Archive for December, 2013

Dr.Who-Review-S3ep4 – Gridlock

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Dr.Who-Reviews

s3_e03

 

In which we meet my favorite episode

 

You know that feeling when something just clicks? When you just like something so much, it fits like a missing puzzle piece? The concept of something is so interesting and unique, you can’t help but fall in love with it? That’s the kind of feeling that dominated this episode for me. It was really something else.

Now I’m struggling, because I know it wasn’t the highest quality episode this show has done, not the best acted, or even the most plot-progressing. But guess what, it was so much fun! We got to see the face of Bo, again, which was fascinating, but better yet, the entire concept was damn interesting. I loved the idea that the entire world these poor people live in is an ever circling and never-changing sphere of misplaced hope.

Perhaps I’m looking a little too deep into it, but I can’t help it. I had the biggest smile on my face throughout this episode. The fact that people wait years and years just to move a few yards, is just sort of funny and sad! Makes me laugh at how people complain about an hour long drive in traffic.

This episode was not just a bog-standard episode, while it didn’t change the face of the show, like some episodes have, it still was unique in every single way. I can easily say I have never seen an idea like this, and one that is executed so well. We once again get solid side-characters that were well-acted and interesting, from the cat-man to the lesbian grandmas in the car near them. Each one had their unique little niche to them that made me laugh, or just find interesting.

I watched this episode a few days ago already, yet I can’t help gush over it, still! It is somewhat of a little masterpiece in my mind, as I am rarely so invested in a plot-device. Even the giant-crab things, although containing various plot-holes, were still something out of the norm enough, but IN the norm enough for Dr.Who, that I just loved it! I liked the sense of mystery, and I loved how hard they worked on making this place seem so… lonely.

I mean, the CGI was actually really fantastic in this episode, for Dr.Who standards, but still miles ahead of what we have previously seen. We also got a few callbacks to the season 2 episode “New Earth” with the reformed cat-nun taking care of the Face of Bo. I liked this as well, as every character introduced in this show (if not killed) has a chance to return in later episodes.

Although was pretty “meh” on “New Earth” as an episode, this episode totally shifted my thoughts. It was something that I re-watched right after just to see if I missed anything, because there was just so much going on. Every bit of character dialogue was well-acted and meaningful, and the “villians” that were introduced in this episode weren’t ACTUALLY villians, just ones who care about their own life. I love when a show can adapt characters that aren’t so one-noted and boring.

Overall, this episode encapsulated me in its world, with vast and impressive CGI, good acting, and best of all, the coolest idea this show has thought up since… well since I started watching! Congratulations “Gridlock”, for some weird unexplainable reason… you are now my favorite episode!

 

Grade: A

s3_e02

 

Dickens? Shakespear? I can’t keep track anymore!

 

So the Doctor and his new companion Martha just met Shakespear… and he’s a womanizing drunk who is apparently very smart? This is probably the main gripe I have with this episode. They make him seem so cool and smart, yet we don’t even get a look at HOW he is that smart. How did he know the Doctor had psychic paper? What? My brain! IT HURTS!

Apart from these blatant logical and writing flaws, we also get a witches. Which is… expected? I mean, we got ghosts and zombies, so witches seem like the logical next step in the parade, right? Where they cool, unique, and interesting villians? Nope, they were witches. They weren’t like… interesting witches either. Just witches, doing witch things with their witch brooms and cauldrons.

Perhaps the only interesting aspect about them was the way they controlled people, and how they were defeated. Naming a witch apparently makes her teleport back to her other witch-friends? As you can see, I was left slightly baffled by this episode.

The Doctors performance was spot on, as well as Martha, whom is proving to be a very capable companion. I really love how she doesn’t just fall into shakespear’s arms like some malformed harlot looking for a good time.

Perhaps she was the saving grace of this episode, because it just felt like a bog-standard episode full of things that weren’t too important. There is clearly a budding romance between her and the Doctor and I’m generally curious whether or not he’ll give in. If he does, the writers better explain it as well as their little hearts can, because I’ll be upset if it’s unconvincing and contrived.

