Author Archives: Hayley

revolution recapping: chained heat

This may have been inevitable, but I find myself – slightly against my will – liking Revolution more and more. Sword fights, faked deaths, ethical justifications, and a wrist gun? My poor brain can’t resist.

Plot

  • The gang (Miles, Charlie, Aaron, and Maggie) are off to find Nora, an explosives expert who Miles insists they need to rescue Danny.
  • Charlie learns an important lesson: sometimes you should let Uncle Miles kill ruthless bounty hunters in cold blood.
  • Miles takes off on his own to rescue Nora from a militia prison camp, leaving Charlie, Matt, and Maggie.
  • Maggie gets a back story: she keeps her defunct iPhone since the photos trapped inside are the last reminders of her children from across the pond.
  • Charlie catches up to Miles – after sneakily handcuffing her stalker, not-Nate.
  • Apparently, Nora didn’t need to be rescued. She was at the slave camp to steal a sniper gun from the warden.
  • Charlie volunteers to use Nora’s nifty wrist gun to shoot the warden. But wait? Isn’t she a sweet, innocent girl? Nope! Flashbacks reveal that Charlie’s mother, Rachel, was sort of a bad ass – and apparently the apple doesn’t fall very far from the presumed dead tree.
  • Charlie ends up killing the warden and another militia man as she, Miles, and Nora liberate the prison camp.
  • Nora’s resistance tattoo (an American flag that’s missing a few stars) is revealed, and Miles doesn’t like it.
  • Maggie and Aaron, embarking on a side story, don’t make it to Grace’s house in time to hand the mysterious woman Ben’s necklace. Randall got their first! Who’s Randall? I don’t know, but Grace does – or at least she did.
  • And twist! Rachel, Charlie and Danny’s mother, is alive and a prisoner of evil Monroe!

Talking Points

Danny

So let’s get something out of the way: Danny is an idiot. Last week, I compared Danny to a llama, but that’s unfair to llamas. Llamas at least know how to stay silent. Why does this guy keep talking? He practically got his father killed because of his big mouth (and quivering crossbow), and now he taunts his captor as a morally misaligned murderer? You know something funny about morally misaligned murderers? They’re not that forgiving to mop-topped young brats with an apparent death wish. This isn’t the actor’s fault, I should add – and maybe it’s actually no one’s fault. I just think that since a lot of this show currently hinges on rescuing this silly guy it would be nice to make him slightly more appealing . . . or intelligent.

The Abram Effect

Oh, J.J. Abrams, I’ll follow you wherever you lead – even though all that usually gets me is a closet full of Rambaldi junk and a forgotten smoke monster. I’m genuinely hopeful for the direction of this show, and I’m especially looking forward to further intrigue surrounding Monroe, Rachel, and the resistance. I think Rachel, in particular, adds a lot to the show’s ensemble. She’s already been given more depth than characters with triple her screen time and it doesn’t hurt that she has some proven acting chops. Monroe seems suitably intriguing and complex, as does his obedient henchmen and the mysterious members of the resistance. If Abrams can resist his trademark slant toward the supernatural, I think we’ll be all set for a fantastical and character-driven adventure.

Complaining (Or a surprising lack thereof)

I have nothing to really complain about this episode (though I did watch it at 6 a.m. this morning in a groggy, pre-coffee haze). Sure, I find Charlie’s perpetual frown and dopey repetitiveness a bit grating (“So you’re militia”?) and I already complained about her unlikeable brother, but that’s nitpicking and I know it. I generally just enjoyed watching the characters prance around and slash each other with swords. It’s fast-paced, somewhat intelligent, and overall intriguing story-telling. It’s not perfect, okay – I get that. But in a sea of nauseating network sitcoms and been-there-done-that drama programs, Revolution offers something refreshingly different and I heartily appreciate that.

Looking Forward

No cancellation rumors! And the preview for next week features a former BSG cylon. It’s like this show is consciously trying to to lure me in – and it might be working.

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

revolution recapping: series premiere

Talk about a mixed bag. Revolution rumbled onto my television set late Monday night and left me with a big pile of questions, annoyances, and a middling stack of tepid interest. I want to like it, okay? I’m also prepared to see it canceled quicker than quirky stewardesses prancing around in the friendly skies. We’ll see NBC, we’ll see.

