WE NEED YOU(YES YOU) TO HELP SAVE “THE NEIGHBORS”, “HANNIBAL”, & “ENLISTED”(THREE OF FRIDAY NIGHT’S BEST HIDDEN GEMS)

I don’t know what to do guys, I’ve been feeling a bit helpless lately looking at websites and looking at the ratings for Fridays.  Not necessarily surprised by what I see, but just heartbroken that three of television’s best series right now may not be back to watch next year.  These series are just barely clinging to life, and it may be too late already, but I’ll be damned if I don’t do anything to try and save them. 

THE NEIGHBORS(ABC)

“The Neighbors” is a lovely little show that airs on ABC on Fridays at 7:31-8:00(Keep that one in mind, “Last Man Standing” usually ends like right at 7:30).  The show’s been really giving it’s all this season, and it’s making the imminent threat of cancellation sting even more.  I’m aware a lot of people were initially turned off by the first few episodes of the first season, but as the show as gone on it’s developed this great meta sense of humor.  The basic premise is that a family moves to a neighborhood populated only with aliens(yes the premise is strange).

 The cast is absolutely brilliant(Jami Gertz, Toks Olagundoye, and Simon Templemen to name a few), and the show’s had some really fun guest stars(Lori Loughlin, Wendy Williams, Jerry Springer, Rhea Perlman, Bill Nye, and the finale has Candace Cameron and the guy who played her boyfriend on “Full House”).  They’ve recently had a Bollywood themed episode, and the show has this wonderful charm about it.  There are only three episodes left this season, but don’t wait till the season’s over and it’s too late, this show needs you.  Give it a try please!  It hurts to think that this show might not live to see another season(and that “Last Man Standing will *shivers*). 

HANNIBAL(NBC)

Fannibals unite!  “Hannibal” is a psychological thriller horror serial killer drama, about Hannibal Lecter.  The show is one of the best series on television right now.  The cast and writing is superb, and better than many of the cable dramas on right now.  The show’s amazingly terrifying, which may be an issue to some, but trust me(as someone who can get pretty easily scared) you’ll get over it.  PLEASE, PLEASE WATCH HANNIBAL(9:00 PM on NBC)!

ENLISTED(FOX)

“Enlisted” isn’t perfect, but gosh darn it, it is a lot of fun!  “Enlisted” is a fun comedy with a lot of heart, the cast is great, and the show is just a nice way to spend half an hour.  Unfortunately “Enlisted” is on the brink of cancellation, and it needs you to watch it.  So why don’t you give it a try, it’s on at 8:00 PM. 

OVERALL

PLEASE GUYS, WATCH THESE SHOWS, IF THEY GET CANCELLED I’LL CRY, AND PUPPIES WILL CRY TOO!  Do you like making puppies cry you sickos?  Do yah?!  JK, you’re not sickos, but you still need to watch these shows.  PLEASE!

Veronica Mars Movie Review/MAJOR SPOILERS: A Long Time Ago….

MAJOR SPOILERS…

Everybody’s favorite marshmallow is back.  Seven years since the cult CW series was abruptly cancelled, Veronica Mars has made her return now on the silver screen.  The movie is a real love letter to the fans, Thomas was really devoted to giving fans the movie they wanted.  Hiding Easter Eggs all over the place, reuniting lost LoVe-rs, and bringing back many of the shows minor characters(Susan Knight, Carrie Bishop, and Luke appeared in one and two episodes respectively).  That all sounds great, but often things like these get too mushy and the nostalgia is the only real draw to the story(*ahem* “Arrested Development”), so while I was definitely exited and optimistic for the film, there was a bit of caution going into it.  However by the time the credits rolled and the Dandy Warhols started playing, I realized that the caution was for nothing, the movie was excellent, excellent for the fans, and excellent for the non-fans. 

The movie had a huge cast, but they really utilized them well.  Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring both do a really good job getting right back in the swing of things. Enrico Colantoni continued to be a badass, and Chris Lowell(WATCH “ENLISTED”!) made it really hurt to see Veronica treat him the way she did(Team Piz? I don’t know, maybe).  Two of the real unspoken heroes of the movie are Krysten Ritter and Gabby Hoffman.  Krysten Ritter specifically did a excellent job, I may be a bit biased because I absolutely love her, but Ritter’s performance is great.  She’s really a versatile actress, Hoffman’s role is a small one but she sells it well. 

