Monday, December 11, 2017

Z Nation, Season 4, Episode 11: Return to Mercy Labs

Thankfully after the utter nonsense of last week it’s time to get back on track

So everyone is following Warren and has been for some time to catch up with her visions. Murphy is starting to get whiny about it as well. As they walk 10K and Liley talk a little about their goals, history and attitudes (and how Liley still considers herself a marine and 10K is still holding out hope for Red - and how he has a whole lot of faith in Warren)

They eventually reach their destination: Mercy Labs. A place with powerful history with them. This is where 10K met Red and 5k. This is where Dr. Tiller looked for a way to cure zombies with his experiments. It’s where they desperately fought the Man to stop him taking the now dead Dr. Tiller to Zona. It’s a place with a lot of emotion - and definitely hits 10K hard.

Warren walks through the corridors in full on vision, finding a sealed hidden lab, opening the keypads, aided by her vision. She finds an ominous white room with a big metal block sealed by multiple padlocks - which she opens, her visions providing her the codes. She does have a moment when she and 10k are attacked by a zombie. Warren doesn’t even notice in her dream mode until she’s knocked over. And has to get back to dream world to finish opening it - making 10k punch her to get her back into the zone (and he so gets squeamish about this).

Inside is a cannister - similar the cannister she already got from
Dr. Caligari’s lab. Still a mystery what they’re for.

The rest of the gang has found gooey zombies, utterly horrible experiments left behind by Dr. Tiller. And Dr. Tiller’s son, preserved in amber with an apparent mercy-hole in his forehead. Obviously dead. Except Murphy’s woo-woo power kicks in and says the boy is alive and being kept that way by life support systems that are still being powered by solar power.

Which is problematic because Warren returns at the same time when Kaya and Citizen Z call them on the radio for a vital update: and they need power to get in touch

10 Highly Bingeable Urban Fantasy TV Series

What to watch, what to watch hmmmmm…. The Netflix ponder. It’s always a toughie. If you’ve got a bunch of time on your hands then you might want to check out something where you’re going to be tuned in for 6 hours straight, glued to the edge of your seat, unable to take a break between episodes… a full binge upon you. Fantasy is our favorite genre, whether it’s TV series, movies, or games, the creative essence still remains.
In today’s article we check out 10 of the most bingeable fantasy shows, ranging from 80s titles right through until today. You’re sure to find something new to have you stuck on the couch in our list – check em out!

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When it comes to the blueprint for bingeable urban fantasy, it has got to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The vehicle that rocketed Joss Whedon to the top of everyone’s fantasy-writer wishlists, Buffy is the story of Buffy, a high school student with a bad-ass secret – by night she’s a demon kicking, vampire slaying “chosen one”. The show packs a punch with its quick quips and high energy action sequences that don’t get bogged down in gruesome details. Do yourself a favor with this one and - if you haven’t already had a watch - make sure to tee it up on your Netflix. There’s 7 whole seasons to keep you going for weeks on end.

2. Misfits

Don’t just look to the US for your fantasy TV cravings – head across the shores to the UK and check out their quirky offerings, too. Misfits oozes style and substance. The show kicks off with a bunch of young “misfits”, offenders who’ve been put together to do community service. However, it then soon comes to light that many of these outcasts have a unique magical or special talent. Queue them teaming up for the use of their powers both for good and also to get up to no good too – they are delinquents after all! Check out all 5 seasons.

3. The Magicians

An off the radar series, The Magicians is relatively new to the Syfy channel and is one that draws heavily on the quirky, witty wordplay of Buffy, but is way less G rated in its delivery. The Magicians is kind of like Harry Potter – where our cast are attending a magic school – however in this one they’re all grown up and in college, with plenty of swearing, innuendo, adult themes, and even steamy sex scenes. Featuring a hot young cast, the show now has three seasons under its belt and a fourth is slated for 2018.

Cult status beckons for this crossover show.

4. Supernatural

The boys are back in town! Sam and Dean, the Winchester brothers are the hunters who seek to address and banish all the supernatural bad guys that they come across. Each episode is a good old fashioned ghost story in itself, with the show maintaining enough presence across seasons for viewers to remain interested – and even on the edge of their seats! It doesn’t hurt that the two stars are major babe material. In terms of bingeability this show may not have you hanging from episode to episode, however with no less than 13 seasons at your fingertips (and more to come), it’ll be a long time before you run out of eps to watch.

