Posts Tagged ‘The Walking Dead’

Review – Human Target – The Return of Baptiste (S01Ep04)

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Your rules are Pants, Junior.

This week:
A friend of Ilsa’s is being held captive by a South American drug cartel. Ilsa tries to save her friend, can’t so asks Chance and the team to help. The only way to get her out is to use Baptiste. What follows is a great romp through ego vs ego and some great set shoot out pieces.

Pluses:
Always a pleasure to see the fantastic as Baptiste (my favourite character) played by Lennie James.
LMAO Cameron Daddo!
Baptiste and Chance buddy “cop.”
Cantina ego off.
Guerrero and Winston interactions.
Norma Jean.
“So, how is the rescue going?”
The watch.

Minuses:
Ilsa Pucci couldn’t hit on a dead horse with a huge stick.
Really? That much tech?
So Susan doesn’t wear socks with her boots, huh? Dirty girl!
Saw the double cross coming on the plane.

Again, a great adventure romp. It was fun to see Ilsa try and be cool, when she is not. Not nearly enough Guerrero for my liking, but seeing Baptiste again was so much fun. I can’t wait to see him again.

#threeandahalfwatchlovingpandas

So Just Why Was Pretty Little Liars the #1 Tweeted Series for 2010?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Number 2???

Let’s be honest, there are better shows out there – True Blood, The Walking Dead, Mad Men etc and all except Mad Men made the Television Twitter Trend Top Ten for 2010, but just why did Pretty Little Liars come in at #2 over all the the highest rated series.

According to Mashable and Read Write Web, teens don’t tweet, however the demographic for this show is decidedly teen with over a million teen viewers watching our over made up band of “heroes,” with a total weekly audience of 2.5 million – the highest ratings ever for ABC Family – coming in a whopping 41% ahead of its competition in the same time slot. Also, there has only been ten episodes of the show, so it isn’t like this is a cumulative effect over 22 eps, as the back half of the series is to be shown in early 2011 with season two (already green lighted and shooting to commence in January 2011) to hit the screens as a late Summer (US) show. Shows that are much more reflective of a tweeting demographic didn’t get up there, plus hugely successful shows such as Glee (can’t stand it) and CSI (peoples still watch that?) that came in located in the lower half of the list. If my pre-Glee blocked stream was any indication of the volume of tweets that must be required to come in at #6, I dread to think how many more tweets about Pretty Little Liars actually racked up.

I talked about the first two episodes of Pretty Little Liars a couple of weeks back and have since watched the entire front half of season 1.

This show is much more teen, tween and family orientated that HellCats, yet here in Australia on GO! it is shown at 9.30pm, with HellCats at 7.30pm. Don’t get me started on GO!’s idea of programming times (remember Chuck?) but I don’t understand why a show that is much more family friendly than HellCats is on after Vampire Diaries, a show with very young adult and supernatural themes.

Love that they are done as dolls - posable yet empty.

In the States however, it was on at an age appropriate time and racking up the ratings and as such the tweets. However it isn’t just the television show. Pretty Little Liars is taken from the very successful tween novels by the same name. Out of curiosity I did buy the first book from iBooks and found it remarkably well written. None of this unnecessary fluff that filled out JK Rowling’s later books, but crisp, clear writing with drama, suspense and real character development. It is also written for the parents who are reading with this children, leading to discussions about age appropriate issues, to ensure that their young girls learn from the mistakes of the main characters and have a strong sense of self worth so they can make the right choices. However it does all this without being preachy and a little bit salacious (as much as it can be with teens).

There are some major differences in the show to the books, but over all it stays true to the themes, plot twists, suspense and character development of the books. In my first review, I said it was intriguingly engaging crap. And to be honest, that does still hold true, but I can certainly see its appeal of the family market. Some times though I want to shake the females in that show until they demonstrate some sense.

Every cliche is in this show. Every single one. From the student having a relationship with her teacher, to the fat girl now thin and popular, to the step siblings having a technically not incestuous relationship, sister in love with her sister’s boyfriend, and let’s not forget the divorce storyline and “sexual tension” between some of the parents. Add into this a mix of Gossip Girl style texts knowing all their deepest and darkest secrets and you can see why this show is so popular.

We are pretty, but also dirty and naughty.

