Monthly Archives: June 2012

I wear the cheese, it does not wear me

Sometimes cheese is just cheese

“Restless” presents a similar problem to “Hush” in that much as I might have to say about it, so much more has already been said.  Dramatic dream sequences begging for analysis have become somewhat old had in television by this point, but the idea was a lot more fresh back in the day and the episode’s quality ensures that effort yields reward but, rather than try to find a fresh take on all this, a la my “Hush” review, I thought I’d simply try to place this episode I love in this season that, I must admit, I haven’t got much use for. Continue reading

That sense of certainty…

NOT this episode’s villain

“Blind Date” does for the villains what “Sanctuary” did for our hero.  The idea of an “evil law firm” certainly has its inherent appeal, but until now we never really had a real sense of their motivation or an understanding of just how insidious their brand of evil can be.  Wealth and power are pretty standard motivations for joining the dark side, but Wolfram & Hart is far more nuanced than that as it denies the existence of any light or dark side and frames any “moral” choice in terms of self-actualization.  Far more than being merely another foe for Angel to fight, this worldview stands in direct contrast to our hero’s conflict between his good and evil nature and make Wolfram & Hart the perfect foil. Continue reading

Well, Spike can be very convincing when… I’m very stupid

Awwww

It’s far too easy to snark on what sucks about “Primeval,” but I’ve done enough of that this season, so I thought I’d do a positive write up.  Not that this episode does much to redeem the arc leading up to it, but I feel like my reviews have grown a bit monotone over the course of this season.  So, with that, I’ll say that the climax of Buffy’s fourth season makes for an assertive return to series form and that its success stems mostly from acknowledging how far off track things had gotten.  The episode may be a little on the nose with its mystical metaphor, but back-to-basics-Buffy was just what the doctor ordered after a season of identity crisis. Continue reading

Final Thoughts: Game of Thrones Season Two

After the resounding success of season one, Weiss and Benioff had to have felt some serious trepidation heading into season two.  While the source material is undeniably stronger, it also turns the challenges of adapting the first book up to eleven.  The sprawling cast sprawls farther, the geography gets bigger, and the fantasy elements grow even more fantastic; all without Ned Stark’s presence to tie things together.  To be fair, nearly all of the second season’s problems can be traced back to the increased scope, but these pale in comparison to its successes.  The ambition of this season yielded one astonishing piece of television, one that can stand alongside the best of HBO in redefining what the medium is capable of. Continue reading

Are you familiar with Dungeons and Dragons?

Yo?

I must admit, I did not particularly like Charles Gunn in the early days.  I’ll dive right into the racially charged discussion and say that it’s obvious that a room full of educated white guys and gals were trying to write dialogue for a black street tough.  As an educated white guy, I’ll admit to have no relevant experience with what Charles Gunn “should” sound like, but I can recognize a character that doesn’t gel.  The takeaway here is not to get some affirmative action in the writer’s room or some segregation on the screen; race shouldn’t be a consideration in the creative process.  What should be a consideration is what the writers are comfortable with.  It’s not necessary that dialogue be “realistic” (drama seldom is and the Whedon we love is wonderfully eclectic) but it is necessary that it sound natural.  Through no fault of J. August Richards’, Gunn just felt forced in the early days, more like a construct of what he “should” be than an actual character.  The world of Angel was already well established by this point, and Gunn wouldn’t really grow better until he became part of it rather than part of an ill-conceived “street.” Continue reading

I like “Helter Skelter”

Apparently, scotch is also bad

Hey, Adam still exists!  And he has a plan!  How very serialized of him.  I know, I know, I said (many times) that I’d stop snarking on season four’s utterly underwhelming arc, but now that it’s approaching its supposed climax, I’m struck once more by how utterly dumb it is.  Not dumb in the sense that evil cyborg-demon-bots are dumb (they don’t have to be) but dumb in the sense that I don’t see how anyone thought that this was the right way to execute it.  Adam was given a five second debut when we were 60% through the season.  Since then he’s killed a boy, preached to some vampires, and recognized Jonathan as a big phony.  Now we’re supposed to care about what he’s up to?  I could respect the series for trying, but so little effort’s been put into developing Adam that I’m convinced the writers either didn’t know what to do with him or didn’t care.  I guess Buffy’s got to fight something, right? Continue reading

We’re all liars here

Hit Me!

“Valar Morghulis,” much like last year’s “Fire and Blood,” is more about lining the ducks up season next year than it is about paying off what we’ve seen in this one.  Compared to a newborn dragon’s roar, it’s a far quieter promise of things to come but, given the spectacle of the penultimate episode, that’s the right decision.  After a season characterized by the inevitability of great events, the denouement let the characters be defined by their choices and these more personal moments are enough to carry us through the episode and into next season. Continue reading

It’s about saving souls!

Remember when I told you that you were everything to me…

While I’ll concede that “Five by Five” is probably the better half of this two-parter, “Sanctuary” is my personal favourite.  Yes, it lacks the fun and excitement of its predecessor and is significantly hampered by the return of the Council’s Three Stooges, but I think it’s the most important episode of season.  Where “Five by Five” saw our hero identify with the villain so much that he had to save rather than kill her, “Sanctuary” actually delves into what that means.  Redemption is a complicated idea in the Angel-verse, and this episode sets the template that will drive the series going forward. Continue reading

Pretty much now

Hey

Oh yeah, that’s why we loved Oz.  “New Moon Rising” is yet another episode that’s superfluous to the arc of season four but, given what a total train wreck that arc is, why don’t we just appreciate it as a delayed (but welcome) proper send off for the character.  If “Wild at Heart” was born of practical necessity, then this episode is the exact opposite.  There was no need to bring Oz back; the show and the audience had moved on, and there really wasn’t a hole there for him to fill.  It’s clear indication of how extraneous the character had become.  And yet, despite all that, I’m still happy to see the character.  While Oz may not have been an essential ingredient in the Buffy mix, he’s still and enjoyable one and it’s nice to see him get a worthy goodbye. Continue reading