Tag Archives: Review

A Series of Series Part 2

In my last post I wrote about the television series that I have watched recently and I got up to Pretty Little Liars which is back on! Horray!
But going back to the break from it until now; I stumbled upon American Horror Story on Netflix and I almost didn’t watch it. I’d never heard of it before and I made the assumption that it’d be really cheesy and have a really annoying cast but I gave it a go anyway and I am so glad I did because it was phenomenal. I was about ten minutes it when I realised that I was already hooked and from then on I couldn’t wait for each episode and I kept trying to work out where it’d go from there and it was constantly on my mind. There are currently five seasons and as far as I know there will be a 6th. I’ve only seen Murder House, Asylum, Coven and Freak Show but I am looking forward to seeing Hotel. Each season is a different story so the first one is Murder House which is about a family moving in to a really big, old fashioned and relatively creepy looking house which they soon discover is haunted. It’s actually quite a complex storyline involving an enormous cast and various back stories, flash backs and so on but it is put together so flawlessly it’s like a work of art. The main cast all end up playing multiple roles in each season and you might have them recurring in each season or take a break through one and appear later on but it really shows how incredible their acting skills are because you either fall in love or hate a character and then see that actor in a different role soon after and forget that they just played someone else before (like actors do duh). I absolutely love Jessica Lange, I think that she is incredible and I was sad to hear that she won’t be involved in American Horror Story anymore. I also absolutely love Evan Peters which surprised me because I saw him in Sleepover (2004) and absolutely couldn’t stand him but he has come such a long way in the past eleven years and not only is he one of the most talented actors I’ve seen in a while…he’s also a bit of a heart throb. He reminds me a lot of a young Johnny Depp. Anyway this is something I’d highly recommend especially if you are a fan or have been a fan of horror movies or television series. I’ll be doing a full post about this in the near future as it is brilliant and deserves more written about it.
After this I gave Bates Motel a go, but after the two episodes I wasn’t impressed and although I may give it another go in the future I decided to move on to Orange Is The New Black which I’d heard from so many people how good it was and knew a small amount about it before watching it but this one grew on me as I didn’t love it to start off with but over time I think it’s just got better and better. The cast is absolutely superb, especially Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon (That 70’s Show), Taryn Manning (Crossroads), Natasha Lyonne (American Pie) and Madeline Brewer. To be honest with you, I could list them all as they are all incredible actors and actresses. This is an amazing show based on a memoir written by Piper Kerman on her own experiences in a women’s prison for drug trafficking and money laundering back in 2004. I would highly recommend this series, it’s a moving story with a great amount of comedy thrown in, and there are so many different characters all with interesting back stories. I can’t wait for this to return as we are currently up to Series 3 and eagerly waiting to find out what happens next.
So here we are… back to the present and waiting for the next episode of the amazing Pretty Little Liars. It’s absolutely fantastic, the beginning of this season jumps forward five years and the girls all meet up again in Rosewood and it gets messy again with a new A, more lies and more twists.

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The Eternal Quandary of Doctor Who…

Like many people my age, I grew up watching Doctor Who of the 1970s Pertwee/Baker era and beyond, so the new series is a continuation of a long running story.  For many though, they only know the new incarnation that has existed since 2005 and may be engaging with it on face value, without any baggage.  These two statements may, or may not be serious factors in my problem with Doctor Who as it stands now.

If I were to sum up my key issues, they would be narrative, structure, logic, dialogue, originality and characterisation.

However, a key question before I get into all that is, ‘but is this programme even FOR me?’

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The Truth is Out There…. Or Is It?

This post is a review of the Novel:

James Smith’s world is dominated by messages. His entire existence is governed by deciphering clues, in words, numbers, syllables & people’s actions. Piecing together signs that will eventually lead him to the Plan… this not only costs him his girlfriend, who has practically left him, but also his job, something that is only hindering his goal.

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I Love Angel Beats!

About two years ago I decided to try out some anime and see whether I liked it or not, it was always something I was aware of but had never been that interested in and I can’t remember what it was that attracted me to it but I decided to do a bit of research and pick one to watch. I wanted to pick a series rather than a film and I didn’t want the series to be too long.

