25 March, 2013

Review - Walking Dead 3.15: "This Sorrowful Life"

Many times in TV it takes the impending end of the season to really bring the best elements of a show's story together, which often results in the last two or three episodes of a season being the strongest outings. And this hour by far was one of season 3's strongest. The driving conflict of this hour is fairly simple but necessary: as the group gears up for battle Rick is warring mentally with himself over whether he should take the Governor up on his offer and turn over Michonne. Early on He decides to do it for the good of the group and consults with Merle for help (but not the rest of the group). Later on he changes his mind, realizing that morally that's not who he as a leader is, nor who they are as a group. Unfortunately, at this point Merle, who doubted Ricks ability to follow through all along, has taken matters into his own hands and run off with a kidnapped Michonne.

This episode hit the right balance of thoughtful nuance, forward movement and action; plus it managed to give most of the major characters some good screen time. I loved the scenes between Merle and Michonne while riding in the car, particularly their discussion on their status as the outsiders of the group. And Michael Rooker did a great job throughout the episode showing Merle's process as he realizes what he must do, and has a serious change of heart. After freeing Michonne to return to the prison he eventually goes after the Governor himself, by leading a pack of walkers behind him in a car blaring . One the other things I've appreciated about this episode and the last somewhat is the shift to showing how deeply disturbed a character the Governor really is. This is apparent very early on in the comics when the character is introduced, but it's great that the show is really trying to ramp it up going into the end.

The episode had a lot of other strong moments from the rest of the cast as well: Glenn's conversation with Hershel about marrying Maggie, and the resulting proposal; Rick's quiet insistence that the ghostly Lori isn't real; Carol and Merle's conversation in the prison about how much she's grown personally since the death of her husband. Perhaps the most jarring though was Daryl in the end having to murder his own brother,now a walker after losing his battle with the Governor, which ends the episode in a truly tragic but moving fashion. Daryl may have found a new family in the group, but Merle was still his brother no matter what. I loved that this episode managed to touch on all the major themes of the season: group dynamics, loyalty, the shifting moral standards and the emotional toll everything has been taking on the survivors.

I really loved this episode and it got me pretty excited for next week's final installment so 90 out of 100. Hopefully you all enjoyed it as much as I did- one more to go!

Odds and ends:

- "You got any whiskey around here, hell I'd even drink vodka"- Merle

- Glenn ups his badass factor by not only gentlemanly making his intentions with Maggie known to Hershel, but also by hacking off a walker's fingers to snag her a ring. And Maggie has the good grace just to accept it and not ask where it came from.

- Michonne, showing off her skills even while tied up and weaponless

- The music in this episode was surprisingly good, my favorites were the Bear McCreary piece during the Glenn and Maggie proposal, and of course Merle leading the walker parade to Motorhead.


19 March, 2013

Review - CASTLE 5.17 'Scared to Death'



--CASTLE: "Well I wasn't asking for you!"

--PERLMUTTER: "Ah, Detective Beckett and defective Castle."

--ESPOSITO: "Castle's death will be sad and all, but his Ferrari will certainly lessen my grief."

--CASTLE: "You know, if there's going to be pictures of us up there, we should really pick them out now."


--I love Castle's facial expressions.

--For a second, it looked like Rick was getting intersected when he first put on the DVD.

--Apparently the court records were sealed, but I still feel like the police should have found out the link between the two victims. Perhaps I'm wrong about this, but whatever.

--It drives me crazy when key pieces of info is lost due to bad cellphone service. So overused on TV.



18 March, 2013

Review - Walking Dead 3.14: "Prey"

In which the show tries to figure out this season's Andrea problem....

Often shows have a problem character who somehow winds up spending the majority of a season languishing in emotional confusion or poor plot devices; and the writers are left to dig this character out of the hole they stuck them in (Anne Perkins on Parks and Rec comes to mind). Digging Andrea out of this current season's hole was always going to be a massive task, considering both where she ended last season and the compounded missteps along the way.

The opening scene felt like a bit of nostalgia designed to ease the pain of the coming hour. A reminder of a promising time when Andrea might have been a sturdy ally for the new and mysterious Michonne. However, it also seems like a cop out; an easy way to garner some good will from viewers who at this point are likely to be tired of everything to do with this character. Nonetheless, it also reestablishes the nature of the original bond between Michonne and Andrea from the beginning of the season which sets things up nicely for Andrea's upcoming turn of heart.

When Andrea and Milton discover the Governor has built a "torture room" in anticipation of Rick handing over Michonne they both realize they are following a very disturbed individual. Milton also reveals to Andrea that he believes the Governor has no intention to honor the baragin even if Rick upholds his end of things. While these are seemingly obvious realizations this did provide what is probably my favorite scene of the episode. I'm one of probably 5 Milton fans on the planet and having both the Governor's closest associates realize the same level of dread at the same time added weight and meaning to the scene.

