Archive for the 'Television' Category

Oct 29 2014

Top New BBC One Drama to Keep an Eye On: The Missing

Published by under Television

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No one does brilliant but depressing and bleak drama like the BBC, and their new show,The Missing, certainly fits the bill. The Missing revolves around Tony (James Nesbitt) and Emily (Frances O’Connor) who are dealing with the loss of their son, Oliver (Oliver Hunt), who was abducted during a holiday to France eight years ago. Even if you’ve never been through the horrifying experience, which is unimaginable to most, everyone still knows that it’s the worse thing that could happen to someone. Unfortunately for us cases like this happen all the time and often have no resolution, just like The Missing. It reminded me a lot of Madeleine McCann, Ben Needham and many other children that have gone missing over the years and although it was upsetting to watch it was still very compelling.

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Oct 29 2014

Take a trip to Whitechapel this Halloween

Published by under Television

Whitechapel

No, I don’t mean go to Whitechapel and take one of those Jack the Ripper tours even though they are pretty cool. I mean Whitechapel the ITV television series, a detective drama that initially follows police officers attempting to catch a Jack the Ripper copycat killer. I know, it doesn’t seem like the type of thing that you would usually watch on Halloween because it doesn’t feature an endless amount of blood and gore with an immortal villain, but can you think of something better? I’m genuinely asking because I can’t. I think that I, and probably plenty of others, have become desensitised to all the horror movies that are thrown our way this time of year. I’ve been watching things like Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th since I was a child (says a lot about my parents) so it doesn’t really have an affect on me, I even watched Paranormal Activity without even flinching. Gone are the days when people would run out of a cinema screaming which I still can’t believe they did.

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Oct 28 2014

Why the Star Wars Rebels Pilot is Basically a Swedish Fan Massage

Published by under Reviews,Television

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Rightly or wrongly, I sorta feel a responsibility to weigh in on significant pieces of Star Wars news. Probably because my taste in those movies is all wrong but so, so right. Star Wars Rebels is kind of the big story happening between whatever crazy scoops people have landed on Episode VII. The story takes place between the Prequel and Original trilogies, following a group of characters on the fringes of the infant Galactic Empire. Superficially, its semi-well put-together, with a brisk approach to action and dialogue weighed down by animation that’s honestly just kinda fug.

But that’s not what bothers me. I can deal with (or at least ignore) mediocre Star Wars television. The real issue I take here is that the Rebels pilot is really just fan service — likable fan service, sure, but fanservice all the same. In fact, by the end of its pilot, REBELS has clearly established itself as the most fan-wanky piece of Star Wars cinematic history to date.

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Oct 27 2014

Fox’s Lone Star and 6 Other Short Lived Shows That Deserve More Love

Published by under Television

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Every year television networks broadcast several new television shows hoping that they’ll be able to get a few hits on their hands and renew it until it stops being a cash cow. In all honesty most of the time the shows that they pick aren’t great and if justice actually existed then they would be the ones that were shown the sharp side of the axe, but networks have shown me time and time again that there is no justice in the world. Year after year plenty of brilliant shows get shown the door, and often they have a very vocal fan base that attempt to salvage the show in any form they can. Many short-lived shows have found their places in peoples hearts and lived on in some way, recent cases of this include Firefly, Veronica Mars and Pushing Daisies. For every one of these shows that garner the adoration of fans and have made some sort of a comeback there are about ten others that don’t garner that much attention. This list gives you my breakdown of recent short lived shows that haven’t received anywhere near as much love they should’ve done.

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Oct 27 2014

Syfy’s Z Nation is My New Guilty Pleasure and Should Be Yours

Published by under Television

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I’ve given up on SyFy shows for quite sometime now even before the whole Sharknado craze. I wasn’t too keen about the whole idea of Z Nation when word first broke out. It was immediately thrown to the “pass” pile. It’s also another zombie themed television and god knows the entertainment industry is overrun by the flesh eating undead. However, I was surprised when people were passing the world along  that it was actually an enjoyable show. It’s not as dramatic as The Walking Dead, but it was quite endearing in its own low-budget kind of way. Let’s pick apart why Z Nation is worth diving into the zombie genre once more.

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Oct 23 2014

The New Boondocks vs. Black Jesus

Published by under Debate,Television

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As usual, the last year of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block didn’t pass without controversy. Given the lengthy gaps between seasons for Aaron Mcgruder’s suicidally-offensive animated racial satire The Boondocks, any new season has been cause to celebrate over the last ten years. After a four year hiatus the show returned for a fourth season, but it wasn’t quite intact. The man who created the legendary comic strip in college and eventually brought it to the small screen in an even more in-your-face form was no longer involved.

The exact reasoning behind this decision remains a mystery, but Cartoon Network wasn’t done with the radical satirist yet as McGruder was slated to return to television with a bizarre live action series, Black Jesus. The Boondocks has been one of my favorite animated shows since the day it premiered, but could such a unique project survive the loss of the man who built it almost entirely with his own blood, sweat, and tears? And could McGruder possibly duplicate his success in the animated medium in live action? Now that both seasons have run their course, let’s see which one got the better. Continue Reading »

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Oct 16 2014

The 2014 Fall TV Season: What I’m Looking For

Published by under Television

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It’s that time of year again – your favorite TV shows are back, or about to come back.  Yes, the huge, big deal shows – Mad Men, Game of Thrones – are approximately 46 months away from just starting to think about a teaser trailer for the new season, but the “kick back and enjoy it” shows have either started up again, or are about to.  Archer will be back in a few months.  New Girl is a few episodes into the new season.  Community is coming early 2015.  Parks and Rec will be back mid-season for a last hurrah.  Bob’s Burgers just came back about a week ago.

