Archive for category English Television
Let’s be honest. I watched this show purely to see Jensen Ackles (who is in Season 2). But I only watched the first season and about half the second.
It’s a pretty good plot. The story is about a woman named Max who, as a child, escaped from a government facility where she was created and raised as a super-soldier. Officially they are called “Transgenic” because of superior gene splicing involved in the creation of each child in her unit. Each child has the same genetic flaw though- a mistake in the wiring of their brain that gives them seizures if they don’t take certain medication. Max and all the children in her unit were separated and Max grew up in Seattle, trying in her spare time to find the others like her. She works for a delivery service and becomes involved with Logan, a genius who is stuck in a wheelchair after a shooting and fights to bring the government down.
The timeline is a bit strange. Supposedly the story takes place in the near future (like 10 years or so) after an EM pulse from an enemy country knocks out the computers in the US. The government then turns into some kind of dictatorship, though the political side isn’t really emphasized or shown.
Max is being hunted by the military leader who trained her in the first place. She, in turn, begins to find leads on other transgenics via Logan’s help. Each episode has it’s own specific story arc and little bits fit into the whole, so that’s just the overarching plot.
It’s decent in a sci-fy sense and it was quite unique in 2000 when it first aired.
Jessica Alba has the lead as Max, with Michael Weatherly taking on the role of Logan. Weatherly does a pretty great job, but Alba is kind of the weak link. Her acting is a bit erratic, sometimes it’s quite stiff, other times it seems overly sympathetic. A lot of that may have been the writing though.
The real points here are taken off for a lot of the guest stars and supporting actors. Not all are bad, some do a solid job, but others are shaky and give it almost a community theater feel.
This director takes the invisible stance here. Attention isn’t drawn towards it in any positive or negative way, so I don’t have anything real to say here.
Max’s character can best be described as an ultra-pro feminist. She’s also pretty sassy, so a lot of the times she comes off as being very girl-power. It’s not a huge deal, just sometimes the writers throw in awkward lines that fall flat and, after a while, just begin to annoy.
This show is decent, it’s engaging and all, it just doesn’t hold strong in your memory. You’re paying strong attention while you’re watching, you just don’t have a strong motivator to show for the next.
I know I already reviewed the first part of the show, but now I’m going to finish it out ^^
About halfway through series 4 it begins to become less of a show where you do not have to watch in order and more of a story based theme. Each season had it’s own overarching plot, with the Winchester brothers fighting some evil thing or another. Here is the breakdown season to season, if you don’t worry about spoilers.
Season 1: The Winchester brothers hunt for their missing father and on the way fight ghosts, demons and monsters. They are also seeking out the demon who killed their mother.
Season 2: Sam and Dean’s father gives his life to bring Dean back from the brink of death. Now Sam and Dean must hunt down the yellow eyed demon to avenge their mother and father. Sam fears his growing powers as some kind of connection to the demon who fed him blood as a baby and wishes only to prove he is not going to become evil.
Season 3: Dean trades his soul for Sam’s life and is given one year to live before he is dragged down into hell. Dean is glad to finally be at the end of his line, but he is pulled along by Sam to try to break the deal and find out who the demon is that holds his contract.
Season 4: Dean is back from Hell suddenly and without explanation. While he was gone for only 4 months the time span in hell equals 40 years of violent and horrific tortures. He tries to forget, but Sam wants to know. Meanwhile Sam has a secret relationship with Ruby, the demon who appears to be their new ally. Dean also meets Castiel, the angel who pulled him out of hell. The brothers try to stop Lilith, the first demon, who is trying to break the seals and set Lucifer free.
Season 5: Sam, intoxicated on the demon blood, accidentally breaks Lucifer from his cage, walking into a trap Ruby set for him. He tries to make amends while the brothers avoid demons and angels who wish them to allow the archangel Michael to possess Dean and Lucifer to possess Sam in order to bring the apocalypse into full swing.
