I came into this season with the fear that it wouldn’t be as good as Stranger Things has been in the past – the fear of sequel syndrome. I was more than a little concerned that the threat would become stale, now that these kids have battled the Upside Down for two seasons already… how would the threat this time be something new? But the show very quickly put my worries to bed – it was another great offering and I devoured season 3.
The Mind Flayer itself got an upgrade, and that helped to keep things fresh. This is one of the things I continue to be so impressed by in Stranger Things (their Easter Eggs and pop culture references aside), they are so very good at making things look gross. Some of their best effects are their gore effects, and I wonder if this is a nod to the gory horror films of the 80s? From the exploding rats early in the season, to the construction of the new and improved Mind Flayer in the hospital, to El’s horrendous leg injury in that finale – the best VFX in Stranger Things, is in goop and gore and grossness.
But back to nicer things. The kids have all grown up a bit now – quite a lot, you realise when the boys start talking – and their stories are developing into bigger, older stories. That was one of the things that stuck out to me this season, and especially in the development of relationships, for all the characters not just the kids. And this seemed to have particular focus on girlfriends, woohoo female empowerment buzzword – TICK.
Continue reading “Stranger Things 3 – Girlfriends, gore, and good god that ending”
Someone asked me recently about what my favourite films and TV of 2017 have been, and let me tell you, that’s not an easy trophy to give out to just one film and one TV show. I did eventually manage to name a favourite TV show (Legion) in the end, but there was one show that stuck in my brain, crying out to be recognised, that I couldn’t quite bring myself to name as my favourite. And that show is The Shannara Chronicles.
**SPOILER FREE POST**
I have talked a bit about The Shannara Chronicles before, in one spoiler-heavy post from season 1, (where there’s also a brief synopsis of the overall concept if you’re interested) but there’s more to be said now that season 2 is on in the UK. It’s a fantasy series, based on an epic series of books (and epic is the only word for it, when you count up over 20 books set in Shannara!) by Terry Brooks. It’s big and bold, and I am completely hooked by it. It’s not all good though – the show is a bit crap in places, and doesn’t do the best job of hiding that fact. Yet somehow, that’s part of its charm! Hence, it gets the title of ‘guilty pleasure’ TV. I couldn’t name it as my favourite more out of principle than anything else, but it’s definitely up there in my top 5. And I’ve been itching to do a commentary on it. Who knows, maybe it’ll even persuade you to give it a shot?
Continue reading “The Shannara Chronicles – Ultimate guilty pleasure TV”
Based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale has now come to our screens in the UK – Sundays at 9pm on Channel 4, you’re welcome – and so far it’s been a really intriguing watch.
The central conceit of the show is that humanity has all but decimated the US as we know it, and this has resulted in a “plague of infertility” among the women of the country. Under the rule of their new uber-religious, totalitarian government, those few women who are fertile become Handmaids to the rich and powerful in the militant society, whose only purpose is to provide children for the man and wife the Handmaid is assigned to. This is where we find our heroine, Offred (whose name literally means Of-Fred, the property of Fred, the Commander).
With a mass beating, secret scrabble, and quite possibly the most uncomfortable sex scenes you will ever watch, The Handmaid’s Tale lands us right in the middle of a poignant, ‘what if,’ dystopia.
Continue reading “The Handmaid’s Tale – Anyone for a cheeky Scrabble?”
Legion is a show with a tantalising premise: David Haller is confronted with a reality check when he is informed that the voices he’s heard in his head his whole life are in fact, not a symptom of schizophrenia, but the inner voices of those around him. He is a telepath.
And though it’s based on a Marvel comic, it’s not like your regular I’m-an-all-powerful-mutant-discovering-my-powers-and-saving-the-world story, the FX production handles things very differently. It’s intelligent, sometimes understated, and (fittingly) completely insane. And I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a story of uncovering David’s power, but also the true form of them. David discovers this for himself, along with the team helping him out, and let’s just say things aren’t quite as they at first seem.
Legion is set in the same universe as the familiar X-Men stories, but it seems to fit into a place where mutants are perhaps only just being discovered by the people in high places – the government’s ‘Division 3’ are the antagonistic organisation of the show, and they are researching mutants. There are no direct crossovers that I could find between Legion and X-Men, but I’m sure there will be some somewhere.
Continue reading “Legion – Not your average superhero story”
Maybe I’m the only one left who hasn’t binge watched all 6 episodes of the new season of Black Mirror, but I watched episode 2 last night. The new season is on Netflix, after moving from its original home on Channel 4, (where currently only the Christmas episode is available to watch).
Episode 2 is titled ‘Playtest’ and follows Cooper, a globetrotting American currently in London, who takes a job testing a new game when he finds himself low on cash. The thrills in store are more than he believed possible, but things start to unravel when Cooper’s mind begins to work against him.
Continue reading “Black Mirror – Nothing you see can harm you”
Now we all remember when Daniel Craig starred in the hybrid-that-should-never-have-been Cowboys and Aliens, don’t we? And surely we also remember how well it was received, or rather, how badly it was received? Well, now there’s a new Western/Sci-Fi mash-up on the block, only this time it’s on the small screen.
**SPOILER FREE POST**
Westworld is the latest high spec drama from HBO, combining these two well known and opposing genres in a new 10-part series (showing on SkyAtlantic every Tuesday at 21:00). I only managed to watch the first episode two days ago, so I’m a little late to the party, but boy am I glad I watched it.
Continue reading “Westworld – Cowboys and Aliens done right”
ITV’s Victoria aired its fourth episode last night at 21:00. The drama follows the young Queen Victoria in her rise to the throne, and how the 18-year-old adjusts to life as Queen of England. The first three episodes I thought were marvellous. The writing was compelling, the acting phenomenal, the sets and costumes enchanting – it was doing everything right. I even heard musings that ITV had successfully found a replacement for the Sunday night slot that had been occupied by Downton Abbey.
Last week’s episode was simply brilliant. The mystery of Miss Skerrett continued and there was plenty more drama between Victoria and Lord M. The young queen was heartbreakingly turned down when she expressed her feelings, but we saw a depth to Lord Melbourne’s character when he gave her orchids to wear, and he proved himself to be a kind man. Perhaps circumstance prevents he and Victoria being together, and perhaps he really doesn’t have the feelings for her, but he certainly cares about her. Props to the writer for that development – it was handled with sensitivity and emotion.
But this week, I give no such credits.
Continue reading “Victoria – Move over Lord M”