Category Archives: Television

My thoughts on Television episodes

Soaring with Supergirl

(Spoilers ahead, obviously)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…the first DC superhero I have ever really liked. I’m not joking. Batman and Superman both bug me because they are both so popular. And Superman is just so perfect.  But, ICYMI, Supergirl just wrapped up its first season on CBS and it was spectacular. Supergirl is my new favorite superhero because she’s 1) not dark and brooding and 2) a modern (slightly clueless) twenty-something just like me. I didn’t have terribly high expectations for the TV show but it delivered.  It’s not the best-written but it’s still very high-quality storytelling and family friendly to boot. After Star Wars Rebels, this is my second time watching a television series all the way through, but allow me to break it down for you.

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To Infinity and Beyond! The Legacy of ‘Buzz Lightyear of Star Command’

The good news is, I will be attending Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX event next week. I am planning perhaps my most intense cosplay ever for the occasion: I am going as Mira Nova from the TV show Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.  This will involve painting my face blue and wearing a wig, and I am currently working on sewing the dress (and like all of my sewing projects it’s consuming my life).  So far, it’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of time and money.  There are pieces of the project I bought as far back as October. Why am I doing this? Why am I cosplaying an obscure character from an obscure TV show in hopes that a few people at FanX will recognize me?

Because it’s worth it.  If you ever saw BLoSC back in the early 2000s and knew what a brilliant show it was, you would see.

Buzz facing off with his nemisis in “The Adventure Begins.” Via dvdizzy.com

The irony of all this is that I was never a huge fan of Toy Story, where Buzz Lightyear, the Little Green Men, and Emperor Zurg originated. But right after Toy Story 2 came out, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command premiered with a feature-length event, The Adventure Begins, starring Tim Allen.  Then the show came on ABC and Disney’s One Saturday Morning. I couldn’t tell you at what point I fell in love with the show or specifically why.  But the show’s female lead, Mira Nova, grabbed my attention quickly and kept it.  The humor was a big draw, too. Booster was okay but I really loved the zany robot XR. As for Buzz Lightyear himself, well, for me it was never about him.  At least at that age.

Buzz Lightyear of Star Command took place in a very engaging original world even while making riffs on Star Trek and other popular science fiction, but it was also never afraid to poke fun at itself.  Some of the episodes veer off towards the cheesy side, some are brilliant, some are better animation quality than others.  The show very rarely referred to its Toy Story origins, except for in the “Strange Invasion” and “Stranger Invasion” arc where it becomes the butt of a brilliant joke that I know better than to spoil here.

 

via dvdizzy.com

I’ll give you the scoop on the main cast, since you may not have seen the show. Buzz Lightyear himself in the show is a little less nuanced than the Toy Story version, a straight-up, stereotypical hero who is sometimes so caught up with himself that he isn’t aware that the ladies find him desirable. But he’s occasionally interesting to watch, as in when he saves the day in “Speed Trap.” 

Booster is a large alien who likes to eat food, and he also has a thirst to prove himself as a hero. There aren’t any moments that stick out for me except for “Plasma Boy,” where he falls in love with a girl but has to compete her boyfriend.

Via blosc wikia

XR the robot is the main comic relief, with his killer one-liners, smart attitude, and tendency to blow up in nearly every episode.  However, he gets to be a hero on multiple occasions, including in “Enemy Without a Face” when all of his flesh-and-blood friends start fighting each other.

via Disney wikia

Now, the meat: Mira Nova is a princess of an alien race known as the Tangeans that can “ghost” through solid objects.  In addition to her powers and beauty, however, she is a level-headed counterbalance to Buzz’s high-and-mighty act and the voice of reason for Booster and XR. Her best episode?  In “The Shape Stealer,” Star Command goes on a lockdown and Buzz is trapped outside with the nemesis.  No one else can get to him.  She puts her helmet on and ghosts through the armored security of the space station. Flawless.

via blosc.wikia

Mira isn’t overly sexualized on the show, but she’s comfortable with her femininity while kicking butt for a living. Maybe there’s some flirtation with Buzz at the beginning of the series but she saves the show by being the one woman who doesn’t want him. I think she’s mostly attached to Buzz because he’s her hero and her team leader. Mira does get a bounty hunter love interest in the episode “Star Crossed,” and he was okay, I wasn’t terribly attached to her relationship with him, but the episode itself was one of the best in the series. She is definitely a heroine for any young girl to look up to, and I can say that even though she would never make the official lineup she is my favorite Disney princess.

(Also, Mira was voiced by actress Nicole Sullivan, who also played Shego in Kim Possible.  I have asked repeatedly for Sullivan to come to Salt Lake and it hasn’t happened.  So if they won’t bring me Mira Nova, I’ll bring Mira Nova to them–aka that’s part of the reason I’m doing the cosplay.)

