US remix?

Produced by Shonda Rhimes company, Shondaland, the US version of Cucumber will now have the title of Adult Behavior and will be showrun by Allan Heinberg and air on ABC. Heinberg will be familiar to people in recent times as the writer of the current Wonder Woman movie but he's also the man responsible for The Catch and has written for shows such as Looking and Sex And The City to boot.

Adult Behavior, is described as “a sexy, multi-generational, comedic drama” and is based on the British gay comedy series Cucumber and Banana, which US viewers were able to see on Logo back in 2015. The show will be executive produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers along with Russell T Davies, the creator of the UK version of both shows.

While I'm wary of US remakes and with this show being on a network, there will be a limit to how much we can see, sex wise (though How To Get Away With Murder certainly pushes the boundaries), I'm cautiously optimistic for this show and I bet we'll see a few Shondaland alumni heading up some of the cast too and ABC do have a solid history with LGBT themed shows.

Press Release:

I'll post more details about Adult Behavior when it becomes available.

Dracula - Moffat/Gatiss To Write Miniseries For BBC

With his time on Doctor Who coming to a close this Christmas and Sherlock over for the foreseeable future, Steven Moffat along with Mark Gatiss will be bringing another icon to the BBC.

From the press release ....

The brains behind the BBC's Sherlock series are to make a new version of Dracula, the corporation has confirmed.
Talks are under way with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss about a series of 90-minute films based on Bram Stoker's novel about the Transylvanian vampire.
No scripts have been written and the Count has yet to be cast. According to the Radio Times, though, the series is likely to air in 2019.
Moffat's wife Sue Vertue will produce the show for Hartswood Films.
According to Variety, it is unclear whether Dracula, like Sherlock, will have a modern-day British setting.

I have to admit, I'm a little mixed on this one. The last time the BBC adapted the most infamous of vampires, it was back in 2006 with Marc Warren and it wasn't particularly a riveting adaptation. I'm not also sure if a miniseries will work, although it has to fare a little better than NBC/SkyLiving's attempts of a series back in 2013 with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I'm also hoping that both Moffat and Gatiss resist the urge to make their version of the character into a Sherlock clone as well.  That said, I'm sure the casting for this will be exciting though.

Press Release:

I'll post more information on Dracula as soon as it becomes available but hey, at least we know what Moffat and Gatiss's first Doctor Who/Sherlock project will be.

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x10: "The Eaters Of Light"

Written by Rona Munro
Directed by Charles Palmer

Bill (re Picts/Romans): "You're wrong, Doctor, it's their destiny, not yours."

Well, this felt very much like an episode that belonged in the Classic Series and with Rona Munro back at the helm after her last effort with Survival nearly thirty years ago, perhaps that was the intention.

Bill wanted to solve the mystery of the missing Ninth Roman Legion and the Doctor along with a bed wanting Nardole decided to placate her by going to Aberdeen at the very moment in order to see if they could put the mystery to bed. Cue scenes where Bill showed off her history knowledge and got separated from her mates at the same time.

For Bill, being split from the Doctor and Nardole meant that she got the honours of encountering the monster of the week first time round but she also got the honours of finding the missing Legion, which seemed to be comprised of fit gay and bisexual lads, led by Lucius who fell into the latter category. Seriously, some people really do have all the luck, don't they?

The Doctor and Nardole on the other hand, end up meeting up with the Picts, led by the headstrong Kar and I have to admit my attention dwindled a little there. It's not that I'm shallow or anything but I was slightly less interested in the Picts until Bill and the Legion reunited with them and the Doctor and then the last few minutes picked up a little.

The creature itself killed a few cast members but unlike the Cheetah People from Munro's previous story, there wasn't really much of a story here. Both the Picts and missing Ninth Legion decided to band together in order to stop the creature from rampaging and only after Bill had to stop the Doctor from doing something otherwise reckless.

If you're looking for a highlight (aside from one I mentioned earlier), then really it's the Missy scene that's it. The Doctor's let her out of the Vault and even trusted her in the TARDIS while they were off attending to the story this week. Missy picking up on Nardole and Bill's bemusement of her to one side, the last scene between the two Time Lords was certainly powerful.

In Munro's previous story, she really caught the Doctor/Master dynamic to perfection (part of the reason why it's one of my all time favourites) and here, she did it again. The scenes where Missy was affected by the Scottish music and the Doctor wondering if they could be friends again. You just know by next week's episode we're going to get the answer to that looming question.

- There was a talking crow in this episode and for a moment, I did think about a certain episode from the previous series. Just for a moment though.
- I had to laugh a little when Lucius commented on Bill liking girls and comparing her to Vitus, who liked men.
- The scenes with at Devil's Cairn gave me a bit of an Outlander vibe to be honest.
- Will we learn when the Doctor became a vestal virgin in a later story?
- The ratings for this episode really did dip badly this time around. Shame, considering this was a solid episode.
- Chronology: 2nd century Aberdeen.

The Eaters Of Light is a solid return episode for Rona Munro and after watching it, I wouldn't oppose to seeing her once again write for the show. That said, the pacing was a little slow in parts, maybe too much for it's own good at times and the creature itself wasn't that good or interesting in any way at all. Other than that, still a decent episode.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Let's Blow Up The Island

I was meant to post this last week but things got in the way, so here's a look at some of the more recent finales I've watched.

Arrow: I have to say that overall, the fifth season of this show has been something of an improvement compared to previous ones and finale wise, I definitely think this was one of the strongest we've had. Featuring so many returning characters (Deathstroke, Malcolm, Nyssa, Black Siren etc) and a fantastic battle of wits between Oliver and Prometheus (who really did turn out to be a great villain this season), the episode ended on a rather explosive cliffhanger. I have a feeling there won't be that many casualties going into the next season, but it definitely a good way to keep viewers in suspense though.

Once Upon A Time: Solid flashback episodes for Zelena and Black Fairy/Fiona to one side, the last three episodes really seemed to serve as a series finale and had ABC been smart, they would've ended the show end here. I know we're getting an older Henry next season with his own kid and Regina/Rumple/Hook are remaining, but this show is going to suffer without Emma, Snow and Charming and I'll miss Zelena and Belle a bit too. As for the last three episodes, I loved the musical episode and thought it was one of the best episodes the show has ever done while the two Final Battle really should've served as the series finale with the amount of stuff it resolved.

Prison Break: I have to admit that this revival hasn't been half as exciting as it could've been. Despite only being nine episodes long, the show did suffer from a bit of a mid series lull and keeping the action in Yemen for the majority of the season wasn't actually that great an idea in retrospect. Michael's reunions with Lincoln and Sara were great but Jake/Poseidon lacked as a villain, Whip was a bit annoying (and super contrived that he happened to be T-Bag's son), Sucre was underused and none of the other newer characters really stood out. That said, the last episode did serve more as a series finale than the one we were given back in 2009 and unless there's a better thought out story to tell, here would be a good place to end the series again.

Supergirl: The final few episodes of the show's sophomore season were pretty enjoyable to watch. As a villain, Rhea certainly upped the ante with her Daxamite on Earth antics and the returns of both Superman, M'Gann and Cat Grant added some momentum into the mix as well. While the show seems to have put both Kara and Mon El's relationship on hold (where did he end up?), it did give us a proposal for Alex and Maggie, gave Lena something interesting to do while Lillian made for a fun grudging ally for about five seconds. Oh and there's another pod to mull over for next season as well.

The Flash: Not going to lie - Savitar has been the weakest villain we've had in the show's three years on air and I beyond glad that next season's Big Bad won't be a speedster. On the other hand, I loved how the finale subverted things. While it was sad to lose HR (but not Tom Cavanagh, he's not going anywhere), it was better that we didn't lose Iris instead and the fact that she was the one to end Savitar's reign of destruction was also a nice twist along with Caitlin mapping out another destiny for herself as Killer Frost. Barry being trapped in the Speed Force provides a little obstacle for the start of next season but I imagine he won't be stuck there for too long though.

