Podcast S02E02 - Heroes revived

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Join Alaisdair & Todd each week as they bring you all the latest in TV news and reviews, this week we talk
about the impending revival of Heroes and discuss the most shocking episode of Glee! Listen below or can download via ITunes


REVIEW - The Borgias - S03E03

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This episode is all about Cesare (Francois Arnaud). It’s any wonder he can think straight with the pressures and issues he has to deal with, seemingly on his own. He continues to protect his family from assassination, works to rebuild a weak Papal army, travels to Naples to negotiate his sisters dowry all the while fighting a growing urge to bed his own sister Lucrezia and also finding a new bride in France. All in a days work for the son of Borgia.

Giovanni, Lucrezias betrothed takes Cesare to Naples to meet his father and discuss the dowry. This does not go well. They do not wish the bastard son of Lucrezia to be recognized and want him removed from the household. Cesare takes immediate offence and if you have watched any Borgia’s episode you know that no one will dishonor another Borgia and get away with it. All the while, weak young Giovanni stands by quietly not defending his wife to-be’s honour. Alliance or no alliance weakness will not be tolerated in the Borgia Dynasty and Cesare will ensure it. Will he step up or become collateral damage.

Katarina Sforza is all over the papal house, and even manages an invitation to Lucrezia’s wedding. Spies, bribes, power plays and plotters in dark corners flutter in the shadows as Katarina Sforza garnishes information and power, right under the nose of the Borgia’s. How can Pope Alexander let her into his household?

Pope Alexander (Jeremy Irons) in the meantime has a slightly easier time. No poisonings or assassinations for him and as he recovers he starts to create alliances and form bonds of his own. Even if it means using his children as pawns in his powerful game.

Review by JoAnn Duff


Ratings - Thursday

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Broadcast primetime final ratings for Thursday, April 25:
TimeNetShow18-49rating18-49 ShareViewers Live+SD (million)
8:00PMCBSThe Big Bang Theory4.51515.05
FOXAmerican Idol2.8911.40
ABCWife Swap1.133.42
CWThe Vampire Diaries1.032.24

8:30PMCBSTwo and a Half Men2.8811.32
NBCThe Office -R0.931.84

9:00PMABCGrey's Anatomy2.778.24
CBSPerson Of Interest2.4713.22
NBCThe Office1.753.25
CWBeauty And The Beast0.511.24

9:30 PMNBCParks and Recreation1.342.59
10:00 PMABCScandal2.887.90
Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2013 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.


REVIEW - Game of Thrones - S03E04

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I don’t care if it’s too early to say, this is my favourite episode in season 3 of A Game of Thrones. ‘And Now His Watch Has Ended’ is as somber as it sounds, but it is also spiked with adrenaline and enough gambits to have people speculating for weeks. As usual we focus on King’s Landing, but we also spend a substantial amount of time with Theon, Brienne and Jamie, the Night’s Watch and Daenerys. We also briefly touch on Arya and the Hound as well as Bran and Jojen, but the focus lingers on the aforementioned five groups more than the younger Starks.

After the slow start to season three it might surprise viewers to learn that there is not one fight scene in this episode: there are two. One is towards the end of the episode where the Night’s Watch, after being forced to work for Brother ‘I Feed My Sons to Whitewalkers’ Craster, hit an all-time low that ends in the ugliest brawl yet. The earlier one involves (wait for it) Daenaerys using her new army of Unsullied to kill every slaver in Astapor.

Both scenes are beautiful for different reasons. With Daenerys we have a bittersweet situation turn into the most one-sided battle in the series yet. The Night’s Watch meanwhile grew more and more miserable until their men start dying from hunger and their swords flying out of their sheaves. It was horrifying, yet it’s executed very well. My only real complaint about these scenes is that they were both so brief.    

Mixed in amongst these scenes are a few little scheming sessions in King’s Landing. Given we see these all the time you would think I would be sick of them. However, you get some of the best exchanges and moments from these little walk and talks in King’s Landing. Margaery in particular has been giving us some great scenes when she’s with Joffrey and Sansa. It’s also nice to see Varys in a more prominent role given all he seemed to be in season two was ‘that eunuch with spies all over the place’. 

Given the sass and snark can seem repetitive at times I don’t blame anyone who would fast forward some of these scenes, but doing so takes away some of those little bonding moments and all those more sinister moments laced in the dialogue.  

‘And Now His Watch Has Ended’ also continues the trend ‘Walk of Punishment’ started with Theon and Jaime. 