Buzz with his fellow ranger Ty Parsec. via Tumblr

While the central cast is the glue that holds the series together, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command offers a host of supporting and minor characters that are to die for.  Other heroes of the series include Commander Nebula, the head of Star Command; Buzz’s love interest biologist Osma Ferbana; the President of the Galactic Alliance, the adorable LGMs; and Cosmo the diner operator. The villains are delicious: there’s Zurg with his grubs and brainbots but also the malicious Gravitina, the sinister energy vampire NOS4A2 who delivered some of the most thrilling episodes of the series, the egotistical Torque, and Buzz’s traitorous old friend Warp Darkmatter, now in the employ of Zurg.  We even get a few characters in between, like the Star Command Psychiatrist, Mira’s father priggish father King Nova, and the scumbags on Tradeworld.  If you like the worlds of Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy you will love this show. 

My mother is a huge fan of BLoSC, and she says it’s not just a show for kids but there’s humor for the adults as well. Watch The Adventure Begins if you get the chance, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg.  If someone knows of a way to watch the show online (preferably for free) let me be the first to know, I may start looking myself, but Disney seriously needs to release the show in DVD/Blu-Ray so the fans aren’t as tempted to pirate it.  In the meantime, I am getting very, very close to finishing my Mira Nova cosplay, and I will have pictures for you.  Hope to see you at FanX!

My Thoughts on Supergirl

firstlook-supergirl-hed-2015

This past Monday saw the premier of the latest DC television series, Supergirl. The series is brought to us by the same folks who brought us Arrow and The Flash, so expectations were pretty high. I was curious to see if the quality would be just as high as those two shows, or if this would be just a “girl version” of a superhero show. More on that later. It seems like the reception for the pilot has been pretty positive, which is a big deal. Make no mistake, she may wear the “S” ( I know, it’s not really an S) on her chest, but this was still a really big risk for DC. Historically speaking, female driven superhero titles have not been huge sellers. Partially, that’s because female superhero title haven’t been very good, historically speaking. Well, I have watched the pilot for Supergirl now, twice, and I have to say, I have a lot of hope that this series could rewrite history for the genre.

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The Magician’s Apprentice- A Day Late Review

dw-s9-dr-where

BBC

It’s finally here- the new season of Doctor Who, and I for one was very excited about it. It almost feels like Christmas when my favorite shows start showing new episodes again, especially Doctor Who. There always seems to be so much anticipation and hype leading up to the new season, and this year was no exception.  A new season of Doctor Who also means a new round of “day late reviews” from me, starting with “The Magician’s Apprentice.” Now, to ensure that this post is absolutely spoiler free, BBC America has done something cool with this first episode- they put it up for free on YouTube. The whole episode, commercial free. Check it out:

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, please watch it now, or wait to read this post. You have been warned.

The episode starts with scenes from a war ravaged planet, with quite the mixture of technologies. Two men are seen trying to combat some propeller planes equipped with laser guns only using a bow and arrow. One of the men sees a child in the middle of this battle field and follows him to try to help. They get stuck in the middle of a hand mine field, and one of the hand mines takes the man, and the child is petrified as he stands in the middle, now all alone. The Doctor shows up at this point, and it looks like he is going to save the boy, even throwing his screwdriver to him, until the boy says his own name. We learn the boy is Davros. And it appears that the Doctor doesn’t save him, but abandons him, leaves him to die.

Next we see The Colony Sarff, servant of Davros, going from place to place looking for the Doctor. On the planet Karn, he delivers his message to the Sisterhood and says that Davros Remembers, Davros knows. Apparently, Davros remembered that it was the Doctor he came to save him, and then abandoned him. He is looking for revenge before he dies himself.

Back on Earth, Clara is teaching school when she notices that all the planes have stopped, they’re all frozen in the sky. Clara rushes to UNIT to help them figure out what is going on. She tries to reach the Doctor, but she can’t. They begin to try to work out how the planes all got frozen. That’s when they are contacted on “the Doctor channel,” a channel set up for the Doctor, a channel he never uses. They discover it’s Missy, and she has frozen all the planes to get their attention.

Clara meets with Missy, and discovers that the Doctor is in real danger, and needs their help. Clara looks for the Doctor and they try to figure out where and when the Doctor is. They find him throwing himself a party in some medieval town. This is where the Colony Sarff finds him, and brings him to meet with Davros. Clara and Missy insist on going with him, so he brings all three.

They arrive where Davros is, which looks like some kind of hospital floating in space. They are held in a chamber, until Davros sends for the Doctor. Missy and Clara, alone together in the cell figure out that they are on a planet, even though it looks like it is floating space. The Doctor faces off with Davros-possibly for the last time. Clara and Missy go exploring and discover that they are really on the planet Skaro. The episode then takes a Moffat like turn as both Clara and Missy are killed off by the Daleks.

