Posts tagged television

The Big Huge Guy Adams Sherlockian Review and Interview

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All Things Guy Adams Sherlock Holmes, all the time
by Prof. Jenn

Well nearly all. Thanks to Titan Press for this opportunity to review Guy Adams’ Sherlockian goodness, and for the interview “in.” Also, this appeared first over at my blog.

First of all, can I just express my extreme nerdy jealousy that Mr. Guy Adams gets to write all these? I mean, how do you get that gig?
Well, I got a chance to ask the man himself. Before we get to that, though, take a gander at my reviews of his many Sherlockian books.

Sherlock Holmes: the Breath of God
What happens when Holmes is faced with the supernatural? Not the faux supernatural, like in The Hound of the Baskervilles, but the actually unexplainable?
Or is it?
The Breath of God is a novel that fits right in with the Doyle canon and the best of the non-Doyle canon (I’m thinking Nicholas Meyer in particular). What it does well is maintain that Watson-centered narrative which is so essential to a powerful Holmesian story, in my professional opinion. The thing is, Holmes is such an extraordinary creature, that to be inside his head diminishes the astonishingness of him. Having the story told from outside him gives us the opportunity to marvel at his prowess and be mystified by his flaws. Knowing his flaws personally would be too wearing for a story, though it could make for a fascinating character sketch. But I digress…
The great thing about the plot of Breath of God is that you really don’t know what to think of the magical things that go on, just like Watson. Even up till the end there are certain threads that don’t end up tied up neatly. That’s not to say Holmes doesn’t figure it all out in the end, but… Man, I’m about to spoil things. Okay, I’ll stop. I’ll just say this: it’s mysterious, exciting, slightly meta (love the moment when Holmes says he needs to pull a Hound of Baskerville move), and the end is quite dramatic. Plus there’s philosophical dilemmas and some mashups of historical and fictional characters from that time period, which you all know I love when done well.
Bottom line: Sherlock Holmes: the Breath of God is a rollicking good time, and a book I’m happy to shelve next to the canon.

Sherlock Holmes: the Army of Dr. Moreau
I actually reviewed this one in depth before, it’s what made me want to do a big ol’ review on all of them once I realized Adams wrote the Sherlock Case Book too. Here it is on my site, and on Nerds in Babeland.
As you can see, I kinda liked The Breath of God better.

Sherlock: the Case Book
As a giant fan of the BBC series Sherlock, I had to add this companion book into my collection. It covers anything and everything about the first two seasons of Sherlock. It includes story synopses from the point of view of John Watson’s scrapbook, complete with his notes, photos and police reports, even phone call logs. But the highlight of the synopses is the post-it note conversation between Sherlock and John, plastered all over the scrapbook pages. Oh, and Mycroft makes a brief post-it note appearance as well. At its best, the conversation is charmingly contentious, as one would imagine it would be between those two. It does, though, get a bit old. Sherlock may be impatient with an intellect lesser than his (as anyone’s is), but he isn’t incessantly whiny and bitchy. The bitchiness factor tends to take away from his massive intellect as a character, and is just wearing after a while.
The documentary type bits are great (although I did find a couple inaccuracies), like a nicely done DVD extra. And of course one of my favorite parts is the By the Book sections. I’m wondering why there isn’t a By the Book section for each episode, but I guess I’ll just let my More You Holmes blog posts supplement them. (Wow, did I just shamelessly plug myself? :sigh: Sorry Mr. Adams, I couldn’t resist. And thank you for the compliment and bookmark. Squee!)
Bottom line: if you’re Sher-locked, you absolutely need this book.

And now… (drum roll…) here it is: the MinInterview with Guy Adams himself.
5 questions: Guy Adams
interviewed by: Prof. Jenn
1) What choices do you make in your novels re: references/adherence to Doyle and your own original departures, and why? Have you created a backstory for Holmes that helps you in writing him through novel length stories?
A lot of it is instinctive to be honest. Everyone views stories and characters differently as they can’t help but bring their subjective viewpoint into things. I have therefore written what I think is a completely accurate version of Holmes and Watson. Other people will disagree as MY Holmes and Watson won’t be the same as THEIR Holmes and Watson.

I suppose I bring a little more humour into their relationship but that seems natural to me between two men who have been so close for that long. They’re a marriage.

I’ve also chosen to let Watson grieve over a dead wife. Doyle was — rightly — too busy building stories to dwell on  the emotions of his characters but I wanted Watson to have that. We’ve all loved and the idea of losing someone precious would cling to you, it plays a fair part in the action of The Breath of God.

The backstory is all Doyle though, I’ve read the stories many times over the years and that’s always the history I bring with me.

I have included favourite characters from other Holmes stories, such as Mycroft, Shinwell Johnson and Langdale Pike. Purely because those characters seemed helpful to the stories I wanted to tell.

As both novels blend Holmes with other fictional characters there is a natural inclination to bring the flavour of those works in too.

2) We share an acting background, so I have to ask–how does your acting training inform your writing, and vice versa?
It informs me hugely when it comes to character and dialogue. I played Holmes a couple of times too so that has hung over the whole process as I already feel close to the character.

Hopefully, having been an actor I can feel my way through stories. I can think in terms of the characters, bring them to life a little more.

3) What’s your favorite Sherlock Holmes story? What’s your favorite media adaptation? 
I’m terrible at picking favourites because mood always gets in the way. Probably The Adventure of the Red-Headed League.

Media adaptation is even more difficult somehow because there’s such a wide variation, all of which bring something interesting.

I adore Jeremy Brett in the role (especially with Edward Harwicke, a gentle, wise Watson).

The relationship between Downey Jr. and Jude Law is lovely too though, whatever you may think of the action movie bells and whistles the two of them spark beautifully off one another.

But how can we ignore SHERLOCK? We simply can’t… it’s glorious and a flawless version of Holmes and Watson.

Sigh… who knows which of them I like the most?