11 Seasons of pure entertainment

5. The Ghost Whisperer

Here’s another one that is more on the supernatural side of things – and more with a soft touch than a spooky one. The Ghost Whisperer, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, is a series that ran from 20005 to 2010, and is set in a gorgeous little town, with the other J Lo as a woman who discovers she can speak to ghosts, and to help them transition to “the other side” once they’ve resolved what’s necessary in the physical world. It’s a bit soap opera-ish, a little daytime TV, but to be honest, that’s what we like about it. A great show to binge watch when you’re home from work sick and feeling a little self indulgent.

6. The OA

A bizarre and compelling series, with just one season so far (and another to be released in 2018), the OA follows the story of Prairie – a woman discovered wandering who turns out to have been missing for 7 years. But something very strange has happened – she can now see, when once she was blind. Where has she been? Is it really her? How did she become cured? You’ll be on the edge of your seat wanting to find out her whole story in this highly original show. Be sure to tune back in next year for the follow up in season 2. Stars Brit Marling and Phyllis Smith.

7. Orphan Black

Another British offering on our list comes in the form of Orphan Black. Orphan Black is now in its fifth season, after a slow but steady start. If you like thrillers and strong female leads, then Orphan Black makes for great watching. The show starts off when Sarah, after witnessing the suicide of girl (who looks just like her) then assumes her identity, but she then finds out there is still more to the strange coincidence than there seems – she was actually a clone! And there are more where that came from! Actress Tatiana Maslany crafts such delightfully different characters for each of Sarah’s clones that you would think they are all separate actors playing different parts. Binge this one with abandon.

Truly stellar performance by Tatiana Maslany

8. Stranger Things

Haven’t gotten around to watching Stranger Things just yet? Well you must. Even if you think you won’t like it just because everyone else does, and maybe you’re into quirky things usually – you’ll like it anyway, just trust us. It’s the series that has been gripping the world with its “totally nailed it” 80s adventure vibe. Think The Goonies but less cheesy and more adult. With the second season released recently, it even has Goonies alum Sean Astin starring, as well as everyone’s favorite 80s babe Winona Ryder. It’s cool, it’s highly bingeable, and its available now. Can’t wait to see what happens in 2018!

9. The Twilight Zone

The remake of The Twilight Zone series ran from 1985 to 1989 – and if you can get your hands on a copy of this binge-worthy show you’ll be grateful you did. The series has standalone episodes, each featuring a very strange tale (or tales) with a twist. They’re creepy, they’re kooky, they’re altogether ooky – but they’re nothing like the Adams Family. The Twilight Zone has been referenced in pop culture since the dawn of time, so check this series out to make sure you know just what everyone is talking about.

10. The Stand

Rounding out our list is the TV adaption of Stephen King’s The Stand, a treasure from 1994. It’s technically not a series – but was a made for TV miniseries so has a super bingeable runtime of 6 hours – perfect for a Saturday or Sunday in. For those not familiar with the novel of the same name, it is one of those creepy “end of days” type scenarios – this time it comes about from a plague wiping out the majority of the human race. From the survivors, two different factions form, one good and one evil it seems. A thoroughly creepy and enjoyable ride, The Stand stars Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Laura San Giacomo, Rob Lowe, and more.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Once Upon a Time, Season 7, Episode 9: One Little Tear

Opening back in the fairy tale past where we have Rapunzel driving a cart with her sick husband and two young daughters. Desperate she resorts to stealing some food from a garden to try and feed them

And is confronted by Mother Gothel - which is a close parallel to the original fairy tale. She offers Rapunzel a deal: her family with have lots of wealth and happiness and what will Rapunzel give for that. She says “anything”

Which is so monumentally stupid. Honestly she should be happy she was dealing with Mother Gothel and not Rumpelstiltskin because he’d take her to the cleaners

Rapunzel ends up locked in a tower for funsies, crying out for her family until she finally manages to escape using her hair to climb down. It’s been 6 years before she finally returns to her daughters: Anastasia and Drizilla and her husband Marcus. Who has married again in her absence: married Cecilia and is raising his new step-daughter Ella


Marcus thanks her dearly for all the many sacrifices she’s made for their family and, yes, he still loves her. But he loves Cecila too. Soo polyamory?

