Archive for December, 2013

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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-

 

DOCTOR WHO Ep 7

Today, the Doctor saved face! (And everyone turned into slendermen!)

 

This episode pretty much hammers in all the preconceived notions about Dr.Who. Is it weird? Yes! Is it loud? Yes! Is it silly? Yes! Is it campy? Yes! Is it fun? Yes! And is it well acted? Yes! Most of these can be perceived as good or bad, but I think I’ve watched Dr.Who enough to appreciate the campiness, embrace the silliness, and just have a great time! So was “The Idiot’s Lantern” a success? Yes!

We have an alien named “The wire” (not to be confused with the hit TV-show) that pretty much feeds off people’s faces… yep… faces. Or at least that’s what it looked like, apparently it’s something to do with the brain. The main fault of this episode was that it pretty much finished its story before the opening credits even started, as we already knew what was going on, there really was hardly any mystery. We know the Doctor was going to defeat the alien… we were just eager to figure out how.

The setting did wonders though, they went back to the early 1950’s at the same time the new Queen was being crowned, so the entirety of this episode was well-shot and very pretty setting wise. The story was decent, however, I still firmly believe that this show does a fantastic job of writing convincing background/guest characters.

The dysfunctional family with the verbally abusive father is another addition into the long line of fantastic guest stars, knowing how to drag the emotion out of the admittedly sobby scenes, quite well. I actually very much enjoyed seeing that kid go along with the Doctor and save the day, instead of the Doctor handling everything.

I will admit that the lady whom acted “The Wire” was on and off, and I’m not sure if she was meant to give such a stilted performance. As in, at times her dialogue came off as forced to the point of cringe-inducing gags, however, other times she was the perfect amount of both chipper, and threatening.

I however, don’t have too much else to say about this episode, it was a decent entry in an above average season of Dr.Who. I’m eager to look into the next episode, as its title is already very intriguing!

P.S- Yay for more side-characters being awesome!

Grade: B

Cybermen--Age-of-Steel-doctor-who-40739_1600_1200

You’ll be missed, idiot… you’ll be missed.

 

The climax of this episode felt appropriate, through the mini-story arc that has been running ever since season 1, about Micky feeling like the third wheel… this two parter felt right at home and a proper conclusion. I have to say, that I was quite sad to see Micky leave, because as of recently I began to very much enjoy his presence around the TARDIS, in fact, I thought he contributed a lot to the chemistry in the show.

But… as soon as they introduced his blind grandma, I knew deep down that we won’t be seeing Micky anymore after this episode. It’s unfortunate really, not only because he was entertaining, but because he just started to become a three dimensional character, harboring traits that I found both amusing and touching. Also, the fact that Rose no longer “need him” was somewhat heartbreaking… but realistic. What I like about this show is that although it may be horribly cliché and campy at times, it sells its emotional aspects with surprise. Things don’t really end happily ever after, especially in this episode.

So let’s talk about the invasion of the cybermen, whom we saw a glimpse of back in “Daleks” all the way back in season one. The entire story was decent, it did have some silly moments that didn’t fit the scenario, and the pacing seemed to jolt about the entire first episode. However, it thankfully corrected itself in the second episode, providing a thoroughly entertaining piece of media that never really slowed down.

I also enjoyed the design of the cybermen, as they had the perfect amount of camp-factor and intimidation. Needless to say, they were perfect for a show like this. The story in this episode was also somewhat grim, in the sense that at the end we literally saw hundreds (if not thousands) of people getting electrocuted to death by their own metallic bodies.

What I find shockingly pleasing about this show is that it never introduces side characters/guest stars that aren’t explored and used to their full potential. The women the Doctor talked with while invading the factory was a great example of this, and how do I know? I knew because when she inevitably died, I actually felt a little bit of sorrow towards her, even if she didn’t receive much dialogue. That’s something that I respect, making the secondary characters just as interesting and powerful as the primary ones.

After the intense invasion of London, the climax of this episode felt understandably… anticlimactic. However, I will say that I enjoyed the way the Doctor solved the issue, by indirectly speaking to Micky. Micky also went through a few changes. From the somewhat cowardly yet large-hearted fellah, to a more powerful yet kind character. This was an OK wrap up to the characters arc, as if we do ever see him again (which we probably won’t) it’ll be for an episode or two.

All in all, this episode succeeded in providing intensity and some emotional resonance during the final few scenes. It was a successful episode, and makes me further enjoy and look forward to some of the outlandish possibilities that this show can wander over to. I will miss Micky, as I began to truly like his character, however, this change should not drastically change the show in any means. Let’s see what it has to offer next!

