Saturday, 28 February 2015

RIP Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

I had the same birthday as Leonard Nimoy; 26 March. This was the source of great excitement when I was a young boy, growing up watching repeats of Star Trek, as I thought we perhaps share things in common as a result. As crazy as it sounds now, it was a source of pride to believe Mr Spock and I would blow out candles within the same 24-hours. As a lifelong fan of Star Trek, it's a sad day now Mr Nimoy's died—although I've been watching Mr Spock die, repeatedly, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, for over 30 years. A beautifully touching scene, very much an emotional pinnacle of Trek to me, and probably the first on-screen 'death scene' that really moved me and has always lingered in my mind. Sadly, in real life there's no hope of a Genesis planet reviving everyone's favourite Vulcan...


★★★½ (out of five)

A satisfying time-travel yarn that manages to weave some enjoyable knots into its narrative, although anyone au fait with this sci-fi sub-genre will almost certainly predict some of the earlier twists--particularly when the faces of characters are being intentionally hidden, and someone's revealed to be a hermaphrodite (fairly obviously).

Thankfully, PREDESTINATION does have a few other tricks up its sleeve--enough for the experience to never become wholly obvious from the get-go. At a certain point you lose the inclination to stay a few steps ahead of the script, actually, which allows its third act to sweep you along to a bonkers conclusion.

Friday, 27 February 2015

The CW launching a superhero team of ARROW/FLASH side characters?

The twin successes of ARROW and THE FLASH for The CW has resulted in a huge surge of interest for comic-book properties on U.S television. It also helps that Marvel's big movies continue to be popular, and are inspiring their own small-screen spin-offs. Today, The CW announced their intention to create a superhero Avengers-style team-up show, again developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim—the core writers behind Arrow and The Flash

And this one will combine Arrow's Ray Palmer/The Atom (Brandon Routh) and Sarah Lance/Black Canary (Caity Lotz), with The Flash's Firestorm (Victor Garber) and Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). No idea why Robbie Amell wasn't included in that list, seeing as he plays the physical half of Firestorm. Is he being recast, or was that a mistake?

Thursday, 26 February 2015

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, 6.3 – 'After Life' • ANGEL, 3.2 – 'That Vision Thing'

BUFFY: Everything I feel, everything I touch... this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that. Knowing what I've lost. They can never know. Never.
There has to be a period of adjustment for Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), fresh from being yanked back into corporeal form after a noble death, as it would otherwise feel like Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn't take the demise of its lead character seriously enough. Jane Espenson's "AFTER LIFE" was this transition phase (at least in the sense Buffy swapped her funereal robes for a tan-coloured dress), and did a functional job of dramatising Buffy's rebirth—as it was a clearly traumatic event that's left her dazed and aloof in the face of her happy friends glad to have their pal back. (Those nightly patrols are a bummer without your super-friend taking the lead.)

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

BETTER CALL SAUL, 1.4 – 'Hero'


Another good episode, if a little calmer than the previous three because we're further into the season and there's less need to grab viewers by the scruff of the neck. BETTER CALL SAUL is up-and-running, the audience likes it, and the critics have been kind, so while "Hero" wasn't anything to get hugely excited about, it was a important episode in terms of showing us how Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) is going to build his small-town business.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

THE WALKING DEAD readjusts (again), but I'm still dead-eyed...

I'm still watching THE WALKING DEAD after five years, but only for the entertainment-value of its action sequences and the impressively-staged violence and gore. There are no characters that appeal to me in any meaningful way, and heaven knows its story arcs are incredibly hit-and-miss. Over time, I've distilled exactly why this AMC drama feels overrated to me, and it's very simple: there's no actual goal to achieve, as the show seems determined to nix any possibility of a zombie-cure or impregnable sanctuary being discovered. (And yes, even taking into account what happened in the latest episode, "The Distance", I don't envisage there being a happily ever after until AMC announce The Walking Dead's cancellation.)

Monday, 23 February 2015

TV Picks: 23 February – 1 March 2015 – Brit Awards • Critical • House of Cards • Let's Play Darts • The People's Strictly • Pompidou

Below are my picks of the most notable new shows, returning or premiering on UK screens over the next 7 days...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Is ANT & DEC'S SATURDAY NIGHT TAKEAWAY still the show to order?

ITV's light entertainment extravaganza Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (hereafter SNT) is back for a twelfth series, and not before time after Harry Hill's Stars in their Eyes flopped. Truth is, ITV have a tough time finding a weekend ratings winner whenever X Factor's off-air, with the exception of Ant & Dec's two other shows (I'm a Celebrity, Britain's Got Talent), so they'll be glad SNT's back—and its only serious rival is BBC1's The Voice, which will surely fade in the ratings now the Blind Audition rounds are over. But is SNT actually any good, when you examine it? Or does the charisma of the Geordie duo cover a lot of cracks?

What makes a good Oscar acceptance speech?

Guest submission by Jamie Hughes • From heartfelt dedications to self-indulgent ramblings, the academy awards has thrown up a plethora of amusing and endearing acceptance speeches over the years. Since the ceremony began in 1929, the Oscar's has moved further and further into the public eye and, whether they're aware of it or not, award winners can now massively enhance their careers with some brief and well refined thank you messages.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

ALIEN 5 is hatching, but what can we expect from Neill Blomkamp?

You can't have failed to notice excitement over news director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) is getting the chance to make his dream project: ALIEN 5. Or whatever 20th Century Fox decide to call this latest instalment in their 36-year-old franchise, which recently received a jolt of renewed interest when Ridley Scott (director of Alien) made the prequel Prometheus. That movie may have been met with mixed reviews, but it was enough of a success that a sequel's in development, and it perhaps helped encourage the birth of awards-laden video game Alien: Isolation.