Category Archives: TV

Thoughts: Two Weeks Into GOT S7

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I’ve been an avid reader of George RR Martin for quite some time, not just of A Song of Ice and Fire or a viewer of the show itself. So to say I’m a fan would be somewhat of an understatement but accurate nonetheless. The seventh season of the titanic show recently began its arduous journey towards the shows eventual conclusion and already its been interesting to see the dynamics put into place for establishing this season’s battles and encounters. I won’t be going in any particular direction or order of precedence with my points in this post however please do be aware that it blatantly and obviously will spoil the season and show thus far.

First of all, I’d like to point out that whenever a minor or side character that is not one of the hallowed main characters receives special attention in an episode, they typically die a tragic and grisly death later. So I really, really, really hope Greyworm isn’t going to bite the dust like dear old Ser Barristan Selmy already has on the show. Also, all roads apparently lead to Dragonstone- as Jon Snow seems to be heading there and Dany is of course currently residing there whilst Cersei undoubtedly plans to attack there. We may see several more large battles yet- Casterly Rock and perhaps Kings Landing still included, however the Greyjoy conflict on the high seas was one of the bloodiest and boldest battle scenes in the series to date.

The Battle of the Bastards is one of the highlights of battle scenes in modern entertainment and certainly of the show, yet for every bold stride it made the Greyjoy civil war had such raw emotion and manic fashion. Euron is obviously crazy but you can’t fault him for his boldness- he went and seized the gifts he promised the current Queen of the realm and he also took his insubordinate niece hostage whilst Theon vanished into the ocean in a PTSD induced fit. The relationship between Theon and Yara Greyjoy has always been a strained one and yet now it will be more so and perhaps Euron would even use that to his advantage and as a way to torture the eldest Greyjoy rather than outright killing her.

I’m eager to see how Euron looks so alive and well after seemingly taking a few dagger swipes to the midriff in his choreographed battle with two of the Sand Snakes whom- as we all know by now, are infamous for coating their weapons in various poisons. Perhaps Euron picked up some magical remedies in his time on the sea as well, the world may never know. Regardless, the first battle surprisingly goes to Euron/Cersei who we should really, really never underestimate in the slightest. I feel like Ellaria Sand and her daughter’s fate are pretty much sealed at this point considering either Jaime or Cersei would be apt to execute them immediately merely for the death of Myrcella and the betrayal of Dorne. I’m quite curious to see what “poetic justice” Cersei deems fit to author.

Of other interest to me is the interaction of Arya and Hot Pie, something we’ve seen done before but something that was also quite a bit different and less personal this time around. Arya seems a lot more detached and understandably preoccupied with the intent of killing Cersei rather than interacting with her old friend. Hot Pie on the other hand just had to go and make a comment about also being a “survivor just like you” which means the divine hand of direction is more than likely going to swoop down and order a band of mercenaries or a gang of thieves to terrorize Hot Pie’s inn and slice the poor boy’s throat.

That wasn’t the only reunion for the youngest Stark girl as she also met her former direwolf companion Nymeria and her adopted wolf pack. It was a touching moment even if it ultimately played out exactly how the majority of Arya’s relationships thus far have: with either herself or someone else leaving and abandoning companionship in favor of self sufficiency. I got the feeling that Arya herself understood this could and would be a possibility as her heartbreak gave way to pride in her direwolf mirroring her own decisions ultimately. Plus, now she gets to chase after Jon Snow and probably run into Sansa along the way seeing as Jon is due for a meeting with his own flesh and blood whether he knows it or not.

It’s interesting to see that Melisandre is still doing what she does best: orchestrating things from behind the scenes and moving about with all of the players in the game. Whether or not shes had much success in the past, I am at least glad that she’s bringing both Dany and Jon one step closer to more than likely discovering his heritage and what their destinies may hold in store for them as well. She does serve her purpose well when the time comes, even if that also happened to lead Stannis Baratheon and his family to their deaths. Speaking of families that have suffered greatly, let us not forget that Jorah Mormont may yet get the chance to reunite with his Queen or with his own clan if he ever returns to the North and is cured of his affliction thanks to the helping hand of Samwell Tarly.