 

Grade:

Episode 1: B

Episode 2: B+

Overall: B+

1934

Tic Toc goes the clock

 

In the previous episodes review I said that I wish that this show would have another “classic”, an episode that stands out from the rest for one reason or another. Just like “Bad Wolf” stood out for its wackiness, or “The Doctor Dances” stood out for its creepiness. It seems like the TV-show gods have answered my prayers as I received a spectacular episode tonight.

However this episode didn’t stand out for the creepiness, or the humor, but for the emotional impact that it provided. Today I saw the Doctor fall in love with Jeanne or Madame de Pompadour. This was an interesting take on the situation since for her, he was always somewhat of an ethereal creature whom acted as a guardian angel. And what was perhaps even more fascinating, is the fact that the Doctor does all of this within the span of a few hours.

When they land on a stalled (broken?) alien spaceship that is pretty much tearing a hole in the world. This is because there are these odd mechanical machines (that dress in frightening garb) that needed to go back to the 1700’s to… harvest the brain of Madame de Pompano? Ok…? Needless to say, apart from a few plot holes this episode was a surprisingly fantastic installment.

Yes, Fantastic! Because although Tennant has not grown on me even remotely as much as Eccleston, we were still treated to some great emotional scenes in this episode. Overall, Tennant’s acting was pretty much spot on for this episode, and apart from that seriously out of place “drunk” scene… I was definitely entertained by him. So… apparently the doctor “danced” in this episode, good for him!

I was honestly touched during the final few minutes of the episode, even if a bit of me knew that after the Doctor went back through the fireplace to get the TARDIS ready… that when he returns he will somehow miss Madame. I was expecting a heartfelt scene with her on her deathbed, instead, I was treated to a much more subtle scene that was ten times better than what I was expecting. In fact, I almost applauded at the subtlety of this scene, nay, the ENTIRETY of the final ten minutes of this episode were spectacular.

I prefer subtle emotion over glaring bang-you-over-the-head emotion, so this was completely up my alley. Also, may I just say that Sophie Myles was fantastic as Madame de Pompadour. This entire episode was a testament to how good this show can be when it ventures out of its norm and does a very intriguing and interesting story, with fascinating “monsters”, and a very poignant emotional aspect.

However, it is not without its flaws. There are a few plot holes, as in, it is never explained as to why the Doctor can’t use his TARDIS to travel back in time… I understand that it’s supposed to be something about them being “a part of the timeline”, but why was this never a hindrance before? It seems like an excuse for the sake of there being a need for one.

In the end, this episode had a few plot holes that somewhat set back the episode, however, once it shifted into hard-hitting emotion and action, it shined without a shred of a doubt. This is once again one of those memorable episodes that I can’t help but love.

Grade: A-

SchoolReunionPhoto4

 

Welcome back to school!

 

                So today we get introduced to a character whom was the Doctor’s (or one of them) previous assistant. This means that she was with the Doctor until he so-called “abandons” her, and through this a very interesting point gets brought up by Rose. What happens when the Doctor decides to leave her? Of course the Doc said that, that won’t happen… but I’m not so sure. He made it abundantly clear that he finds it painful to see his apprentices grow old.

                But apart from this, the episode was pretty benign and systematic in general. I did like that they jumped right into the plot, having it explained as the episode progresses. We find out that Micky was the one who called them to check out this school… and we soon figure out there are these strange alien-things that are making the students geniuses and using them to crack some code that apparently controls the universe.

                None of this is explained too well however, why is there this code? Why does there even need to be one? Why use students? And these aliens were a bit disappointing for the fantastic concept that they are surrounded by. They quite literally morph and evolve as they conquer, meaning that they gain the best aspects of the race they take over… this.was.not.utilized. I was thoroughly disappointed that they just looked like some random bats that have to just claw at a door to get it open… this could have been one of the coolest monsters the Doctor interacted with, but nope… just bat things.

                Just like the previous episodes case-of-the-week, this one seemed pretty out of the blue and not following through on some bigger plot thread. But then again, last seasons connected episodes seemed completely out of the blue before they were all tied together within the final two episodes (which I thought was a great way to do things).

                The previous assistant had a few cringe-worthy moments with Rose, as they fought over the Doctor like a bunch of schoolgirls, however, this was fixed rather quickly so I was OK with it. We also got to see Micky again, and I must say, he’s starting to grow on me. So I am surprisingly alright with him sticking around for the upcoming adventures (if he decides too).

                In the end, it was an episode that wasn’t too memorable, however, it provided a decent story and an interesting plot point that kept its somewhat tedious pace in check. I am just glad that Dr.Who seems to have a decent pace going in general, as in that there are no rapid jumps in quality like there was last season.

Grade: B