Tag Archives: DRAMA

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Some of the popular tv shows I review are:
SMALLVILLE, VAMPIRE DIARIES, NIKITA, THE WALKING DEAD, CAPRICA, FRINGE, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, MAD MEN, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, HAWAII FIVE-0, COMMUNITY and many more.

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Review – Caprica – The DirtEaters

caprica dirteaters avenging angels

What all the cool New Cap City players are wearing.

This week:
The idea of ethnicity is re-explored through flash backs and choices by the Adama family. Daniel makes yet another deal with the devil. The Avenging Angels are the latest fad.

Pluses:
The idea that honest work like farming could be so distasteful to others.
One’s own choosing to return to the soil.
Sam and Joseph’s journey as children.
Daniel being even more devious.
Everyone has their own agenda.

Minuses:
I still lack empathy for Amanda.
That stupid editing between V-World and Caprica.
Tamara and Zoe aren’t strong enough actors to pull of their current story lines.

This was an incredibly strong character driven episode. It is a shame that just as this series/season found its feet, they were removed out from under. I write this having seen The Heavens Will Rise, and I found this episode a perfect counterpoint for the next step.

#threeandahalfpandas

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Review – Stargate Universe – Visitation

Dear Santa. I would like a pony, a puppy, oh and not to die alone.

This week:
What a left behind has returned. Hope is dashed. Love makes hard decisions and a wish is made reality.

Pluses:
The nice little twist at the end.
The “something missing” effect.
Greer’s farewell to Chloe.

Minuses:
What happened last week seems to be forgotten.
A glimmer of hope once again smashed by the show (including buy in by audience of TJ’s baby)
Unnecessary pain and suffering.

For the love of pete, please do something with your minor characters. Volker is begging for a real story – he is probably the most interesting of the minor players and what I have seen of Patrick Gilmore’s acting here and in Riese, he could deliver something really strong, funny, interesting – anything! Or how about some more Vanessa James- I would even take more Brody (and yes while Kelamis is an Aussie – I don’t think his character is as interesting as Gilmore’s). We were going somewhere with James and then the wheels just fell off. The main characters are decidedly boring with only Greer and Eli still really engaging. Please!!!

#twopandas

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Review – The Walking Dead – Vatos

Beauty and a moment of normality in a post apocalyptic world

This week:
Life returns to normal – as much as it can under the stress and duress of the zombie apocalypse, but the pressure does show. The boys are not alone in Atlanta. Behind darkness there can be light. Merle has disappeared with something very dear to our heroes’ hearts. Nowhere and nothing is safe.

Pluses:
The disparity between those perfect moments and reality – that eternal attempt to stay human (literally and metaphorically speaking).
Andrea and Amy.
My mind coming up with a stack of hypotheses while watching.
Moments of tenderness and hope.
The sense of loss.
So strongly character driven.
So simple yet so brilliant.
The development of Jim and Shane.

Minuses:
Losing characters I was just starting to love.
I think it was Merle who bought those Walkers to camp (I hope I am wrong).

I wouldn’t want to be signing on to that show – chances are you will die within a couple of episodes. I can’t express just how poetic this episode was – exploring the themes of humanity and family counterposed against the raw savagery of the Walkers.. From the colours to the light to the shot style, everything reflected the disparities. It was all I could do not to cry in the office – I watched this episode over lunch on my MBP.

My only concern is that it will develop into the depressing and hopeless (feeling) of SGU – however I understand the source material is strong, so fingers crossed this will not be the case.

#fourandahalfpandas

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Review – Smallville – Patriot

Script meeting: So we have Oliver Queen without a shirt? "Actually sir, we have him without a shirt for most of the episode." Good, good. Any chance we can get Clark shirtless? "No sir, but we have AquaMan with his shirt off, AquaMan's wife naked and Lois with a lot of cleavage." Good work team!.

This week:
The Vigilante Registration Act goes live and it is under the command of Col Tigh. Seems the cylons survived after all! Oli signs up. AC knows his past, gets captured. Clark tries to save the day and Lois gets into the group. Lots of mushy stuff.

Pluses:
The Silver Age is about to begin.
Nice tie ins back to the old Lex days.
Lois fighting for her man.
Oli being a guinea pig.
Lovey dovey stuff.
Great to see AC again.