One of the scariest things undoubtedly to be coming down the pipeline right now also pertains to the North and that would be the fact that Sansa will be governing while Jon is away and Littlefinger will undoubtedly be either trying to manipulate and coerce the girl or whispering in her ear. He holds the knights of the Vale at his disposal and could quite easily ransom the North and Winterfell or even Sansa at any given time if he thought it was a strong enough and had the guts to do so. This would be an interesting turn of events and yet I still think at this point in time if he steps too far out of line Sansa could very well order his execution at some point, mistake or not to do so. For the time being he’s at best an unreliable ally and at worst a creep and villainous schemer.

It’s going to surely be such an interesting meeting for Jon Snow and the others set on traveling to Dragonstone. Snow goes to potentially barter both an alliance with the Targaryen Queen and to hopefully receive the permission to mine dragon glass or obsidian in order to defend against the impending wight attacks. I’m definitely curious not only as to how asking the King of the North to bend the knee will go- historically, not very well after all, and also as to who makes it to Dragonstone considering the rumors about what characters will end up where. While there is the setup for an interesting Jon and Tyrion reunion, we also have the unique possibility of there being an Arya and Hound reunion at Winterfell around the same time. Even more pressing though, what happens when the Night King slaughters the Nights Watch and shatters the Wall before emerging into Westeros?

All of these questions and potentially even more could be raised or even answered as e push forward into the season and I’m severely interested already. These are just some of the most prominent things I’ve thought of thanks to the happenings of the first two episodes, although there are plenty of other issues on my mind as well. For example: how far has Gendry been rowing by this point? What will the fate of both Tormund and Dolorous Edd be when the Night King attacks? Will the Brothers without Banners and Thoros and the crew finally make it to their destination? Ahh, so many questions…

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Three Interesting Takes from Comic Con

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Although I’m not entirely sure to what degree we will ever again see the unique talents of the great Sir Anthony Hopkins within the realm of the surreal and bloody terrific West World HBO reboot-ish show that he helped to establish, I must say I am excited to see telltale trailers of a second season. That wasn’t the only pleasant surprise to come out of Comic Con thus far as there were plenty of other panels and trailers that piqued my interest to observe. I’ve since narrowed my perspective to three- Jigsaw, West World Season Two, and The Shape of Water.

However, let it also be known that Netflix made a great showing for themselves- featuring everything from a fairytale meets gritty cop drama action flick to additional series and shows. There were some cliche yet refreshingly interesting ideas on hand in terms of horror- I’m going to be talking about effectively Saw 9 or 10 or whatever Jigsaw is canonically just because it looks utterly ridiculous and entertaining if grisly and horrible as well. Michael Fassbender seemingly met his end in grisly fashion in The Snowman- featuring a unique and interesting and surely full of twists serial killing story.

Bryan Singer is bringing his talents to The Gifted- a show set in the world of the X-Men yet pertaining to newly discovered mutants in the shadows of the public eye, and I’m more excited about this than the new seasons of Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, Arrow, or even perhaps Supergirl. I will say that the Superman/Girl prequel-ish show Krypton seems interesting enough as well. The 100 and Vikings have long been a source of entertainment and solace for me so those two shows definitely look to be shaking series tradition up and are likely going to break our hearts all over again.And as far as I can tell, Ready Player One looks like it will be given justifiable treatment by Spielberg and crew, so that’s only a good thing.

But let’s talk about my three main topic sources here now that I’ve covered the plethora of other great trailers and shows that were catered around.

The only reason that Jigsaw really stood out to me was that it seems to be bringing back a lot of classic Saw accoutrements but also adding an influx of not only action apparently but new machinations and twists and turns to the already thoroughly convoluted series. Saw has certainly had its moments- from its indie ish low budget beginnings to the colossal 3D flop of an ‘ending’ of sorts. However Jigsaw has piqued my interest because it brings up new questions about old tricks and also seems to at least as far as in the trailer shows, prove an old dog still has some unseen tricks to show off.