Apparently not. More Awkward.

They try to bring their family together but Drizilla was so young when Rapunzel left she’s clearly bonded with Cecila more: while Anastasia still loves her mother Rapunzel, Drizillia is just drifting away. And Once Upon a Time can only bring together blended families after a few seasons of crawling over broken glass. It’s a thing.

Mother Gothel returns to offer a new deal - have a magical Wonderland poison mushroom to use on Cecila to make everything better! Rapunzel refuses - that’s appalling and evil and Cecilia is an innocent. Gothel comments that she thinks if Rapunzel keeps this up she will find happiness which is part of Once Upon a Time’s message that being good means you earn a Happily Ever After

Can we have an aside to say this is not a good message. Being good is not always or even usually rewarded (and a poor motive for being good besides): nor is being evil always punished. Someone without a “happily ever after” has not earned that through their deeds.

And then Drizilla calls Cecilia mother at her birthday party after being thoroughly disinterested in Rapunzel’s present (also is Rapunzel being a waitress at this party? Marcus did you turn your ex-wife who sacrificed everything for your prosperity into the help?) at which point Rapunzel snaps and uses the mushroom on Cecilia’s drink

Van Helsing, Season 2, Episode 9: Wakey, Wakey

This episode has a few flashbacks to Scarlett Harkness’s childhood and how terribad it was because her dad trained her to hunt vampires and people were scared of her. Especially the guy who tried to push her to have sex and she held a knife to his throat and made him wet himself.

She is known as Scary Scarlett and does not like this at all as she tells her dad in no uncertain terms, especially since she doesn’t believe vampires exist. Which is when the vampire attacks to help prove it to her and her dad forces her to kill it so she is prepared. In the aftermath they fake their own death with some stolen bodies and go on the turn to hide from the vampires

Ok, I get it, insight into Scarlett’s past - but didn’t she kind of tell us all this already?

In the present the gang have been captured by the cannibal BBQ cops who have now all been slaughtered by the Sisterhood of Scary Vampires whose female unity is now under the control of a man because Of Course They Are. That guy (Scab?) and Dmitri are now hunting for the Van Helsing

So our gang decides to do that least sensible of all things - split up. And the precious key they’re guarding they give to Julius and Doc - the ones least able to protect themselves. Hey they get a disposable cop to go with them but he ends up quickly bitten and Doc has to kill him. She looks a little traumatised but this - even as Julius tells her she had to. After all - she and Julius were in that same state not so long ago.

Scarlett cuts herself to try to lure the vampires away which kind of works - Dmitri smells her Van Helsing blood - but the sisters have ALL the super powers, apparently being immune to bullets. Thankfully they’re superstitious so they don’t follow Scarlett and Axel to a cemetery where they engage in some taunting

And then decide to leave said cemetery and hide in an armoured car full of money. Now I get the potent point that all that money is worthless and how the world has changed so yeah for imagery. But if you’re going to rest up for the night of childhood talks and sexual tension then maybe do it in the cemetery where you’ve already established the Sisters won’t go rather than crawling into a metal box

But metal box it is where Scarlett explains her own history and how the apocalypse wasn’t so bad for her because everything made sense. I can see that - she’s spent her whole life being an ostracised outsider preparing for the vampire apocalypse so when it happened, yes it was terrible, but she finally fit. She finally had a purpose. Her life finally made sense. Kind of like a survivalist in a bunker would make sense if we actually had a nuclear war but without that they’re someone who is wasting an awful lot of disposable income on some really elaborate cosplay.

They discuss childhoods and Axel reveals he isn’t an army brat. Scarlett wonders why he stayed with Vanessa’s unmoving body for three years if he hasn’t had generations of mindless obedience drilled into him. He tells her about his fridged whose disappearance he blamed on himself

This is… disappointingly predictable and somewhat different from the first season. There it was clear Axel was following orders long after it was clear they were irrelevant because he had NOTHING ELSE TO DO; following those orders gave him purpose, made him still part of a greater whole, preserved the impression that the greater whole. That worked - far more than saying “I spent 3 years watching over a comatose body because my sister disappeared”.

