Category Archives: Television

The Last Ship: It’s Not a Rumor (recap/review)

Poster for The Last Ship
On The Last Ship season premiere, a lot of things were sorted out, not least being the self imposed dictator of Baltimore, and mother of Alisha Granderson, getting taken down along with her “utopian” organization. In this week’s episode of The Last Ship, It’s Not a Rumor at the start of the show, Amy Granderson’s daughter Alisha is recuperating from her injuries and putting off facing her fellow crew members on the Nathan James.

Chandler and his crew cannibalize everything they can from the Baltimore compound and then head to the White House to search for survivors and they pick up an encrypted hard drive with information about other facilities across the world. They find a bunker but can get no answer and are not able to get in to continue their search. Dr. Scott gets in touch with her mentor Dr. Hunter for an over the phone tearful reunion.

Niels Sorenson aka Patient Zero; the one who weaponized the genome and made himself immune and a carrier, first met in Two Sailor Walk Into a Bar from season one, shows up on a beach full of survivors. Two of them mention the man, “his accent is different but he’s not Russian,” and shortly after all of the people on the beach are dead, infected by Sorenson (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). He shows up later in another “safe zone” which is being run by a “preacher.”

He is questioned by a man, Curtis, in the park, “Why aren’t you sick?” Apparently, the sleeping bag that Niels is in had a dead person in it hours before he used it. Later Curtis takes Sorenson to a sort of “camp meeting.” In a large tent, an amused Sorenson watches as the “minister” claims that those in the tent are “the chosen.”

The crew of the Nathan James head to Norfolk where the first person they spot from the bridge is a Navy SEAL signaling the ship. When they disembark Chandler and his crew learn that quite a number of armed forces personnel are at the base. With the hard drive and the extra troops, they head out to the various facilities set up to help the general populace.

Members of the crew search for loved ones around the area. Lt. Foster finds her mother who left their house and joined a safe area set up in the local bowling alley. XO Slattery heads to another safe zone at Deer Park only to find it deserted and that his family were there but are not now. Andrea Garnett is another one who finds that her family are not home, however there is a missing car in the garage of her home and someone had been packing.

Chandler tells his kids that he will not leave them again and that he is staying home. The children tell their father that is not what he should do and that their mother would not approve. Ashley and Sam convince their dad that his place in on the Nathan James with his crew and helping the world to get better.

Alisha Granderson is promoted by Chandler for her heroism and her loyalty, he hands her the full lieutenant bars he wore in Iraq. By the end of the show Niels has aligned himself with the religious zealot in the park and when Curtis says that the news of a ship distributing a cure is a rumor, Sorenson says that it is not.

The Last Ship has sailed into season two almost effortlessly and the story follows a logical course. Not having read the book is not an issue here as the series, despite the pretty tame state of the apocalypse, in American at least, is interesting and there are many obstacles to face before an all clear can be sounded.

Chandler is a compelling leader and Scott may yet become a fixture in either Tom’s or Tex’s life. Rachel and Tex have a verbal sparing match in the gym, where Tex is coaching Bacon who is trying to get down to his regulation weight. The two end up getting a little closer and Rachel thanks Tex for telling her about his 14 year-old daughter.

All the actors are now firmly in their roles and fans of Adam Baldwin will be thoroughly impressed when his character breaks down in tears at one point in the show. It is interesting to see Niels Sorenson back and on what appears to be a nefarious journey motivated by madness. The Last Ship airs Sundays on TNT.

Killjoys: Canadian Export Fun

Poster for Killjoys
SyFy is offering quite a number of fair to quality new programs this year and Canadian export Killjoys is a fun little series featuring some storylines that may not reek of originality but the cast make it work. Starring Aaron Ashmore (Warehouse 13, The Shrine), twin brother of Shawn (The Following, X-Men: Days of Future Past) as John, partner/employee of Dutch who are a couple of “bounty hunters” who work for the RAC.

Dutch, played by Hannah John-Kamen (Misfits, Dark Souls I & II), is a strong female character who has been trained by her father (Rob Stewart) as some sort of assassin from childhood. John’s brother, a decorated war hero with a kill order against him is rescued by the pair in the first episode. D’Avin, played by Luke Macfarlene, becomes a reluctant “unofficial” member of the bounty hunter’s team and in the second episode is actively helping on Dutch and John’s latest warrant.