But being popular isn’t enough. If Twitter is about sharing information in real time (which according to Read Write Web teens are not want to do) why is Pretty Little Liars Tweet Rating so high? Some of the tweets tell the answer as they are a direct reflection of not only the books but also the show’s style – cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger. A lot of the tweets were watchers hypothesising on what they think might happen, given their knowledge of the books and what has happened in the show. There is also an awful lot of discussion about why characters made the choices they made – whether they agree with the decisions or not – and this reflects nicely back on the books – encouraging the readers to learn from the mistakes of the characters to make the right choices. And of course, there is a fair bit of discussion on what is being worn. Looking at the most recent few pages of search results it is filled with tweet after tweet of how they can’t wait for the show to return on Jan 3rd (US release). That is one loyal fan base.

So the buy in from those watching and therefore tweeting is higher than other shows. Anecdotally, if I love a show, I tweet I am watching it, jump on the occasional discussions regarding it on twitter but that is about it, and I certainly don’t keep mentioning the show in my tweets (I am just too verbose to fit it all in), however these tweeters do and the amount of retweets is just insane.

Finally, it should be noted that I don’t actually know anyone who watches Pretty Little Liars. According to gomiso, none of my friends watch it, and it has been very slow on the uptake with viewers who use gomiso with only 120 people following (compared to the 2k+ Fringe follwers). Also, from people who read my first review of Pretty Little Liars, a whopping 83% came from the US. Now I know my blog is read predominately by Americans and Europeans but even for HowManyPandas that was pretty full on – but then given the lack of suitable time slot for the show here in Australia it isn’t that much of a surprise that there is little to no interest here.

So if we all believe Twitter is the temperature gauge to what is “so hot right now” to quote Mugatu, we should all be turning on Justin Bieber and watching Pretty Little Liars. For a deomographic that doesn’t tweet, they sure have an impact on trends.

PS. Anyone know where I can find top trends in Australia for 2010? Will even accept LMGTFY.com responses.

PPS. The Last Airbender came in at #6 on the top ten tweeted movies – I bet 99% of those tweets were about how bad this movie actually was.

Review – The Walking Dead – TS-19

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

When the anti-hero stops being any sort of hero - how do you go on?

This week:
Be careful of high security glass houses. Just because you are safe doesn’t mean you are safe. There really is no hope. Yet still some hope.

Pluses:
It was nice to see everyone actually happy.
French are braver than we give them credit for.
Jenner’s hoplessness yet conviction.
The franticness of the past few episodes was nicely juxtaposed for part of this episode until the drive to survive kicked back in.
Andrea’s decisions.
Outstanding acting.
Great computer graphics.

Minuses:
Wife was a gimme.
Lori’s actions to hid her choices are starting to annoy me – just be honest.
I think the attack scene was unnecessary – we all knew how far Walsh had fallen from the hero.

When is a bad man really a bad man? Are we right to hold onto the same moral standards? It is what makes us “human” but is it realistic?

And so now we wait. They are back to where they were at the start (actually before the show started) – fleeing, not sure where but looking for safety riddled with questions and doubt.

I wonder what Jenner said to Rick. Maybe Lori is pregnant. Maybe he just said he would tap Andrea. Or as was suggested to me that Grimes had a non-virulent strain of the virus and if only there was time Jenner could have saved the world. We have to wait 10 odd months to find out (and we would have to get a time jump with the kids ageing and my pregnancy guess).

#fourpandas

Review – The Walking Dead – Wildfire

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

That there's a lot of dead people, you know?

This week:
The survivors come to terms with last week’s attack on their campsite. They had to the CDC. One chooses their own fate. Things are not as they expected.

Pluses:
Laurie Holden’s Andrea was again one of the shining stars of this episode.
Steven Yeun’s Glenn – he can say so much without saying a word.
Shaun losing himself, catching himself and losing himself over and over.
Dale.
Jim.
Carol ensuring her husband doesn’t become a Walker (lots of undertones there).
The music – I really noticed it this week – in a good way.

Minuses:
Not sure I like the CDC twist.
No Merle.
No Morgan.
That last shot was a bit twee.

Overall, this episode was incredibly strong. One on hand I don’t like the whole CDC thing, as I liked the idea of them out in the outdoors/on the road. The CDC is portrayed as suffocating and while I think it is an interesting counterpoint to the outdoors I am not sold on it. I am guessing that one of our gang will end up supplying new samples.

