Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teen Wolf 4.12 Review: Who Wants to be the Baddest Monster?

If only Teen Wolf aired on Tuesday’s; then it really could’ve boasted a full moon on a full moon. Alas, the series does not, but the season four finale did air Monday night, titled ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, and it had so much going on, it encroached on Wolf Watch, going a whole fifteen minutes over its allotted hour. Normally I wouldn’t mind that, but it did mean I missed out on fifteen minutes of the after show, which just so happened to have ballooned up to a forty-five minute episode. It’d have been nice to have gotten a head’s up on that, but I relent.
This week’s season finale felt more or less like this season has felt, iffy on a hole with it’s season long arc, but nonetheless still good. Compared to 3B’s season finale it was unimpressive, but the writing on this season has been so back and forth and all over the place, I wasn’t altogether that surprised. I mean, the benefactor issue gets fixed last week, and then we have to deal with Peter again, really? He is interesting as a villain, but I really enjoyed having him pop up every now and again with his quippy little one-liners, and having make another 180 and go back to being evil Peter just felt like a devolution. Besides, the way the actor had been playing him most of this season – without the knowledge of Peter’s “true” intent – didn’t feel like it was leading toward this. And what’s the point in killing Scott anyway, when you can’t become an Alpha by stealing from a True Alpha?
As always, I adored Stiles this week – he’s continuously unmistakably fantastic. Loved the face he gave Derek when the latter was explaining to Liam what the “talisman” was. (Side note: is anyone worried that the use of mantras predicts Liam leaving Scott’s pack for the docile one?) It was really great seeing Stiles discussing with his dad everything that was going on with Scott and Kira in Mexico, and him having to go there because there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for the pack (read: weird family, a la Buffy), particularly being Scott’s best friend. Despite his ferocity for the sardonic sense of humour, I really feel like Stiles, in this moment, shines as a young adult because he really has his priorities straight and understands responsibility. Speaking of responsibility, absolutely adored at the end when Sheriff Stilinski cuffs Stiles to the desk – perfect punishment.
One thing I do have to commend this week is the use of sound. The eeriness when Kira wakes up to her open cage and calls out for Scott thinking it was his doing (No, sweetie, it’s not Scott. Don’t you watch horror movies?) devoid of any other music or sounds other than what would be natural to that environment was absolutely perfect. Also, the final song of episode I greatly enjoyed.
Speaking of technical aspects, there’s also the ever-enjoyable cinematography I need to take note of. Despite a few choice close ups at the end – I’m looking at you Kate and Argent – that didn’t really give the actors a lot of good light, most of the filming was done quite well, including the shot of Peter skidding to a stop with his shocked face in regards to his nephew. The CGI-ing, though, or whatever it was, towards the end of the fight between Peter and Scott when Scott’s stopping all of Peter’s punches, was kind of terrible, but otherwise it wasn’t too bad.
In other respects to the episode, I may be one of the only people that don’t really care of Braeden and Derek. I mean, yay for Derek and his discovery of a non-homicidal – at least not yet – girlfriend, but much like how Stiles and Malia started, these two felt like they were just kind of haphazardly thrown together. For the most part, I didn’t even feel like those tears were real for the loss of someone she cared about (read: cared about, not loved, so many goddamned shows throw the word love around too much without believability).
A couple other final things to mention – one being the fact that Liam was the one that brought Scott out of his Berserker state. Okay, sure they have that commonality of worrying whether they’re monsters, and Liam finally got the hang of that this week (and whoa was that ever quick), but I would’ve hoped that at least Stiles would be the one to get through to him. Maybe it had to be a werewolf, and maybe that werewolf just happened to have to be Liam because he’s Scott’s Beta, but I don’t know, I was just a bit bewildered at this when it happened – although maybe it was just the acting. Also, thank God Derek is still alive, and how cool is it that we’re going to get to delve into the whole werewolf myth – hopefully – next season with Derek’s complete transformation. I bet his mama would be proud. And, finally, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I’m going to keep on saying it: I adore Coach; he is absolutely fantastic, and possibly my favourite adult on this show.
All in all, this episode, much like its season, was unimpressive and a bit too discombobulated. Individually this season’s episodes have been good, but they haven’t quite meshed well. Then again that’s how this series seems to be. It’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs, goods and bads, and the stories are just interesting and well enough done that it keeps me interested and coming back. Plus, who doesn’t need a guilty pleasure show stock full of drama and otherworldly nonsense to keep them going through their average day?
My rating: 7.5 out of 10 – this season: 7 out of 10.