I’m not a great fan of Rathbone. No… let me be clearer, I love the films but he and Bruce are not MY Holmes and Watson, they are some other pair entirely who I enjoy spending time with but don’t recognise as the same people.

4) Tell us the story of how you got the Sherlock Casebook gig. How closely did you consult with Moffat and Gatiss, or did they set you free? Did you interview the actors, creators, etc. yourself for those non-fic bits?
I’ve worked with BBC Books on a number of projects and, knowing that I was a fan of Holmes, I think I was just the safe choice for them. It wasn’t something I had to pitch or fight for. They just dropped me a line explaining that they’d got the rights and would I like to do the book.

Hartswood were heavily involved. Steven, Mark and Sue Vertue all chipped in on the material as I was writing it, correcting things and ensuring I didn’t contradict anything they might want to do in the future.

I attended the commentary recordings for the DVD and Blu-ray and did some interviews then. That was excruciating actually as my dictaphone packed up. Benedict was loveliness itself, working his way through a cup of soup while I got more and more stressed trying to get the thing to record. “We really are going to have to get on,” he said softly as I began to consider just crawling under one of the microphone stands and dying of embarrassment.

I had an absolutely wonderful chat with Andrew Scott on the phone. We gassed on for over an hour with me deciding I’d like to be his best friend. No doubt he has already been in touch with his lawyers to discuss restraining orders. A lovely, clever, brilliant actor.

Everyone was a joy, it was great fun to do.

5) Any more Holmesian projects on the horizon?
I hope to write more Holmes novels but that’s up in the air at the moment depending on Titan’s future plans. I have a lot of other novels I’m working on at the moment but I’d always go back, I could happily write Holmes stories forever!

5a) How do you get to write using these already-created characters? Is there some kind of copyright process you have to go through? (I’m asking for a friend…:) )
This is a tricky one!  Strictly speaking, Holmes is out of copyright so you can do what you like with him (as is the case with all the other characters I used). That hasn’t stopped a few attempts on the part of the Doyle Estate to insist otherwise.

Copyright law is different all over the world so your friend would have to check the specific terms for where they wish to publish. It all comes down to either how long ago the original author died or how long since first publication of the original work.

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Thanks again for your time and input, Mr. Adams!   ~Prof. Jenn

Pic other pic

Guy Adams’ website

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Wee Little Superheroes: Young Justice Vol. 2 Review and GIVEAWAY

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Our favorite superheros have been around the block a couple of times, and have this whole crime-fighting thing down to a science.  But what about the next generation of heroes? If you haven’t seen it yet, the still-new Cartoon Network series, Young Justice, follows some of your favorite DC characters’ successors as they develop into full-fledged superheroes. And you know what? They actually do a really great job with this.

Now, personally, I’ve never really been a huge fan of next-generation storylines (you know.. except for Star Trek, of course). However, from the very first episode of Young Justice, I was impressed. It’s simply not your typical teenage angst when you have Batman breathing down your neck to get things right. So I was very excited when we got the chance to take a first-hand look at this series. With an animation style reminiscent of Return of the Joker, you’re led through the evolution of Robin (Dick Grayson era), Aqualad, Superboy, Kid Flash, Artemis, M’gann, and Red Arrow, all while watching classic heroes such as Batman, Superman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary teach them how to take down giant robots and mad scientists that have the evil laugh perfected.

We took a look at Season One, Volume Two (courtesy of WB), and learned just how much crime-fighty goodness you can fit into four episodes. Beyond battling Amazo, these kids got to meet Klarion the Witch Boy face to face, try to stop Black Manta’s attack on Atlantis, and stare down the assassin Chesire. We also find out exactly how Aqualad got his start, how Superboy is dealing with being a clone (oh, yes.. that did carry over from the comics), and what ever happened to Speedy.  This segment left me wondering dying to know more about Artemis’ backstory, myself.

If you’re getting curious by now, don’t worry.. this volume was released October 25th, and you can now Own it on DVD.

But because we love you.. we’re going to give away two copies of this DVD to you guys, courtesy of WB. Yep, free. Want it? Okay.

Just to be sure you’re into it, though, we’re first going to show you the Origin of Aqualad. Take a look at the video, and to receive your own copy of the DVD, just post Aqualad’s real name below. Two winners will be chosen at random. Check it:

Post your comment below, winners will be chosen on Friday, Nov. 11th.

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Minimalistic Art for the Geeky Eye

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These clever little capsules from Greg Guillemin will certainly keep us geek-folk amused for probably a little too long:

 

 

And while I’d probably make flash cards out of them, they seem to be available in some finely printed forms.

Image from http://doctorwho.bbcamerica.com/

Review: Doctor Who 6×11: The God Complex

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Image from http://doctorwho.bbcamerica.com/

Warning: contains mild spoilers

With “The God Complex,” writer Toby Whithouse and director Nick Hurran have delivered an episode that is as visually minimalist as Hurran’s previous episode “The Girl Who Waited” and, for that minimalism, is incredibly sophisticated. There is a claustrophobic menace to this innocuous-looking hotel from the first frame.

There’s also plenty of surface horror to go around. From Weeping Angels to sad clowns and ventriloquist’s dummies, Whithouse and Hurran are pushing all the creepy buttons. It’s an And Then There were None scenario, with Hitchcock-style forced perspectives and more than a little borrowed from The Shining.

I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that nearly all of the dialogue is superfluous. There are points made so subtly and points made on a purely visual level that works, but it’s also a little hollow. The episode is all about the last ten minutes. There are interesting questions raised about the nature of faith and fear. Treating belief as a double-edged sword when it’s Amy’s belief in the Doctor that allowed the universe to be rebooted (“The Big Bang”) and when that belief must now be fractured in order to save Amy herself, is more than a little mind-bending.

