Monday, September 30, 2013

Revenge 3.01 Review: A Dish Best Served Cold

Anyone that has yet to watch tonight’s season three premiere of Revenge, fittingly titled ‘Fear’, then now would be the time to back away from this review if you hope to watch devoid of spoilers. THIS BLOG MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
As always, this series premiered with a flash-forward to a climactic event that it will now build up to, that being Emily on a boat in a wedding dress being shot and falling back into the ocean. I will say that I liked how this season opened, with the slow move into boat, although the voice over can be somewhat overdone. Every time I hear Emily VanCamp’s voice, it always sounds like she’s overdoing it just a bit. Like she’s trying to push the suspense of the series with just her words. The voice over isn’t terrible, but work could be done to tone down the intensity that comes across. I think we get that this is a series about revenge, it’s not integral to make that come through with just your voice.
I’m a little confused when it comes to Charlotte. She lost the baby? Then what was the point of her being pregnant in the first place? And does anyone else feel like she got over Declan pretty easily? She was under the belief she loved him last season, but now I don’t really see that. Now she seems all determined to have her half-brother suffer if her mother doesn’t do that to him already, if he doesn’t leave. What is with this seesaw momentum of character development? I’d almost think the writers were bipolar when it comes to Charlotte. Though I do have to say that I like her wardrobe this season, and the bangs. Her hair looks surprisingly good.
Then Ashley’s back, and wanting to blackmail Emily this season, but she eventually gets crossed off Emily’s list of people she needs to take care of. I question how these two women were ever friends in the first place. It’s like nothing but securing a position of power matters for Ashley. I saw that yearning in the beginning of the series, but I don’t see any of that knowledge of past friendship when she interacts with Emily. This character has just seemed to have done a complete one eighty, like the writers had no idea where they were really going with her so they send her away. Although that is how I felt all of last season with everything.
Despite not having much dialogue, I do think Justin Hartley did a phenomenal job as Patrick in this season premiere. The man surprisingly came across as genuinely his character more so than the rest of the actors that have embodied their characters for over two seasons. I’m actually looking forward to seeing this character development, and if he’s any good, and got enough of a story, I sincerely hope he sticks around. Particularly more than Aiden.
Jack seems to be better this season, at least compared to most of last year. My specific note reads ‘This Jack is better than season two Jack, but not better than season one’. I think that’s because his complete lack of interaction with Emily last season and completely throwing himself into things with Amanda was just bad when compared to season one where he was so heavily revolving around Emily for a lot of it. Which is why I so desperately wanted Amanda to not be carrying Jack’s child last season because I enjoyed Emily and Jack’s back and forth romance, and then it’s also completely left out for Aiden in season two, and that just got a whole heck of a lot convoluted and messy. So basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad he’s kind of darker, or more emotionally charged this season, from the evidence of this episode. I want Jack to be more included in things.
Okay, I get that the smiles and the tone are fake between Emily and Victoria, but you’d think they’d be better at pretending to like each other more than that scene in Grayson manner with the horrendously fake smiles. If I can pick up that you’re being fake with each other, don’t you think the other woman you’re playing the scene against can pick up on that too? They play their teamwork much better on when they finally (and I say that as a heavy finally) get rid of Ashley, but not at this point in the episode. Also, is Victoria still that desperate to get rid of Emily, when Aiden comes to her door?
All right, I think I’m done. The episode was a solid opening, and I look much more forward to this season than I did last year after the second season’s premiere. I’m desperately glad that the whole Carrion, and Initiative storylines are over and done with. May the creators learn from last year’s mistakes.
My rating: 3 out of 5.

Best Line:
“Amen to that.” – Nolan says to Emily, about her nonchalant comment about forgetting about Carrion and the Initiative.

