This is a very incomplete TV Thursday – 10/9/14, I just have no time to write up TV reviews these days, I hardly have time to even watch the shows, therefore I am taking a hiatus from doing reviews for a while, writing here might be sporadic for a bit as well. Besides, as far as I know, nobody even reads these reviews anyhow, it seems to be a waste of my very limited time. These are the shows I got reviewed before I completely ran out of time. Enjoy.
Doctor Who #8×07 – “Kill the Moon” – Okay, granted I was tired, but I fell asleep half-way though this episode, if that tells you anything. So on with the show, such as it was. Clara is upset, the Doctor has been telling sweet, precious little Courtney that she isn’t special. Well, she’s not. It is really obnoxious that anyone on this planet thinks that kids are all special. They’re not and Courtney is an obnoxious little twit who never had any business being on the Tardis in the first place, now she’s had her precious little feelings hurt because the Doctor isn’t treating her like she’s a delicate little flower? Fuck her. That kind of sets the stage for this week’s episode as the Doctor says he’ll take Courtney to the moon because she gets all teary-eyed, but instead of the moon, they end up on a shuttle, headed to the moon, carrying 100 nuclear bombs. Why? Because the Doctor can’t drive. Oh, and it was convenient. So anyhow, the shuttle crashes into the moon and apparently, the moon has been gaining mass and screwing up the tides and all kinds of other nasty stuff. A Mexican lunar station was researching the phenomenon but everyone there is dead and the place is covered in cobwebs. Yeah, sorry,doesn’t work that way. Anyhow, they go inside with two of the astronauts from the shuttle while one goes back to prep the nukes. It doesn’t matter what his name is, he doesn’t live long anyhow. In fact, we know immediately that two of the three are going to croak right off the bat but who cares, we never have time to get invested in them anyhow. So they go into the base and immediately take off their helmets without bothering to check if there is any air or contaminants and it isn’t long until the last of the doomed crew gets eaten by a giant spider. The Doctor gives his “run when I tell you” talk, which I guess is pretty standard, then Courtney sprays the spider with some cleaner and it dies. Courtney then starts to whine that she wants to go home and frankly, they should have left her there, but the Doctor locks her in the Tardis and she sits around pushing buttons. Come on, the Tardis is huge, there’s a swimming pool and a massive library, go do something useful! Then it turns out that the moon isn’t really a moon, it’s an egg that’s been sitting around for 100 million years, which is nonsense because the moon is 4.4 billion years old. Now they have to decide if they’re going to kill the giant spider inside the moon, which the Doctor argues is innocent, or save all of humanity. Hmmm… decisions, decisions. And so, they go on to find a way where everyone wins, there are no real moral decisions in Doctor Who these days, nobody ever loses, they just change the rules. For a stand-alone action episode, it as bad as I feared it might be. Okay, the social overtones were absurdly overblown, they set up two women to make the decision whether or not to abort the spider-fetus, this isn’t a story ripped out of the headlines, it’s one ridiculously overdone. I was actually thinking that since Moffat had nothing to do with this episode, it might actually be competently done. I was wrong. Can’t we just have a good show for once, one where they aren’t trying to make a social statement or ruin the Doctor’s backstory? And we really have to wonder why, after all the build-up they had of showing Pink-boy the Tardis, why he didn’t tag along on the next adventure? After all, he wants to prove to the Doctor that he can be good to Clara, where is he? He actually makes an appearance at the end so he wasn’t off visiting Aunt Petunia in Peoria or anything. Yet again, Doctor Who fails to perform and I fear that it never will again, at least not under current leadership.