This is when Scarlett and Axel kiss and have sex - but not before Scarlett checks if Axel had sex with Vanessa. Axel says “not even close”. Hmmm… I’m sure they got close a time or two.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 9: The Bad Place

We’re getting more intriguing hints for the upcoming Wayward Sisters spin off.

Jack is back in the picture, using an artist with some woo-woo (later explained because of his Native American-ness because even the son of Satan is using Native people for woo-woo) to dream walk between realms to show him where Mary is still being held captive and tortured for no apparent reason. This process doesn’t seem to be especially pleasant for the Native American artists.

So it’s no surprise when later his girlfriend finds him dead with his eyes burned out. Alas oh Native American woo-woo tool, your purpose is over

I also want to know where Jack got the money from without being all morally dubious

Jody hears about this from her police contacts and quickly contacts Sam and Dean with an apparent angel death and an eye witness who clearly identifies Jack (unlike every real life eye witness ever who I wouldn’t trust to clearly identify their own mothers)

Sam and Dean hurry to the scene and find the artist, a Dream Walker, has painted pictures of apocalypse land where Lucifer and Mary are trapped

Dean assumes the worst, believes Jack is trying to get his dad back and has gone full dark side (since they don’t know Lucifer has already escaped). Which I guess I can kind of see as plausible and Dean isn’t all smug and I told you so about it - but at the same time I have to question why neither of them even considered he is trying to rescue Mary

They plan to go to the Native American reservation to have more woo-woo and likely cringeworthy scenes; but instead Sam looks through the dead man’s contacts and finds he has been talking a lot to a woman called Kaia - who he describes as the most powerful Dream Walker, ever.

So Kaia - she’s an orphan, haunted by terrible dreams from her dream walking who has resorted to desperately taking drugs to try and suppress them and let her sleep without this agony. She’s ended up forced to attend a rehab where absolutely no-one understands her, obviously, as they believe she’s an addict

I have to say now that she might be an addict- if she’s in the habit of taking drugs to suppress the dreams doesn’t mean she’s not an addict. This is one of the problems that a lot of depictions of addiction seem to miss: the fact that Kaia is using drugs to suppress pain doesn’t mean she’s immune to addiction. Using addictive substances for “good reasons” doesn’t mean addiction disappears - addiction isn’t some kind punishment for using a drug with impure motives. It doesn’t work that way.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Awoke (The Want #1) by K. T. Conte

Katya has spent a long time struggling with her visions and ability to see things others cannot - but she has managed to carve out a normal life and put that behind her. It’s not perfect, her boyfriend is certainly far from it - but it is a life with normal problems.

In as much as anyone has normal problems in a world which seems ever more pressured, with growing earthquakes and horrors.

Until she meets Gregor, Kyrios, supernatural agent charged with making sure the dead cross over - and the monsters that haunt her and prey on humanity are dispatched. Those monsters are becoming ever bolder and more dangerous - and Katya with her unique ability and power may be the key to saving the world

We have an intriguing world setting here - one that takes the concept of demons and does something quite original with it. The Want, these beings driven to feed on human life energy and doing whatever they can to increase the number of vulnerable dead people to feast on. It all establishes a very frightening and overtly awful antagonist with enough variations to make for a varied enemy while not overloading the plot.

But the origin of the Want works well - without spoiling because it would be a shame, it adds a level of complexity and even tragedy beyond the atrocities they inflict. And this is further complicated by the Kyrios’s role: both as shepherds and warriors and how they actually come to be created.

I like that - I like how we’ve balanced a relatively simplistic thread of an antagonist but then included enough complexities to prevent a simple good & evil reading of the world. Which works well with Katya’s own growth because, as an outsider to this she does arrive with a narrow viewpoint which in turn makes it difficult to fully integrate her with the Kyrios

I also like that this, the first book, has been smart enough to include some more hooks to the world building - specifically nodding towards angels - while resisting the temptation to stuff all the things into the first book

Other than the romance, which I’ll get to, I generally like the plot - it moves well but does have a pacing issue in the middle. We’re told about the terribad awful things the Want are doing in the living world and how essential Katya’s help would be but she doesn’t seem to be spending a huge amount of time training or, well, doing anything about it.

