Posts Tagged television

The Flash Season 2 Review: Does Fan Service Outweigh Flaw?

The Flash Season 2 Review: Does Fan Service Outweigh Flaw?

CW’s The Flash just finished up its second season along with the other DC TV shows including Arrow and Legends of Tomrrow. Out of all these shows, The Flash is by far the most fun to watch because, in my opinion, it properly balances the lighthearted nature of the character with the drama that superheroes face. I immediately find myself thinking about how The Flash is my favorite of the DCTV shows, but then I stop and wonder if my being a fan of the character and comics gets in the way, because I always get caught up in the fan service the include and ignore the flaws until the next day. The Flash has had two really great seasons, they have been fun and exciting, but that doesn’t take away from the flaws or weak writing, which is why I hope to see some things change going into the third season.

 

Spoilers about comics and the show, so if you don’t want to know the possible fate of certain characters, don’t read on

 

 

 

This second season brought a lot of new elements to the show that will hopefully have some great long-term impact. Wally, despite starting out pretty stale and poorly written, has grown on me and become a decent character who I’m hoping continues to get better. The Velocity formulas were introduced and it seems like Jesse Quick will eventually turn into the speedster that she is in the comics which is exciting because we are seeing some elements of the Flash family being built up into the show. We also got to see a significantly sized down version of the Infinite Crisis story during his battle with Zoom, which was pretty cool visually. On top of this, the death of Zoom by the Speedforce creates the Black Flash, who looked phenomenal and presumably will make a return at some point in the future. There are a lot of great things to come that should be the basis of more rich plot lines depending on where the writers decide to take things and these are also elements that make the Flash such a great character with great stories, the balance of sci-fi and reality.

The second season ends in a similar fashion to the first season with Barry running back in time to the moment of his mother’s death, but, this time he saves her. When I was watching the first season finale live I was shaking my girlfriend while repetitively saying FLASHPOINT, FLASHPOINT, FLASHPOINT. Yet, we actually ended up watching Barry go against his emotions and let everything happen how it should be. While I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be getting the television show’s take on one of the greatest stories, I was actually super impressed that the character was able to be so mature and wise about things. I actually was really happy with the decision they made. During the finale of season two, we see how shaken Barry truly is and how big of a tole the hero role is taking on him. He continues to watch the people closest to him die or be hurt, he keeps getting betrayed by those closest to him, and, to him, it feels like despite everything he accomplishes, it comes at too great a cost to feel like he’s actually having an impact.

They chose to end season two with the set up for Flashpoint. Once again we watch the same scene play out again; however, this time Barry isn’t thinking rationally and he is operating off of complete emotion. He saves his mother leaving us with the question, what type of a butterfly effect will this have on the present day? All of these things are a Flash fan and comic lover’s dreams come true. With the DCMU being a complete mystery right now it’s unbelievable to see all of these great classic DC elements get the recognition they deserve, and I love The Flash for giving us that, but eventually I stop and wonder, does all of this outweigh the flawed continuity and repetitive plot points?

It’s the second season in a row where the show’s villain has been an enemy speedster who takes on a false identity to dupe team Flash into thinking they have a friend, but are really a foe. Jay wasn’t that great of a character and I honestly couldn’t stand Teddy Sears until he started getting to play a villain, which he pulled off much more convincingly. Zoom was built up to be this big threat but there were just so many times that either him or Flash could have ended things. My biggest problem was when they had Cisco vibe a trapped Zoom on Earth 2; by this point they knew that Jay was dying from the failed Velocity formulas and they had sealed up all of the breaches leaving him left for dead. He wasn’t shown doing anything to really force Barry to come after him or re-open the connection between Earth’s. At the end of the season Zoom also wouldn’t necessarily have to race Barry, but only charge up the machine by running around it twice the amount. It’s plot points like those that become too hard to ignore after a while and also just seem like lazy writing.

Despite stumbles along the way, it doesn’t mean The Flash lacks any good or extremely well done ideas either. The moments Barry shares with his three father figures always feel extremely meaningful and I love his connection with all of those characters. Barry’s interactions with those characters are usually when we see how human and level headed he is as a person. This is sort of why the end of the season bugged me, because it seems like Barry has just thrown everything he’s learned on his journey out the window and let himself become consumed by his emotions. He decides to save his mother without taking into consideration the repercussions that it could cause. I understand that Barry is tired of losing people, but I think his actions are pretty selfish, especially considering what he has gained this season. Barry gets a non-evil Wells figure back into his life, he actually develops a relationship with Wally by season’s end and Iris even wants to start a relationship with him, which should be icing on the cake. The naive and impulsive decision seems so out of character and is another recycled plot idea.

The Flash had a strong second season and I have no doubts that I will love the third season just as much. Flashpoint is an amazing story and idea that will be another amazing thing to watch on live television. I am really hoping they stretch out the new reality for the entire first half of the season and think that would be interesting to watch. All I would hope to see from The Flash is more originality going forward. They do so well by bringing important classic comic elements to life that are vital to the character, but I just want it to be different. I would love to see them do a full on Gorilla Grodd Planet of the Apes attempt or a focus on the Rogues working together, just something that will change things up. I hope that Berlanti and co. aren’t getting stretched too thin having to focus on four shows at once, but we’ll find out the truth behind that this Fall.

