Category Archives: tv

Doctor Who ‘Rosa’ Episode Review

Most episodes of the current season of Doctor Who were kept under wraps for various reasons (new Doctor, new showrunner, no idea what to expect), however one (confirmed) rumor caught my attention. The revelation that an episode would focus on the civil rights hero and activist Rosa Parks. The plot filled me with curiosity and excitement; I have looked up to Rosa Parks since I was seven years old so hearing that she would be the focus of a Doctor Who episode was more than enough to grab my attention.

But what would happen in the episode I wondered; will she be running away from aliens? Will there be spaceships in the Alabama night sky? What would happen? However with the announcement that Doctor Who would partially return to its ‘educational television’ roots (yes Doctor Who was originally educational television) I began to get an idea of what would happen (and hoped there would be no giant spaceships with Daleks chasing after Rosa Parks).

Minor Spoilers from this point on

The episode actually toned down most of the science fiction elements of Doctor Who where the most that is mentioned are specific particles around Rosa Parks and the Doctor wondering why Rosa has these particles in the first place. Some mention of time travel, and a few high tech devices that are disposed of with ease, but as stated before, science fiction takes a backseat for most of this episode.

The episode actually does something not seen in previous Doctor Who episodes. Fully addresses the issue with time travel and race. While the Doctor has previously had two companions of color onboard the Tardis, the subject was more or less glossed over; Martha Jones saw that race wasn’t such a big deal in the time of WIlliam Shakespeare (allegedly) and had to put up with being a ‘servant’ in victorian times (I think it was victorian times) and bit her tongue while most of the cast treated her as a servant. With Bill there is some racism, the Doctor initially tells her to not take it so personally, but then punches a guys lights out for making a racial slur at Bill’s expense (the rest of Bill’s tenure on the Tardis are either in present day, the future, or more fantasy based).

Here Ryan and Yaz experience the racism of Montgomery Alabama first hand with no glossing over anything with Ryan even being referred to as a negro in one scene and Yaz being called ‘a Mexican girl’ just because she’s brown. The Doctor doesn’t even consider risking the lives of Ryan and Yaz ordering them to go back to the Tardis for their own safety.

Some scenes were very chilling to watch, with one scene in particular where our heroes are having a personal conversation at a diner table turning out differently than they expected. Where in the Russell T Davies and Stephen Moffat era, the conversation would have gone on uninterrupted with nothing big happening, the whole restaurant goes quiet as the Doctor and her friends slowly begin to realize they’re being watched and that people are listening in on their conversation before being told to leave the restaurant.

However the relationship between Ryan and Graham is strengthened with Graham immediately jumping to Ryan’s defense and refusing to allow any harm to come to his step grandson. We also continue to get reference to Grace whom Ryan and Graham are still mourning for.

I continue to be impressed with Jodie Whittaker’s acting as the Doctor, there were many scenes in the episode where she had the same strength and character as David Tennant and Peter Capaldi and could see previous incarnations of the Doctor within the performance.

While the ending is a little bittersweet with the arrest of Rosa Parks and the Doctor informing her friends that just because history was preserved and Rosa was still a hero remembered in positive light in history, life would only become harder for her during the civil rights movement, it really does have it’s strong moments and concludes with the Doctor reminding the viewers and her friends that Rosa Parks will eventually receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and that her actions would cause waves of goodness throughout the universe.

I give Rosa, the third episode of season 37/11 of Doctor Who five out of five asteroids.

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Doctor Who, The Woman Who Fell to Earth Review

After what feels like an eternity, Doctor Who is back with a new series, new Doctor, new companions, new showrunner, new sonic screwdriver, new tardis, new composer for music, and various other new things. Honestly I was worried, not about the Doctor being portrayed for the first time by a woman (I don’t really care the Doctor is a woman now), but from previous episodes by new showrunner Chris Chibnall I feared the show would be boring, and that with BBC marketing the show like crazy focusing primarily on the Doctor now being a woman to the point where I was nearly convinced the Doctor was now a woman primarily as a publicity stunt.

My personal fear was that if Chibnall’s writing was boring, then all of the hype and marketing focused on Jodie Whittaker would blow up in the face of BBC and rather than blaming the show runner, history (and some negative portions of the fandom) would place the blame solely on the casting of a female Doctor.

But yesterday came, fans gathered in excitement to see how the new series of Doctor Who would turn out. And the episode was…okay.

Spoilers from this point on, I don’t have the money to throw you out of a tardis to the ground so you can briefly have amnesia.

The episode wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the most amazing thing in the world, but I am delightfully surprised at how much I enjoyed it and wasn’t bored at all watching the episode. The episode focused on introducing our new protagonists and allowing us to get to know them as people. Instead of using little quirks and ticks our characters are fairly normal everyday people. We have Ryan Sinclair, Yazmin “Yaz” Khan, Grace Sinclair, and her husband Graham O’Brian.

Ryan is a young man who has dyspraxia and kind of reminds me of both Mickey Smith and Rose Tyler. Like Rose and Mickey, Ryan is a good person and does come from a very loving family, but isn’t fully satisfied with life at time and has trouble functioning at times with his dyspraxia condition preventing him from doing activities that seem trivial like riding a bike.

Yaz is a police officer who knew Ryan previously in life and is a toned down Judy Hopps. Despite working in position for over a year, she is still assigned mundane assignments such as being a traffic cop, meter maid, and settling minor disputed among citizens.

Grace is Ryan’s grandmother and the wife of Graham. They met while Graham was going through chemotherapy via Grace being Graham’s nurse during the treatment. Grace is kind, loving, adventurous, and honestly too good for the at times depressing universe of Doctor Who (thank goodness there’s The Testimony from last christmas…). Graham is not as adventurous as Grace, but a good man who does love his wife dearly.