- Odette Annable has been cast as a series regular for Supergirl's third season. She will be playing the main antagonist, Reign while Floriana Lima will be recurring next season.
- Tala Ashe will be playing Muslim-American activist superhero Zari Adrianna Tomaz as a regular for the third season of Legends Of Tomorrow. The character will be from the year 2030.
- Gotham's fourth season premiere has the current title of Pax Penguina.
- UK viewers will be able to see Outlander once again as More4 have acquired the rights to the series and will be airing it soon.
- BBC1/BBCAmerica have announced that Luther will be coming back for four new episodes for 2018.
- Fargo's currently airing third season may be it's last.
- Midnight, Texas will air on SyFy for UK viewers shortly after it's US transmission on NBC.
- 24: Legacy has been cancelled by FOX.
- Freeform have ordered a pilot for a US version for Misfits. Casting has yet to be announced.
- Game Of Thrones eighth season will be six episodes (now confirmed by HBO) but it might not air until 2019.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x09: "Empress Of Mars"

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Wayne Che Yip

Alpha Centauri: "This is Alpha Centauri. Welcome to the universe."

So, that cameo happened then and I wish for once, I had resisted my usual impulse for spoilers and remained blissfully ignorant of Alpha Centauri popping up for a few seconds to set up events from the Peladon stories in the Third Doctor's run but it was a nice little moment in an episode that's surprisingly better than expected.

Let's be honest about Mark Gatiss - the guy's a terrific writer and a decent actor but too often his efforts for Doctor Who have a tendency to be marred by his nostalgia fueled writing and this episode certainly had a fair chunk of this. On the other hand, why has it taken this long for an actual Ice Warriors on Mars episode?

The Doctor, Bill and Nardole start the episode with a trip to NASA and quickly realise there's a human colony on the red planet when the words 'God Save The Queen' appear on the surface so they go off to investigate and wouldn't you know it, a bunch of irritating Victorian soldier types are on the planet and they've got an Ice Warrior whom they've named Friday as their skivvy.

Another crucial flaw in some of Gatiss's scripts has been his tendency to waste guest actors and this episode is a bit hit and miss in that regard. The soldiers themselves are mainly red shirts, some of whom are killed in a rather daft way but at least two of them are given a bit of a personality during this episode.

The first one being Catchlove, played by Ferdinand Kingsley. The episode needed a bad guy and for once, it wasn't going to be the Ice Warriors of the piece, so Catchlove fulfilled that role by repeatedly ignoring the Doctor and Bill, undermining his fellow soldiers and declaring war on the Ice Warriors as well. Unfortunately he was a pretty one dimensional and dull baddie that his death was a blessed relief as well as a deserved comeuppance for him.

On the other hand, I do think Godsacre, played by Anthony Calf was more of a pleasant surprise. At first, he too seemed a little more generic though receptive to the Doctor and Bill but as the episode went on, his desertion was brought into play and worked on a thematic level when he attempted to sacrifice himself in order to appease the Ice Warrior Empress herself, Iraxxa.

Speaking of Iraxxa - it was nice to meet a female Ice Warrior on the show and for the most part, I think Adele Lynch was fine in the role, if a bit OTT at times. I did find it interesting that Iraxxa initially listened to Bill before attempting to declare war on the Victorian soldiers and I definitely liked that Friday (Richard Ashton) was pretty reasonable too.

As a story, it felt somewhat bigger than the previous Ice Warrior we had back in the seventh series but still reasonably small scale enough. Of course while the Doctor and Bill were in the thick of things, Nardole was relegated to a more shorter role this week. In fact, his only real contribution to the episode was that he let Missy out of the Vault and the look that was shared between herself and the Doctor really spoke volumes. Does Missy know that the Doctor is due another regeneration or what?

- There were a lot of movie references in this episode, courtesy of Bill but the best was the moment when the Doctor revealed that he had watched Frozen.
- Ysanne Churchman, who previously voiced the role of Alpha Centauri returned for this episode, which was a nice touch.
- There was a sly reference to Gatiss's last episode, the divisive, Sleep No More. We almost got a sequel to that story.
- Anyone notice the portrait of Queen Victoria from Tooth And Claw in this one? Ferdinand Kingsley is also a regular on ITV's Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman.
- Apparently there were plans for Ian McNeice to appear in this episode as Churchill. I don't think the episode really justified him at all.
- Chronology: 1881 on Mars.

Empress Of Mars might highlight some of Mark Gatiss's worser excesses (the man is very nostalgia bound) but compared to his previous efforts for this era alone, I actually think this was a strong episode. Godsacre was a surprisingly engaging character, both Friday and Iraxxa worked well enough, I loved the Alpha Centauri cameo, Mars looked great onscreen and that last scene with Missy also worked a treat.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sense8 - You Want A War?

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski

Will (to Whispers): "You want a war? We'll give you one!"

And the show ended there? Really, Netflix? I get that this series is super expensive to make and while I can understand if not approve of your reasons behind cancelling it, would it kill you to give us at least another Christmas special to tie up the remaining loose ends?

This episode itself though, whilst great, still felt very set up though. Lila made an unwelcome return and it turned out that Cannibal and Whispers are the same person and poor Wolfgang ended up being kidnapped and tortured by the guy with Kala's identity also being outed in the mix. Another reason for an extra episode should be Lila getting her just desserts too.

However the episode did take a more interesting twist when Kala worked on more blockers and Will managed to deceive Whispers into actually meeting him publicly for a change. I have to admit, the twist genuinely surprised but there was something joyous in seeing the tables turn on Whispers along with Jonas also having to suffer some consequences for his flip flopping ways too.

Of course though, we didn't actually see Wolfgang rescued and now we'll never know if he is (one assumes he would've been in another episode/season, Netflix) but when he wasn't being tortured, he was instrumental in Sun's storyline and things between him and Kala were also about to move forward in a big way too.

Speaking of Sun, her storyline took something of a mixed turn. On one hand, Mun showed up to the Gala to arrest her brother but he ended up being shot and while Sun came close to actually taking out her treacherous sibling, the police turned up to arrest her. On the plus side and with the grudging help from Puck, she did manage to escape them but at the same time, it seems like we're still back at square one with her being on the run from the law. Unless Mun succeeds in punishing her brother off screen of course.

As for the rest of the episode, Kala came close to telling Rajan that she had voices in her head but he sort of took the wind out of her sails with his own reveal. Anyone hoping that Rajan wouldn't become a villain, you'll be relieved to know that instead he's going to be informing on them instead (including on his mate that clearly fancies Kala and left that wedding gift a few episodes back). It's not a bad reveal and I bet had we more episodes/seasons to enjoy, then Rajan probably would've been a dead man walking because of this storyline.

- Nomi and Amanita both proposing to each other was pretty sweet and lovely. Another thing we won't get to see now.
- Another Cluster visited Capheus in this episode while Puck's infatuation with Riley has effected his hairstyle. We also saw another woman from his Cluster but no Old Man Of Hoy though. Not a lot of Hernando and Daniela in this one either.
- The fact that all of the gang (and Amanita) are actually together in London is fantastic. I loved that moment. Damn you, Netflix, I want more.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off.

You Want A War? is a great season finale, loaded with some brilliant action sequences, character moments and a promise of more to come. Except we're not going to get it and while I'm usually resigned to shows I love getting cancelled at times, this is one of those times where it stings a little. While I wasn't expecting the show to run for multiple seasons and get that it's expensive as hell to make, it's sad though that we won't get some resolution to what's ultimately been a very compelling two year arc with eight of the best characters I've seen in the last few years. A shame, Netflix.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, June 09, 2017

Sense8 - If All the World's A Stage, Identity Is Nothing But A Costume

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Tom Tykwer

Hernando (to Lito): "So tell me, my love… If your dream isn’t worth the risk, what is?"

The penultimate episode of the season and unfortunately now, series (and yes, I will rant about Netflix's ill advised decision to cancel this wonderful show but that'll be for later though) but while things didn't progress on the BPO front aside from Whispers being a right C U next Tuesday about Will losing his father, other stuff of interest did happen in the episode.

For instance, Lito's Hollywood career is off to a bit of a flying start. Thanks to Sun's emotive skills, he managed to successfully bag that movie role that Daniela set up for him in the previous episode then sees Lito. Hernando and Daniela attending the type of vacuous Hollywood party that we've seen on countless US shows over and over again but on the plus side, at least Lito's soon to be co-star, Blake was playing by a familiar face. Extra points allotted for getting Cheyenne Jackson to appear in this series.