The Premise

All the electricity is out, and it’s been like that for about 15 years. The government has been replaced by a big scary militia. People walk around with crossbows and swords and gaze longingly at postcards showing the electric yesteryear. It’s like the zombie apocalypse – except without zombies. Or like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – except people smile every once in awhile and don’t mind wearing shades other than gray.

The Characters

  • Dad Ben knows something, but he’s not sharing it with viewers at home. Oh, and he dies about nine minutes into the episode. Of course.
  • Mom Rachel has major sci-fi cred. She had big parts in both Lost and V, but she sort of seems to be dead already as well.
  • Their daughter Charlie hardly smiles, knows how to identify an asthma attack (“You are having an asthma attack!!), and wields a bow like the long lost love child of Legolas and Katniss.
  • Danny, Charlie’s younger brother, has one distinguishing feature: he has asthma (“It is his asthma!!”).
  • Miles is Ben’s brother. His coolness is sort of forced on viewers, but it more or less works. Watch as he drinks all the whiskey! Watch as he kills all the men!
  • Someone not named Nate is a militia man. He’s Charlie’s complicated love interest.
  • Maggie is Ben’s British girlfriend.
  • Aaron is comic relief.
  • Sebastian is Dean’s former (?) friend. He’s also the big bad villain on the show (spoiler alert).

Where Are We Now?

The quality quad of Charlie, Aaron, Maggie, and Miles are off to rescue Danny from the militia men who killed Ben. Not-Nate has reunited with his militia brethren, but he seems to be harboring complicated feelings for Charlie because she’s the only pretty girl he’s seen since all the lights went out – or some other equally romantic reason. Sebastian, head honcho of the evil militia, is hanging out at his evil villain compound (a green lawn with some crisp white tents).

The “Wow” Factor

So I like a lot of things about this show. I’m always down for a high concept science-fiction tale, and this pretty much fits the bill. Complex characters bouncing around in complex settings boosted by an injection of post-apocalyptic shenanigans, tyrannical militias, and sword play is where I live (in my mind). I appreciate strong female characters, and I assume Charlie is supposed to be that based on her decidedly un-girly moniker. I’m also a sucker for anti-heroes that are a little rough around the edges – which I assume the Miles character is aiming for. Add a little intrigue about the fall of electricity and the people who may or may not be able to restore it? Sure, why not?

The “Ick” Factor

On the other hand, this episode felt like a recipe for cookies made out of only chocolate chips and flour. Yeah, the big ingredients were there, but everything else apparently got thrown out the window. Where are my multi-dimensional characters? Danny could literally have been played by a llama if you could teach a llama to have an asthma attack (a very serious and proper use of the word literally). Where is the interesting exposition? I have no idea why Revolution’s America is so empty. Zombie apocalypses conveniently deal with that problem by eating everyone, but without that gross luxury, I don’t understand how the entire country emptied to the point that Charlie has to ask if “there are other towns like ours.” Like other towns with people in them or other towns with beautiful, air-brushed people who have no personality? Because I’m doubtful about the latter.

Prognosis

So far, so good. Over ten million people reportedly tuned in. Let’s hope Revolution can keep up the ratings (and fix a few character and story problems while they’re at it).

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

doctor who recapping: a town called mercy

Previously on Doctor Who: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

From dinosaurs to saloons and shoot-outs, Doctor Who zaps from one end of the story-telling spectrum to the other. In a grand mash-up of Skynet terminators, Stephen King-esque gunslingers, and old school spaghetti westerns, the Doctor and company find themselves in a sticky dilemma packed with as many delicious moral intricacies as gaping plot holes.