The Magically Mundane

One thing I appreciate about a good Urban Fantasy series is world building - I do love a nice, complicated, involved, rich world with all these wonderful supernatural gribblies all co-exist with humanity, their politics and how it all comes together in wonderful complexity

But what I really really want to see and very rarely do is how would normal daily life change with the existence of the supernatural? Perfectly, normal mundane people living perfectly normal mundane lives - but in a completely abnormal, absolutely supernatural world.

Take Haunting for example. Now in our perfectly mundane world where, if ghosts do exist they don’t do a whole lot, we have spooky cemeteries and spooky haunted houses and all kinds of scary places. But in, say, Supernatural’s world where ghosts regularly up and murder people for all kinds of random reason what happens then? Do cemeteries need armed guards? Are abandoned buildings quickly demolished? Are abandoned asylums nuked from space? Are people more likely or less likely to silly things like camp in cemeteries or examine abandoned hospitals?

Are cemeteries armed camps? Do people even HAVE cemeteries? I mean in a world where angry ghosts, zombies, vampires, ghouls and who knows what crawls out of the grave on a regular basis, cremation looks like a much better option. Debates of religious freedom and the rights of the dead are likely to fade quickly after the fourth near zombie apocalypse.

And what about museums? I mean when a good third of your exhibits are cursed, haunted or coveted by some terrifying immortal being of some kind, how do you even function? Suddenly Indiana Jones actually looks like a reasonable way to go about Archaeology - though, I’d want a damn site more than a whip when any of those tomb being robbed could still be occupied by scourges, curses and monsters. Seriously I want to see Archaeologists dressed like this:

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Spirit Witch (The Lazy Girl's Guide to Magic #3) by Helen Harper

After her brush with Necromancy in Scotland Ivy has been suffering some side effects - she’s not sure of the full implications, but it seems she can see ghosts

Ghosts are noisy and annoying and don’t respect a woman’s wish to bond with her duvet on her sofa all day

Some of these ghosts are not exactly thrilled to have the less-than-motivated Ivy as the one woman who can see them, but you work with what you can since she may be the key to freeing them from their purgatory - and with a serial killer on the loose targetting witches, their ghostly insight can certainly help the Order investigation.

This book ended and apparently this amazing series is a trilogy which means thi is the last book. No-one consulted me on this. I did not agree to this. I do not approve. This is my disapproving face.

But as it has ended, one thing I really liked is that Ivy is still very recognisable as the character who started this series. She’s still the Slouch Witch. She’s still lazy. She still avoids effort.

I’m not saying I’m against character growth or that Ivy hasn’t grown or changed. She has changed and she has grown, she has got involved. She will whine but she will get out there and help when she has to. She would just rather not do it first thing in the morning. Her talent and skill are clear as well as well as her moral compass and even willingness to sacrifice. But so many books would have taken Ivy, had her had a revelation, maybe a training montage and then have her spending late nights reading books or getting up at dawn to go to the gym. Her heroics haven’t turned her into a new person. Even her new powers haven’t driven her to embrace her new purpose in life. She’s still Ivy, laziest witch and I like that because everything that made her so unique is still there and it wasn’t treated as something to remove from the character. Again, I’m not against that kind of character growth, but I like that we kept the very essence of what makes Ivy Ivy

And I do love Ivy. I love that Ivy is such a perfect, ordinary person even if she does have extraordinary powers. Yes she’s fighting evil, yes she’s involved in a dangerous investigation but that core of such normality, that foundation of duvet loving, laziness makes her so relatable and real. And I just love how her talking cat fits into that - I can’t even begin to spoil it even if it isn’t especially plot relevant, it’s just too awesome.

The Walking Dead, Season 8, Episode 7: Time for After

Alas, it’s the plot that never ends, the Saviours won’t just crawl under a rock and die (after said rock is used to beat the Scavengers to death because ye gods, no). Carol, invite all these people to a flower show already

So, in the Saviours compound, we’re focusing on Eugene and his motivations which are shifting left, right and doing the odd somersault. While his loyalties may be all over and his language the second most ridiculous on the show until Jardis is eaten by zombies (soon. Please let it be soon), his brains are, sadly, still top notch

Firstly he has figured out Dwight is the spy and goes to Dwight and is quite fine with not telling anyone this so long as Dwight stops spying and putting the lives of everyone in the compound (including/especially his) at risk. Dwight appeals to Eugene’s sense of how terrible this place is, showing his scars as certain proof: but Eugene clings to one thing. The
Saviours are safe even if they’re not “perfect”.