As for Hernando, once again he gave an inspired speech to a hesitant Lito and then we had a gorgeous sex scene between the pair of them on the beach. This is going to be another thing I am seriously going to miss about the show.

When Lito wasn't bagging movie roles though, things were a little more serious as Capheus's first public speech ended up in another riot and attempt on his life. The assassin bloke though from the last episode ended up saving Capheus's life in this one, which was a nice enough surprise. That said, Capheus's political storyline has gotten very dangerous very fast for him though.

Meanwhile, Sun was putting her own plan into action to get back at her brother. With Lito's cocktail making skills, she bagged a job at his gala and the last few minutes of the episode had the rest of the Clusters banding together to help Sun get justice for herself. However with one more episode, will she be able to achieve that or will she end up killing her sibling?

- Kala and Wolfgang were making some progress in order to get together properly. I did like Kala/Riley's conversation at the start of the episode.
- Angelica showed up to briefly comfort Will as a contrast to the sadistic pleasure that Whispers took in the death of Will's father.
- Very little of Nomi in this episode or was that just me? Nice to see Zakia again though and that Marc Jacobs cameo too.
- Chronology: A few days from where What Family Actually Means left off I think.

If All the World's A Stage, Identity Is Nothing But A Costume wins the award for longest episode title we've had on the show but as a penultimate, it didn't push anything BPO wise remotely forward but still won for all the lovely little moments throughout. I am now anticipating and dreading the finale just that little bit more though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, June 08, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 3x22: "Heavydirtysoul"

Written by Robert Hull
Directed by Rob Bailey

Selina (to Tabitha): "I'm tired of surviving. I want more."

Going by the looks of it, does anyone get the sense that next season could possibly be the last season of Gotham? Unlike last year where it's renewal seems a certainty, there was an element of apprehension as to whether or not it would go into a fourth season and now we have it on the horizon, could it be that the writers are also preparing for the worst/best too?

In this episode alone, a lot of dynamics shifted here. Selina might have been relegated to two scenes, one where Bruce rejected her and another where Tabitha took her under her wing but Selina said it herself - she wants more. In one moment we saw take a hold of Tabitha's whip and whirl it like it came naturally, pushing her that one step closer to her future self.

Similarly Bruce was pushed into his future self in a bigger way than before. Stabbing Alfred snapped him out of his conditioning and while he rejected Ras Al Ghul this time around, the latter was also quick to point out that they would cross paths again. Here though, Bruce was focused on saving Alfred's life (which he did with some of the Lazarus water and medical staff) while at the same time, also trying to figure out who he really is.

That clearly came to him at the very end when Bruce went into Year One mode by donning a disguise and subverting the very event that has defined him with another family walking down an ally at night. I honestly thought we wouldn't see a moment like that until the show's actual series finale, so I'm intrigued to see how this vigilante role is going to play out next season considering that Bruce is still just a teenager. Then again, it could also be his clone, seeing as that plot thread is still dangling.

As for the rest of the episode, Gordon's savagery came in handy when he extracted a lot of Tetch's blood in order to get a cure. The city became cured as did Leslie herself, who still kept her promise and left Gotham but the virus infection itself fell into the background with even Tetch himself being relegated to little more than leverage between various characters as a contrast to the Big Bad he had been at the start of the season.

The various characters themselves were Oswald, Nygma, Barbara, Tabitha and Butch, all of whom were trying to one up the other with some delightful results. I loved that Oswald allowed Nygma to think he had the upper hand, only for Freeze and Ivy to show up and Eddie himself to become an ice sculpture as a result while the Babs/Tabs/Butch triangle came to a rather messy ending too.

I have to admit that I was wondering whether or not Barbara would realise she was a dead woman walking before her confrontation with Butch left the latter with a bullet in the head and in a coma. The face off with Barbara and Tabitha though was better with the latter putting her whipping skills to the best use they've ever had on the show. With Butch now protected by plot armour (more on that in a bit), are Barbara and Fish the only casualties from this finale? I guess we'll know next season.

- Butch's real name is Cyrus Gold, so it seems we've gotten Solomon Grundy on the show all this time. There were rumours of Harley Quinn appearing in this finale but that didn't happen. I'm betting we'll see some variation of her next season though.
- I'm assuming Barnes was cured off screen. The second part also seemed short on Hugo Strange and Firefly as well.
- The episode's title is named after the Twenty One Pilots song of the same name, but I don't remember it actually being played in the episode.
- Chronology: From where Destiny Calling left off.

Heavydirtysoul was definitely a strong conclusion to mostly a great season of the show. We certainly had a lot of characters, potential departures, new alliances, secret identities revealed and basically more than enough to drive the next season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 3x21: "Destiny Calling"

Written by Danny Cannon
Directed by Nathan Hope

Barbara (to Nygma): "Let's make Gotham beg."

Finally, it's time for the finale, at least a fortnight or so after nearly every other network show has aired theirs and for good fun, it's a double. However, I'm watching both episodes separately and therefore doing separate reviews, so let's get on with the first part, shall we?

Gotham has fallen under the Tetch virus thanks to the now diminished Court of Owls and Gordon is doing his level best not to succumb to his darker impulses while under the influence of said virus. For the most, he was kind of succeeding, then half way through, things went a little to pot and Fish ended up being dead during a crucial moment where the antidote for the Tetch virus then got destroyed.

Once again, Gordon really does blunder a situation but in terms of deaths, what an anticlimatic way of actually writing Fish out though. I did like that Oswald mourned for her and she told him to take over the city but ultimately, what was the actual point of Fish being brought back in the first place? Maybe she should've stayed dead after all.

As for Strange, I have to admit to taking some pleasure in seeing him being repeatedly bested throughout this episode and I was more than happy with Oswald, Freeze and Firefly all banding together to torture the crap out of him as well. However, he's needed for making more of the antidote as is Tetch himself but there was a bit of a snag there.

Because Barbara and Nygma needed some kind of victory in this one, they managed to intercept Tetch's police truck and kidnap him along with Butch and Tabitha (still scheming but not really doing anything of note). Despite finding Tetch rather annoying, there was something highly amusing in his mistaken belief that Babs and Eddie were his saviours though.

As for the rest of the episode, Bruce was still heavily under the Sensei's influence and despite a bloody good try from Alfred, there was no getting through to him. The most important bit though was the swift introduction to Ras Al Ghul and no disrespect to Matt Nable's version in the Arrow universe, but a few minutes alone and Alexander Siddig already captured the role far better. The last scene however, I really didn't see coming in the slightest. Definitely a yell at the screen sort of moment though.

- Leslie might be mildly insane while currently on this Tetch virus but her assessments of both Butch and Tabitha's roles are still rather spot on and they clearly know it to an extent.
- We saw the Lazarus Pit in this episode and despite Ras's talks of not having an heir, I'm betting we'll see a version of Talia next season on the show.
- Absent from the episode were Selina, Ivy and Barnes.
- Chronology: More or less from where Pretty Hate Machine left off.

Destiny Calling was a great start to the finale. While Fish's death was crappily handled, the rest of the episode certainly upped the ante, ended on one hell of a cliffhanger and seeing the various factions fighting out amidst the chaos of an airborne virus - only on this show. Can't wait for the second part.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x08: "The Lie Of The Land"

Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Wayne Che-Yip

The Doctor (to Bill): "Regeneration a little bit too much?"

Understatement of the century there, Doctor. We know you're about to do that for real in six months at Christmas like your predecessor did, so having a fake out here, even if it was designed to see whether or not Bill was under the influence of the Monks was just one of the most head desk inducing moments the show has produced.

It's moments like this that actually cheapen the wonder behind regeneration and while it made for a good trailer moment, ultimately resulted in a moment that both was insulting to audience intelligence and generally just aggravating to bits.

While it was nice to know quickly in the story that the Doctor wasn't actually under the Monks 1984 esque influence, the show could've found a less patronising way of conveying that information. Bill's reaction to being tested by the Doctor and Nardole on the other hand was delightfully on point in an otherwise disappointing conclusion to this trilogy.