That’s all for tonight, kids. Check back in tomorrow night for reviews of How I Met Your Mother, Bones, Sleepy Hollow, and The Blacklist.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Once Upon A Time 3.01 Review: Sometimes You Just Need to Believe

All those that have yet to watch the season three premiere of Once Upon A Time, entitled ‘The Heart of the Truest Believer’, that wish to do so devoid of spoilers, then now would be the time to exit the premises. As always, there is a chance that this blog contains spoilers regarding the episode, as well as previous episodes. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
So we finally managed to get to Neverland. Can’t say I’m all that excited about it, Peter Pan was never one of my favourite fairy tales. I do have to say though that the young man that plays him in this series provided the best performance of the episode. How is it that a young actor such as himself can do better with the terrible writing this series emits, than actors almost twice his age? Maybe it has something to do with the ability to believe that you are the character in this world, and to be as imaginative as possible. Though that wouldn’t explain just how terrible Henry is played most of the time.
Aside from Pan, the highlights of this episode were any time Emma, Hook, or Neal popped up on screen, but I’m biased when it comes to them because they’re my three favourite characters. I have to say I’m just glad they each had a fair amount of screen time, because that’s not always the case of this series.
One of my problems with this series is that I think that a show that started off as being lead by this one character, should keep her in the loop for most episodes, and not be distracted by all these extra characters that get focused on far too often. This show is very much reminiscent of the structure Lost had by focusing on one character for an episode, and then different ones onward. And I get that the creators of this series were apart of that one, but it becomes tiresome when I’m being sold one thing, and I only get that one thing every so often.
When it comes to CGI efforts, this series is never very good, I can almost always tell when something is fake, and it rather bothers me because it takes me out of the moment. You’d think a series that knew it was going to heavily involve fairy tale characters would know that fantastical scenarios would be involved in that, and would either find good CGI people, or use real things to create it. I can only wonder how difficult it is for the actors.
That leads me to another issue I have with this series, the acting. I do have to give some thought to whether it’s the writing that makes it so bad in this series, but I find a lot of the time that it’s either over-acting, or just horrible people cast as these characters. These people are bringing an imaginative world to life, and it takes a fair amount of vision to actually make that believable to the audience, and I just don’t think that’s coming across sometimes. Sure there are a few gems that seem to be able to act their part, but most of them don’t seem to be able. And these are actors that are very convincing in other roles they’ve played, but I’m just not seeing it here.
That brings me around to the writing. Can this series not get some better writers? Strictly from this episode alone we have these terrible lines for that one Lost Boy, and then the ridiculousness of crying over a poppet. There’s the terrible back and forth between the Evil Queen and Snow White, and then between Prince Charming and Hook. And don’t even get me started on Mulan, Aurora, and Robin Hood. Plus could that toast to Baelfire/Neal have been any more pathetic? I was writing better scripts when I was twelve, and I had a pretty big imagination back then.
Was anyone else beyond happy when Tamara and Greg were killed? I know I screamed ‘Thank God’ when it happened. And boy am I glad Rumplestiltskin did not permanently save Tamara, because that would’ve been like dangling the fruit in front of me, and then ripping it away. Not only were these characters terrible, in both writing and acting, but also they served almost no real purpose. The whole Home Office thing that was just a ruse to get Henry to Neverland was beyond ridiculous. Did the writers just pull that out of their ass? Because honestly, that’s how it felt to me. ‘We’re going to go this way, no wait we’re going to go this way.’ Make up your mind, and stick to it, if you want to go one way, make damned sure there’s the ability to go that way and nothing blocking your path, continuity wise.
In general, this episode was all right, nothing fabulous about it, and nothing last season’s finale didn’t falsely get me excited over. For future episodes, I’d really like more work on the writing, acting, and definitely much more Emma. Oh, and please stop making the Charming’s ridiculously naïve, when Snow was such a bad ass in the Fairytale Land that Was.
My rating: 3 out of 5.

Best Lines:
“I will not be capsized by a fish!” – Charming shouts over the mermaid calling the storm, in a brief line performance that actually struck well with me.
“Actually, I quite fancy you from time to time, when you’re not yelling at me.” – Hook referring to Emma, and did anyone see the brief look that passed over her face when he said this?