Doctor: (to Amy) “I’m not a hero. I really am just a madman in a box. And, it’s time we saw each other as we really are: Amy Williams, it’s time to stop waiting.”
Rory: (to the Doctor) “I’d forgotten that not all victories are about saving the universe.”
Amy: (to Rory) “He’s saving us.”

I’ve had a strong impression from the beginning of this series that context within the story arc is paramount. We’ve got two episodes to go and the thematic pingbacks are becoming stronger as we go along. “The God Complex” plays its part in this well of echoes, but other than beautifully frightening visuals, that’s all it does. All the momentum in the second half of the series seems to be driving towards the Doctor’s return to Lake Silencio in episode 13.

Until then, all I can say about “The God Complex” is that it is gloriously cinematic and I wouldn’t watch it with the lights out.

The French Mistake

The French Mistake

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A Supernatural metatextual episode written by Ben Edlund?  It is, of course, a recipe for excellence — the type of episode where all of Ackles’ lines are quotable and the slightly surreal plot puts it in the pantheon of Edlund classics such as “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Ghostfacers,” “Monster Movie,” and “Wishful Thinking.”

 

This episode, which is even more self-referential than “The Monster at the End of This Book,” is narratively framed by the angel Balthazar, who appears suddenly in Bobby’s home (whilst Bobby is out on a liquor run), fleeing from one of Raphael’s minions.  Balthazar, who has also been stabbed, clarifies the situation, saying that Raphael’s minions are after any and all who have given aid to Castiel, including the Winchester boys. With little explanation, Balthazar hands Sam a key for safekeeping.  He then puts together a tidy little mixture that includes lamb blood, salt, and bone of a lesser saint, which he then stirs and uses to paint a sigil onto a window — a window he then uses his angelic powers to throw Sam and Dean through when Virgil, a killer minion, arrives.

 

I’ve decided that any episode that features Balthazar in some way is a good one.  He’s a character that can add a level of menace, but in a grey-hat kind-of way.  He’s neither good nor evil, more a mercenary who takes care of himself.  A bit of a Han Solo, before we discovered that Han Solo was all heart.  It’s impossible to tell whose side he’ll finally choose, and chances are the side he’ll choose in the final battle is his own. Balthazar brings enough snark to shut down Dean, which is always fun to watch, as Ackles portrays with elan Dean’s shock, annoyance, and apprehension at having his caustic wit matched by an angel.  I’m hoping that the civil war amongst the angels will lead to more Balthazar appearances.

 

Once the boys are thrown though the window, they fall into a parallel universe, alti-verse, bizarro world (whatever suits), where they are actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, working on a show called Supernatural.  Basically, they’ve fallen into our world, but one where the actor’s lives and personalities are fodder for humor.

 

This is a show that relishes in mocking itself and its viewers, and it immediately sets in as soon as the boys stand up.  Everything is fair game and Edlund does two things very well:  mocking the inanity of simple things like their names (Jensen, Misha, Padalecki) and having Dean react to the things about show business that are anathema to his core beliefs — makeup (“Oh crap, I’m a painted whore.”); the fact that an audience would want to watch a show about their lives; filming in Vancouver (“Dude, we’re not even in America.”); and the multiple Impalas that are simply props (“I feel sick. I’m gonna be sick.”).

 

The show makes fun of Ackles’ former life as a soap star, showing a clip of his time on Days of our Lives and lampoons the contents of his trailer.  Collins, who initially plays like he’s really Castiel, only to break character and speak in his real voice when the boys go off-script, gets mocked for his desire to be friends with “J-squared” and tweets his reactions to what he believes is a punking by the boys.  Parodying the Ackles/Padalecki friendship in real life, the show makes them out to be frenemies, who apparently never speak to each other.  But Padalecki bears the brunt of Edlund’s spoofs, making him out to be a narcissist who spends his money on a mansion with lavish accoutrements, such as a tanning bed and massive pictures of himself.  Real-life wife Genevieve Padalecki (best known as playing the version of Ruby that betrays Sam in order to free Lucifer) gets in on the action, displaying disdain and disgust for Ackles, while also serving as an environmental activist.

 

But one of the best parts is watching the two try to “act” as Sam and Dean.  Their inability to hit their marks, Sam not knowing how to stand or what to do with his hands, Dean talking to the floor and reading his lines off of the script, Sam talking to the camera while Dean chastises him, and Sam’s hands during the lock and key sequence – hilarious.

 

The underlying thread to all of the parody is that the boys want to find a way back to their own reality, to escape that nothingness that is filming a television show, and to return to a job that actually has an impact on people. As Dean explains to Bob Singer at one point, “We matter to that world. In fact we even save a son-of-a-bitch once or twice.” Unfortunately a return is not that easy, even with the ability to buy relics over the internet with Padalecki’s copious-limit credit cards. They simply cannot re-create Balthazar’s spell.

 

Then, as all good Edlund scripts do, things fall apart and get crazy.  Using the sigil that Balthazar used, Virgil breaks into bizarro world. He finds the boys and attempts to put some angel hoodoo on them, but finds himself unable to use his powers.  The Winchesters attack. Unfortunately, they are prevented from stopping Virgil by stage hands who don’t understand the severity of events. Virgil pickpockets the key from Sam and walks free.  Yet without his powers, Virgil is unable to phone home to contact Raphael. So, following in the tradition seen in earlier seasons, he chooses someone to slit their neck, take their blood, and use it as a means of communication. The victim he chooses is Misha, who, wearing his namaste t-shirt, goes from acting goofy to humorously terrified (is that even possible?).

 

Now the boys are spurred into action, shed their facade of being Jared and Jensen, and act like the Winchesters trying to stop a monster. Or, in this case, an angel. An angel who just happens to have a shotgun and is taking people out at the studio. It must be a writer and showrunner’s dream, to jokingly take out your colleagues. First to go is Faux-Kripke, who, unable to comprehend the situation at hand (a situation that seems like it was straight out of an action/horror movie, natch), survives two gunshots to his body before succumbing to a third. Virgil then makes a face as if he’s Indiana Jones fighting a man with a sword, pulls a gun out of his belt and shoots Bob Singer, just once.

