“Infected” – The Walking Dead

tumblr_mvq2bwO4QX1ruwr5go2_500Carol Peletier, remorseless murder machine and domestic violence survivor, has been exiled from the prison. Considering the fact that it’s been two episodes since she cold-bloodedly killed two former friends and burned their bodies, it’s about fucking time. I’d have thought Rick would kill her, but the Sheriff doesn’t seem to have her sociopathic tendencies and, rather, allowed her to trundle off into the sunset in a station wagon, with ample supplies, presumably to find a new group (as Rick suggested) or, far more likely, find a nice hole to die in. A bit too much mercy if you ask me, even if stubbly Rick made it very clear that if it had meant the safety of his children he would have been far less kind.

Meanwhile, Daryl, Michonne, an increasingly unstable Tyreese, and recently-confirmed alcoholic Bob manage to make it to the fabled veterinary college in search of sweet, sweet western medicine. What we learn, chiefly, from this is that, if it suits the plot, zombies only appear once an objective is complete, and that drawing on Daryl is a really bad idea. Bob, in hopes of preserving his looted brandy, made this mistake, and received one of the most cringeworthy stare-downs in television history. Along with the threat of a thorough, hillbilly ass-whooping should he decide to crack said bottle before the group can return to the prison. Great acting by Norman “Feedus More” Reedus in this scene, being pretty bloody intense with arms all a-glistening. And, now that his debilitating illness is out in the open, Bob’s a much more interesting character, and I’m hoping to see him devolve more over coming episodes. I think Daryl will lay a beating on the poor, skinny fuck, even if he can stay on the wagon long enough to make it home.

Voice actress Brina Palencia makes her first and last appearance on this week’s airing, playing Ana, a girl presumably Continue reading

Advertisements

“And Then What Happened” – Awkward.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.46.49 PMWe actually really enjoyed this week’s Awkward., mostly because of the relatively unusual format. Positioning the majority of the episode in flashback, with just the right balance of mystery and filling in of blanks, was a great approach. It kept us interested. The piecemeal unfolding of the story of the aftermath of Jenna’s party kept us on the hook until the very end, which was itself made more poignant by the relative levity of the rest of the episode.

And it was light. Humor was a big part of “And Then What Happened”, playing into it in the flashbacks and the interludes. The individual characters’ storytelling style – which could almost be seen as neat little vignettes of their personalities – brought a good few laughs, making us a little relieved. Perhaps this half of the season will not be so plagued by the problems we discussed last week.

But, as we said, that ending was a stark contrast to the rest of the episode. Allowing ourselves to believe that Jenna and Matty would be okay (even if we didn’t necessarily want them to be), and enjoying the sense of fun that “And Then What Happened” sported, made that ending feel like a slap in the face. It’s definitely not a conclusion we expected, and we were kind of gobsmacked.

After two and a half seasons of Jenna pining after Matty, of thinking she wasn’t good enough for him, of wanting nothing more than Continue reading

“Get a Clue” – Castle

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 5.55.54 PMThis episode was quite disappointing after the fantastic one we got last week. We’re not sure we’ve ever come across a series where the Halloween episode is actually less ‘out there’ than the usual fare. And I suppose this one wasn’t, either, but it was less out there than last week’s episode, “Time Will Tell”, and that was kinda unforgiveable. You can’t follow genuine doubt about time travel with a hackneyed and predictable treasure hunt. You just can’t. Not if you’re hoping for people to get excited.

Castle has, in the past, come out with thoroughly enjoyable Halloween-themed episodes – the one with the vampires, the one with the haunted house, the one where Castle dressed up as Nathan Fillion’s other well-known character, Mal Reynolds – but this was not one of them. This felt derivative, playing off Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code without ever reaching the heights of either (which is saying a lot [none of it flattering] when you consider that second one). Even worse, it felt derivative of Castle itself, reminding us more than a little of Season 2 episode “A Deadly Game”. Replace spies with secret medieval symbols, and one story is not wholly unlike the other. A few neat red herrings prevented the episode from being a complete wash, but we were still hoping for more.

The only aspect of the episode that was at all worth watching was Continue reading

“No Questions Asked” – How I Met Your Mother

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 5.43.00 PMDoes anyone else feel like those date and time title cards at the start of How I Met Your Mother are doing more harm than good by ticking by far too slowly? We can hardly believe that it’s still only 11pm. On the Friday. This is the weekend that won’t end.