The bounty hunter leader is surprised by her father’s re-entry into her life, Daddy dear is there to enlist her skills as an assassin and he drops off a red box. The receptacle is a reminder of her childhood and holds a weapon and a target that she has one week to eliminate.

During the latest warrant, D’Avin and Dutch bond as they try to complete the job and get off a warlike planet separated by crime lord areas and scavengers who steal anything, including things nailed down. The writing is not too shabby; episode two uses a Shaun of the Dead line, “Stop pointing that gun at my mother!”

Killjoys may not have a huge budget, but really how much is needed for a show set in a world that is dystopian at best with a lot of buildings in ruinous decay and Spartan decor for official offices and/or buildings. There are not a lot of gunfights so far and the FX are pretty impressive but nothing to write home about.

In this instance it is the actors, as mentioned before, that make this series work. Ashmore, an excellent actor by anyone’s standards, could interact admirably with a lamp. Given that his two costars are also capable performers the chemistry moves the plot forward with ease.

It is hard to pick on a program with a positive female character who is intelligent, can kick major bad guy arse and show just a bit of vulnerability. There may be a let down as the show progresses, after all this is only episode two and SyFy does have a reputation…

Before the end credits on episode two roll, there is a pretty decent shoot out and some mild hand to hand combat, performed by Ashmore, or his stuntman. The team now seem to be pretty comfortable with the two brother’s working for Dutch, after she makes the offer and those red boxes from Daddy look to be a future plot thread that will not go away.

Pretty entertaining fare, although nothing to induce too much in the way of thinking. Just a fun combination of good actors and action that does not, thus far, bore the viewer. Another SyFy offering that airs on Fridays.

SyFy’s Dark Matter Promising Space Opera [Update]

Anthony Lemke as Three

It has been pointed out that in the last part of this article two characters had been “mixed up” and that has been corrected. Number One is now referenced correctly in the plot breakdown. Apologies to the creators and the actors concerned.

SyFy’s newest offering, three episodes in, is a promising sort of space opera called Dark Matter that features the splendid Jodelle Ferland (and if you don’t know who she is, check out Case 39; it explains everything and if still in doubt check out her brilliant cameo on The Cabin in Woods) along with Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl, Patch Town) and is the from the creative minds of Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie both alumni of the Stargate verse.

Thus far the series feels like a mash up of several different shows and genres. A hint of Firefly, a touch of Alien Resurrection, a taste of The Magnificent Seven and a tiny bit of Identity…maybe and a large dollop of Farscape…definitely. In the first episode a disparate group of people wake up from stasis when the space ship they are on malfunctions. None of them know who they are or why they are there. Until their memories return, they refer to themselves as numbers, based on when they woke up.

In a short time all the players, one through six, seven including the android, reveal that their minds have been swept clean but not their personalities and soon the group begin to meld as a team, with the exception of two members. They all learn that before waking up with a “clean slate” each number in the group was a murderer, pirate and severe lawbreaker. The only exceptions are the android (Palmer) and Five (Ferland); who cannot be found in the fractured ship’s data base.

By the second episode, the show moves from mystery to action when the group decide to help a group of miners who they were originally meant to kill. Apparently the members were part of a mercenary team hired to take care of the planets independent miners and the memory wipe enables the killers to swap sides and fight for good. With the exception of Three (Anthony Lemke) all of the former criminals seem to be pretty decent.

As the group engage in a prolonged shootout with the big corporate baddies who want to kill off all the miners and take over their company, One, brings in another company to compete for against the evil corporation and the battle is over.

Jodelle Ferland as Five
Five in the ducts…

Episode three begins with a young teen boy’s body being found in the storage area by Five, who is visibly shaken by the incident and the group learning that the girl apparently has all their memories in her head. She accesses them via her dreams and one of her recollections includes a reference to the ship being sabotaged. While the group are taking in this information, the ship drops out of FTL and is placed in a high gamma radiation area which endangers them all.

The android risks her “life” to save the ship and crew and One and Six risk their lives to rescue the “robot” from outside the hull. By the end of the show, another element of surprise has been introduced, One, is apparently being chased by his former self. The question now seems to be whether or not all the numbers have a “doppelgänger” and if so, why?

Each of the characters have distinct personalities and while some are a bit of a stereotype, they are portrayed with enough depth to make them all interesting. Ferland, as Five, is the wild card, and Android is the Joker in this abbreviated deck. Five solves puzzles, compulsively and obsessively. The robot provides humor (in a Joss Whedon sort of way; think Cordelia or Anya or even Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as well as fitting the gravity boots of Winona Ryder’s Annabelle Call.

