I might have mentioned it a couple times before but Fall 2013 has proven to be a really good season for television, I feel. So many great shows got their start in September/October last year and while a few have fizzled out on their initial promises, far more have gotten better with each episode, developing and solidifying themselves, you could say. And NBC’s The Blacklist is one of those shows. Its a spy action-drama, but it flips the genre on its head and does something rather unique with it. And in a way, I can’t help but make comparisons to Fox’s Fringe, which too was a genre-flipping show that’s been really good, what little I’ve seen on it.
The first three episodes of The Blacklist did a pretty good job of laying out who all the main characters were, what their relationships to each other were, and what the overall premise really was. We also got introduced to a fair amount of mysteries, both professional and personal as far as the two leads Elizabeth Keen and Raymond Reddington were concerned. Thankfully, the next set of three episodes carried on from there and were even better than the previous three. While also advancing the season story-arcs, we got some great one-shots and I’m definitely in love with both the actors and the characters.
Arrow returned from a long break of some six weeks or thereabouts three weeks ago and just while things were building up the momentum once again, it is taking a two-week break for the next two weeks. It will return on February 26th. But to help us tide over, this week’s episode packed a hell of a lot of awesome, just as the mid-season finale did with everything that went on with Barry Allen and Sebastian Blood and Roy Harper. I’ve said several times that I love the show despite its faults, because it does a ton of things right, and because it has improved a lot since its first season.
This week’s episode, titled Heir of the Demon, brings back Sara Lance aka Canary and it also introduces Katrina Law as Nyssa Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, the immortal leader of the League of Assassins, of which Canary is a part. The majority of the episode is focused on the relationship that Sara has with Ra’s, and it also gives us some interesting flashbacks to six years back before Ollie and his father went on that fateful trip on their yacht. This particular episode packed in a ton of emotional drama that I really liked, and for that alone, I loved it.
Note: This review contains some significant spoilers.
After all the exciting epilogue-ish reveals of last week’s episode, Arrow did one better this week by dropping a big bomb on the proceedings and showing that whatever we as viewers thought was going to happen with certain characters isn’t quite going to happen like we imagined. I love the format that the show has evolved into, where the last five minutes or so are often used to drop hints and clues as to the larger story arcs of the season. Last week’s highlight was we saw Slade Wilson as Deathstroke, in full gear, laying down justice on four of Blood’s henchmen for the price of Blood failing in his mission. This week, well, this week was quite special altogether on a different note.
Once again, we have an aptly named episode. While the name “Tremors” might give you certain ideas about the plot of the episode, it is also something more, it is about the shake-ups in the lives of the main cast and the supporting cast. Each and every character in the show is impacted to a certain degree here and their world is shaken up because of it. All I can say on seeing the episode is that I am still in love with the show. It is going from strength to strength and is finally picking up the momentum after the recent six-week break.
I remember watching the Gary Oldman and Keanu Reeves Dracula movie with the former in the titular role and really enjoying it. It was a bit hard to follow at times, but overall I enjoyed it for sure. That was almost a decade ago and ever since I’ve enjoyed reading various types of vampire fiction. My fascination with the genre started with Buffy and Angel however, and after all these years, I’ve seen and read a lot of different stuff and enjoyed most of it. Novels such as Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia are really fun and shows like True Blood are the same. I’d credit the latter for really invigorating my interest in watching vampire shows since it got me to watch Vampire Diaries, although I didn’t like the show that much and gave up in the middle of the first season.
And now we have NBC’s Dracula which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the titular role and is very much a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula. Having seen the first three episodes of the show by now, I have to say that while the series often feels cliched and clumsy, it does have some good moments and that I find the characters to be quite fascinating. And the motivation behind Dracula doing what he does is also quite interesting although it seems somewhat shoehorned in. My verdict though, at this early point, is that this is a decent show.
Recently, and starting with Homeland, I’ve come to take an interest in contemporary espionage shows. There’s something quite fascinating about FBI, CIA agents and others of their kind taking down the bad guys, mass murderers and terrorists and more. After having seen the first three episodes of Homeland a while back however, I’ve kind of fallen off due to other shows (not that Homeland is boring or bad or anything, quite the contrary), but watching The Blacklist recently has gotten me really interested in the whole genre once again.
The reason that I started watching The Blacklist in the first place is because of the lead actor James Spader. I’ve seen a lot of his films, especially the sci-fi flick Stargate that spawned no less than three spin-off shows, and have seen him in Boston Legal as well where he was just amazing alongside William Shatner. Spader is a great actor and I dived into The Blacklist last week nothing about the show. It so happened that I loved it, and now, having seen the first three episodes, I can say that the show is really good. Almost all the actors are top-notch and the plots are quite interesting as well, which always helps.
With the show back on air for season 2 following the recent big break and the awesomeness of seeing Barry Allen on the show in the moments before he becomes The Flash, its time to get the momentum going once more for Arrow. The mid-season finale was a hell of a place to stop before the long break, and while the mid-season premiere wasn’t quite what I was looking for despite being a good episode, my enthusiasm in the show is undimmed. In fact, each and every week I am more and more excited because the show has surpassed pretty much all my expectations of it in this season.
Episode 11 is, first and foremost, aptly named: “Blind Spot“. It is all about the blind spots that the various leading characters have with regards to each other. This episode does a great job of thematically exploring that concept even though that’s pretty much what a lot of it has been about from the get go. But I dare say that nothing we’ve seen so far has been quite on point as in this episode. And additionally, the biggest thing of all, I finally got to saw one particular character kick ass just the way that I wanted the character to ever since the character’s first moment on the show. So indeed, this was a pretty good show.
Note: The review contains a spoiler to a really awesome and cool moment from the mid-season finale, episode nine.