How did you feel about The Flash season 2 overall? Let me know, I’d love to discuss it!

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Top 10 Favorite TV Shows of 2015

Just like my Top 10 Movies post, I’m going to put together my Top 10 Favorite Television shows from 2015. If you have any interest in just seeing the listed shows without any reasoning then you can go read them on the TV Overmind Top 10 List; however, I will warn you that my choice for the top spot has changed since I had to submit that! This list will also include my honorable mentions, because there are plenty of shows that were hard for me to cut and I’d still like to discuss. That being said, these shows are all my personal taste, and there is plenty of TV that I sadly haven’t been able to get around to this year! Let’s get into it then…

Honorable Mention

Review:

Review is a show that I wish more people were watching on Comedy Central. It stars one of my favorite comedians Andy Daly and is a crazily goofy show that has him reviewing anything related to life no matter how good or bad it might turn out for him. Season one of Review was awesome, but I thought that Season two got a lot crazier and even darker at points with its stories. The show’s episodic plots were tons of fun and a lot more drawn out but the seasonal arc was also a great development for the show and some of its supporting characters. I’m really looking forward for the next set of scenarios Forrest Macneil gets into and hope that this show continues to rise in popularity!

You’re The Worst:

You’re the Worst was a show that I picked up this year before the second season started and really enjoyed what it gave us when kicking things off. There was a bunch that I liked about the show, but also felt that some characters and plot ideas were a bit of a stretch for my taste. However, the second season of You’re the Worst took things into a completely different direction that was just as funny but also much more dark for great reasons. The show analyzed the characters on a whole new level and was probably the best display of what it’s like to have and deal with depression that I’ve ever seen. I really praise this show for it’s subtle display of emotions and being unafraid to explore these types of topics, which has me loving it more and more.

Comedy Bang Bang: 

I picked up Comedy Bang Bang this year on a recommendation from my cousin. He got me into both the show and the podcast and I immediately fell in love with both. Comedy Bang Bang is probably the most clever and hilarious sketch comedy show I’ve ever seen and I love how it has continued to stay fresh each episode. There are tons of great celebrities and comedians who come onto this show as well as familiar faces always showing up to play fun characters. This year lots of people questioned how the show would work with the departure of long time co-host Reggie Watts and how his replacement, Kid Cudi, would do in the role. The show suffered no problems and continued to flow onward like normal, which shows that more people should be watching.

Mad Men:

Mad Men came to a close this year and tied up its story in the most perfect way possible. This show has had a tremendous run and has definitely had ups and downs along the way, but moved towards its finale in a really strong fashion. I loved the way this show sent Don Draper off and basically summed up his back and forth on the inability to be happy despite having everything a man could ever want. The finale itself was perfect and I loved the ambiguous ending that allows you to decide what you think happened based on what you thought about the character and what he deserved. Mad Men was an amazing time piece that had great acting and brought us something we’ve never seen on television before.

The Americans:

I picked up The Americans this year after making a deal with a friend to each watch a show of the other’s choosing. He chose that I had to finally check out The Americans so I binged all three seasons relatively quickly and definitely a big fan of the show now. What I love most about the Cold War show is the amount of tension it can build, the great characters it has established and the music choices during some crazy scenes. The only reason The Americans probably doesn’t make my actual list is because I haven’t gotten to experience it on live TV yet, so all of the weekly tension builders and cliffhangers haven’t had the chance to set in fully, but don’t be surprised to see it pop up next year!

The Top 10

Silicon Valley/ iZombie

10. Tie: Silicon Valley & iZombie

Silicon Valley: This has been one of the most fun HBO shows in awhile and is definitely a top comedy favorite of mine. It probably deserves a higher spot on this list, but regardless it’s going to get talked about. Since season one the show really was the anti- Entourage that adapted the idea of a bunch of guys trying to make it to the modern generation. Nowadays everything is focused on the tech scene and trying to develop the next big app, which this show highlights extremely well. From living in an incubator to dealing with big companies, Silicon Valley is a pretty honest interpretation of what goes on out in California and continues to get better as the guys keep attempting to make Pied Piper work. Each character brings their own type of comedy to the table and as a whole they are awesome to watch, which has me looking forward to this as much as shows like Game of Thrones.

iZombie: This show was easily the best surprise in 2015 form me. I had heard of the comic series but it was one of the few that I hadn’t ever looked into or read before, which was kind of nice for a change. The cast has amazing chemistry and the show is a nice alternative take on the episodic mystery genre. It has fun with itself and is another entity making zombies and the supernatural creatures cool again. What really draws me to iZombie is the long-term plot and how the growth or destruction of the zombie population will impact the regular world. iZombie does a great job with the character relationships, the romance as well as the comedy which makes it an awesomely complete show.