Okay buckaroos, that’s all for now, I’m off to go watch Revenge, and then get some more Buffy in before I have to get to sleep so I can actually be aware for work tomorrow, stay tuned for one more review.

Haven 4.03 Review: Right When Your About to Give Up

Let’s get this out of the way. Anyone that has yet to watch last night’s episode of Haven, titled ‘Bad Blood’, and wishes to do so spoiler free, now would be the time to exit this blog. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
How to begin… This week’s episode of Haven was about a Trouble where blood was going after people and sucking them dry of their own. Unsurprisingly, there was the comparison to vampires, but at least this wasn’t an actual theory the characters were focusing on.
‘Bad Blood’ was okay, but it wasn’t the best that could’ve been written. My favourite parts were still the scenes surrounding Audrey/Lexie and William, and also the scenes at the morgue. I thought Richard Donat did very well in playing Vince not wanting to go in to guarantee whether or not Audrey was the body on ice. As long as he stayed outside the morgue, there would still be a chance that the body wasn’t Audrey. Then when we learned it wasn’t, it fit perfectly back into the moment where William tells Audrey/Lexie that she isn’t dead.
Without Audrey, I don’t think I’m much of a fan of Nathan. This brooding crap he’s emitting isn’t all that interestingly done, and not something I haven’t seen before. He’s kind of boring and one-dimensional at the moment, and I’d really like to see that change. His best moments were actually the ones with Jordan near the end, where she expresses just how much she doesn’t want to be stuck like this, and even then he didn’t really say much, it was more about his physical acting.
I’m really getting sick of this Wade character. He’s not convincing in this series, especially not as Duke’s brother. The writing for him is just not believable to me, and it’s just so cliché that he sticks around because his wife is cheating on him. And can I just say, how much he’s not acting like he’s hurt by that fact? The guy seems more wooden then anything. I’m completely surprised too, because I know he did well on Dexter, but on this show he’s just terrible.
While I’m going back and forth with this Jennifer character, particularly the way they keep writing her constantly changing, she wasn’t the worst part of this episode. I like it every time she’s kind of displaying nervousness, she’s definitely the most convincing in that. Whenever she started hearing the noises from the bar where Audrey/Lexie is in her head was certainly obvious, but interesting all the same.
The Sasquatch is still as wooden as ever. I really can’t stand him in the forefront of this series. It was interesting the first time he brought up being a cleaner coming in handy, but it was necessary to fit that in more than once. Those lines almost made it seem like he was bragging about, or really just reading off a script without actually acting. He was a much better character in the background, popping in and out, and keeping him up front and center is not improving his character. I get the logic behind him becoming Chief, now, but he’s just not a very good actor.
I’m still having trouble believing there isn’t some other way to make the Troubles go away for good. It can’t be simply for Audrey to sacrifice/kill her one love. There has to be some other way to keep them gone, and it better be something that makes sense when they finally do come out with it. It just doesn’t feel logical to me that the only way to give everyone a happy life in Haven, that she has to lose what makes her happy.
Also, where’s Audrey’s son? If the barn is dying, is he dead? That was such a big part of last season, and the previous seasons, being that he’s the Colorado Kid that Audrey was searching for for so long, and now that’s been basically forgotten. Will that be brought up again? I really think we deserve something more than just a disappearing act.
One other thing I was curious about in this episode, what was with all of the animal comparisons? I know they explained that Duke had been watching Animal Planet, or something, but what was the point to that? He doesn’t quite come across as someone that just watches documentary programs about animals. Plus, he didn’t seem particularly enthusiastic about it every time he brought it up. And also, has he already gotten over Audrey? He seems to have moved on pretty easily. Love triangle for three seasons, and then just instant progression for a character that hasn’t seen the woman in about a couple weeks.
Alas, I relent.
My rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Best Lines:
“Slowing down for a yellow is just a matter of taste.” – Dave, after having driven Vince’s car to the station.
“I don’t think it wants any of us, Sasquatch.” – Duke, referring to Dwight as the man-beast.