The episode ends with the Doctor back on the same war-torn planet, now closer to the young Davros, saying he is there to save his friends. That’s when he pulls out a weapon, very un-Doctor like. It looks as though he will be killing the young Davros in order to save his friends, but I guess we will have to wait until next week to see what happens.

The Good: This was overall a very good episode. I enjoyed it from start to finish. I think we are seeing more of Capaldi’s vision of the Doctor, he seems to be getting more comfortable in the Doctor’s skin, and I like the mad man who is coming out as a result of it. It will be interesting to see how it all develops this season with this great opener and then with it being Clara’s last run.

Last season, at the very end, I was pretty harsh on Missy. I still feel like the gender change was a gimmick, and it still felt gimmicky to me at the time. That being said, Michelle Gomez shines in this episode as Missy. I was not excited when I heard she was going to be back, but I was glad she was back as the episode progressed. She has one of the better portrayals of the Master character in this episode. I am actually excited to see more Missy.

There were some great references to some Classic Who in this episode, and I love it when they tie New Who to Classic Who. I love the bit they play from the 4th Doctor talking about what he would do if he had the chance to face an enemy and prevent everything he knew that enemy would do. Tying that bit of dialogue to what they Doctor faced at the beginning of this episode was brilliant.

The Bad: The Doctor should never have a gun. It is one of the things that I like the most about the character. He solves his problems without using weapons, so I always struggle with it when he has one. I don’t think he will go through with it. I don’t think he will actually kill Davros. We’ve been down these sorts of roads before with Moffat, but in the end, the Doctor always comes through.

The Final Verdict: This was a very solid opener, and it made me even more excited for the upcoming season. I can’t wait to see where it goes this year and what will happen with all the characters on the show. This first story has me very excited, and I can’t wait to see the conclusion next week. I would give this premier a solid 4.5 out 5 stars.

What did you think of the episode? Was it one of your favorites, or did you just really not like it? Let us know in the comments below or share your thought with us on our Facebook page, or you can even tweet at us (is that how you say it?) @thegeekymormon, or if you really want, you can send us feedback at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com.

New Who at 10: Blink

It seems like whenever there is a discussion about the best Doctor Who episodes, “Blink” always enters the discussion. It was no surprise then, as I asked for some favorite New Who episodes on Facebook, that multiple people mentioned “Blink.” After watching it again, I can really see why. Sometimes, when you really get into a fandom, you feel this pressure to not go with the popular choice when you pick your favorite episode. You rematch those super well-known episodes and try to find ways that they are overrated, because it’s just not cool to like what everyone else likes, and now that you’re a super-fan, you should be above that. That was kind of the attitude I had while watching Blink this time. I admit, that’s probably snooty of me, and I’m not proud of that. The point is, I totally failed. I watched this for probably the 10th time, and I love it just as much as I did when I watched it the first time. There is a reason why so many people recommend this for first time Doctor Who viewers.

“Blink is such a well written episode. If you get nit-picky enough, you could probably find holes in the story, because every story has holes, but if you refrain from that, the story flows well, and highlights some great, classic time travel material. The whole story is intriguing as we follow Sally Sparrow who is trying to figure out what is happening in the Western Drummonds, or the Scooby-Doo House, as Larry calls it. The mystery really begins with her discovering a message under the wrapping paper in the house. And it really gets interesting when the message is addressed to her personally. The whole thing is classic, as her friend, Kathy, gets sent back to 1920, where she lives out the rest of her life. Sally finds out about this when Kathy’s grandson shows up at this deserted house with a letter his grandma had given him some 20 years ago. The letter explains what happened to Kathy. It all seems really unbelievable for Sally. When she finally accepts it, she goes to meet Larry, Kathy’s brother, and he introduces her to the Easter eggs on 17 DVDs. Well, one Easter egg, which is the Doctor speaking one half of a conversation. She also meets a police officer who gets sent back to 1969, meets the Doctor, and contacts Sally again, right before he dies, and helps her realize what the 17 DVDs are. They are the only 17 DVDs Sally owns. She and Larry go back to the abandoned house, and re-watch the Easter egg, this time with Sally filling in the missing half of the conversation. Then they get attacked by the Angels, one of the greatest Doctor Who monsters ever. The get Sally and Larry down to the basement where the Angels have the phone box. Sally has the key, so they are able to get into the TARDIS, and send it on its way back to the Doctor, and when it disappears, it traps the 4 angels, as they are frozen looking at each other. A short while later, Sally realizes that the Doctor got all of this information directly from her. She realizes this when she sees him out on the street, and she delivers all of her notes to him.

That’s a rundown of the story, which is superbly done. This is Moffat at his best. It is during RTD’s time as show runner, but Moffat wrote the story, and it is easily one of his best. Everything just moves along at a great pace, not too fast, not too slow. It keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the episode, and I always find that I am surprised at how quickly we get to the end. The plot is solid, the actors do superb, and it would be hard for the story to be anymore entertaining.