Marvel and Netflix's Daredevil

9. Marvel’s Daredevil

Daredevil kicked off Marvel’s Netflix shows and really paved the pathway for what is to come. The show was much more adult to the MCU’s big screen counterparts and gave us a much darker look into a different part of the Marvel Universe. Charlie Cox was a great choice for Matt Murdock and the supporting cast all really killed it with their roles. Vincent D’Onofrio was another standout as major classic villain, the Kingpin, who brought tons of complexity to a villain. The biggest thing that the MCU lacks is villains who are actual complete characters and people that we can connect with. This was a great origin story and they have tons more to explore, especially now that we’ve been introduced to all of these important characters.

Doctor Who

8. Doctor Who

Last season on Doctor Who I really fell in love with Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor but thought the storytelling was extremely week and put too much focus on Clara and her relationship. This season was a lot better and gave the Doctor great two-part stories to expand the character to new levels. The show’s penultimate episode after Clara’s departure was one of, if not, the best episode I’ve seen since it came back in 2005 and Capaldi by himself brought forth tons of different emotions. Honestly, it was decisions made in the finale that place this so low on my list, because I am one of the people who think the writer’s loved their Clara so much that they needed to focus on her yet again. When Clara caused her own downfall with the Raven I actually respected how they wrote her out of the show, but when the finale brought her back and then left open the loop hole for her to pop up in the future I was pretty disappointed.

Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot

7. Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot was an awesome new show that felt complete original and took a page out of Silicon Valley‘s book to talk about modern technological topics. The main character Elliot, is a really cool dark anti-hero that has unique views on the world which makes him a cool and interesting person. The show reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad with how thrilling it is and basically not knowing what’s going to come next. There are a ton of very tense moments and I love how high the stakes are going forward. The creator of Mr. Robot has stated that this first season was pretty much all intro and things are really going to break open moving forward, which has me extremely excited, especially with more and more great shows finishing up.

Parks-and-Recreation-Final-Season

6. Parks & Recreation

Parks & Rec has created such an amazing legacy and sadly it finished for good in 2015. The show, which had a first season we will pretend didn’t happen, turned out to be the perfect transition after The Office finished up. Parks & Rec gave us such phenomenal characters to grow attached to and wrote them near perfectly through all seven seasons. The last season handled things pretty amazingly by time jumping and providing a little more insight into the end-game for the characters, which I believe was a smart decision. The final season had tons of fun with itself and made sure to deliver another unique plot while also building to an emotionally satisfying ending. Parks & Rec season seven had even more great writing with tons of terrific jokes and ended on the perfect note.

Game of Thrones

5. Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones continues to get more and more interesting after every season. The program is moving forward with awesome stories and continues to build the characters well while also bringing new ones into the fold each season as well. The latest season of Game of Thrones gave us some pretty crazy scenes from things like the White Walkers and events on the Wall, incorporation of the dragons, and has most of the characters involved with unique story lines that are all fun to watch. The fifth season of this show continues to display how strong of a group works on it because the writing, acting, visual effects, and everyone involved continue to be fantastic.

Master of None

4. Master of None

I had high hopes for Master of None from the moment that I heard it was announced. When the show finally came out, I was pumped to check it out, especially seeing early bingers and reviews calling it the Louie for 20-30 year old people. I still think that is the best description because the show is simply about life and delivers powerful comedy, drama and romance throughout the ten episodes. The show gets into topics about gender differences, cultural and racial differences, as well as tons of relationship ideas that all feel relatable and realistic. Aziz Ansari has made all of the right choices for this show and found a way to bring back a normal version of Tom Haverford just as Parks & Rec finished up. Master of None has immediately become one of my favorite new shows and I’m hoping that it can continue to be as strong as its first season. Going forward, if they can create more episodes like “Nashville,” “Mornings,” and “Finale,” then I have no fear.

South Park

3. South Park

South Park has been such a long running TV show at this point that I am always excited and worried for it at the same time. It’s a show I can rely on and know it will always be hilarious, but worry at the idea that they have to find a new way to stay fresh and relevant. The 19th season took the show in a new direction where it finally used a serialized plot over the entire season. It brought tons of amazing new things like PC Principal, who is such a great addition to the show, as well as Caitlyn Jenner. While each individual episode still had its own story, Parker and Stone found a great way to attack the nation’s overly politically correct nature for what was a great arc. To me, this season of South Park just showed that the show can do whatever it wants because the creators are experienced and smart. I’m not sure what will happen for the show’s 20th season, but I think with the timing of the 2016 election they will continue to roll with the Garrison/Trump idea.

Fargo

2. Fargo

After its first extremely successful season, Fargo returned by taking us to a different time period with some new characters. The show continued to reveal why it’s one of television’s best by taking things to a whole new level of weird and random. I love what Fargo accomplished in its second season, especially for a cast I might have somewhat doubted before the show began. Each episode became more intense than the last and the story only got better and better as things progressed.