Plot

  • The TARDIS accidentally lands in Mercy (“I always took you where you needed to go”), a town protected by a circle of stones from an alien gunslinger intent on killing the space doctor.
  • Guess what? Our Doctor is somewhat surprisingly not the doctor in question. Kahler-Jex, an alien, crash landed on Earth a while ago, added some electricity to Mercy, and cured the whole town of cholera – making him as much a doctor as anyone else.
  • The Doctor figures out that Kahler-Jex isn’t the greatest guy – he developed murderous cyborgs back on his home planet to help his people win a war. The alien gunslinger is actually one of the cyborgs, and he wants to exact bloody vengeance upon his maker.
  • The Doctor has trouble reconciling Kahler-Jex’s murderous past and his benevolent present.
  • Amy helps the Doctor realize they need to be better than their enemies by giving people second chances (just like America, some British actor playing an American says knowingly).
  • The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to befuddle the gunslinger, allowing Kahler-Jex to escape to his ship.
  • Kahler-Jex dies “honorably” by committing suicide, self-destructing his ship after delivering an impassioned speech about his guilt and his belief in the afterlife.
  • The alien gunslinger stays to protect Mercy – presumably for centuries since he’s a cyborg who may or may not ever die.

Talking Points

You Look Familiar

Doctor Who knows its fan base – just look around. Cobbled together from the recycling bin of some of science fiction’s most loved and loathed content, A Town Called Mercy gave nerdy boys and girls plenty to recognize. It’s a space western, after all, a sub-genre responsible for such sci-fi notables as Firefly and Star Wars – as well as lesser gems like Cowboys and Aliens.  It’s nice to get a nod every now and again from the Doctor Who writers. This episode said to me, “Hey, we get you, we know who you are, and like it or not, this one’s for you.”

Mind the Gaps

There are plot holes in this episode, okay? The cyborg gunslinger has no reason to teleport in such an idiotic way. It’s inefficient, and I’m certain cyborg killing school taught him better. Also, what’s up with the stone circles of absolutely zero protection? And does it bother anyone that everyone in Mercy should be dead? Seriously, without Kahler-Jex they all would have succumbed to cholera. I’m not even going to touch the fun if historically disastrous inclusion of anachronistic electricity. But you know what? I’m okay with all these funky elements. The Doctor careens through space and time without a good grasp on consequences, so why should the episodes that document his adventures be any different? Carry on, good Doctor – I see your plot holes and choose to ignore them.

Doctor Who? Part Three

I really can’t express how much I enjoy ranting about morality. I need to stop. It’s actually embarrassing how much I wrote on this subject before realizing none of it needed to be read by anyone anywhere. Instead, I’ll do something different: I’ll talk about what I liked. I liked how the Doctor acknowledged that his mercy ultimately seems to lead to more condemned lives than saved ones. I appreciated Amy’s insistence that the Doctor’s a danger to himself and the whole universe when not accompanied by a stabling presence (i.e. a human companion)I’ll just say one negative thing: I don’t think the writers allocated enough time or philosophical depth to this subject. I want 43 whole minutes of morality talk – we can skip the monsters and time travel for just one episode, right? I’m sure loads of people would be on board with this idea. We could just sit the Doctor down and let him talk about ethics — like a lecture! (It may be correct to say that I’m having college withdrawals.)

Quotes

The Doctor: Anachronistic electricity, keep out signs, aggressive stares –has someone been peeking at my Christmas list?

———–

Kahler-Jex: Looking at you, Doctor, is like looking into a mirror . . . almost. Well, there’s rage there, like me, guilt, like me, solitude — everything but the nerve to do what needs to be done.

———–

The Doctor: Today, I honor victims first — his, the Master’s, the Daleks’ — all the people who died because of my mercy.

———–

Kahler-Jex: We all carry our prisons with us. Mine is my past. Yours is your morality.

———–

Security system: Thank you for choosing Abaraxas security software, incinerating intruders for three centuries.

———–

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

doctor who recapping: dinosaurs on a spaceship

Previously on Doctor Who: The Asylum of the Daleks

Yeah, that’s right, every other show ever – can you have an episode dedicated to dinosaurs traipsing around where they don’t belong? I didn’t think so.

(And no, Terra Nova and Dinotopia, you guys don’t count. You have to be good to count.)

Plot

  • Meet the new gang – at least for this episode.

Queen Nefertiti: You remember your history lessons right? Ancient Egypt once had this pretty swanky queen who knew English idioms and liked to wear incredibly low-cut dresses. Or something like that.
John Riddell: Indiana Jones-esque and equipped with a barrel full of double entendres, Riddell gets picked up by the Doctor because someone on the show needs to know how to use a gun.
“The Ponds”: Amy and Rory are accidentally joined by Rory’s father, Brian! Befuddled hilarity and surprisingly touching moments ensue.