Our new incarnation of the Doctor is….fairly quirky. It was interesting seeing Jodie Whittaker, and actress normally cast as “a woman mother going through a personal struggle,” “a woman who’s not in the best relationship with a man,” or both at the same time do a more heroic role where instead of seeking someone to save her, Jodie is the one saving the day instead.

Get to the F***ing Episode

In contrast with previous showrunner Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnall focused more on characters rather than having characters be established by a select few lines and doing one really badass thing, they’re established by their interactions with the current situation and how they treat each other and people who aren’t important in the episode. The episode actually felt like a mash up of Chibnall’s previous television show Broadchurch and the Netflix original series Stranger Things (especially with the Stemza targeting citizens at random and having them mysteriously die horribly).

I was actually happy to see that Chibnall channeled his experience with Broadchurch more than his work with Torchwood and Doctor Who.

Our antagonist for the episode, the Stemza, is kind of a bounty hunter who is treating earth as fair game to hunt for humans. He is menacing, collects teeth as trophies from his kills, and plants DNA bombs into our protagonists, and isn’t intimidated by the Doctor (atleast not until the Doctor shows him who has the true upper hand.)

We don’t get any crazy big musical scores for the episode that were present during the Steven Moffat era, nor does the Doctor give one big damn speech to talk down her antagonists. We see all the characters mentioned pulling together to defeat the threat opposing them. Which sadly results in the loss of Grace by the end of the episode who dies in a selfless act of protecting her grandson.

I liked seeing the Doctor openly welcoming the help of civilians rather than scaring them off and warning them “don’t get involved” unless the danger is really there to worry over. She’s without her tardis or her sonic screwdriver and even without them she is able to figure out how to save the day. She uses some earth technology to fend of tentacle monsters and creates a new sonic screwdriver from using both human and alien technology.

Finally our Doctor’s new look; I don’t hate it and the look has grown on me over the months, but there are times it is very ridiculous.

Thirty godamn Minutes of Commercials!

There was one big problem about the episode that wasn’t actually in the episode. Despite the episode airing in multiple countries at once, BBC America chose to place thirty minutes worth of commercials in the premier of the episode (something BBC America has done with previous Doctor Who premiers and Christmas episodes shamelessly). Three fourths of the entire run time were dedicated to commercials causing the episode to conclude a full thirty minutes before the BBC America finished the episode. This problem caused significant disruption within the episode and even gave spoilers concerning the end of the episode before the episode even concluded concerning the death of Grace. This same problem has been present in christmas episodes previously aired on BBC America and I think after the negative backlash of fans from this airing, BBC America may rethink how they treat season premiere episodes of their shows.

I give The Woman Who Fell to Earth three NEW sonic screwdrivers out of five.

Remembering Teen Titans

So I like many other people between their mid twenties/pushing thirty grew up watching a lot of weird stuff on tv, I’m pretty sure I watched a lot more weird stuff than most of my friends (minus some of the anime friends). One of these weird shows that most of my peers that watched cartoons was Teen Titans.

Teen Titans was about the adventures of the team known as the Teen TItans (shocker) consisting of Robin (Dick Grayson), Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven who all had super powers and used them to defend the innocent, fight crime, and beat up bad guys. I remembering having mixed feelings about this show both as a teen and admitting to liking it as an adult because I’m not as insanely anal as I was concerning what is and isn’t anime (boy was I a nutjob).  I did like it as a teen too though, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today; remembering teen titans because I don’t really have the time to sit down and watch each season and do a review them individually. Plus the series hasn’t been sold on DVD in ages and I think only the first two seasons were released.

First Impressions

So unlike most of my peers I was fairly familiar with the DC universe beyond the Justice League cartoon and kind of knew who the titans were besides Robin; I knew Starfire was an alien, Beast Boy was actually named Garfield and went by Changeling, Raven was kind of the antichrist, and Cyborg was sometimes a member of the Justice League. When I saw previews for the show I thought ‘oh sweet, we’re finally seeing what Robin is up to when Batman is hanging out with the Justice League,’ and I was sorta right.

I liked the first episode aired where the Titans took on students from HIVE academy; it was a good way to introduce the team and give enough depth of their personalities to where viewers could get a general idea of the team. I will admit part of me was disappointed because I thought the series would start with an origins episode like Justice League; the first part would be the team meeting up, getting properly introduced and facing a big problem and not having the best team skills. Then in part two they learn to work as a team, save the day, then go out for pizza. I rolled along with the series though because I liked it.

Criticisms

Before I start, it is possible to have criticisms of something and like it at the same time; there are times I will critique Star Wars and Doctor Who over things I don’t like featured in the series/franchise, the same extends to Teen Titans. I do not hate the series contrary to what this portion may make it seem.

I’ll get this out of the way; from age thirteen to nineteen I was very convinced manga and anime were the epitome of entertainment and anyone who disagreed was ‘uncultured about how badass it was’. So seeing western animation mimic anime was off putting at times. While some series did a fair representation of it (Avatar the Last Airbender, W.I.T.C.H., and oddly Totally Spies), other series overdid it (HiHi Puffy Ami Yumi…). As a kid I felt Teen TItans was trying too hard to be anime at times and while I’m significantly more relaxed about it as an adult, some of the more zanier moments are a little off putting.

I also didn’t like how seasonal arcs were treated where three to five episodes of the season were devoted to the arc and the rest of the season was devoted to filler episodes and episodes with character development. While the later is important to have in a series, it is possible to tie in development with the plot of an episode. I do also understand that at the time and even now syndication was taken more seriously so ‘filler’ episodes had to outweigh the arc episodes so anyone just turning on the tv would be able to sit down and enjoy and episode instead of having to freak out over not being sure what is happening in a ‘animated soap opera’ (which is sadly my complaint of Young Justice).

