Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Broadchurch (Season 1)

Monday, July 8th, 2013
Yeah, I know I look like shit. I'm still your boss!

Yeah, I know I look like shit. I’m still your boss!

This was originally created as a stand alone series, however it has now been renewed for a second season.

Broadchurch tells the story of the death of a youth in a small beachside town and its impact on the community and the police is an emotionally exhausting yet totally engaging journey. Tennant (DI Hardy) moves to this small town with no real crime after a terrible murder case. Infact the first crime we see him investigate is a perfect entrée into the community. Colman (DS Miller) is the local police woman who has to manage this terrible murder of her friend’s son, while still remaining professional officer – hard to do when you know the victim AND every possible suspect and have for years.

Pros:
Brilliantly written.
Minor characters are so well developed with strong arcs of their own.
The child actors are not your typical can’t act for anything child actors.
The killer is revealed in a way that is heartbreaking.
The depth of the main characters is extraordinary.

 Minuses:
I had a headache from crying so much after the conclusion.
I didn’t pick who the murderer was till a particular conversation between two characters about an unrelated matter – then I knew – but it was so close to the reveal that it barely counts.

Broadchurch was the best 8 hours of TV I had seen since Borgen. Like the fantastic NordicNoir, a lot of what is said is actually, unsaid. The ability to build and then deflect tension is outstanding while never losing empathy for any of the characters. Even when the murderer was caught, my heart was still breaking.

FIVEPANDAS

#Fivecrimesolvingpandas

Review – Star Trek – Into Darkness (2013)

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Was I the only one to see a Star Wars image in this shot?

Was I the only one to see a Star Wars image in this shot?

Synopsis
After a terrorist attack on Earth, the crew of the Enterprise form up and head off to try and catch the culprit – who is harbouring more than one game changing secret –  all while dealing with oh so much lens flare.

Pluses:
Witty banter – there was some truly great dialogue in this instalment.
Good use of supporting characters.
Spot the cameos.
Cumberbatch fighting when he was way outnumbered.
Some great wide angled shots.
Hat tips to the original series/film franchises except one (in cons).

Minuses:
One particular scene’s dialogue – I won’t give it away – and while there was the odd titter at the exchange, it was totally unnecessary.
The over complexity belying one contact point on of a piece of equipment.
Not enough Cumberbatch.
Too many male tears feeling somewhat disingenuous.
A reverse of a classic scene from the original movie franchise.
They hung so much light on one plot point resolution that I can’t imagine anyone not seeing it coming.
Vulcan hair styles are not designed for running.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable flick. I didn’t realise I was seeing the 3D version (I try and avoid them like the plague), and while there were the usual 3D designed scenes, some went past so fast as to not “get” the 3D experience.
Did anyone else think the StarFleet uniforms looks a bit like the SS just in grey and without skulls and bones on the hats?
PS. There’s nothing at the end of the credits, so if you don’t feel like sitting through them after the 3D candy ends, you won’t miss anything.

howmanypandas.com 4

 

 

 

#fourlensflaringpandas

Review – Community – Biology 101 (S03Ep01)

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Little dry there Abed?

This week:
The gang is back for class after the summer off. Greendale will always be Greendale no matter how normal Jeff may wish it (through song) to be. Abed discovers British TV – including Cougarton Abbey.  Jeff learns about himself, we meet some new characters, and some old ones go on new journeys.

Pluses:
The forementioned Cougarton Abbey.
Chapstick!
Pearch and Jeff dynamic.
Chimpanzzzzzzz (LMFAO).
Jeff post Chimpanzzzzzz.
OMG the Vice-Dean!
Matching outfits!
Starburns!

Minuses:
No John Oliver.
I love Community – you all know that. This was a great entre back into the show. It wasn’t a big set piece like some previous episodes, but it nicely set the scene for the year to come, while getting us up to speed on the Summer and the new characters (or changes in direction for existing ones).

#FoursolidCommunitylovingpandas

Review – The Vampire Diaries – The Birthday (S03Ep01)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Damon is drinking and brooding. It must be a day ending in Y.

This week:
What a difference a Summer in Mystic Falls makes. Everything is the same, but also totally different. Elena and Damon still have unresolved feelings. Elena is pining over Stephan. Stephan is still on his blood kick. Klaus is still reading his own publicity. Caroline and Tyler are spending a lot of time together. Jeremy is seeing the ghosts of his ex-girlfriends and Ric is still lost. It doesn’t take much though to change the game…

Pluses:
Ripper Damon wasn’t just a lame copy of the idea of Ripper from Buffy. It is a little bit more literal than that.
Caroline and Tyler dynamic.
Jeremy telling the truth.
Andy’s exit.
Damon’s “humanity” and the contract to Stephan’s lack of control.
No actual witches on the ground this episode. Yes I still can’t stand Bonnie.