Is Jigsaw really alive and kicking? Is this all the devious devilish work of some protege or copycat killer? Is all of this just some sick and twisted playground already set up in the past and ready to be carried out by unseen henchmen? Will we actually get a steady stream of plot to go with the sure to be there gore and difficult decisions and dumb choices? All of these questions and more may or may not be answered in the movie itself but one thing is certain: hide your kids and hide your saw  blades or else both are liable to be either abducted or sunk into the head of some poor schmuck.

My second topic of interest is none other than the second series or season of HBO’s popular West World. Season One offered many twists and turns and we quite literally aren’t out of the woods (er, park) yet. Dolores seems to be adapting to the role of villain laid out before her by one-time instigator and writer Robert Ford, we still have the beloved Bernard to sort of follow behind and see what happens as he picks up the pieces of undoubtedly a greater scheme at work, and we have yet to really see Teddy or Elsie come back on screen but hopefully we won’t have to wait long. Many of us were left with burning questions after the end of the previous season and I think some are due to be answered as well as new ones added to the mix. I don’t want to know everything, just the most integral details in regard to key plot aspects.

And then of course there’s the Man in Black who is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing and ambiguous characters in the show for many obvious reasons if you’ve watched the first season. I can’t wait to see how things continue to play out for him now that he’s realized his dream of a perfectly aware robotic/AI filled park and that everyone is on an essentially level playing field. It’s a dog eat dog world and survival of the fittest is the only course of action that’s viable anymore. I’m intrigued by the prospect of both new characters as well as continued revelations for previously existing ones or even a continued exploration of depth and adaptation to new roles as well. Now that most technicians are likely dead or less likely to want to create more advanced AI or repair existing ones, our beloved characters are nearer and dearer to our hearts as the dangers become more apparent.

Last but surely not least, Guillermo del Toro as is often the case pretty much boggled my mind and piqued my interest all in one fell swoop. I’ve always enjoyed del Toro’s work in the past and he provides either perfectly paced action and excitement with interesting settings or characters, or he provides truly enveloping and emotional plots with slightly chilling aspects and unique qualities. Sometimes he tosses all of that into the blender and gives us a bit of everything if we’re talking about Crimson Peak in particular (RIP Tom Hiddleston’s face). The Shape of Water in typical del Toro fashion seems to have a star studded cast as well as an intriguing plot revolving around a mute woman who only feels appreciated and whole when conversing with what I can only best describe as a mer-man.

If that wasn’t interesting enough on its own, throw into the mix blatant disregard for life, the exploits of what seems to be a 1940s or 1950s scientific establishment complete with borderline barbaric ideas and practices, and the dramatic entanglement of this woman, this creature, and everyone in between them. It’s seemingly a love story as much as it is a lowkey chilling tale about modern medicine, appreciating people for all of their unique flaws and/or capabilities, and also a gripping dramatic tale. In essence, I’m uniquely interested in the potential for a story here and although I already see where there could be plenty of pitfalls or pandering and catering to particular audiences, I’m somewhat okay with all of that because Guillermo already owns half of my heart and mind as is.

And those are just some of my thoughts stemming in particular from the interesting trailers that have been showcased around Comic Con. If you’re currently attending Comic Con- SDCC or anywhere else you might currently be or already have been, feel free to comment with your own takes or your own most interesting and intriguing new films, games, or other entertainment. Cheers.

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Pokemon: Indigo League Retro Review S1 E6-10

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It’s been a little while since my last Indigo League retrospective and I’ve written quite a few things in between, but here we are yet again. In between watching and reviewing several other shows lately (of which you should be seeing more meat in terms of reviews releasing) I’ve also taken the time to rewatch old Pokemon episodes and catch myself up accordingly. As such, I’ll be presenting another five episodes today and once I’ve completely finished rewatching The Clone Wars you can expect a continuation of the blog series from season two onward (including Rebels).

My previous Pokemon: Indigo League retrospective can be found here if you do not wish to search overly much for the original post itself. As always, I’m going to be breaking down Ash and his crew’s ongoing adventure into bite-sized portions that are much more manageable both for review and consumption. So without further ado, let’s get down to business.