This is a promising new show and one that already keeps the interest level high and has the viewer trying to guess where the series will go from this excellent beginning. Dark Matter airs Fridays on SyFy.

Paris Hilton Punk’d in Poor Taste (Op/Ed)

Paris Hilton looking different
Ashton Kutcher and his MTV prank show Punk’d may not have started the whole, let’s pick on a celebrity craze, but he can be blamed in part for it. The show was wildly popular and it became a bit of a status symbol to get targeted by the new Mr. Kunis. Other countries have adopted the format and now Paris Hilton has been “punk’d” by Egyptian telly presenter Ramez Wakel el-Gaw. The 34 year-old celebrity and “actress” was caught out on a recent Dubai trip and the whole “punk’d” experience looks to be in very poor taste.

The segment of the show, which can be seen in the YouTube video below, is not actually very funny; for a number of reasons. For a start, there are too many “uncomfortable” things going on, close seating, a “foul” smell caused by an aerosol can being sprayed behind Hilton’s seat, and when the plane goes into crash mode, everyone starts screaming. On top of that, two members of what look like aircrew, open the back of the plane and after one jumps out, start attempting to hand out parachutes.

“I don’t want to jump,” wails Paris as the woman immediately behind her appears to start throwing up. Hilton apparently has a fear of dying in a plane crash, perfectly understandable considering the amount of air travel she must do on an annual basis. While this may not be common knowledge someone must have known and this makes the entire “prank” a cheap shot and not funny at all.

Not being a huge fan of Hilton, I will confess to cheering when her character’s head was skewered by a pole in the 2005 House of Wax remake, not just because the woman cannot act, but because of her dubious claim to fame. Several websites have pondered whether or not Paris was in on the gag or not. As at least one pointed out, “She is not that good an actress.”

Point taken.

By the end of this questionable stunt the presenter professes his “love” for Paris and she replies, “I’m going to kill you.” According to other publications she has gotten over her “shock” and has tweeted about the incident relating little “anecdotes” about her terrifying experience. No surprise there, this is the woman who turned what could have been a soul destroying sex tape leak into almost instant success.

While Paris hits Twitter, there may be a couple of Egyptian show hosts and presenters who might have to watch their collective backs for a while, not for a Hilton hitman, or woman, to snuff them out, but for a lawyer armed with a bit of “punk’d” paperwork for them. Turn about, as they say, is fair play chaps.

On a side note: is that plane a Sherpa? Anyone who knows; answers on a postcard please or in the comment section. Cheers.

Defiance: The SyFy Drama that Grows on You

Julie Benz, mayor of Defiance
Starting in 2013 Defiance, the SyFy channel’s science fiction drama, slowly grows on you. Not being too overly impressed with the first two seasons, it was surprising to see the series approved for a third season. A mini-binge was in order to see where the series was going and how long Terminator icon Linda Hamilton was going to last in the show. Looking at the show’s rating history on Rotten Tomatoes and its current ranking on IMDb it is interesting to note that after a shaky start, the second season garnered a staggering 100 percent from the former website and now has a 7.0 rating on the latter.

Perhaps tuning in for the first season was a mistake that could have been rectified by sticking with the show for its next run, as fans of the series did. Certainly SyFy had enough faith in the show to keep bringing it back and it could be that the development of so much alien language, that initially feels like a rip off of the Star Trek verse (Klingon or Romulan anyone?) was off putting for new viewers.

It was decided that season two of Defiance could be missed, despite the presence of Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Julie Benz and character actor Graham Greene and the introduction of Linda Hamilton as the crazy as a bedbug grandma.

So not being an overt fan-boy of the show it was a total lack of anything remotely entertaining on television, and therefore Hulu, that season three of Defiance was watched; all three episodes, to see what the series brings to the table.

Without going to the trouble of binging from its first airing, which would have included watching the poorly rated season one, the experiment was to see if not having a backstory would affect the enjoyment of the show. Quick answer is…It does not.