Yup, the Monks thanks to Bill have managed to take over the world and they're like the best and most benevolent leaders ever and if you say otherwise, then fake news and all that jazz. Of course, like every other creature that's invaded the planet they can be defeated and this is where Missy was made use of for this episode.

Taking on a Hannibal Lecter type role in her glass cage, Missy was quick to get the Doctor and Bill to work out that the latter dying or being reduced to a vegetative state was the best way to get the Monks to leave the planet (their influence would be broken, people would be woke, etc) and of course, the Doctor was determined to find another way. Bill on the other hand had her own ideas on the matter.

Given that Bill herself was the one who gave the Monks the power to throw the world into it's current dystopian like state, it made sense that she was the one to take it away from them too. Unfortunately for all the good intention the show had, resolving the plot through Bill's false memory of her mother was just unbelievably bad this time around. The show has done the trope too many times and here, it just felt like too swift a resolution for an arc that perhaps didn't need to be three episodes long in retrospect.

As for the Missy bits of the episode, I would've liked for her to have been in the thick of things but at least her scenes lit up the affair. I don't for one second believe that she wants to turn over a new leaf but I am loving the more sombre and reflective performance Michelle Gomez is giving this series and I'm definitely going to miss her the most from this era as well. That said though, I'm waiting for Missy to escape from that Vault because I definitely believe she can but for some reason she's buying her time before doing so.

- Some of the images we saw in the Monks glass ranged from the likes of the Spice Girls to the USA's current president. The Planet Earth style opening from the Doctor was a nice touch.
- Bill did some narration in this episode too and there some clear echoes of both Last Of The Time Lords and Turn Left.
- How many body parts has Nardole actually lost or has replaced? And when she wasn't threatening to beat the shit out of him, Bill also called him Nardy.
- Wayne Che Yip has previously directed the Class episodes Detained and The Metaphysical Engine, Or What Quill Did.
- The ratings for this episode really did suffer under the Britain's Got Talent finale.
- Chronology: Six months from the events of The Pyramid At The End Of The World.

Truth be told, the idea behind the Monks was good but with the lack of explanation for their motives and being expanded into three episodes probably wasn't the smartest move. The Lie Of The Land isn't as bad as some have said, but it's undeniably an unsatisfying way of concluding what should've been a compelling story though. Some nice emotional bits but this should've been so much better though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, June 03, 2017

My Review of Wonder Woman (2017)

Written by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg & Jason Fuchs
Directed by Patty Jenkins

Diana: "I will fight, for those who can not fight for themselves."

Her time was imminent. After years of movies and television pilots that failed to materialise, one of the few things that even the most staunchest of critics in relation to the DCEU were united in was the fact that Wonder Woman herself was a revelation within the current DC movie universe.

After stealing the show from both her fellow superheroes in last year's Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the time had come for Gal Gadot's Diana Prince to go it alone and let's just say there was a lot riding on this movie. Perhaps more than any other superhero movie we've had in the last decade if we're being frank here.

Female led superheroes have been a rarity and when they've happened, they haven't been quite successful (Supergirl and Catwoman being two obvious examples) but while Marvel have been late in the game with a female superhero led movie, the DCEU on their fourth effort have gone in guns blazing and the result is nothing short of spectacular.

I know it's in our nature to be wary when critics gush about movies, especially when they go overboard with it and when a superhero movie is drawing comparisons to Christopher Reeves Superman and The Dark Knight trilogy, it's one hell of a mountain to be climbed. The thing is though, the hype is entirely justified. Wonder Woman is that good. It's arguably even a little bit better.

The movie opens with a present day Diana Prince in the Louvre looking at that photograph we've previously seen and the flashes back to Themyscira when she was a little girl, eager to fight much to the reluctance of her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) but with the support of her aunt, Antiope (Robin Wright). Hippolyta and Antiope are merely supporting characters but their screen time is essential and Themyscira is gorgeously captured on the big screen.

The movie charters Diana's transition from childhood to adulthood on Paradise Island as she learns the story of the Amazons, the Gods, humanity and the dreaded Ares, who's a threatening returning presence. This only goes to fuel on Diana's desire to fight even more and the arrival of spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) along with some following Germans and a few deaths soon has Diana grabbing the Godkiller sword and determined to make her own path with Hippolyta realising that she cannot stop her daughter from fulfilling her destiny.

With Diana and Steve both leaving Themyscira and having the shared goal of stopping the war (Diana through wanting to kill Ares, Steve by stopping two baddies from advancing a deadlier version of the mustard gas), the two of them soon end up in London to bag some more allies - Charlie (Ewen Bremner), Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) before heading to the Western Front in Belgium to stop the war from reaching a horrific conclusion.

It's during this where the movie really comes to life. Diana's essentially a fish out of water and her first experiences with mankind are definitely a mixed bag. While she enjoys simple things like seeing a baby and eating an ice cream along with trying on dresses, she's also caught in the horrors of battle and the scenes where she charges through No Man's Land are nothing short of glorious as Diana really becomes a hero.

However it's her battle with Ares that motivates her actions and while she mistakes Danny Huston's sadistic, General Erich Ludendorff for the war god, the real Ares himself doesn't actually emerge until nearly the very end of the movie. Expertly played by David Thewlis, Ares is without a doubt the best villain we've seen realised in the DCEU so far and while his screen time is less than expected, he truly delivers on the menacing front when Ares's true intentions are revealed.

The battle sequence between Diana and her half brother are stunning but also feel consistent with the same sequences we've seen in the previous three DCEU movies as well. As for Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) herself - she too had some decent screen time, a nice sense of menace and was the only baddie who made it out of the movie alive, so maybe she could be seen again perhaps.

As for the love story between Diana and Steve - I loved it. Both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine have incredible chemistry and throughout the movie, the connection they forge is very organic and beautifully done. Steve himself is a fantastic character, well drawn out and his own sacrifice definitely delivered a gut punch to the heart.

Along with some beautiful action sequences, gorgeous effects and direction from Patty Jenkins as well as the timely commentaries on mankind and humanity, the movie also has some really lovely light touches. Lucy Davis in particular is great as Steve's secretary Etta Candy and Diana's bemusement at human customs is done brilliantly without ever demeaning the character or jarring the narrative to boot. The movie may capture the horrors of war but it also showed the beauty of humanity too with a hero truly rising from the ashes in it's title character.

- I loved the new DC logo with most of the main players at the start of the movie. I have to try and find it somewhere so I can spot the rest of the characters though.
- The alias of Wonder Woman is never mention in the movie though. The movie opened and ended with present day Diana, pre Justice League I imagine.
- The filming of this movie actually finished up the same day Diana's creator, William Moulton Marston was born - that would be May 3rd.
- I liked that there were some subtle homages to Lynda Carter's Diana as well in the movie. Have fun spotting them.
- Rupert Gregson-Williams soundtrack to the movie is gorgeous. I also quite like Sia/Labyrinth's To Be Human song at the end credits too. The end credits were also beautifully done.
- Chronology: Set during the ending of World War 1. A sequel (which is definitely going to happen) will be set in the present day, according to rumours.

Wonder Woman is without a doubt a triumph. I've enjoyed the previous three DCEU movies but there weren't without their flaws but this movie really raised the bar. Hollywood no longer have the excuse of pretending that female led superhero movies cannot sell as this movie is a testament to how much they truly can. Whatever your stance is on the DCEU franchise, put it to one side and go see this movie. In some respects, it's a mission statement. In every other respect, it's one of the best superhero movies of all times. This movie is an icon in the making.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Sense8 - What Family Actually Means

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski

Will: "No, Dad, don't go!"

Okay, I really didn't see that coming either. With all the other stuff going on in this episode, I wasn't expecting Will's father to show up and die at the very end. I'm not gonna lie - he's not a character I greatly cared about in the first season even if later episodes tried to make him more sympathetic but the impact of his death was certainly felt here though.

Of course it was Riley who had to see Will's father die along with Will also witnessing it but along with some poignant flashbacks, the last scene really did pack an emotional punch. Just when you think you can predict what the show will do next, it surprises once again.