The concept of the voodoo doll is something we’ve seen in Scooby doo specials, so it wasn’t frightening or interesting, just a bit… predictable? I will say though, for the material given, the witches did a bang up job with their witchy-ness. As convincing as you can possibly get playing something so silly.

Overall, this episode wasn’t bad, it was just another “meh” episode of the show that seems to be sprinkled throughout the entirety of it because apparently thirteen episodes is too much for the writers to create creative and imaginative plotlines. Overall, it’s not something I really want to rewatch, but it was fun while it lasted.

Grade: C+

1000px-Fluttershy_and_Applejack_at_Sweet_Apple_Acres_S4E07

 

NOT THE BEEEE-… BAAAATS!!!

 

If I’m honest, this episode gets better and better the more I rewatch it. I ADORE this episode, from the fantastic themes to the overwhelmingly hilarious dialogue to the beautiful set-pieces. This was yet another classic springing up from the fourth season, a season I think is majorly positive so far.

Today we get to see BATS! An episode that lives up to its name, as not only do we get to see apple-sucking vampire bats, but we also get to see a beloved character transform into a bat as well. Equipped with fangs and insanely fluffy ears, Fluttershy did not hesitate to once again make this episode stand out. In fact, all the characters got a brilliant amount of screen time for an episode that seemed like it would be revolving around Applejack.

The only visible fault was the characters acting a wee bit out of character in ONE scene, which is forgivable since the rest of this episode was pure joy. The particularly impressive aspect of this episode was the brilliant artistic direction it was taken in. Having a very “Nightmare before Christmas” vibe to it, this episode had beautiful details implanted in it. From the smooth transitions between filters, to the panning of the “camera” this episode definitely stood out as this shows most technologically proficient episode. One that I will definitely say was a “Halloween-episode”.

Just like in a few previous episodes, this one continued this season’s trend of leaving of the episode with a little cliffhanger. I hope there is a valuable payoff to this, as I think it has the opportunity to create one of the best season finales to date.

The designs of the bats in this episode was another fantastic addition, as they weren’t some overly-cute creature, in fact, they were something I’d see from some of the “boy” cartoons out there (ugh, I hate saying things like this, but it’s a comparison I drew nonetheless).

The scenery was also delightfully spooky, as they ditched the rose-colored backgrounds for a darker pallet and filter, making it a true homage. I feel like this episode was more of a concept and execution than Power Ponies, the shows previous installment, as it has a more visible theme to it. It executes it with style and talent, and the voice actresses really seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I’ll say it again, I think this not only is perhaps the best episode of the season, but one of my favorite episodes of this show to date!

 

Grade: A

6a00d8341bfcfe53ef00e54f208c4d8834-800wi

Doctor! Meet your new assistant!

 

Now I know the Doctor only said that she will be going with him “once”… but come-on, two assistant “dumps” in two episodes? Seems completely unlikely! I think we just met our new assistant and my first impression is…I like her! In fact, I like her more than I liked Rose in season 1! This is because Martha is actually competent, she’s smart, therefore proving to be much more helpful to the Doctor than Rose was in the beginning.

While this episode was set back by a few… oddities, it was still a fantastic installment no less! We had some very interesting aspects, fit with a big enough budget for giant alien space ships! And in those spaceships? RHINOCEROS PEOPLE!!

This… what? I don’t even… I think my brain… what?!

That just outlined my reaction, because although their makeup models looked good and well made, they seriously should have worked better in animating the mouths… Apart from the intimidating march that the rhinoceros people have, when they talk, I can’t help but giggle. The entirety of this storyline was really interesting though.

I love the fact that there is some galactic police force filled with brutish mercenaries that aren’t just inherently evil. They do their job, because they are paid. It’s not like they go out of their way to hurt people, they are just rough badasses that are hired for their efficiency. This caused an interesting dynamic within the hospital, because after the initial “WTF” moment of being on the moon wore off, the audience needed something else to either love or hate. These rhino people where that something.

They were trying to find some criminal alien scum, whom can suck the blood out of the victim and gain their blood type. The only true misstep with this plot was her whole “I want to destroy the earth” scheme… as I found this just stupid. It wasn’t convincing or well-acted, it was just there for the sake of being something dangerous. I much rather them stick with dealing with the Rhino problem, and them trying to find the alien on board.