Whenever I watch this episode, I always have the same thought. I would like to see more of Sally Sparrow. She was just such a great character. She was inquisitive and clever, which is why she stuck with the adventure until she had figured out what was going on. She would have made a great companion. She would have really done well traveling with the Doctor. Larry would have been great to have along as well. He was likable, and given time, he probably would have become lovable. In fact, when I watch it, I see a little bit of Amy and Rory in Sally and Larry, and I wonder if they somehow served as an inspiration for Amy and Rory. In any case, with a team up name like Sparrow and Nightingale, the two would have even done well as a spinoff. They could continue to operate their DVD store together, but on the side, they could be solving mysteries. I think it could have worked.

I also always wonder what adventure Martha and the Doctor were on at the end of the episode. The Doctor doesn’t carry weapons very often, so it would be interesting to see that story that involved him using a bow and arrow, and the things that Martha keeps mentioning are hatching. What were they? it would be interesting to see what they were and the whole story.

In any case, for those of you who recommend this for first time viewers, I would say, keep doing it. It is one of the best TV stories I have ever seen, Doctor Who or otherwise. It isn’t a traditional episode as the Doctor does not play a huge active role throughout the story, so from that aspect, I recommend people start with a few other episodes first, and then move on to this one. In anywise, it is hard to argue that this isn’t one of the better New Who episodes.

What did you think of “Blink”? Was it as good as everyone says, or is it overrated? Let me know in the comments. We always love to hear from you. We will continue looking at New Who at 10, as we watch the episode “The Girl in the Fireplace.”

New Who at 10: The Parting of the Ways

The Parting of the Ways was the final episode of Eccleston’s time as the Doctor. This was the episode that wrapped up the whole Bad Wolf story line, and gave us our first glimpse of David Tenant as the Doctor. It was also an epic showdown between the Doctor and the Daleks, who just never seem to stay dead. This is also the origin of Jack’s not dying problem. Mainly, though, this was a pretty entertaining episode that I hadn’t watched in a while, so it was fun to revisit it.

The Daleks in this episode were a little strange as far as Daleks go. They were super religious, believing their creator Dalek was the god of the Daleks. This was a new wrinkle to the Daleks in general, and it was just kind of weird and added to their creepiness. The “god” Dalek was massive compared to the others and had a much deeper voice. He was clearly the big bad guy, and when he and the Doctor conversed, it was an attempt at the classic hero-villain dialogue. It wasn’t a great attempt, as the Doctor was clearly much more clever than the Dalek.

As the Doctor and Jack and Rose find themselves on the Dalek mothership, they gather as much information as they can from the Daleks before escaping back to Satellite 5, which will be the scene of the climactic Dalek-Doctor showdown. The Doctor sends Rose away, tricking her into getting in the TARDIS. While she is gone, we realize that the Doctor’s plan won’t just kill the Daleks, but all of the people on the satellite and on Earth. This sequence, for me, was much more powerful after seeing The Day of the Doctor. Connecting that story, of the War Doctor having to make the choice to destroy all of his people in order to destroy the Daleks, makes this sequence more powerful. The Doctor, in The Parting of the Ways, mentions that all of his people had died during the Time War, but they had taken the Daleks with them, or so they had thought. Now that they were back, it made the sacrifice not worth it. In his mind he is remembering that sacrifice, and how he is remembering it, he was the one who pulled the trigger. He was the one who made the sacrifice, that now, all of a sudden, wasn’t worth it. Then he finds himself in the same position. He must decide this time if he is willing to sacrifice earth in order to save the whole universe. Knowing his past, you would think this would be a harder decision, but he does what he feels like he has to. It was just kind of interesting to think about it in context with The Day of the Doctor.

While Rose is back on Earth, and her mom is trying to cheer her up with fish and chips, we get one of the most awkward exchanges between the two. It occurs when they are in the TARDIS and she starts going off about how Dad wouldn’t want her to give up and she knows because she met him. This whole conversation was just weird. What a weird time to bring it up, and why did it make her mom so angry? The way Rose is telling her, though, it’s like she is trying to make her mom angry, like she could finish the whole thing with a big raspberry. Whatever the conversation was, it works, because Jackie leaves and comes back with a giant tow truck to try to get the TARDIS open. Also while Rose is back on Earth, she realizes that her park is covered in the infamous “Bad Wolf” graffiti. This is the beginning of the answer to the Bad Wolf question, as she realizes it was a message she sent to herself.

I love it when she becomes the Bad Wolf after looking into the time vortex. It always reminded me of when Jean Grey becomes Phoenix. She is ultra powerful and has power to just split all the Daleks apart on the atomic level. She also has the power to bring Jack back to life. The Doctor realizes that this power is going to kill her, so he does what any responsible Time Lord would do. He kisses her, which allows him to soak in the time vortex and save Rose. Unfortunately, it doesn’t save him. It leads to his regeneration.