The movie’s central premise dealing with the murder of Carrie Bishop was great. It was a nice way to parallel the first season’s mystery of who killed Lilly Kane, if I had one problem with it, it was that the mystery wasn’t terribly mysterious due there really only being three suspects(Ruby’s crossed off pretty early on, and as if there was any way Dick was going to end up being the killer). I’ve heard some people criticize the final showdown between Cobb and Veronica, but I thought it was really well done.

One of the parts of the movie I really enjoyed was the lack of focus on the love triangle. It’s certainly part of the story, but it’s not overplayed at all. I also felt some indifference between who she’d end up with, I can’t say I was a huge fan of the LoVe ship in the original series, but to see Logan so matured here made it much easier to accept the ship here. The addiction parallel was also an interesting way to approach Veronica’s relationship with Neptune.

Much like the television series the movie’s soundtrack is great. One of the first things I did after seeing the movie was look up to see what songs were in it. “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine” playing during the final confrontation between Veronica and Cobb really stood out, as did “Go Captain and Pinlighter” during the Veronica/Piz breakup scene.

Overall, I absolutely loved the movie. The movie exceeded my expectations, and the cast did an excellent job. The movie definitely leaves it open for there to be a sequel. The cast gave it their all, and so did Rob Thomas. This movie was an absolute delight.
GRADE: A+ 97%

HANNIBAL “Takiawase” Review/MAJOR SPOILERS: Oh How It Stings

MAJOR SPOILERS…

*Manages to finally get jaw off the floor*

Well God damn, that was an excellent hour of television.  Gina Torres, murderous crazy ladies killing guys with bees, and our poor Katz is a goner. This episode officially has me hooked, if I wasn’t a Fannibal before….

“Takiawase” really up the stakes and sets up the rest of the season. The show is so excellent at dealing with the killer of the week stories, the bee woman was great. I love the originality they put in each kill, they also do a great job of tying in the killer to the central theme of the episode(death as a form of mercy). This show certainly manages to get some excellent leading ladies from Gillian Anderson and now Gina Torres. Torres as usual does an excellent job. That final scene where she just slaps the shit out of Hannibal was so satisfying. Hopefully she pops up again later in the season.

Mads Mikkelson is really quite great too. His face as he speaks to Torres and then when he revives her was a shift from seemingly warmth filled intrigue to a very cold and distant look was great. Then there’s poor Will Graham who doesn’t have as big a role as in other episodes this season, but damn Hugh Dancy is good. The opening scene with him and Abigail was excellent, and then the follow-up scene with him and Katz hurts too much to think about. I’ve really been loving Katz, so I was just whaling at the end of the episode(not literally but on the inside I was crying), but I can totally see why this needed to happen. Hopefully much like Abigail, Katz will live on forever in the dreams of Will Graham(please Bryan Fuller, Hettienne Park is so hot, and Katz is so cool). Her whole go into the basement of a serial killer alone thing was the only part of the episode I had any really problem with.

The episode also raises the question of what lies in Hannibal’s basement? Well if you’ve read the synopsis for episode six you already know that it’s something quite shocking, but I won’t mention it here. All I know is I’m hooked on this show now. “Takiawase” was an excellent episode. Loved it.
GRADE: A+ 99%

PROS
+PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING
CONS
-Katz is gone, LaGuerta style

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Ten #1 “New Rules” Review/MAJOR SPOILERS: “Nostalgia Can Be Dangerous”

MAJOR SPOILERS

Buffy and the equally awesome Scoobies are back for their tenth season(and third season in comic format).  Now under the watch of Christos Gage(“Angel & Faith”, “Avengers Academy”), with art by the excellent Rebekah Isaacs(who also drew for “Angel & Faith”), promising to return Buffy to her roots, so expectations were surely high.  Luckily though, the comic met those expectations.  Bringing us our favorite super funny slayers back in the California suburbs fighting vamps in style.