And so we finally come to it. This week, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow ended its first season with a special two-hour episode. As I’ve said in my previous reviews, this is a show that I’ve really come to enjoy and the previous two episodes have been some of the best work on the show yet. Sure, some subplots have been sort of ignored and so have certain characters, but overall, I can definitely say that each and every episode has been a joy to watch. It avoided many of the pitfalls of a team-up show in its first season, or just first season blues in general, and that’s been the best thing about it, among others.
There have been a damn load of revelations in all the previous episodes. In episodes 10-12, all the revelations finally begin to make sense and they come together to deliver more revelations on top of all that. Another thing is that these three episodes allowed the full cast to get their day in the sun. The writers touched on pretty much every subplot here, although I think that the finale could have done with a lot more, but still, the finale mostly left me with my jaw hanging open all the time. It also helps that the acting has been great, with Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie being the breakout actors of television in 2013 for me.
Note: This review contains spoilers about these three episodes.
Its been almost two months since I last did a review for this show. Some of you might have wondered why. I mean, I was covering the show on a weekly basis with every new episode for nine weeks straight and then I didn’t cover the mid-season finale, which was a rather explosive moment for the series, on several different levels. Those of you who follow me on social media knew well how I felt about that episode though. Sadly, my feelings have hardly changed with the show’s return and the recent two episodes. Thing is, for me the mid-season finale was very boring, with the follow-up episode being extremely disappointing and this week’s episode being barely decent.
The mid-season finale brought back Mike Peterson, who we last saw in the series premiere. It was an episode with a personal twist for him and the ending made me really frustrated. The mid-season premiere made me cringe all throughout. And this week’s episode, while it had some good moments and was overall better than the previous two episodes, still did not make a dent in my growing dislike of the show. At this point, I’m just about going through the motions. I went from tuning in for the show weekly to catching up on the two recent episodes this weekend late at night the day before and yesterday. I just can’t get all that excited any more.
Note: This review contains spoilers about the resurrection of Phil Coulson and other important moments, particularly Skye’s mysterious parents.
Its been a long, long wait, but after almost a month, Arrow returned this week to CW and all was right with the world. In episode 9, the mid-season finale before the Christmas/New Year break, we got a really good half-resolution to the second season and saw a lot of new beginnings for various characters. Mirakuru, Sebastian Blood, Slade Wilson, Barry Allen, Roy, and a lot of other things got addressed, and it was a really fun time. There was also a character death involved, which was really heartbreaking, but something like that was coming, so I wasn’t too shocked by it. Saddened yes. Still, all in all, CW ended things on a good note.
And now we are here with episode 10 as things get back underway once more and we see some bigger changes on the horizon than we have seen before. Overall, while I liked the new episode, I have to say that at times it felt as if the writers were channeling the season 1 mentality rather than the season 2 mentality. The show wasn’t quite as intense as previous episodes have been this season and if I had to sum it up, I’d say that they played off things safe rather than take some left-field chances. But that’s fine with me. There’s been a long break in between the mid-season finale and this episode, so they need to rebuild their momentum so to speak.
Sleepy Hollow is one of those shows that kind of slips under the radar for a while before quickly coming out explosively. The first six episodes, while really good in almost all respects, still skirted with some expected stuff. The stakes were high, the tension was always high, but still the show felt somewhat limited in scope. As you’ve no doubt seen from my previous reviews, I really enjoyed the six episodes, in particular the chemistry between the two leads Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison, who might as well be the 2013-2014 television programming season’s breakout stars for me.
Episodes seven to nine did much to up the tension even more, and increased the scope of everything, whether we talk about character backstory, or the stakes involved, or just the character drama involved. Additionally, episode eight in particular hinted in a big way that there is a very big story arc involved for the first season. Additionally, episodes seven and eight marked the return of the Horseman to the show and that in itself is worth every single second of those episodes. And episode nine really did a number with giving us more of Katrina’s backstory and had a huge reveal for Ichabod. Suffice to say, I really enjoyed these three episodes.
Almost a month ago we had the 50th anniversary special for BBC’s Doctor Who. It was my first ever episode of the show, and I quite liked it as you can tell from my review of it. With excellent production and cinematography, not to mention a really cool script with some great performances from everyone involved, The Day of The Doctor is one of the best episodes of any show that I’ve seen to date. Following that, I got around to finally starting on Doctor Who proper with Christopher Eccleston’s short-lived run from 2005, which was the first season of the revived show and five episodes, I’m really liking it.
Two nights ago we had the show’s Christmas Special for this year, which also marked the end of current incumbent Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor. Matt Smith spent three years as the Doctor, and this special is his final swansong, the third in the loose trilogy formed by The Night of The Doctor (a mini-sode), The Day of The Doctor and this one. Going in, I went in expecting something on the same level as the anniversary special, and in some ways it was, in some ways it wasn’t. All I can really say though is that I really need to move on to Matt Smith’s era!
Almost Human is one of the newest shows to join the Fall line-up of television entertainment and it is yet another police procedural. But where it departs from the norm is that it is also an SF thriller through and through. It is set in the future and in this setting, each cop is paired up with a synthetic, an android cop. The ever-fantastic Karl Urban and the excellent Michael Ealy are in the lead roles here and much as with Fox’s Sleepy Hollow pairing of Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie, the interaction between the two leads is what really helps sell the show.
I’d seen the trailer for the show a few weeks ago when io9 ran a round-up of the debut shows, but I’d forgotten about it since then. But a couple friends on Twitter were talking about them recently and I got interested all over again. So I decided to watch the shows, and came away with yet another big hit for myself. With Arrow, Sleepy Hollow and now Almost Human, my TV viewing has never been better. Almost Human hits pretty much all the right notes for me and the storytelling, the visuals, and the acting are all top-notch in here.