Season 6: Dean’s been living a normal life for a year- a beautiful girlfriend and her son who he loves. But suddenly Sam reappears, not trapped in Lucifer’s cage after all. One trick though- his soul is still trapped and is being tortured. Dean gets it back into his body, but a barrier has been put up between the memories of hell that will kill him. On top of all this is Castiel, leading the angels in civil war, and Crowley, the new King of Hell who seems to be looking for a gateway to Purgatory and the souls locked inside.
The latter half of the series shows a huge improvement in the acting. The Winchesters look less pretty-boy and a bit more rugged. Sam is less puppy dog and a bit tougher. More and more we see the comedic side of the Winchesters, especially in Series 6. We also see more of Bobby, the Brother’s father-figure and the guy they go to for help.
Episodes are directed by a range of people, and one episode in Season 6 is directed by series star Jensen Ackles himself. There is no instance where it stands out that the directing is bad, so I’d say overall it’s pretty consistently great.
Watch. This. Show.
Especially the Season 6 episode “The French Mistake”, in which Sam and Dean are thrown into an alternate reality where their names are Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, and they are actors on the TV show “Supernatural”. The whole show makes fun of the two, and Jared Padalecki even told the writers if they were making a parody of their real life they should poke as much fun at him as possible. And they do.
I started watching this show because my followers on tumblr are huge fans of it and I was always seeing these funny GIFs (moving pictures), so I gave it a shot.
The show is about two brothers who hunt demons/ghosts/monsters. Basically it all started when the youngest brother, Sam, was a baby. His mother was killed by a demon and his father became obsessed with hunting down anything evil and supernatural he could and killing it. He brought his sons along and trained them to hunt demons as well. Sam left the family and became estranged when he went to Stanford to become a tax lawyer (thrills~). One day, out of the blue, Dean (his older brother) shows up at the apartment Sam shares with his girlfriend (who knows nothing of hunting) and tells him he needs his help, their father is missing while going hunting (what they call going to track down ghosts and such). He reluctantly agrees to help, and the duo defeats a ghost, but their father has already left the down. He claims to be on the track of the demon who killed their mother, but he wants Sam and Dean to hunt down anything evil and supernatural on their own. Sam returns home angrily, refusing to take part, but finds his girlfriend killed the exact same way as his mother.
The series has a different overarching theme for each season, Season 1 is based around the hunt for their father and the yellow-eyed demon who killed their mother. Season 2 also deals with the yellow eyed demon, but it is more of a setup for Season 3 & 4.
It gets high marks in the plot department because each episode is like watching a short horror movie. They are not outright terrifying, in my opinion they start off scary and by the end aren’t as creepy. The ghosts pop up out of nowhere, but they aren’t made to look too over the top horrible. Some of the ghosts are creative killers, but it isn’t overly graphic. It’s creepy or scary without being so over the top as to lose casual thriller movie viewers.
Season 1 is a little rough on the part of Sam, in my opinion. Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) is a good actor, it’s just his character is kind of overly moody and is definitely supposed to be the brooding moody one. Around season 2 he starts to turn it around and by season 3 & 4 he’s a lot tougher and more fun overall. Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) is absolutely hilarious. He is supposed to be the “good” brother, the one who stuck by their dad and actually came to love hunting demons. He’s the toughie, guns, beer, and porn, though none of them are overdone (Don’t worry, it’s a clean show). I watch the show mostly to see him, though the relationship between the two “brothers” is brilliant. As the show progresses they get a bit more snippy, which I really enjoy. The two leads are also supposed to be pranksters and best friends on set, which I think shows in their characters, there is a genuine bromance ^^
I don’t like judging the directing of a TV show because most of the time there are multiple directors. I will address the overall filming style though. It’s pretty consistent, but in Seasons 1 and 2 the colors are washed out a lot more. It is almost like a thin layer of black and white was placed on top of things. The guys are vampire-pale and the blacks pop a lot more. Seasons 3 & 4 have more color, and Season 2 makes the swing from the overly light format to more “normal” filming colors.
I’m not a huge fan of scary stuff, but I really like this show. Most of the time I look at the ghosts through my fingers, not gonna lie, I’m 20 and I still do that, but I really like the show. It’s heading into it’s 7th season, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of season 4 through season 6 develop!