I love when he regenerates, because he does it in a way that only he could pull off. I love when he tells Rose that she was Fantastic, and then follows it up with “So was I.” He really was fantastic, and in this episode we really get to see all of it. We see him take charge of the situation and be in control, in a way only 9 would ever pull off. We see him have to make the tough decisions, and we see him do it all with his big dopey smile on his face the whole time. I have to admit, when I watched through these episodes the first time, I really was sad when he regenerated. I loved Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, and would have loved to see one more season. I just think his Doctor was so confident and so cool. However, since there is only the one season, it does help me to appreciate his time a little bit more because it was so brief.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode. Not as good as The Empty Child, but it was still a lot of fun. I think the Doctor really shines in the episode and I feel like it wrapped up his time quite nicely. Rose and 9 had a good chemistry together, and I think I can stand to watch their time together more than I can stand her with 10. I think one thing I have enjoyed with Capaldi’s Doctor is that some of that confidence is back. It seemed like 10 and 11 didn’t have the same confidence, almost arrogance that 9 had, but 12 does, and I guess I’ve missed it.

What did you think of The Parting of the Ways? Did you enjoy? Is it one of your favorites from this season? let me know in the comments. You can also check out my review of The Empty Child here. Next Wednesday, we will be reviewing Blink, so come back next week to find out what I thought about this episode.

Daredevil: A Review

I’ll admit it. I have spent a good part of the last couple of days hiding away in a dark room binge watching the new Daredevil series from Marvel and Netflix. I’m not too ashamed of that for a couple of reasons. One is that I have been feeling pretty ill over the last couple of days, and I haven’t really felt like moving at all. In fact, I have felt downright miserable, so having a new show to binge watch has been ok. I also felt like this was a pretty big deal, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Before I get into my actual review, I wanted to have a disclaimer here at the beginning. For the most part, I try to discuss and review content that is appropriate for most ages on this site. As a father, I am sensitive to what I watch and what I let my kids watch. That being said, Marvel’s new Daredevil series is absolutely not appropriate for all ages. It carries the TV-MA rating on Netflix, and that’s not by accident. I only bring that up because people who may not be familiar with the Daredevil comics, and are familiar with the Marvel movies up to this point may be in for a shock when they sit down to watch this series. The language in the series is not great, but it seems like they won’t cross the “F-Word” line, so that’s a bonus. However, any other word seems ok.  There is little to no sexual content in the series. I think there is one scene in the pilot where Karen is changing into one of Matt’s shirts and you get a side shot of a breast, but that’s really all, and it isn’t sexual, it’s more to demonstrate that he can’t see. What really earns the rating for the show is the violence. There is plenty of it, and lots of blood. Again, fans of the Daredevil comics will not be shocked by that, but fans of the MCU not familiar with the comics might be. I just want to send out that fair warning.

I was interested to see this show because it feels like this is Marvel’s first attempt at a costumed hero series since starting the whole MCU. Yes, they have Agents of SHIELD and Agent carter, but those series hardly involve costumed heroes. This is something I have struggled with concerning the MCU. I really enjoy what DC has done with Arrow and The Flash, and have been disappointed with Marvel’s offerings on the small screen. I was eager to see how this series would be.

I am not a huge Daredevil reader, but from what I know about the comics, this series seemed to stay pretty true to the source material. It was gritty and dirty and dark, and all of that seems to be what the comics are like. In a lot of ways, it didn’t feel like it belonged to the same Universe as Captain America, Thor, or Iron Man. In fact, there is little mention of the Avengers at all. They mention the incident that destroyed huge portions of the city, and there are a couple of random statements, but other than that, this series could stand alone from the rest of the MCU. You don’t have to be super familiar with the MCU to watch this series.

The story takes place primarily in a part of New York City known as Hell’s Kitchen. The name alone should tell you that this not a nice part of town, maybe it’s a little rough around the edges. Daredevil, or the “Man in the Mask” as he is called for most of the season, takes on the organized crime that tearing that part of the city up. This includes not pretty things like heroin distribution and human trafficking. The real down and dirty kind of stuff. It would appear, as of right now, that Daredevil is the only person trying to stop this stuff in his neighborhood, including the police and the press and everyone else who seems to have been bought out.

The Daredevil is Matt Murdock. He’s a blind lawyer by day, and crime fighting vigilante by night. He may be blind, but his other senses have all been heightened to the point that he can really “see” the world better than a person with vision. Helping him, at least on the lawyer side of things, is his best friend from college, Foggy Nelson. The casting for Foggy, I thought, was spot on. The character was well written, and really likable from the beginning. They make other allies along the way, including Karen Page, who we meet in the beginning as Foggy and Matt’s first client. They also bring in Ben Urich, an honest reporter who will never back down from telling the truth, as well as Claire, a nurse who finds and helps Matt after he has been beaten almost to death. These are pretty much the good guys.