I also felt the second season arc could have used the filler episodes to a better advantage with the character Terra and at least had two filler episodes have her be an active part of the team just to make her betrayal of the team a bigger impact. Same goes for season four (which was almost the show’s final season) where Raven is revealed to be the portal to the end of existence (it could be argued that all of her character development episodes from the previous three seasons could be added to her arc admittingly). I do wish characters outside of the main titans popped up more frequently outside of the final season where the team expands beyond the core five, but I’ll get to season five later.

What I Liked About the Series or That’s So Raven

It was fun and shockingly relatable despite the show being primarily light hearted and the target audience ranging from seven to thirteen. Despite the above criticisms of filler episodes devoted to character development, I did enjoy the character development of the series and feel that it is the strongest part of the series, particularly Raven.

I argue that Raven got the most focos in episodes of the series because she in a sense was the most relatable character. Despite being seen as ‘the goth girl’ of the group, she was designed to have viewers relate to her even if socially they were more along the lines of Starfire or Beast Boy. She had her problems about her feelings and emotions in the sense that she couldn’t express her emotions or lose control of them or bad things will happen. The solution to her episodes concerning expressing herself may seem like they’re easily resolved by Raven being honest with both herself and her friends and talking about her problems and feelings, but let’s be honest, that is a really hard thing for any teenager to do.

My personal relation to the character was tied to my sexuality (shocker x2). While Raven is portrayed as a straight female with a close friendship with Starfire, she did constantly have worries about herself. She worried that her friends would hate her if they found out the truth of her existence, would doing good things be enough to undo her evil ways and make up for her existing, was she ‘evil’ despite all the good she did, did her mother regret her existence (Raven is a product of rape in the comics and it’s heavily hinted to be the same in the series)?

While my teenage problems at the time are not as extreme, I did often wonder along the lines of ‘am I evil for being gay? Would me praying and doing good things in the world make up for my existence? Would all my friends hate me if I told them I was gay?’ plagued my mind at times and little did I know at the time the series was airing sitting down and talking with my parents, being honest with myself and conversing with my friends would also be the solution to some of my internal conflict in life. Also we both read a lot of books, listened to Evanescence like crazy, and wore lots of black and blue.

No Raven isn’t the ONLY relatable character; I have friends from different countries who felt they could relate to Starfire who was the fish out of water for most of the series doing her best to fit in with her new friends on earth and slowly learning the customs of the planet, poor thing also went through puberty. I’ve had goofy friends that related to BeastBoy and sometimes even friends that related to Cyborg and Robin.

While I was disappointed that the series was not officially part of the DCAU of Justice League, I was very relieved to see that the art of the show shifted away from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Where Justice League had near cookie cutter character designs for all of it’s male characters (so many broad square shoulders….), Teen Titans gave varied body types for all the characters and presented most of its cast as actual teenagers.

I also have my own favorite episodes beyond Raven centered ones; my personal favorites being Switched (Raven and Starfire switch bodies and become bffs for the rest of the series), Cyborg the Barbarian, and all of season five because the whole season is arc centered. Also it was always cool that there were immensely silly episodes right before a season finale multiparter.

Season Five

I liked season five since it was what I had wanted from the series, an arc! As I mentioned above the series was originally going to end after season four, but Cartoon Network requested that Teen TItans go for another season and the creators figured ‘let’s go all out!” Past allies of the titans were brought back, new heroes were introduced and brought onto the team, the brotherhood of evil is playing the long game against the titans only giving the illusion that the titans are constantly victorious. We have the villain Jinx switch sides because Kid Flash is just that dreamy of a guy every girl (and some guys) watching the series wanted.

Then a crazy thing happens and all hope seems lost for all the teenage heroes across the world, but Beast Boy steps up and uses his resources to save the day (along with his other teammates outside of Robin also bringing along a few allies to save the day)! That should certainly be a good series finale right? Well it is, but oddly it isn’t.

The final episode to the series is Things Change and boy did it drive fans crazy. The synopsis is that the Titans are fighting a new villain and struggling while Beast Boy is distracted by a girl who strongly resembles a character thought dead named Terra. Beast Boy spends the day with this girl hoping to awaken Terra’s memories and continue his life with the girl he loves. Beast Boy is let down to discover that this mysterious girl doesn’t have Terra’s powers and is cryptically told ‘the girl you’re looking for doesn’t exist anymore.’ The girl in question requests that she be allowed to continue her life as an ordinary girl and leaves Beast Boy to continue his life as a hero with his friends.

Fans were…pissed to put it mildly. Trust me, I frequented tvtome/tv.com forums alot at the time of the series finale; they weren’t happy for the following arguments. Starfire should have had her own seasonal arc, Beast Boy already had a seasonal arc (some fans argue that season was Terra’s arc), and that Things Change was a weak series finale compared to Titans Together. While they have every right to these arguments, I am satisfied with season five and the series finale.

Yes Starfire didn’t really have an arc of her own, but her ‘arch nemesis’ of a sister had already been taken care of and her issue with being a princess from another planet was already solved. No crazy big arc to be solved. I mean I guess you can consider the direct to dvd movie Trouble in Tokyo her arc since she and Robin finally do get together. Okay fine Starfire got screwed over.