#threeandahalfpandas
Wonder if I should get a zombie panda made.

Review – The Walking Dead – Vatos

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Beauty and a moment of normality in a post apocalyptic world

This week:
Life returns to normal – as much as it can under the stress and duress of the zombie apocalypse, but the pressure does show. The boys are not alone in Atlanta. Behind darkness there can be light. Merle has disappeared with something very dear to our heroes’ hearts. Nowhere and nothing is safe.

Pluses:
The disparity between those perfect moments and reality – that eternal attempt to stay human (literally and metaphorically speaking).
Andrea and Amy.
My mind coming up with a stack of hypotheses while watching.
Moments of tenderness and hope.
The sense of loss.
So strongly character driven.
So simple yet so brilliant.
The development of Jim and Shane.

Minuses:
Losing characters I was just starting to love.
I think it was Merle who bought those Walkers to camp (I hope I am wrong).

I wouldn’t want to be signing on to that show – chances are you will die within a couple of episodes. I can’t express just how poetic this episode was – exploring the themes of humanity and family counterposed against the raw savagery of the Walkers.. From the colours to the light to the shot style, everything reflected the disparities. It was all I could do not to cry in the office – I watched this episode over lunch on my MBP.

My only concern is that it will develop into the depressing and hopeless (feeling) of SGU – however I understand the source material is strong, so fingers crossed this will not be the case.

#fourandahalfpandas

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Review – The Walking Dead – 1st 3 eps

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Here we come, walkin' Down the street. We get the funniest looks from Ev'ry one we meet.

Review encompassing: Pilot, Guts and Tell it to the Frogs

I am not much of a horror loving Panda.

What gets me isn’t the blood and guts (more on guts later) but the suspense.

I can’t stand it.

Scary suspense even more so. It took me two goes to watch the pilot of The Walking Dead. The first run though, I didn’t make it past him entering the stairwell – yes I was that much of a sook. This time round though, I was in a bright airy lounge room while house sitting, with a guard dog pressed up next to me to keep me safe.

I really (REALLY) enjoyed the first three eps. For me the character driven under lays of the show was remarkably enjoyable. Yes there are the Walkers out there, and yes we are seeing people outside (way outside) of their comfort zones dealing with this problem, but the truth behind the characters still shone through thanks to great writing and acting by the cast. Some of the scenes were just so wonderfully shot, graphic novel perfect I am sure, with the imagery a constant reminder to the truth of their situation.

The first episode really set the scene and delved into the confusion and conflict felt by the survivors as well as their desire to make it through.
The second episode for me was my favourite of the three. The humour, the characters and the situations were just brilliant. OMG and the gutsy guts scene was just out of this world.
The third episode was much more character based with little Walker action, which was good because we got to see that survivors are still dealing with issues they were dealing with before the Fall (to use a BSG term) as well as dealing with the fall out of decisions they made post Fall.

Pluses:
Believable characters in a situation that is beyond belief.
Real world problems continue on.
Rag tag bunch of heroes.
Zombie makeup and acting is just awesome.
Loving the character if Glenn and his dark exuberance.
Dynamic between Lori and Shane now her husband is back.
Some of the set pieces in Atlanta were stunning.

Minuses:
Still getting to know the characters – which I guess is what the third episode was about.
Still don’t know what really happened – soon I am sure.

I haven’t read the graphic novels so I don’t know where this is going or what is going to be the big cross roads in the arc, but please don’t tell me as I want to discover it with the general audience

#fourandahalfpandas
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Review – Community – Epidemiology

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Go on... pick up something again, oh great Dragon Turtle!

This week:
Toxic tacos. Zombies. The end of days. Flying cat. Awesome costumes. ABBA. 6 hour response.

Pluses:
Alien (heck there was even a cat – and I so wanna see the outtakes of the cat wrangler trying to throw that cat!).
Last man standing.
The Dean’s playlist.
Believable  (within the world of Community).
PokerFace.
StarBurns!
Chang!
Jeff cool – always.
Human Centipede.

Minuses:
Trying to think what I didn’t like…

Let’s be honest, the bar is so high for Community that even a great episode like this one pales in comparison  to greats like Modern Warfare. That being said, there were a lot of very clever moments, and they got away with a lot! I wonder what the future will be for Shirley… Will Troy tell?

#fourpandas
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