wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (Default)
I was enthralled by the first season of Bletchley Circle.  Four women who had worked at Bletchley Park (the codebreaking org that employed Turing and broke Enigma) have since tried to live ordinary lives.  They can tell no one of their war time efforts, but the experience gave them the tools needed to solve a string of terrible murders.  I loved watching the team come together, each with their own set of skills: Millie's audacity, Lucy's perfect memory, Susan's logic, and Jean's contacts and organization.  Millie, Lucy and Susan were close during the war, but they've drifted apart since, and there's additional tension as they butt up against the compromises each of them have made.  I particularly adored seeing the beginnings of tools and ways of thinking that procedurals today use as a matter of course. 

The second season satisfied me less than the first, and I'm not sure why.  Light spoilers for The Bletchley Circle Season 2 )
wealhtheow: cartoon of old-timey lady saying, "this debate lacks any sexual intrigue so I am not even paying attention" (sexualintrigue)
I liked the first episode of Sherlock's season three although now that I think about, I can hardly remember the plot. Spoilers for the third season of Sherlock )

wealhtheow: Sam Winchester making an odd face (samface)
I've had a hard time watching Supernatural for the last few seasons.  In fact, I even stopped watching Supernatural for a while, but I was recently stuck at home and mainlined most of the 8th season in a week.  I'm glad I did!  Vague spoilers for Season 8 of Supernatural, though episode 22 )
wealhtheow: River Song fluffs her hair smugly (river-fluffs-hair-smugly)
I really enjoyed the first season of Young Justice.  The characterization was well done, staying consistent from episode to episode and arc to arc. Character flaws revealed in one episode would become plot-relevant a few episodes later.  Relationships grew and changed over time, always feeling like natural progressions.  And although the A-plots were villain-of-the-week, there was a consistent B-plot about the Light's machinations that was delightfully twisty and underhanded. 

Then the second season began.  I wasn't initially thrilled about the jump in time from one season to the next; abruptly, the team had lost original members and gained  new ones, and I wasn't sure who all the new people were.  Beast Boy had been foreshadowed in season 1, and we got a lot of chances to get to know Blue Beetle and Lagoon Boy.  The other new members (Batgirl, Tim Drake's Robin, Wondergirl, Bumblebee, and Mal Duncan) got less screentime, and I was left feeling that the team was too big for me to feel like a single cohesive family/friends unit, as the first season Young Justice crew had.  Instead, the 2nd season team felt like a bunch of teenagers who worked together.  Even though I felt the cast of characters got a little too big, I liked seeing so many familiar costumes, or cool new twists on old ones (like Apache Chief, El Dorado, and Samurai, who were icky stereotypes in earlier canon but given more dimension and realism in YJ). 

And I loved, loved, LOVED the plots.  vague spoilers for Season 2 of Young Justice )  I cannot wait to see the season and series finale next week!  My only regret is that it will be the last I get of these great characters and wonderful team.
wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (Default)
I just watched the first two episodes of season 4 of Misfits (the season that's airing now, I mean). 

Misfits is a UK show about a band of disaffected young people charged with community service for commiting various offenses.  On their first day, a storm gives them all super powers.  Some of them are traditional powers, like turning invisble or reading minds, and others are less so (like the power to do telekinesis with all dairy products!).  The characters are mostly self-absorbed slackers with quick come-backs and few moral qualms.   I liked the turn on traditional superhero stories, and particularly loved Kelly, who was low-class, quick to throw a punch (in fact, she was the bruiser/defender of the group--even the physically fit guys jump out of the way and call for her to do the dirty fighting), and underneath it all, a really good and empathic person.  In the third season, she traded her power in for the power of being a rocket scientist, and then spend the rest of the season saying things like "Duh. I'm a fucking rocket scientist" in the most chav-tastic accent possible.  It was a thing of beauty.

Sadly, the actress who played Kelly was charged with a racist assault and dropped from the show, and a bunch of the other actors skived off to other jobs, so only one of the original cast is still on the show.  Instead there are all these foul mouthed ugly white dudes making faces and trying to out-do each other in terms of how tasteless and borderline sexual assault-y they can get.  I just don't care about their bullshit "adventures" any longer, so I'm dropping the show from my rotation. 