In terms of Things Change being a bad series finale, maybe? I saw it as appropriate for the character of Beast Boy who was booted out of the first superhero team he was part of for choosing to save his mother figure of a teammate over finishing the mission, joined the Titans and spent most of his free time goofing off, then proved to his former teammates that he was a competent hero and faced the Brotherhood with his own ‘team’. Change had Beast Boy attempt to revert to his previous self rather than continue on with his character development and be told by ‘Terra’ that he needed to move on in life. (Concerning the mystery girl in the episode, it is meant to be ambiguous the true identity of the girl who Beast Boy hangs out with. From what I’ve heard in the comic book counterpart to the series that is indeed Terra who was apparently restored to human form after Raven restored the earth in the season four finale, but just doesn’t have her powers anymore and desires to just live a normal life as a normal girl).

I think Teen Titans is a great show from my teenage years and really wish they reran it more often on tv. Who was your favorite Titan? Who did you relate to? What was your favorite episodes? All the questions and more will be answered in the comments of this blog! 😛

Th1rteen R3asons Why season 2 Review

Not going to lie, I am a little reluctant to review the second season of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why based on the novel by Jay Asher of the same name. Mostly because I didn’t review season one of the series or the novel it is based on, I’m going to get onto my reasons now.

Why Didn’t you Review the First Season and the Book?

So there are things called art, censorship, and shoving my foot in my mouth. Last year I had seen trailers for the show 13 Reasons Why and thought it was genuinely interesting and sat down to watch the first season. While I do admit it has its flaws, it was something I enjoyed watching and thought was worth watching.

Then came the controversy of how the series (probably poorly) handled the portrayal of mental health and was accused of “romanticizing suicide.” while in a sense I do agree the writers of the series cold have handled things better, I thought the idea of ‘getting creative with ideas about suicide from a tv show’ was moronic and only a complete idiot would copycat the audiotape suicide note There were indeed morons who copied the idea and sadly took their own lives.

I took the side of the writers and the tv series because I don’t like censorship of art, even if I don’t like or agree with what was presented (I didn’t like the approach they took to Hannah taking her own life, or an unnecessary rape scene from season two I’ll get to in a bit.)

In short I couldn’t review season one because at the time I was in a mental bias for the show and would have claimed it’s a work of art despite content of the story.

Okay Let’s Talk About Season Two and How Much I Hated the Ending, spoilers from this point on.

When season one of Thirteen Reasons Why aired it was hard for me to believe they would be able to adapt a second season from a stand alone book. My friend and I guessed that season two would be from the perspective of Hanna’s peers on the tapes and their sides of the story. We were mostly right; season two is more like an episode of Law and Order SVU, except Olivia Benson doesn’t come out victorious by the end of the episode.

Alongside the courtroom drama there is also the continued school life of the cast from the previous season; Clay is trying to move on from Hannah, Tyler is making new friends and doing his best to keep them despite the clashing personalities, Tony is questioning his morals and trades in his white boyfriend for a black boyfriend, Justin having even more internal conflicts, Jessica and other girls raped by Bryce struggling to come forward about their rapes in order to get him arrested, and many other things. Also before the start of season two, there is a PSA from the cast of 13 Reasons Why talking of mental health and suicide and encouraging viewers feeling thoughts of depression and suicide to seek help and discouraging them viewing the series.

To continue with the usage of old tech in a modern world, polaroid pictures were the nostalgic item used for evil this season as evidence that Bryce and many generations of the baseball team used as “trophies” in their sexual conquests.

To be honest I felt this season (like season one) dragged on and aside from a few select episodes (Courtney deciding to come clean about her true relationship with Hannah and come out as a lesbian at the same time is my favorite episode of the season). I do like that along with characters telling their sides of the story of the tapes, many characters who were seen as antagonists previously (the above mentioned Courtney, Ryan, and kind of Tyler) chose to do a heel face turn and aid in the courtroom battle against the school telling the truth of what happened on the tapes and admitting they were in the wrong.

The main character Clay struggles with his feelings towards Hannah, and as a result is seeing Hannah in front of him either as a hallucination or as Hannah’s soul aiding him in his journey (I see it as the later and I’ll explain why). Clay starts off the season dating Skye and suddenly having abs and trying to function without thinking of Hannah, but he can’t bring himself to do so. His character arc is learning new facts about Hannah that he didn’t previously know and questioning if his feelings for her were authentic.

We are also given some revelations about Hannah’s life and how she wasn’t the as unguilty as she claimed. She had been a bully at her previous school, but upon realizing what she was doing tried to stop and changed schools for the sake of a fresh start. I like that it gave more depth to her character, showing that she was trying to change herself for the better and still had flaws as a person and didn’t know how to handle it.

Poor, Poor Tyler

A Lot of my hatred for this season comes from the treatment of Tyler; throughout season one the character Tyler is treated like shit. While some of it is deserved from select characters (Courtney had every right to hate and mistreat him due to him outing her as gay when she wasn’t ready), the escalation gave the impression he was going to shoot up the school.

And he didn’t. Instead Tyler starts a questionable friendship with an individual named Cyrus, who although is ‘punk’ is a pretty cool guy who isn’t crazy enough to shoot up the school. Tyler goes through ups and downs, but it seems he nearly gains forgiveness from most of the cast. Then fucks it up because he didn’t want to be embarrassed for ejaculating in public from a kiss.

This all escalates to a horrifying and unnecessary moment in the show where Tyler is raped in the boys restroom.

It’s a disgusting scene, very unnecessary like Hannah’s suicide from the previous season and I strongly suspect the scene was only thrown in for the sake of possibly having a third season to the show just to resolve the Tyler conflict when it could have easily been resolved this season (I mean they solved the primary conflict of Hannah Baker’s suicide, no point in continuing the show after).