All right, that’s all for now. Don’t forget to check back in on Sunday for my reviews of Once Upon a Time and Revenge’s third season premieres. If you’re lucky, I might actually review Betrayal as well, if I get around to watching it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Best Performances of the Week: Revolution's Charlie and Nashville's Deacon

Welcome to the second edition of Best Male and Female Performances of the Week. This is a weekly update that will occur, for the most part, on Thursday’s – or shortly thereafter – once I’ve finished watching and reviewing the past week’s worth of episodes, where I will single out one male and one female performance that I believe merits special attention for the week. This, like my reviews, will be based solely on my opinion of the shows I watch in a week, and if you don’t like to whom I’ve picked, well that’s mighty big of you, for picking on someone’s opinion.
This week I had choices from fourteen separate series (and if you don’t know which series’ those are, go check out my reviews from the last week). For all those not caught up with this week’s episodes of Revolution and Nashville, please kindly step away from this blog. This is my weekly update of Best Performances of the Week, and there may be spoilers pertaining to the two aforementioned shows. I repeat, THERE MAY BE SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.

Best Female Performance of the Week:

Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson in this week’s second season premiere of Revolution. This may be a bit of a controversial choice, being that I know a lot of people didn’t like Charlie last season on Revolution, but I really liked the strength she showed in this episode. Last season she was very much this naïve, yet strong-willed person, but this year she’s been through a lot, and that’s chipped away at her and made her an intriguing character. She almost seems to be a bit dead inside, and coming back from that will prove to be no easy task.
Last year was about saving her brother, and now that he’s dead, it seems this year will be all about finding and killing Monroe, seeing as he was what caused her brother to be killed. From the previews for next week, I can already see that this will come to ahead, and I’m just incredibly excited to see where all of this goes.
Damaged characters, I find, are people that can bring the most compelling storylines. Everything Charlie has gone through just elevates the places in which she can go. And Spiridakos has already proven that she can go there. Her acting has greatly improved over the course of just a year, and I’m very much looking forward to following her along through the rough edges she pours into this character.

Best Male Performance of the Week:

Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne in this week’s season two premiere of Nashville. Despite how well James Spader performed in the premiere of The Blacklist, it was Esten that stole this week’s performance for me. The amount of anger this man poured into his character, and the size of guilt we could see in his interactions with other characters was remarkable. I was really able to see his transition from defeated, to that slight glimmer of hope he had when he learned Raina had survived.
I don’t expect this quality from week-to-week, but I was happy to see where he had come from last year’s season finale, to this weeks premiere. The struggle this man has with alcoholism was evident to an extreme last year, as well as in the memory flashes Raina had while in her coma. I liked being able to see the glimmer of happiness in this man in the moments when he was with Raina in her memories, to the almost deadness he felt while speaking with his lawyer. The very moment when he sold it for me, was when he screamed at his niece for calling him a father figure for her, bringing to the surface the guilt he felt in being the cause of the crash, despite not driving.
Not having seen Esten before Nashville, I look forward to seeing his career throughout this series. The man has an effable ability to really become his character. The transitioning between emotions, and gruffness he brings to Deacon is just wonderful. As someone not a fan of country, I can see why some people adore the men. This character, and actor, is definitely someone to watch.

That’s all this week, but check back in next Thursday for my next update. In the meantime, come back tomorrow for my review of Haven, and then Sunday night is Once Upon a Time, Revenge, and possibly Betrayal, depending on whether or not I actually watch it. Have a good night!