Despite the writing being a little too slap-dash for this reviewer’s tastes, the show was self explanatory enough to pull the viewer in with no real knowledge of previous events. The fact the show’s writers felt the need to have Linda Hamilton’s character, Pilar the craaaazy and homicidal granny, say, “Come with me if you want to live,” did annoy but not so much so that it detracted from their intent. (Which was obviously an OTT remember of just who Hamilton is, forgetting or overlooking her Beauty and the Beast days. A series where Linda made her name while the first Terminator worked on becoming a cult favorite. Shame on you writer guys, or gals.)

Of course this could be on par for the writing team. Notice that Julie Benz, who played vampire gal Darla in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, plays the mayor in a town that has just had a father-daughter team of vampire-like Votan aliens show up. Did Benz groan a bit when that was introduced? Hopefully not as it is kind of cool…Just saying.

For one who has not followed the show, it was with something approaching delight to see solid performer Graham Greene on board, only to be dismayed when his character was killed pretty quickly in season three. Hamilton lasted a bit longer, although her death was brilliant, “There is no way you’ll shoot this baby’s grandma right in front of him,” was her last line. Pilar proved that she was no Sarah Connor in this science fiction world so it was “sic transit gloria Linda.”

The world of Defiance is set in the shattered remains of the US, specifically, it seems, in the midwest, Pilar mentions the “Ass end of Oklahoma” and the St Louis arch is blown up, the arch is a symbol of Defiance the mining town. The show is set in the future and while some of the dialogue leaves a bit to be desired and the “made-up” linguistics of an alien race or two feels a little hokey, the show does become addictive viewing after a few episodes.

The third episode of season three leaves things up in the air and ends with a bit of a mini cliff hanger. John Nolan and his daughter Irisa, who shared a life support pod for seven months in the bottom of the mine, were connected with some sort of umbilical cord attached to their temples. When the Omec pair release the two, they rip out the cords, leaving two comma shaped scars on John’s and his kid’s foreheads. In Dead Air, both John and Irisa have been getting increasing painful headaches and by the end of the episode, Nolan is lying in floor in agony. The rescued vet says John needs treatment because he’ll die if he doesn’t, and Nolan’s daughter has been left in the snow back in Defiance, presumably dying as well, while the lawmaker there walks off, not on her way to get help one presumes.

This impressive “leave” at the end of the show is promising. Certainly at least one viewer wondered about those scars and the cord that attached father and daughter in that life pod. A small thing compared to the overall plot of the show, but one that someone decided was worthy of making a significant plot thread in the show. End result? One new fan who will be tuning in next Friday to the SyFy channel to catch episode four.

Hannibal: Aperitivo Darkly Drinking

Mason Verger in Hannibal
Hannibal continues to enthrall, with Aperitivo allowing the viewer to darkly drink in the gathering of those who have survived their encounters with Lector. All roads lead to Hannibal apparently as it seems that a climax will take place in Europe. The teaser at the end of Aperitivo has Bedelia saying to Hannibal, “Graham is en route to kill you, while you lie and wait to kill him.” Watching this week’s episode though makes it seem that Will may have company, or failing that, competition since a price has been put on Lector’s head.

Dr. Chilton has been busily visiting Hannibal’s other “victims.” Mason Verger (whom Lector drugged and then let the man start eating his own face) and Chilton agree to show off each other’s true face and each perform a slow prosthetic striptease that was splendidly horrific. “Now we can talk face to face” chortles Verger who definitely has not lost his sense of humor nor, as we learn later, his thirst for revenge.

While having his physical therapy from a struck off medico, he asks the man to find out how much it will cost to have Hannibal Lector eaten alive. Great stuff that, another example of what makes this show such a compelling one to watch, despite the stupidity of the network who have cancelled the series.

Bloom is visited by Chilton as is Will, although in his case he sees the dead Abigail as the two recite the dialogue from earlier when he hallucinated her visit. “It was surgical,” says Chilton, “He wanted us to die,” says Will, “But we didn’t,” Abigail/Chilton replies. All of season three has this dreamy off kilter feel.

Each character has their own flashbacks. Jack’s are tinged with sorrow and regret as he flashes back to releasing Bella and then his dismissal under the guise of retirement from the FBI. Crawford has been doubly damned in that Graham, “Hannibal thinks you’re his man and I think you’re mine,” betrayed Jack and his action almost cost him his life and has cost him his career.

The survivors are intertwined, Bloom is now working as Mason Verger’s therapist and is closer to Graham than Crawford, enough so that she tells Jack that Will has gone to take care of Hannibal. This week’s episode maintains the deep darkness that marks season three.