An alternative to the scene to wrap up his arc (and the series) would be that upon returning from rehab, Tyler would discover although he won’t gain back some of the friends he alienated, he could still have Clay and maybe get punched in the boys restroom rather than sodomized with a mop (why are so many adults useless in this show?)

God

So originally I was typing this review after I had finished viewing season two (about two weeks after it premiered on Netflix), but due to life events at the time I couldn’t devote my time and attentions to this little blog I do.

Last year when I was watching Thirteen Reasons Why my dad would join me because he thought the show was fairly interesting. He told me two things; the first was a reminder to always listen to someone when they’re calling for help regardless of how trivial it seems, the second I’m shocked was approached in the show itself.

My dad had asked me ‘what did you notice about all those kids on that show?’ I replied with ‘it’s a racially diverse cast.’ He responded with, ‘they don’t have God in their life.’ And while I wanted to argue that even if one of those kids was religious, that wouldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t be part of this problem (I’d still make the argument), I was shocked to see that the Olivia Baker asked a priest “could all of this have been avoided if we were had ‘something’?” in terms of a belief system.  My thoughts were ‘holy crap, religion in a modern YA show portrayed in a positive light.’ Complete with a priest stating that he didn’t believe Hannah went to hell despite dying from suicide.

My reasoning for believing during the season that Clay was speaking with Hannah’s soul rather than a hallucination created from his guilt is maybe the wanting to believe that Hannah didn’t go to hell for dying from suicide. Maybe it is from the observation my dad made and his feelings that “if those kids had been taught about God and how to be good people, none of what they were going through would have happened.”

I’ll end this blog post by thinking that as Hannah’s soul left the church, she went to heaven, just as the show should have ended at that point (I’m not watching season three, this show is going on longer than necessary).

The Day of the Doctor and Rose Novelization Review

Doctor Who is a long lasting british science fiction television show I’m a pretty big fan of (enough to have five different costumes of the Doctor) and in celebration of the fifty fifth year of the program and thirteenth year of the rebooted show on television we have been presented with two episodes of the reboot series written by Russell T. Davies (Rose) and Steven Moffat (The Day of the Doctor).

Spoilers from this point onwards, I think with psychic paper or Silence, or maybe a crack in the universe the memory of said spoilers can be taken care of.

The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat

The first of these two adventures I listened to was The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat; in comparison to the televised fiftieth anniversary special, the novelization gives a little more backstory to events happening and some clarification to questions some fans had been wondering. We get some more depth on just how dire the Time War really is/was with many species and entities blinking in and out of existence on a regular basis and a plethora of split timelines being created and destroyed in the battle between the time lords and the daleks.

While I did enjoy the novelization, I couldn’t help but get annoyed at the emphasis on the ‘timey wimey’ attitude of the narrator of the novel (The Curator), but this may be because I’ve moved on from the Eleventh Doctor, embraced and mourned the Twelfth Doctor and look forward to the Thirteenth Doctor.

What I did enjoy were the perspective of the Zygone characters and how they felt about the situation as victims of the Time War losing their home planet and being forced to go to earth as refugees of war and even though they would rather not invade the earth under such circumstances, they have no choice, so this allowed more sympathy for me to feel for the Zygone’s than I originally did.

There’s also an explanation for why the Osgoods are so close to each other, but I won’t go into that since I feel that was one of the stronger points of the novel. Speaking of strong points, oh my goodness chapter nine! I just couldn’t believe any of it! There was laughter, tears, and moments where i couldn’t help but blush in embarrassment of what I was reading and the intimacy printed (well in my case with the audiobook, being read out loud).

Also I was very satisfied to see what each incarnation of the Doctor was up to during the final battle between the daleks and the Time Lords and seeing each incarnation going off to save countless citizens of Galifrey in its moment of extreme crisis. We also see what the Twelfth Doctor was up to in all his badass glory during this time as well.

There is finally a small sneak peek to the Thirteenth Doctor that I’d rather readers (and listeners) go explore on their own rather than yap on about it.

Rose

Something I’ve talked about with friends lately is how much I enjoyed the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who (Ninth and Tenth Doctor). While I have nothing against Steven Moffat (Twelfth Doctor dethroned Tenth Doctor as my favorite Doctor), there was just something I liked more about the RTD era of Doctor Who, and listening to this novel allowed me to pinpoint it fairly well.

The background of Rose, her mother Jackie, and boyfriend Mickey are given more detail in this novel. We learn that it was Rose’s own fault that her life was mediocre rather than her mother’s influence and that Mickey wasn’t the pathetic person that the Doctor unintentionally made him out to be and is actually a very kind young man who finds ways to cope with his life despite some of the more depressing aspects of it. Jackie Tyler is essentially the same as she was in the tv series, but has a little more heart.

Rose, though shorter than The Day of the Doctor, was the story I found myself enjoying more. The expanded upon backstories of Rose, Mickey, and Jackie are just a portion of what made the book enjoyable. We also see characters that were unheard of and even more backstory to minor characters from the episode and their perspective of things like Clive (the man who was gathering data on the Doctor via the internet) lost his dad in Remembrance of the Daleks and desired to go on one adventure with the Doctor (even sacrificing his life for his family by gaining courage from the stories he had read about the Doctor).

What I really liked about the novelization of Rose and the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who was the humanity in it. The moments where the novel steps away from Rose and focuses on minor characters reminded me that despite the big bad things happening in the universe that the Doctor and his companions faced there was still the ordinary life of ordinary people.

There were good and innocent people who lost their lives in the chaos of the Auton attack along with people who weren’t good, or kind, and were just really bad people. There are also characters who weren’t even named, but filled with joy over surviving the impending doom of the situation and that when all the chaos was over and the day was saved got over their fear immediately and started aiding those injured in the attack.

