Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review of ONCE UPON A TIME EPISODE Child Of The Moon

In Storybrooke, Red faces her first full moon since the curse was broken and magic was reinstated into the world. When a man is killed by a wolf, she believes it was her even though nobody else does.

The Storybrooke element of this episode is almost painfully thin and flimsy. Uncomplicated doesn't even begin to cover it. Fortunately, we have the flashbacks into the magic realm where Ruby finds her real mother and a way to control the wolf. Admittedly, this story introduces the mother only to get rid of her again in very unlikely haste, but the conflict between two sides of a character is earnestly played, even though we have seen it all before elsewhere.

King George's revenge on Charming is nicely duplicitous and all in all this was a solidly entertaining episode.

Review of The Name Of The Doctor

Trenzalore is the most dangerous place in the universe for the Doctor, the one place that he must not go. Clara, the impossible girl who has been in his life forever, must go with him there when his friends are taken prisoner. Someone has a dastardly plan that might end the Doctor before he even began.

We've been critical of these last set of episodes, and of Steven Moffat's reign in charge if truth be told, but the man does know how to write a good episodes and with The Name Of The Doctor, he remembers that fact. 

True, we don't get to know the Doctor's name (which is a promise broken) and true it features the Keystone Cops trio of Vastra, Jenny and Strax (look, if the BBC haven't commissioned a spin-off yet, just give up on it will you?), but those quibbles aside, there was very little you could say was wrong with this episode.

The atmosphere of impending doom was brilliantly portrayed, with Matt Smith's Doctor breaking down into tears and showing real fear at what lies ahead for him at Trenzalore. Richard E Grant is back again as the Great Intelligence and this time he is given something to do. His plan really is nasty and, more importantly, it is the cause of Clara.

Yes, Steven Moffat has made good on his promise to explain Clara and it is an excellent explanation that has been carefully crafted and starts delightfully here with Jenna Louise Coleman appearing alongside almost all of the previous Doctors. The tease of this leads onto the revelations about what happens after a Time Lord dies and how the Great Intelligence intends to strip away the Doctor's entire lives.

Add to that a wrenching goodbye to River Song (as if she will ever really be gone) and some killer one liners and this is the best episode of DOCTOR WHO since ... well since The Doctor's Wife.

But even that wasn't enough. In the dying seconds, the conundrum is set up for the big 50th anniversary episode and now we just can't wait for that to roll around.

We haven't had much cause to say it recently, but Bravo, Mr Moffat, Bravo.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Need To Know Your Superman Comics?

Just in case you hadn't noticed, there's a new Superman film coming out soon entitled Man Of Steel. Exactly how many times a single franchise can be rebooted in TV in films is a good question, but Superman is giving it a good go in finding out with the likes of Lois and Clark and Smallville joining the big screen interpretations.

This, though, is as nothing to the number of incarnations of your friendly neighbourhood Kryptonian that have appeared in comic books over the years.

DK books have produced this glorously visual book (because gloriously visual is what they do) to show you just what you've been missing if you haven't been getting your dose of Clark Kent's alter ego from DC's comic books.

Now we know more about the Lego video game Superman than we do about the comic book one, so we're not best placed to tell you just how much of this information you need to know, but there certainly seems to be an awful lot of it stuffed in between the beautiful comic book imagery from the earliest days of the man you'll believe can fly (sorry, we never did) right through to the latest reinvention.

Superman: The Ultimate Guide To The Man Of Steel is a lovely, lovely book to look at (gold edged pages and all!) for anyone who is a Superman, DC or just plain comic book fan. Heck, we even loved it without any reference to TV and movies!

It's out now.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Review of GRIMM episode One Angry Fuschsbau

Monroe calls in Nick when it becomes clear that a Wesen lawyer is using pheremones to get a killer off the hook. Juliet gets closer to regaining her memory, but gets a few too many at once.

The main storyline here is a bit too predictable for its own good. The killing at the start is brutally matter of fact and then there is a very smart heist sequence (heisting the lawyer's sweat no less). Matters are not helped, however, by the comedy frog injection sketch (and there's a set of words we never thought we'd see together).

Juliet finds a whole new way to come apart at the seams and it is just unbelievable that her so-called friends and lover would take so little interest in that.

Patchy, but just about gets by.

Review of ARROW's penultimate episode Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Oliver learns the truth about his mother's involvement with the Undertaking and goes after Tommy's father, but is he outmatched?

The penultimate episode of the first season on ARROW pays off in spades on the promise that it has shown at times. There is a light and frothy heist segment, a dark and devious kidnapping and torture segment and a kick-ass face off between the Hood and Malcolm Merlyn that leads to the big cliffhanger.

Squashed in amongst all of this were flashbacks to the island subplot that, quite frankly, we couldn't care about any longer and more love triangle angst that is less annoying than it has been to date.

All in all, this episode is amongst ARROW's finest - assured, smart and nicely balanced.