  • The Doctor has a mission, and he, of course, chooses to accept it. A big, mysterious spaceship is flying on a crash course for our planet, and Earth’s security will blow it to smithereens unless the Doctor can divert it.
  • The gang arrives on the ship via TARDIS and immediately runs into a dog-like stegosaurus, creepy pterodactyls, and a pair of sarcastic robots. So far, so good.
  • The suddenly space savvy Amy realizes that the ship was an ark for the Silurians (which means nothing to anyone except for diehard fans who recognize them as the reptilian race more or less responsible for Rory’s pre-Roman death.)
  • The gang runs into a bad guy named Solomon – and he’s pretty bad. He’s a pirate, but not the fun Captain Jack Sparrow kind. He boarded the ship awhile ago and killed all the Silurians so he could sell all their precious animals. He even gets his robot henchmen to shoot Brian.
  • The Doctor saves the day with expected Time Lord flair. He gets Brian and Rory to fly the ship away from Earth while sending the missiles to destroy Solomon’s getaway vehicle.
  • Oh, and the Doctor and Rory share a mostly one-sided kiss somewhere in there. I’m belatedly reminded that that’s probably a plot point worthy of note. And Nefertiti and Riddell are presumably an item now. Just now sure where they’ll settle down. Or when.

Talking Points

Fun.

Man, I love this show. This episode wasn’t even that spectacular from a critical perspective (or even a logical one), but I’ve long given up judging Doctor Who on an episode-by-episode basis. For me, the essence of this show resides in its ability to encourage imaginative story-telling and push the boundaries of what television programs ought to be. I cannot stress how much I loathe procedurals. Especially procedurals lazily disguised as something else. It’s refreshing to watch shows that plummet along on their own quirky and clunky arcs. There are bumps in the road, sure, but I’ll weather them out. For every so-called “filler episode”, there’s a Weeping Angel right around the corner.

Doctor Who? Part Two

I’ll try and keep this short since it’s an unintentional continuation of last week’s morality rant. So the Doctor has absolutely no qualms about allowing the ISIS missiles to kill Solomon and his robots. Really? I’m all for the utilitarian and eye-for-an-eye justifications, but not when employed by a character who has a 900+ year legacy of doing the opposite. Come on, Moffat. Help me out here. “In Moffat We Trust” is a popular Whovian mantra, but for now I’m more preoccupied with Moffat Who Forgets Who His Main Character Is.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Like the Ponds

Three episodes left and counting before the undeniable end of the Pond companion era. It almost goes without saying that Amy and Rory’s good-bye will be a dramatic, possibly fatal affair. No hints yet about their future demise or peaceful relocation, but plenty of grim foreshadowing is starting to pile up. When the Doctor cheerfully tells Amy she’ll be around till the end of him, her reply – “Or vice versa!” – paired with the Doctor’s suddenly drained features, isn’t difficult to analyze.

Quotes

The Doctor: Brian Pond, you are delicious.

Brian: I’m not a Pond.

The Doctor: Of course you are!

**********

The Doctor: How do you start a triceratops?

**********

The Doctor: We need to turn this ship around

Rory: You said it was too late, that there wasn’t any time.

The Doctor: Ah, but I didn’t have this plan then, did I?

**********

The Doctor: Look, Solomon. The missiles. See them shine? See how valuable they are? And they’re all yours. Enjoy your bounty.

**********

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

doctor who recapping: asylum of the daleks

Geronimo, Whovians! Season 7 of the rebooted British television show is here and ready to amuse, amaze, astonish, and confuse!

