Winter is Coming

•May 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Right, well five episodes in so maybe I should get off my ass and actually talk about how awesome Game of Thrones is. To start off, I haven’t read the books. My fantasy reading has been pretty limited (mainly just Tolkien) as I was always more of a science fictional reader, but I definitely want to read some George RR Martin now!

It’s great to see some fantasy that isn’t the standard Tolkien-inspired fare. Other than the cold open to the first episode, a few dire wolves and some dragon relics, the Game of Thrones ‘verse has been fairly grounded, instead focusing on the politics and society of a mediæval culture, as well as the characters that inhabit it. You’d think that this focus on politics would slow the plot down, but it barrels forward surprisingly fast. Which is good, because I want to get to the point where we’re in a decade-plus long winter.

For such a large ensemble cast it’s really impressive how much I like the characters. Even the dickbags are given motivation and personalities (well, not so much Targaryen, but he’s a spoilt prince and a douche, plus he’s had a fairly minor role so far). The only other show with a cast this large that I liked this much was The Wire, so clearly I must give GoT bonus points for having Tommy Carcetti with a bitchin’ ‘stache. Favourite characters so far are the imp, the tomboy, the bastard and the Kalisi.

I mentioned how I really like the focus on politics and character as opposed to the standard high fantasy fare, but at the same time I’m anticipating those aspects really entering the story with glee. Much like watching the early minutes of Fellowship of the Ring and anticipating Boromir’s last stand, I can’t wait until there’s some Night’s Watch versus the White Walkers action, and I think it’s pretty obvious that those ‘for decoration only’ dragon eggs are going to hatch.

High fantasy has never been all that popular of a television genre but even if it were, Game of Thrones would still stand as the cream of the crop.


Mommy Dearest

•May 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

mary winchester, samantha smith, supernatural, mommy dearest, 6x19This week’s episode of Supernatural was a throw back to great episodes like season 3’s The Magnificent Seven.  It was monster based, hunt heavy and really displayed the core team of the show which has evolved slightly over 3 additional seasons.

I have to say that the plot twist at the end regarding Cas and Crowley is one of the best of the season, if not the most important shift in allegiance we’ve seen since Sam wore the white suit.  It’s the first time I’ve made it to the end of the episode this season and truly cared about what had transpired.   Big Mama went down a little too easy for such a big bad but it had enough sap and suffering to make it satisfying.

That said, this being the new found arc it just seems to prove how lost the story was for a little while there in the early part of the season when it wandered so vaguely between the two battles.  Every show is allowed a season where they’re a little lost.  It happens but I hope they take this opportunity to get back on track.

Now we know we’ll be seeing a season 7.  I’d comment on this being a bad idea but at this point they might as well keep going.   I’ll keep watching and I think that’s all the CW wants to know.  They also know they’ll be losing Smallville on Friday nights and want something of a sure thing to pull something over.  I’d be prepared to expect a spooky/monster type show to be picked up and paired in it’s place.


bonus content –  I will watch anything with Mark Sheppard in it.  It’s always great to see him back and it was nice to see Samantha Smith reprise her role as Mary Winchester.


•April 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

At WonderCon this past weekend we got our first real look at the new Thundercats cartoon. I was going to post it here, but YouTube seems to be against embedding the thing, so this link will have to suffice. Go watch that, I’ll wait.

First of all, a little background. I was a big Thundercats fan as a kid, and looking back at all the old shows I used to watch more recently, Thundercats is the one that holds up well. Other shows I watched turn out to be pretty damn horrible (I’m looking at you, Masters of the Universe) but Thundercats is good enough that I’d still watch it now. Needless to say, this new series has some pretty big shoes to fill.

This trailer makes me confident that while it may not be as good as the original, the new ‘Cats will at least be good. The animation looks very good, I don’t mind the new designs (though I am partial to the originals), and the story seems solid. I’m actually looking forward to this.