Again, this made for an interesting dynamic! Having every episode surround the destruction of the world tends to wear a little bit thin, and get sort of banal and boring. But apart from the silly facial animations, and the stupid “world destruction” plan, this episode was surprisingly solid. A very fit introduction for the Doctor’s new assistant, whom I’m very fond of! I eagerly await the next installment of the show, hopefully one that doesn’t hesitate to leave London.

P.S- I adore the personality they are starting to implant within Martha. Instead of freaking the hell out over being on the moon, and cowering in some corner, she was the one who was trying to figure everything out. Not only that, she had some brilliantly snappy dialogue with the Doctor, something we didn’t get to see much of!

 

Grade: B+

The-Doctor-and-Donna-Runaway-Bride-the-doctor-and-donna-doctordonna-8146952-800-600

 

Deck the halls with more christman ro-bots… falalalala… you get it.

 

Season three started with yet another holiday special… well, I’m starting to think all season will start like this. I do hope they become a little more diverse, because it’s seriously getting a bit boring watching the same Christmas robots do their business. However, I was warned that Christmas specials tend to be a little soppier… a little more emotional. Funny enough, this aspect of the episode hardly bothered me, in fact, I thought it provided for the best moment of this one hour run!

In which we meet Donna… I was a bit surprised, mostly because at the end she didn’t jump into the TARDIS with the Doctor, is she not going to be the new assistant? If not, then that’s fine. I honestly can’t gather up my thoughts about her, is she annoying, or funny? Or both? Because although she was played by a capable actress, it’s almost as if half the dialogue she wrote was written by a fantastic writer, and the other half by a pillock.

Her entire episode-long arch seemed to jump around, either developing too quickly, or too slowly. This caused for a somewhat disjointed experience that damaged the episodes enjoyment for me. However, we still got to see the Doctor mourning Rose (something I do hope carries on, since it’s simple, yet well-acted).

The threat was pretty… silly. A giant spider, very oddly acted, was definitely something I wasn’t expecting! Either for the good or for the bad, it was definitely an unexpected turn of events for the episode. The husband being a bad guy, yes, this was totally more expected if not blatant.

I do like the way Donna was developed overall though, no matter how disjointed the process felt. She is a character that tends to latch on, easily. Which makes her susceptible to being hurt… which is something the Doctor JUST went through, so it was a bit odd seeing them part ways at the end of the episode. Man, I would have actually been pretty heartbroken if the Doctor left without saying a goodbye.

As I said above, I found the emotional segment at the end of the episode the best part, as it harbored better acting in it than the entire episode combined. As per usual, this Dr.Who episode had just the right amount of campy to make me laugh at how silly the villain was. Thankfully it wasn’t “the absorber” silly… but it was still fairly cringe worthy in some areas.

Overall, it was a decent starter episode, full of solid dialogue and a somewhat wasted introduction to a character I’m guessing we will see reappear soon enough. On to the rest of the season!

 

Grade: B

1000px-Power_Ponies_-nice_catchphrase-_S4E06

 

Power ponies HOOOO!

 

In this week’s installment of MLP: FIM, we see what is thought to be the very first concept episode of the show, and in a sense, it is. However, it does have a few flaws that sets it back from being amazing.

Let me just say, like it or not, this episode will definitely be remembered as it is a massive departure from the norm of the show. We have the characters being transported into a comic universe to pretty much “finish” the story, and defeat the Mane-iac… yes… yes… two “mane” puns this season so far!

The episode is pretty much surrounded around Spike, whom is Twilight sparkles little baby dragon assistant. And he, as hinted at in the beginning of the episode, gets turned into the “comic relief” sidekick whom is fairly incompetent. Half of me felt that the show was poking fun of the way they have been treating spike these past few episodes… and I guess this is sort of their “hey look, we are fixing it!” episode.

That’s a bit disappointing in the sense that they should not have an episode like this focus on one specific character, but instead on the fun aspects. I couldn’t care less whether spike is feeling down when the entire city is at risk!