Gage has the Whedon-esque Buffy speak down to pat.  The humor, the emotion, the somewhat outdated pop-culture references that teens in the 90’s probably don’t even know(I really love this aspect, it’s always fun finding out what the references after the fact because it gives one a new appreciation for the story), everything we love about Buffy is there.  His ability to make you almost hear the voices of the actors as you read(wouldn’t it be cool if the Buffy cast reunited for like audio-comic or something, it would be perfect.  Visually they’ve all aged too much to play twenty somethings, but how cool would it be if they had a graphic novel released with like a audio-book type read through by the cast) is almost magical.  He really has Faith’s voice down, when ever I read her lines and see her Faith-y smile I can just here Eliza Dushku talking in my head(maybe I should get that checked out). 

Having skipped the majority of Season Nine, it was a little awkward transitioning back into the story as much of the story began so en media res.  However the story does an excellent job setting up the rest of the season and the character dynamics.  One of my favorite twists in the comic is the return of everybody’s favorite bunny hater, Anya!  I really felt like her character was the one character I was really itching to see return, Tara’s death was sad but necessary, Anya’s death was super sad but I feel like there was still story left in her.  Her interaction with Xander is classic Anya.  It’s also nice to see this whole Buffy/Spike thing is in a nice place because I was getting a bit sick of this whole scenario….

SPIKE:  Buffy, I love you!

BUFFY:  SPIKE F**K ME, RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW!

SPIKE:  M’kay.

*one building destroying sex session later*

BUFFY:  Spike….I…I love you.

SPIKE(lip begins to quiver and tears fall from eyes):  No Buffy, no you don’t.  (Buffy awkwardly backs away and dials Willow for a ride home, as Spike sobs in the corner)

If there’s one interaction I’m really excited to see it’s Ghost Anya and Dawn, I really can’t wait to see Anya call Xander out on how strange that ship is.  I’m hoping for some more Willow next issue, though as much as I like Kennedy(please don’t stone me), I really don’t want her to go down that route again.  I’d like to see Willow in a nice healthy relationship.  I’m really hoping this Santa Rosita setting is permanent, reminds me of the good old days back at Sunnydale.  There’s some stellar interaction between Dawn and Andrew here, and of course there’s a not so subtle hint or two of his sexuality.  At this point it would be hilarious if everyone just found out that Andrew had been out for years and just never bothered to say it.  The reunion with Giles at the end was perfect.  Also Vicky the vampire is awesome.

Let me start by singling out Rebekah Isaacs, who is a super star.  She is fantastic at likenesses, she gets the look down without it looking like she just traced a photo of Sarah Michelle Gellar.  She also conveys emotion like a champ, the final scene with Buffy and Giles reuniting and Buffy in tears was just perfect.  She also makes the series feel very comic-y, the action shots in particular are excellently done.  She is great at mixing the feel of the live action show with a comic-y environment. 

SOME GREAT QUOTES

“Seriously “Vicky the Vampire””

“Right.  Because “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is downright Shakespearean”

“Billy just decided to live the life he wanted to–to hell with convention or rules.  And he was accepted”

“Oh my God Andrew, you could totally do the same thing.  Why would you think for a second you wouldn’t be accepted?”

“You really think I could be a slayer?”

“A…Slayer.  Of course I do.  Because that’s what you meant.  And me too.”

“So I’m not making this up right?  I’m not just being crazy?”

“Well you’re talking to the ghost of your dead ex-fiancée.  So that’s kind of a loaded question, isn’t it?”

God, such good dialogue.  AHHH SO GOOD!  Overall, this was an excellent opener.  I can’t wait to see where Christos, Rebekah, and eventually Nicholas Brendon(hey that’s real life Xander) take the book.  This is a excellent set up.  Great issue. 

GRADE:  A 95%

    + ANYA’S BACK

   + HUMOR IS HUMOROUS

   + ART IS SO GOOD

   + NOSTALGIA

   + EMOTION

   CONS

  – A LITTLE CONFUSING IF YOU HAVEN’T READ SEASON NINE OF BUFFY, AND I GUESS IF YOU DIDN’T READ ANGEL & FAITH THEN IT IS REALLY CONFUSING

 

 

The 100 Premiere Review/MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW

If we’re going to kill hundreds of innocent people we’re going to do it by the book.