Oh, and the voice work. I didn’t even notice this at first, but Lion-O’s father is voiced by Larry Kenney, AKA the original Lion-O! And new Lion-O is Will “Batman Beyond” Friedle! And while I haven’t heard him, Snarf can’t be as annoying as the original (and hell, for some reason his new design reminds me of Nall from Lunar, so that’s a good thing). The only voice I’m leery of is Mumm-Ra’s. The ’80s was great for making villains with iconic voices, so I’m hoping he’ll still sound like the singer for a black hair metal band.

This really was a great trailer, I’m a lot more excited for the show than I was before I saw it. The only downsides to this trailer for me were the lack of Panthro and the ThunderTank, but they’ll show up eventually. I’m really excited, the new ‘Cats is now my most anticipated new series of the year (sorry, Falling Skies).


Higher Education

•March 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I bought the first season of Community about a month ago, and now I’ve not only watched that but also every episode of the second season that’s aired so far. Because it’s awesome. So awesome, it has actually surpassed Parks and Rec as my favourite sitcom this year (though I’d say P&R season 2 was better than Community season 1) and I just have to say: thank god! With the way 30 Rock and HIMYM have plummeted in teh funny, I was getting worried that my ability to perceive humour that was actually at fault, and P&R’s laugh-out-loudness was just a fluke. Nope, those shows have just become balls, because Community is of the same calibre as P&R, or HIMYM a few years ago.

First of all, the cast is excellent. Every single character is perfect, even the ones you dislike. On top of the main cast, I love the recurring characters as well, to the point that choosing a favourite would be decided by whoever had been in the most recent episode I’ve seen. I’ve also found my new fictional self in Abed.

Next, the geek factor is extremely high in this show. The way they will reference movies and make absolutely no attempt to explain or contextualize the reference is wonderful. The fact that most of the references are to ’80s movies is also a plus. On top of this, they’ve done an entire episode devoted to D&D, and the first season came with a Kickpuncher comic book written by Troy. Oh, and the Wilhelm screams. All of this adds up to a series so geeky it could give The Venture Bros a run for its money. If, you know, it was some form of nerd currency (nerrency, if you will).

I’m really glad that Community is on NBC, this means that a strong cult following will easily be enough to keep the show on the air. They’ve already renewed it for a third season, not even on the bubble! Go 4th place!

Tomorrow night’s episode: Tarantino references!


The Verdict Is In

•March 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Near the start of the season, I said that this had the potential to be the best season of Californication to date. Well, tomorrow’s episode is the penultimate chapter of the fourth season and I’m sticking to that statement.

Californication walks a tricky line between being a dramedy and a full-on sitcom with some more serious bits. The third season spent too much time being full-on sitcom, and then tacked on the Fall of Moody for good dramatic measure. This season has toed the line perfectly, giving us some absolutely hilarious moments (the Fisher Stevens ep was probably the most absurd and brilliant comedic episode they’ve had), while having some genuine character development and plot advancement. Hank has been depressed, dealing with the realization that his self-destructive nature needs to change and the fear that it may already be too late. Runkle has avoided dealing with his divorce by instead focusing on bringing the number of women he’s slept with up to 100. Becca has managed to become both the sensible, mature member of her family while being the traditional teenager who acts out and gets in trouble. I loved her “I like being fucked up” speech with Hank, and I also like that her age and her intellect mesh much better now. Marcy has also been avoiding her divorce, instead rushing forward with Stu out of fear that she’s getting too old to have a family (and because Charlie has dematured). And Karen.. is also in the episodes.

On top of the forward movement, the fact that Runkle has picked up a bunch (or at least some) of Hank’s sex antics helps to give Hank the room for some self-contemplation. It’s weird, Hank seems to be both having just as much sex as he did last season, and also spending significantly more time not having sex. I’m not sure how that works, but this season feels so much more cohesive then… well, all of the rest. I wonder if this is connected to the fact that it started several months later this year? If they took the extra time to tighten up the plot for the season, it was definitely worth it.