Haven #5×04 – “Much Ado About Mara” – We pick up exactly where the last episode left off, with Dwight and the Guard breaking into the cabin, just as Mara is about to “help” Duke. Let’s be honest, we know Mara isn’t going to help anyone, she seems to be evil, just for the sake of being evil, they haven’t justified why she’s doing any of the things that she and William did. She keeps saying she’s giving people troubles because it’s fun. That’s absurdly shallow Snively Whiplash stuff. So anyhow, Duke begs Dwight to let Mara unleash a “harmless” trouble and as Dwight and the boys sit outside, Mara releases a curse that makes him speak gibberish. Dwight takes Mara captive and makes her promise that she’ll get rid of the troubles and as a sign of good faith, she agrees to remove the trouble from Jodie, who shoots laser beams from her body. Mara stops the beams and Jodie is relieved, yet we all know it isn’t that easy. Birds start to fall from the sky, metal starts to twist and water starts to boil. Nathan and gibberish-boy get into the cabin and try to rescue Mara because Nathan is still convinced that Audrey is in there somewhere and he can get her back. Dwight catches them and handcuffs them outside while Nathan tries to convince him that he has to treat Mara like Audrey. Nathan and Duke realize that his new trouble is connected to an emotion, just like the last one was and once Duke deals with that emotion, the trouble doesn’t affect him anymore and he can talk. They realize that Mara just changed Jodie’s trouble, now instead of emitting visible light, she emits microwaves and is killing everyone around her. Vince and Dave get home from the hospital and Vince is pissed at Dave. He isn’t happy that he’s been lied to all these years and that Dave is really from the other side. He says they have to visit the Iron Maiden, who turns out to be a therapist. She hypnotizes Dave and later, when Vince goes to see her, doesn’t remember a thing. Neither does Dave. Something has happened. They go through the psychiatrist’s notebook and she’s scribbled a word, “CROATOAN” and they don’t know what it means. Meanwhile, back in the woods, Nathan and Duke manage to convince Dwight that they all have to tag-team it to convince Mara that she’s Audrey and eventually, Audrey comes back. They hope that Audrey will have access to Mara’s memories and will be able to end the troubles but she can’t, in fact, she tells them Mara can’t either, Mara can only give troubles. Any bets that William can take them away? Anyhow, Mara reasserts herself and says that now that she knows Audrey is still in her head, she’s going to kill her right now. Um… sure she is. As I’ve said before, the interaction between Nathan and Audrey are really what made the show worthwhile and with Mara hanging around now, I’m just not that invested in anything that happens. Add to the fact that a lot of the troubles seem to be very self-serving now, it used to be weird, random stuff, now with Mara, it seems to be aimed at a specific goal and we still have no idea what Mara wants, why there are troubles, etc. They need to actually answer these questions with real answers, not convenient and shallow plot contrivances. We know that Audrey isn’t going anywhere but the sooner Mara goes away forever, the better. Emily Rose is really, really awful at playing her and if I never see that character again, I’ll be happy. Pretty much everything that I ever liked about this show is gone now. They could bring it back if they wanted, just get rid of Mara, ditch the whole “over there” story and get back to telling good “trouble of the week” stories. I think that Haven has gone on too long. Maybe it’s better to just cancel it.
Resurrection #2×02 – “Echoes” – This week, lots of people, but especially Jacob, are interested in the nature of death. Marty, who is now special agent in charge of the returned, is starting to realize that he was once dead and is now back. Margaret, Jacob’s grandmother, has some secrets about death that she doesn’t want coming to light. Jacob wants to learn who comes back to life and who doesn’t. These are all interesting ideas and all of them play into the show’s basic mythology which wasn’t well explored last season. So let’s get started. While Jacob is playing, a black bird falls out of the sky dead. He asks Margaret if the bird will come back and she says she doesn’t know. Death comes when it comes and maybe it will come back. Jacob decides to try an experiment where he buries the bird in a shoe box and checks it to see if it’s gone. Of course, since many of the returned remain dead for years on end, the birds might be dead for a long, long time but I don’t expect Jacob to realize that. But Margaret is in for a shock, the family factory has been closed for decades and she never knew. She gets upset, it is supposed to be the family legacy but Henry tells her that after losing her and Jacob and Barbara, he just couldn’t bring himself to pay attention to the factory and it eventually failed. Margaret has another reason to be concerned about the factory but we’ll find out about that