Keeping with the family theme, Nomi, Amanita and Bug attended the former's sister's rehearsal dinner and then wedding, both filled with discussion worthy moments. Nomi did slightly make her wedding speech to Tegan a little about herself but it was a nice way of also showing much support Tegan has been to Nomi and when Agent Bendix disrupted Tegan and Tom's wedding, we got a nice moment where her father stepped in as well.

However while two thirds of Nomi's family have been supportive towards her, Janet on the other hand still remains quite horrible. On both occasions she was a bitch to Nomi but hopefully with the way things escalated in this one, her treatment of Nomi will no longer be tolerated in future episodes.

Meanwhile Lito managed to snap out of his funk when Daniela found him the perfect part to play. The best part however was seeing Daniela in full agent mode, blagging Lito an audition for the part and the bemusement of both Lito and Hernando while she worked her magic. With the three of them heading to the US, it can't be long before Lito and Nomi actually meet face to face, right?

As for Capheus, his political storyline intensified a little as he fled from would be kidnappers/killers while learning that the man who wants to help him is also in love with his mother. Compared to the other strands this episode, it's probably the weaker one of the bunch and I kind of miss seeing Zakia as well, who seems to have disappeared.

- Kala got left a suspicious looking from Ajay while Rajan was away this episode. I did like Kala's scenes with her mother in this one.
- Wolfgang has decided to finally get out of Berlin while Sun helped Nomi deal with Tom's asshole of a best man.
- Will was seen by his father at the end. That could raise some questions but it could also be just have been a signal that he was dying too.
- Chronology: A couple of days since the events of All I Want Right Now Is One More Bullet. Lila was nowhere to be seen here either, though we had some Whispers/Angelica flashbacks and learned Riley's BPO contact was called Carol Cumberland, who's dead now.

What Family Actually Means had some nice moments on the topic and while very little was actually advanced with the ongoing BPO plot or much sensate interactions, this was still an incredibly enjoyable episode.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sense8 - All I Want Right Now Is One More Bullet

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Dan Glass

Lila (to Wolfgang): "I'm going to enjoy scraping you off my shoe like the dogshit that you are."
Kala: "Bring it bitch!"

Ah, yes - one of the most standout moments in the Season 2 trailer for the show and it appeared here when Wolfgang chose not to go with Lila's insane plan to have Berlin become a sensate only hotspot. Kala certainly chimed in with her hatred for Lila but it turned out to be justified considering that Lila and her Cluster are absolutely nuts.

This show continues to deliver on the action sequences and the sparring Clusters (minus Nomi, who knocked herself out, I kid you not) at the restaurant with the ensuing gun fighting was truly a stunning moment to behold. Lila's certainly exposed herself to be as big a threat to the gang as Whispers/BPO. On the plus side though, at least Wolfgang has seen Lila and her Clusters for who they truly are though.

Of course when we weren't getting that stylishly choreographed shoot out, we also had the issue of Whispers to deal with. Both Jonas and Wolfgang managed to talk Will out of doing something reckless while the former also revealed that he made his own deal with the devil to stay alive. It seems that Jonas is more useful to the BPO alive than dead, which for some reason isn't that surprising. Though truth be told, it's just more that he's on borrowed time than anything else.

Speaking of Whispers, he might have gotten out of dodge with his family, but it's become more evident that he's rather screwed himself. I do wonder if the writers are setting up a scenerio where our Clusters are going to have work with Whispers for the greater good or something in the last few episodes?

As for the rest of the episode, there was a huge focus on Lito's depression. Parts of the episode really upped the ante on him mourning his career with even Sun somewhat side eyeing him a little but there was an added poignancy when he fully explained to Hernando and Daniela about his dream dying during a viewing of From Here To Eternity. Hopefully though the next episode will see Lito making some moves to try and relaunch his career though.

- Riley and Amanita technically met in this episode when Nomi knocked her out. I also continued to enjoy the Will/Riley/Diego team up as they looked for the BPO contact from last episode.
- Capheus's political aspirations this week involved a smear campaign and a guy pointing a gun at him for good measure. Sun meanwhile was hiding out in a love hotel.
- I liked that Kala talked to Will about his heroin use in this one. Also, the show is really making Rajan look more and more dodgy, aren't they?
- Chronology: From where I Have No Room For Hate In My Heart left off.

All I Want Right Now Is One More Bullet definitely delivered on that final confrontation alone. Seeing two groups of Clusters going at each other was brilliant and while Lito's plot felt too comedic at times until the last bit of it, I did enjoy it along with the Capheus moments.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My Review of Gotham's 3x20: "Pretty Hate Machine"

Written by Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt
Directed by Danny Cannon

Bruce: "Gotham must fall."

Well, going by the end of this episode, it's certainly going to get close to that. Thanks to a combination of our two main protagonists losing their minds, Tetch's virus has gone airborne and chaos is about to ensue. Oh and there's more gang war stuff too.

First though - our heroes. I was really hoping that Bruce was playing the long game with that Temple Shaman bloke and that he had a plan in mind but given his final scene with Alfred, it does seem like he was well and truly under the guy's spell and even though Temple was killed off, Alfred is certainly going to have to do his best to snap Bruce out of his current state.

Then there's Gordon. He tried to reason with the newly infected Leslie, who in turn decided to bury him alive with a sample of the virus in order to save himself. Because Gordon himself is now infected with it, it's definitely a safe bet that a cure will be found in the finale. As for Leslie, this bad girl thing the show is doing with her now kind of works. I almost don't want her to be cured but the show has enough baddies as it is at the moment.

Speaking of the baddies, Nygma went into full kill Oswald mode in this one as himself and Butch had Oswald and Ivy cornered, only for the two of them to escape and Tabitha to strong arm Selina into setting a trap for Oswald though. However, for a guy so determined to kill Oswald, Nygma was more obsessed of having his new moniker said to him more than shooting the man who killed his girlfriend earlier in the season.

Of course, the bigger thing to take away is how amateurish Nygma, Barbara, Tabitha and Butch really are. The constant backbiting and snide comments means that they're going to become their undoing more than Oswald or anyone else but the return of Fish near the last minute does show that none of them can be yet taken seriously as villains.

Fish's return for the finale was certainly timely and it was nice to see both Oswald and Butch delighted to see her while Barbara, Tabitha and Nygma looked on in confusion (Ivy too for that matter). However it seems that Oswald might have to be the one adjusting to whatever scheme Fish herself is cooking up rather than her being a pawn in his scheming.

- Ras Al Ghul was set up for next week then. Oh and I guess the Court of Owls are possibly no more for now.
- The finale basically feels like it's lifting off Batman Begins. Then again, that didn't stop Arrow from doing that with at least two of their finales, so I'm not complaining.
- No Lucius, Barnes or Jervis this week but it definitely seems like there will be roles for all three of them in the last two episodes along with Freeze and Firefly.
- Chronology: Not long from where All Will Be Judged left off.

Pretty Hate Machine did it's job in setting up the finale and it certainly had fun with our protagonists compromised and our antagonists all splintering in their own ways too. Here's hoping the last two bring this virus storyline to a good conclusion though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x07: "The Pyramid At The End Of The World"

Written by Peter Harness And Steven Moffat
Directed by Daniel Neittheim

Bill (to UN Secretary-General): "I don't know the President! I wouldn't even have voted for him! He's orange!"

It was inevitable that we were going to get an episode that took a dig at the US's current president and to be honest, in an episode co-written by Peter Harness, this was the right place to do it. It was funny, to the point and felt truthful coming from Bill too.

Keeping with the politics, this episode certainly is the most polemic so far this series, making both Smile and Thin Ice's commentaries look mild but also keeping in line with Oxygen as well, politic wise as the Monks are a bigger presence in this episode when their pyramid shows up in the middle of Turmezistan as US, Chinese and Russian forces also mobilise and there's a Doomsday clock that is now every clock to contend with as well.

So far, the Monks don't seem to be messing about the place. They show the Doctor, Bill, Nardole and the military types that the world will end in a year and only they can save humanity but they need consent in order to do so. It's an interesting little twist for the usual invasion storyline and this episode plays with the idea neatly as well.

At first, everyone is resisting the idea of giving the Monks any consent and even the Doctor and Nardole band together to realise there's a group of scientists who will inadvertently release the killer virus that will doom the world and the Doctor even came close to saving the day, only for things to seriously escalate and Bill to be forced into handing over consent to the Monks due to her association with the Doctor.