I feel like the CW get’s a really bad rap.  The whole “blah, they cast models!” complaint applies to literally every show on television(HBO and maybe AMC, though look at most of the cast of the “Walking Dead”, are the only channels that cast normal people and HBO makes up for that by having their pretty people get naked all the time).  They’ve also taken strides in the last few years in getting a more diverse lineup of shows, and have been the go to place for  network genre television for the last few years with shows like “Arrow”, “Supernatural”, and “Nikita”(sure there are some duds like “Tomorrow People” but for the most part their genre shows have been great).  Upon seeing the trailer of “The 100” I was left cautiously optimistic, it looked to be a series with a lot of promise, and the creators had described it as CW cable style, so I went into the show with modestly high expectations.  So were they met, exceeded, or did it fall flat?  Read on!

To start let me mention that this show has excellent graphics, especially considering it’s a CW show.  The spaceship setting and the musical score were giving me some “Firefly” flashbacks(funnily enough two of the show’s writers are Whedon affiliated and wrote for “Angel” and “Dollhouse”, also Dichen Lachman of “Dollhouse” is set to guest star as a character named Anya).  The jungle setting also helps differentiate it from the usual Vancouver setting of most CW shows(which was pretty hilarious on this week’s “Arrow”, which despite being an excellent episode, it took me out of it a bit that Markovia looked exactly like Starling City).  The special effects are pretty decent as well. 

The real standout star of the night has to be Henry Ian Cusick.  He does an excellent job and delivers my favorite line the aforementioned “If we’re going to kill a hundred innocent people, we’re going to do it by the book”. It was an excellent quote, and really shows you that this show is going to go in a different direction than some of the other CW shows. The teenage cast is typically quite bratty and unlikable for the most part, but I think that’s somewhat intentional on the writer’s part. I feel that they’re setting up these teens for future character development, also maybe to make it cooler when we get to see them get shot dead with dangerous weapons. The adult cast is superb though, lots of familiar and very talented faces there, the lead actress does a good job as well, but for most of the teens it’s too soon to tell.

As I mentioned I feel the most important moments of the episode is when that one kid get’s killed right at the very end. If one thought the show was going to be one super douche house party in the jungle, this scene definitely clarified that’s not the case. The show seems to be very well aware of the TV tropes that regard CW teen dramas, there are moments when they embrace them within the pilot(which tend to be the weaker elements of it), but this moment where they completely subvert it has me very excited to see what comes next.

Overall, this was a solid pilot. I enjoyed it, I wasn’t amazed or anything, but it has a distinct visual flare and a very talented cast involved, which definitely have me interested. I’ve read reviews that state that show get’s very good around episode three, so I’m definitely going to keep watching. “The 100” may not be anywhere near “Breaking Bad” like Isaiah Washington said(it really isn’t even close, most shows aren’t though), but it’s got a lot of potential, and I have high hopes that it will reach that potential. This was a good pilot(which is quite rare, as most shows really don’t get good till a bit later on), not a great one, but a good one.
GRADE: B 86%
PROS
-Adult Cast
+Visuals are excellent
+Interesting premise and good setup
+ The lead is talented
+ ‘Dat ending
CONS
– Too much douche-y teen stuff
– Teens aren’t fleshed out much yet, but that’s really not be expected this early on
– Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” playing during that one scene was too much.

The Following “Unmasked” Review/MAJOR SPOILERS: All the Bloody Misogyny, Stupidity, and Aggravation You Could Want

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW…

I don’t know if it’s the “Following” that’s changed, or if it’s me.  This season may be fundamentally the same but I just don’t think I can stomach the show for much longer.  I mean this episode was slightly more entertaining than some of the season’s other episodes I’ve seen in terms of hate watching credibility, but I think the effect the show’s stupidity once had on me is fading, and now it’s just pure eye rolling insanity.  Let’s break this shit down quick, before I pull a Poe and drift into insanity. 

So I’ve missed some episodes but Joe, Emma, and some other dude(did Mandy die?  Who else will explain basic plot points to us now?) have sought the help of some cult leader guy.  No offense to the actor himself, because god knows he may very well be a talented actor if in another show, but his acting absolutely horrific(he’s the cult leader guy that looks like Rhys Ifans).  It was terrible.  It did however lead to one of my favorite scene of the episode when Joe diagnoses him as having a group of psychological issues that at no point in the episode he actually exhibits habits of(DID among other things).  It just felt like the writers heard someone listing off psychological illnesses and were like “let’s put that into the script, it’ll make us sound smarter!”, kind of like when as a kid you would learn a new word and would just throw it out there all the time just to impress people(as you incorrectly pronounced it, and used it cases where it wasn’t necessary).  So yeah I thought that bit of dialogue was cute. Classic Poe. 