Sep. 14th, 2012 10:39 am
wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (Default)
As a kid, I loved The Adventures of Sinbad.  It was low-key, cheesy fun, and the main characters were pretty.  It doesn't hold up well--even my memories tell me that.  But I like swashbuckling adventures that don't get too dark, and so leapt at the chance to watch another lightweight retelling.  Alas, Sinbad hasn't impressed me thus far.  "Queen of the Water Thieves" had the acting of Sophie Okonedo, aka Liz 10, to recommend it, and some bits have been entertaining. It feels reminiscent of Firefly: ragtag crew with some very competant and some kinda incompentant members, often running out of supplies, on the run from the authorities, living in a small and intimate space.  But there are just too many plot holes, unexplained jumps in logic, and changes in characterization for me to really like it.  And though there are the seeds of stories and worldbuilding that has more depth and solidity to it, I don't trust that any of it will get developed.  I'll give it a few more episodes, but I think this might be the end of my adventures with Sinbad.


Sep. 12th, 2012 10:47 am
wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (medusa)
A few months ago I discovered "Alphas," a SyFy show that's rather like a cross between X-men and Heroes.  The first few episodes are not that memorable: a rag tag bunch of people with superhuman abilities working together to foil various plots and investigate odd phenomena.  Then I watched "Rosetta."* The team flushes out a terrorist cell and discovers that they had a captive, a silent autistic girl named Anna who can translate any language.  Spoilers for episode 1x04 )  I loved it! 

"Alphas" takes the disadvantages of Alpha abilities as seriously as the special ability aspect. For example, Rachel's senses are incredibly developed, which makes her a gifted investigator. But it also means that she can't bear to be touched and is perpetually disgusted by the skin flakes, microbes, etc she can see all around her.  Bill can make himself incredibly strong and fast for short bursts of time, but his muscles bear the burden, leading to early heart problems.  The theme continued in this week's episode, "Gods and Monsters."*  Spoilers for episode 2x07 )

This episode also ramped up the conflict between Dr.Lee Rosen, the leader of the government team of Alphas, and Stanton Parish, the immortal leader of the terrorist Alphas.  When we first meet Lee, he seems like a cliched absent-minded professor.  Although he himself doesn't have an Alpha ability, he has dedicated his life to studying and counselling those who do.  He seems slightly manipulative but also often out of his depth, and as a viewer I thought of him with mingled affection and contempt.  As the series continues, Lee is repeatedly forced to compromise between the militant stance of the government and his sense that Alphas deserve the same civil rights (like the right to due process) as non-powered humans.  He is not always successful; several Alphas end up in the government's holding facilities for having powers too usable as weapons, despite their innocence.  So it's hard to whole-heartedly cheer for the governmental Alpha team.  But then Lee and the rest of the team lead a raid on an Alpha terrorist cell, and the experience leads many of them to a crisis of conscience.  Lee goes from pencil-pushing quibbler to completely uncompromising, and he fights for his vision in a way so sneaky, underhanded, and manipulative that I applauded.  He's finally becoming able to forsee and point out some of Parish's manuevers, which are always 8 steps ahead of everyone else, and I love watching it.

I prefer my Professor X/Magneto relationship to have affection and  friendship mixed with their staunch disagreement.  And sadly, there is no love lost between the "Alphas" correlates.  But what they lack in emotional complexity, the "Alphas" characters make up for in schemes.  So many wonderful schemes!

*I think there might be a contract tv sf writers have to sign in regards to episode titles. Every single series must have a "Rosetta", etc.  Surprisingly, there hasn't been a "Tabula Rasa" episode yet, but I know it's just a matter of time.
wealhtheow: The slashdragon says: "I did it for the Lulz" (dagron lulz)
Spoilers for Where There's a Will, There's a Fae and Oh Kappa, My Kappa ) Hopefully this is one of those shows, like Buffy or TNG, that spends the first season doing silly, obvious MOTW type plots and then develops into something rich and interesting over time.

wealhtheow: River Song fluffs her hair smugly (river-fluffs-hair-smugly)
I am too overcome to properly know what to think!