later. Marty’s new boss tells him that he’s supposed to keep an eye on the returned and report in if anything odd happens. He isn’t too happy about it but when there’s evidence of a new returned, perhaps Caleb coming back again, he keeps it to himself. Fred is supposed to be providing support to Marty, threatened by Marty’s boss that if he doesn’t, the town will be overrun by feds and he doesn’t want that to happen again. Therefore, they go out to Caleb’s old hunting cabin and when they find no one there, they stick a deputy in a tree to keep an eye on things. Of course, the deputy falls asleep so Marty sends him home and just then, conveniently, the new returned returns. It doesn’t turn out to be Caleb but another guy, Arthur Holmes, who died in 1935 and came back sick. Marty takes him to Maggie who is surprised, all of the other returned have come back healed of any illnesses. She had just looked at her grandmother and given her a clean bill of health. Marty makes her promise not to send Arthur to the hospital until he can figure out what’s going on. Tom and Rachel are living together and Rachel is uncomfortable being around all of Tom’s wife’s things. He says that keeping her and the baby safe is the most important thing in the world, everything else will work out. Tom quits the church and Janine comes to see him, she wants to pick up some of her things and wants to make sure Rachel isn’t in the house. She gets her stuff and sees Rachel’s ultrasound and breaks down. Later, she has lunch with a friend who tells her that maybe God is testing her. Yeah, not so much. Later, Rachel tries to make a pass at Tom and he turns her down, but Janine comes into the house in the middle of the night and they fall into bed together. The next morning, Rachel is incredibly uncomfortable that Tom is back with his wife. Margaret goes to see Arthur, claiming he used to work at the factory and she thought seeing some familiar things might help but not long after, Arthur is missing, as well as all of his test results. Maggie says it’s just like what happened with Caleb, but we see Margaret at the factory, digging in the floor and she uncovers several bodies. Clearly we’re meant to think that one is Arthur’s but who are the others? Marty goes to Jacob and asks if he knows that he’s one of the returned, since Jacob can sense them and Jacob says yes. Marty wants him to keep it a secret. There is surprisingly little that we actually know about the returned in this show. We don’t know where they come from, why they’re back, how it happens, what the purpose is or anything else. We just know that a formerly dead person shows up every now and then. Hopefully they will start to address that central mystery very soon but it’s nice to see that some of the returned have skeletons in the closet, or in a hole in the ground, and we can explore those as well. This week, there were a lot more questions than answers but at least they hinted at some answers so I’ll keep watching to see where it goes.
The Strain #1×13 – “The Master” – Well, it’s the end of the first season and they’ve managed to change up the story somewhat while keeping other things exactly the same and I appreciate that. We start off with Palmer showing up at Setrakian’s pawn shop to check things out. Eichorst arrives and tells Eldrich that he’s not really a vampire, the Master just healed him and he doesn’t know how long it will last. This explains the seeming contradiction from last week, in the book, Palmer doesn’t get turned but that’s something for next season. He’s really upset and I suppose justifiably so, after all, he’s done everything he’s been asked to do and the Master still hasn’t come through. Then we go to everyone regrouping at Dutch’s place and while Zack sleeps, Setrakian, Eph and Vasiliy plot. Eph and Vasiliy go to check out the area above where the Master was nesting and there they find Bolivar’s place and Eph reasons that the Master is holed up there. Vasiliy wants to make sure and has an encyclopedic knowledge of not only the history of Bolivar’s building but of the entire surrounding area as well. I found that rather implausible, that he’d not only know that the building was a speakeasy in the 20s, but exactly where the secret tunnel that connected it to a nearby business happened to be. I don’t care how educated he is, he shouldn’t magically know all of that. Anyhow, they get into the secret connecting tunnel and come up in Bolivar’s lair. The vampires are rebuilding the coffin that Eph smashed a couple of episodes ago, but the vampires smell them and they barely escape. Outside, Vasiliy has a clever idea and opens a manhole cover to let the sun shine into the tunnel. They go back to the hideout and Eph realizes that he can no longer protect Zack, they have to give him a weapon and let him help fight vampires. After some helpful tips for killing vampires, they all head off into the tunnels where they find that Vasiliy’s useful manhole trick has kept all of the vampires at bay. He uses some dynamite to kill them all and they head up into Bolivar’s place where they run into a lot