The writers are definitely building up a ‘ship between Max and Mike.  She walks in on him, post shower, and it’s really awkwardly written.  I really like Max though, she’s probably the only character on this show I actually genuinely like(meaning she’ll be dead by the end of the season am I right?). So Ryan, Mike, and Max think that Mendez(or whatever) is the traitor and decide to follow her, Mike also learns she’s a lesbian which is far more important(“Oh really?”). Oh “Following” writers you silly gooses.

For those of you who love seeing women get their throats slashed open, and get the shit torn out of them this is the episode for you. So much brutal misogyny is on display here, I wonder if in the writer’s room they have a contest to see who can gut the most women(on screen of course) throughout the season(Congrats you win the “Cheesecake Factory” gift card for most mutilated women in one episode!). Because really I see no other excuse for the violence against women(specifically) in this show.

Leslie Bibb, the psycho lesbian wife of Mendez(“The Following’s” TV Tropes page has to be the longest one in the history of television), dies this weeks by blowing her brains out and also slashes Mendez’s stomach and leaves her to bleed out. I really like Leslie Bibb so it’s a relief that she can now go onto the place people go after “The Following”. I’m really surprised Valerie Cruz isn’t a regular on this show given her character’s been in most of the episodes so far and still hasn’t died.

Ryan’s dating the girl who wrote the “Havenport Tragedy”(sort of), then BAM Claire is alive(just when Natalie Zea thought she got out). I’ll admit I liked the Claire reveal, I like that they waited a bit down the rode to reveal it as well(often shows will reveal this sort of thing in the same episode and all consequence feels lost). So how long till Claire and Ryan reunite and Ryan gives Mike a stern talking to about lying to him? Most likely, next episode.

Overall, there was some good(Claire reveal, Max, and….?) which is more than most “Following” episodes can say, but the gratuitous violence is really getting to me. I’m not sure I’ll watch the third season. Since this is the “Following” I’ll grade it on my hate-watch curve.
GRADE: B- 80%
+ Claire reveal while not shocking was well done
+ Max
+ Joe’s psychological evaluations
+ General silliness
—————————-
– Poor Natalie Zea
– Misogyny
– Dead Fake Rhys Ifans Clone’s acting
– General “Following” stupidity

RATE THIS EPISODE IN THE POLL

The Walking Dead “The Grove” Review/MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW…

Just look at the flowers.

This episode was f*cking amazing.  Certainly one of the best episodes the show has ever delivered, absolutely brilliant.  If you haven’t read the comic and plan to, I will be spoiling some things so read at your own cost.  I have long suspected the Lizzie and Mika were the show’s real version of Ben and Billy from the comics.  Turns out I was right, but this episode still managed to shock the shit out of me.  This episode was beautifully written, and was excellently acted by the cast. 

From beginning to end this episode was just perfectly put together.  I’ve often been very critical of the show’s attempts at being deep, as they often come off very heavy handed.  Not here, Jesus, this, this was just a superb hour of television.  I definitely wasn’t expecting to be as blown away as I was tonight.

Melissa McBride has done wonders for the character of Carol, the character itself has been much better developed by the writers.  In the comic Carol was just kind of a kinky bizarre character who never really had much impact on the story, but the writers have sort of blended her character arc with that of the comic’s version of Carl(not a spelling error), and it works stupendously.  The final scene with Lizzie and Carol was just breathtaking, Melissa McBride killed it.  Everyone did, but she really stood out tonight.  Fantastic performances tonight.  

The script was just flawless.  The dialogue between Carol and the girls was amazing, the suspense the episode was building up,  Carol’s confession to Tyreese, and the final detail of the dear appearing was all just perfect.  This episode isn’t just this season’s “Clear”, it beats “Clear”, it absolutely demolishes “Clear”.  I’ve said this was probably the best episode of the show, I was wrong, I know this is the best episode of the show(objectively of course, just my opinion). 

Overall, this episode was sublime.  Best episode all season, best episode of the whole series(in my opinion), and one of the best hours of television I’ve seen this year(key word is “this year”, but that doesn’t negate the episode in any way). 

  GRADE:  A+ 100%