The Leftovers

1. The Leftovers

When most of the shows that I watch went on their winter hiatus or finished for the year, I finally decided to binge The Leftovers like I had been planning to. This show was one I knew I had to watch, so I decided to jump in and not stop until I was caught up. I loved everything the show did with its first season, but was completely blown away with what it followed that up with. I feel like the show took a really bold step forward by deciding to change things so much, but it paid off because of the conclusion that really tied everything together. “International Assassin” was my favorite individual episode of television for all of 2015 and the show’s finale, “I Live Here Now,” brought me to tears with how much heart and emotion it created. Justin Theroux continues to blow me away with his performances and the rest of the cast all do phenomenal jobs with their roles. I’m so happy that there will be one more season of this show, because it is masterful and I’m excited to explore this world a little further while tying up story lines for the characters.

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Game of Thrones Season 6 Teaser Trailer Review

Wow, well, I never expected to get any Game of Thrones related content until next year, but this is a brilliant surprise! I pretty much always feel a pain when the show finishes and goes off the air knowing I have to wait a long time to see it again, but stuff like this gets me extremely hyped for what’s coming.

Game of Thrones has been an amazing adaptation of the books, and even for readers, we are entering into unknown places as the show is slowly beginning to move past where George R.R. Martin has written to.

The teaser is relatively short, but we get two voices talking:

Bloodraven (Max Von Sydow) and an older sounding Bran.

Holy crap.

Not only does the teaser give us a quick montage of clips from the show’s past, but it teases us to our faces that “we have no idea what’s going to happen.” This is extremely exciting because I feel like Game of Thrones is just getting into what will be some of the story’s most epic moments.

Lots of the clips showed the Stark family members, which really has me feeling like this is the breaking point for the family to rise back up again, each in their own individual ways. Bran has been a very mysterious character in the books, and his journey gets more interesting each step of the way, and I am one of the believers that he will easily end up being one of, if not, the most powerful characters by the time everything is finished (dragon warging am I right?!).

I’m extremely excited to see Max Von Sydow in the Bloodraven roll, because he seems like a perfect choice for it and his voice gives me chills in this teaser. I can’t wait to see what happens with Bran, Jon and the entire Stark gang because they all have chances to move back into power. The teaser shows Jon being stabbed followed up by Bran warging, which might imply that a more similar path from the books will help save Jon thanks to his magical abilities.

I also am most excited to explore the White Walkers and the Night’s King. There are the clips of him with the baby, which implies we will be getting more of that. The White Walkers are one of the most interesting aspects of Game of Thrones and it will be interesting to see how far things go with them, because we clearly are in the dark on that one.

The teaser is just a bunch of clips from the past seasons, but it’s still extremely exciting! I don’t care about the holidays, the new year, or even my birthday in March.

Give me April. I need April.

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Ballers S01E01 Review: “Pilot”

ballers-trailer-dwayne-johnson

Episode 1: “Pilot”

Grade: B

As the season of Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley disappears, HBO looks to its second round of Summer shows to keep viewers tuning in. While there is much excitement surrounding the sophomore season of last year’s hit, True Detective, HBO is also bringing us a new show titled Ballers that stars The Rock and Rob Corddry. Ballers focuses on recently retired “golden boy” Spencer Strassmore (The Rock) who seems to have retired early from what was a successful career and has moved into the financial management business. I’ve been pretty excited to check out Ballers ever since I initially saw the previews for it because it seemed fun and similar enough to a sports version of Entourage. I really enjoy The Rock as an actor and think he is good enough to carry a show like this. He and Corddry seem like an odd couple that weirdly work on screen and I could easily see them having great chemistry. Ballers premiered on HBO last night, and while it was different from what I was expecting, I definitely enjoyed the episode and thought the show offered a lot looking forward.

The episode opens with Strassmore painfully getting out of bed and immediately popping some pills. He struggles with flashbacks to his pro days where it seems like he hit a quarterback so hard it ended the guy’s career and possibly left him with a serious injury. Although the show only provides a quick glance at this, I really thought it was a unique way to open the show because it immediately provides more depth to what could be a shallow surface character. In the previews it seemed that Ballers would be very similar to Entourage and toss us into the life of a glorified person who is “living the life” and always has fun, but I couldn’t be more wrong.

While the show does have that Entourage vibe, it’s not all glitz and glamour for this character. He was only hired by Corddry’s Joe due to his connections with professional players, and we discover it’s been a year since Strassmore started as a financial manager but has yet to monetize anything and could be let go soon unless he makes something happen. I really like the idea that the character is going to have to earn his success once again after being a football star, and that’s what makes shows so rewarding, when we can latch onto a character and watch them earn their success.

Strassmore’s two best friends are also retired football player, Charles Greane (Omar Benson Miller), who wasn’t as big of a star and is struggling to find work, and eight year veteran slot receiver Ricky Jerret (John David Washington), who has a short temper and ends up on the wrong side of a scandal that leads to him being cut from the Green Bay Packers. The three characters round everything out pretty nicely with a player still in the league, a retiree on the brink of success, and another retiree showing the reality of not being a star.