Here is a clip from the show (a behind the scenes) and a trailer for season 1! I highly recommend watching the first three episodes to get a feel for it and see what you think!
Season 1 Trailer
Funny clip (Dean Winchester/ Jensen Ackles)
I’m basing this analysis off of the 3 episode preview on netflix, so don’t take it as gospel. When I watch the whole first season I will post another review.
“Sherlock” is a modern-day version of the Sherlock Holmes series. It acts as if the Sherlock books never existed, so it isn’t like they draw any attention to the original books. Sherlock is a Consulting Detective for the London Police, and seems to do some freelance stuff on his own. He’s antisocial and won’t take a case unless he personally is interested. He’s extremely blunt and narrow minded and has no friends. Watson is a veteran of the Afghanistan war who was shot and discharged from the military. He is a medical doctor and worked to that effect in the war.
An old friend of Watson’s is catching up with him when he mentions he is looking for a place to lodge and a roommate, but doesn’t think anyone would agree to live with him. The friend says that is a laugh, because another person he knows said the same thing that morning. That other person is, of course, Sherlock. Sherlock decides he likes Watson to a degree and agrees to having him come live with him. Watson is attracted by Sherlock’s crime solving and so becomes his accomplice.
The actor playing Watson, Martin Freeman, is a good actor. He played Arthur Dent in “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. This role has more dimension, and his acting has improved tremendously since that film. I have no issues with him here- I think he fits the character most naturally and he is the most fun to watch. The point off goes mostly to the guest stars, and a bit to Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock. I think he goes a little further than the character requires and it feels more like there are two Sherlocks. Sometimes he is a little funnier, and sometimes more serious. I’m not sure if it is his acting, or if the writers are just a bit inconsistent.
I like the style this director goes for. Whenever someone gets a text or an e-mail or really anything that needs to be read they don’t show you a shot of the phone/computer/note. They actually put what it says in white letters that kind of float off to the side. I like this approach much more. It feels less cliche and more natural. You see it pretty quickly in the first episode, so if you don’t understand what I’m saying then don’t worry, you’ll see.
Overall I think I have only one big complaint for this show: it’s too long. Each episode is around an hour and a half long. With how complicated the cases are I totally understand the need for long episodes that let it flow naturally, but my attention starts to wander. It’s one of those sticky areas: they definitely need the time or the show wouldn’t be good, but it still feels like too much. I don’t know, you might disagree with me there. But when you sit down to watch the show be prepared for a mini movie.
I could only find a fan-made trailer, but I think it’s OK. Not great, but better than the others I saw.
I don’t see a major plotline season-to-season with this show, so I’m just bundling all 4 seasons together, though I don’t see any reason to watch past season 3, it goes downhill big time.
This is a difficult series to describe. We’ll start with the Netflix description and see if any expansion is necessary.
“At the posh Hotel Babylon, manager Rebecca Mitchell (Tamzin Outhwaite) and her staff cater to the whims of their rich and famous guests, regardless of their less-than-stellar behavior.”
That’s definitely off. The show isn’t about manager Rebecca. The series is (through season 3) led by Charlie, the assistant manager of the Hotel. Basically Hotel Babylon is about the staff of the hotel. The 5 key players are Charlie, Anna (head receptionist), the concierge, the head of housekeeping, and the bartender. There are some other characters who you see in most of the episodes, but these 5 drive the storyline, especially through seasons 1 and 2.
Generally the show is about these 5 people and how they react with the guests at the Hotel Babylon, a luxury 5-star hotel. It has an overarching narration that teaches something about hotels or describes them in some way, think Scrubs and you’ve got it. Except these aren’t doctors. They follow 1-2 guests an episode, their specific needs, and how the hotel works to fill those needs.
I included this separate section because the plot description isn’t very thrilling. I’m not sure where exactly it comes from, but the show is actually quite addicting. It’s a good way to kill some time. I personally suffer from near chronic insomnia, and this show is something to watch and wile away the hours (Hell, I’m watching it again while writing this, Season 1, Epsiode 2 is kind of~~~). It was never a show that was going to last for a long time, but it’s still nice to watch.