It isn’t necessary to read these two novels to enjoy the episodes of Doctor Who, but I found myself really enjoying them and will probably buy and read the hard copy editions as soon as they are available.

I give The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat three out of five Fez’s (is that how you do the plural to fez?) and Rose by Russell T. Davies four out of five Tardises (Tardi?).

Star Wars Rebels Heroes of Mandalore Parts 1 and 2 Review

        Being the Star Wars fan that I am and this being the final season of Star Wars Rebels I have decided to review each individual episode (well episodes since they’re being released two episodes a night) for the final season of Star Wars Rebels. There will be spoilers.

        This week’s season premiere of Star Wars Rebels kicked off with the continuation of the Mandalorian Liberation arc from the previous season. Sabine and the Wren clan fight not only to free Sabine’s father, but to also destroy the weapon of mass destruction designed and created by Sabine known as the Dutchess. Also there’s the return of Bo Katan from Star Wars the Clone Wars.

        The episode itself is primarily action packed with much attention devoted to Sabine and her allies rescuing her father from Imperial forces as he is about to be executed in Part 1. As mentioned above Bo Katan does return to the series, but only gets a few lines and proceeds to aid the other Mandalorians in kicking ass and taking names and to say “a Mandalorian with a jetpack is a weapon.” Outside of Ezra having trouble with using a Mandalorian jetpack (how do those work anyways?) there is little to no comedy present in the episode along with the episode ending in a cliffhanger.

        Part 2 focuses on Sabine’s efforts to destroy the weapon ironically named as the Dutchess (Dutchess Satine was a devout pacifist, you can imagine how pissed Bo Katan must be gaining this knowledge). The weapon is designed specifically to affect Mandalorian armor so that it literally bakes the individual inside of it and causes them to be incinerated and reduced to ash. Of course the Rebels succeed and Mandalore is liberated.

Despite my enjoyment of the episodes I was a little disappointed that Sabine’s arc in the show has been wrapped up so quickly. I also didn’t like that Bo Katan didn’t really have development in the episode, but we can blame that on the fact that Clone Wars was cancelled before her own story with Mandalore could be animated and recorded.

We do also meet Sabine’s father who is an artist and actually critiques Sabine’s artistic abilities shortly after he is rescued rather than concentrating on her abilities as a warrior. I have a feeling Sabine’s father was a supporter of Duchess Satine since he isn’t as combat ready as the rest of his family (that we see).

Despite the episode being Sabine centered we actually don’t get too much development out of her as a character outside of rejecting the opportunity to get revenge on someone who hurt her family and betray Mandalore. I still enjoyed the episode for the action sequences and the score for Sabine’s theme.

I give Star Wars Rebels Heroes of Mandalore Parts 1 and 2 three Mandalorian jetpacks out of five (seriously how do those work?)

Batman and Harley Quinn Review

        In her twenty fifth year in existence of Harley Quinn and the seventy-something year of existence for Batman, DC Entertainment released Batman and Harley Quinn. I was very excited when I saw the announcement and trailer for Batman and Harley Quinn while my older brother groaned and said “seriously, more Harley Quinn?” And upon watching Batman and Harley Quinn I will say I was disappointed in a sense. I didn’t hate the movie, but I feel that things could have been done better.

The Good Things

        One of the things fans of DC Comics will notice off the bat is that the movie is animated in the same style as the Batman The Animated Series using the same character models for the characters of Batman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, a few background henchmen, and Nightwing (minus fugly 90’s mullet). The movie gave a very strong nostalgic feeling for me as someone who grew up with the DC Animated Universe from the beginning of Batman TAS in 1993 to the end of Justice League Unlimited in 2006.

        One of the neat things about the film is that the character models for a scene that takes place in a bar for henchmen used character models for nearly all the henchmen featured in Batman TAS and fans of the series can have fun trying to identify what episode each henchmen was in. There’s also a really fun musical number of Harley singing Hanging on the Telephone that even causes both Batman and Nightwing to briefly break out of their normal characterization.

        One of the best things of the movie I really liked was that it was a Harley Quinn movie without the Joker. Rather than rely on the constant conflict between Harley and Joker, this movie focused on the genuine friendship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. For those that don’t know in the comics after getting thrown out by the Joker one time too many Poison Ivy takes in Harley Quinn and the two start a friendship that at times is a little romantic. This friendship plays a key role in the movie for both Poison Ivy and Harley as the former begins to question if what she is doing really good for the earth and is going to far for the greater good.

        In this film Harley Quinn is recruited from her attempt to live a clean life by Batman and Nightwing to save the world from Poison Ivy and Floronic Man who want to turn all living creatures on earth into animal/plant hybrids in order to save the earth from climate change. Initially Harley is only recruited for the sake of finding out the location of Poison Ivy, but Harley joins along because she enjoys being alive and a human.

The Bad Parts

        Despite what I mentioned above about the film using the same animation models of Batman TAS for both the setting and character, the movie is not meant for kids and I can’t guarantee all viewers will get the same nostalgic feeling I got. There is swearing and a scene where Harley shoots the finger at a friend of hers which some parents who purchased the movie in hopes of bonding with their kids over Harley might not be so comfortable with. There’s also a fair amount of PG13 level gore present, another thing parents might not be so comfortable with. Particularly if their daughter was exposed to Harley via DC Superhero Girls.

        Harley Quinn is also very sexualized for the first third of the movie until she gets her Harley Quinn attire on. She can be seen in a ‘sexy Harley Quinn’ costume as part of her job, strips down to her underwear in front of Nightwing (and possibly has consensual sex with him). I’m not really sure if the goal was for Harley to celebrate her sexuality, to be objectified, or a strange mockery of sexualization while just having fun with the character.