Best Lines:
“I can keep you from going.” – Sheriff Stilinski tells his son. “I’d find a way.” – Stiles replies. “I can throw you in a cell.” – his father volleys back. “I’d still find a way.” – Stiles states, full of conviction. (Awe, Stiles all loyal.)
“Okay, okay, great. Do I get a fun?” – Stiles asks his father, after he agrees for them to both go down to Mexico together. “No.” – Stilinski exclaims.
“I’m not okay with that.” – Braeden says to Derek, upon realizing he knows he’s going to die. “I am.” – Derek replies, simply. (A simply beautiful line at that, and so much behind those two words.)
“If everyone is sufficiently freaked out, I say we get going.” – Peter states.
“You, you were dead.” – Kate mutters, shocked. “No, I was evolving; something you will never do.” – Derek corrects, after changing full form back to human shape.
“Okay, I believe you.” – Coach says. “Really?” – Liam replies incredulously. “Absolutely not.” – Coach shoots back.

Oh, and a friendly reminder, don’t stand between Lydia and her friends, she’s getting mighty handy with a bat.

Outlander 1.06 Review: The Truth of the Matter

The latest episode of Outlander aired Saturday night, entitled ‘The Garrison Commander’, and boy was it chock-full of fun (she writes sarcastically) – and oh so enlightening. This was the first episode I had the pleasure of viewing going into it with knowledge of what was to come, having just surpassed the storytelling of the TV series two days prior reading the book. Nonetheless, it was still quite enjoyable, and not just because it shook things up a bit by differing from the book in where certain events were placed timeline wise. Having continued further in the book, though, let me just tell you; I’m looking forward to the next episode even more.
Anyways, getting back to this episode, I found myself enjoying the momentum of this TV series, in respects to the book. The way they’ve laid out certain conversations (i.e. how she’s informed of Jamie’s second whipping) and gotten to certain moments (Claire not being taken to Inverness, but actually needing to be handed over to the dubious Black Jack Randall for “questioning”) works much more efficiently with regards to the medium of TV than how it was plotted out in the first novel. The showrunners and writers seem quite capable with the material they were given from the books, and properly translating that onto the screen.
So, basically this week we learned just how terrible a person Jack Randall is, by way of his flashing back on the flogging of Jamie some years prior, as well as his brief beating of Claire to elicit the truth out of her. This is the pivotal moment when Claire truly realizes just how great a departure this Randall is of her dear – unborn – husband and is able to see him as more of the villain of the piece – at least in my belief. We also discovered, in order to not be handed over to Randall and the English Red Coats, Claire must wed a Scot – none other than the beautiful (despite/in spite of his back) Jamie *insert correct last name here*. This led to what is probably my favourite part of this episode; the conversation between Claire and Jamie at the end.
In regards to other aspects of the episode, I would just like to raise my hand now and say that I, for one, enjoy the voice-overs by the ever-lovely Caitriona Balfe (Claire). I really don’t understand why everyone is all up in a tizzy about the voice-overs; I honestly believe they help us delve into the mind of Ms. Claire Beauchamp. Also, I would like to commend all those involved in the flogging scene, other than some slightly unrealistic skin flap, it was quite well done. Speaking for myself, I liked the real look of the streaming blood, and the way they filmed the scene with Sam Heughan (Jamie) slipping all over the place. This was quite a pivotal moment for this season, and not only to demonstrate Randall’s monstrous qualities, but to establish Jamie’s character as well. To go through all that pain, and not to cry out or be broken by it – quite remarkable.
 All in all, this was a very well put together episode. This certainly marked the point where the momentum of the series begins moving much more fluidly, and shed a great deal of light on our leading characters. I absolutely adored getting to see more of the Scottish countryside, and particularly liked that stream marked as something liars may not drink from and expect to be able to lie without consequence. The pieces of this series certainly appear to be coming together quite well as this point, and I look forward to the last two episodes before the split season break.
My rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Best Lines:
“The truth carries a weight that no lie can counterfeit.” – Randall explains to Claire.
“I believe that a part of you lives still.” – Claire remarks. “It would be pretty to think so.” – Randall replies.

“Doesn’t it bother you that… that I’m not a virgin.” – Claire inquires. “Well, uh, no. So long as it doesna bother you that… I am. … I reckon one of us should ken what they’re doing.” – Jamie responds.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Outlander 1.01 Series Premiere Review - A Long Journey in Time