Spoilers for A Good Man Goes to War )

I am so excited about the next episode!

wealhtheow: Picture of Gwen from Merlin with the words "Future HQIC" (GwenFromMerlin)
Wiscon rules!  Thanks to it I got to go to the vid party, and thanks to the vid party I saw imaginarycircus's Meow Meow, and thanks to Meow Meow I was reminded that I'd always meant to check out Lost Girl.  I watched the first episode here.  (The audio is a little muffled and the video a little fuzzy--does anyone have ideas where to find a better version of the show?)

Thus far, it seems to be about a (bisexual, tough, female who wears sensible shoes and uses sexy clothes like a mask instead of her default clothing choice) fae, her decision not to ally herself with the "two party system" currently controlling the fae, and her friendship with Kenzi, an adorable goth thief.  Years of Supernatural had me sure one of the numerous men of color was sure to end up dead, evil or both, but thus far--nope!  Years of US tv in general has me tensing up, waiting for a female character to be present just so she can be victimized and provide ~suffering~ for men but thus far--nope!  No one is stupid so a plot could work, and I didn't even notice any plot holes.  And I love that Kenzi says precisely what I've always wanted someone to say to a superpowered individual--enjoy it!  Get what you can out of it!  Having magic isn't all moping and rainy days, after all.

I can't wait to watch the next episode! 

wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (Default)
Two episodes in to the HBO adaptation of GRRM's Song of Ice and Fire.  Gotta say, I am not loving it.  The cast is pure awesome (though I can't wait till Daenyris's actress is given more to do than look wide-eyed and hurt/aroused) and the crew has done a fabulous job on making the world feel real and lived in.

But I am just so sick of stories in which the world or country descends into chaos and barbarism.  Oh look, the bad people in charge are misusing their power, and the few good people in charge are too ineffectual/burned-out/disinterested to stop them.  Oh look, ladies, the poor, and those who don't fit the ideal are constantly ignored and mistreated.  Oh look, the poor are completely powerless.
Wow, that's something I haven't seen before.  So glad this show is getting a full two seasons (at least) to really roll around in the miserable muck!

I'd feel better about the show if I didn't know we've got at least another few seasons of this suffering to slog through.  I mean, the four books out now are basically one long "and then terrible things happen to everyone" ramble.  I am not looking forward to watching what's coming go down.  At least while reading the books, I can still hope.  But watching the series, I already know.  I have no reason to hope.  And I just want it to be *over*.
wealhtheow: River Song fluffs her hair smugly (river-fluffs-hair-smugly)
Dear Doctor Who, how awesome are you?

Spoilers, Sweetie. )

wealhtheow: Picture of Gwen from Merlin with the words "Future HQIC" (GwenFromMerlin)

I've been postponing watching the new season of Merlin.  I've been afraid.  There are universes that I love so much that I can hardly bear to watch or read other people mess with them.  The chance that they'll fuck it up terrifies me.  (This is true even of the original creators of universes--I loved The Demon's Lexicon so much I put off reading the sequel for months, just in case it didn't live up to my dreams.  (It did.  Read Brennan's books, for they are excellent!)  The invective my friends and I have thrown at Chris Carter, Joss Whedon, and Kripke would stun a sailor.)  I love Arthurian myth so, so much, and the writers of Merlin can be ham-handed and thoughtless as often as not.  So it took me a while to steel myself.

Spoilers for the Tears of Uther Pendragon )
wealhtheow: sepia close-up of Medusa (Default)

So two new spy shows premiered recently, both treading fairly well-worn ground.  Undercovers is about a married couple who are pulled away from their catering business and back into being CIA spies.

Spoilers for pilot of Undercovers )

Nikita is a remake of La Femme Nikita (which was both a French film and a 90s TV show).  All three have badass heroines who take a lot of damage and dish it right back out (which is pretty much a bullet-proof love of mine). Talkin' 'bout the 1997 and 2010 La Femme Nikitas )