I also have to give the show props for making Mia not the most horrid and despicable character in television history.


Cindy Sampson MILF Extrodinare

•March 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Cindy Sampson, Lisa, Supernatural, Lisa and DeanI love Cindy Sampson, a sweet, tall, dark and beautiful type from Halifax. (Woo Cancon!)  I’ve been vocal about my support of Dean and Lisa on Supernatural and I really liked how we saw a flicker of potential between her and Aidan on Being Human but I have a problem with her being mom of the week.

I wouldn’t even think mom when I looked at her.  She could easily pull off hot single professional.  I think TV is still a little behind the times in realizing that people are waiting much longer to get married or at least to have kids.   Sure she’s a little older but we have loads of older single men on tv.

Even more than my issues with her being the go-to mom is my issue with Being Human not bothering to look into the fact that she’d played such a similar role before, Or perhaps using that as their reason for choosing her.  I’m not saying she didn’t deserve the role or that I didnt like seeing her in it, because I did but I think Being Human should have realized that they share an audience with Supernatural and perhaps tried to cast in a manner that was less like borrowing and more like casting.

It’s a show that’s based on using an already used concept anyway, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by this but I am.  I mean, they didn’t even change her name!  I’d love to see Cindy in the shows I’m loving, but somebody give this great, compassionate actress something to do other than be the concerned mom behind the plot driving kid.   Granted the kids have been pretty good.  Ben rocked the first episode he was in and Bernie played by Jason Spevack was great.  I know him as the kid from all the Rick Mercer Report skits.  Gold.

Last night’s Being Human could have used her a lot more too.  Her son disappeared from the morgue/hospital?  there were a lot of holes and questions left by the fact that they’re trying to stuff three stories into the hour each week.  I don’t understand why each has to be such a cohesive unit.  Why can’t we let a storyline progress over two or three episodes.  The ghost romance could have easily lasted longer.  But I digress, Cindy Sampson is incredible and I want more.


P&R to the Rescue

•February 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I was going to talk about how HIMYM, one week after I said they fixed it, did the one fucking thing I said they better not do, but no. Let’s talk about something good instead, something awesome. Let’s talk Parks and Recreation. After getting annoyed with HIMYM, it was my go-to for a sitcomy pick-me-up.

Giving this show only six episodes for the first season was just about the worst thing NBC could have done to it. The first four of those were the standard growing pains any new TV series undergoes as the creative team figures out the voice of each character, how the actors work together, et cetera. As it stood it was 4 okay episodes and 2 good ones, which was barely enough to bring me back for the second season. However if you look at the entire run of the series to date, you’ve got four meh eps followed by an unbroken streak of awesome that currently runs 31 episodes.

We’re now five episodes into the third season, so I feel confident enough to say that it’s my favourite sitcom for the second year running, with really only Community coming close (though to be fair, I only picked up the first season of that a couple weeks ago, and I’m only about halfway through season one, plus the few random s2 eps I’ve been shown). P&R does The Office better than The Office ever did, with a much better group of characters who are both quirky and competent at their jobs. If anyone ever says that Michael Scott is a better character than Ron Swanson, they should be beaten with their own testes.

With all of this awesome, I do wish more people watched the show. The fact that NBC decided to hold it back until midseason this year is troubling, but it does bring in viewers in roughly the same numbers as Community and 30 Rock, so I’m not really that worried about cancellation. But P&R’s ratings are 1/3 that which Big Bang Theory gets. The most consistently awesome sitcom on TV, and three times as many people tune in to see the most consistently mediocre one.

I’m not even sure where I’m going with this anymore. So uh…. HIMYM, television viewers in general: frustrating. Parks and Recreation: consistently gut-wrenchingly hilarious. Quod erat demonstrandum.

-Jerk has not actually proven anything but hopes you won’t notice this