The dialogue continues to be double edged with hidden, or at least shielded, meanings and Jack’s line about how the view from the window has changed now that Bella is gone was poignant as it was deep. Will excuses his betrayal of Crawford by claiming that Hannibal was his friend. Certainly the two men are more alike after their relationship. Both understanding that to be free from the other one of them has to die.

That death must come from one of them, Hannibal cannot “forgive” Will unless he kills him, according to Bedelia and Bloom says that Graham knows what he must do. So the two men plot and other survivors are working to the same end. Verger’s via a contract and Chilton through his interaction with the players in question.

Kudos to the exchange between Katherine Isabelle’s Margot Verger and Dhavernas’ Bloom, “I wasn’t sure if this was my entrance…” “This can be your entrance,” Margot replies, “It isn’t easy to find the first time you come.” All before the introductions are made and then the doctor declares that there is a “Witchy beauty about the place.”

It is dialogue like this that makes Hannibal what it is. Over and above the more macabre humor, “If I had lips…” are these lines that add so much depth to the proceedings and provide a different kind of amusement. NBC may have axed this splendid show, but its creator assures us that the best is yet to come. Seeing the teasers of the next episode, there is no reason to doubt his veracity. Hannibal airs Thursdays on NBC.

Between: War (recap and review)

Jennette McCurdy in Between as Wiley
Last week’s episode, End of the Rope raised the stakes and really put things on the boil for the characters of Between and this week in War, they continue to show just how bad things can get in the beleaguered community of young survivors.

Adam’s father wakes him up in the prison to take him to safety. Pat is eaten up with guilt over killing Amanda and Chuck arms his lads with the intent of arresting the Creekers for his sister’s death. Gord tells Hannah she should have let him know she was married and the Mennonite girl returns to her community. Wiley wants to talk to Chuck and Pat’s sister tells her it is a very bad idea.

Chuck and his police force head to the Creeker residence and the family is not there. They find the car, that Pat struck Amanda with. Frances talks Gord into taking the milk into town for Melissa and the kids she looks after.

Adam’s father tries to take him to the tunnel that he used to get into Pretty Lake. The boy learns that not only is there no cure but that his dad worked on the virus. His father tells Adam that he is not immune and that there is no protection against it. Samantha tells Chuck that she knows the Creekers were responsible for Amanda’s death and tells the boy that Pat is there having confessed.

Adam and his continue to talk. Soldiers arrive and Adam’s dad says that they are early and that the military will kill the kids to prevent the spread of the virus. The soldiers, he says, do not know that their masks will not protect them and they believe they are inoculating the children to save them, not kill them. He coughs up blood and dies. Afterward, Adam stands by a door and looks ready to leave Pretty Lake.

Ronnie, Wiley and baby Jason, along with Tracey show up to save Pat. As things spiral out of control, Chuck takes aim at the elder Creeker to shoot him, Wiley jumps in the way demanding that she be killed for Amanda’s death as well. Gord and Melissa show up and big sister forces Wiley to tell Chuck who Jason’s father is and it is revealed that Chuck’s dad is the father. Jason is his brother.

The soldiers rush to “round up a 1,000 kids” and give them the injections. The group at the church; Chuck and the rest, begin to break up when Adam arrives. He tells them that the soldiers outside are there to kill them all. Chuck argues that it cannot be true and Adam points out the lack of communication with the outside world, no television, land-lines or cell phone signals. He also reminds them of the plane being shot down. The government, Adam says, are cleaning up their mess.

The twAfter striking Adam, the soldiers are overpowered and Wiley says that if Adam is wrong, “We’re all screwed.” All the kids are being taken to the prison of their shots and Wiley learns that Adam came back to save the kids. Gord and Adam dress up in the soldiers uniforms to escort the group to the prison and stop the soldiers from injecting the kids and wait for them to die. Mark says he can help them get to the control room at the prison as he was an inmate.

While Gord and his group head for the prison, Melissa and Wiley clear the air about the baby and their relationship. Two more soldiers appear and take them to the prison. The plan seems to be working as Gord and the guys follow Mark to the control room. Meanwhile the soldiers are injecting the smaller children.

As Wiley and Melissa are being transported, the soldier driving begins to choke and he dies. The van crashes. The guys are caught out by two other soldiers and the group split up after overpowering the duo. Adam makes it to the control room and as he begins to lock the prison down, his father turns up, not dead after all.