He also visits Gabe who, out of all the many many many many people who has smeared their bodies with rotten flesh, has finally found there’s a downside to that: infection. He’s very ill. But he wants to recruit Eugene to their side and to get the nice doctor to Maggie as well. He wants Eugene to do the right thing

While Eugene is quick to insists that Rick’s group weren’t friends, just “travel companions” and who even knows what the right thing is - what’s right for some could be devastating for others (not inaccurate given the workers whose lives are at risk against Rick’s group). Gabe appeals to faith which doesn’t move atheist Eugene so Gabe appeals to SCIENCE and hey if zombies exist then you might as well believe in god

I think the last few episodes have already established that Gabe isn’t logical.

We’re reminded that Eugene does have some more complexity as the woman who appealed to him for help (and he refused) is now trading him for booze to help him sleep, and poking his conscience by reminding him she’s already trapped.

And we get to negan who does what he’s very good at - inspiring Eugene. With tricks (like the handshake of respect) and a whole lot of praise for Eugene who probably doesn’t get a lot of that, and invoking the need to save everyone’s lives (not Negan’s because Negan is sure he’ll always survive) including Eugene’s (invoking his cowardice) and he needs his big brain to find a solution

Negan is good at manipulating people. But also he burns faces and rapes women and kills people for funsies

Eugene does come up with a plan - but Dwight holds him at gun point to stop it. And surprisingly Eugene goes forwards - seeming to be willing to save other people but it all feels a bit out of character for him - or rather more complicated characterisation for him.

The plan doesn’t work because of Dwight anyway

Outside the compound we catch up on Michonne, Rosita, Tara and Darryl: Darryl has a plan to drive a big truck into the wall of the compound and let the zombies flood in and eat everyone. It’s a simple plan. Morgan also joins in because he’s team massacre

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 9: The Sinnerman

This episode centres around what Lucifer does best - offering deals and favours, drags up the sinnerman and goes into a genuinely weird place and leads us to some awesome Linda and Angel moments.

Because Linda wants to know what it actually means to be an angel, how each of the Archangels got their unique abilities, what it means -whether their powers leads to their personalities or their personalities shaped their powers. I actually like Lucifer’s confused indifference here - because what she’s talking about is his normal; and have her trying to draw some big divine meaning out of his very existence just seems odd to him

What is of note is Lucifer’s defence of his Desire power (which, yes, does seem quite mild compared to Amenadiel’s ability to stop time) - because to him desire is the ultimate expression of free will

And I can see it - his power is the ultimate “knowing yourself.” Your will freed even from the conditioning of society, what you think you should want: the very core of free will is knowing what you ACTUALLY will; perhaps even the very core of who you want to be and how you want to live. Several times during the episode Lucifer makes it clear he thinks his power is deep and important and he’s not wrong.

Also he teases Linda with the idea of angelic Hogwarts.

To the actual murder of the week: someone Lucifer gave a favour to has been murdered - and his body has been posed in a way that directly invokes Lucifer’s favour (he wanted to become a mob boss - so Lucifer introduced him to a crime family). Naturally there’s a level of guilt here and an assumption that Lucifer got the guy killed

Yet surprisingly little suspicion or unhappiness about Lucifer having mob ties from Chloe. Chloe, the person you work with every day has mob connections. This. Is. Concerning

They also call in Charlotte who decides as her new role as prosecutor she can totally help because she used to represent the mobster family and LEGAL ETHICS JUST DON’T EXIST! Ye gods, no, no it’s not ok to be involved in the prosecution of someone you used to represent!

Increasingly the legal shenanigans on this show are really enraging me

Also to add - I really really really loathe this whole meme of Charlotte turning from good to bad because she went from defence to prosecution. I really despise this and I know I’ve said it a lot but this is really appalling and desperately damaging to the justice system. I will never not be pissed by this.

Lucifer’s woo-woo power is very good for exposing that the mobsters didn’t do it - in fact they want to hunt down his killer because they really really really liked him.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Z Nation, Season 4, Episode 10: Frenemies

This episode has Sketchy and Sleezy. Oh yay.