Minuses:
A lot happened, but at the same time, other than changing the dynamic, not a lot occured.
For a big bad, I find Klaus a tad lame. Bring back Elijah!
Brooding, dark Stephan (only mildly less boring that brooding, sanctimonious Stephan).
Donde estas Catherine?

This was a rollicking little episode that got us right back into the game that is Mystic Falls. Where the first families think they know everything but actually know next to nothing. Where life and death is only as real as the person with the power to make it so, and where dopplegangers, witches, werewolves and vampires are just your regular walk in the park.

#threehybridpandas

Review – True Blood – Season 4 (SPOILERS)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I actually LOL'ed when they did the slow motion walk.

Over all, this season didn’t take me on the same sort of journey as previous seasons. We had vampires, shifters, fairies and wolves (oh my!) – but we also had witches and ghost whisperers.

Pluses:
Jason development (apart from the first arc).
Tara is dead! (I know she won’t stay dead and I am thinking a faery twist)
Alcide is finally rid of Debbie.
Tommy is finally dead (I hated that whole Mickens plot from last year).
Nan is finally dead – the true death.
Lots of puppy dog (and nekkid) Eric.
Andy’s journey.
Jessica’s development.
Loved the Rene moment!
Gran!

Minsues:
WTF? Ghost Whisper? The worst episode in TB – ever.
The break from the books – now normally I don’t mind – but the whole Eric and Sookie thing – too neatly wrapped up – the books did it MUCH better.
Jason’s “recovery” after being repeatedly raped.
Sookie did very little, if any, character development this season.
Sookie has very bland threesome fantasies.
MoonGoddess Yawn Emporium.
I didn’t think that the arc of “mainstreaming” really meshed neatly with the whole witch thing very well.

Any TrueBlood is better than no TrueBlood, but I do so hope next season gets back on track. The last episode helped me forget a lot of what I didn’t like, but still just an average season.

#twoandahalffangedpandas

Review – Person of Interest – Pilot (S01Ep01)

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Yes, you are being watched so don't go out in ugg boots, m'ok?

Scenario:
Post 9/11 the world changed. We are all now watched by CC TV, and tracked in our day to day lives. What if the patterns of our day to day lives gave away more than just suspected terrorism plots?

Pluses:
Jim Caviezel (though apparently he calls himself James now).
Michael Emerson.
Interesting concept.
Nice fight scenes.
Leg shots!
Love the cutaways – very uncomfortable.

Minuses:
Writing didn’t really build suspense.
Found it hard to get into it till about 20 mins.
Had trouble being empathetic to the characters.
Not sure I like the whole “cop trying to find the truth” arc – been there done that a gazabillion times. Given the premise it could have been a lot more interesting and menacing.
Discussed but didn’t address the loss of human rights to gain “freedom.”
Think it is going to be very formulaic.
No female lead.

For a pilot, it wasn’t bad – but it wasn’t great. It told me what was happening, what to expect from week to in way of episodes. It is enough to have me coming back for a few more weeks to see what happens, but not convinced yet.

#twoandahalfwaitingtobeimpressedpandas

Review – The Lying Game (Episodes 1-5)

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Having everything, including a family who loves you, doesn't automatically make you a better person....

Synopsis:
If Ringer is twin swapping for adults (why it is on the CW I don’t know), then The Lying Game is twin swapping for teens. Sutton Mercer is rich, pretty and a bitch. She recently discovered that her parents lied about her adoption and decides to find the truth. She discovers she has a twin sister, Emma during this search. Emma is a foster kid, trapped in the system with a creepy “brother” who wants to sleep with her. Emma does a runner to Sutton after the brother tries to blackmail her into sex. Following? This is like the first 7 minutes. Sutton has a lead on their supposedly dead birth mother, and convinces Emma to swap with her so she can find her. What could possibly go wrong?

Pluses:
Nature vs nurture.
Teenagers having manufactured problems.
Twists and turns.
Adrian Pastar from Heroes.
Some very interesting choices for supporting characters (Tyler Christopher from General Hospital!)
Twists and turns.
Emma’s development.
Everyone lies (I sound like House).
Awesome sound track – got to the be the same guy who does TVD.