Grey's Anatomy 10.01 and 10.02 Review: Surviving the Storm

For all those that have yet to watch two-hour season ten premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, entitled ‘Seal Our Fate’ and ‘I Want You with Me’, now would be the appropriate time to turn away from this blog. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
What can I say about these two episodes? It wasn’t the worst series opening, it made me feel along with all these characters lives, but at the same time it wasn’t the strongest this series has produced. We pick right back up shortly after the storm, basically right where last season left off. I get that this series likes to do two-hour season premieres, and I do like that I got more to watch, but there wasn’t that much necessary about these two episodes that couldn’t be thrown into one. If it gets me one more episode this season, that’s all fine, but if I have to lose one week of this show just so we could watch two hours one night, I don’t think I’ll be all that happy.
There wasn’t that much different about these two episodes that this series hasn’t done before. The fact that I made no notes off this episode for the first half hour, whereas with Revolution I was making notes within the first two minutes, was not a great sign. I didn’t really feel that it was necessary to remember a lot of this stuff. This show has basically become a sort of soap opera, where things aren’t done out of necessity towards creativity, they’re done to keep us on our toes. I’ve been watching this show for a fair length of time, and I have grown to love some of these characters, but the way it’s progressed makes me feel like it’s time to put it down. There’s a reason I don’t watch shows like One Life to Live, and other such soaps, I don’t want to feel stuck in a show that never ends, with no feeling of finality, where actors want to leave before the series ends, and where they could’ve left easily before when it would suit creative levels of the show. By now there’s not much progression that hasn’t already come to be.
The fact that this show keeps trying to shove these new interns down our throat doesn’t help. Wilson and Brooks are about the only two I can stand, and now one of them is dead. And can I just say that everyone saw that coming. When I learned Tina Majorino got booked on another series, I knew that she’d end up dead in this series. Why couldn’t they just leave it open for her to return? It’s not like she had a child on this series that would be uncharacteristically abandoned if she left. If she’d just had to leave to recuperate, she could’ve come back at some point, and this far too obvious storyline wouldn’t have had to been used and abused. Now they’re just shoving these other interns into the forefront, and I’m sorry, but I still can’t stand the other three. They have no charisma to them, and no dramatic intrigue that make them necessary to watch like Meredith, Christina, Izzie, George, and Alex had in the beginning. These people are not a family, they are simply terrible characters because Rhimes is starting to produce too many characters that she can’t keep new ones straight and having concrete personalities.
Now, back around to the surviving three of the interns this show began with. I love how their friendship has grown. Yang and Grey have always been each others people, but as these characters have progressed and developed, Alex has been enveloped into the group, no matter how much he didn’t want to be in the beginning. They’ve become this weird little family unit that I love, and will be so sad to see gone when Sandra Oh leaves next year, something that desperately makes me hope they’ll finally decide to end this series, although the way they’re pushing the new interns, I doubt it.
Aside from the new interns, I’m really glad to see these people we follow along in this surgical wing of the hospital have really become apart of each other’s lives, though somewhat unrealistically. The way Callie (who just has terrible luck when it comes to spouses) and Arizona (despite her cheating scandal) are welcomed in by Meredith and Christina is wonderful. Especially how close all of them have become. And despite not liking April, the way she is already developing this season is something I can get behind a great deal more. She’s finally becoming a less annoying, stronger, more harrowing character. Though when it comes to Jackson, who I use to find more interesting before they slept together and were just best friends, I find him a little tedious and boring. I don’t like him having all this power.
Overall this two hour episode was interesting, but not overly so. I did like a few of the music choices spattered throughout the two episodes, but nothing groundbreaking like earlier seasons were a bit. As someone who favours Meredith’s screen time, I would’ve liked to have seen her more active – no not literally – in this episode (okay maybe a little literally). I get that she just gave birth and had an operation, which I’ve already lost details on from last season so maybe there should’ve been a recap, but getting her out of her hospital gown would’ve been a little bit nicer. The way they ended it with Richard’s eyes opening up and the first thing he’s hearing is Meredith basically saying they’re family was nice.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Best Lines:
“Why would he do that?” – Meredith, wondering about why Richard chose her as the person they had to go to about extreme care. Not the most interesting of lines, but it was the way she said it that made it so good.
“Is ‘I told you so’ inappropriate?” – Christina to Meredith.
“I’m the family.” – Meredith, the first thing she says that Richard hears.

Stay tuned for my weekly edition of Best Performances, coming shortly. Then check back in tomorrow night for my review of Haven’s third season four episode.