This is a shame - because this season has managed to bring some backbone to Z Nation which has always leaped between being a deep, powerful apocalypse show and a zany slapstick comedy. Except for the jugaloo episode I’m trying to forget, these season has finally seemed to marry these elements: with a serious storyline, some genuine emotional moments, but still being happy to throw in jokes, one liners and the odd slapstick moment without overly derailing the plot or wasting our time

It’s an odd beast, Z Nation, and often gets it wrong but between the swings it can find a balance that works and largely has this season.

And then we have this. Honestly there’s not a lot to recap here because it’s mainly slapstick nonsense

There’s a storm of toxic foam which causes Doc and Murphy to seek shelter in a barber shop where Sketchy and Skeevy are also hiding. Absolutely no-one questions why there’s a fully functioning barbers in the apocalypse - it just is and everyone’s quite willing to let complete strangers with bared blades near their faces because of course they are.

It’s all a weird trap to rob people, because folks often drop into a barber shop in the apocalypse and we have lots of shenanigans, including Sketchy and Skeezy trying to want then, Doc trying to remember the main robber, the inclusion of a Deaf character which would be noteworthy if, well, it wasn’t this episode and it wasn’t just fodder for more gags. We have Tanned Zombie which I will never be able to unsee, vomit everywhere, absolutely everywhere, which I’ll also never be able to unsee, 10k and Lilley joining in the fun,m everyone in their underwear (including 10K which I will be very happy to not unsee) and some final random extra characters with improbably accents until everyone ended up dead except the main cast and, alas, Sketchy and Skeevy

Monday, December 4, 2017

Superstition, Season 1, Episode 6: Dr. Dredge. MD

It’s time for Isaac to get back in town (after seeing some horribly rotten bodies) and reuniting with his family - first of all with Bea

Ok I am hearing Bea and Isaac talk in this scene and, of course, they’re this amazing, passionate couple who love each other immensely. But I kind of here a lot of subtext poking from Bea here which Isaac seems to be ignoring. Like she’s clearly unhappy James showed up unnannounced and he assures her it was just for their protection but seems to miss Bea’s issue with a) not knowing anything about James and b) James and Isaac has this whole history she wasn’t part of and didn’t know about. Isaac keeps dodging and seems to focus more about Bea saying Cal has questions but I feel that there’s an undertone here that Bea has questions too. He does say a reassuring “no-one ever knows me as well as you” which is nice but she says “no-one ever will” which… is slightly creepy? Like “there will never be a woman after me! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!”

This whole scene is sweet but I do have this undertone that Bea isn’t super happy with how much of Isaac’s life she may have been excluded from: and while he’s focusing a lot on Cal, he doesn’t seem to be equally focusing on her. Which is kind of my complaint about the show in general - Bea needs more attention!

But before we focus on Cal and Isaac let’s look at Cal and May’s oh-so-complex relationship. They have sex and Garvey nearly walks in on them and clearly knows what is happening and everything is AWKWARD

May freaks out and Cal tries to be understanding but May is clear that his platitudes mean nothing - he understands nothing, she understands nothing, it’s all too complicated.

And from there she has to go to a little town meeting about an upcoming awkward founder’s day. The main point of this is to establish that the Hastings are still pretty much hated by the whole town - but May awesomely speaks up for them because she has not time for the town’s nonsense

Can I also ask if these Founder Celebrations actually happen in America? I don’t think we have anything like that over here (largely because when a city is 1200 years old no-one has a damn clue who founded it, why or when)

Dr. Kim also speaks up for the Hastings and since he and May are old friends and possible ex’s they decide to have lunch

Unfortunately it looks like Dr. Kim is the new meat puppet for The Dredge (his old body has been found by the Hastings and Tilly studies it’s weirdness and finds she may be able to track the Dredge which could be useful). He has already visited Anansi and, in exchange for a shiny magic mirror, has taken all the memories she gained when she visited the Hastings. Despite this I still have my doubts over whether Anansi is a villain or just playing a long game with a possible alternative that she’s simply mercenary. She only helped the Dredge to what she had agreed to and didn’t step 1 millimeter outside that. It’s also worth noting that the Dredge didn’t even try to threaten her or coerce her: not out of friendliness which there clearly isn’t any but, but the way she turned her back on him, because she is Not To Be Messed With

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Van Helsing: Season 2, Episode 8: Big Mama

Welp, things just got a bit weird and a bit silly

After last week Vanessa got kidnapped so Doc, Axel, Julius and Scarlett decide to follow. Axel decides they need to follow going north. Scarlett says south. Axel says end of discussion. So they go south

See, Axel the arsehole in command in early season 1? Does not wash with Scarlett and isn’t happening

Quite how they’re going to find helicopters by heading in a vague direction I do not know.