        Sadly, there are moments where the movie is a little dull and even relied on potty humor (okay fine, Harley Quinn producing farts so foul smelling that even Batman pulled over at a gas station is pretty damn funny).

Some fans have complained over Melissa Rauch voicing Harley instead of Terra Strong, and while Rauch does kinda sound like Velma Dinkly with a brooklyn accent, you overlook it after a while.

Not all fans of Batman TAS or Harley Quinn will love this movie, but I enjoyed it enough to write a review on it.

I give Batman and Harley Quinn three and a half sudden musical numbers out of five.

        

Once Upon a Time Near Series Fauxnalie Review

In an alternate universe tonight was the series finale of Once Upon a Time. I loved the series, through awesome first halves of seasons followed by boring second halves of seasons, to amazing seasons with crappy season finales, and through all the tear jerkers, talks of hope, forgiveness, and love.

I won’t review the whole series, because that would take too much typing and I wouldn’t be done for a good eleven hours. I will be concentrating on this episode and any episodes I associate with it will be because of character development.

blah blah blah, spoilers beyond this point, blah blah

As I mentioned earlier there have been seasons that have been good with crappy season finales, and there have been boring arcs with a good season finale to follow. This season gave us a genuinely good and satisfying season finale. Many plots were tied up from Charming and Snow’s life (lets be honest their plot more or less wrapped up around the end of the Queens of Darkness arc), to Regina fighting her inner demons, to Rumple fighting his inner thoughts as The Dark One.

My only complaint is that this isn’t the actual series finale. Rather than giving us two hours of dramatic confrontation between good and evil, we’re given an alternative to one huge fight between light and darkness (don’t worry there is one). The finale was a nice reflection of the events of the first episode of Once Upon a Time where Emma is living a life without faith or belief, but through the events of the episode manages to regain her faith in everything.

I rather like that the final confrontation was not on Emma alone, but also with Rumple. I was happy that Emma took her position as the savior properly and didn’t resort to violence to save the day and (as I predicted in 2011 when the show first aired) died saving the day (don’t worry she came back to life too). It was interesting to see that Rumple was the one to kill the Black Fairy, and that it helped actually save the day.

I like that all the past events of the show were referenced one last time by reminding us that the cast of the Frozen arc, the Wonderland spin off, and other world’s visited were also playing a role in the events happening in the episode. I would have liked it more if the actors and actresses had been able to return for this episode, hopefully they can return for the actual series finale.

Speaking of which, it appears that the seventh season will have to do with Henry regaining his memories about Storybrook and his family because that’s how crappy Disney sequels set things.

I liked that essentially everyone in the series got a happy life, and that the morals of love, forgiveness, faith, and hope were able to aid in this episode and will probably aid the cast in the future.

Let’s hope next season is the last season.

 

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Review

Another season of Star Wars Rebels wrapped up tonight with Zero Hour where the rebel alliance literally got it’s ass kicked by the Empire. I really enjoyed this episode and most of season 3 of Star Wars Rebels. There were some filler episodes I didn’t (Iron Squadron…)

Sorta Spoilers from this point on, I’ll kind of be conversing with this blog post. For reviews for each episode individually, please watch the reviews on Star Wars Explained. I really like this channel and find it very informative for both new and old fans of Star Wars.

Characters

So this season was advertised as Ezra being tempted by the dark side, Kanan discovering new powers in the force despite being blind, Maul being a big threat, Sabine having her own character arc, Kallus taking Ahsoka’s position as Fulcrum, and so much more.

The season brought more of Star Wars Legends back into canon with the characters Thrawn and Wedge. Thrawn poses as a major threat by allowing minor victories with the rebel alliance to happen in order to better study them and defeat them. I can’t speak too much about my opinion of Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels because I didn’t know of the character or his book series because the old expanded universe was too large for me to handle.

The season kicked ass in so many ways; the first thing fans noticed was that characters besides Sabine got new models to be used with Ezra and Kanan getting the most dramatic changes and Hera and Zeb getting the least changes in design. Ezra’s physical puberty finally caught up with his voice! It was nice to see all the characters given a redesign sooner in the series since the events of the season 2 finale left it’s marking on the main cast both physically and mentally.

Ezra’s journey this season starts off with him being seduced by the darkside; Ezra had been studying from the Sith holocron and through it gained some impressive battle tactics through it. At the start of the season Ezra has confidence and arrogance that concerns his friends since he willingly kills Stormtroopers in very dark ways and was reckless on missions leading him to almost getting killed. As soon as Maul came into the picture, he more or less snapped away from the dark side and the rest of the season is Ezra just being himself.

Kanan has issues at the start of the season due to losing his eyesight and feels incompetent as a person, Jedi, teacher, and soldier. It is after meeting and learning some wisdom from a force sensitive known as the Bendu does Kanan return to his normal self.

Hera is a slightly more stressed out version of herself, Zeb is more relaxed and brudes less, and Chopper continues to stir shit up in a comical way for fun. Sabine got her own character arc and I am very happy for that. Sabine’s past of working with the empire is slowly brought up again until she gets her hands on the dark saber from Maul. I liked her journey this season and how we learn of her backstory and the pain she had to live with knowing that she could never return home without the traitor brand being lifted from her.

I liked seeing Sabine wield a lightsaber, I actually had her wield one in Disney Infinity a few times so there was definitely something cool about having her actually use one in canon. My only complaint is that Sabine’s character arc was about three episodes in total this season, but with news that there will be a season 4 of Rebels and the Mandalore plotline still open I’m very confident that her story will continue on.

