Monthly Archives: June 2011

Final Thoughts: Game of Thrones Season One

To call Game of Thrones an astonishing success is a bit of an understatement.  HBO may pride itself on making bold programming decisions, but even it must have hesitated before putting its gritty hands on a genre that had previously been limited to Hercules and Xena.  Thankfully, Benioff and Weiss have proven capable shepherds of Martin’s source material and delivered a series that stands amongst the best of serialized drama. Continue reading

And then he went through all these changes

I’d forgotten that “Phases” came immediately after “Innocence.”  In retrospect, the order makes a lot of sense.  We’ve just seen real and lasting damage done to the primary romantic relationship on the series and so the threat to the Willow/Oz pairing seems a lot more credible, particularly when that threat is the boyfriend turning into a monster.  The show’s at risk of becoming a one-note exploration of lust-metaphors and betrayals, but this episode smartly assures the audience that, even with all those uncontrollable hormones, teenage love affairs need not end in heartache. Continue reading

Hey! Mr. Pibb!

How does one express stunned silence in a blog post?  I am absolutely floored by how good this episode was.  I should’ve seen the swerve coming; Damages has never been about feel-good stories of friendship and forgiveness, but I bought into this one.  Much of the credit for that needs to go to Close and Hurt, who are truly outstanding here, but you can’t create an impact that big without every element of the episode contributing to it.  Writing about television makes me hyper-sensitive to the context of whatever I’m watching and it’s a testament to this show’s extraordinary quality that it was able to make me completely forget that and get wrapped up in the story at hand. Continue reading

There are no men like me, only me

Well, that was epic.  One of the advantages of consistently undermining fantasy tropes is that, when you actually play them straight, they can generate astonishing impact.  “Fire and Blood” hits a lot of the beats we expect from epic fantasy but, coming from this show, they all land as seminal moments in history rather than clichés.  It feels as though the characters and the show came into their own in this episode, which is saying a lot as they already felt fully realized.  Continue reading

Actually, it explains a lot

I’ve struggled for some time with what to write regarding “Surprise” and “Innocence.”  There’s certainly plenty to say but this two-parter is among the most written-about Buffy stories and I feel the need to offer something more than just another look at the bad boyfriend metaphor.  This episode has a singular place in the Buffy cannon; it pays off Buffy and Angel’s relationship before this point and defines it afterward; it credibly turns a beloved hero into a loathsome villain within the space of a few scenes; it’s the first of many times that real, indelible tragedy would strike the Scoobies; and, for me at least, it finally reconciles the discordant sexual themes that have troubled the series from the beginning. Continue reading

I knew your pig

It’s difficult to pin down exactly why I was underwhelmed by episode 203.  The season arc was advanced significantly and we get some more insight into the characters, but it still felt like a bit of a waste.  After last week’s swerve I was really looking forward to the Damages guessing game but, sadly, it seems that all my guesses were right.  Daniel being Michael’s father certainly puts his relationship with Ellen into perspective, but it’s not the shocker the episode needs it to be.  Nor is the fact that Ultima National Resources is knowingly polluting the water supply.  It’s great to see the plot taking these significant steps forward, I just wish they hadn’t been so predictable. Continue reading

I learned how to die a long time ago

Episodes like “Baelor” challenge my resolve not to put any spoilers in the first few lines of my reviews.  It’s a courtesy to those who might glimpse a link off Facebook or Google and one made more difficult when all the emotions I’ve carried away from an episode revolve around the ending.  Alright, now that I’ve padded the intro enough, Continue reading

The problem with the English language is all those pesky words

“Bad Eggs” is one of Buffy’s more straightforwardly fun monster-of-the-week episodes.  There isn’t a lot of heavy character work here and the themes of parenthood and consequences are dropped before episode’s end in favour of a straightforward body-snatchers narrative.  It’s a good story, despite these flaws, as the Gorches bring the funny and the Scoobies are suitably creepy while being controlled, but with two such inconsequential episodes in a row the series has lost what momentum it had with “What’s My Line?” and is beginning to feel a bit smaller. Continue reading

Burn it, Shred it, I Don’t Care

The plot thickens, if you’ll pardon an overused phrase.  The second episode of the season is still more about laying groundwork than moving things forward, but we now have at lot more information about the new players.  “A lot” may be a misnomer, as we don’t actually get much new information about Daniel and Wes, but both characters are now generating more questions than answers, which fits them perfectly into Damages. Continue reading

I wrote a song, bitches!

And I’m finally writing another blog post…umm….people.  Yeah!

This episode was about the fun, fun world of second chances and those who take them or throw them away.  Continue reading