 

After more shooting, the boys fight with Virgil, get the key, and are yanked back into their own world by Raphael, who is now in the form of a woman. I like that angels are equal-opportunity occupiers of humans. But all is not lost, as Balthazar appears, soon to be followed by Castiel. For this has all gone according to plan — Balthazar’s plan. Distract Virgil by using the Winchester boys as bait — bait that carried a useless key. While events transpired in our world, Balthazar was seeking out the cache of weapons that he stole from heaven and giving them to Castiel.

 

And once again we are confronted with the idea of a civil war in heaven — one that the boys know little about. Dean’s frustrations are mounting and he tries, without success, to glean information from Castiel. As always, he is pushed aside with an apology and a promise to give him more detail later. What exactly is Castiel hiding from Sam and Dean??

 

While we didn’t have a scene of catharsis by the Impala, we were given a moment, just before Virgil showed up at the studio shooting people, where Sam and Dean discuss the possibility of being stuck in this universe. Doing his roundabout passive-agressive questioning, Dean implies that Sam wouldn’t be so sad staying in this universe — one where he has a life with money and comforts, no hell, no heaven, no threat to his brain. But Sam’s having none of it. Their lives are in their universe — their friends are there — they make a difference there — and they are brothers there. It’s Dean once again giving Sam an out that he won’t take.

 

Postmodern television episodes always have the potential to be epic failures. Effective metatext is difficult to accomplish. Finding the balance between self-referential humor and maintaining the arc of an episode is not that simple. Edlund created another hysterical, touching, random, surreal, brilliant episode of Supernatural.

 

Favorite Quotes:

Dean: “I said ‘hey.”

Balthazar: “You did.  Twice.  Good for you.”

 

Sam: “Here.  Wherever here is, this, this twilight zone Balthazar zapped us into. For whatever reason, our life is a TV show.”

Dean: “Why?”

Sam: “I don’t know.”

Dean: “No, seriously, why?  Why would anybody want to watch our lives?”

Sam: “Well, I mean, according to the interviewer not very many people do.”

 

Dean: “I think we are definitely out of soul-phone range.”

 

Bob Singer: “Cause I’d like to think that over these years we’ve grown closer.  That you don’t think of me as director Bob or executive producer Bob Singer, but as Uncle Bob.”

Sam: “Wait, you’re kidding.  So the character in the show, Bobby Singer. . .”

Dean: “What kind of a douchebag names a character after himself?”

Sam: “Oh that’s not right.”

 

Homeless Man (talking to the boys about Misha’s death): “Yeah, yeah, that’s right, the scary man killed the attractive crying man and then he started to pray.”

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The Walking Dead Ep.5

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Episode 5 review… **spoilers**

In the last episode I talked all about a bubble these people have built for themselves trying to hold onto some semblance of their former lives and this episode opens with most of them coming to terms that some more then others are settling better in a world of death and terror.  This episode is all about family and doing what is best for them.  Every family is needing something different and even though sometimes it is not pretty you have to respect the wishes of those who feel they are doing the right thing.  Not only that but you have to have faith.  That is something that is not very plentiful in this time.  When you have a hunch that things are going to go a certain way and you know you have to follow it you are riding on faith.  We see time and time again in this episode that people are being tested to believe that there are solutions in this world.  They are not helpless if they try to move toward what they feel will be best.  It is a tough road to follow when you have no believers but I do see that in a time of desperation when there are no solutions that following someone is salvation.  You may be broken and have no options but when someone is so adamant about what the next step is and you can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel it is just easier to follow.

Andrea refuses to let her sister go and Rick is trying to reach out to Morgan, who met before he ever ventured out to Atlanta. Atlanta belonged to the dead now and hopefully the radio frequency would reach his former friends so they could not fall into the trap and be overtaken by what would lie ahead of them.

Once we get into the meat of the episode we open with them pulling the dead to burn the geeks and bury their own that died in the attack.  Almost immediately we learn that Jim has been bitten.  It is only a matter of time before he is stricken with fever and then turns to a walker.  Rick, being the optimist, thinks they could find the CDC, Center for Disease Control, to see if they found a cure and Shane believes they should go to Fort Benning where they may have some protection if the army is still together.  Daryl, being the hothead that he is, brings up one big thing that they don’t tolerate any walkers in their camp but, as Rick stops him, they don’t kill the living and Jim has only been bitten thus far.  They take him away where he gets his fever and begins to deteriorate.

Dale tries to help Andrea with her loss by admitting they were the first people they ever cared for since his wife passed from cancer years before.  With that I think Andrea finally lets go.  She has been sitting with her sister all night and finally up until she turns.  You would think this be a weird thing but   Everyone is dealing with guilt on this day and so we turn to Carol.  We actually see the first hit when she gets Ed in the head and as she swings over and over again we begin to see maybe this is her salvation.  She was for so many years a slave to him and beaten by him to not be her own person.  While she may be upset for her loss I also feel she may be able to finally live free without him.  You can hear it in her groans as she makes sure the job is done right.  How much relief she must feel and without guilt at this point.  A fantasy any beaten wife sees in her mind is to kill her husband and since she didn’t do it and the situation is what it is then she can move on without guilt and still get to in a way kill him herself.  I think this is a huge step forward for Carol because you can see she is a strong woman who is held down.

While they are burying their dead you see how upset they all are but this is a form of letting go for most of them.  They have to bury their dead to say goodbye and have means to an end.  They may not have wanted them to go and it is terrible but to be honest those are now in a better place then the people in the camp.  There are tears shed but mostly for a former relationship and life I am sure they are all realizing may never exist again.

