Monthly Archives: March 2014

I got a whole operation here to consider

How many times to we have to say "Hardware Store"?

How many times to we have to say “Hardware Store”?

“Deep Water” takes Deadwood from good to great in only its second episode, most notably for the superb way it makes use of its supporting cast.  “Supporting” is probably a misnomer.  While the show’s central conflict is still being framed as Bullock vs Swearengen, the fact of the matter is that Deadwood‘s a thoroughgoing ensemble piece.  It’s difficult for any series to balance a cast of this size but what’s remarkable about this one is that it pulls off the balancing act with such BIG characters; for all the show’s grit and realism, there’s something epic about the personalities clashing here.  Much of the credit for making this work needs to go to the show’s cast, and this week’s honours belong to Robin Weigert. Continue reading

Did You Know the Devil Built a Robot?

Five on five tags are rarely exciting

Five on five tags are rarely exciting

Six episodes in and season five finally stumbles.  “The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinquo” isn’t nearly as bad as many people make it out to be, but it isn’t particularly good either.  The chief problem is that the story is at odds with itself.  A group of demon fighting luchadors is an inherently silly premise and the episodes delivers some solid laughs anytime it embraces this but, perplexingly, it attempts to meld the premise with a thoroughly morose tone.  This story’s too bleak to let us spend much time laughing, and too silly for us to really feel for Angel.  The resulting muddle has its moments, but never really comes together as an episode. Continue reading

No law at all in Deadwood… is that true?

My money's on Montana

My money’s on Montana

Deadwood has long held the title as my favourite series that I haven’t finished yet.  I watched the first two seasons back in my days of extralegal downloading before realising that it was simply too good to watch in anything less than sterling quality.  5 years later I finally have the blu-rays in hand and I’m ready to give this series the attention it deserves.  Of course, the side effect of so much anticipation is to put the show on a pedestal.  My memories of this show are all jaw dropping brilliance and the premiere doesn’t quite qualify.  I know that’s more unfair expectations on my part than any deficiencies on its, but it’s still hard to judge just how effectively it draws us into this world when I’m left feeling slightly dissatisfied. Continue reading

Lorne Told You to Pee All Over the Office?

Still better than Bana

Still better than Bana

Five episodes in and this seasons still firing on all cylinders as it delivers Lorne’s best outing.  That might not sound like much as his only other spotlight episode wasn’t that great but “Life of the Party” is an excellent episode, evoking the sort of anarchic Halloween special vibe of classic Buffy but rooting it solidly in Angel’s corner of the universe.  Fun costumes abound as Lorne’s inverted empathy has everyone stepping outside themselves, but the best one is worn by the Host himself.  Lorne’s not nearly as comfortable at W&H has he’s pretended to be and while everyone else just has to deal with some embarrassment, he’s falling apart. Continue reading

What Else Are We Gonna Do?

More Cowbell

More Cowbell

Dark as Angel could be, it seldom strayed into the realm of straight horror and “Hellbound” comes a very pleasant surprise.  Not only do we get some great creepy visuals and a satisfyingly sadistic villain, but the story gains a lot of weight by the fact the Spike actually deserves the abyss that seems to be pulling him in.  The episode wisely avoids the pitfalls of delivering an unearned redemption narrative; this isn’t about Spike dealing with his past sins, it’s about him being punished for them.  Much as we may not want Spike to go to Hell, this story won’t really let us pretend he’s not going there. Continue reading

He’s an Equal Opportunity Saver

Way to not be typecast

Way to not be typecast

“Unleashed” is a great episode.  I never expected to say that as Nina’s debut had largely faded from my memory.  Truth be told, there’s little here to distinguish it from any other case of the week but perhaps that’s why I found myself smiling throughout most of it.  There’s a very old school Angel vibe here as the gang must ostensibly help someone with a supernatural crisis while in truth helping them with a personal one.  Angel has to make a connection with Nina in order to save her, everything else is just window dressing.  After a couple of weeks of the firm colouring almost everything Angel & co have done, it’s nice to see that they can still be the sort of heroes they once were. Continue reading