Milton, still holding onto a shred of loyalty, prevents Andrea from killing the Governor then and there and instead dispatches her to go to the prison and warn the others while he takes care of burning some walkers that the Governor is keeping penned up to release on the prison gang. Symbolicly, Andrea's road to redemption is frought with skeptical Woodbury-ites, walkers and a pretty thrilling chase scene encounter with the Governor himself (probably my second favorite scene of the episode, and shot wonderfully). While Andrea's releasing a pack of walkers on the Governor doesn't necessarily make up for a season's worth of disappointment it at least made me (and hopefully other viewers) feel better momentarily.

Things don't end well though as Andrea is caught by the Governor just outside the prison before Rick, who's on guard duty, can spot her. The final scene terrifyingly shows her strapped into the Governor's torture chair after he's told everyone he couldn't find her. And we are left to ponder her fate until next week. I felt this was a quality episode about a frustrating character, whom I enjoyed in the comics, so it did the best it could. 65 out of 100 - I don't know that it solved any or all of the Andrea problems from the season but I think it did what needed to be done for her going into the finale next week.

Odds and ends:

- I didn't mention the Tyrese/Sasha subplot really but it appears they might be switching sides again next week, or at the least Tyrese will.

- Last night's "Talking Dead" was a particularly good one. Kumail Nanjiani of the Indoorkids podcast as a guest, plus Lori Holden describing how they filmed the abandoned warehouse scene was awesome!


14 March, 2013

CFBWMR Episode 1!

Brand new podcast! Brand new approach! All segments and topics listed below.

Press play below to listen.

You can also right click on THIS LINK and save the mp3 to your desktop.

Segment 1
VladyGG and HGF discuss the new podcast.

(Intro) Sepultura - Refuse Resist
(Outro) Fiona Apple - Werewolf

Segment 2
Mohingan and GeekFurious talk about the worst generation and Canada.

(Outro) Air Dubai - All Day

Segment 3
Jess and Magnus talk about VIKINGS, THE BIBLE, NEW GIRL, GAME OF THRONES and a few other things.

(Break 1) Ásgeir Trausti - Leyndarmál 
(Break 2) The Feud - It Ain't Right
(Outro) The Killing Floor - Leap To Safety


11 March, 2013

Review - Walking Dead 3.13: "Arrow on the Doorpost"

Everybody gears up for war, but before things get too out of hand- a peace summit...

I actually liked the heads-of-state feel to the scenes between the Governor and Rick, despite being a tad melodramatic (the whistling wind sound effects were a bit much).The conflict presented at the end with the Governor's offer is a tried and true dramatic plot device. But I'm still a little split on whether it was too predictable (didn't Lost revisit this conflict many times?) or whether it was inevitable and I should have seen it coming. Either way I appreciated the Governors brutal honesty about the matter. This was also one of the few episodes this season, due to that scene and others, where I was happy to have this deliberate and more calculating Governor, which differs from the character in the comics.

Glenn stepping in as temp leader, or at least prison manager, was a nice moment; and also another sign of the good things Steve Yeun and the writers have been doing with that character this season. The even better scene later in which he at least attempts to give Merle some pause about questioning him was also great. Even if Glenn doesn't necessarily come out on the winning end of that fight it speaks to how far his character has come and how he might stand out in these last few episodes.

Dallas Roberts got quite a bit of screen time this episode which I enjoyed, but sadly it reminded me how much I miss Rubicon. Nevertheless seeing some of the other characters actually have to pay attention to Milton was a change from the past few episodes. The other B story was the showdown of the lieutenants! Daryl goes up against the Governor's guy in a walker for walker contest while the meeting inside takes place. The scene between these two outside was another highlight for this episode. Like the opening scene it had the feel of two soldiers on the eve of war. And the slightly rye way the show approached it, commenting on the futility of the peace proceedings, was a smart way to go with it consdiering the personalities of both those characters.

Another 75 out of 100. A lot wheels being put in motion for this season's last few chapters, but I also thought this episode covered a lot of ground for the supporting characters in a pretty efficient manner.The set up for next week looks interesting with the both sides seemingly realizing that the other probably isn't going to own up to their terms honestly, and the decision about Michonne's fate. I imagine next week will be more preparation but I'm looking forward to the build-up for WAR!

Quotes and such:

- Andrea's realization is a long time coming and maybe a bit too little, too late.

- I didn't think Beth being allowed near firearms was actually going to come in handy.

-Glenn and Maggie! Back together and ditching watch duty like a couple of horny teenagers.

-"I brought whisky."-The Governor

-"Nah, I prefer menthols." "Douchebag"- Daryl, getting better all the time.

-"I'm not showing you my stump. I just met you, at least buy me a drink first"- Hershel


08 March, 2013

Review - COMMUNITY 4.05: 'Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations'

I am writing this review the day after and that means I know that it pulled in a solid Nielsen rating, up against the results show for AMERICAN IDOL and a new episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY.

If something changes in the later updated ratings, I will maybe note it here.

Now, let's get to the episode.

Since I am a bit pressed for time, let me just quickly note what worked and what didn't work.

What Did Not Work
About 90% of Shirley's party felt like tired writing.


