Saturday, 22 November 2014


Saturday, 22 November 2014
Reviews of television shows have been sparse over the past few weeks (apologies), so this little batch of mini-reviews will have to suffice...

THE AFFAIR (season 1). I fell behind the U.S airings on Showtime, so I'm playing catch-up now. I'm still enjoying this relationship drama a great deal, although a part of me's beginning to wonder if the narrative gimmick's more trouble than it's worth. It was a fun idea to split each episode into two halves (each from the perspective of Dominic West or Ruth Wilson's character), but I find myself more invested in West's "angle"... and yet it could be the "wrong one". But is there a singular truth? Maybe both versions of the story works of fiction and the truth's an amalgamation? Sometimes there are differences in the story that make me scratch my head, because there's no point in either character intentionally lying about certain things (like whether their interviewing cop's married or separated). And the cop stuff's happening in the present, so it's not even a case of the characters remembering the past wrongly, which I thought was partly accounting for the differences in their recollections... so the show itself has two separate outlooks. Weird. ★★★☆

ARROW (season 3). I've stopped watching at US-pace because my schedule wouldn't allow for it, so I'm just waiting for the UK to catch up to where I left off.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW. As usual, AHS has gone off-the-rails now it's mid-season, so now I'm only watching for a few of the performances (Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates), and the fact most episodes deliver a fucked-up visual or bonkers idea that makes the hour worthwhile... kind of. It's a shame the writers never manage to craft a storyline that successfully plays out over a dozen episodes, and instead hit a period where it feels half-improvised. I also wish James Wong was the showrunner, because his episodes are always a big highlight (loved "Edward Mordrake: Part 1") ★☆☆☆

CONSTANTINE (season 1). Sorry, but I don't think episodic reviews are warranted for this show now, but it's an entertaining watch and I can imagine it getting stronger and stronger. I've been getting a big Angel vibe from things recently (Constantine = Angel, Zed = Cordelia, Chas = Wes) and it looks sublime on a technical level. "The Feast of Friends" episode was great, and perhaps proves that it should stick to adapting more of the comics. ★★★☆

THE FLASH (season 1). I stopped writing weekly reviews of this superhero drama, because I don't have much to say that isn't recycling my thoughts, but I'm still enjoying it. The effects are great and the villains have been fun. There's been mild improvement with Iris as the show's "Lois Lane", and Cisco's growing on me slightly as comic relief. The biggest concern right now is poor Danielle Panabaker, who's just sort of... there. ★★★☆

GOTHAM (season 1). Typical. The moment I decide to stop reviewing a show is the moment it starts improving. Dirty cop Bullock's been redeemed (to an extent), Gordon became a key piece of a tangled chess game between rival mobsters Maroni and Falcone, and there was a clever reveal that Oswald's been playing a long con—having orchestrated his own survival by requesting Gordon as his executioner, gambling his life would be spared and he'd repay the favour by becoming Falcone's snitch. The show still suffers from 'prequelitus' and the scenes with Master Bruce just feel completely pointless and predictable (he's bullied at school, Alfred is teaching him to fight), but I'm still watching so it's doing something right. I just get the feeling Gotham is hobbled because it's part of the Batman franchise, as the things it does best have nothing to do with the comics. ★★☆☆

HOMELAND (season 4). Oh look, some great hours of Homeland now I've stopped reviewing it, too. Saul's become a prisoner of the season's villain, Haqqani, who also shot poor Aayan dead! I was getting so bored of the Aayn storyline (especially the icky scenes with Carrie 'recruiting' him by pretending to be his lover), so this felt like a much-needed shot in the arm for the season. Suddenly, I'm a lot more excited for where the storyline's going now it's put Saul in harm's way and forced Carrie to make some tough decisions about her friend/mentor. Not quite back to its best, but a hell of a lot more compelling than season 2 and the majority of season 3. ★★★☆

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D (season 2). Like Arrow, I decided to stop watching at U.S-pace, so now I'm waiting for Channel 4 to reach where I called time.

SLEEPY HOLLOW (season 2). I relegated this to UK-pace (airing on the non-HD Universal Channel, bleugh) and it's now something I only watch when I'm extremely bored. As much as I appreciate the production values and Tom Mison's performance, it's just soooooo ludicrous that I don't care. This is a show that will rumble on for a long time, delivering cacophonous episodes every week, and I just feel bludgeoned and disinterested. It's end-of-the-world blah-blah of the highest order and I really don't need it. ★☆☆☆

THE WALKING DEAD (season 5). Hmm, I'm finding it quite dull now. There was an entire episode focusing on Beth (Emily Kinney); but despite some character rehabilitation last season, I question the sense of dedicating an entire hour to exploring what she's been up to! There was a similar experiment last season, when we learned what had happened to The Governor after his "empire" fell, but the difference is you were genuinely intrigued in him. I had forgotten Beth even existed (her sister Maggie certainly has!), so didn't really squeeze a lot of enjoyment from that episode. It felt like a distraction from the more interesting storylines with Rick and the departing Abraham, not an exciting diversion. ★★☆☆