I decided that Angel Beats! was for me, it’s a 13 episode television series directed by Seiji Kishi. I suppose it’d fall in the categories of fantasy, comedy, drama and action. There is also a bit of romance in there also. I don’t want to give anything away because I’d recommend it to be watched by anyone but it’s about a boy called Yuzuru Otonashi who I suppose ‘wakes up’ in a high school where he meets Yuri Nakamura who explains to him that they are all dead and this is now a kind of limbo. The other main character is Angel who they are at war against and despite being tiny she really does kick ass. There’s a lot more to it and many more characters but I don’t want to spoil it. Because I really do think it’s something that needs to be watched. I absolutely fell in love with the storyline and all the characters and cried so much during the final episode. I think this was defiantly the perfect choice for me to help me get in to anime and I have watched other films and series since but I can honestly say that I haven’t found anything that I have enjoyed as much as Angel Beats!

Although saying that I am very happy to take recommendations of things to watch so feel free to post in the comments.


Sci-fi and Fantasy TV update…

Fringe

After a few posts about the state of TV Sci-fi and Fantasy shows, I thought I’d do a brief update on where they’re currently at…

Alphas:
This has had a relatively good start, with the first season showing some likeable characters and the usual dose of conspiracy and subterfuge thrown in.  It has come across as an ‘A-Team’ with powers, which hasn’t always worked, but has shown enough promise in these episodes to give it a chance. A grittier angle, if chosen could definitely help proceedings.

Once Upon a Time:
The first of the ‘fairy tale’ shows, this has proven to be solid in the ratings and will definitely see out a full season; this may be due to the overriding ‘frothiness’ of the show, which plays on charm and lightness, lacking any real menace or darkness in its scenarios. Robert Carlyle and Jennifer Morrison are as watchable as ever, but you do get the feeling that the actors are not being stretched, or allowed to express themselves as much as you’d like; Lana Parrilla, for instance,  is clearly better than currently represented.

Grimm:
Much darker than Once Upon a Time, Grimm is angled much more towards the bloody nature of fairy tales and throws in some conspiracy/politics for good measure. This will no doubt have more depth that OUaT in the long run, but needs to find its feet. The main characters have still to gel properly and how each character interacts with David Giuntoli’s main character Nick, has yet to be settled. In some cases it really doesn’t seem to be working, but in others, such as when paired with Silas Weir Mitchell (Eddy) it really does work well. More time is needed, but should come good.

Warehouse 13:
Still strong, this has retained its playful feel, but added in some more depth; unfortunately this comes in the form of the usual conspiracy angle, but it has been handled quite well. The charm of the main cast and ‘steampunk’ technology continues to be exploited well and so far they have avoided all the main hokum pitfalls that could have arisen. The traditional Syfy channel Christmas special was quite successful and had a good balance between fan ‘nods’ and story.

Eureka:
A very good season with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton guest starring for a large portion, this has been a bittersweet period, with the news that the next season will be the last. Still quite goofy in tone, but the almost Acme  style science still has its charm. The Christmas special was very hit and miss however, with much of it being animated, but the script and story was poor. While the animation worked well and allowed for various jokes, the underlying story was poorly constructed and had far too many ‘life lessons’ for key characters, which came over as saccharine,  preachy and forced.

Haven:
They’ve managed to move this along quite well, while retaining the central core of the idea, and not forcibly maintaining a status quo; this has allowed the depth to come into the characters and it seems they are allowing it to naturally develop. Some slight hiccups in the season arc, with certain characters and plotlines not working 100%, with the writers putting themselves in a awkward place, which they then failed to get out of satisfactorily.

Fringe:
Well, another JJ Abrams related show has changed it all up again, as he tends to do after every couple of seasons. (e.g. Alias etc..) this time however, it has worked quite well and Fringe continues to be one of the best shows on TV. Solid performances all round and an engaging storyline have kept this from going stale. The change this season has raised some new ideas and fresh perspective, so creatively much is possible. I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode after the Christmas hiatus!

Terra Nova:
Still far too much standard storytelling with this one and every episode I am reminded once more of Earth2. The setting is almost irrelevant and not enough is being made of either the sci-fi elements or the pre-historic landscape elements. So much more could be done with the resources of the show, let alone with the concept, that is disappointing that the scope has been so formulaic and standard fare. Must do better!

Supernatural:
While this hasn’t been the strongest or most consistent season storywise so far, it has still been good quality and remains a good show. It has yet to be seen whether the introduction of the Leviathans will be seen as weak or not, but so far their overall arc seems to be too far in the background compared to the brother soap opera. The lack of Castiel has been a loss to this half of the season, so hopefully this will change in the second half. Potential for Sheriff Mills to be a bigger part is quite encouraging if they take that route.

Other stuff I couldn’t give a monkeys about:
Vampire Diaries (whatever…)
The Secret Circle (90210 with Witches)


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