The new series Outlander premiered Saturday night, in a basically self-titled series debut entitled ‘Sassenach’ – which one character explains as meaning Englishman, or at its worst outlander. The show opens up just after the end of World War II and our heroine Mrs. Claire Randall learning she is to reunite with her husband – to which she’s only seen a total of ten days in the last five years. The series opens really well, with a lovely voice over from our lead character kind of tying together choices with the present and the past, with a vase being a symbol of one choice that isn’t made.
Perhaps it was going into this series with an open mind and being comfortable with more intellectual material than a lot of television series demonstrate these days, but I thought this show was extremely enjoyable. If you’re going in expecting big scenes of action and destruction than this is not the show for you, there’s more of a finesse and detail to this series that takes it about half the first episode to get to the really peculiar circumstances Claire finds herself in.
This episode was very beautifully done in that matter; it doesn’t leave us with the shocker of Claire being in another time in the last five minutes which would strive to bring us back next week – which I was very thankful for – but it also doesn’t give us all the information involved that would drive our curiousity out the window – and us along with it. We know she’s ended up two hundred years in the past, but we don’t know why, how, or if she’ll be stuck there for good. There’s a good chance she’ll spend a great deal of time there, given her palm reading earlier in the episode depicts two marriages – please let it be that beautifully chiseled soldier whose shoulder she pops back in its socket – without a broken long.
Speaking of that beautiful man with the jaw of a Greek god, I’d like to take a look at the characters we’ve been introduced to us thus far. Obviously, there’s Claire, our heroine, whose smart, committed to her husband, and isn’t the believing type. The actress does a fine job of carrying this series, depicting a natural curiousity and a deep fondness for her husband. She’s very likeable, and despite the feeling I get that she is more than her husband, they seem very much in love. Mr. Frank Randall, however, is a little tedious, and a bit of a bore, but I can still evidently see the love he shares with his wife. These two fit well together, but there’s almost something missing that makes this time travelling adventure quite perfect. Mr. Chiseled Jaw, aka Jamie Fraser (although I don’t believe his name was actually mentioned in the pilot), on the other hand, instills a kind of excitement that makes me wishful that this is the other husband Claire will have. The chemistry is there between them, and that they keep being thrown together throughout the latter half of the first episode is a good sign, but it could always be a red herring. I am excited to learn more about his character, though.
In a technical aspect, this series was very well written, well acted, and the cinematography was neither disorienting or too in your face. The lighting didn’t have me squinting to see what was going on, like so many series do, particularly when natural lighting is all that is involved, and the transitioning – or fluidity – of the episode worked quite well. Also, I really enjoyed the costumes, particularly Claire’s outfits. They made me want to find something of the sort and for society to kind of go back to a 1940’s style of dress – rather than the eye roll inducing crop tops and shorts/dresses/skirts that leave nothing to the imagination. Now I’m no historian, so I can’t speak to the validity of any of the costume pieces, but I thought that they were quite well done, as well as the rest of the set dressing.
While I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this series and desire to watch it again next Saturday, I am quite glad I was given this review to write, for it gave me the chance to give this show a shot. Everything about this series really worked for me, and while it may eventually grow tiresome, I am definitely excited to give the rest of this season a chance. It was very beautifully done, and somehow gave me a Legend of the Seeker vibe to it. And it also makes me want to go out and buy the books the series is based on right away. So, if you’ve come to this review to see whether or not you should give Outlander a chance, let me just say that if you have an open mind about, and don’t expect something constantly in your face, this would definitely be a welcome addition to your TV schedule. That’s just from one TV addict to another.
My rating: 8 out of 10.

Best Lines:
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” – Claire says. “I’m not at all sure that I haven’t.” – Frank replies.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Teen Wolf 3.16 Review: You Can't Fight A Shadow