The show looks at the glamor of a 5-star hotel, but you also see the areas only staff works. I’m not deluded into thinking this is really how it works backstage, but there’s dirt on the floors, the walls are chipped and scuffed, and the cafeteria looks like somewhere you would find a cockroach in your food. It’s an interesting contrast visually. I also like how you see the the way the staff handles customers vs how they speak normally to one another.
The acting is, for the most part, pretty good. My main complaint is against Anna and Rebecca. Rebecca seems a little overdone. Her moods swing pretty fast, but that might just be a minor flaw in the writing. Anna’s voice is a little too high, and she seems way too flippant. Between seasons she goes through a massive personality change, hence the dip in points there as well.
In the series my favorite is Dexter Fletcher (the concierge Tony). He’s funny to watch and seems to be firmly comfortable in his role.
This director goes for the invisible approach: most of the time you don’t notice the cuts. I’m not sure if there is one director for the series, or multiple directors (some shows have directors handle 1-2 episodes a season), but it feels pretty consistent and balanced well.
Like I said, after Season 3 it goes downhill fast. The writing gets bad, the acting quality shoots through the floor in response, and even the best director in the world wouldn’t be able to handle it. I myself stopped watching 5 episodes in. I won’t tell you the major change in that last season, it would be a plot spoiler, but you can give season 4 a shot yourself and see how it goes. Season 4 kind of stands out on it’s own anyways, the end of Season 3 could have been a series finale with no problems.
There isn’t much to say on this show. For how much it tries to built up it’s image episode by episode there isn’t anything memorable. I started watching it again on a whim. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good show, but it’s more of an enjoyable way to kill time than it is outright entertaining. Though, if you’ve worked in the hotel business you might get more of a kick out of it, like how IT people enjoy “The IT Crowd”.
It may seem like it at first glance, but there isn’t much sex or nudity in this show as you’d think. There are a lot of lead-in sex scenes or lead-out (you see them pulling their jackets back on or falling onto the bed), but nothing as strong as you see on Showtime or late-night HBO. As far as Age-Range goes I’d say… 15+ or maybe 16+, though there is no specific age range that I can think of who would enjoy the show regularly. That’s what is hard about time-kill shows. They don’t have a specific genre. I was 19 when I first watched it and I enjoyed it alright.
I watched this whole show over the course of like 3 weeks @_@ and I watched the first 7 episodes over again on my flight back from Korea ^^
The show tends to be broken by season, so there isn’t really an over-arching series plot. I’ll give a rough description of each season for you:
This historically loose but visually lush series toasts the world of the Tudors in the days when King Henry VIII was a handsome and charming 25-year-old with athletic abilities and sexual prowess. The young king indulges his voracious taste for ladies-in-waiting, hangs out with his entourage of nobles and makes momentous political decisions.
That’s the NetFlix breakdown, so it’s kind of vague… Basically season 1 of the show begins near the end of the marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon, his first wife who could only produce Princess Mary successfully amongst dozens of still births. He is seduced by the Boleyn family, first Catherine and then her little sister Anne. Anne manages to keep Henry VIII’s attentions exclusively on her while withholding sex. Henry decides to divorce Catherine in favor of Anne and, to accomplish this, makes a break from the Catholic church in Rome. Season 1 ends with the death of Henry’s wicked Cardinal Wolsey.
In the second season of the hit series, King Henry VIII secretly has his marriage to Katherine declared invalid and weds Anne Boleyn, prompting the pope to excommunicate the king. Meanwhile, some of Henry’s old friends and allies fall out of favor.
Season 2 is almost entirely about his relationship with Anne Boleyn. Henry first weds, then slowly begins to fall out with his new wife. As Anne becomes more and more overbearing and steers the king to have her political enemies executed Henry meets Lady Jane Seymour. She is the refreshing aspect of his life, eager to help the king back from his bloody path. Anne is arrested and charged with adultery, a capital offense. The season concludes with the execution of his second wife and marriage to Lady Jane.
