tv shows

REVIEW: Doctor Who: “The War Master – The Master of Callous” (Big Finish Box Set)

warmaster2masterofcallousartwork.jpg_cover_largeThe War Master: The Master of Callous is one of my least favorite box sets from Big Finish Productions. It’s a shame, too, as I really love Derek Jacobi as the Master and I enjoy stories that focus on the Master doing dastardly things. I enjoyed the first War Master box set, Only the Good, quite a bit, mostly because it felt like the writers had something to say about the War Master and had something for him to do. That box set went a long way towards tying the Master from the classic series (and Eighth Doctor audios) and the Master from the revived TV series together. This box set, on the other hand, features none of that interesting writing. Here, it doesn’t feel like the writers had anything new to say about the character, nor did it feel as though the character actually had anything to do. In fact, he’s barely in two of the four stories! Needless to say, I’m not a fan of this box set. (NOTE: There will be spoilers ahead.)

(Written by James Goss and Guy Adams)
On the mining colony Callous, Elliot King struggles to meet the demands of its governor, Teremon. The odds are stacked against him, and his options are running low. The world that once promised dreams now offers only despair. A wild Ood stalks the forests, carrying an antiquated phone. The caller promises much – he claims he can change the world – but he always speaks a devastating truth. He is the Master and the Ood will obey him… but to what end?

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REVIEW: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” – Season 3

asoue-posterAll good things must come to an end. The same remains true for unfortunate things, too. Even A Series of Unfortunate Events must come to an end. With season 3, that’s exactly what the Netflix adaptation on the Lemony Snicket series does. The books are pretty notorious for their lack of any kind of real resolution or concrete answers to the mysteries presented throughout the series. So, with that in mind, how does the show handle the ending? The answer: much the same, but a bit different. Featuring a bit more resolution than what was found in the books, season 3 of A Series of Unfortunate Events brings the somewhat uneven series to a satisfying conclusion.

Season 3 of A Series of Unfortunate Events adapts the final four novels of Lemony Snicket’s acclaimed novels. The series follows the Baudelaire orphans – Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny (Presley Smith / Tara Strong (voice)) – after they’ve suffered a terrible tragedy: the deaths of their parents and the destruction of their home. The orphans are sent to live with Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), a villain who will stop at nothing to obtain their fortune. Their journey will take then into the wilderness of a snowy mountain, to the depths of the ocean, to a mysterious hotel, and all the way to a deserted island. There are no happy endings in this story, so what will become of the Baudelaire orphans?

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REVIEW: Doctor Who 2019 New Year’s Special – “Resolution”

7Well, that episode should’ve been the real series 11 finale of Doctor Who. Resolution is exactly the kind of exciting, explosive story that you’d want to end a series of Doctor Who with, so at least we got it a mere three weeks after the series technically ended. In possibly the worst kept secret of Chibnall’s era so far, Resolution featured the return of the Daleks (or, to be completely honest, a Dalek) and what a return it was! (This review will feature spoilers)

Episode 1111: Resolution (written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Wayne Yip)
As the new year begins, a terrifying evil from across the centuries of Earth’s history is stirring. As the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Yaz (Mandip Gill) return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?

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REVIEW: “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”

BM_Bandersnatch_Vertical-Main_PRE_RGBChoose-Your-Own-Adventures books are always a lot of fun. You’re able to explore multiple different endings to a story, some ridiculous, some serious, and you’re able to replay that story countless times to explore each different branch of the story. It’s a method of storytelling that’s never really been tried in film or TV before. Before Bandersnatch, that is. Bandersnatch is the first film in the Black Mirror series. Written by Charlie Brooker and directed by David Slade, Bandersnatch is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure film that allows audiences to choose how the story of Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) plays out. It’s a whole lot of fun and genuinely impressive to watch (and participate in). (NOTE: There will be spoilers for Bandersnatch. I will try to keep them minor, but it’s hard to talk about this film without spoiling some things.)

In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge.

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Spoiler Review: Timeless S02E11-12 – “The Miracle of Christmas”

Timeless - Season 2When I originally wrote this post, it was a lot more positive than this version will be. I had written it Tuesday night, directly after I’d finished my spoiler-free reaction (which was written directly after I finished watching the screener of the episode). I still stand by everything I said in my spoiler-free review as it was all true in relation to how I felt directly after watching the episode. However, as time has passed and I’ve reflected on the episode some more, it occurs to me how much it doesn’t hold up to any kind of scrutiny. It was immensely enjoyable while watching it, but the moment I put any real kind of thought into it, more and more problems began appearing. (This review will feature spoilers!) 

Episodes 211 and 212: The Miracle of Christmas (Part 1 written by Lauren Greer, Part 2 written by Arika Lisanne Mittman; directed by John F. Showalter) 
As Christmas arrives in the Bunker, the Time Team is inspired by a visit from their future selves to find a way to try to save Rufus (Malcolm Barrett). But when the Mothership jumps to 1848 California, they’re forced to put those plans on hold and chase Rittenhouse back to the Gold Rush, where they encounter one of the era’s most dangerous villains. Then chasing the Mothership to Korea in the winter of 1950, our team helps a stranded, pregnant refugee attempt to escape a tragic fate. Stuck with no way out, our team faces its toughest challenge yet, and in the process, come to terms with their feelings for each other. Also starring Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Goran Višnjic, Sakina Jaffrey, Paterson Joseph and Claudia Doumit.