When it comes to shows like these, where I’m pretty much in it for the sheer entertainment, I tend to care about what happens and what direction the series is going.  This is a pretty odd stance – I didn’t care about The Wire or Breaking Bad in this way.  It has something to do with the fact that those shows were so good, I didn’t need to care – I trusted them enough that I knew wherever they went, it would be awesome.  I know it doesn’t make any logical sense.  It’s kind of like how you don’t want to step away from the TV during an important game, because your team is somehow affected by the invisible Concern Rays shooting out of your head.  If your team is really, really good, they don’t really need your help.  Which is to say I don’t feel particularly concerned with how Mad Men is going to wrap up; it’s a brilliant show, I’m pretty sure whatever they do is going to be awesome.  But New Girl could so easily become terrible – it’s already kind of teetering on the edge.  I feel like I have to care about it more.

So, in the spirit of those Invisible Concern Rays, here are a few things I hope happen to my favorite underdog shows.

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Oct 10 2014

Flash! Aaa-ahhh!

Published by under Reviews,Television

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Since 2012, Arrow has remained the gold-standard in live-action superhero television.  Between its dynamic cast of characters, Shakespearian narrative and gripping action, there’s no real question as to why that is.  In light of that series’ success and in conjunction with DC’s other small screen debuts, the CW launched its long anticipated Flash spin-off series on Tuesday night.  The only real question going into its first episode was whether or not Barry Allen, the fastest man alive, could hold pace with Arrow‘s high quality output.

As a child, Barry Allen watched his mother’s mysterious murder before his very eyes: a crime that his father was wrongly convicted of.  As an adult, he channeled his need for answers into a career as a forensic scientist for the Central City Police Department.  But after a particle accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs explodes, feeding unknown energies into a thunderstorm, Barry is struck by a bolt of lightning that leaves him in a coma for nine months.  When he awakens, however, he discovers that he can now run at supersonic speeds and heal at an accelerated rate.  With the help of a team of disgraced scientists with everything to prove, he becomes the Flash: a masked vigilante who fights other metahumans that were created by the same storm of cosmic energies that gave him his powers.

At its core, difference between Arrow and the Flash is difference between Batman and Superman.  Arrow is the Dark Knight of television: dark, brooding and intense.  Oliver Queen is an urban commando, stalking white collar criminals who have fundamentally failed the city and pin-cushioning them with arrows.  His actions are fueled by redemption: cleansing himself of the vapid playboy that he used to be through selfless dedication to the common good.  Like Tony Stark, he realizes what his narcissistic inaction has done to both his home and to the people he cares most for, and dedicates himself to reversing the moral entropy that has gripped Starling City. Continue Reading »

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Oct 09 2014

Five Characters Who Would Make Fox’s Gotham a Better Place.

Published by under Comics,Lists,Television

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I definitely had my doubts about whether giving Batman the Smallville treatment was the best idea, but after a few episodes, I think it’s safe to say that the approach they came up with for Fox’s show about the formative years of Gotham’s most famous residents is shaping up pretty well. But there’s always room for improvement.

Although the show predictably opens with the fateful night at the theater that led to the eventual creation of the Batman, rather than focusing on young Bruce Wayne the star of Gotham is a rookie James Gordon, still many years away from being the Commissioner, making his way through the mire of corruption that is the Gotham City Police Department. Naturally, our heroes split time with some of Batman’s rogue’s gallery, who occupy various stations around the city prior to their eventual rise to supervillaindom.

Many of the usual suspects are already accounted for at this point, but we’ve seen them all time and again in countless incarnations. Gotham represents a whole new approach to the Batman mythos; one that’s more down to Earth and character-based than what most of we’ve seen in the past. In a weekly serial format, that opens up a lot of possibilities for characters that often get overlooked in film or animated adaptations in favor of more recognizable or zany alternatives. Here are five characters I’d like to see from Batman comics that could help make the show a real winner. Continue Reading »

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Oct 09 2014

5 Amazing Episodes Of Television From Terrible Shows

Published by under Television

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Sometimes I get sucked into bad TV shows.  I’m willing to overlook some pretty terrible flaws if a show has the right things going for it.  I mean, David Duchovny alone was enough to get me through several seasons of Californication, even after I realized it was basically a song stuck on repeat after a few episodes, and the lyrics were “Hank Moody’s penis gets him alternatively into, and then out of trouble.”

But every now and then, an otherwise insipid show will go nuts for an episode and play way about its head.  Unfortunately, you usually have to wade through a lot of crap to stumble on these hidden gems, and who has time for that?  Well, apparently I do, as when I started researching this article I realized that over the years, I’ve ended up watching a lot of of terrible shows.  But hey, my pain is your gain!

Here are a handful of episodes that manage to rise above they shows they were spawned from.

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Oct 06 2014

What’s Happening to Downton Abbey?

Published by under Television

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Downton Abbey’s latest season recently premiered in the UK and it’s quite disappointing that US viewers would have to wait until the next year to see it. Interestingly, I was surprised to read that the ratings took a significant dip by the premiere of the second episode. This isn’t pleasant news for any loyal fan of the show, but I do understand that sometimes it’s better to end a show on a good note than let it blow itself up in the face.

I was worried that the departure of Dan Stevens would be a huge blow to the show. Now, I feel like it wouldn’t have made a difference if he stayed on or not. Here are my thoughts on Downton Abbey and its future.

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