On the other side, we have the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk as well as the Russians, the Japanese mafia, and the Chinese heroin distribution. These are all working under Fisk to bring forth his vision of a better New York City, starting with Hell’s Kitchen. Of course getting to that vision is going to involve drugs, human trafficking and racketeering, the usual building blocks for urban renewal. As Daredevil discovers more and more about what is really going on, he finds himself coming up against different parts of the organization throughout this first season.

We also meet Stick at one point. This is the blind martial arts expert that took Matt under his wing after Matt’s father died and taught him how to be a fighter. Stick hints at a bigger war that Matt is going to be a part of, but that is only hinted at in this season, and I am sure we will see more of it down the line.

That’s the basic premise of the series. Overall, I would say that it is true to its source material, and it seems well done. I had a few issues with some of the characters and some of the acting. There were times when I felt like Fisk was well-played by Vincent D’Onofrio, and there were times where it all just seemed so forced and unnatural. Similar could be said about Charlie Cox as Daredevil. He spends most of the first season in his black mask costume, which looks a lot like Christian Bale’s first costume when he meets with Gordon for the first time in Batman Begins. Sometimes, it sounds like that too. Cox seems to at times break into  a Batman voice when he interrogating his victims. You can almost hear the director telling him to tone it down, and finally just going with it.

The whole feel of the series is dark and ominous. Not a lot of sunshine or cheeriness. All of that is very true to the comics, so it could be a positive. For me, however, it was a big negative. It was hard to get through that many hours of heavy, dark story. That’s just not how I prefer my superheroes, but if you do like that then this series was great.

This was supposed to be the beginning of Marvel’s world building for the Defenders, but there was little to connect to the next series coming. It really felt like it was going to be completely stand alone and not attached to anything in the MCU, whether it’s the Avengers or the other titles to come. That’s just strange to me when talking about a Marvel title, because they al seem to be so linked most of the time. This one just wasn’t.

Overall, I think this show was good and well written, it’s just not for me. Too dark, too heavy. I feel like I need to get out and get in the sunshine for the next six hours to balance out what I have just watched. Just be warned that it might be better to take this series more as a one episode at a time kind of show, instead of a binge watch.

 

New Who at 10: The Empty Child

Easily the most liked of the 9th Doctor’s adventures, “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” is a classic episode. This episode has always held a special spot in my second heart. This was the episode where I officially got on board with this whole Doctor Who thing. When I started watching, I had people suggest that I start with “Blink,” but I am a completist, so I had to start at the beginning, or some kind of beginning, so I started with “Rose” and worked my through the first season. The first few episodes were ok, but kind of weird. This was the episode, though, that really sucked me in and kept me coming back through the rest of Eccleston’s time. It has everything I think you need to get to know your Doctor. In fact, if I were introducing someone to Doctor Who, this would be the episode I would tell the to start with, to maybe start with “Rose” and then skip to this two-part story.

Watching this again (and it was the first time in a while), it was interesting to see what stood out to me. I think the first time I watched it, I was focused on how creepy it was. The empty child was really pretty scary. I have a sister-in-law who watched the beginning of Doctor Who, but stopped at this story. I don’t think she even watched the second part, she was too creeped out. That is probably pretty extreme, but I can say I always felt like this was kind of on the scary side. Not horrifying, but I admit I was checking around corners and stuff afterward. Watching it this time, though, the creepiness factor was gone. I knew what Jamie was, I knew how it was going to end. As a result, I noticed other things that really make this story stand out.

One thing that really stood out to me was how the Doctor interacted with the kids, Nancy specifically, but all the kids too. He was friendly and warm to them, and comforting. He applauded them for being so bright as to steal food during the air raids. It was really kind of nice. I think, watching the episodes leading up to this one, we don’t see that side of the Doctor much, so it is nice to see it here. I like how he encourages Nancy to keep going and talks about how Britain and her people were so brave to stand up to Hitler, and how amazing they were. I love that kind of stuff. It really was an amazing thing that the British did stand up, alone, against Hitler for so long. The story of the Air Blitz on Britain is pretty incredible, historically speaking.

I also really liked the Doctor’s interaction with Dr. Constantine. This gives a glimpse of the Doctor’s character, who he was and what he’s been through. When Constantine says that at the beginning of the war he was both a father and a grandfather, but now he was neither, but he was still a doctor, and then the Doctor says “Yeah, I know what you mean.” We begin to get a glimpse of what the Doctor has lost, and part of why he is always running. Maybe not running away, but always to something, somewhere where he can help.

For me, the one down side, and I am ready for the negative responses, is this is the first appearance of Captain Jack. One of my least favorite “companions” of the Doctor. I just always felt slimy when he was on the show. Like he was always working something, and that bothers me. I know he is supposed to be a scoundrel, like Han Solo, but his character never hits that mark for me. It didn’t help to rematch it this time and seeing Arrow, where he plays Malcolm Merlin, who is always trying to pull a fast one. Unfortunately, that’s all I can see with Jack. I know that I am really in the minority here, and that’s ok. I get that people like him, and this is nothing against the actor, John Barrowman is a fantastic performer, and from what I’ve heard, a decent human being. I just don’t like Jack.