We’re still torn on this new format. We’re not sure if it’s the best thing the writers have ever done, or the worst. Yes, it gives particular aspects of the story time to breathe – Robin and Barney’s incompatibility and their increasing bouts of cold feet, Ted’s quietly mounting desperation, Marshall’s guilt over the judgeship – but the one thing we were hoping it would allow us more time with isn’t being utilized at all. Is anyone else wondering where the Mother is in all of this? We’re seven episodes in and she’s only made two appearances. Weren’t we supposed to be spending this season learning more about her? Seeing her meet Ted’s friends? Finding out just why they’re perfect together? This is beginning to feel like the writers are just trying to distract us so that they don’t have to go to the trouble of figuring out what Ted’s perfect woman is actually like. We suppose that’s one way to avoid disappointing anyone…

And yet this episode was not the worst of them. Reserving much of the running time for genuinely Continue reading

“Help Me Make It Through the Night” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 5.27.07 PMA slight improvement on last week’s crapfest, though it’s clear that something has slipped on Hart of Dixie this year. Maybe it’s just that everything’s gone so far off kilter. Annabeth and Lavon are struggling to survive Lynly (though Lavon doesn’t seem to have noticed), George is a mess, Lemon was consistently hooking up with Meatball, the Belles are Bitches, and Zoe and Wade have been torn asunder. Joel. So many problems relate to Joel. And somehow, in the middle of all of this, BlueBell seems to have lost some of its spirit, and the show is falling with it. Mostly gone have been the little strange quirks that used to pepper episodes. These latest episodes are too focused on the main characters and aren’t allowing the town (and its inhabitants) to shine the way it used to.

Far from being compelling viewing – we should want to watch to make sure everything gets back to where it’s supposed to be – this approach has been putting us off. It doesn’t feel like the Hart of Dixie we fell in love with. It feels like a new show, and it’s not one we’ve been all that interested in.

But some of that was rectified by “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and, with a few exceptions, we finally felt like things were heading back toward normal.

Lynly’s temporary absence gave AB and Lavon a chance to Continue reading

“Isolation” – The Walking Dead

isolation7-710x400What the fuck, Carol?

I know she’s gotten a lot tougher since she lost her (abusive) husband and her adorable daughter, but killing two people in cold blood and burning their corpses is a bit extreme. Wait, did I say a bit? I meant batshit. It’s batshit extreme, and downright out of character. I suppose her reasoning was that, by taking two lives, she might stop the spread of… Well, it was a virus last week, but Herschel sent Daryl, Michonne, Tyresse and Bob ‘Not-Actually-That-Suspicious’ Stookey out for antibiotics. My medical knowledge is limited at best, but I know that viruses aren’t affected by antibiotics. But who am I to doubt a vet with a beard like that? Let’s just call the fucker a plague. Carol thought two grisly murders would stop the plague from spreading. To paraphrase a grief-addled Tyreese, you thought wrong, bitch!

So a plague is running rampant through the prison and is currently being treated with naught more than elderberry tea (real fucking butch there, Herschel) and bed rest. Not exactly what you want when symptoms include hacking up blood. Regardless of what the specifics of the plague are, it’s really nothing more than a maguffin – another threat dropped on the characters in order to Continue reading

“The Red Tattoo” – The Mentalist

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.26.44 PMWe scarcely know what to do with ourselves, here. Yet another great episode from The Mentalist. We’re beginning to find it difficult to find fault with the long-running CBS show. That shouldn’t be a problem for us. Surely not hating a show we want to enjoy is a good thing, right? Wrong. Liking it means we have very little to write about. So then we have to nitpick. And overanalyze all of the Red John hints. And that just makes our heads hurt.

But the good stuff first.

First up, Grace and Rigsby. Their marriage has affected the show not one whit. Which is fantastic. It’s always a worry, when two main characters tie the knot, that the show’s writers will lose the run of themselves and, for unknown reasons, turn the show into some manner of rom-com. The Mentalist has dodged this dark fate. If we hadn’t seen their wedding two weeks ago, and seen their first forays into newly-wedded bliss last week, we wouldn’t even believe they were dating. A few of Rigsby and Cho’s conversations centre on Grace but, then, they always did.