But, nevertheless, they focus on spike trying to be competent. I’m just glad they didn’t completely make him dominate the episode, and act as sort of the “hound master” releasing the superheroes from their cages and letting them beat up the villians.

The best moment in this episode stemmed from the pure physical gag that is Fluttershy turning into a hulk, and beating up the giant hairdryer weapon of mass destruction. This made me cry from laughter, and was most definitely the highlight.

Apart from that, most of the humor was physical, instead of referential or anything… which is and understandable and silly place to take a show which need not stray from its target demographic. I’d of still loved to see some more superhero references, but who knows, maybe I’m just missing a lot!

Let me just say that this episode was not bad, it wasn’t even mediocre, it was actually very good! It did not have squandered potential like last week’s episode, so it was automatically a step ahead for me, entertainment wise.

Sure it was somewhat rushed, and not as well told… but it was simply more fun. I still find a “fun only” episode like ‘Daring Don’t’ to be better, but this one still held its ground. We some nice action, great dialogue, splendid voice acting from the psychotic villain, and the unexpected use of the word “dementia” in a children’s show! (I was actually REALLY surprised by this!)

Overall, it was a worthy and solid installment of this TV-Show, only hindered by a few pacing flaws and an unnecessary focus on a character that majorly detracted from the “epic” feel this episode tried to provide. I can’t complain though, we had ponies dressed up as superheroes!

 

Grade: B

doomsday

 

Goodbye Rose…

 

Tonight, it ends. The two parters try to do so much, in the extended time they were given, in fact, we got to see SO many resolutions happen. Torchwood, Rose, her family, we even got to see Micky! I felt that this seasons had a gradual build up, as I’ve said in previous reviews, they were throwing hints at us, quiet but not-so-subtle hints.

Torchwood has been mentioned since the season two began, and it’s pretty much been an ongoing theme. Thankfully it’s a little more prominent than “bad wolf” last season, however, I really did enjoy “bad wolf” as an “ohhhhh, THAT’S why!” moment. Of course, this seasons was executed better, but, I will say that I enjoyed the episode “Badwolf” more than “The Army of Ghosts”.

There was nothing inherently wrong with “Army of Ghosts”, it just wasn’t as exciting as the previous season’s climactic episode. But I digress, the true thing that matters is the finale, and this year it was as good, if not better, than season 1’s. I will say that Tennant does an admirable job as the Doctor, and he is a very good actor. I can never say I like him more than Eccleston though, however, Tennant has two more seasons to change my mind!

This was quite literally the attack of both the Cybermen from that one alternate dimension, and the Daleks from the super spherical sphere! (IT’S SPHERICAL!!!)

How come I didn’t guess it was the Dalek? I guess I was too wrapped up in seeing Micky being back, and how terribly acted that one Doctor who got his face squeezed was. I suppose the entire concept wasn’t as much flawed, as it was over-reaching. I hope they don’t run dry on the Dalek material, as the entire premise of these creatures is “take of the world”, and if every time they return it’s the same shtick, then it’ll get old fast. Thankfully, in this episode it was pretty exhilarating!

The return of the alt-dimension characters was welcome as well, Micky is noticeably more confident now, which is definitely a step in the right direction for the character… even if we won’t ever see him again, unfortunately. Same with Jackie and her alternate dimension husband, both of which had a nice reunion (somewhat).

The climax of the episode concluded with Rose not being killed, but being trapped in the other world. I have to say, Billie Piper killed it this episode, she was fantastic. I’m not sure if I would have liked her to die… or if this was a fitting end. The reason I say that is because perhaps the death would have been a better and more hammered in aspect of the episode.

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the climax arriving, leaving, and then we get a seven minute sequence with the Doctor’s and Roses REAL goodbye… I did enjoy the way it was executed. Man, the more I think about it, the better the acting gets. It was truly great during those final moments.

So Rose is gone, and that’s disappointing, I really did like her as an assistant to the Doctor, and more so as a character during the second season. Although the whole “wow so new” stage was fun to see… I more enjoy to see Rose and the Doctor being on the same ‘level’ in a sense. Where they are both cracking jokes, being wacky, yet saving the world all the same. Unfortunately, there simply wasn’t enough of this.