This pilot episode of Ballers is definitely all set up, but that’s okay. Every show needs to establish itself to the viewers and create the foundation of everything to come. While I was happy with The Rock’s performance, I was surprised to see Corddry with barely any screen time in this first episode; however, I’m glad that these two will begin with a business relationship that grows into friendship. I hope that with Strassmore beginning to cash in on his friendships, Corddry becomes a more active player in the next episode and moving forward, because it would be a shame to have the first season go by with him underutilized.

Overall, Ballers isn’t exactly what I was expecting, but that’s funnily a good thing. I thought the show would be stupid fun, comedic, and relaxed, but it looks like we are going to have to wait and earn that part of the show. There is an uphill climb ahead for Strassmore and he is learning to transition from a professional player to a businessman, which I’m excited to watch. This guy seemed to have it all, but finds himself back on the grind of earning a glamorous lifestyle. In Entourage, Vince just sort of stumbles into his success and enjoys the ride, but Ballers is showing us the climb to that point. I’m probably the most interested in Strassmore’s past and seeing what led to his early retirement because he clearly struggles with hearing himself be called the “golden boy” by everyone as if he never lived up to those expectations during his time in the league. While Ballers looks to be a fun 30 minute show each week, I think there is a chance here to explore some great dramatic topics as well. Seeing Strassmore’s character struggle to get out of bed and pop pills throughout the episode already addresses that we will be seeing the impact of professional football and how much stress it puts onto your body by smashing into other 300 pound men week after week for multiple years. I would really love to see the show continue to incorporate the idea of injury and concussions because although we hear about it all, none of us truly know what it’s like or how it is handled.

Ballers pilot was a lot less funny than I expected, but I’m actually glad about that. I want to watch this be a success story, and I think there was a lot of good set up for that going forward. I really enjoyed The Rock’s performance in this pilot episode but definitely want to see more of Joe and Strassmore’s two friends. If Ballers can develop these characters in a believable way, then I think the show will have no problem finding viewers each week because a sports version of Entourage sounds fantastic.

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True Detective 1.6 Review: “Haunted Houses”

Well, after last night’s awesome sixth episode of True Detective, there are only two episodes left in this great first season.  Last night’s episode, “Haunted Houses,” answered a lot of lingering questions that link the show’s multiple timelines of past and present.  While the show was not as focused on solving the case, it was hectic and thrilling nonetheless, and tied up some loose ends that viewers probably had, mainly what caused the fallout between Rust and Marty?

The episode opened with a very intense scene of Marty dealing with the two guys that were with caught with his daughter, and he violently beats them for what they did.  We see him pushed to his limit and really pull strings to make this happen because let’s be honest; he probably wouldn’t have dealt with this in another way. Rust seems to be losing his mind a little more as well when we find him interrogating someone, but when he actually gets her confession signature, he tells her to kill herself because she wouldn’t survive in jail. These are two really tense moments to open with that are pretty dark reflections of what the characters have become.

After this Rust and Marty really just continue to butt heads and constantly clash at work; Rust is invested in secretly working the deer crown case in his free time while Marty has found himself in another affair. They are doing their usual things but the friendship has just dissolved; it’s sad, but we knew it was coming. Eventually Rust puts together that Tuttle has something to do with the murders and abductions, but gets himself suspended for pushing the theory too hard.

Maggie finds the pictures of the younger woman on Marty’s phone, but plays it cool and decides to go have an affair of her own by picking up some stranger at a bar. Then, the moment that everyone was waiting for, the reason that Rust and Marty fell out of touch…. Maggie shows up to have sex with Rust instead of the guy at the bar, and he does it. This was expected, but still crazy; Rust was pretty drunk but couldn’t resist. Let’s be honest, he’s in a bad place with Marty, he’s pretty drunk, and knows how bad of a husband Marty actually is.  Rust also knows exactly what she wants, just a one-time fling to really show Marty he’s messed up.

Marty almost can’t believe it, but we see how he really feels when Rust shows up at the department.  They have an epic brawl with Marty immediately tackling Rust and then landing some heavy right hooks on Rust’s face. Although he’s getting pretty pounded, Rust still seems in control of the fight, taking what he deserves for betraying Marty, but then taking him down in one swift move, hurling him into the back of his truck.  This was pretty fun to watch because these guys seemed bound to fight, and it didn’t disappoint, but Rust quits and we know why the two aren’t friends anymore.

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I think everything is setting up really well, and I love how they finished this episode with the guys reuniting as Rust chased Marty down in his truck. They agree to get a drink and there are two episodes, a.k.a, two hours (a movie length) left for Marty and Rust to fully solve the case of their careers.  I’m really excited for these final two episodes and feel exactly how I did when Breaking Bad was finishing up.

Right now, we know that the two people they are looking for are the yellow king and the man with the scars. My guess is that Tuttle, despite denying being involved, is the yellow king who runs that cult in the woods where they worship the devil or some type of evil.  However, I’m not sure who the man with the scars could be.  We also don’t know what the deal is with the supernatural forces that have popped up; Rust sees things, and LeDoux talks about his death right before it happens, mentioning the black stars, which then appeared to surround Rust’s head.