Abed had only rare occasions of feeling like the character we've come to know in previous seasons. His character has taken the biggest hit since the ousting of Dan Harmon, likely because Harmon took such special care and put so much soul into the character. Not the current show runners nor their writers seem to have figured out how to make it work.

What Did Work
Jeff and Britta were excellent in this one. Had they just made it about them, I'd have given it a very high score. The writing felt alive and fresh.

Jeff's meeting with his dad, their interaction, and even his half-brother all worked and didn't feel forced (well, maybe one scene where Jeff expresses his emotions felt a bit forced but I don't want to nitpick too much since I loved the rest of it).

While most of Shirley's party didn't work and the "Shawshank" bit failed, the payoff at the end did make me laugh.

Jeff has romantic chemistry with all the ladies. Troy doesn't. This episode just accentuated the lack of chemistry between Troy and Britta.

If I had to rate this one, and Britta's Britta says I do, then I'd give it:

77 out of 100

After subtracting 50 Dan-Harmon-is-god points, it is a 27 out of 100.

Had the other half of the episode not bombed, it could have been a 90+.


Furycast 69 - Fiery Goddess of Geek

VladyGG and HGF discuss many topics. It is a long podcast. STAR WARS, GAME OF THRONES, Metallica, STAR TREK, GIRLS and more.

Please forgive me, Erin McGathy.

Press play below.

Or right click and save the MP3 file to your hard drive.


04 March, 2013

Review - Walking Dead 3.12: "Clear"

This week we follow Rick, Michonne and Carl on a trip off the reservation with a few interesting side missions. But all of this just delays the inevitable battle with the Governor. The episode isn't bad though and it seems to bring Rick back from the brink of insanity, so it's not a total waste.

First off, apologies for my absence last week, but I was without cable due to a move. Apparently I didn't miss much because I could have summed the episode up like this: ANDREA WHY ARE YOU SUCH AN AWFUL CHARACTER!?!?!?- Tom Waits montage. Anyways, moving on…

This week Rick decides to venture out on a run for guns to fend off the impending attack from the Governor and he takes Carl and Michonne along for company. After getting stuck on the road they encounter a settlement/ experimental modern art installation, which appears to be inhabited. Rick and Michonne attempt to take out the lone gunman guarding the place, but resident bad ass Carl eventually takes down the masked, and bullet proof vested, gunman who almost kills his father. As it turns out the gunman is none other than S.1's MORGAN! (the dude Rick left with his son Dwayne to practice sniper shots on his wife). Since we last saw him the perils of life among the walkers has made Morgan pretty insane, and when he wakes up he manages to stab Rick before realizing that his friend has somehow returned.

Meanwhile, Carl is on a mission to retrieve the last known picture of his family (which seemed to be hanging at the bar at a local watering hole?) so that Judith (ass kicker!) can see what her Mom looked like. Awwww! He doesn't really  want Michonne's help but Papa Rick insists she go along just in case. The two bond a bit and Michonne manages to prove her loyalty to the group's most discerning member by retrieving his prized picture from a literal room full of zombies. Pause here to consider how awesome Michonne must be to get in and out of there so quickly, and without alerting any of the vicious undead.

The most significant part of the whole episode turns out to be the story Morgan tells Rick about how his own son was eventually killed by his zombie mother because, unlike Carl, he couldn't bring himself to shoot her. Morgan's story and his speech to Rick about the meek inheriting the earth and everyone eventually turning were definitely the best parts of this episode and Lennie James certainly did them justice. Towards the end even Rick and Michonne bond over their shared penchant for speaking to the specters of dead loved ones. And Michonne's place within the group seems cemented enough that they can go into the upcoming battle with her firmly on their side.

I'd give this one a 75 out of 100. This was an emotionally strong episode, but it did seem like it was killing time a bit before next week's episode which looks far more exciting. Also, this was the second week in a row in which we didn't get much focus on the other characters so I'm anxious to check back in with them. On the other hand it did make me feel better about Rick leading the group into battle next week.

Odds and ends:

-Michonne's walker bait trick was not only pretty genius, but also provided some laughter in the form of: rats on skateboards!!!

-Also double points for Michonne stealing the brightly colored cat statute, it's the little things that matter when the world has gone to hell.

-I left out the minor side story involving the survivor the group encountered on the road, but I did enjoy the imagery and the way it concisely showed how much things have changed since the early days. The end scene where Carl jumped out of the car and retrieved the now-dead survivor's pack was especially good.


01 March, 2013

Be Heroic! Save a Life! Donate to St. Jude!

My hero is @LittleChuckFan and she is at it again with:

St.Jude's Math-A-Thon fundraiser!

As of this writing, she has already raised more than $40,000 via her social network donation drives! And she's not even a teenager yet!

Her goal this year is to reach around $22,000 for this current run, which would put the total raised by her efforts at over $60,000!

Please donate whatever you can manage. And if you are unable, then please share her link with everyone you know. You can save lives by just doing that.

Finally, if you are a fan of CHUCK (and even if you aren't) check out this promotional video by @KrisWatchesOn.