Overall though, this season was definitely a few points ahead of the previous one, maybe just because its start wasn’t as rocky. This season did have a stinker (Love & Monsters), but it was definitely more solid. It had a select few standouts, and was stronger during its second half. Tennant is growing on me, however, that’s not to say that I didn’t like him. In fact, I really like Tennant, I just think Eccleston was a bit better for the time being.

Then again, this was only Tennant’s first season, onwards to the next!

 

Grades:

Army of Ghosts: B+

Doomsday: A-

Overall: A-

 

Season grade: B

s2_11

Love, monsters, drawings, girls, and abusive fathers!

 

So today I wanted to cover two episodes at once, they are not a two parter or anything, but I felt that they were both fairly adequate episodes that didn’t do too much to progress the plot. However, one of them was definitely better than the other.

Love & Monsters was a fairly unremarkable episode, marking the twenty fifth departure this show has had. When compared to the previous episode(s) “The Satan Pit” it definitely falls short. However, it falls short not due to plot errors, or bad writing, but a fault that early season one had. Stupid, silly, too-campy-to-handle villains.

It followed a man (not the doctor) who joined a group of other like-minded weirdoes whom have a similar interest in the doctor. However, soon enough they drifted off into just a meet up of great friends having fun, until the antagonist shows up. It was revealed pretty early on that he was the baddy, and was killing/consuming the background protagonists in some way…

The story in itself isn’t too bad, the acting does its job, but the sorrow lack of the Doctor and Rose really does put an unwanted strain on the episode. I get it’s supposed to be a departure… but it’s not really a good one. But I will say that I was enjoying the episode for quite a while, until they spoiled it with that absurdly stupid villain, because low and behold, the baddy turns out to be a really fat and silly looking alien that absorbs people…

At least they threw a few jokes at the viewer’s way, because playing this situation off as serious would have been just… too cringe worthy. I will say that the Doctor is fantastic as usual, and the first two thirds of the episode does a good job in developing the characters, a budding romance, and Rose’s mom gets some splendid dialogue and character development.

But… the final act really does hinder this episode, it’s just too much camp for too little pay off. The final scene is supposed to be profound, but I’m left cringing at the dumb conclusion. How does this girl that has been pretty much turned into a slab even speak? She’s around two inches thick, where is her brain?! Ahh… whatever, let’s just move onto the next episode.

Here we have a much better departure, the Doctor is back with rose in yet another VERY strange episode. The good part about this though, is it wasn’t strange in the absolutely dumb-villian sort of way, but instead in the impossible becoming probable. The side story told about the abusive father was also somewhat profound in its own simplistic way, and both of the guest starts (child included) did a respectable job in preforming their roles convincingly.

Was this episode “The Satan Pit” quality? Hell no, but it was still something that was interesting, intriguing, and better yet, I was actually curious to see how the Doctor solves this one. Actually, let me fix that, I was curious and happy to see how ROSE fixes the problem. This has been one of the first times we saw her characters do something (properly) without the Doctor guiding her.

My favorite part had to be when the scribbles the young child drew on her paper manifested themselves into something real, popping out of the garage. I was genuinely confused until I pieced it together going “Graphite… graphite… OHHH!!!” I don’t know, something about that really tickled my fancy.

Overall, both of these episodes were departures from this “impending doom” that seems to be building. As the name ‘Torchwood’ has been thrown around this entire season, I am eager to see where that goes. The promo for the season finale two parter… definitely looks promising!

Grades:

Love & Monsters: C+

Fear Her: B

The_Beast

 

Heeeere’s Satan!! And more CGI than ever!

 

Wow, yet another two parter from Dr.Who, and it was pretty god damn awesome too! This one seemed to have the most natural pace out of all the two parters this show has offered thus far, as the first part layed the groundwork and the second park really dived into the mysterious of the whole affair. Because let me just say, this episode started off WEIRD, and it didn’t really stop getting weird.

Rose and the Doctor quite literally landed on a planet that should NOT be alive, as a blackhole is sucking up anything in sight directly above them, and they are stuck, in some sort of gravitational balance. So yes… it’s one of THOSE episodes. We also got acquainted with a bunch of interesting alien-slave race whom were called the “Ood”.