My favorite part of this episode, however, is the very end, when the Doctor shouts out “Everybody Lives, Rose, everybody lives!” This was the first moment in new Who, I think, when we see the Doctor as a hero. We have that doubt, since the first episode when Rose seeks out the computer guy who has been searching for the Doctor and tells her that death and despair follow him around. This is the moment I always think of when it comes into question whether the Doctor is a good man. I think of this moment every time, and think, “Yeah, he is a good man.”

What were your thoughts of “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances”? Is it a classic, or is it just simply the best of a mediocre season? What were some of your favorite parts? Let me know in the comments.

The next episode I will be taking a look at, as chosen by our Facebook followers, it “The Parting of the Ways.” That should appear next Wednesday.

 

Doctor Who Event: Review of “Blink”

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To pass the time between now and Christmas day, the time when there is no new Doctor Who, I decided it might be fun to view some “classic” new Doctor Who episodes together.  If you missed it, we decided to start with “Blink” and viewed it last night at 8 pm MST.  If you would like to join us for future viewings, please like my Facebook page, where we will be posting details about the “events”, or follow me on twitter or on Google +.

We decided to kick it off with a real classic.  “Blink” is the episode, I think, that people always refer new to Who viewers to watch first.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but it is a great episode, and a fun way to start off our little viewing parties.  I am going to review each of these episodes in my “Day Late Review” format, providing you with the good, the bad, and the final verdict.  Let’s get to it.

The Good

This is one of the most quoted episodes out there.  There are more memes that involve lines from this episode than any other out there.  We get the “Don’t Blink” line, “Timey-wimey, wibbley-wobbley,” “The Angels have the phone box,” which leads to Larry saying that he has that on a T-shirt, which of course has led to it actually being on a T-shirt:

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An actual “The Angels have the phone box” T-shirt, available at ThinkGeek.com.

This story was Moffat at his best.  This was, of course, back when he was a lowly writer and not the show runner.  It was also back when he contributed some of the best stories, instead of strange, plot hole filled tales like “Death in Heaven.” (see my review of his latest here) The story is fun and very well written, feeling more like a suspenseful horror film than an adventure in space and time.  It works as a one-off episode. In this case it works really well.  I remember hearing about this episode as I was first going through the Doctor Who stories, and hearing how  it really didn’t have the Doctor in it very much at all.  I thought that was strange, and I guess it is, but it really works here.  The main protagonist, Sally Sparrow, is excellent.  She is clever and does a great job carrying the story. When I watch this episode, I don’t find myself thinking, ” I wish the Doctor was in this more.”  Not even a little bit. You don’t miss him in this episode at all. I mean, he’s there, but he is not the main character.

This episode flows so well from scene to scene and the timey-wimeyness is excellent.  People going back in time, and Sally not realizing it, and then she gets word from them, from the past, and it is just so cool.  I love when Kathy’s grandson shows up with the letter while Kathy is still in the house.  In fact, him showing up is what causes Sally to leave her alone in the house.  If he doesn’t who up, Sally and Kathy probably would have both been sent back to 1920.  Then Billy gets sent back, and she immediately gets a phone call from him, as he is lying on his death-bed 40 years later, but it is the same rain because it was really just a few minute later, just cool stuff.

The Angels are excellent.  This is the Angels at their best.  I feel like Moffat keeps bringing them back, and each time he does, they get a little cheesier and less creepy.  As a one time monster in this episode they are scary, plus you’ll never walk be a statue the same again.  What could be creepier than a creature that looks like a statue, never moves when you are looking at it, and then bam!, you’re in you current time one second, and the next you wake up somewhere totally different.  Just terrifying.

The Bad

Since last Salt Lake Comic Con, and I went to the Colin Baker/ Paul McGann presentation, the weeping angels have almost been ruined for me.  Mr. Baker has come up with an almost full proof way of dealing with the angels.  You just close one eye at a time, keeping the other eye open, in other words, don’t blink, wink!  It actually works, I think.  It’s so simple, and makes the angels less daunting.

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I only bring that up because there is not a lot of Bad in this episode.  This is probably the 5th or 6th time I have seen the episode and it is just as enjoyable as the first time.  If I were to pick out any of the bad, it would be nitpicking, and I just don’t feel like it is worth it for this episode.  It isn’t perfect, but it comes close.

The Final Verdict

This is, unsurprisingly, one of my favorite episodes.  From start to finish, it is just very enjoyable.  It is the best that the rebooted series has to offer.  I can’t think of an episode I enjoy more.  There may be some that I enjoy as much as this one, but none that I enjoy more.  I would rem mend this one to watch again and again and again.  I love it.