There are still some questions to be answered, but I’m ready to know what happens and can’t wait for Sunday to get here! “Haunted Houses” was another great episode that brought us up to speed so there is plenty of time to deliver a solid finale. If you have any theories of how True Detective might end, drop a comment below and let me know!

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True Detective Could Possibly Have Female Leads

Right now True Detective is the hottest show on television and has really been blowing myself and countless others away with it’s amazing first season so far.

There are only two episodes left, and sadly, it means only two episode left of McConaughey and Harrelson as one of the best duos on T.V. The biggest question on my mind, and soon everyone’s, is who will follow up these two and be the focus of season two?

In an article found here, creator Nic Pizzolatto responds to a tweet about female characters, leaving the fan with the open-ended, “Next season…” Obviously this is no guarantee, but at least cool to know that the writers are open to having any types of detectives.  Pizzolatto has done such an amazing job with the writing so far in this first season, so I’m sure that whoever signs on for season two will have a great character written for them.

True Detective has been everything I expected and so much more. There are still two episodes left in this season that I am massively anticipating (as I’m sure you all are), but I can’t help but think a little bit about what will come next from this show.

Either way, I’m excited to hear ideas for season two and will report more as soon as they come in!

Also check out my review of last night’s episode, “Haunted Houses” right here!

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Students of Cinema

Hey,

So I’ve been pretty absent lately, and the reason for that is mainly due to a new WordPress blog I’ve created with two of my best friends called Students of Cinema. It’s strictly dedicated to movies and our differing views within a shared passion.

I’ve also been distracted by school, True Detective, and now House of Cards Season 2.  I’m hoping to write up a True Detective episode 5 review later today and eventually drop a House of Cards Season review when I finish the season later today or definitely tomorrow.

I’ll be dropping my Top 10 movies of the year list over at the other site, but am going to post it here as well.  My post relating to movies will probably lessen here because it’s the focus of Students of Cinema, but I’ll still be pumping out TV news, and should also be putting more comic reviews out very soon as well.  I’m almost caught up with The Superior Spider-Man and want to roll right into X-Men: Days of Future Past.

So feel free to check out my new website, it’s really awesome and we are pumping out a lot of content! Otherwise, I’ll have some TV and comic reviews out soon!

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Sherlock Series 3 Review

This will immediately contain spoilers from all three seasons of Sherlock. If you haven’t watched, exit now!

Sherlock is one of my favorite shows for a lot of reasons; it’s clever, modern, funny, witty, and can also be very suspenseful.  Series 1 & 2 really seem to never slow down and I never am worn out by the 90 minute episodes.  It allows for great story arcs and enough time to develop a real mystery without ever feeling too boring.

However, the season two finale, while being really awesome, also created an interesting situation going forward. Who would be the new long-term villain for Sherlock to face off against? With Moriarty dead, who could possibly be able to mentally match Sherlock? This was my biggest question after series two, and well, I thought that this series of Sherlock was just good, and not as great as the past two have been. 

3.1: The Empty Hearse

The series opened with the episode The Empty Hearse, and the much awaited return of Sherlock after his faked fall to death.  Yet, I find myself caring more about how John will react to seeing his dead best friend.  We discover that he has been able to move on; John has moved out of Baker St. (for obvious reasons), and developed a serious relationship with the newly introduced, Mary Morstan.

Overall, I thought this was probably the weakest episode of Sherlock compared to the previous seasons.  It’s tough to comeback from a finale where your main character fakes his death while his arch-nemesis blows his brains out.Where do you go from there?

The on-screen chemistry between real life partners, Martin Freeman and Amanda Abbington, really blends in with the show perfectly, and her character never feels like it threatens or takes away from the Sherlock/John dynamic.

I thought that the worst part of the episode was the switch on the side of the bomb.  It was slightly humorous, but a switch on the side seemed like a cheap way for the show to address John’s forgiveness.  I  found  the transition from solving the railway gunpowder plot to John being kidnapped was confusing, but was an interesting way to display the power and capability of the new villain.

The one thing I did like a lot about this episode was the decision to tease at how Sherlock survived his jump. Having Anderson represent all of the crazy fans and their theories was funny, especially when he goes mad pulling everything off of the wall. The Empty Hearse was definitely my least favorite Sherlock episode, but a lot of it seemed like set up moving forward, which is necessary.

3.2 The Sign of Three

Episode two of Sherlock this season definitely was an improvement from the first, and tackled an important plot point; the marriage of John Watson. As we see in The Empty Hearse, John is attempting to propose to his girlfriend Mary.  This episode focuses on their marriage and the days leading up to it.

I loved seeing Sherlock as the best man, and how everyone knows that it will be the most awkward speech ever.  Right when they finish the ceremony and come out to take pictures, the photographer says, “just the bride and groom,” and Sherlock doesn’t pick up on it.  Then the episode gives us the funniest moment throughout the entire Sherlock series.

John’s Bachelor party.