It is hard to feel sorry for Theon Greyjoy after an entire season was dedicated to him murdering children and destroying his home in Winterfell. This episode does a surprisingly good job of making me feel like maybe he didn’t deserve torture. The same happened with Jaime when he lost his hand; we see him at his most human when he has been reduced to a joke by his captors. It only drives home the point that he’s a good guy at heart when Brienne realises he lied to save her.

This enthusiasm might seem a little much, but if you’re the kind who has been itching for a fight since the premiere, this is a good episode for you. If you’re the kind who thinks the politics are the best thing about the show, this is a good episode for you. It caters more to the fans of the quiet scenes because of how one sided the fights can be, but that doesn’t diminish the impact this episode has.

Review by Greta Rehak


REVIEW - The Vampire Diaries - S04E20

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This is a strange one because it wasn’t just your average episode of The Vampire Diaries but actually the backdoor pilot for a proposed spin-off series titled The Originals, which was, as of this morning, officially picked up. Because of the episodes extra significance as an introduction to the new series I am probably going to be a little harsher than I normally would be, but then again if it wasn’t so easy to judge maybe I wouldn’t have to be so harsh.

The episode follows original vampire Klaus as he travels to New Orleans, a city he once ruled, in search of some witches with a vendetta against him. He soon discovers that the city is controlled by his former protégé Marcel. All is not right though, Marcel is controlling the cities abundant witch population somehow and they are not happy about it.

The witches enlist the help of the ever-charismatic Elijah to convince Klaus to join their cause which goes about as well as you’d expect considering the amount of time they spend trying to kill each other. Turns out the witches have an ace up their sleeve; the werewolf Hayley is somehow miraculously pregnant with Klaus baby (for heavens sake don’t touch the magic vampire-werewolf-hybrid-baby phlebotinum). Klaus remains unconvinced until Marcel tries to exert power over him causing Klaus to end up firmly on team witch (the baby’s just a bonus).

There’s also a blonde waitress, called Camille, who is brave with hidden depths and also happens to be interested in art (I smell love interest). Back in Mystic Falls, Stefan and Damon are trying to torture the humanity back into Elena, Elijah dumped Katherine and Rebekah decided to stay in town rather than following her brothers to New Orleans. The episode ends with Klaus and Elijah leaving Mystic Falls behind to begin their new adventure – which is apparently a sitcom titled “Two Original Vampires and a Baby”.

I have spent years berating people into watching this show, betting my honour on the fact that despite it’s name and origins The Vampire Diaries is actually one of the most gripping programs on television at the moment so I desperately wanted The Originals to be great. Although not everyone agrees with me, I think the original vampire family is charismatic enough to warrant their own series and I was excited to see what the amazing team behind The Vampire Diaries came up with for these fantastic characters. Maybe my hopes were a little too high but this episode really didn’t live up to my expectations.

Look it wasn’t that bad: it’s important to remember that even though this episode was shoved into The Vampire Diaries it is still a pilot and you should never judge a show by it’s pilot. New Orleans is always a fantastic location for supernatural drama and I am interested to see how The Vampire Diaries law fits into this city’s rich history. Marcel is an intriguing, and let’s face it incredibly sexy, villain and the mystery surround how he controls the witches of New Orleans is hooking enough.

The supernatural-baby storyline is far too fan fiction but I’m willing to give The Originals the benefit of the doubt at least for a couple of episodes. To be honest I would probably watch Klaus and Elijah do just about anything but I’m hoping that once it moves away from it’s parent program, The Originals will prove to be just as enticing as The Vampire Diaries.

Next time we’re back in Mystic Falls as the Salvatore brothers continue their quest to get the old Elena back.

Review by Yvonne Popplewell

More of Yvonne’s works can be found at her blog.


Ratings - Wednesday

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Final broadcast primetime ratings for Wednesday, April 24, 2013:
TimeNetShow18-49rating18-49 ShareViewers Live+SD (million)
8:00PMFOXAmerican Idol (8-10PM)3.3912.46
CBSSurvivor: Caramoan2.9810.31
NBCDateline NBC1.345.57
ABCThe Middle -R1.244.76

8:30PMABCModern Family  -R1.444.38

9:00 PMNBCLaw & Order: SVU1.957.35
ABCModern Family  -R1.854.38
CBSCriminal Minds -R1.445.90

9:30PMABCHow To Live With Your Parents1.544.81

10:00PMCBSCSI -R1.547.76
NBCChicago Fire -R1.033.99
ABCNashville -R0.822.97
Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2013 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.