Shane is upset with Rick for leaving and this makes Lori question him as well.  While everyone else has given up Rick is still new to this life and would like to believe that they can find a cure and get relief and not just keep surviving.  Thinking outside of the box can end this but what Rick doesn’t know is that these people have been living this.  They have been struck down time and time again.  To talk of things that may not exist and cause them more danger only seems like pipedreams and not a solution to all their problems.  This does become a struggle between Shane and Rick as more time goes on.  Rick believes he must lead them to the CDC while Shane things it would be stupid to lead them further down the rabbit hole.

The boys go into the woods and are talking about what is best for the camp even though Rick is constantly thinking about what is best for his family.  He semi-insults Shane when he makes the comment about him thinking of what to do differently if he had a family.  Of course Rick doesn’t realize that Shane had replaced him in his absence in more ways then one.   In Shane’s mind he did have a family and the return of Rick has made that go away.  Not only is it a power struggle to be a leader but to Shane, Rick signifies the loss of his family.  It really isn’t Rick’s fault either and unfortunately no one has told him.  At one point Shane has a clear shot to take Rick down and he seriously thinks about it because he is being challenged.  You see the madness in Shane’s eye and no matter how much he wants to play it off Dale is wise enough to see that this power struggle may come to a battle to the death.  Once they come back to camp he decides that he has to back Rick because the most important thing is that the camp stays together.  Even though he thinks the plan will fail he has to stand by him mostly I feel because of his guilt he feels for betraying Rick.

Now we come to a crossroads and there is a family to splits off.  They are all traveling in cars together in a caravan.  It seems like it can be hopeful as they move forward until the RV breaks down because of the hose that was told would never hold.  Not only that but Jim is getting to a breaking point and his color is changing and is wishing for death.  He wants to be with his family.  Dale seems to be the most sensible one at this point in time and even though we are constantly seeing a struggle between Shane and Rick, Lori breaks it down with one simple statement when they are contemplating leaving Jim behind to die.  She says that it isn’t either of their calls.  In a world riddled by death and destruction if you wish for death who is to deny it for you.  To be honest, it is admirable that he sacrifices himself and not try to hold on for himself or them because ultimately it will only end up hurting the group in the end.  It becomes a sad day to loose some to another path and also to let Jim go.  They all have to learn to let go one way or another as time goes on though.

Day 194, 63 days since the disease went global.  We finally have time frame for how long the world has been like this.  This is a broken up transmission we are seeing a man who is living underground who is loosing a sense of what is going on.  We see him in a bio-hazard  suit inspecting what looks like flesh and attempting to come up with a cure?  This is the CDC but it is one guy.  He has isolated the virus and then something goes wrong.  Once he is clear of the room the room is fully decontaminated, which means the samples were burned and gone.  The only samples he had that were being used to test.  One man solely looking for the cure of the world.  This is a huge loss on his part and makes the statement that he will blow his brains out the following day but has decided to get wasted that night.  A valid choice since, well what else are you going to do?  That is until you realize there are living breathing real people approaching your facility.

DEAD PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.  That terrible sound of flies everywhere.  You can see that the place must smell retched by the fact that none of them can stop covering their mouths.   This is the front of the CDC.  They are sitting ducks surrounded by the dead and slowly closing in walkers.  Rick pleas with a camera hoping to get somewhere and when none of them believe him and they try to pull him away all of a sudden a light shows the way to a new beginning.

Stay Tuned for Ep.6…

Jess

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The Walking Dead Ep.4

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Episode 4 review.. **spoilers**

This series has been shaping up to being amazing and it is only the 4th episode and you are feeling for these characters.  Not only feeling for them but understanding their struggles.  You really start to come to terms with how mentally all of them are having to cope with what is around them.  Each one of the members of the camp have been building a bubble to keep the insanity out and the stability they once had intact.  The problem with this is that the game has changed.  No matter what they try to do to keep the kids believing that those walkers are far gone while they are up in the mountains the reality is that one day that might not be the case.  We already saw that happening in the last episode when they found a walker chomping on a deer Daryl killed.  Not only are they trying to keep out the dead but also their own craziness.  The world has ended and yet there are still little things each of them will do to try and maintain.  In this episode you start to see that whatever those little things are it will not save them in the end and what they really should be maintaining is a good sense of action.  Putting your guard down for even a second is grounds to accepting death.  It is not an easy life and not only any of them have chosen but it is what they have to accept.

The opening is with the sisters reminiscing about their previous life.  They start by talking about their parents and how they were both taught by their father to fish.  We learn they are 12 years apart but now all they have is each other and they are both glad to be what they have.  We move to our lookout, like a Meercat sitting atop a rock keeping an eye for eagles and other predatory birds, instead they are watching to make sure their isn’t a predatory on foot.  It leaves off with one of them digging holes in the distance, but for what?

So once we get into the meat of the episode we are back on the roof where we left off.  Daryl is upset but saves his brother’s hand for memory and they get to tracking the blood droplets left behind.  It leads back into the building and down a stairwell that is super scary.  We find out that Merle may be alive even with the blood loss because he had seared the end of his cut off arm to keep from dieing from blood loss.  We have no idea where he has gone and there is a struggle between Daryl and Rick to leave the building and search for Merle.  You begin to see that emotion cannot be your source of motivation in a world like this.  Rick is the sense of reason and thinks with logic and not his heart.  Glenn proposes a strategic plan to gather the guns and his alone in this.  He is smart and fast and we only learn once Daryl asks that he used to be a pizza delivery boy.

While Glenn is running to grab their prize Daryl actually finds another living, breathing human.  What?!  Not only do they have to worry about geeks but now they were almost mugged and Glenn was kidnapped?  Not really anything these guys were expecting.  The new boy shows them where their group hideout is a hopefully get to meet their leader, Guillermo.  This is a tense situation.  There is really a gang in this point in the game but then again it makes sense.  While everyone has alliances and before the world has fallen apart a gang would be as good as family.  Now they are stuck to make a trade.  They thought it would be simple, the new boy for Glenn, but instead he is realizing that maybe G is not thinking with compassion or fairness.  Rick decides that he is not going to get bullied around by these men and is rightfully rewarded in the end.  By chance an older woman comes out and the gang we learn are really guards for an old folks home hidden in the back.  Maybe they have misjudged G and his group.  Instead of bulling around they actually were nurses and special care providers turned thugs after the fall of the world.