I knew Bill was going to be the one who would end up signing over consent to the Monks. All of the military characters were so poorly drawn and given little of substance that it wouldn't have had the desired effect and Bill's desire to save the Doctor made her the obvious choice for that final moment and it certainly packed one hell of a punch.

This episode didn't go out of it's way to explain why the Monks wanted to take over the planet in particular, so hopefully the dystopian like world that Bill's actions have now sent the planet into will do so. That said, I am liking the Monks. They're creepy enough and it's been a while since we've had a truly memorable original threat and while a lot of Extremis feels irrelevant to a point, I am finding the pace of this three parter pretty good nonetheless. It's certainly helped to curb the mid-series lull and add a little danger into proceedings as the Doctor's regained his eyesight but now become a slave to the Monks.

As for the scientists of the episode - the ones whose actions nearly ended the world, they're a mixed bunch. Tony Gardner's Douglas is mostly nursing a hangover and comes across as a bit useless while Rachel Dennings' Erica on the other hand is a far more engaging character that even the Doctor seemed quick to offer her a TARDIS trip to boot. If Erica makes it out of the next episode alive, I'm hoping the Doctor does actually deliver on his promise to her.

- Bill's other date with Penny before being interrupted by the UN Secretary General was spliced in with the Previously On bits, which I thought was a clever move.
- The fact that Kate/Osgoods/UNIT were missing from this story seemed very odd to me. It also made me more suspicious about a certain finale rumour being true.
- Is this the longest episode title we've had on the show?
- The Doomsday Clock is very much a real thing, people. Though fortunately, not on all of our phones as of yet.
- Nardole's a cyborg but he's got human lungs. The character is growing on me. I don't love him but I certainly am starting to like him more though.
- Chronology: I'm assuming it's 2017, right?

The Pyramid At The End Of The World might have been the middle bit of this Monks trilogy but it genuinely felt like a starter (whereas the previous episode was more of a prelude) and with the world gone to hell and Bill and Nardole about to rope in help from an unexpected ally, I can't wait to see how this trilogy will conclude next week.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Review of Empire's 3x18: "Toil & Trouble Part 2"

Written by Ilene Chaiken & Joshua Allen
Directed by Sanaa Hamri

Lucious (to his family): "Who are you?"

If there is one thing Empire can certainly deliver upon, then it's a finale. The previous two have seen Lucious arrested for his crimes as well as Rhonda and Anika going over a roof. This one went for a car bomb and a bout of amnesia for Lucious and as soapy and cliched as that sounds, it's actually worked well for now.

This episode almost seemed to go out of it's way to try and redeem Lucious. First of all, he kicked Giuliana to the curb and chose Cookie and when both of them met up with Barry and Michelle (not them, Cookie's ex-boyfriend and his wife), it was enough to motivate Lucious to actually hand over the keys to the kingdom to Andre.

While Cookie might have been successful in calling off her potential act of sabotage for Lucious's Las Vega gig, Andre fared less successfully as Shyne went ahead and blew up the car, which didn't kill Lucious but certainly put him a coma with Nurse Claudia (Demi Moore) watching over him and of course, the old amnesia plot.

I think with this plot, we're going to see the Lyons struggle to keep Lucious onside, the DuBois's up their campaign against the Lyons and of course, that creepy doctor also getting her claws into Lucious as well. Speaking of the DuBois lot - Diana revealed that Anika was in on the Bella storyline all along while Hakeem is now under their thumb along with an unwitting Jamal though.

However while Anika was happy to play along with Diana's revenge plan and use her own child as a tool in it, Leah managed to frame her for Tariq's murder. I just love how delightfully evil Leah was with Anika in the episode and her scheming certainly paid off big time. It'll be interesting to see if Anika's alliances with the DuBois will be able to get her out of this one though.

- Another member of the DuBois posed as a singer and managed to seduce Jamal. Damn and I was hoping Jamal was finally gonna get a decent love interest.
- Given the rumours of Nia Long being a nightmare on set, I take it this is the last we'll see of Giuliana, though I'm hoping we'll see Charlotte again though. I did laugh that her husband was called Mitt.
- Standout music: Warren's (Terrell Carter) Born To Love U, Lucious's Dream On With You and Jamal's Mama.
- Not long from where the first part of this one left off. The show will be paired with Star from September onwards and will be getting an 8pm timeslot for FOX viewers.

Toil & Trouble Part 2 definitely delivered as a finale. While the show's ratings have noticeably slid this season and inevitably, that was always going to happen, I do think the quality while shaky to begin with, did manage to get back to the same levels as the show's first season. This was a great way to end this season while setting up next year for viewers.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sense8 - I Have No Room For Hate In My Heart

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Jamie McTeigue

BPO Contact (to Riley): "That voice never shouts, it only whispers."

Well, this one ended on another shocker, didn't it? Riley's trip to Chicago saw her meeting up with Will's former partner, Diego and encountering that rather cryptic BPO contact who gave us a bit more information on Whispers while Will encountered Jonas just as himself, Wolfgang and Sun were about to take out Whispers. I didn't see that one coming to be honest.

I guess Jonas being alive though shouldn't be too shocking as we didn't really see him graphically die but him appearing at the end still surprised me. It seems though like Angelica, perhaps Jonas is now under Whispers influence too, giving our Clusters one more disadvantage to contend with as well.

I quite liked Riley going on her own and meeting up with Diego and then the BPO contact in Chicago. I also liked that while Will was naturally worried about her, everyone else believed that she would be fine and even the tension with Diego and Will too was nicely handled. However Riley's excursion to Chicago wasn't the highlight of the episode.

If anything, it was Sun who had the highlights for this particular one. First of all, there was the poignant scene where she visited her parents grave with the other Clusters offering her advice on her brother and then there was the rematch between herself and Detective Mun.

Seriously the flirting and fighting with those two was off the charts to watch. Immense chemistry between and it's great that Mun genuinely seems to believe in Sun's innocence as well. However I can't help but think that Sun is going to end up considering Wolfgang's advice in how to deal with her brother than wait for Mun to arrest him though.

Elsewhere we had some conflict between Capheus and his mother when Zakia let slip out about the former getting into politics while Kala and Rajan also conflicted over the latter's lack of ethics with shipping off dangerous drugs to other countries. While I'm glad the show is giving Rajan a little more of an edge, I don't want him to become a baddie though.

- Some nice downtime scenes with Nomi and Amanita as we got more scenes with the latter's mother and three fathers. Some rather pointed comments on terrorism, which in light of recent events stuck out more.
- Todd, the Cluster member that didn't want to be one shot up a church on Whispers orders. The Old Man from Hoy also made another appearance this week.
- I loved the subplot with Lito/Hernando protecting Daniela from her abusive ex and awful parents. The hot guy who hugged Lito in the lift after the latter lost his agents was another high point of this episode.
- Not long from where Isolated Above, Connected Below left off.

I Have No Room For Hate In My Heart delivered on the beautiful moments, the topical moments and certainly the shocks. It's also become one of my favourite episodes from the season and with four more to go, I really don't want this show to end.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sense8 - Isolated Above, Connected Below

Written by Lana Wachowski & J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Lana Wachowski

Lito (to Sao Paolo Pride): "This is Hernando. He is the love of my life. I am a better and braver person because of him."

I know the Sao Paolo Pride scene was actually a smaller plot than the hype for the season led viewers to believe but without a doubt, it was also the best moment from the episode. Lito has come quite a long way in regards to his sexuality and this episode highlighted that as himself, Hernando and Daniela attended the Pride event.

Seeing him on stage confessing his fears before talking about his love for Hernando and embrace being a gay man resonated beautifully onscreen and while it was a smaller story in a far bigger and longer episode, it was also my favourite bit in this one.

Of course the bigger strands of the episode involved Riley and Will meeting up with the lecherous Puck and the Old Man from Hoy once again. While the former was annoying cryptic about blockers (as was Lila with Wolfgang), the latter turned out to be somewhat more useful to Riley by actually giving out some information.