Review - Grimm - S02E18

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Looks like the writers are once again dipping their hands into another mythology’s cookie jar in ‘Volcanalis’. Don’t let the opening quote fool you; we’re dealing with an Ancient Roman god this episode. With Hank gone on vacation and Wu still locked out of the loop, Nick has to team up with Captain Renard for this investigation. Meanwhile, Juliette’s struggles with her memories climax with a car accident, forcing her to seek a solution, and Adalind makes a deal that the season two preview spoiled a few months back.

This episode is great—in places. Given Nick has been able to neatly hide the supernatural elements under normal crimes up until now, it was surprising to see an enemy force him to solve the issue as a Grimm instead. Though the tension from their previous brawl seems to have diminished, Nick is still reluctant to trust Renard with any information pertaining to his sources. It is a shame that this isn’t explored more, but it’s enough to hint at what we might expect in future episodes.

The two subplots, both Juliette and Adalind’s, were engaging and refused to be crushed under the weight of the main plot. We see Juliette return to the grandmother from ‘La Llorona’ (again) and learn of a way to remember without suffering another ‘Nick Overload’. The cinematography as Juliette relives her memories (starting in monochrome save her shirt then gradually turning to colour) is beautiful and helps create one of my favourite moments in the episode.

Adalind’s sub plot saw our favourite antagonist going back and forth between manipulatee to manipulator. She is taken away from her suite by Frau Pech (first seen in ‘Mr. Sandman’) to speak to the Queen of the Gypsies. This is not only something that Adalind did not plan with Pech, but it also leads to a situation where it’s clear the two women are just using her to rack up power for themselves. It’s only in the final moments of her scene that we stop thinking Adalind’s the one being played.

Where it fails is the lack of focus in the episode. The cold open alone struggles to stuff all the sub-plots in before the theme music. Some subplots are forgotten outright (how is Wu being Nick’s partner for a week any different to him being Hank’s? What did Nick and Renard wind up telling Wu? What did Nick and Renard tell the victims’ company?).

Some are devoted so little time that nothing would have been lost by cutting them. After Nick gets word of the dead body, he completely forgets about what’s going on with Juliette and doesn’t mention her accident again. Munroe, despite trying to cheer him up, doesn’t mention it again either.

Though I feel Adalind’s scenes really needed to be in this episode, there is already too much going on in this plot without adding them. The same can be said about Juliette’s scenes and their relevance to their plot. Ultimately, I feel that ‘Volcanalis’ would have been a much stronger episode either without these distractions or without…well, Volcanalis. A Roman god isn’t your average Monster of the Week; it shouldn’t have to fight an amnesiac and a pregnant woman for attention. The resolution of this episode is very satisfying, but the focus is far too scattered for the enormity of each protagonist’s (or antagonist in Adalind’s case) to be realised. Nick takes down a god. Juliette has resolved most of her crazy. Adalind is going to get her powers back.

I should be fan girling right now, but instead I’m horrified at how badly the plot is stitched together this episode.

Review by Greta Rehak


Review - Supernatural - S08E20

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Like superheroes every hunter has a sad story that leads them into the nomadic life of fighting ghosts and demons. For Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) it’s the death of their mother and in this weeks episode “Pac Man Fever” we learn all about fan favourite Charlie Bradbury’s (Felicia Day) tragic past.

Charlie emails Sam and Dean – who are currently hiding out in the “Men of Letters” batcave – informing them of a nearby case. Sam’s still struggling with the side-effects of the trails so Dean and Charlie head out on their own. There’s a makeover montage, and some on the job training, as Dean turns Charlie into a real hunter. Turns out it’s a Djinn that feeds on fear. When Charlie is captured, Dean has head into her video inspired dream to save her. But really it’s up to Charlie to save herself, she has to let go of her mother who has been on life support since Charlie was twelve. Charlie let’s go, Sam kills the Djinn and everyone hugs… it’s beautiful.

Having what is essentially a monster-of-the-week ep showcasing a guest star this close to the season final is massive risk. But Felicia Day’s Charlie is one of the best supporting characters to be introduced since Castiel (Misha Collins) and there was just enough of the series arc to maintain the momentum in the lead up to the final.

This episode is a perfect example of everything Supernatural does right: an intriguing mystery, a last minute twist, quirky humour, shout-outs to previous episodes and plenty of angst to go around. The interaction between the Winchesters and Charlie is endearingly sweet. She really is the little sister they never had. After all this show is about family, but family don’t end with blood. It’s nice to see Sam and especially Dean opening up to someone new (the Han Solo shout out at the end was perfect).