Minuses:
Clark’s speech at the end lacked the passion that Lois’ had.
Still doesn’t feel like a cohesive unit.
The Omega symbol… really?

This season certainly took a while to find his feet, but it is finally here. This episode had everything. Overall arc, minor character return, not one, but two super heroes shirtless, and a cylon.

#fourpandas
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Review – Mad Men – Blowing Smoke and Tomorrowland

What once I despised I have become.

I finally got around to seeing the last two episodes in Mad Men. I always meant to, and I was really engaged this series – but stuff came up and I forgot about it. It wasn’t till I was recently house-sitting and going through my media drive for something to watch (their dvd collection was almost non-existent and entirely non-compatible with pandas).

It was actually nice to see these two episodes back to back. From the uncertainty and lack of control in Blowing Smoke to sense of surety that Don felt in Tomorrowland it was such a good conclusion to this season and to his journey. It was also very pleasing in a schadenfreude way to see Betty’s misfortune as she lives out her choices.

Pluses:
Changing the message.
Seeing Don happy (or at least thinking he is happy).
Megan Calvet’s reaction to the milkshake.
Peggy and Joan discussing the development over a cigarette.
Seeing the kids actually happy and acting like a family.
Faye Miller breaking down on the phone.
Betty getting what she deserved.
Sally’s progression through therapy.
Sally’s little friend telling Betty that just because she was said not everyone else had to be.
Those brief moments of almost honesty Don has with the kids and then with Megan.
I also adored how of all the women he has slept with, he loves Megan.
Finally I found it very interesting that for all his snide looks about Roger marrying his secretary, Don will do the same.

Minuses:
No more Dr Miller.
I miss Cooper.
An eternity till next season.

I do wonder if we are going to get another time jump like we did for the start of this season. It was interesting how Dr Miller said that Don only liked the beginning of things, let’s jump past the honeymoon and see them as a family – I wonder if the kids will be with them instead of Betty – who as Sally’s friend correctly said doesn’t like kids. Bring on next year

#fourandahalfpandas

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Review – SGU – Malice

Here little dinosaur creature...

This week:
Grief. Revenge thy name is dinosaur like creatures but your middle name is Rush.

Pluses:
It didn’t suck.
I did like Eli’s reaction.
The lines between right and wrong are redrawn yet again.

Minuses:
No more Gin.
Young, worst leader ever or worst leader ever.
Still no minor character development (other than the two who just died).
Rush, bullet to head now please. Over this character – totally, well and truly over this character.
Scott, boy scout or girl guide?

Let's talk about HOPE!

Seriously is no one ever allowed to be happy on that bloody vessel? When is it going to be panto night? BEHIND YOU! Right now, they aren’t living or fighting for anything, just surviving, and that isn’t living. Every time there is a brief moment of happiness the clouds open and the floods begin again. On one level last night’s episode was a dark little romp, on the other it was incredibly frustrating. What they need is a Katara character to wax lyrically and bossily about hope a bit.

#threepandas
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Review – La Femme Nikita (France 1990)

Did someone ask for gritty and bleak?

I have been loving SBS this month – to celebrate 30 years on the air, they have been playing everyone’s favourite world movies. Over the weekend, while I was engaging in Adventures in Puppy Sitting, I stayed up late to watch the original incarnation of Nikita. It has been years since I saw it and really only remembered a couple of scenes, so given how much I am loving the CW’s redux of Nikita, I had to watch.

Nikita is a junkie, punk bad girl who murders a policeman in cold blood and is convicted of his and the deaths of victims in the movie’s shoot out – which opens the film. Finding herself in a hidden world of training and development at the DGSE (the French CIA), Nikita transfers herself from riding the line of being cancelled (to use the CW’s Nikita’s terms) to being a glowing success – a hot hit woman.

Upon her completion of her training, she starts what she fools herself into thinking is a normal life till the people that made her come calling.The second half of the movie traces her trying to balance her love and pretend life with his boyfriend and the demands made by her true employers.