Minuses:
Sutton is a bit of a one trick pony.
Doesn’t seem to be a lot of grey to the characters – white hat/black hat.
Char has potential to be a really strong and interesting character, Kirsten Prout can act the socks of others in this show but hasn’t had the opportunity as yet.

For a bit of teen drama, this is much better than Pretty Little Liars, but I don’t think it will be as popular as it isn’t quite as OTT  and salacious as PLL. A fun 45 minutes of escapism each week – and we all know how much I love a teen drama!

#threeteenpandas

Review – Ringer – Pilot + She’s Ruining Everything (S01Ep01-02)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

When one Sarah Michelle Geller just isn't enough.

Synopsis:
Bridget is a screw up – has been for a long time. Alcohol, drug addiction, stripping and/or prostitution. She witnesses a murder and finds herself a protected witness, getting clean. One of her steps in AA is to get forgiveness for her wrongs, so she contacts her twin sister, the successful and wealthy Siobhan. On the day of the murder trial, Bridget does a runner to her sister’s. Her perfect sister commits suicide and Bridget becomes the happy and perfect Siobhan. Only her perfect sister isn’t quite so perfect after all. And that folks is just the lead in!

Pluses:

Sarah Michelle Geller.
Really well written.
Such depth to the characters.
Ion Gruffudd. You forget how well he can act with those big movies, but wow. So under acted and perfectly portrayed.
Nestor Carbonell.
Great supporting cast too!
Just when you think there can’t be ANOTHER twist or turn, there are TWO!

Minuses:

Not sure on a couple of the characters yet, especially Bridget’s sponsor.
The boat scene looked super fake.
The twists and turns aren’t solved before more come along, so there is no sense of resolution, but in a way this just continues to build the suspense.

This show asks some interesting questions. How similar are we really and how far would we go to be happy? The depths of the human animal they explore, within a modern society, is really interesting. On top of this, it is a great character driven piece that had me hooked by the second commercial break.

#fivebuffywassolastseasonpandas

Review – The Playboy Club – Pilot (S01Ep01)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Pick a bunny, any bunny.

Synopsis:
It is 1960’s Chicago, and the Playboy Club is the hottest “key” in town. The bunnies are the most liberated women around, they can be whomever they want, including the African American “Chocolate” Bunny. Into this mix we have the movers and shakers, corrupt and not, in Chicago. What could possibly go wrong?

Pluses:

Interesting concept.
Liberation and repression with false expectations all rolled into one.
OMG it was David Krumhotlz as Billy Rosen.
Could be an interesting series arc if it gets its full run.
I like the gay rights subplot (including Sean Maher).
Nick Dalton is the name of the main character – I know a Nick Dalton.

Minuses:

For all its sexy bunny outfits, and Bunny Mansion parties, it was decidedly unsexy.
Not tightly written.
Characters need a lot of fleshing out.
Didn’t really have much suspense – even the big suspense scene.

This show didn’t really gel in the pilot. It has the potential to be an interesting character driven piece, they just have to work out what type of show it is – it doesn’t quite know yet. Is it noir? Is it T&A? Is it Mad Men lite?

#twoandahalfpandaswithabunnytail

Torchwood: Miracle Day – Season 4 Review

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Look at us looking all serious like.

Synopsis:
It has been a year since Torchwood saved the world’s children and Jack is back. All the good characters are still dead, and since this season takes place a fair bit in America, it is clogged with plastic, unrealistic and unlikable characters. Anyway, a miracle happens and no one can die – except Jack. The Torchwood team must stay alive (Jack anyway) reform and hang out with annoying Americans to save the world from over population and self regulation. Sorry did you fall asleep? Yeah, I know.

Pluses:

Umm.
Couple of little eggs re past episodes and Doctor Who.

Minuses:

OMG the new characters – horrendous!
Such overblown writing – this 10 episode “arc” would have barely covered three tightly written episodes.
Filled with inconsistencies and major plot contradictions (The Jack effect is the biggest one).
A pedophile to be edgy? Gay sex to be edgy? None of it drove the story or added any weight.
Broke against the whole premise of what Torchwood is about – Queen Victoria would be rolling in her werewolf grave!
Yawn fest.
Women were not favourably portrayed at all, not even Gwen this time.
Can I say how much more I disliked it?

I stuck with TMD because I had faith that somehow RTD would dig TMD out of its poo filled grave. It didn’t. The final scene was even worse – I was desperately hoping that a character would just sod off and die from week 1, let alone that person being tied to Torchwood now for possible future episodes.


#onedisappointedpandawhowantsthatthenhoursofherlifeback