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A Spoiler-Free Review of the “Timeless” Finale

Timeless - Season 2Nailing a series finale isn’t an easy task. Especially when you were prematurely canceled after your second season finale featured a cliffhanger so big it couldn’t possibly be satisfyingly resolved in a 90-minute film. But that’s exactly what the cast and crew of NBC’s Timeless have managed to do with their 90-minute series finale The Miracle of Christmas. This movie-length finale manages to deliver most of the answers fans are craving while also providing an extremely entertaining and well-written two-hours of television. (Note: This review will be SPOILER-FREE!) 

Episodes 211 and 212: The Miracle of Christmas (Part 1 written by Lauren Greer, Part 2 written by Arika Lisanne Mittman; directed by John F. Showalter) 
As Christmas arrives in the Bunker, the Time Team is inspired by a visit from their future selves to find a way to try to save Rufus (Malcolm Barrett). But when the Mothership jumps to 1848 California, they’re forced to put those plans on hold and chase Rittenhouse back to the Gold Rush, where they encounter one of the era’s most dangerous villains. Then chasing the Mothership to Korea in the winter of 1950, our team helps a stranded, pregnant refugee attempt to escape a tragic fate. Stuck with no way out, our team faces its toughest challenge yet, and in the process, come to terms with their feelings for each other. Also starring Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Goran Višnjic, Sakina Jaffrey, Paterson Joseph and Claudia Doumit.

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A Look Back at Series 11 of “Doctor Who”

doctor who series 11It feels like only yesterday that we were all waiting for Jodie Whittaker’s first series as the Doctor to air. Now, a week after the series ended, it’s time to take a look back at the ten episodes we just saw. What worked? What didn’t work? What needs improvement? Just how good was the series, now that all the hype has died down? Let’s take a look! (There will be full spoilers for the 10 episodes of Series 11 of Doctor Who!)

Meet the new Doctor. The universe just got more exciting. The dazzling Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker, Broadchurch, Wired) falls out of the sky just in time to thwart an alien huntsman who is stalking human prey. With little time to spare and the population of Sheffield (and Earth!) at risk, the Doctor recruits three new friends – gentle Ryan, no-nonsense Yasmin and Ryan’s step-grandfather, Graham – who soon feel more like family than companions. Join the foursome in ten fresh and enormously thrilling roller-coaster adventures across time and the universe.

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My Hopes for the “Timeless” Finale

Timeless - Season 2Defying all kinds of odds, Timeless is returning to TV screens on December 20th with a two-part series finale, greenlit only after massive amounts of fan support, wanting the show to have some kind of real conclusion that could wrap up the plotlines left unresolved at the end of the second season. Ever since the show started, I have a bit of a mixed relationship with Timeless. For most of its first season, I felt its premise was more interesting than its execution; the idea of someone (or, as it would turn out, some evil organization) wanted to go back in time to change events in order to create a future that would be more favorable to them is an interesting one, but the show often got a bit too caught up in the various romps through time and lost sight of the overarching storyline for my liking. Much of this was fixed with season two, thanks to its shortened episode-count and the grander scope of its overarching storyline. By the end of the season, I was genuinely onboard with what the show was doing. I wanted to know why Rittenhouse was doing what they were doing and I wanted to see how the Time Team would ultimately stop them. And then, the show was canceled on an unholy cliffhanger: Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) was killed by a Rittenhouse agent and the rest of the Time Team had to leave him behind in order to escape. After getting back to the present day, they are greeted by future versions of Lucy (Abigail Spencer) and Wyatt (Matt Lanter) who ask if they want to save Rufus. The idea that the show would end with that cliffhanger was an awful one, so thankfully NBC is bringing it back for a two-hour series finale, The Miracle of Christmas. After the break, I will talk about what my hopes for the finale are. (Note: I have NOT seen the finale so all of this is speculation/wants and not teasers or spoilers.)

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Review: Doctor Who S11E10 – “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos”

21It seems like only yesterday that series 11 of Doctor Who began, but here we are, ten weeks later, with the series finale! The finale is being written by Chibnall, who has delivered scripts of various quality throughout his run on Doctor Who, and especially this season. The only episode, solely written by him, that I’ve really loved this season was The Woman Who Fell to Earth. The rest of the episodes have had some fundamental problem that has impacted my enjoyment of them. Thankfully, The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos falls into the same category as The Woman Who Fell to Earth and is an excellent close to this series of Doctor Who. (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Episode 1110: The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Childs)
On the planet of Ranskoor Av Kolos lie the remains of a brutal battlefield. But as the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) answer nine separate distress calls, they discover the planet holds far more secrets.

Who is the mysterious commander with no memory? What lies beyond the mists? Who or what are the Ux? The answers will lead the Doctor and her friends towards a deadly reckoning.

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Review: The Good Place S03E09 – “Janet(s)”

The Good Place - Season 3Honestly, I really wondered how the writers of The Good Place will be able to top the previous episode, which felt like a great midseason finale episode, but then, lo-and-behold, they give us Janet(s), an episode that’s both insane and brilliant. This episode is not only the best episode of the season, but it might be my new favorite episode of the entire series, that’s how good it is.

Episode 309: Janet(s) (written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan and directed by Morgan Sackett) 
With Janet’s help, Michael hatches a plan.

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