When questioned about it, Adam’s father explains that they are the only two who are immune to the virus as he used his own DNA to make the stuff. It was never meant to be used but Art Carey “went rogue” and infected the town of Pretty Lake. Adam has to shoot his father to save the remaining kids.

The rest of the show is a race between soldiers dying and kids being murdered and a huge dose of irony.

By the end of Between the price of survival has been dear. Two main characters die and there are a couple of heart-stopping moments when it looks like Frances will be killed as well. Rather interestingly, the whole idea behind the virus is population control, similar to the back story behind another Canadian series, The Lottery.

Adam learns that not only can father’s lie, but that governments do as well. Dad may have come back to get the boy, but at the price of killing the rest of the kids in Pretty Lake and the government knows this is happening. The cell phones come back on so the prime minister can tell the kids about the injections. Like the short lived Canadian series The Lottery, the underlying message of Between is that government’s lie and that we are all expendable for the greater good.

The episode War continues to show just how bad things can get in the contaminated area. This Netflix series has turned the corner from a slow uninteresting start to a show that should not be missed. Jennette McCurdy has grown into her character, Jesse Carere has made Adam believable and the rest of the cast are rocking their roles out of the park. Between should be re-named Unmissable.

Wayward Pines: Choices and Plot 33

Still showing Theresa and Bill Wayward Pines
In last week’s episode of Wayward Pines, The Truth, Ethan climbed “over the mountain” and discovered savage creatures and a city in ruins covered with vegetation. He also learned that Wayward Pines was an “ark” started by David Pilcher/Dr. Jenkins who rescued the escapee from abbies who were about to attack. In Choices Ethan learns about what the town really is and why he was chosen to become a resident and viewers learn about plot 33 and a faction who want to escape.

At the beginning of the episode, there is a flashback to a long-haired Pilcher wandering a destroyed city street and he passes burning cars and freshly dead people lying in the road. After the opening, Ethan is flown back to the control center that runs and maintains Wayward Pines and the 200 volunteers who live and work in the “complex.”

While Ethan goes to have his “abbie” wound treated, Theresa finds Ben sitting deep in thought. His newly gained knowledge as a member of the first generation is weighing heavily and speaking to his mother Ben reveals how much this has affected him. She tells him that “everything will be all right, I guess,” and heads off to work.

Ted, the home delivery man, drops off a package at the toy store run by Kate and Harold and asks about one that they want sent out. The two go into the back of the shop to Harold’s workshop. It seems that Pete had a package the three need and Kate angrily tells Ted that he should not be meeting them there. She tells the delivery man to look for the late McCall’s package at his workplace and Ted replies that it won’t be easy as Bill is always there and that new “cute” brunette is working there.

At the real estate office Henrietta is quitting because Bill “hired” Theresa as a agent instead of her. When Mrs. Burke follows her departing colleague out of the office to apologize, the woman warns her to be careful and mentions McCall and his belief that plot 33 is “a way out.” When Burke asks what plot 33 is, Henrietta hurriedly ends the conversation.

As Ethan gets his arm treated, he learns more about the doctor, including that she is Pilcher’s sister. Afterward, he comes across a captured abbie in the facility and learns more about how David set up the ark. It is revealed that Wayward Pines’ doctor is a recovering drug addict as well as Pilcher’s sister and that David is not as close to her as she is to him.

Flashbacks show his struggle to set up Wayward Pines and a couple of characters are met that play, or played, an important part in the town, the head teacher who was learning to be a hypnotherapist and now runs the school for the “first generation” and the former sheriff was a security guard for Pilcher’s company. Pilcher takes them both as volunteers and the sheriff’s first job is to kidnap a disgraced doctor for the new ark.

As Ethan learns more about Wayward Pines and its beginnings, Theresa looks up details about plot 33 and finds out that Bill is not a very nice boss at all. Kate stops by to talk to her former lover’s wife and the two go for coffee. A new inductee is being processed for the town, a Sara Barlow from Missouri, “she’s a teacher,” the doctor says proudly and Ethan wants to know “how many?”

Ted uses Kate’s diversion to grab McCall’s package and fends off Bill’s questions about Kate. Theresa is told by Kate that she wants them to all be friends and to be “closer.” David explains to Ethan why he was chosen to be a part of the new world. Pilcher also explains that he and the volunteers were put to cryogenic sleep for 2,000 years in order for the earth to regenerate.