The world hasn’t changed but it is shown now for what it is.  It is a dream that these older people will ever leave the city and they all look to G as their leader when no one else would stand up and fight for them.  This is a noble situation and as a sign of humanity Rick gives them almost half their weapons and ammo.

Who thought digging holes could be therapeutic.  He is on a mission and even his partner doesn’t understand for what but in times like these any little thing that can keep you occupied and not from getting overwhelmed then you just can’t fault them for that.  The entire camp comes out to confront Jim.  This impromptu intervention is all for the good of the camp.  Their reasoning is because his madness is infectious.  The kids in the camp and the adults are uneasy and want to maintain a level existence.  This is a powerful scene because you really can feel the desperation they are all experiencing.  You are helpless and no matter how much you want to deny or pretend because they have built a bubble for themselves, inevitably the swarms will overrun and they are outnumbered.  Jim is taken down and we learn of his guilt.  He is alive only because the walkers were too busy eating his family and didn’t notice him getting away.  That is quite a burden to have on your shoulders in a world that seems to have very few victories left.

The two sisters come back victorious with two long lines of fish to bring back for the camp to chow down on.  A victory is hard to attain in these days and the bubble these people have built for themselves is a safety not only to keep alive but to keep sane.  Once Jim has come to his senses and the camp’s morale has been restored they all sit together and eat.  A rare family moment.  They are happy and learning about each other.  Dale’s sense of time and his watch is all about a sense of hope for the future.  He talks about the watch as a sense of forgetting time and not trying to conquer it but it kind of goes over many of their heads.  It is a paraphrasing of William Faulkner short story, “The Bear.”

The climax comes when the camp is overtaken by walkers.  All of a sudden the bubble is burst and guns shots ring free through the mountains.  One by one people are bitten and the tragedy they all faced when the initial outbreak took over is being relived.  Maybe Jim had a premonition of the future.  This is a scary thought but the madness they all wanted to keep the kids and themselves from feeling was actually what is keeping them all alive.  They cannot forget that they are living in a world of terror.  No matter how ‘safe’ it may seem once they let their guard down it will only pop up later to come and bit them, literally.

Of all that is lost in this night, Amy dieing in her sister’s arms the night before her birthday is the epitome of what they are trying to bring across.  The opening sequence of the two of them spending time together was a foreshadowing of what will happen now.  They only have each other and that is still only fleeting because in the end they will be outnumbered and some will die at the hands of the dead.

Stay tuned for Episode 5…

Jess

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The Walking Dead Ep.3

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Episode 3 review.. **spoilers**

This is all about family and the dynamics we see between them all living with each other and dealing with what they would not normally stand for in other circumstances.  We start to see much more of people’s personalities dealing with sexism and betrayal and also what little bit of integrity some of them may have.  At this point most of them are not looking out for one another but looking out for themselves.  A few have taken charge to make sure that the good of the group is considered in every decision no matter how big or small.  As some will decide to pursue different paths, as long as the good of the group is intact then they have the support of everyone.  We start to learn a little more about the “walkers” and are introduced into a new term, geeks.  As the story starts to develop the characters we are beginning to understand how difficult it really is to live together.  Even though they may not get along and there is no one really stopping you from leaving someone behind or kicking the shit out of them not one of these people would wish death on the other regardless of how terrible they are to one another.  It is a weird line that is drawn and may eventually have to be crossed as  time goes on.

Where we open the episode you see Merle cuffed to the roof and is totally mad.  He is mumbling and then like he was in a dream snaps out of it and violently is trying to escape his prison.  When he takes a second look there are geeks at the door trying to get at him.  He sees a saw that he can use to cut the cuffs?

Then we start to get into the meat of the episode.  Rick and the rest of them return from the city and Rick is reunited not only with his family but his old partner, Shane.  He is overrun with joy and doesn’t even notice the looks between Lori and Shane.  She is riddled with guilt and you can tell confused.  She does still love him and you can clearly see that when they are laying in bed together.  It is almost like a re-consummation of their marriage that night.  She gives him his ring back and they do it, but what really gets me is that he is so overrun with joy that he doesn’t even pick up the subtle instances of her guilt across  her face.  Not only did she leave him but she has been bedding his partner this entire time.  I am torn between how I feel about her because could you really blame her?  If you lost your husband/wife and were put in a situation that they have, would you really stay faithful?  If you weren’t would you tell the other person when they finally found you?  Her entire situation is very delicate and I am just not sure at this point how I feel about it honestly.  Later in the episode she finally addresses her situation with Shane.  We find out that he told her that Rick had died and therefore is now her source of blame for everything.  Now we get a better understanding about what has led to her actions now.  I start to feel a little more sympathy for them all but still think that Rick should know about what has happened in his absence.  He can’t really be upset because this is a time of crisis.  He also seems like one of the most levelheaded guys so far.
The group does end up finding a walker just outside the camp eating a dead deer and all in turn the men who ran to the rescue beat it down until one finally chops its head off.  You can see this is a stress reliever but now there is new element to scare them.  They chose a high space up in the mountains to get away from where populated areas would have these creatures thriving.  Now they found one so close to home, does that mean the cities are running dry?  They are having to travel further and further for food.  We also get a little lesson about what it takes to kill these walkers.  Even though you can chop their heads off is the brain is still intact then they will just be an alive head.