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Ep. 6: Clefairy and the Moon Stone | 22m

Even as I remember it fondly today having just recently revisited the episode, the Mt. Moon-centric episode has always been one of if not my very favorite Pokemon episodes of all time. I’m not sure what the initial draw of it was for me all those years ago but now I just enjoy the enigmatic presence of Clefairy and later Clefable, as well as the first showcase of evolutionary power beyond the normal evolutionary track itself. Ash, Misty, and Brock meet a scientist (Seymour) who is being attacked by confused Zubat- all of this ties into yet another unoriginal Team Rocket scheme of course as well. Needless to say, it always boils down to Team Rocket wanting to either steal Pokemon or something that will inherently increase their power. In this case it’s the latter and the Moon Stone itself, which is fabled to be in the caves somewhere around Mt. Moon. Although there is a lot of shenanigans and mysticism involved, ultimately the Moon Stone is shattered and transforms many nearby Clefairy into Clefable, an even more rare Pokemon who sends Team Rocket packing. Grade: A

Ep. 7: The Water Flowers of Cerulean City | 22m

Having ended the previous episode with some timely signpost graffiti courtesy of Gary Oak, Ash Ketchum’s greatest and original rival, Cerulean City’s journey starts with Brock mocking the young hero for his willingness to let Gary stay one step ahead and forces him to go to battle other opponents in anticipation of a rival challenge. Misty, to her credit, attempts to divert them from heading to this particular city (for reasons that are more apparent later on) but nothing will deter Ash. When Ash does arrive at the local gym it’s not exactly what he was expecting and he finds three apathetic sisters more concerned with their looks and synchronized dance routines. Somewhat discouraged but still wanting to earn his badges the correct way, he moves on. Enter Misty. The friend (and as it turns out, fan of hard work and making Ash work hard particularly) returns and forces Ash to battle her for the Cascade badge he covets dearly. Just when it looks like Team Rocket will miss their entrance for once, the trio crashes the show and Misty/Ash team up to take them on. After they’re done with, it’s another solid win in the books as the crew continues on their journey. Grade: A

Ep. 8: The Path to the Pokemon League | 22m

With two badges down and untold adventures to come, Ash and his friends head off into the relative unknown- purportedly making their way to Vermilion City which holds luxury and intrigue. Of course now is the perfect time to encounter some local trainers who wish to test Ash’s prowess- so enter A.J, who also has a tent full of wild pocket monsters for the crew to ooh and ahh over. And did I mention A.J’s gym has been undefeated? Needless to say, A.J isn’t exactly the best with how he treats his Pokemon but figures the ends justify the means. And right on cue, Team Rocket starts to weasel their way into this setup as well. Ironically, A.J and his Sandshrew take it upon themselves to defend their gym and their honor, even if it means pretty much destroying the place in their bid to send Team Rocket heading for the hills. As we learn by the end, all trainers do things their own way and Ash and A.J must inevitably head their separate ways as they each make their own legacy and work towards entering the Pokemon league proper. Grade: B+

Ep. 9: The School of Hard Knocks | 22m

As the narrator says the friends will continue on their adventure in “perfect harmony,” we see that this is in fact nowhere near reality and Misty is still rightfully angry about her bike being totaled. Soon they stumble upon what looks to be the very definition of ‘school of hard knocks’ when they encounter kids quizzing each other on all things Pokemon- with the added bonus of doing so while amping up the speed on a treadmill. If that’s not interesting plot development, I’m not sure what is. In fact, the entirety of this so-called Pokemon Technical School is something of a satirical take on real universities and their issues and that alone makes me love Pokemon so much more. Before long, Ash and Misty (and sort of wallflower Brock) are doing their best to battle the local cliques and stick it to the student body, er man. Despite his lack of general knowledge in most regard, Ash proves that you don’t necessarily need to be a know-it-all to win matches. Hands down the best moment comes when Team Rocket stumbles in and is subsequently attacked by not one but all of the students who’ve gathered around- citing that “bad guys don’t play by the rules” and as such they don’t merit one on one confrontation. Grade: B