It’s also a pleasure to see that Continue reading

“Surprise!” – Awkward.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.09.31 PMA surprisingly decent return from MTV’s Awkward., and one which certainly surprised us. During the first half of the season – which wound up for the show’s mid-season break back in early June – we weren’t always its biggest fans. We had a lot of problems with it. Most of them were Jenna. Others were predictability, a lack of the show’s intrinsic humor, too much focus on Tamara as a creator of new words and not enough focus on her as a character (with the writers focusing a little too much on Matty and Jenna), and too much of the Asian Mafia.

This first episode back rectified a lot of those issues, though whether the fixes are temporary or permanent remains to be seen. We’ve seen reprieves before, but they’ve always been brief. Whether or not the writers can maintain this uptick in quality is something we’ll have to figure out as the season progresses. But, for now, we’re hopeful.

The episode showed some of its old humor, focusing as much on the laughs – Lacey trying to keep Jenna’s surprise birthday party a surprise, and the ever-horrible biting wit of our favorite teacher of all time, Mr Hart – as on Jenna’s status as an adulterer. The approach to the Mafia made a huge difference to the return of Awkward.’s humor. Initially a comedic element, the Mafia had, in the last half-season, devolved into a source of unnecessary mystery and intrigue, removing a lot of the laughs that came naturally from it. Under Ming’s rule, however, the Mafia has Continue reading

“Infected” – The Walking Dead

dead1“Infected”, the second installment in the fourth season of The Walking Dead, was, if nothing else, a lively one. The body count was high. A big chunk of D block, new characters Patrick and Ryan (who leaves behind two little girls), and former Woodbury resident and survivor of the Governors’ ‘army massacre’ among the corpsified. Oh, and pigs. Like, all the pigs. It’s enough to make your Monday feel a bit anxiety-inducing, so here’s a .GIF of puppies.

Feeling a little better? Good, let’s continue. The idea of a plague (illness) during a plague (zombies) seems like bad writing, but I guess it’s at least reasonable. Modern medicine has pushed mortality rates way down and, historically speaking, right now is as good a time as any to be alive in North America. But, once shit hits the fan and hospitals disappear (as you can imagine they might when most medical professionals retrain and become the undead), then, yeah, the flu would be a pretty dangerous thing. I spent this weekend popping pills in a rainbow of colors in order to get over a strep throat. I experienced fever for the first time in my adult life and, after a bit of reflection following my bedridden viewing of “Infected”, solemnly thought to myself that, prior to the invention of antibiotics, that might have been something that could have killed me. Fever isn’t all that bad though… I made a new friend. His name is Eli, and he’s a kung-fu space hooker from the x’aa dimension. *Checks thermometer* Okay, maybe I’ll need a few more days to beat this thing.

I actually liked “Infected” quite a lot, and I generally like the direction the show seems to be taking. But, in typical Walking Dead style, it Continue reading

The Walking Dead – The Story So Far, Why I’m Not 100% on Board, and “30 Days Without an Accident”

twds4top-710x400

I’ve been reviewing TV for a while now and, up until now, it’s always been stuff I would have watched anyway. This is no longer true, because I agreed to take a crack at The Walking Dead. I’ve never read the comics, never played the games, and my viewing of the show had been spotty at best, until I rectified that by binge-viewing on my couch with 20 bottles of foamy lager. The things I do for you people! As for my opinion on the series… well, it’s not bad, but it has its flaws, which fanboys/girls seem more than eager to ignore.

Let’s begin with the premise. *sigh*. Zombies. Zombies are the basis of the whole series and that’s not something which thrills me greatly. See, I think zombies have been done to death. Every single thing in pop culture seems to also have a zombie mod. From Call of Duty to Pride and Prejudice, society has gone far overboard on zombies, but at least The Walking Dead has the good sense to be a character drama, rather than straight out zombie brawling. A good move, too (in terms of the show’s stunningly mediocre writing), is the decision to never say “zombie”. Geek, Walker, Biter, Deadhead, Infected, Thing… it’s a method of keeping half a vestige of realism. Yes, they’re zombies, but say that word and parody is not far behind.

And The Walking Dead doesn’t do parody. No character is safe, nothing is sacred. The bastards who write this show are loose-cannon types who play by their own rules. It might not be the best-written show on television but, by god, it’s entertaining. Mostly because Continue reading