The sexism comes along when Ed is confronted by one of the ladies down by the quarry.  They are down there doing the laundry and complaining to each other about what they miss in their former lives.  Once they are laughing and actually beginning to enjoy the company a little better Ed, who is Carol’s husband, comes along to comment on their work ethic.  He disgraces them all when he openly hits Carol in the face.  Shane is there to save the day but also take some of that aggression he has pent up from his talk with Lori.  Just like a beat up housewife, Carol runs to his rescue after he is beaten down a bleeding.  Instead of the women standing for their own a man has to come along and take that from them.  Shane is a leader in this camp and I do believe he has tarnished his reputation just a bit.  The ladies at first are comforting Carol and then back off completely to kind of openly shun Shane for his rather savage display of leadership.

The episode climaxes with Shane beating Ed and then the group who has gone back to Atlanta to rescue Merle.  They finally reach the roof to find a big surprise that sends his brother into a screaming fit.  There is a reason they left us hanging in the beginning of the episode to build up to this exact moment when they realize Merle is no longer there and all they find is his sawed off hand.

Stay tuned for Episode 4 and 5 to come soon…

Jess

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Dexter Season 5.. so far

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Season 5 at a glance.. 3 episodes left and shit is getting real.  Things are happening and if you haven’t kept up with the series then don’t read.  Full of *spoilers*!!

By far my favorite season of Dexter to date was season 4.  The pacing was on point.  The storyline was perfect and best of all you had John Lithgow (or Gogo for any DougLovesMovie fans).  The acting is always very on point but never so much as in that season.  It was a build up to so much that happened and once the final episode aired I was screaming in my living room.  Not only had they ended it with a surprise but it was unfinished.  Previously I have felt that Dexter would end its seasons with things tied up in a way that you wouldn’t be happy about it but could accept if there wasn’t another season.  Not until the end of the 4th season did they set up so much to be brought to what we have today.  And now it is all grounds for spoilers.  I have been vague and I really want to talk about what has been happening before this season ends and I have to scream all over again with whatever they leave us with.

Where we left off in season 4, Rita was found in a bath tub; dead.  She bled out from her femoral artery.  Trinity’s m.o.  What was so sinister about this is Dex actually kills Trinity and you never feel quite right about that.  He isn’t sad or upset but almost peaceful that he is going to die at the hands of Dex.  Only later do you find out why he is so peaceful.  He leaves a legacy of his imprinted on Dexter forever.  This causes his unraveling in the first two episodes.  You are starting to see Dexter as a person.  Someone who has feelings and is making mistakes.  Something he never does.  Up until this point we have only ever known him to be methodical and strategic.  Next thing you know he is beating random guys up in a bathroom and not really following ‘the code.’  Once Dex does feel like he can get on track though and picks a victim who he feels is deserving Dex ends up in more shit then he knows what to do with.

Boyd Fowler.  What a predicament this has caused throughout this entire season.  This should have been a simple kill.  Not only does it backfire but Boyd fights back.  It’s all ok though.  Dex moves the room and thinks things are getting better once he gets him on the table.  A little swipe on the cheek and a knife to the heart.  The slow exhale that should make his life come back into place is only for a mere second until he realizes killing in Boyd’s house is a total mistake because he is not alone.  Introduce Lumen.  She is one of Boyd’s potential victims.  He must have had her stashed away before she was going to be stuffed in a barrel and preserved for him to come visit.

Lumen was trouble from the start.  He can’t kill her because ultimately this would be the person Dexter is saving by killing men like these.  BUT! If she stays alive then there is potential that everyone knows of what Dexter is.  The massive dilemma starts now.  Eventually though she becomes strong enough to live on her own and she trusts Dexter, even though she did see him not so savagely kill her capture.  It was very apparent to her that he has done this before and you would think, well if I was in her position then why wouldn’t he kill me too?  Some time passes and they become friends.  Well not friends, yet.  She is a bit of a nuisance to him though.  She is obsessive about wanting to find her captures.  DING! DING! There was more then one.

So does he choose to help her by tracking down said captures or try and convince her to get back to her life. To the finance she left and her family who has no idea where she’s gone?  Well, he does try but she persists and ends up staying in Miami.  Her trauma has caused her so much pain and not being able to talk to anyone about what happened to her without giving up his involvement causes a problem.  Now I want to take a second here because this is when the situation takes a turn for the familiar.  We saw in previous seasons when Dexter tries to bring people into his world.  He, like us all, tries to connect by letting them in on the secret.  It has 100% of the time backfired and he ends up having to kill the monster he unleashes in others.  My thought is will this happen with her too?  She is not like his previous proteges I will say though.  She matches him in one respect, also where Trinity kind of mirrored him, they were all born in blood, so to speak.

Her traumatic experience, causing a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feel, is what really brings him to understand that she isn’t so different from him.  The two of them are trying to fill the deep hole they have inside.  By bringing justice to these men Lumen feels she can sleep at night and maybe he can use this to get back to who he always was, a monster.

The next victim ‘they’ target happens to be Jordan Chase’s head of security, Cole Harmon.  Chase is a motivational speaker that Boyd listened to constantly.  He preaches about taking what you want out of life.  He also later comes to tell Dexter that his teachings come from Plato’s philosophy of all of us having fractured selves and constantly are looking to complete that and become whole again.  Cole eventually finds out Lumen is missing and tries to move the barrel girls and ends up messing the whole thing up for everyone.  The police are on to all of them now because Cole fled the scene and claimed his truck was stolen.  Somehow it all gets pinned on Boyd and Cole becomes Lumen and Dexter’s target.  This is all under the noses of those pesky detectives, aside from Doakes 2.0 aka Quinn, and Jordan Chase presumably.

The night comes to kill Cole and things go wrong.  This whole season seems to be about things going wrong actually.  Somehow the next day Chase calls Dexter up on stage to talk about his recent tragedy of his wife being murdered and Cole sees Lumen leaving the hotel.  There’s a chase and back to the ‘kill room.’  Next thing you know Cole is being checked out of the hotel as Dexter’s baggage.  All the while not realizing Chase is one of the other guys Lumen was tortured by in Boyd’s attic.  This is where things start to take a turn for the more intense because you not only know Dexter is human and makes mistakes but we learn he has real feelings.  You kind of see it in the beginning of the season with Harrison but this last episode, number 9, really goes to show that maybe he can’t be the heartless serial killer he was once upon a time.