Ep. 10: Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village | 22m

Ash and his friends start off once more in the wilderness and find themselves reliant upon his often off-the-mark “instincts.” Things quickly go awry as the trainers experience everything from falling into a watery canyon to being caught in a hunting snare. Later on things take an unexpected turn when they encounter an atypical village that has been erected for injured Pokemon to recover and recuperate in. Team Rocket is shown to be essentially following the kids and also ironically falls into every single pitfall that the others had already encountered, often hilariously escaping just barely. Later on when they finally make it to the so-called “Pokemon health spa” as well, their advances are of course denied by the gathered pocket monsters who’ve grown particularly unruly when it comes to dealing with insensitive trainers and the likes of Team Rocket. In the final moments, both Ash and Misty would like to battle for the right to capture Bulbasaur but it is of course Ash who wins this right and wins the following battle before they turn their gaze back to making the trip to Vermilion City. Grade: A-

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Well, there’s the next series snippet of my Indigo League reviews and retrospective. I hope you’ve been enjoying everything so far and will continue to read and review my words and thoughts as well as supply your own. Enjoy!

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Pokemon: Indigo League Retro Review S1 E1-5

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If you know anything about me and my writing in general then you probably know that not only do I write about a variety of subjects, I also enjoy writing semi-nostalgically about how old television shows hold up by my current standards as well. I’ve written about episodes of The X-Files before here as well as Season One of The Clone Wars, which I plan to continue at some point in the future but can also currently be found here.

Chances are, if you watched Pokemon: Indigo League in your youth or adolescence then you’ve grown up with and are pretty familiar with Ask Ketchum and the rest of the interchangeable crew of trainers (most notably Brock and Misty, I would venture to say). You undoubtedly remember the shenanigans Team Rocket would pull off- or rather the shenanigans they would hilariously fail to pull off. Chances are, you may even remember many of the episodes and their morals themselves fairly clearly. Regardless of your circumstances or what you may or may not have retained, I’ve taken the liberty of rewatching the entire season and breaking it down into bite-sized portions for individual episode reviews (in several batches).

Without further ado, let’s get to talking about Pokemon: Indigo League’s first five episodes- from “Pokemon- I Choose You!” to “Showdown in Pewter City.”

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Ep. 1: Pokemon- I Choose You! | 22m

For a series starter and the premier episode of a lengthy saga- that being Pokemon in general and regardless of what subtitle may accompany each season, the first episode of Indigo League does a really good job of cementing a lasting resentment of the entitled Ash Ketchum and ironically making viewers (at least of my age and right now) immediately dislike the young boy. That having been said, it also manages to bring him in a circular and redemptive arc by the end of the episode and beginning of the second- showing that there are at least two sides to every character and that maybe he’s not quite so bad as he seems. What initially makes you disdain the entitled lad will inevitably morph into recognition that yes, he has his flaws but he will do anything and everything for his friends and companions. As such, this premier episode is a perfect beginning to the season and the fifty-one episodes that will follow. Grade: A

Ep. 2: Pokemon Emergency | 22m

The second episode of the season follows directly on the heels of the previous one and essentially serves as part two of a two-part episode. Ash and his newfound friends- both Pokemon and human alike, head to Viridian City and encounter the dastardly doofuses of Team Rocket. Despite the dire situation that they initially find themselves in and the demeaning words of Team Rocket and a scheme that will leave the local Poke-Center devoid of its main constituents, Ash and his crew of course manage to one-up the morons and send them packing in style. Although it helps to bring viewer favor more in line with actually liking Ash and in finding hilarity in each and every Team Rocket encounter from here on out, the episode has its strongest moments in the first half rather than in the next. Grade: B-