But they drive off and are pulled over by cops. Yes police, with sirens. In the apocalypse.

Doc makes a point about driving while Black which would actually inject some conscious racial awareness if it didn’t seem to be more played as a joke. What is better is how Doc is clearly much much much much much warier of our overly-friendly-red-neck-police than the others

I can’t really decide if Axel is really comfortable with these police or if he’s just playing along. The cops invite them to their little settlement and they’re really super creepy about not taking no for an answer, so the gang decides to join. Of course, there could be an ulterior motive there: the police have food, guns and gasoline, the 3 essentials of the apocalypse (like all dystopian shows, petrol apparently remains useable forever, along with tinned food) so they’re looking what they can grab

The police are welcoming but are aggressively adamant that they won’t share their guns (the sheriff makes a point of Doc’s gun wariness being a relic of the old world - which is an interesting point. To what level can you be anti-firearm in a world full of vampires?). There’s a shower and Axel cleans up nice and he and Scarlett are definitely flirting

But the main thing they want to share is BBQ, prepared by Big Mama

Yup, it’s the standard post-apocalypse cannibal storyline! Only this time the humans are eating vampires and showing off their UV smoker where they char vampires into jerky while still alive which is all kinds of awful.

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 8: The Scorpion and the Frog

Time for a heist.

Well kind of. Honestly I prefer my heists a little more elaborate.

A demon has managed to steal a spell from a museum. This is a spell for finding a nephilim which just about everyone wants right now. Including Asmodeus who can’t wait to be nuked by a nephilim

But this demon doesn’t want to give it to Asmodeus because he’s a crossroads demon and is not into Colonel Saunders. Instead he’s going to make a deal with Sam and Dean (and killed another demon to do this - which just goes to show how common angel blades are now)

And I have to say now this demon, and his lesser demon lackey, are both weirdly unbothered by the Winchesters. I mean the Winchesters have taken on princes of hell, Lucifer, Crowley and just about everything in between. This crossroad demon and lackey are super confident and even dismissive of Dean giving them the evils. And Dean gives very menacing sexy evils.

Over pie (because he’s done his homework), Demon guy wants Sam and Dean to steal an unspecified something from a collector of magical artefacts and trade it for the spell. He can’t get the shiny himself because the collector is well versed in woo-woo and has demon wards everywhere. Also to get in the vault you need the blood of someone who has been to hell and back - which is (as a nasty flashback reminds us), Dean. Also the collector apparently

Dean does not want to have anything to do with demons, citing Crowley as a reason why not. Which doesn’t make a huge amount of sense because the relationship between Dean and Crowley was a) complicated and b) largely beneficial for Dean.

Sam, though, thinks they should take any chance they can and, hey, they can always kill the demons later.

So we have Sam and Dean with Lackey Demon called Smash and human woman called Grab, but really Alice (it’s possible I’m mixing Smash and Grab up here but hey silly names deserve this little attention). I say again, lackey demon is waaaay too unscared of Dean and his evil eye.

So heist time for distractions and stealing which turns into a whole Indiana Jones thing with Dean being rightfully nervy (and a bit wimpy) about sticking his hands into a dark unknown place because he’s not that much of a fool

Twist, turns out the collector has woowoo which makes him unkillable in his own home which means Sam can’t stab him to death, lackey demon gets stabbed and Dean shoots him several times doing nothing. But he can punch the guy unconscious. Because lethal damage does nothing but non-lethal is effective? I don’t know. Woowoo

Faced with a lot of booby traps the brothers Winchester take the immortal home owner, tie him up and basically wheel him through the place absorbing all the badness

I have to say I applaud, this was inspired, an awesome parody of Indiana Jones and I want to give the writer a medal. A shiny one.