In the meantime, in the rest of the world of this show Debra is dating Quinn, messy, and Batista and LaGuerta’s marriage is hot and cold as she uses him as a pawn throughout to keep her career intact.  Really all that matters with this is that Quinn is improved on the Doakes model because he chooses Deb over the intriguing pictures of bags disappearing on a midnight boat ride between Lumen and Dexter.  I call this a good call, although it doesn’t mean that Liddy (the guy Quinn hired to follow Dexter around) is actually going to let this go and not keep digging to get his career back.  By the situational powers that be the barrel girls’ case once closed was reopened due to new evidence, as being DNA of multiple perps, was discovered.

When you bring kids into the mix the waters get cloudy because now Dexter is acting like a parent.  He’s still demented as we see once he beats up a guy in order to prove a point of good parenting, but he let’s his fear of Astor getting kidnapped by on of Chase’s goons cloud his judgement and not only have people find out Lumen is there but also that he has been spending time with her.  After all the running around and unraveling of secrets that was so closer guarded at first there is a great scene between Harry and Dexter in the car.  He is ready to dismiss whatever his father has to say until he realizes that Harry is proud of him for acting as any parent would.  He put his life on the line for her and didn’t think of anything except her safety; a completely new action we haven’t ever seen from Dexter.  Could he be evolving?

Only problem is now he is dealing with a psychopath with resources and power.  Once again he is not thinking as we have known for him to be, methodical and sensible.  Dexter is stupid to try and outwit Jordan Chase during one of their private sessions, which were only intended to be used to get more information on him and prove that he is worthy of the code to be put on his table.  Only problem is Jordan Chase is not a dumb guy and openly admits his obsession with Trinity to Dexter early on.  He finds out soon enough what is going on and it leads us to the ending scene you see his madness when Lumen answers the phone to hear him utter the words, “Tick tick tick, that’s the sound of his life running out.  Can you be sure to tell him that?  Take care Lumen.”

What do we have in store for us?  Dexter’s demise?  His unraveling as a killer and metamorphosis into a more whole human being?  All I know is that the next three episodes must be jam packed because there are plenty of loose ends to tie up and if last season’s ending is any indicator of how this may go, we may be looking at another cliff hanger to keep us hooked and find out what will become of our murderous crusader as he handles what he is becoming; human.

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The Walking Dead Ep.2

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Episode 2 review (there are spoilers)

After the premiere you can only expect this show to take off running.  It was a build up to introducing such a crazy scary world that these people are living in.  Rick is in Atlanta surrounded by zombies but we open at the camp of survivors.  This episode is really setting up the camp people and their relationships with each other.  You have to think these people have spent how many days with each other already.  They are starting to get to know one another and ultimately getting involved.  If it was the end of the world who would you want to be stuck with?  Strangers have no reason to be mean or hide who they are with each other anymore.  Not only that but lust becomes a thing of necessity.  I can only imagine being so overrun with survival and pushing your needs aside to the point that it becomes inevitable to act on desires that you may have pushed away in a civilized world.  Your primal brain begins to overtake and civility can deteriorate over time.

The normal rules don’t apply anymore.  How can you survive together in a world that has new rules?  Primal rules.  Leaders will be leaders and the rest will follow.  Rick is a natural leader and he pushes to the front and takes the reigns.  His former partner, Shane, is another leader type.  Level headed enough to see that emotions can get you killed.  Others will fall back into their natural states of being.  Lori, Rick’s wife, has already found a replacement and a new father figure for her son.  And honestly why shouldn’t she?  There are conflicts within the smaller group in the city that don’t seem to be more then their former selves not coming to terms with the new reality they all face.  They are holding onto the past and instead need to adapt to a new way of thinking.  At this point everyone is on a level playing field and if you can’t bring something to the table you may be left behind.

You not only learn this but you are also learning more about what this ‘walkers’ are capable of.  It is interesting to see that they are even using tools to get what they want.  The glass in the front of the story is broken eventually by a walker with a rock in his hand.  They are attracted to sound and smell.  There is a great scene where Rick and Glenn walk through the crowded streets of walkers and covered in the guts and blood of one of the dead.  They have to hack up a dead guy and pull him apart to spread on themselves.  Rick pulls out his wallet.  He does this as a sense of memorial to the dead he has to hack up and uses it as a means to make it ok because without Wayne they could not live.  It is graphic and disgusting for the sounds you hear.  Once the two get onto the streets to find transportation the walkers don’t seem to notice as long as there are not any sudden movements.  It isn’t until an inconvenient rain causes more problems because their ‘death scent’ is washed away.

They get the cars and now it is time to escape.  Merle ends up getting left behind and as a last chance hope of humility the door is locked with a chain and a padlock.  At least if he is going to get left behind then he can stand a chance to live another day.  It is sad for the fact that you kind of root for him to be left behind and for dead, but he still is a victim of this savage lifestyle.  No one deserves to be left for dead and turn into one of these not dead.  There is nothing saying they should take him with them but you kind of feel for the guy.  When the key is shown to him and he knows his life is in the hands of the guy he beat up you see in his face you already knew he was going to get left behind.

You get left with a few mixed feelings at the end of this episode.  You feel upset for Merle and the fact that he was so upset and primal in his fear to be left behind.  Then you also feel triumph for the rest of them getting out alive.  There is a victory that comes in a red sports car.  You have to imagine that Glenn must be so ecstatic about not only winning something against the walkers but getting rid of some tension by driving off in a bleeping car out of the city.  Unstoppable and uncatchable.

Next time.. You get to enjoy when Rick gets reunited with his lost wife and son and that dynamic.

Stay tuned next time.. same bat time.. same bat channel

Jess

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