Pluses:
The disparity between worlds.
Viktor.
Lies and the lies to hide the lies.
People looked real, unlike the US versions.
Believable characters trying to live in a world out of their control.
Brilliant set pieces – that restaurant scene is just glorious.
The dark humour littered throughout the movie.

Minuses:
Some bits were a tad over the top, but I think it was to show the differences.
By some bits, I mean the overacting of Anne Parillaud.
The unlikely relationships she develops.

Even with the effects of time (learning what a mouse is hehhe) it is still a dark adventure into an under world beyond the law. It was certainly ahead of its time and spawned a successful ongoing franchise. All that being said, it wasn’t as good as I remembered it. I loved how gritty it was, but its over the top depiction of wild Nikita just saw me lack empathy for the protagonist.

#threeandahalfpandas

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Review – The Walking Dead – 1st 3 eps

Here we come, walkin' Down the street. We get the funniest looks from Ev'ry one we meet.

Review encompassing: Pilot, Guts and Tell it to the Frogs

I am not much of a horror loving Panda.

What gets me isn’t the blood and guts (more on guts later) but the suspense.

I can’t stand it.

Scary suspense even more so. It took me two goes to watch the pilot of The Walking Dead. The first run though, I didn’t make it past him entering the stairwell – yes I was that much of a sook. This time round though, I was in a bright airy lounge room while house sitting, with a guard dog pressed up next to me to keep me safe.

I really (REALLY) enjoyed the first three eps. For me the character driven under lays of the show was remarkably enjoyable. Yes there are the Walkers out there, and yes we are seeing people outside (way outside) of their comfort zones dealing with this problem, but the truth behind the characters still shone through thanks to great writing and acting by the cast. Some of the scenes were just so wonderfully shot, graphic novel perfect I am sure, with the imagery a constant reminder to the truth of their situation.

The first episode really set the scene and delved into the confusion and conflict felt by the survivors as well as their desire to make it through.
The second episode for me was my favourite of the three. The humour, the characters and the situations were just brilliant. OMG and the gutsy guts scene was just out of this world.
The third episode was much more character based with little Walker action, which was good because we got to see that survivors are still dealing with issues they were dealing with before the Fall (to use a BSG term) as well as dealing with the fall out of decisions they made post Fall.

Pluses:
Believable characters in a situation that is beyond belief.
Real world problems continue on.
Rag tag bunch of heroes.
Zombie makeup and acting is just awesome.
Loving the character if Glenn and his dark exuberance.
Dynamic between Lori and Shane now her husband is back.
Some of the set pieces in Atlanta were stunning.

Minuses:
Still getting to know the characters – which I guess is what the third episode was about.
Still don’t know what really happened – soon I am sure.

I haven’t read the graphic novels so I don’t know where this is going or what is going to be the big cross roads in the arc, but please don’t tell me as I want to discover it with the general audience

#fourandahalfpandas
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Review – Caprica – Blowback

The exits are located here, here and here.

This week:
A trap is set for a STO member hiding in plain sight amongst Caprica’s finest. Lucy Rand arrives on Gemenon, hijinks ensue. Clarice’s religious fervour knows no bounds. Amanda in the Lion’s Den. Daniel is running out of time and discovers an uncomfortable truth. Sam can’t believe Joseph and Joseph sells out his morals and memories.

Pluses:
Even more reasons why the clyons are monotheistic.
Great set piece on the jump ship even if it was predictable.
Sam’s reaction when he finds out about the cylons and just to whom they are being sold.
The cylon in action.
The harsh true nature of the STO exhibited both on Geminon and on Caprica.
No Zoe.

Minuses:
No Zoe again which makes me fearful or a Zoe centric ep coming our way.
Grace – shudderific.
What ever happened to Serge?

On the heels of the announcement of their cancellation – Blowback reminds us why this can be such a strong show. Unfortunately we spent too much time on the Greystones (particularly Daniel and to some extent Zoe) in the middle of this journey – and they aren’t really where the story is at. Yes they created the cylons but their real “birth” isn’t their building, but their evolution – which seems to be outside of Greystone Industries. The Tauran subplot is also strong, as is the STO when it isn’t just religious rhetoric. Unfortunately it is too late for this show, but I will continue to delve into the world before the Fall on Caprica.

#fourpandas

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