It took Pilcher and his group two years to rebuild Wayward Pines after they woke up and that the perimeters were built to keep “things” out. Ethan reveals that he does not like how the leader of the ark runs things. Kate, it turns out, does not like life in the town either and she, along with Harold and a few others, are planning an escape.

Burke tells David that he needs to tell the people what is going on and that the public executions must stop. Pilcher agrees that the executions should cease but that he cannot tell the denizens of the ark the truth. Turns out he did once before, with Group A. Ethan, Theresa, Ben, Kate and many others are part of Group B. The first group broke under the strain of the knowledge and it resulted in an almost complete meltdown. As David says, “They emerged from Plato’s Cave and it blinded them.”

The ruins seen at the beginning of the episode were the remains of Wayward Pines after Group A self destructed and Pilcher reveals that the “new generation” are the real hope for humanity. Ethan recognizes that his son Ben is one of those meant to “enlighten” the town. David tells Burke that a new group means to take down the fence and Ethan vows to stop them without killing anyone.

Choices is all about the various choices made by those who opted to follow Pilcher and those who have decided not to. The disappearances that brought Ethan, Evans and Kate to Wayward Pines to investigate and then become a part of the town, were choices made by David to fill his new world with the right people. Somewhat disturbingly, it looks like Ben may be crumbling under the same information overload as did the members of Group A.

Matt Dillion brings a certain world weary gravitas to role of Ethan Burke now that he is not trying to escape and in Choices his character learns about what the town really is and why he was chosen to become a resident and viewers learn about plot 33 and a faction who want to escape. Toby Jones as the cold and distant savior of humanity is brilliant. The show continues to peel back further layers to each of the characters in Wayward Pines. Pilcher’s sister comes across as a bright eyed “Pollyanna” in the flashbacks, the teacher as an almost fierce zealot and the late Sheriff Pope was an ex-con and former drug addict as well.

There appears to be common denominator shared by the powers running the ark. Several were drug addicts, or mentally unstable, like the overly zealous teacher, or like Burke who suffered some sort of breakdown. Pilcher himself lacks the ability to really empathize with his fellow man and for all his posturing, it appears that David targeted people who were flawed to populate his oasis of mankind.

Wayward Pines airs Thursdays on Fox.

Hannibal: Cancelled by NBC aka Noxious Banal Cretins

Still of Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal
Let there be no doubt; NBC are a lot of noxious banal cretins who would not recognize class and quality if both of them came up and cut off their noses; sliced thinly and served on a silver platter with a fine Spanish red and a side of sautéed baby potatoes or however Hannibal himself might be tempted to serve up the powers that be who cancelled the show in its third season. This psychological horror series with its complex storylines and bucket loads of gore is easily the best scripted show on television and seemingly had something for everyone.

Certain episodes had scenes so horrific that what the eye did not see the imagination filled in handily and viewers must have known that these white knuckle images would come back to haunt their dreams. This violence and bloodshed, which to be honest was nowhere near as bad as it could have been, should have appealed to the younger demographic that television networks are so eager to please.

The complexity of the plot threads and the interaction between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), Dr. Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson), Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne) and a slew of other fascinating characters were the draw for those more sophisticated than the usual market target.

Show creator Bryan Forbes is not too upset and revealed that he has enjoyed the ride. Other’s are implying that the series may have gotten the NBC axe but that Hannibal could live on in another “platform.” Shows like Longmire, which was cancelled causing fan outrage as the ratings were actually solid, have been picked up by Netflix who will continue the series. More recently Constantine; another NBC show with a solid fanbase which was cancelled, has been actively pursuing a Netflix or Hulu deal and fans are “petitioning up”  to help  make this happen.

Like Constantine, Hannibal has had a difficult time building up a large following. Fans of both shows were dedicated and as mentioned by Slate.com, the latter series has always had an active and prolific Twitter fanbase.

Season three of Hannibal has had an introspective dreamy aspect that may have helped along its demise. Scenes are darker than ever and the amount of time spent focussing on mealtimes, with swelling operatic scores accentuating the sheer opulence of the cannibalistic feast, is almost overwhelming.

It is, perhaps, the introspection as well as the complex and almost musical dialogue of the characters which has also been off putting to the younger demographic. With lines containing several layers of meaning and the increasingly complicated interwoven threads of plot and characters, this “look at Hannibal’s beginning” could be bogging the average viewer down.