Having Sylvester McCoy join the show was a nice move for this Doctor Who fan and I really liked the scenes between Hoy and Riley as the pair of them began to trust one another. While we didn't actually get the name of the Cannibal revealed to us, we do know that Riley has to go to Chicago alone for more answers.

However given a flashback scene involving Angelica and her Cluster from beforehand, I guess we really aren't going to like what could be revealed to us. Even Angelica herself seems to be showing something of a dark side given the flashback scenes we had in this episode while Will had a rather unsettling body experience with Whispers in this one too.

As for some of the other smaller plots - Zakia opened up to Capheus about her bisexuality and the two of them I guess are now a couple with her encouraging him to run for politics while Sun left her mentor and Kala and Wolfgang also did the deed this week. The scene with Rajan being somewhat caught in the mix though was another highlight for the episode.

- We had scenes with Capheus's mother and Nomi's sister in this episode too. The latter is called Tegan, so another reference to a certain show there.
- We met a member of Lila's Cluster, who also thought Wolfgang was hot. I loved the whole 'viral' scene where Hoy was getting information for Riley. Oh and beautiful Highlands too.
- We learned what happened to Raoul in this one and saw Metzer in flashbacks.
- Chronology: Few days from where Fear Never Fixed Anything left off.

A very strong episode, Isolated Above, Connected Below had some gorgeous characters bits, sex scenes galore (Kala/Wolfgang, Capheus/Zakia), few good action sequences, that beautiful Pride sequence and the last few minutes certainly upped the ante rather nicely too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Review of Empire's 3x17: "Toil & Trouble Part 1"

Written by Diane Ademu-John & Eric Haywood
Directed by Craig Brewer

Charlotte (to Andre): "Your family is very interesting."

Interesting might be an understatement there, Charlotte but yeah, being around the Lyons does tend to be an experience or something else. This episode, the first part of a two part finale was also something else too.

On one hand, we strayed into Ocean's Eleven territory with Cookie, Carol, Candace, Becky, Porsha and Thirsty all banding together to gatecrash the Leviticus Vegas night in order to steal Giuliana's dodgy ledgers and that provided a lot of amusing hijinks, especially when both Becky and Carol had to swap their assigned roles in order to pull off Cookie's genius heist.

However, with all the effort the gang made to get Giuliana out of Lucious's life, it didn't really pan out as Lucious managed to pay off Charlotte to look the other way of his current flame's dodgy dealings, much to Cookie's annoyance, although with Charlotte being rather sweet on Andre, Cookie still has an ace in her sleeve though.

I did like that this episode gave us a little more scope into Charlotte. We learned that she's a Mormon with seven children and doesn't approve of the tug culture that can come with the Lyons. However the hook up between her and Andre might have been a little more shocking had we not need it in the trailers though.

As for the rest of the episode, I hated that Giuliana's influence resulted in Lucious actually firing Thirsty but I loved that the latter threw in his lot with Cookie though and while Jamal came around to his album being postponed for a few months, Lucious is being rather reckless with Giuliana, especially considering that he was wary of her not so long ago.

Of course the biggest shock of this one was actually seeing both Lucious and Tariq working together in order to find Bella and actually seeing the pair of them bond with one another. It was a nice moment that was cut short when Leah decided to murder Tariq in front of Lucious before the latter could reveal Bella's whereabouts. Leah certainly knows how to pick her moments, doesn't she?

- The episode opened with casino antics before going back to "two weeks earlier" leading to Cookie being banned from the opening night.
- Becky can be somewhat hit and miss in the way the show writes for her but this was really one of those episode where the show utilised Gabourey Sidibe well.
- Standout music: Jamal's We Got Us and Dean Martin/RJD2's Ain't That A Kick To The Head.
- Chronology: More or less from where Absent Child left off.

Toil & Trouble Part 1 was a good start to the finale. I loved the casino antics and Leah murdering Tariq certainly provided a decent shocker but I am hoping the Bella storyline is actually resolved in the last episode.

Rating: 8 out of 10

My Review of Gotham's 3x19: "All Will Be Judged"

Written by Ken Woodruff
Directed by John Behring

Barnes (to Gordon): "The word will go out. No one will escape from the Executioner's blade."

Yeah, except when said blade ends up being shot off one hand but up until that point, Barnes had something of a point. Complete with a ridiculously OTT new look, Barnes had succeeded in capturing Gordon and even came close to enacting justice on him.

Of course, Barnes was also destined to fail because he actually let Gordon talk instead of just getting on with the execution itself. If you're a bad guy on this flipping show, just don't let Gordon get a word in at all and you might stand a chance of actually outsmarting him.

Still though, while Barnes's whole Executioner thing isn't really that riveting, it did take up a lot of the episode's screen time as his team up with Kathryn came to a swift end when the latter ended up losing her head. I'm actually shocked that Kathryn lasted as long as she has and at least they gave her a memorable exit before Gordon shot off Barnes's killer blade hand.

With Kathryn out of the way though, we still have Temple Shaman as the main figurehead for the Court of Owls and while Other Bruce's identity was exposed to Alfred by Selina, the real Bruce seems to falling into Shaman's influence all the more as the two of them made their return to Gotham this week. Going by next week's episode though, it seems like we might be lifting stuff from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises as we head into the finale.

Elsewhere. Oswald and Nygma found themselves having to work together in order to get out of their cages. The bickering between the two of them as they engaged in some petty mind games before grudgingly teaming up was a lot of fun to watch and while I don't doubt they'll both do their best to try and kill the other next week, we all know they're both going to fail as well, don't we?

As for Leslie, this was a dark episode for her. She started things up with a chilling nightmare sequence involving Mario, got the worst sense of 'clarity' from visiting Jervis before getting into another slanging match with Gordon and infecting herself with the Tetch virus. I mean, there's potential with a virus infected Leslie for the remaining episodes this season but what a monumentally stupid thing for her to do. Are the writers planning to kill her off in the finale? It certainly feels like she's got a death wish at the moment.

- Barnes escaped being brought back to Arkham, so I wonder if either Oswald or Nygma will try and recruit him in the next episode.
- Bullock really needs to do with getting some actual security for the GCPD now.
- No Ivy, Barbara, Tabitha, Lucius or Butch in this one.
Chronology: From where Light The Wick left off.

All Will Be Judged was as filler as you could get, episode wise but it was entertaining enough filler. The Oswald/Nygma and Leslie scenes added a little more bite into the episode than Barnes could've done but I'm definitely keen for the Court of Owls to be retired in the next three episodes though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Review of Doctor Who's 10x06: "Extremis"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Daniel Neittheim

Missy (to the Doctor): "I am your friend."

One of the things I was hoping for with the tenth series was that Missy would resurface in a mid series episode to bolster the series a bit and it seems Steven Moffat was thinking a similar way. This is why this episode is the first of a three part story as Moffat seems determined to beat the mid series lull that sometimes happens to the show. Remember RTD pulled a similar tactic in Series 4 with both The Doctor's Daughter and The Unicorn And The Wasp.

In this episode we quickly learn that Missy is the one in the Vault, which is great because we all deduced that about three or four weeks, so at least it's out of the way and the episode itself can actually concentrate on why she's in the Vault. That answer was to prevent her execution on Carnathon where a group of people seemed determined to kill her off with the Doctor's help, once and for all.

Of course, the Doctor decided to actually save Missy's life and something tells me he intended to do that before Missy herself played the friendship card and considered being good (please, Missy, don't) and with Nardole's help sentenced her to the Vault. However in the present day this episode made it painfully clear that Missy's imprisonment is about to come to an end as the Doctor needs her help with a much bigger problem.

With the Missy stuff being relegated to flashbacks and being clumsily tied into the present day problem, that problem itself arose with the arrival of the Monks. The love children of the Pyrovilles and the Silence by the look and sound of them, this lot seem determined to take over the world by running some simulations to understand it first and this was where things got a bit confusing to be honest.

It seems for most of the episode that wasn't flashbacks, it didn't really happen. I mean the Doctor is still currently blind but between trips to the Vatican and it's secret library, the Haereticum, the White House and CERN all the while a dangerous book named the Veritas forced people into mass suicide upon reading it's deadly content while Bill and Nardole themselves took part in a rather volatile countdown before dying.