This show was in desperate need of new blood, but the with a difficult fanbase it has been hard for the powers-that-be to find the right balance in their support cast. Charlie is a fantastic addition especially considering Supernatural doesn’t have a great track record with female characters. It seems they’ve finally hit the nail on the head with Charlie and the casting of Felicia Day was inspired. She’s just the right mix of geeky humour and feminine strength (not to mention the fact that she’s a lesbian prevents her from becoming a romantic threat).

Although Charlie shines in this episode, she doesn’t detract from the most important relationship on the show: the bond between Sam and Dean. There are plenty of brotherly moments in this episode that range from cute, Dean had a go at Sam’s hair, to heartbreaking, Dean grabs Sam into a tight hug realizing that he has to let go of his little brother.

Anyone that watches this show religiously will know that this episode was just a little too happy. When things go this well you know the next episode is going to hurt… a lot. Considering we’re at the pointy end of the season, my guess is it’s all down hill from here.

Next week sees the return of Naomi, Castiel and the tablet storyline: brace yourselves, it’s about to get real.

Review by Yvonne Popplewell

More of Yvonne’s works can be found at her blog.


REVIEW - The Big Bang Theory S06E21 'The Closure Alternative'

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This week's episode of The Big Bang Theory, 'The Closure Alternative', had 3 different story-lines running simultaneously.

In one story Sheldon is disappointed to learn that the television show Alphas has been cancelled, with the last season ending in a cliffhanger. Unable to go on without knowing what was supposed to happen next, Sheldon resolves to get the show renewed. Amy is concerned with his inability to deal without resolution, and sets out to alter his mindset by stopping him short of completing many simple tasks (e.g. blowing out birthday candles, singing the national anthem).

It was quite entertaining to see Amy taking on Sheldon and his quirky behaviours, as well as how Sheldon tried to deal without resolution. However some of the comments made by Sheldon about Amy were quite harsh. As much as Amy seems to idolise Sheldon, I hope that she snaps out of it soon and ask that he treat her with more respect. I'm assuming they're building towards some big Shamy (Sheldon + Amy) drama because this has been a running theme throughout many episodes of this season.

In the second story Leonard tries to get Penny interested in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in an attempt to get them to bond. Penny is not impressed and Leonard is disappointed. Penny worries that she is not passionate about anything in the same way Leonard is about so many things (e.g. science, comic books, sci-fi, etc.). Penny then has an "epiphany", realising she is passionate about Leonard.

It was a nice 'aww' moment when Penny confessed that she is passionate about Leonard, but this came off as kind of false when Leonard asked whether that meant she will do more 'geeky' things with him (e.g. dressing up and going to comic-con), and she replied in the negative. I know she does not have to change who she is to make Leonard happy, but it would be nice if she were to meet him halfway more often (Leonard certainly has for her!).

Meanwhile, Raj discovers Lucy's blog and is surprised to find that she called him "feminine". Thinking this is a bad thing, Raj invites Lucy over and goes out of his way to appear 'masculine' (e.g. wearing a hockey jersey, feigning an interest in sports). Lucy asks why Raj is acting so weird, and he confesses to reading her blog. Lucy explains that being 'feminine' in some ways is not a bad thing for Raj to be, and that's part of the reason she likes him. Satisfied, Raj starts acting normally again.

Throughout the series many allusions have been made to Raj's 'feminine' characteristics, as well as suggestions that Raj may be homosexual. So often in the land of TV, men who display feminine characteristics are stereotyped as homosexual (which is problematic for many reasons). Therefore it was refreshing to see that although Raj may have some feminine attributes, this does not mean he is a homosexual, and nor will these attributes hamper his chances of forming a heterosexual relationship.

Overall this was a nice episode of The Big Bang Theory, and I am looking forward to what they are building to in the season finale.

Review by Heather Bale.


Ratings - Tuesday

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Broadcast primetime final ratings for Tuesday, April 16:
TimeNetShow18-49rating18-49 ShareViewers Live+SD (million)
8:00PMNBCThe Voice4.11212.78
FOXHell's Kitchen2.064.83
CWHart Of Dixie0.411.10

9:00PMCBSNCIS: Los Angeles2.7714.22
ABCDancing with the Stars2.0512.65
FOXNew Girl -R1.232.36
NBCReady For Love (9-11PM)1.132.86
CWAmerica's Next Top Model -R0.310.67
9:30PMFOXThe Mindy Project -R0.931.81

10:00PMABCBody Of Proof1.649.35
CBSGolden Boy1.447.94
Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2013 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.