of strigoi, including Bolivar and finally come face to face with the Master. They all start breaking windows to let the sunlight in, in a scene reminiscent of the original Salem’s Lot TV mini-series with David Soul and Fright Night. It looks like the Master is on the ropes as Eph knocks him outside where he starts smoking. However, the Master is one tough cookie and he escapes, denying Setrakian his victory one more time. Eph and Zack go back to their house after Zack starts hyperventilating and it was all a ruse to get a photo album. Just then, dead old mom shows up and Eph takes a badly aimed shot at her while Zack goes crazy. Mom escapes and everyone has to flee before reinforcements show up. We end with a monologue by Setrakian as they drive along in their bakery truck as New York City burns. Oh, and Gus gets introduced to the vampire lords, who have a much better makeup job than the Master does, and asked to be their agent. That’s pretty book-accurate too. In the end, most of the important plot was pretty much the way it happened in the book. There were certainly differences, there were a lot of additions, Nora’s mother and Dutch for instance, plus lots of changes in how things went together, but the overall story was pretty much the same. Next season, I assume they’ll do the same thing as we work through the second book. I’m really looking forward to it, even though I know where the story goes, I’m really enjoying the different path that they’re taking in the TV version. Good stuff!
Z-Nation #1×04 – “Full Metal Zombie” – Sometimes a show gets going down a great path and then veers off into something that is much less fun, that’s what happened this week on Z-Nation. After our group of intrepid adventurers gets robbed at gunpoint of their truck, they get stuck in a beat up VW bug and when the come across the robbers apparently robbing another family, only to find that it was the family robbing them, their truck goes rolling off down the road once again. That could have been a really funny episode, following their truck into robbery after robbery until they finally get it back. Instead, they get off that road and, thanks to Citizen Z, head south to an old military base where the General that we’ve heard of before supposedly has a chopper that he might let them use to get to California. Of course, the General isn’t all there as we realize immediately as he’s talking on the phone to platoons of soldiers that don’t exist and aircraft that are imaginary. The guards are about to turn them away when they learn that there’s a doctor among them. Doc goes up alone and the general has been bitten. Doc says it looks bad and offers to put him out of his misery but the general isn’t happy to hear that and throws Doc down a ventilation shaft where he comes face to face with a zombie, the last doctor who gave the general bad news. As Doc screams for help, 10K starts shooting zombies and the rest of the team takes the guard hostage and forces him into the elevator to see the general. The general has a video feed of the elevator though and stops them on a floor filled with zombies. We find out that Murphy is claustrophobic and rushes out into the room, leaving most of the team to fight off the zombies before they can go looking for Murphy. Murphy finds Doc in the air shaft and runs back to tell the others but they are attacked by a giant zombie and shove him down the vent with a grenade. Thinking that Doc was killed, they go to see the General but he’s crazy. The helicopter on the roof is in pieces and the general throws himself over the edge of the building with a couple of zombies. Outside, Doc comes stumbling along and they’re ready to kill him when he shows he’s really alive, just covered in blood. We also get a long background story on 10K, which is good, I suppose, it gives some justification for his quest to kill 10,000 zombies because he had to kill his father, I mentioned a week or two ago that getting personally invested in the characters is a necessity unless they’re going to have a rotating cast trying to get Murphy across the country. We also got to see how sad and pathetic Citizen Z is, he’s inventing Facebook friends to talk to and then talking to himself. I guess when you’ve been stuck in the Arctic alone for over a year, you start to lose it but seriously, between drooling over Addy and talking to himself, he has some serious problems. I guess it was important to deal with the General but I would have much rather seen a story of successive truck heists. I do question why they left the military base with nothing more than they came with, there were other vehicles, especially the ambulance that was just sitting there and they didn’t bother to salvage it? That makes no sense, especially since they used to have two vehicles and broke one. I wonder if they at least took guns and ammo, they never said. This was a bit of a letdown, I want to see a fun zombie series and they spoiled an opportunity to really do that. Come on guys, don’t let me down again. Next week is a take on Asylum’s Sharknado, hopefully it will be a lot more fun.