Ep. 3: Ash Catches a Pokemon | 22m

This episode carefully balances the morals and themes representative of the previous two and seems to pull it off a lot better- rather than being too heavy handed with either comedy or tragedy, it walks a thin line down the middle. Truthfully, there are few genuine tragic moments in Pokemon as it is ultimately catered towards children and young adults, however some moments are sad and that’s something that permeates even the happier episodes when issues like friendship and treatment come up. After Ash catches a Caterpie and realizes that Misty is deathly afraid of all bug-life, he of course can’t help but terrorize her while all Caterpie wants is to be recognized as a friend and companion by the two of them. It’s heartbreaking in a way if only for the short period of time before Ash actually appreciates the Pokemon more fully and before Misty manages to overlook her fear in favor of being more open and less resentful. Grade: B+

Ep. 4: Challenge of the Samurai | 22m

Not only is it the first episode to not feature the prominent pocket monsters in the title itself as a shameless plug, but “Challenge of the Samurai” also features a fast-paced and pretty exciting plot as well when compared to the last few episodes. Caterpie has quickly evolved from his initial form into Metapod- the cocoon-like second evolution that looks pretty good but pretty much operates as a more functional land-Magikarp for all its knowledge of combat. When the group encounters a trainer in the woods who dresses as a samurai and vows to face each new trainer in battle, Ash wastes no time in challenging the trainer and basically being as arrogant as he possibly can be. Thankfully the two trainers are basically mirror images or each other and essentially their battle devolves into a stalemate between their Metapods until it is rudely interrupted by an angry swarm of Beedrill. As one might expect, this leads to Ash abandoning Metapod and later returning to witness its evolution and subsequent decimation of the swarm. Grade: B

Ep. 5: Showdown in Pewter City | 22m

Here we finally get to see the introduction of another key cast member in Ash Ketchum’s interesting and often varied ensemble- Brock (the Rock?). After dealing with some collective Team Rocket (and Meowth) shenanigans which I’ll essentially avoid for now considering their plans usually retain the same one-dimensional purpose of stealing other people’s Pokemon, Ash makes his way to his first gym battle. As he faces off with a pretty desensitized Brock (because dramatic and tragic backstory!), he realizes that he isn’t strong enough to win the battle quite yet and not nearly as ruthless as Brock seems to be. Flash forward to Ash being tutored by a mystery merchant on the outskirts of town and you get a little more backstory about the hardness that Brock showcases as well as his motives. Predictably, in their second face-off Ash eventually gets the better of Brock only because the two otherwise evenly matched opponents realize that they should better care for their Pokemon and their families and futures. Oh, and the mystery merchant turns out to be Brock’s estranged father who has finally returned and the rest is history. Grade: A-

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So there you have it, the first segment of Indigo League’s episodes and subsequent reviews and grades. Feel free to comment with your own nostalgic or opinionated thoughts as well as gripes, concerns, or any feedback at all really. I look forward to providing you all with some more fresh content in the future as well as the next post regarding Pokemon: Indigo League.

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The Promise of Oasis

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The best thing I’ve read regarding the pilot of 2017’s Oasis is that it features Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as a Scottish space priest- yes you read that correctly. And in a weird sort of way that’s exactly what the premise is here and why the Amazon original show has such promise and I hope that it can find its way into a full series.

I urge all of you science fiction geeks and thought-provoking television fiends to delve deeper into the details regarding the show because I do not think you’ll be easily disappointed. Not to be confused with a 1993 series of the same name but revolving around a completely different genre of television, Oasis does indeed follow a space-faring priest as he makes his way to a remote colony. If you’re interested in the source material itself, look no further than Michel Faber’s writing.

In many ways, the sense of exploration and wonder the pilot alone has wrought within me reminds me of something akin to my time with Mass Effect and of course other science fiction materials that I’ve read in the past- notably Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson’s Variable Star. There are several moments where the camera pans to show the awe-inspiring desert that surrounds the exoplanet settlement, or as it is in real life, the desert regions in which the show is shot. For an original film that probably doesn’t boast the largest of budgets, I’m really excited to see an emphasis on story and dynamic character contrast if it kicks off for good.