The sexually insatiable King Henry VIII romances third wife Jane Seymour and ruthlessly quashes an uprising of rebels protesting England’s break with Rome in the third season of the drama. But distension within his own ranks leads Henry to question the loyalty of his closest allies.
Another bad description I think. Henry’s relationship with Lady Jane Seymour is (as anyone who is familiar with Henry VIII knows) very short. After successfully giving birth to a son Lady Jane dies, leaving Henry heartbroken. Season 3 follows through his mourning of Jane into the marriage (and subsequent divorce) of his short-term wife and long-time friend and “sister” Anne of Cleves. He also is introduced and falls in love with fifth wife Catherine Howard. In this season King Henry’s daughter, Princess Mary enters as one of the lead characters. She is devoted to the memory of her mother and secretly Catholic, prompting a close alliance with the Ambassador from the Holy Roman Emperor (her cousin). Later in the season Princess Elizabeth (Anne’s daughter) also begins to make appearances.
Season 4 is pretty much Catherine Howard and the end of King Henry VIII’s life. In some episodes Princess Mary is more of a lead character, and Princess Elizabeth appears a little more. The show ends with the death of King Henry VIII. In the last episode he begins to see flashes of his dead wives.
The acting in this series is absolutely incredible. Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays King Henry VIII excellently (though Henry never looses his perfect fitness, unlike in real life). It is kind of ironic that Henry VIII is being played by a Scottish actor (England and Scotland were enemies traditionally), but his accent is excellent.
My personal favorite actors of the series are Henry Cavill (who plays King Henry’s closest friend Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk). He is a major player in each season of the show. Not only is he fun to look at, but his character shows the most growth in the series. My other favorite is Sarah Bolger, who plays the Princess Mary. She does an INCREDIBLE job, and she holds the role from when Mary was around age 12 to when she is supposed to be in her early 20s, and fits the role perfectly at all times.
Every now and then you get metaphorical scenes that don’t really make sense, and one of the last scenes of the series (the one with the horse, anyone who has seen the show will know what I’m talking about) is downright corny, but overall it is an excellent job. The style is not anything impressive or new, but he does a flawless and natural job, so you never notice a scene cut and it all feels as though you really are watching this live.
The costume director needs an award… now. The costumes here are absolutely gorgeous. Each Queen has her own style that lends itself to how her personality is supposed to be. Catherine of Aragon was very dark and serious, Anne Boleyn was sleek and sharp, Lady Jane was soft and bright, Anne of Cleves was darker and a mix of styles, Catherine Howard’s clothes were too big and too bright, like a child playing dress-up, and Catherine Parr is very simple. I absolutely loved the dresses on the female characters. The guys were a little repetitive, but still interesting to watch. My only issue is that a few of the dresses Anne Boleyn wears look nothing like a dress that would be worn in the 1500s in England…
This show is no where near historically accurate, just a warning to history fans. You get the basics of major events, but a lot of stuff is glossed over or simply left out. If you can accept the mistakes then you should have no trouble enjoying the show.
Each season description goes out of its way to point out how King Henry was focused on sex. In reality there isn’t as much sex in the show as you would expect. Yeah, in some episodes you see a lot of skin, but I’d say that maybe every season there are 2-3 episodes that have a strong sex scene or multiple sex scenes within the episode. Other than that it is dialed down a lot. As the series progresses (with the exception of the episodes dealing with Catherine Howard) there is less and less. A warning though: in Season 4 the sex scenes with Howard start to look like something from a porno. In that season I’d say you have maybe 4 sex-heavy episodes.
All in all I REALLY enjoyed this show. The costumes were beautiful, the sets incredible, and the acting phenomenal. I know that the show was mainly about Henry VIII’s reign, but I really wish they had decided to continue through Prince Edward’s short period on the throne and at least through the reign of Princess Mary. They don’t necessarily have to show the reign of Elizabeth, since there are already many shows and movies about that, but I would have liked to see more of the other two kids. Other than that though this was a brilliantly done show, absolutely incredible.
Wow- first TV review in a while that’s for an English show!
This is a really rare English show where it didn’t keep going beyond season 1. Ok, so that’s not that rare, but what’s rare here is that the producers actually intended for it to end so soon. The show has a defined beginning and end, much like the style of Asian dramas. There’s no space filler episodes, everything works towards one determined end.
The plot of Harpers Island can’t be explained before you know a couple of things: the first is that this is not a show for kids, on any level. It’s gory. If it were a movie it would be PG-13 no doubt, maybe even R. So before you run off and rent it or watch it on netflix remember to get the kids out of the room until you preview it and decide if it is too gory for them or not. The second thing is that there is a secret hidden in the episode titles themselves: each title (for those of you who haven’t seen the series) is onomatopoeic.. That’s my big word of the review. Basically each title is a sound effect (I’ll list the eps for you). That sound effect describes and hints at how someone in that episode will die. For example the episode Thwack. In Thwack the victim won’t die of drowning, since the sound doesn’t correspond to someone drowning.
Ok- now the plot! I don’t want to give anything away so I’m just going to type for you the plot description online with a few adjustments as needed.
The story is about the wedding of Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington, which takes place on Harper’s Island. One of the guests, Abby Mills, is still haunted by the murders that happened there seven years before, caused by John Wakefield. These murders claimed the life of her mother and eventually Wakefield was killed by her father. Since them the island has been calm and quiet, until suddenly the wedding guests begin to die one by one, and everyone is a suspect. The guests must unlock the secrets of Harper’s Island and of Wakefield himself to determine if he is back from the dead or if a copycat is among the group.
In each episode one more from the wedding party dies, and the survivors get closer to finding the truth, and becoming a victim themselves.
The show had a pretty big budget, and you can totally tell that, but the director did an amazing job of keeping the effects where they belong. There are no useless shots in this show and the deaths are simple and quick, not over-emphasized or with too-strong effects.
The cast was good, but for the post part they were either unknowns or backup characters from other TV shows, no major players other than Richard Burgi, at least not that I recognized. They all did a fantastic job with their characters, and you really get no hints as to who the killer is from the actors. But there is a reason for that: none of the actors knew who it was either. The director the single greatest thing a director can do when filming a show like this: he told the actors nothing. Each week of the shoot they were given their script and they found out that week who was leaving the cast and who was still employed. Only Richard Burgi knew when he would die, and that was because his death was seen as a turning point in the storyline. Christopher Gorham and Katie Cassidy (Henry Dunn and Trish Wellington respectively) revealed in an interview that each week the cast would place bets on who would be the one to die in next week’s shoot, and who the killer would be at the end.
If the actors don’t even know if they are the killers then they can’t drop little hints which give away the ending. You really don’t get any hints whatsoever, and that is why I like this show. After watching the first few episodes you can’t say exactly how it will end, you might be able to predict an episode ahead if you’re clever, but you can’t point and say “Ok, she (or he) is the killer)”.
I don’t know if you can tell from my review, but I’m giving this probably the highest recommendation of any English show I have reviewed. I absolutely LOVE this show, even though frankly if it were a movie I’d never watch it. People die, but it isn’t a shock fest. It is a very thought out and planned story, and I think it is the best to ever appear. Making it a one season wonder was probably the best idea ever, and I don’t know how the producers talked CBS into funding it, but they should go for more things like this.
I read somewhere that there was a plan to make a kind of sequel to Harper’s Island. Not necessarily with the same characters (those that survive) or in the same location, but the same type of murder mystery storyline. There was something similar in the works, and if it pans out I hope they stuck with the same writer. I’ll post a couple of fan-made trailers below, they’re really the best work I’ve ever seen as far as summing up this show without giving it away and they give you a great feeling for how things progress. You can get it on iTunes, and I think it’s the only show I have in my iTunes where I bought every single episode, not just one or two.
I’m going to ruin the end for you: the dog in the trailer doesn’t die in the show (I know, I totally blew the ending, sorry!). That’s for those of you who, like me, get really nervous about cute fluffy pets dying in movies or shows.
This is the best fan-made trailer I’ve ever seen