Then it turned out that none of this happened and the Doctor was testing the Monks, who going by the next episode will absolutely mean business for the TARDIS. This episode just gave us a taster for them and it was a decent enough one with them proving to be a rather genuinely exciting enough menace. 

I have to admit that while the simulation scenes had their moments and it was rather nice bouncing between different times and worlds for this one, I'm not sure if the flashbacks and the simulation tied as well as they could've done. I get that Missy will play a role in stopping the Monks and inevitably escape to set up the finale but it felt like it could've had a little more finesse. Other than that though, this was a great return episode for the current Master.

- Bill's 'date' with Penny was interrupted by the arrival of the Pope Benedict IX (played by the same actor who played Rocco in Turn Left) and Moira seems oblivious that Bill is gay.
- We got no continuity from Missy's last moment in The Witch's Familiar. Surely, her 'clever plan' is going to be seen later though.
- This episode might have killed the current US president but it didn't really though.
- Some nice references to Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario Bros in this one too. I also like that the Doctor's current predicament now means the show can actually justify those sonic sunglasses.
- River's diary showed up in this episode and she was the one who sent Nardole to look after the Doctor and to give him an ass kicking if needed.
- Chronology: 2017 Bristol for Bill's real scene at the end. Also the flashbacks with Missy were set in between The Husbands Of River Song and The Return Of Doctor Mysterio.

Extremis certainly seemed like a return to the Moffat we know and are sometimes divided upon/really love after the previous five episodes played it more straightforward like. The episode itself was purely set up and while both flashback and simulation scenes could've meshed a little better, this was still a great set up for the Monks, who really do have the potential to be a great bunch of monsters.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, May 19, 2017

2017-2018 TV Season: Shows To Watch

It's that time of year again. Amid the news of shows being cancelled and renewed, we also have a current selection of TV series waiting in the wings for the upcoming 2017-2018 television season.

1: 9-1-1 (FOX, mid-season)

Following the expected cancellation of Scream Queens, Ryan Murphy hasn't let go his association with FOX as both himself and Angela Bassett have teamed up for a mid-season show on the channel. The series will be a fast-paced exploration into the lives and careers of first responders – cops, paramedics, firefighters – the people who put their lives on the line to save others with Bassett herself taking on a leading role in the series. Whether or not this series will rule her out for the upcoming seventh season of American Horror Story, I'm not sure but here's hoping we'll see Angela in both shows.

Press Release:

2: Black Lightning (CW, mid-season)

Adding to the CW's already packed DC TV roster, Black Lightning will also be making it's debut in early 2018. Starring Cress Williams in the title role, the series will focus on Jefferson Pierce, who retired from his superhero persona Black Lightning nine years ago, is forced to return when his daughter Jennifer (China Anne McClain), who is hellbent on justice and a star student, gets recruited by a local gang. Despite having the same producers and showrunners, the series will not be connected to the current Arrow universe, which is a pity as the trailer certainly impressed.


3: Dynasty (CW, Wednesdays 9pm)

Another year, another reboot and following the likes of 90210 and Melrose Place, the CW are probably hoping their version of popular 80's soap Dynasty will be as successful as the former rather than the one and done of the latter (which I suspect is a fate that will befall this show). The trailer was a little better than expected, mainly due to wayward brother Steven Carrington (James Mackay) copping up with Sam Flores (Rafael De La Fuente) - a gay male version of the character Sammy Jo from the original series. The rest of the trailer sees a marriage between patriarch Blake Carrington (Grant Snow) and the scheming Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley) as well as a rivalry between the latter and daughter,  Fallon Carrington (Elizabeth Gillies). It looks okay but it feels like it should be on something like ABC rather than the CW if I'm being honest.


4: Inhumans (ABC, Fridays 9pm)

Oh dear. This one really could be a non starter, couldn't it? First of all, like Once Upon A Time and Quantico, it's being dumped in the Friday night death slot as a precursor to Agent Of Shield's fifth season and there are only eight episodes. The trailer so far has only been a cryptic voice over of doom but at least the cast look with Anson Mount as Bolt, Iwan Rheon as Maximus, Serinda Swan as Medusa and Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon: to name a few. The first two episodes will get an IMAX cinema airing before their television debut in September.


5: Krypton (Syfy, mid-season)

Um, is this really a prequel anyone wanted? I know both Gotham and Smallville have shown that prequels can work for a good amount seasons and be pretty compelling in their own right but seeing as both shows had characters we generally knew and cared about, it made watching them a little easier at times. Krypton on the other will mainly focus on Superman's grandfather, Seg El (Cameron Cuffe) and Lyta Zod (Georgina Campbell) in the early days of the planet's life. Produced by David S. Goyer, there was rumours that the series was meant to have a link to the current DCEU but it seems that this will be a standalone series. It looks decent from the trailer but I kind of feel that Supergirl has us covered at the moment.

Trailer Description:

6: Roseanne (ABC, mid-season)

You didn't think Will & Grace was going to be the only sitcom to get revived this season, right? Well, there's also Arrested Development getting a fifth season on Netflix but it seems that ABC will also be bringing back 90's sitcom Roseanne in 2018 with nearly all of the original cast returning to the series. Sarah Chalke will play a different character and Johnny Galecki hasn't been confirmed yet.

Press Release:

7: Star Trek: Discovery (CBS/CBS All Access, tbc)

I know I highlighted this one last year when there were no cast members announced but with all the main players announced, Bryan Fuller stepping down and an increase from thirteen to fifteen episodes, it finally seems like we're on track here. Former The Walking Dead actress Sonequa Martin-Green takes on the role of USS Discovery officer Michael Burnham, the protagonist of the series along with Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs and Rainn Wilson to name a few. It seems now that the series will be set ten years prior to Star Trek: The Original Series. The trailer certainly impressed and here's hoping it fares a lot better than Enterprise did at times. UK viewers will be able to see the show courtesy of Netflix.


8: The Gifted (FOX, Mondays 9pm)

And now we've got another X-Men linked series here. Following Legion on FX, Fox will be airing The Gifted, starring Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker as a couple - Reed and Caitlin Strucker with two mutant children, Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lynd) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) whom they will do anything to protect from the government. The pilot episode is also directed by Bryan Singer, who serves as an executive producer to the series.


9: The Orville (FOX, Thursdays 9pm)

When he's not lagging with both Family Guy and American Dad, Seth Mcfarlane is back on the live action front with this Star Trek (more like Galaxy Quest) inspired space series, this is a one-hour science fiction series set 400 years in the future that follows the adventures of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory vessel. Its crew, both human and alien, faces the wonders and dangers of outer space, while also dealing with the familiar, often humorous problems of regular people in a workplace…even though some of those people are from other planets, and the workplace is a faster-than-light spaceship. I have to admit it looks funny enough.


10: The X Files (FOX, mid-season)

Let's be honest - this one wasn't a shocker. While the tenth season wasn't the best (albeit an improvement on previous seasons) and a little too short for it's own good, it was however a success and proof that audiences still hungered for the truth and in particular, Mulder and Scully. With the 25th anniversary of the show looming in 2018, the show will return for an eleventh season of ten episodes and hopefully a strong resolution for that dicey cliffhanger we were left with last season.

Press Release:

11: Will & Grace (NBC, Thursdays 8pm)

Following it's successful Election special scene from last year, the show is back once again for twelve new episodes and even in it's own original-ish timeslot as well. To really get things into motion, NBC have released a musical themed trailer as Will, Jack and Karen all do their best to persuade Grace to embrace the return. While I felt the show had ended well enough back in 2006, I am actually looking forward to seeing the gang once again.


12: Young Sheldon (CBS, Mondays 8.30pm)

Did we really need a spin-off on a younger Sheldon Cooper of all characters? I mean, I like the character enough on The Big Bang Theory but I wasn't clamouring for a spin-off with him and I imagine others weren't either. The trailer for this prequel series sees the young genius, played by Iain Armitage as a nine year old in Texas dealing with his religious family and the pressures of school as well. The trailer was a little better than expected but again, it feels a little unnecessary as a series though. The show along with it's parent show will move to Thursdays during November though. Jim Parsons will also be involved with the series.


There's a list of the potential big hitters for the next television season. Now we just have to wait for some UK transmissions and see how they fare.