Besides its obvious messages on the human condition and themes revolving around the inevitable environmental calamity facing our planet even now, what most excites me regarding the story is the scribe behind it. The pilot itself is written by Mat Charman- of Bridge of Spies nomination fame, and directed by Kevin Macdonald- of The Last King of Scotland and 11.22.63 renown. If you want to get into talent within the show itself, look no further than Richard Madden (Robb Stark of Game of Thrones) and Aislin McGuckin (of Outlander).

From my own viewing experience last week and combined with what general sentiments I’ve heard from others who’ve watched and/or reviewed the pilot, Oasis draws many similarities and comparisons with classics such as Dune and contemporary televisions shows and films like Interstellar and The Expanse. Having heard of but not read the novel it is based upon, I’m interested to see where the show itself could go if it is given the promising funding it deserves. I am not aware of the current state of Amazon’s ‘originals’ program in comparison to networks such as Netflix, however I do think the pilot has made a strong enough showing for why the show deserves a chance. And it probably doesn’t hurt that it’s received good reviews.

I definitely think it is important to search the web for some of the behind the scenes flicks and videos that explain sort of what vision the show is going for and some of the mystery and world-building it is attempting to pull off as well. There are some gorgeous shots and also some themes that in a way remind me of amazing space epics such as Joss Wheedon’s Firefly as well. In fact, many tropes sort of emerged that reminded me in a way of the misadventures of Captain Reynolds and his crew, albeit without much of the spacefaring adventuring and privateer lifestyle.

Especially in light of some of the projects that have been given life on subscription based media outlets such as Netflix or Hulu in the past, I think Oasis could be a very strong and unique showing for Amazon and its ‘originals’ programing. I’m really interested to see how this series progresses in the future and whether or not we get to see the continuation of Peter Leigh as a character as well.

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Broadchurch Series One- A Retrospective

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By now I have no doubt that many of my closest friends and companions know I am a huge fan of British television shows and all things of similar status. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy television shows from every nook and cranny, just that I happen to have acquired a particular fondness for many of the recurring actors between BBC network dramas and typical British soaps. The subject of course of this particular blog post is none other than the first of the would-be and will-be trilogy, Broadchurch. It is not in fact about either a big church or even a church at all, but rather the name of a quaint Wessex town where devious cases are brought to life.

If you’ve seen or know anything about Doctor Who then no doubt you’ll see several familiar faces in both the Tenth Doctor and Rory Pond (I jest of course, it’s Williams), or rather David Tennant and Arthur Darvill. This is no Hamlet and certainly no Legends of Tomorrow, and yet both of these high caliber actors find themselves similarly in specific and terrific roles alongside many other talent castmates- look no further than Olivia Colman. You may be wondering why it is I am just now bringing up the series, and it’s actually quite timely I’ll have you know. The third series of Broadchurch started a little bit shy of a month ago and I’ve been rewatching the first two as both preparation and penance for when the third is finally available to me.

First things first, allow me to tell you several of my favorite items and themes from the show- they’re probably not quite what you would expect. The first series has some amazingly emotional and believable moments and none have been hammered home more vividly than anytime the scene just sort of pans out and allows the sweeping musical score to roll in. It is in these moments that silent revelations take place, new clues develop, and all sorts of emotional deliveries are given without a single word having to be spoken. In essence, it’s genius. Musical scores have always been and will always continue to be some of the best ways to convey ironically silent messages through sights and sounds.

My second point of interest is the scenery and vivid imagery presented throughout the series- it honestly helps sell the story and plot lines more than even the best deliveries on the part of Tennant or Colman. You cannot develop a good story or film or television piece without apt usage of scenery in conjunction with metaphor and imagery. Many things are as unspoken as with musical scores and evidently people do like to see aesthetically enthralling or pleasurable images as well- who would’ve thunk it. There are countless moments- some of which take place in conjunction with sweeping musical melodies or melancholy camera panning, where the show just pans to something that offers the viewer their own off-screen revelations or makes something equally exciting known. Those are the moments we live for.