I of course thought it was their doing when the entire base started collapsing, however, it was much stranger. Apparently it was Satan! Oh boy was I glad this episode didn’t digress into some cringe-worthy religious drivel, and I swear, every line that the Doctor spoke about it this episode made me smile. Finally we have a protagonist who actually understands what logic is!

I will say, that although the second part was noticeably more intense, the first part still had me interested. It was the mystery and the fantastically-paced character-based scenes that drove the first act, and it was pure joy to see. However, when shit started hitting the fan the pacing ramped up a few notches and we got to see some interesting mechanics come to play.

This episode wasn’t without faults, as a few characters went fairly undeveloped so their subsequent death scenes weren’t too impactful. However, I was happy to see the Doctor form a bond with the women he went ten miles into the ground with, as she was (in my opinion) the best actress of the guest stars.

So Satan quite literally turns out to be fear manifested, as he is changed up around twenty miles deep in this planet. We still didn’t get a solid reason as to WHY… or HOW… but we did get some properly cool scenes involving him. Although I was a bigger fan of him sabotaging the base, not being a direct threat. This is mostly because he knows almost everything about the people he was talking too, sharing their deepest fears and getting into their heads. This was automatically one of my favorite aspects of the episode.

He also said that Rose is due to die… which… I was a little put off by. I guess we will see in the upcoming episodes, as I will sorely miss her if she were to die, as she has grown on me. But… I digress, the episode in general was solid all the way through, both parts excelling in certain aspects to make it an intriguing and entertaining ride!

Grade:

Episode 1: B+

Episode 2: B+

Overall: B+

1000px-Rainbow_Dash_talking_to_the_CMC_S4E05

 

Welcome to the Equestria gaaaaames!

 

So I’ve heard rumors about this episode, how it is supposed to be controversial or whatever… and I just don’t see it. The big flaw in this episode can of course be scrutinized to no end, as it’s not just a writing error, it’s a full blown moral and ethical disgrace. I do plan to address it, however, to a lesser extent than what I originally wanted.

This episode revolved around the lovable cutie mark crusaders, who are just as adorable as always. However, when compared to the previous fantastic installments of the show, this episode falls flat. However, it did have sparks of ingenuity and hilarity sprinkled throughout.

This episode was fairly high on the humor, so that is what it excelled at, however, it did have a small not-so-impactful emotional moment at the very end. We got to see the return of a small character from the previous seasons “Games Ponies Play” episode, Ms.Harshwhinney, which was… alright? I mean, she is not a memorable character by any stretch of the imagination, and has just as small of a role as her debut, so I really don’t have much to say about her.

We did have some great gags involving Rainbow Dash, with her trying to be calm. However, the entire episode was very predictable, almost as if it was hilariously meant to be predictable. This show was pretty adept at surprising me, it usually has a few non-cliché tricks up its sleeve. But this episode seemed to ditch those in favor of… nothing in particular.

Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, arguably the most frustratingly terribly written characters in the show, make another appearance just to bully a child whom seems to be disabled. And to top off the cherry on this crap-cake, they didn’t even get punished! It’s arguable that the CMC just didn’t tell any adults of the bullying… but this is a cartoon show, it’s supposed to teach action and consequence, and this was a god-awful way of teaching children not too bully.

But… thankfully the rest of the episode was very enjoyable, it had me laughing and “aww”-ing at the adorable CMC doing their adorable things.

In general, the pacing was pretty good in this episode, it was consistently moving forward, never stalling for too long. However, the final five minutes seemed to be totally rushed, as if the show runners needed to cut it just to fit the timeframe this series needs to have (twenty two minutes about).

Overall, this was seemingly a filler episode. Which was slightly disappointing because it could have been so much more, because Scootaloo is my favorite CMC and they could have taken her to new heights with the character development they SHOULD have added. Apart from that flawed bullying aspect, this episode was majorly entertaining, providing many laughs. Next week we have “Power Ponies”… uh oh, I sense something special!

P.S- So… IS Scootaloo disabled? They really should have addressed this…

-ALSO, can’t they just get their cutie marks already?!

 

Grade: B-