Plot

  • Amy and Rory sign their divorce papers (gasp!)
  • The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are all kidnapped and taken to the Dalek parliament – a lot like a human parliament, except that things seem to actually get done.
  • The dynamic trio is forcibly sent to the asylum of the Daleks, a hellish planet full of all the Daleks the regular Daleks thought were too demented and weird. The regular Daleks want the Doctor and his companions to lower the force field on the asylum so that the whole thing can be destroyed.
  • The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are aided by a quirky young woman named Oswin who escaped the fate of the rest of her crew by hiding out. She speaks to the three by hacking into the communication systems and helps the Doctor move around by erasing the memory of him from the Daleks’ hive brains.
  • Amy and Rory realize they still love each other. Amy kicked Rory out because she knew he wanted kids and she couldn’t have any. Poor girl who waited; poor boy who waited 2,000 years.
  • The Doctor finds a convenient teleport. He plans to lower the force field (thus completing their Dalek objective), rescue Oswin from her fortified hiding place, and escape the asylum before the Daleks’ take this opportunity to kill him and his friends.
  • The Doctor’s plan hits a major road block when he arrives to save Oswin. Why? Because plot twist – she’s a Dalek!!! She used to be a human, but upon crashing on the planets, the Daleks recognized her intelligence and decided to surgically transform her into one of them. Oswin didn’t even realize she was a Dalek.
  • Oswin tearfully fights back her Dalek urge to kill the Doctor and tells him to remember her as he leaves.
  • The Doctor, Amy, and Rory teleport back to the TARDIS. The Doctor taunts the Daleks and is pleasantly shocked to discover that Oswin had actually deleted the memory of him from all Daleks everywhere. Doctor who? (No, seriously the Daleks ask that. It’s a bit silly and self-referential and it was already done last season . . . but still, brilliant!)

Talking Points

Introducing the New and Improved Daleks

The Daleks have a new trick up their . . . plungers. It’s about time, too. Up till now, viewers have had to nod skeptically as the Doctor insisted his worst enemy was a herd of discarded kitchen appliances shaped like upside down ice cream cones (and, come on, it’s not like season 5’s primary color paint job helped that dynamic). Anyway, the Daleks can now infiltrate human bodies, living or dead. Why is this important? Now Daleks can be anywhere. Before you could spot one a mile away and deflect an attack with a baking sheet.

Doctor Who?

Okay, I’ll indulge myself a bit and ramble on about a problem that probably bothers only about 0.05% of Doctor Who fans. The Daleks are life forms, unpleasant or not. Why does the Doctor’s mantra of compassion not extend to them? No, I get it – the Daleks love killing and hating. They would never understand compassion. But at least past seasons, noticeably Eccleston’s only season and Tennent’s third, addressed the discrepancy between how the Doctor views killing and how the Doctor views killing Daleks. I get that perhaps there’s not as much room for this dark and morally-ambiguous type of story-telling (also highly evident in Tennent’s “Waters of Mars”) in the new seasons, but I still miss it.

The Problem of Oswin

Get ready, nerds – this one’s a doozy. Last March, producers announced that British actress Jenna-Louise Coleman would be the Doctor’s next companion. Show runner Stephen Moffat was pretty adamant in insisting that her first appearance would be in this year’s Christmas special. The problem? Coleman surprised everyone by showing up as Oswin in the premiere episode. This, of course, wouldn’t be a massive problem except for the fact that Oswin is a) a Dalek and b) dead. I almost wrote an essay about the different ways out of the Oswin problem, but that’s probably not helpful to anyone. Suffice it to say, I trust Moffat. He has a near-perfect record when it comes to innovation, shock, and trippy timey-wimey shenanigans. Sure, he’s barely hovering at 50/50 concerning logical season arcs, but nobody’s perfect and I’m a tough season arc critic (which is probably my only real, unique skill – and it’s not even that real).

Quotes

The Doctor: What so special about this lot then?

Oswin: Don’t know. Survivors of particular wars. Spiridon. Kembel. Aridius. Vulcan. Exxilon. Ringing any bells?

The Doctor: All of them.

Oswin: Yeah? How?

The Doctor: These are the Daleks who survived me.

**********

Rory: Oh, so this is the kind of escape plan where you survive about four seconds longer.

**********

Daleks: Identify!

The Doctor: Well, it’s me. You know me. The Doctor. The Oncoming Storm. The Predator.

Dalek: Titles are not meaningful in this context. Doctor who?

Daleks: Doctor who?

The Doctor: Oh, Oswin. Oh, you did it to them all. You, beauty.

Daleks: Doctor who? Doctor who?

The Doctor: Fellas, you’re never gonna stop asking.

**********

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: