Monday, November 26, 2012

Secret Boyfriend of the Week: zombie edition

In the event of zombie apocalypse, you want someone by your side with the following qualifications.

--excellent fighter;

--handy with a crossbow;

--doesn't give away your position by constantly running his mouth;

--a streak of crazy;

--and of course, hotness.

Look no further than The Walking Dead's, Daryl Dixon (played by Normal Reedus). He'll save your life with his crossbow and survival and tracking skills, and then save your heart (and other parts) from loneliness with his manly ways.

Hellooooo, nurse.

Sure, he may not be classically handsome. And when we first met him he was a redneck racist asshole with a dash of sociopathy. But Daryl has undergone the most growth of any other character on The Walking Dead. He's now the most loyal member of Rick's group, constantly going into harm's way to save other characters and he spent almost the entire second season trekking through the woods looking for the long-lost Sophia. He's also shown a remarkable capacity for compassion, and has become besties with Carol, who has also undergone some recent character rehab. 

But whatever. The dude is good looking and is a badass zombie killer with a crossbow. He seems to have gotten over that whole racist thing and he would be my number one draft pick in the fantasy zombie apocalypse survival game. It also doesn't hurt that the Norman Reedus was on my radar long before The Walking Dead from the Boondock Saints movies. If you haven't seen them before, I really recommend checking them out, if nothing else for Norman Reedus' adorable irish accent. 

In Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti.

I am loving season 3 of The Walking Dead this year and think it's the best season of the show so far. And my favorite plot point thus far is the future (and clearly eventual) reunion of Daryl with his brother, Merle. Merle is clearly still a grade A douchebag, and I can't wait for him and the new Daryl to butt heads. Hopefully the new Daryl will remember that his loyalties lie with his new family of survivors, rather than his jerk-face brother. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Recapping AHS: Baby, I Was Born This Way


Oh my God, you guys. I've been a little worried that this show wasn't going to live up to the thoroughly ridiculous crazy from last year. So far, we just haven’t seen anything that over the top, you know? Yeah, not after this episode. To begin - A thoroughly modern phone rings and 911 answers a call from a man’s voice saying that the police are needed at Briarcliff and that he has taken care of “the impostors . Modern day cops arrive at the Briarcliff ruins to find the bodies of the three teenagers dressed as Bloody Face suspended in the air.

"So wat's up?" "Nuthin. Just hangin out."

Act I! In 1964, a woman brings her young daughter to the asylum after it appears that the little girl, Jenny, murdered her friend and then dispassionately blamed a man with a beard and a brown jacket in a totally unconvincing way. Lana awakes in a comfortable bed and someone cooking in the distance. As she comes to, she realizes she’s still in Thredson’s torture chamber, although at least the bed is real. Thredson is making her tomato soup and sandwiches because that’s what polite killers do for their victims. Thredson says the sandwiches are the “perfect mommy snack”, but that he never had a mother because he was abandoned as a child and then grew up in an orphanage. Thredson always knew he was different, but it wasn't until Medical school that he really understood about himself when he encountered a female cadaver, which he came to believe was a sort of surrogate for his real mother. He felt compelled to be close to the cadaver, finding her body in a gross anatomy class and eventually stripping down and laying next to her and OH HOLY GOD WE JUST WENT RIGHT INTO NECROPHILIA WITH A CORPSE THAT HE WANTS TO BE HIS MOTHER OH MY GOD!!! He says the experience was only marred by how cold and stiff the cadaver’s skin was, even after he removed it. Thus, he decided to start off with fresher bodies and began murdering the women that he has now framed Kit for. 

Forever unclean...

Meanwhile, Mr. Goodman calls Sister Jude to say that he’s made a breakthrough and even though Anne wasn't really Anne Frank, her information was accurate and Arden is, in fact, Hans Gruber. Goodman asks Jude for Arden’s fingerprint. In a local hospital, Monsignor has agreed to deliver Last Rights for a Jane Doe who is extremely defiled and suffering from TB in addition to many other diseases. No surprise, the Jane Doe is Shelly looking not long for the world.

Act II! Flashback to 1962 as Monsignor meets Arden for the first time when Briarcliff was still a sanitarium. Arden is the supervising physician. Monsignor delivers Last Rights for the few remaining patients as they die and then assists Arden in disposing of the bodies in the crematorium. With Briarcliff is shutting down, Arden fears his research developing a drug that would boost the immune system will be over. Back in 1964, Monsignor watches helplessly as Shelly appears to finally die before confronting Arden directly in his office, saying Jude was right about him and that he is a monster. Arden sees the inmates as evolutionary failures, including one whom who has caught masturbating while spying on Sister Eunice as she undresses in her room and is now his latest test subject. By infecting them with both TB and Syphilis, Arden believes that they are now “more than human” and that the research will get American through an inevitable Russian nuclear attack. Monsignor is all, hells no, I’m reporting you, but Arden says that doing that will expose him too. Wonder what that’s about? Arden says Monsignor can avoid anything by getting rid of Jude. In the kitchen, Eunice is cutting vegetables with Jenny. Eunice eggs Jenny on, saying that the friend she murdered was totes asking for it and Jenny shouldn't apologize for anything. Eunice reveals her own tortured past trying to be friends with a bunch of Mean Girls who tricked her into disrobing at a pool party in front of a cute boy. Jenny is skeptical, but Eunice confesses that she’s actually the devil, so take that, little psychopathic kid. And BTW, God is totally false, you know that right? This scene is kind of amazing and I totally want to see more of Demon Eunice and the child murderer.

Maybe a cooking show?

Upstairs, Monsignor tells Jude to pack her bags – he’s arranged for her to be transferred to a girls’ home in Pittsburgh. Jude knows Arden is behind this and that he’s turned Monsignor against her.

Act III! Jude packs her bags as Eunice informs her that Jenny’s mother has come back to pick her up. Jude tearfully tells her that she’s leaving Briarcliff, but she’s not going to leave Eunice at the mercy of Arden. In his house, Thredson takes a call from Kit from the prison who wants to know what the hell is up with that taped confession? Thredson is all hey man, sucks to be you. Lana takes advantage of the distraction to try to saw through the chains holding her leg to the bed, but Thredson comes back to the torture room before she can get free. When he sees what she’s done he says that she is just like all the others and not Mommy at all. He ties her arms to the bed and dons the Bloody Face mask. In her room, Eunice has put on Jude’s red slip and dances around her room provocatively while singing along to “You Don’t Own Me” at the crucifix on her wall. Seriously, am I the only one who really digs this demon’s sense of humor? A phone rings – it’s Goodman looking for Sister Jude. Jude brings some cognac to Arden in his lab, offering him a toast to his success at getting her kicked out. Jude says she’s always been a good sport and offers a glass, which Arden eventually accepts, leaving a nice convenient fingerprint. In his hotel room, Goodman answers a knock at the door – it’s Sister Eunice.

Act IV! Jude arrives at Goodman’s hotel room to a phone ringing and the door open. She answers the phone, but no one responds on the other end of the line. It’s then that she notices a VERY bloody Goodman lying in the bathroom with a shard of mirror sticking out of his neck. Goodman manages to get out that a nun did this. Eunice, meanwhile, is confronting Arden with Goodman’s evidence, but tells him she’s taken care of it, although she has hidden some evidence herself in case he tries to double-cross her. Arden insists that he isn't a monster, he’s a visionary and the Nazi hunters are just "money-grubbing Jews", which kinda damages his case. Eunice tells him he just needs to trust her “with your entire soul” and everything will work out. Meanwhile, Jenny is up to her old tricks, having murdered her entire family and again dispassionately giving the story about the man with a beard and a brown coat being the culprit. Back in his torture room, Thredon starts to cut off Lana’s clothes while still wearing the mask. He admits that he’s been watching Lana for some time now, going back to when Lana first took an interest as Kit was initially brought in by the police. Lana, sensing her only option, tells him that she understands and that she doesn't want him to feel guilty because a mother’s love is unconditional. She calls him her baby and Thredson tearfully removes the mask before cuddling up to her like an infant and starting to nurse from her breast. In the modern day, cops pull down the three bodies and report that the call came from Leo’s phone. They find Leo, sans arm, in the next room. Suddenly, a phone rings. It’s in another room, being held by Leo’s arm. The detectives answer it and hear the man’s voice, who says he only killed the impostors  Cut to another torture room and another Bloody Face, standing over Teresa who is strapped to a table.

Next week – Sister Eunice gets wicked and apparently there’s an angel? Sure. Why not.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Have you met my friend, Ted?

What happened to How I Met Your Mother?

Seriously, you guys. I watched the first two seasons of the show and was pretty entertained. At that time anything with Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, and Alyson Hannigan was a pretty safe bet. I admit to being charmed by Ted (played by...oh really, who cares) and Robin Sparkles was kind of the funniest thing ever. Let's go to the mall, indeed.

Those were the good old days.

But then more and more new shows started and HIMYM was sacrificed on the alter of time management. There were just too many shows airing and an old fashioned style sitcom wasn't high on the list of my priorities. So I took about a...oh, five year break from the show.

Last week I traveled to Los Angeles to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and adorable one year old nephew. With a baby in the house, there's not a lot of time for tv watching, so my brother and SIL only get in about one hour per day after the baby has hit the hay. My brother has remained a steadfast HIMYM fan, so we settled in to watch the most recent two episodes.

And you guys. It was TERRIBLE. The jokes were flat, the acting was stilted, and even NPH couldn't save it. Even the usually reliable Alyson Hannigan was...just bad. I mean, I can't explain it! I remembered the show being adorable with likeable characters, but this was just bland and flat and like watching any other badly written sitcom from the last five years.

Can anybody explain to me what happened? I've heard rumblings that people were getting tired of the core "who is the mother?" mystery dragging on and on and I can understand that. But did everyone involved with the show just get really lazy and start phoning it in?

What happened?

But I think the way to fix this is just to make a Robin Sparkles spin-off prequel. I would watch the SHIT out of that.


YES.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Recapping AHS: You’ve Got the Cutest Little Bloody Face


As we begin, Jude is out of the habit and arriving at the apartment of a Mr. Goodman at the urging of Mother Claudia following last week’s conversation. Jude asks Goodman if he requires payment, but he demurs saying he sees what he does as a calling. Jude gives the man, clearly a Nazi hunter, the lowdown on Arden. Goodman tells Jude about Operation Paper Clip and says that if Arden is indeed a former Nazi doctor, he’ll have a tattoo of his blood type on his bicep. In the asylum, Anne has dragged Arden by gunpoint to Sister Eunice. She demands to see Jude, but is stopped by Frank the security guard.

Act I! Jude is waiting over a sedated Anne in her cell, something she has a tendency to do. Anne tells Jude to check Arden’s lab for the “monster” that she saw there. Arden has been taken to the hospital, so Jude doesn’t have much time. Jude has already done this, but found nothing, certainly not Shelly. Meanwhile, Anne’s husband has arrived. He reports that her real name is Charlotte and that she started acting strange after their son was born, reading Anne Frank’s diary and seeing a play about her. Charlotte even went so far as to tattoo her own arm with an Auschwitz number and filling a room with newspaper clippings about the Nazis.  Dr. Thredson overhears this and suggests that it sounds like post-partum depression. Jude agrees that Anne should be returned to her home and kept out of the asylum. Anne is brought to the lobby, but insists that she doesn’t know her husband and that she really is Anne Frank. Once her husband shows her a picture of her with their infant son, however, she begins to remember and allows herself to be escorted out. Something tells me she’ll be back. Thredson, meanwhile, wants to know why Jude is going to sterilize Kit and Grace.  Jude is all Whatever, my house, my rules. In their separate cells, Kit and Grace try to comfort each other. Kit says that Alma always wanted kids, so this sterilization thing is, like, harsh, yo! Grace says no one is to blame but Jude, who Grace thinks is the devil. Cue Sister Eunice’s sudden arrival. Very sly, show! Eunice tells Kit that Jude has changed her mind and that he will not be sterilized, however Grace is not going to be so lucky. As Kit is released from solitary, Grace screams and cowers in her room. As the night drags on and she is left alone, a bright light appears at her door, shaking everything.

"Get away from her, you bitch!  Oh, sorry - wrong movie. Carry on."

Act II! Thredson tells Lana to be ready to leave at 6pm in the lobby. He then goes to Kit for another session, bringing along a tape recorder. He tells Kit that maybe if he heard his own voice recounting his crimes, that will trigger his memory of what really happened. Ummm…’kay. Anyway, Kit agrees and begins to make a recording. Meanwhile, Grace is strapped naked to a table somewhere very white with an extremely pregnant Alma who tells her not to fight. Suddenly there are aliens cutting into Grace’s abdomen as she screams. In her office, Jude’s Nazi theory about Arden has taken a hit with the revelations about Anne. Arden has returned using a cane with a wolf’s head to walk with. Jude attempts to apologize and start afresh with him, but he tells her that he’s going to press charges against her, claiming that her ineptitude caused his injury and that he will demand of Monsignor that she be removed from the asylum. Arden retreats to his rooms to change the bandage on his leg and finds Eunice waiting for him. She offers to help, apologizing for her sexy talk previously and then getting down on her knees in front of him because Sister got GAME, you guys! Eunice admits she was the one who dragged Shelly out of the lab and into the woods before she could be found. Eunice believes once Jude is gone, Arden will take over and he’ll need a strong right hand. At that moment, in a local schoolyard, a little girl hears wheezing coming from down a stairwell behind the school. When she looks down into it, she sees a mutated Shelly crawling toward her.

In fairness, her left side is her better one.

Act III! Anne is being dragged back into the asylum. CALLED IT! Apparently she didn’t take to civilian life too well and tried to smother her colicky son with a pillow. Anne’ husband wants Thredson to look at Anne again. This is horrible timing, because guess who is waiting for Thredson in the lobby to spirit her away to freedom? Lana makes her escape while Thredson distracts the front door guard with a cigarette, which just goes to show how lax the security is at Briarcliff. Back at Anne’s cell, her husband comes across Arden who is just leaving it. Arden tells him that there is a way to make Anne “a new woman” and it can be done right away – transorbital lobotomies, anyone? Yes, that’s the one where they shove an ice pick into your eye to sever the tissue in your brain. In his lab, Arden straps Anne down and sedates her while her husband watches nervously. With a confident flick, Arden hammers the pick into Anne’s eye socket. Jude, meanwhile, is praying in her room when Frank the guard tells her that Lana has gone missing. Jude recounts a story from her childhood about trying to keep a baby squirrel as a pet because she was lonely, only to have it die despite Jude’s hours of praying for it. When young Jude asked her mother why God didn’t answer her prayers, mother said through a glass of whiskey that God always answers prayers, just not how we expect. Jude knows her time at the asylum is over and Jessica Lange just nails this scene as per usual. She removes her habit and puts on civilian clothes, does her hair and heads off the local bar where a man buys her a drink. 

Man, when Jude falls off the wagon she really skydives off that sucker, huh?

Act IV! Thredson has brought Lana to Don Draper’s house his swanky apartment. He says they’ll go to the cops in the morning and blow the lid off Braircliff, but Lana must not contact anyone in the meantime since he technically has broken the law getting her out of there. Lana accepts a glass of wine that he has poured her as Thredson says she’s going to win a Pulitzer for writing about this and how she’s the perfect one to tell his story. Right about this time, Lana notices that the lampshade next to her has…um…nipples. And the mint dish on the table looks like a hallowed out cranium. Um… Lana needs to find the bathroom. She heads down the hall, checking for unlocked doors and only finding one – it’s a cross between torture chamber and hobby desk. Thredson finds her and says he uses it to make furniture, lamps mostly. Using skin. He presses a button and the floor underneath Lana gives out, plunging her into a dungeon. Back in the asylum, Grace is found on a chair in the common room, bleeding from between her legs. The cops come to arrest Kit, saying Thredson gave them his taped confession. Grace screams that Alma is alive! Back on the set of the movie Saw Thredson’s basement torture room, Lana awakens chained to the floor with Wendy’s corpse next to her. Thredson says he would normally have removed Wendy’s skin and head, but he wanted her fresh for Lana. He asks Lana to kiss Wendy’s lips, which has built into his mask of human skin. Yup, Thredson is Bloody Face. In the morning, Jude wakes up in a cheap motel next to the man from the bar and Anne has turned into a Stepford wife, making pot roast and preparing martinis. She’s cleaned up all of Nazi clippings and is throwing them away. We see one of the pictures is of Hitler addressing a crowd. Hey, who’s that very Arden-looking guy standing next to Adolph in the picture?

Next week! The devil in Sister Eunice…

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sexy Revisionist History Coming Soon! “Over it,” Says Henry VIII


Prequels today are all the rage. Personally, I blame George Lucas for the modern rise of this trend, but you may see things differently. Regardless, in addition to the origin stories for our favorite scruffy nerf-herders, would-be √úbermensches and socially-conscious arrow slingers, Starz is going historical and finally giving us the Leonardi Da Vinci coming of age story we didn’t know we wanted. I give you Da Vinci’s Demons!

Makes you wonder if the demons have a code or something...


Starring Tom Riley ("Monroe," I Want Candy), as the title character, "Da Vinci's Demons" is a historical fantasy, following the ‘untold' story of the world's greatest genius during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence. Brilliant and passionate, the twenty-five year old Leonardo Da Vinci is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist. As a free thinker, with intellect and talents that are almost superhuman, he struggles to live within the confines of his own reality and time. He begins to not only see the future, but invent it. 
I confess I’m a little ambivalent about this.

Pro: I love history, so anything that gets people more interested in a chapter of history, especially for someone like Da Vinci who, despite being well-known, isn’t really someone most people know anything about, is gravy in my book. Also, the series is by David S. Goyer, who recently wrote a couple of movies that you may have heard about and which I think are all uniformly incredible. Goyer is a master at understanding how to employ action and character in a way that supports multiple deeper themes. Given how lush Da Vinci’s life and work was, the potential here in the hands of such a capable writer could be amazing. Also, judging by the preview the thing looks bloody incredible. The production values are high, the visuals are stunning, the whole thing just looks beautiful.

Con: Really, Starz? I know it’s Hollywood, but was “Sexy Leo Da Vinci” really a thing that you had to resort to in order to get this thing greenlit? Da Vinci’s life is fascinating and there are plenty of opportunities to play with the political and social intrigues that he was really involved in without skirting toward the Twilight audience. As a cable network, you can count on a viewership that’s going to be more discriminating. Also, given that Da Vinci lived a somewhat notoriously celibate life, possibly because he may have been gay, this seems like a stretch.

The early Virtuvian Man sketch looked a little different, apparently.

Another potential concern, one that could outweigh the slick visual design, is the production team which is the same that produced Torchwood: Miracle Day, another show that looked great but had some unfortunate missteps that ended up hurting the final package. Hopefully, that team has picked up a few lessons since their inaugural outing.

Finally, why refer to this as a historical fantasy? History is pretty fantastic (and fantastical) when you actually look at the details. It doesn’t need magic realism in order to dress it up. Of course, I’m also the guy who liked Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so maybe I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here. This also may be the least concern, since the show descriptions are being more than a little coy about how much fantasy this thing actually is.

Da Vinci’s Demons will air on Starz sometime in 2013.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Recapping AHS: Anne Frank, C'est Moi


The cops have brought a woman to Briarcliff because she attacked two businessmen after they used a Jewish slur. Jude says she isn't immune to the atrocities “your people” suffered and wants to know if the woman lost someone in the Holocaust. The woman just whistles a tune and Jude sighs, yup she’s bonkers, we’ll start in on her in the morning. In the lab, Shelly isn’t looking too good – she’s got blisters and growths on her face and she asks Arden if she’s going to die. Arden injects her with something and tells her that she’s going to live forever.

Act I! Arden has been beating Kit to find out more about the implant which has gone missing. Kit recounts what Arden’s been doing to him to Grace and asks her to tell him why she is here. Grace says she awoke in her family’s farmhouse to strange thumping sounds before finding her father is his room, blood everywhere and a man burying an axe into his back. Grace ran to hide from the man in a closet, but wouldn’t you know it – the remains of her stepmother, all multiple segments of them, were already there. She tells Kit that the murderer was her stepsister’s secret lover and that they killed the family and framed her for it in order to make off the with farm. Thredon tells Lana he doesn’t believe she’s dangerous and that if he can convince Jude that he’s cured her, they’ll let her go. Lana reminds him that perhaps she doesn’t need curing, homophobe. In the common room, the new woman writes a letter to someone named Kitty saying how she is once again imprisoned but vows to hold on to hope. Lana warns her not to let the guards see her writing anything. Just then Arden enters the common room. The woman approaches him, screaming that he was there at Auschwitz and that he’s a Nazi. The guards hold her off as she screams that Arden should remember her – she is Anne Frank. This show’s penchant for historical cameos continues, apparently.

I know that first diary worked out well for you, but you may want to hold off on a sequel in here...

Act II! Jude meets with Anne in her office telling her that her identity will be a relief to a lot of school children. Anne says she escaped the mass graves before meeting a US Army Private and coming with him to America, but he was killed in Korea. She never came forward because she realized she could do more to tell people about the Holocaust as a martyr than a living woman. Anne says that Arden was one of the Nazi doctors going by the name of Hans Gruber. At first he seemed kind, bringing sweets to the woman and holding off guards. He would select particular girls for treatment, though they never came back well. Anne shows Jude a tattoo of a number on her arm as proof that she’s telling the truth. Thredson tells Kit that he must own up to what Thredson believes really happened – Kit married Alma in secret and became ashamed of it until the pressure built and Kit began to attack other women, beheading them and removing their skin to compensate for Alma’s skin. When the “friends” who threatened Kit in the first episode came to the House, Kit snapped and bludgeoned his wife to death. In the common room, Lana begins to imagine that rather than standing in line for meds, she is accepting a Pulitzer Prize for her writing about the asylum, recalling the treatment there and how she did whatever she had to do to get out. Coming out of the reverie, she asks Thredson to begin his therapy. In the Kitchen, Kit doubts his own memories and is beating up some dough. Apparently stress baking is a common trait in this place. Grace tells him to trust his own memories before you know it, another round of tabletop sex begins but the two are caught by a guard.

Act III! Sister Eunice is gleefully selecting a large cane for Jude to use to beat Grace and Kit with. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately,” says Jude, “but it’s a decided improvement.” Heh. I see what you did there, show! Jude decides that while the cane would be nice, sterilization is the best option. As Grace is dragged off, Euince shows Kit Grace’s file, saying Grace isn’t what she pretends to be. Jude meanwhile has been tipped off that there are detectives in Arden’s office who are looking into a report from a prostitute about Arden. The detectives are looking for a character witness. Jude says when it comes to Arden’s character, she has plenty to say. The detectives report that the prostitute found Nazi memorabilia in Arden’s house, which catches Jude’s interest. The detectives are also curious as to how Kit could have had the skill to remove a woman’s skin and head and isn’t it possible someone else may have been involved? Meanwhile, Thredson is showing Lana pictures of pin-up girls while giving her a drug to make her vomit. One of the images in particular is of Wendy, taken from the house. Pictures and vomit not being enough, Thredson has also arranged for a young man to help “liberate” Lana by allowing her to touch him while Thredson orders her to masturbate. Incidentally, only in Hollywood would you have a gay man ordering a straight woman who is pretending to be gay to please herself while performing a sex act on a male model. Sister Jude tells Monsignor that Arden has been hiring prostitutes and is probably a war criminal and the cops are getting involved and Jesus H. Christ where the hell did you find this guy and why is he here? Jude confesses that her information comes from a patient who is claiming to be Anne Frank, which coupled with Monsignor learning that Jude was pretty much three sheets to the wind during movie night, pretty much undoes her argument. Once Jude leaves, Monsignor calls Arden to tell him, “they’re on to you – time to ditch the legless sex addict you’re keeping down there.”

My source? A mental patient. They can't all be Deep Throat, okay?

Act IV! Jude tells the Mother Superior about Arden and says that Monsignor is disinclined to act. Mother Superior tells Jude to follow her compass, like she did when she first came to her for drinking. Locked in their separate cells, Kit wants to know why Grace lied to him about her story. Grace tearfully confesses that her father was molesting her for years and her stepmother was complacent in it and that’s why she went all Lizzie Borden on them. Thredson comes to Lana in the common room and gives her the picture of Wendy. He tells her that he’s going to get her out of the asylum at the end of the week. Crap. This totally means that Thredson is going to become a patient before this whole thing is over, right? Kit comes to Jude, saying he wants forgiveness for his crimes, saying he doesn’t remember anything and that he must have made up his story because aliens can’t really exist, right? Jude has a look on her face that says, “Ha! Yeah..um..about that…” Arden has gotten a hold of Anne and dragged her into his lab. Anne again accuses him of being at Aushwitz, but Arden insists he’s never been there and is from Scottsdale. He locks the door and starts to unbutton his pants, but Anne pulls a gun that she stole from a guard earlier. She shoots Arden in the knee before hearing a sound from one of the room’s closets. She opens the door to see a badly mutated Shelly on the floor, who begs to be killed. 

Friday, November 09, 2012

Arrow

You should really watch Arrow on the CW. Why?



Do I really need to say any more? 

Oh, ok, fine, I’ll give you a little more than that. First off, I am not an expert on the Green Arrow. I don’t know anything about the comics and while I think I heard the character made an appearance on Smallville, I never watched it. So if you’re looking for someone to tell you how close the show is to the comic or any other such nerd babble, you aren’t going to get it here (for a change).

What I can tell you is that Arrow is a fun, dark, and compelling show about a man looking to atone for the sins committed by himself and his father. It’s on the CW, so sure, it’s full of ridiculously attractive people, but there’s more here than just your typical problems of the 1% (Gossip Girl, I’m looking at you). Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I love me some soapy drama, but this show has created layers of mystery that frankly surprised me.

From the CW:

After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his devoted mother Moira, much-beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he's become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly creates the persona of Arrow - a vigilante – to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory.

The narrative follows two threads. The main story takes place in modern times with Oliver fighting as his alter-ego to take down the villains who have corrupted, misused, and taken advantage of the people and resources of the city. No doubt about it, he’s a dark hero. He doesn’t hesitate to shoot and kill people when he has too which is honestly kind of refreshing for a “super hero” show. It also doesn’t take too long for him to trust someone with his secret which is another bonus. After all, you can only take a show so far when the main character can’t talk to anybody else about what’s going on in the plot. The secondary story consists of flashbacks to Oliver’s time on the island and how he learned all his ninja, archery, and other badass skills. Turns out he wasn’t alone on the seemingly deserted island, and there was another lost soul there to act as his Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The thing I really like about Arrow is how much mystery they have built into the plot. In Starling City nobody is as they seem, and everyone has a secret. There’s a lot of questions that I want to see answered, such as what did Oliver’s father actually do that was so horrible, what is his mother up to (because she is definitely up to something), what organization is John Barrowman working for (Captain Jack!), and what else happened to Oliver on the island? Although the first couple episodes have had the same problem that Revenge did last year—i.e. just watching someone work down a lit is kind of not compelling, I think once we get into things a little more the pace will pick up a bit. And every episode has awesome fight scenes.

I also get the feeling the writers have something in store for the love interest, Laurel (one of my favorite CW regulars, Katie Cassidy). She showcased some pretty impressive fighting skills in one of the episodes and I don’t want to hint too much at anything, but I’ve seen the name “Black Canary” bandied about on the internet. In any event, it indicates that she’s going to be more than just a lame love interest and will take a more active part in the butt-kicking in the future. Right now she’s one of the goody goody lawyers who do things like protect the weak and disenfranchised (yawn), but hopefully girlfriend will get in there and beat up some more bad guys soon. Oh, and she isn’t the type to fawn all over Oliver which I also kind of like. In fact, she hates his guts since at the time he was yacht-wrecked, he was cheating on her with her sister who died in the sinking yacht. Awkward. That doesn’t mean she isn’t attracted to the Green Arrow though as these things typically go.

In short, Arrow is a fine entry into the comic-book universe and if you’re a fan of action drama there’s a lot to like here. It’s like someone took Robin Hood, Batman, and the Scarlet Pimpernel (since Oliver plays the fool when he’s in his public persona) and mixed them all together with Revenge. It’s worth watching, if only for the pretty…..


Arrow airs on Wednesday evenings at 8:00pm on the CW.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Alphas gets an A

Do you all remember how excited we were during the first season of Heroes? Finally we were getting a fresh, contemporary take on the superhero's journey. As expected, we started with our heroes discovering their powers, setting off various chains of events that all converged in an epic boss battle. At the end, the heroes were collected together for the first time - IMHO, the obvious next step was for them to form a superhero team. This would allow them to explore their super-powered nature as an identity - one person with powers might be a fluke, two people might be a coincidence, but twenty, thirty, one hundred people? That's a subculture. Sadly, instead of moving these characters forward, the creative team of Heroes decided to hit a giant "reset" button and scatter the heroes to the wind. This is part of why the series fizzled, but not before churning out two more seasons of diminishing quality. 

From Heroes to Zeroes.

Weep no more, my fellow Heroes fans - SyFy's Alphas is here to save the day. This show picks up where Heroes dropped the ball. It focuses on a group of super-powered people (known as Alphas) who have been recruited by the government to form a task force that investigates crimes perpetuated by similarly super-powered individuals. Their leader is actually a non-Alpha who also serves as a psychiatrist, and the team doubles as a support group. This is an elegant little set-up - we have the perfect structure within which to explore these people's superpowers, their basic humanity, and how the two an play against each other. 

Alphas also does something that Heroes never did - it imposes limits on particular powers, by trying to make them fit within known biological frameworks. Often it's a bit of a psuedo-scientific stretch, but it's interesting nonetheless. More importantly, it means that there are significant downsides to various powers. My favorite character is a man who can see electronic signals and other sonic wavelengths, who also has high-functioning autism. It doesn't hurt that he's played by one of my favorite Bones alums, Ryan Cartwright (aka Vincent Nigel-Murray). The first season also had a couple of cameos from sci-fi standard bearers/fan favorites Summer Glau and Brent Spiner - squee! 


The internet scuttlebutt is that Alphas has about a 50/50 shot at renewal, and that the actors will be told by Thanksgiving. In light of this, I urge all you Heroes fans to check out this series - TiVo it, rent it, buy it, watch it TODAY. The entirety of the first season is available on Netflix Instant Watch, and five episodes from the second season are available on SyFy Rewind. And keep your fingers crossed for good news later this month! 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Non-squee Glee

I think it comes as no surprise that I really want to like Glee. It should also come as no surprise that this is not always easy - when you profess to be a fan of this show, people enjoy looking down their noses at you. As if an opinion can be wrong. The fact is, I'm not a music purist so I don't mind if someone remakes a song. And while I do watch some television shows with a critical eye, I have chosen not to do so with this particular show. Glee is never going to be 'critically acclaimed' - the best it can hope for is 'fan favorite.'

As a fan of the show, therefore, I feel like a traitor for saying that this season so far has definitely not been a favorite. With many of the characters (Kurt, Mercedes, Santana, Puck, etc) graduating, the creative team was faced with a choice. Do they follow the post-graduation life of their most popular characters (Kurt and what's-her-name) OR create new characters for us to fall in love with? Unfortunately, they decided to do both - with fairly disastrous results. 

Storyline number one involves the new students back at McKinley, including a love story between the Rachel stand-in and the Puck stand-in that is already boring me. The one saving grace of the McKinley storyline is Unique, the transgender transfer student from Vocal Adrenaline. If Kurt and Mercedes invented a time machine and had a child 15 years ago, Unique would be this FABULOUS offspring. 


Speaking of Kurt, storyline number two involves the adventures of Kurt and the short brunette in New York City. I'm sure that the plot around the Jewish girl is actually quite fascinating, but every time she comes on the screen I have a micro-seizure. To be honest, this could probably be a show unto itself. As much as I hate to admit it, Glee should probably have ended when this generation graduated, and Kurt and so-and-so should have gotten a spin-off series.


Don't get me wrong - I'm not jumping on the Glee-hate bandwagon. I will still watch the show, still love the characters I love and still love to hate the characters I hate. Besides, JANE MOTHERLOVIN' LYNCH. Need I say more?


New episode of Glee airs this Thursday, 9pm on FOX. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Spartacus: Vengeance

You've probably noticed that we went a week without posting here on TV Sluts. In case you hadn't heard, there was a hurricane over here in the DC area. Unfortunately, that really has nothing to do with it since none of us lost power and I even got two days off of work. Basically, we are all lazy. Sorry about that.

Let's get back to our regularly scheduled blogging:



AHHHHHHH VENGEANCE!

(mild spoilers below)

Spartacus' second season (but technically the third after the prequel season Gods of the Arena) picks up a few months after the events of the first season. Spartacus and his former-slave cohorts have massacred those in the House of Batiatus who formerly forced them to fight in the arena, and they are now waging a guerrilla war on the Roman soldiers that have been sent to subdue them. Spartacus is still out for the blood of Praetor Claudius Glaber, the man who originally enslaved Spartacus and his wife, and the season deals with each man trying to defeat the other. 

There's just as much blood and violence this time around, but surprisingly not as much sex (boo). I mean, don't get me wrong, you still get a lot of nudity, but most of the sex is consigned to the background. This season is more about, unsurprisingly, vengeance, and the characters don't seem to have as much free time to get sexy.

There's also not quite as much political maneuvering. The previous two seasons were almost entirely set in the House of Batiatus, and felt almost like an R-rated Upstairs, Downstairs or Downton Abbey. This time around Spartacus is on the move and concerned with freeing more slaves to add to his army, keeping that army from tearing itself apart, and staying a step ahead of the Romans. Instead, the scheming comes from the secondary characters such as Glaber and his most-awesomely tricksy wife, Ilithyia. I confess that I love their plotting almost as much as the fight scenes and I'd glad to see their return to the show after an absence from the season season prequel.

If there's one quibble with Spartacus: Vengeance, it's that Spartacus' storyline became the least interesting. Liam McIntyre steps into the title role after Andy Whitfield's most unfortunate death due to cancer, and while he does a solid job (and certainly holds his own in the fight scenes), I think he lacks that essential star quality that Whitfield possessed. Spartacus may be concerned with avenging his wife, but he doesn't seem to do a lot more than brood and give semi-rousing speeches. I was hoping for something a little more dynamic this time around.

Despite this minor complaint, I still enjoyed the hell out of the season. Those crazy Romans don't seem to do anything but scheme and have sex, and that's fine with me. The characters introduced in Gods of the Arena made a very welcome addition to the cast, and the season ended with a lot of surprises, twists, and an extremely satisfying finale episode. There are some awesome battle scenes, some truly gross and creative deaths, and even some welcome girl power. Turns out former lady slaves have even more of an axe to grind then their male counter-parts...and they will grind it in your face.

Next season Spartacus takes the fight to Rome and the scope looks even bigger than before. He's going to have to step up to the role of general....and it's almost enough to make me regret not signing for Starz.


Sigh, it's going to be a long winter of waiting.










Friday, November 02, 2012

Recapping AHS: The Perfect Storm


Starting in the present, Teresa is hiding in the cell watching Bloody Face carve up poor Leo before he comes for her as well. Bloody Face’s efforts are thwarted by a frustratingly alive (but still arm-less) Leo, who plows into him allowing Teresa to make a run for it. Bloody Face follows, pulling a gun and shooting Teresa in the head and Leo in the chest. At which point we see that there are two Bloody Faces who pull off their masks to reveal a couple of fraternity rejects who are getting a kick out of killing newlyweds who like to boink in abandoned asylums. Or something. The faux Bloody Faces wonder what could have torn off Leo’s arm when they are approached by a third Bloody Face from the shadows coming at them menacingly.

Act I! In the asylum, Sister Eunice reports to Sister Jude that Hurricane Sandy a big nor’easter is about to blow in while at the same time slipping her an old newspaper from 1948 that has an article about a young girl killed in a hit and run. No surprise, it’s the girl that Jude ran over. In his lab, Dr. Arden examines the alien bug he pulled from Kit’s neck. Jude apparently has a stress baking problem, because she heads to the kitchen to knead bread and/or guilt as Dr. Thredson tries to convince her that maybe Skinnerian psychology would be a better approach, or at least a less creepy one, to treating the inmates. Jude is “a beacon of compassion” and to prove it she’s gotten permission to show The Sign of the Cross to distract the inmates while the storm blows in. Thredson wants copies of the possessed boy’s files, saying he must have died of natural causes. Jude is all, yeah, right. 17-year-old with a heart attack. Totally natural. Eunice informs the inmates that they’ll all be together in the dark to watch a movie about the death of Christians and won’t that be fun? (Sidebar, I kind of like the demon’s sense of humor.) Kit and Grace plan to escape during the storm, but Kit is called to Arden’s office who suspects that Kit was planted in the asylum to spy on him by the East Germans, the Jews, the mafia, the Illuminati, the cast of Jersey Shore and every other offensive stereotype. Eunice brings Jude some communion wine, saying someone’s been drinking it before taking a long swig herself. Jude demands to know why Eunice is wearing bright red lipstick. Eunice says it’s “Ravish Me Red” and that Arden told her it was Jude’s favorite color. Demon: 2. Jude: 0. 

It's actually "Berry Sunrise", but hey, demons lie, right?

In her cell, a Mexican woman who recognizes that Eunice is possessed cries and prays as Eunice comes to her, demanding that they pray together. Eunice suddenly stabs her with a pair of scissors, spilling blood everywhere. Eunice throws the Mexican (Seriously, that’s what they call her. No other name.) into the woods to be eaten by the creatures there. Eunice is no longer afraid of them, but that’s possession for you.

Act II! Eunice tells Arden that the creatures are getting hungrier, but Arden says they just have to make it through the winter. It take Eunice/Demon all of two minutes before she starts with the sexy talk, hiking up her skirts and offering herself to Arden in graphic terms on his desk. Arden slaps her and calls her filthy, but is clearly shaken. Eunice just laughs and leaves. In the common room, Lana approaches Thredson and asks him to get a message to Wendy. In the kitchen, Shelly asks Grace if she can join in the escape attempt, saying she wants out so she can go to France where they’re more open about sex. Jude meanwhile confronts Arden about the red lipstick. Arden says he believes that Eunice has been corrupted by the asylum and specifically by Shelly. Jude believes Arden is using the newspaper and the lipstick to drive Jude from her position so he can take over the asylum. Back in her office, the phone rings and it’s the voice of the dead girl who taunts Jude saying she just left her there and didn’t even get out of the car. Jude sobs and notices the dead girl’s shattered glasses somehow on her desk. In her misery, Jude reaches for the bottle of wine that Eunice left earlier, despite saying she’s sworn off all spirits.

Act III! Jude has officially fallen off the wagon, drinking by herself in her office. Add a little Sex and the City and basically this would be a modern liberated woman’s standard Friday night. A very tipsy Jude heads to the common room to introduce the inaugural movie night (“either a beloved tradition or just another bitter disappointment” – I seriously love it when Jude gets existential) as the storm begins. Everyone’s accounted for except the Mexican. Jude then quotes Carousel at them and tries to be inspirational, but it’s like when your crazy drunk aunt tries to be poetic at Christmas dinner and then Jude has a breakdown remembering the girl she ran over, which honestly is also kind of like your crazy drunk aunt. Thredson tells Lana that he went to Wendy’s house, but she wasn’t there though there was blood on the floor and he now suspects that Kit may not be Bloody Face at all. Grace and Kit get out of the common room by saying they have to use the bathroom which is basically every high school kid’s excuse ever. Lana uses a scene of a woman bathing naked to do the same, arguing that the scene is counter-productive to her treatment. Points to Lana this round. Jude prowls the asylum looking for the Mexican when something moves in the dark and an alien suddenly comes out of the shadows. Arden, meanwhile, finds a white statue of the Virgin in the asylum vestibule and decorates it lasciviously with the red lipstick before calling it a whore and smashing it. Lana finds Grace, Kit and Shelly and apologizes to Kit, offering to help them escape. First they have to get past an orderly, which Shelly volunteers to…um…distract. Blowjobs commence. Lana, Kit and Grace make it to the chute and escape outside while the storm rages. Shelly attempts to follow but is discovered by Arden.

Act IV! Lana, Grace and Kit run into the forest before discovering the Mexican’s half-eaten body as well as the things doing the eating. The creatures, which look a lot like the undead, chase them back into the chute. Have to say, I think the asylum is preferable actually. 

WE HAVE ZOMBIES, PEOPLE!!!

In the common room, Eunice is getting particularly into the movie as it approaches the scene where the Christians all get eaten by lions. Heh. Arden throws Shelly into his lab and begins to take off his pants. Shelly sees what he’s packing and starts laughing in spite of herself. Not smart, Shelly. Arden knocks her out. Eunice finds Jude in her room, though she doesn’t remember how she got there. Jude shuts down the film after hearing that inmates have gone missing. The inmates are upset the movie isn’t over, but Jude is all whatever they all die spoilers. Lana, Kit and Grace have made it back to the room, though, so who are the missing inmates? In Arden’s lab, Shelly wakes up strapped to table as Arden tells her that everyone thinks she’s in the woods. Shelly begs him to let her walk out of here, but Arden says that’s not possible and reveals that he has amputated her legs below the knee to keep her from running away. OMGWTF!!!