Sherlock has it all mathematically worked out right down to the exact time John will have to use the bathroom.  It’s funny and nice to not dwell on Sherlock’s faked death.  John even starts sneaking shots for himself and dumping some into Sherlock’s beer until they are both pretty drunk. Then they even take a case that just ends in disaster.

So where’s this episode going exactly? Well, it turns out that the case mentioned in the beginning with the London guard who died in the shower was just a set up to kill John’s war companion Major Sholto.  I enjoyed seeing Sherlock solve the case while trying not to arise suspicion throughout the ceremony.  I liked that the episode pulled off the combination of showing John’s wedding ceremony while also providing another solid filler mystery.  In the end we even discover Mary is pregnant! This was a fun episode and added some nice character development as well as showing Sherlock and John are back to normal.

3.3 His Last Vow 

The final episode of series 3, His Last Vow, was definitely the best episode of the series.  We haven’t really seen what is happening with the villain so far but only that he had John kidnapped and and nearly burned alive.  This episode opens with the hilarious discovery of Sherlock “undercover” as a, now, drug addict.  His needs for addiction are amusing but it turns out he’s going undercover for his case on Charles Augustus Magnussen (CAM), the most powerful man in England who stays behind the curtain.

When we meet CAM, it’s easy to see that he is the one responsible for John’s Guy Fawkes Day surprise and also has some sort of mind palace, like Sherlock, where he accesses information about people in order to blackmail them. I thought that Mikkelsen did a good job portraying Magnussen and I actually believed him to be just as smart as Sherlock but an actual threat.  Nobody can live up to the psychotic equivalent of Sherlock, but to follow up with a villain who is just as smart but exploits his knowledge was a very good choice.  Magnussen literally does what he wants; we watch him lick Lady Smallwood’s face, take a wee in the Baker St. fire place, and repetitively flick John in the face just to showoff his grasp on the country.

I liked the story line that they provided Mary with in this episode.  We see that she is, in fact, a liar (as Sherlock deduced upon first meeting her) for specific reasons.  Mary’s involvement with Magnussen is pretty interesting, and although it wasn’t the most surprising plot point, I felt it gave the character some good mystery and meaning.  Mary used to be a spy who wants to erase her past and settle down with John, but Magnussen has his hold on her.  The entire scene where John discovers all of this by faking as Sherlock in the wheelchair was awesome, and to see him handle immediately treating her as a client was so sad but well done.  Freeman is such an awesome actor and I really thought he nailed the sequence of events in this episode.

The episode leads us to Christmas, where everyone is at Sherlock’s parents house and he drugs everyone, besides John. Sherlock has made a deal with Magnussen to give him Mycroft’s laptop with access to his files in exchange for a visit into Appledore the estate and vault where Magnussen lives and keeps all of his records.  We find out that Appledore is actually the name of Magnussen’s mind palace and he keeps all of his secrets hidden away.  He thinks he has the upper hand on Sherlock and John, by also reporting them for treason, but in the end, Sherlock was searching for confirmation that Appledore was not a physical thing and he shoots Magnussen in the head, deleting all of the dirt he held on people.

This episode was awesome, just thrilling, thought provoking, and funny all the way through.  I was a little disappointed that Magnussen only had an impact for one real episode, but again, it’s sort of tough to follow an act like Moriarty.  I thought this series was a solid filler to develop or stall until a lengthier villain was created, but I was wrong when we see this episode end with Sherlock being temporarily exiled only to return 4 minutes later because Moriarty is apparently back!

I lost it when I saw this.  I’m still not sure what to expect. If he’s alive, there better damn well be an explanation! I can deal with not knowing how Sherlock survived his jump, that’s easier to believe than Moriarty shooting himself in the head.  I wonder if someone could be planting a red herring just to get Sherlock back into the country.  Mycroft perhaps? Maybe even Mary depending on her skills? It could be a bluff, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

This final episode of Sherlock Series 3 was really awesome and ended the season on a good note after a rocky first episode.  It’s disappointing that we have to wait so long until Series 4, especially with the increasing popularity of Cumberbatch and Freeman, but at least there has been talk about a Christmas special!

What did you think of Sherlock’s third series? How did it compare to past episodes?

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True Detective 1.3 Review: “The Locked Room”

Ahh, another Sunday, another new episode of True Detective to watch.  It’s nice to finally have a new show that I really look forward to each week now that Breaking Bad is off the air. Despite next week being a rerun, last night’s episode was, in my opinion, the best yet, and left us viewers with a lot of new information about Marty and Rust, the case, and where the show might head in the future.  The thing that I find so interesting about True Detective is how I never feel bored during such dialogue heavy episodes; the show’s main characters are written so well and McConaughey and Harrelson’s acting is top notch.