The third and perhaps most obvious and equally important aspect of the show is that the acting is phenomenally handled and sold whether it be simple investigative scenes or brilliantly heartbreaking revelations regarding murder. The first and even second series follow along the same familiar narrative lines, and yet there is still so much room for the injection of ample amounts of backstory and tragic character development outside of those two well-tread case lines. I never got tired of progressing the plot of the first series particularly, nor did the slight deviations into side characters or the main scenes steal any of the drama or tension away from the murder investigation processes themselves. Truly, I echo many viewers’ and critics’ sentiment that this could be many of the involved actors’ finest work to date.

I’ve been meaning to write on a more regular basis, and in some ways I’ve met that goal while in others I’ve noticeably lacked and lagged behind. Hopefully these tidbits here and there are enough to keep what fans I have satiated and my varying topics prove to be both engaging and interesting enough as well. I’ll do my best to be back when I can with more content in the future, and of course to write my own vivid opinions about things that crop up over time- as is all one can hope to do as a writer, pleasing both their own frantic heart and the minds of the reader. Cheers, all.

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Why You Should Watch Jack Taylor

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If you’re into the sort of thing, the online providers of mixed media (predominately television shows and films) such as Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and HBO typically offer some quality entertainment and interesting specimens. One such series that has recently struck a chord somewhere deep within the dark recesses of my sleep deprived and otherwise addled brain is none other than ‘Jack Taylor.’ Allow me to state some of the selling points for the series to begin with, in all of its Netflix glory (although there are at least three new episodes not yet available on the streaming service).

Iain Glen, better known as ‘That Guy’ from the often sub-par Resident Evil films and even better better known as Jorah the Explorah from Game of Thrones (HBO), is featured as the titular character Jack Taylor. The series is predominately set in and around Galway- Ireland for those of you unfamiliar to the lay of the land. So you’ve got your fair share of drinking, smoking, and unsavory thuggish sorts going toe to toe with J.T. and constantly getting outwitted and beaten soundly (typically in the literal sense as well). The show is similar to the popular BBC Sherlock series in that it typically boasts three film-length episodes per series and is based upon novels revolving around the same titular character (written by Ken Bruen). One interesting additional note is that the episodes typically originate on local Irish television channels as well.

It is very much a dark, cynical, and gritty show- so essentially everything I love besides petting unicorns and smelling daffodils while skipping around meadows. Jokes aside, the show features story arcs and characters from the novels themselves and despite following in the same thematic footsteps and potential cliches, it all still works and is directed with such things in mind. Unsurprisingly, Jorah- er Jack, is easily the highlight of each lengthy film, although Garda Noonan (Nora-Jane Noone/Siobhan O’Kelly) is just as witty and well-portrayed. It won’t often throw you for true twists that you don’t see coming, but it’s far from mere pulp fiction or trashy romantic paperbacks that most people spend their time with. Think of it as something along the lines of Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ series, although not in terms of being made into a feature-length Tom Cruise film.

The gist of what I’m getting at here, without trying to give everything up and give everything away in order to ruin things for you, is that it’s definitely worth a watch. Perhaps the first few episodes get off to a little bit of a rocky start in terms of cliches and stereotypes typically found in thrillers and novels of that sort. But the characters are what really piqued my interest and got me invested and I’ll bet if the series sounds like it’s up your alley, then they’ll probably interest you as well. Iain Glen has long been a favorite of mine in terms of lesser-known on-screen actors who’ve come from great theatrical and producing backdrops. His film roles may be minimal in terms of the limelight (although Mountains of the Moon is pretty amazing) and he may be predominately known for guest roles or his acting slot on Game of Thrones, but he thoroughly sells the Jack Taylor vibe and has quickly become a favorite in that capacity for me as well.

And here’s a quick fun-fact for you as well. Glen starred alongside such notable names as Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Edward Norton, Ghassan Massoud, Alexander Siddig, Jon Finch, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Maton Csokas, and Michael Sheen. If those names themselves don’t all ring a bell, look up some of the films and works they’ve been involved in and you’ll get a better picture. Needless to say the most well-known involved include but are not limited to Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, and so much more.Iain Glen is good. Jack Taylor is good. Well, the show. Try it out.

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Milly Schmidt

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