Maul’s arc this season actually got on my nerves a bit; I felt he just popped up to annoy Ezra and Kanan because they were the only force users left for him to annoy since all the other jedi that he knew of were dead and because he knew Palpatine would destroy him with ease. This led up to Maul meeting Obiwan one last time and the two having a duel with obvious results. All I can say is, that’s what he gets for killing Satine.

I was very excited to see the Bendu in the show since he is voiced by Tom Baker and I am a very big fan of Doctor Who. I was satisfied with the character of the Bendu because he was a neutral in terms of the light and darkside of the force choosing to be like nature. Instead of taking a particular side the Bendu chose to let let things fall as they may and help Kanan and Ezra (and maybe even Sabine) in their emotional journeys providing wisdom. In the series finale he is pissed at both the rebels and the empire for messing around with his sleeping patterns. After Kanan pisses him off further, the Bendu takes his anger out on both sides with Thrawn barely being able to guess a weakspot to defeat the being…or not.

Finally as mentioned above Kallus took on the position of being Fulcrum; at the start of the season he is pretty incognito about being a double agent with even the rebels not knowing who he was. It was interesting to see how he would continue to throw off suspicion that he was the spy for the rebels and staying clear of Thrawn’s suspicion of who he was. He gets discovered in the end, complete with a physical beating and being held hostage (oh how I wish he had been shirtless with his unkempt hair in that scene…), and at the end of the season he finally joins up with the Rebel alliance.

Favorite Episodes

My three favorite episodes would be Double Agent Droid, Secret Cargo, and Trials of the Darksaber. Double Agent Droid brought focus towards Chopper, AP-5, and Wedge. I thought it was a nice episode at how it was finally acknowledged that Chopper frequently went into Empire territory with nothing more but a paintjob and no one ever noticing it. Then in this episode, IT BACKFIRED! It also showed that AP-5 is significantly more observant and a more valued part of the rebellion than most of the rebels are giving him credit for. Also, WE GET AP-5 SINGING! I swear I fell off my chair laughing at the tragilarious sight. We also get to see what happens when someone truly pisses off Hera, and how she probably has the highest headcount of the Ghost crew. Also there’s space toilets!

Secret Cargo and Trials of the Darksaber were two emotionally driven episodes on two opposite spectrums. Trials of the Darksaber showed Kanan and Ezra training Sabine to use a lightsaber since she would have people coming after her because of her possession of the darksaber. The acting from Tiya Sicar and Freddie Prince Jr. really got to me leading me to relate more to the character of Sabine.

Secret Cargo was an interesting episode to watch, particularly considering the current time political situation we live in and how Mon Mothma was able to unite all the rebel cells into the rebel alliance.

The Season as a Whole

I will admit I wasn’t feeling it this seasons as much as I was last season, I think it’s because the mystery of the fate of Ahsoka Tano interested me significantly, I do have my favorite moments and episodes though. There are some concerns that next season will be the last for Star Wars Rebels and I wouldn’t be shocked if that were true. I was hoping the series would end with the Rogue One storyline, except through the perspective of the Ghost crew.

I liked the development of the characters, the voice acting, the fact that not all fallen allies are forgotten too. I look forward to the next season of Star Wars Rebels, hopefully I’ll be in graduate school then.

I give Star Wars Rebels season 3, three and a half space toilets out of five.

 

Toonami Twenty Years

Like some kids who grew up in the 1990’s I watched Toonami. It wasn’t my introduction to anime (that was Sailor Moon), but it had a major influence on my life. It exposed me to anime and the unique form of story telling that it brings.

As I’ve mentioned before I learned to draw and became an armature artist because of anime, so I have Toonami to thank for gaining these skills and abilities. Anime was unique to me; before anime the only cartoons I had were either comedy based which wasn’t artistically appealing at times to me (hey look at that, I was a kid who couldn’t draw for shit critiquing the artistic abilities of others!) or they were Disney. Alot of the times unless the animation was a movie, there was no closure to a story. In the 90’s you were lucky if you got a season 2 to your animated show. Anime and Toonami changed that for me, the first anime that I saw in completion within twenty six episodes was Outlaw Star.

It was intense to me because characters fought pretty violent fights and when someone died, they died for good. There was alot of attention to detail in the animation too. I stayed a loyal fan to Toonami because I slowly began to like anime more and more and all of the variety provided to me through Toonami exposed me to genres like Mecha, Magical Girl, Harem, etc. I also indirectly discovered my favorite anime and manga CardCaptor Sakura through Toonami.

When Toonami was cancelled I was a little shocked, but not terribly surprised since all they showed Naruto (I don’t care for Naruto). I was a little annoyed that I missed the final airing, but i accepted that it was time to move on with life since I was going to start college at the end of the month anyways.

THen on April 1st 2012, Toonami came back bitches. I remember the night that I just had the tv on in the background as I listened to what was happening. At the time and even now alot of my tv watching is me listening to what’s happening while reading an article or chatting with a friend unless I particularly like something. Then I heard Steve Blum’s voice. And that Voice saying “bitches”. It was kind of like hearing one of your parents swear for the first time. I stayed up the whole night watching anime and loving it.

You’re all probably thinking that this strange adult in his late twenties now spends his saturday nights watching Toonami. Sadly no because I now have a social life, okay not as much of a social life as I once had in the past few years, but I don’t watch Toonami anymore. But I’m happy it’s on.

These days I’m probably asleep Saturday night because old people just fall asleep the second they’re in a comfortable position in bed. And sleep is awesome, I try to get as much as I can (this might explain how I can function without coffee at my age). I’m happy Toonami is twenty years old and I hope it stays on for a few more years.