Rust and Marty grabbin' a bite

Rust and Marty grabbin’ a bite

As I said, I thought last night’s episode of True Detective was the best one so far.  Right from the start, Marty and Rust check out a church revival ministry tent that used to occupy the burnt down church when it was in town.  They hope to find possible info about Dora Lange’s murder. The people there are all super religious and the types that would seem to believe it if the minister began communicating with their deceased loved ones.  Rust immediately delivers one (among many this episode) of his brutally honest opinions by asking Marty, “what do you think the average IQ of this group, huh?” Which I thought was hilarious because what makes me love Rust’s character is how opposite he is from the traditional southern religious beliefs.  He gets a lot of crap for it from Marty and the other guys in the department, but I really love how his character doesn’t fall in line with the standard and can bring new perspectives to the table.  Anyway, after questioning the minister and some parishioners, they discover that Dora Lange did attend the church, with a tall man who had a burned face.

When the show flipped to the personal lives of our detectives, Marty just seems like he gets continuously angry.  He comes home to see his lawn mowed, even the clippings neatly in a trash bin. He finds Rust talking to Maggie and makes it clear that he wants Rust out, eventually giving him a hard time about helping out.  I’m not sure if Rust is trying to passively aggressive show Marty that he needs to be home more, or if he’s just being considerate and Marty realizes he should be home more.  Either way, this leads us to a night out double date where Maggie has set Rust up with one of her coworkers, to get drinks and dance.  Rust seems his usual quiet and un-enthused while the focus again is on Marty, as  he sees Lisa at another table on a date with a new guy.  When the dancing is done and everyone heads home, Marty’s poor judgement leads him to drunkenly drive over to Lisa’s apartment, force his way in, and threaten the guy she is with.

I’m not really sure what Marty is doing here.  I feel like he is going through some mid-life crisis (he mentions how he is nearing 40) and covers it up with “loving two women at once”. Although, I really liked the scene a little earlier where he is in the present time and gets caught day dreaming about Maggie while staring at his empty ring finger.

The next morning, when Marty comes sluggishly into the office, we discover that Rust has made a breakthrough in the case.  There was another woman who died in the past, but was said to have drowned in a flood; however, Rust points out that she has similar injuries to Dora Lange, was said to (also) have had LSD and meth in her system, and to add a cherry on top, was had the same spiral drawn on her body.

This is where things took this episode to the next level. We finally see the pair get a real lead in the case that they are about to lose and the thrills are in motion.  Marty and Rust follow up with the drowned girl’s grandfather who points them in the direction of her old boyfriend, Reggie Ledoux.  Then, we see that Ledoux was cell mates with Charlie Lange….

Marty and Rust throw on the siren and ride off to hunt Ledoux down.

Again, I just thought that all the clues they gave out within the span of this episode and then the epic ending where they hunt down the man wearing a gas mask.

I think the biggest clue I took from this episode was how the second victim also went to the school ran by the foundation of Reverend Tuttle.  I think we will discover that this Ledoux guy was the first killer, but Tuttle is actually behind it all.  Maybe this future killer is another trainee of his who can commit the murders and take the fall.  He is also the guy who set up the task force to take over this case from Rust and Marty, so that a group specialized in “occult crimes” can lead the investigation.  Tuttle would seem to have a nice set up to cover himself and lead the police away from ever getting close to catching him. Either way, I can’t wait until episode four because I’m sure it will be even better.

Other Notes:

-I really liked two of Marty’s lines tonight; the first is when he admits although Rust is arrogant, he was always right.  Even though they piss each other off most of the time, the respect is still there. The second was pretty unexpected ( in a good way) when he is honking for Rust to return to the car, “who walks that f**king slow?”

-The man with the facial scars never leads to anything, but Rust’s interrogation skills are pretty menacingly awesome!

– Marty mentions a shootout. I can’t wait to see it happen.

-“And like many dreams… There’s a monster at the end.”

What did you think of The Locked Room? Have any good theories about what might happen? Feel free to share!

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True Detective 1.2 Review: “Seeing Things”

I apologize for getting this up late in the week, I’ve been busy with starting my last semester of classes, returning to work, and started writing some official reviews for TVOvermind.com.  It’s been a great start to the semester and I’ve stayed pretty organized, am working hard, and feel good.

I really enjoy relaxing after my work with a beer and a bunch of good t.v., especially during True Detective.  I’m still waiting to see this show really get going once we know more about the plots, but the mystery surrounding everything is definitely keeping me drawn in and wanting more.  This past week’s episode, Seeing Things, stepped more into the personal lives of the detectives while the antler murder takes a back seat for a majority of the episode.

After his little office interaction last episode, I was wondering how long it would take until we saw Marty cheat.  We barely see any of Marty’s wife and daughter already, so do we really think he can successfully keep this up?

I really liked when Rust calls him out by smell in the locker room; it makes me think that Rust’s sly but truthful remarks will push too far at some point and cause him and Marty’s falling out.

Eventually their leads take them to a run down abandoned church that seems pretty uneventful.  After scanning for anything unusual, Rust discovers a painting on the wall that is covered, and after brushing back nature, sees a picture resembling the antler girl murder.

I thought this was a solid follow up episode that gave us a little more of a personal introduction to who these characters really are.  Marty isn’t as moral as he plays himself up to be, while Rust just seems to fall more and more out of it, having strange hallucinations this episode. I like these characters a lot and can’t wait for episode 3 of True Detective.

What did everyone else think of Seeing Things?

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