What did you think of “Blink”? Is it as good as everyone says, or is it overrated?  Let us know in the comments.  Stay tuned for details on our next Doctor Who viewing event, which will be happening next Saturday, that is this upcoming Saturday.

A Day Late Review of “Death in Heaven”-Doctor Who Series 8

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Here it is, the finale, the last part of the finale, the finale to the finale for series 8 of Doctor Who. Last week we got “Dark Water,” and you can see my review of that here. Now we get all the answers to our questions in the thrilling conclusion, is what I should be writing right now.  But I’m not.  “Death in Heaven” epitomizes Doctor Who in Steven Moffat era: Lots of build up, little reward.  It felt like so many of the Matt Smith story lines, which makes sense since it was the Doctor who changed, not the people writing and running the show.  Of course, it wasn’t all bad. Following my same format, I am going to give you the good, the bad, and my final verdict.  As always, I am assuming you have seen the episode, so there will be spoilers.  If you are trying to avoid spoilers, please don’t read on.

The Good

The episode finally seemed to have a good Clara mix in it.  It reminded me of why I used to like her quite a bit, which is a big change from the rest of the season when it seemed like they were trying to get us to not like Clara at all.  Even if they weren’t trying, they were succeeding.  This episode reminded me that for the most part, she was a fine companion, and I could almost excuse her recent not fineness.  Almost.  It wasn’t all good from Clara, but it was enough.

We did get at least one question answered.  The question everyone was speculating about.  Missy was the woman in the shop who gave Clara the Doctor’s number, all the way back in “Bells of St. John.” Thank goodness that question was answered.  Sadly, it was the only one that was well answered.

I really wish that I could say here that this episode really did a great job of wrapping up the whole series 8, and was a great finale.  I can’t say that.  The whole series had an almost obsession with robots that was not explained.  They were all looking for the “Promised Land,” and although Seb says that the cloud they are all in is the Promised Land, we don’t see the robots playing any role whatever in the finale.  Anyway, not to go on, because not wrapping up the series really falls under the bad, and not the good.

The Bad

Did you ever put off a major school project or paper until the very end?  The paper is due the next day, and you decide to start it that night?  I have a feeling Steven Moffat has done that, because it feels like that is how he does his finale’s.  The sad part is that he spends so much of the series building up to the finale and throws in so many questions for us to make us curious, and then doesn’t deliver on half of them.  This finale is classic Moffat, then.  I was hoping for some kind of connection between all the robots and the afterlife, but they were never mentioned.  I was hoping for an explanation of why the Cybermen and the Master (sorry, Mistress) were working together, and got one, but it was lame and half thought out.  These are the kinds of things that should be better planned, but they weren’t.  Missy spends all this time trying to create an army for the Doctor?  Just to try to convince him that he is just like her?  It makes the Master character look desperate and obsessive, and not at all the equal to the Doctor that the character should be.  I always wondered why Moffat never had number 11 square off against the Master. Now I get it, Moffat has no idea how to write the character.

Death.  So much needless, pointless death.  Danny Pink is probably the most justified death from the story stand point.  The unfortunate thing with that is that he dies multiple times.  So that ‘s always fun.  Then there is Osgood.  Why bring her back for the finale just to kill her for no reason.  None, whatsoever.  It was not crucial to the story, and it just seemed like a waste of a likable side character.  The Master/Mistress is another great example of dying just for dying’s sake.  Is that really how it ends for the Master/Mistress?  The Brigadier shoots her in his Cyberman form?  And then read that last sentence.  Really?  You are going to bring back one of the most beloved characters from the history of Doctor Who as a Cyberman?  Just didn’t feel right to me.

The ending.  Can we drag out Clara leaving anymore?  I mean, seriously, she’s been threatening it since “Mummy on the Orient Express,” and they have been dragging it out since.  The scene in the coffee shop at the end of the episode was just bad, and obviously it couldn’t end with the two of them lying to each other, but for a moment it appeared to.  Then Santa shows up, and gives each of us a giant lump of coal for Christmas in the form of yet another final Clara adventure for the Christmas special.  Just make it stop, already.  Let’s all just move on.

The Final Verdict

I am a big believer that you need to watch every episode to get the whole story.  That is especially true for finale’s.  I just wish we didn’t have to suffer through this one.  There were way too many things going on in the episode, too many loose ends to be tied up, and it felt that way.  The master regenerating into a woman is now part of canon, which is fine.  I just wish the character would not have been so wasted.  Is the Master really dead now?  Was that the last we will see of him/her? Plus, we don’t get word one of Gallifrey this series until this episode, and what we get here was almost an afterthought.  Oh yeah, I did mention Gallifrey isn’t really destroyed last year.  Better write it into the finale.  The whole thing was laced with good intentions, and then just poorly executed.  I would say, you are required to watch it simply because it is the finale, but you are not required to enjoy it.