This is a friendly reminder to all those that have yet to watch Monday night’s episode of Teen Wolf, titled ‘Illuminated’, that now would be the perfect time to direct your head away from this screen and to go and watch that. For this is not a spoiler free blog. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
Surely it is a sad day when I am able to wholeheartedly concur that an MTV made series is better than that of one the big five networks (I’m looking at you CW). More specifically, this show is several steps ahead of both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals in numerous ways. And boy am I glad that at least something of the paranormal variety is being done well (sorry, Supernatural, I’m rather disappointed with you as of late).
This series, man, is just incredibly addictive. I have yet to catch up on either Sleepy Hollow’s two-hour season finale, or the last two episodes of Almost Human, but I am caught up on this series. I just have to say how incredibly glad I am that they’ve given us two half-seasons this year, because this half of the season is so incredibly tantalizing. I just love everything that’s going on.
So, this week’s episode was set on Halloween, and our heroes (and some burgeoning heroes, *cough*Ethan and Aiden*cough*) found themselves being stalked by these masked shadow men – and I’m not talking the shamans that created the first slayer – these men were literally shadow-formed men. Very intriguing, and quite obviously difficult to fight, but fight Derek and Scott did try, rather fruitlessly. A lot of other stuff happened, but the biggest part of this episode were these synchronous masked shadow men.
There is a lot going on this second half of the third season, and while it may not appear to work perfectly together, I am nonetheless intrigued. I’m trusting the writers to have a plan, so I’m gathering that they will. They have, after all, seamlessly made it so that the Scott and Allison split has been natural to the story, as well as helping either of them to move on – Allison with Isaac, and Scott with new girl Kira (although I’m still convinced there are remnants of chemistry between Scott and Lydia, especially as Lydia yelled for Scott as she saw the figures). So, I trust that they know what they’re doing, seeing as their not pandering to their own selfish desires, rather than staying true to the story like some showrunners might (*cough*Julie Plec*cough*).
Let me just say, though, that I have a lot of questions that will eventually need answers. First, what is Kira, or what is protecting her? Scott says it’s a fox, but I’m curious to know what exactly it is, and why it’s protecting her. Also, what did that shadow man do to Lydia that stopped her banshee scream? And what’s with the marks they’ve put on the ones they’ve put them on? Were they also planning to mark Scott, when the sun came up? Or possibly Kira? Were these men – or whatever they are – brought here because of what Scott, Stiles, and Allison did to save their respective parents? Is that why all these things are happening now? Did they kind of forget those issues they were having this episode? And why does Allison’s father have a broken shadow man mask? Also, why did Stiles have the key, and possibly leave the message for Barrow? And, finally, what is it Scott’s father doesn’t want the Sheriff, or Stiles, to know? Like I said, so many questions, I just hope most of them can eventually get answered.
Some nice moments to mention regarding this week’s episode, one being the hilarity of Derek with the three trick or treating kids, from his confused look with them, all the way up to him scaring them off. As always, the Scott and Stiles bromance – I absolutely adore these two when they’re on screen together, and how great of a friendship they have. Also, how loyal they all seem to be to Scott, particularly Isaac, despite his feelings for Allison. Of course, I can’t go without remarking on Stiles awesome dance moves. Really, he was killing it on the dance floor (note the tone of sarcasm in my writing). Also, the fact that my second last note regarding this episode was: Damn, it’s over. This week was just jam-packed with greatness, I could go on and on about little moments in the episode, but I’ll just finish by saying I wish it never ended.
All in all, this series has definitely come together. The first couple of seasons were definitely well built, for the most part, but it’s really beginning to hit its stride. It’s even giving me strong feelings of remembrance to the good old days of the WB, when great shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Gilmore Girls were on the air with their terrific dialogue and witty characters. You don’t get that a lot these days. I can see it in Revolution, but not much else I’m currently watching has a good enough feel to it. Although I do question what the point of adding techno to the opening credits was all about. Otherwise, I’m really happy with the way this show is going, and am glad to see how greatly some of the acting has improved.
My rating: 8 out of 10.

Best Lines:
“To be honest, I don’t believe a word Stiles has said since he learned how to speak.” – the Sheriff states.
“Is that worse than stealing?” – Scott asks. “Smarter.” – Stiles replies.
“I can’t believe you just mom’d me.” – Scott remarks.

Okay, apologies for not writing any reviews in a couple weeks, I’ve been in a bit of a funk review-wise lately. But I’m going to review all shows I deem have enough material for me to write about. This is one of those series, as is Revolution. But I’m not quite sure what else between here and that will get reviewed. So don’t expect reviews for all shows listed every week. I will try to review one or two episodes a day. Unfortunately, I’ve felt more like re-watching Buffy and Angel simultaneously at the moment, so it may not be very scheduled for the time being.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

American Horror Story: Coven 3.10 Review: Witches of all Colours

As a friendly reminder to all those that have yet to watch last week’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven, titled ‘The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks’, this is where I suggest you turn away from the screen and go watch the episode before proceeding ahead. For this is not a spoiler free blog. THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! You’ve been warned.
This is going to be short and sweet, being that I don’t have much to say regarding this episode. I will say that it was rather drab for a series that has a limited number of episodes to tell the stories it wants. Sure, Nan was killed, we learned Fiona doesn’t have a soul (uh, what?), and Madison got Misty trapped in a crypt (when why would she, being that if she’s the next Supreme, killing her won’t disprove that – these characters have no logic), but it still wasn’t very interesting.
The entirety of this episode felt very much like a nod to Stevie Nicks, being that she guest stars as slightly altered version of herself. I completely did not understand at all why they used her name in the episode title when she’s barely utilized for more than a couple talking’s to Misty and Fiona, as well as a few tunes. This season isn’t making a lot of sense to me at all. Also, the way Fiona acted around Stevie Nicks made no sense to the character that she was.
Overall, for the most part this series is well-written – basic logic aside – but it’s just not being written interestingly. There isn’t a whole lot to this year, and I’m disappointed because witches were my first supernatural love (before growing to become werewolves). The only highlight to this season is Sarah Paulson, whom I love much more this year, as this character. That breakdown she had this episode was phenomenal, and the only thing I greatly enjoyed. I just, I’m not sure how I feel about getting excited for a fourth season of this series when I haven’t loved it since season one.
My rating: 6 out of 10.

No memorable dialogue.

I’m off to watch Nashville now, check back soon.