This is nothing new, each of the first two seasons made the audience think. Certainly fans were wont to discuss the meanings of the symbology and the mythos in the show after each episode. Twitter has been, as mentioned above, the social platform of choice for most fans to talk implications and underlying themes.

With the news that NBC has turned its back on a show that is highly praised by critics but has a disappointing viewer rating, fans will have to wait to see if a new home can be found for the series and its incredible cast. Until then, the rest of season three can be enjoyed in spite of the noxiously banal cretins at NBC.

Pretty Little Liars: Don’t Look Now (Review and Recap)

This week’s episode, Don’t Look Now, in Pretty Little Liars we learn about who Charles DiLaurentis was and what happened to him. According to Jason’s and Alison’s father, he was sent to Radley Institution, where Spenser also spent time. Their father assures both kids that the troubled sibling was too dangerous to stay at home and Jason is still upset that he was made to believe that Charles never existed.

The girls are all still reeling from their torturous incarceration with some having flashbacks, although Spenser is having a harder time than the rest since her mom cancelled her anti-anxiety medication and as a result she cannot sleep. Mr. Dilaurentis explains that the family moved to be close to Charles. Ali relates what she learned to the rest of the girls including the fact that the mystery brother is dead, he committed suicide.

Hannah is convinced that DiLaurentis is still lying and Spenser mentions the home movie the girls found in the doll house, they agree to find proof that Charles is dead. Caleb is sticking close to Hannah and Emily is getting pressure from her mother to speak to Dr. Sullivan. Sara is included and does not react well to the news.

All of the doll house survivors are dealing with the incident better than their families. Aria’s father has become paranoid and wants to take her everywhere, Emily’s mother wants her to have therapy and Caleb, with Hannah’s mother’s blessing is smothering the girl with over protection. He even puts a tracker in her car which, understandably, upsets Hannah.

Spenser meets Sabrina, a new baker at the coffee shop and she learns that the new girl takes drugs for her migraines. As the flashbacks increase, Spenser is getting desperate for some relief and her need to sleep is overwhelming. At one point she goes through Aria’s rubbish bin looking for the pills that she threw away. Finally, Spenser goes to Sabrina for drugs. The baker will not sell her anything but does “put together” a box of essentials.

Sara runs from Emily’s home and returns to her mother, only to learn that things have not changed and that she cannot stay there. Spenser call Radley to see what happen to the patient records now that the facility has closed. Finding that the records either went with transferred patients or were sent to be shredded, the girls head off to find proof of Charles’ death.

At the River Hill Data Center the backdoor to the warehouse is left open and Hanna, Spenser, Aria and Emily search until they find a file on Charles. There is no record of his death or any transfer but they learn what medication he was on and that his great-Aunt Carol was one of two regular visitors. The girls grab the file and as they leave the warehouse Caleb is waiting for them outside. This is when Hannah learns about the tracker that he put on her car.

Jason remembers that after Aunt Carol died, he went to stay at her old home; he was hiding out at the time. When he arrived, his mother was already there and would not let him in the house. He could hear someone else in the building and his mother said that it was the wind and that no one else was there.

Aria gets locked in the developing room at the school and just before discovering that she cannot get out, finds a note that referenced a doll house incident, “You are MY doll b*tch – A” and she has a flashback to Charles cutting her hair and threatening to take all of it if she did not dye it. Afterward she opens up to her father about the doll house.

Alison’s dad relates a Rain Man type incident when she was a baby where Charles almost scalded her in the bath. By the end of the episode, it looks like Hannah is not the only one being tracked and it certainly seems that the kidnapper is still free.

This week’s title, Don’t Look Now is an apparent allusion to the iconic 1973 horror film with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. In the film, the specter of their drowned daughter fills every frame, even when the sight of a red raincoat clad child is not seen by Sutherland’s character and the camera. In the movie, the “child” turns out not to be the ghost of the dead daughter and it seems that in Pretty Little Liars, it is not Charles who kidnapped the girls.

While this is a bit of a stretch, the fact that the “invisible” sibling of Jason and Ali has been dead, the girls discover his grave and headstone, for quite some time, he is obviously the specter in this show. But whoever “doll house” Charles is and his connection to the DiLaurentis brother is still to be answered. With Caleb being asked to back off and his tracking of Hannah, is he the one who is tracking all the doll house survivors? Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on ABC.