A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017) – Television Review

First of all, a belated Happy New Year to you all! (idk about ‘all’, do people still know this website exists?) Sorry I’ve been absent but I was overseas right before Christmas so my movie watching was limited. Though I did go to the cinemas in Tokyo and saw the recent Blair Witch film. Spoilers: it was pretty terrible. I have started up my obsessive relationship with the cinema again though and hopefully this year will be a great year for films.

This review was meant to be for A United Kingdom but after writing the first 200 words I didn’t really want to fully review it. Because it was pretty bad. The film, not my witty writing skills. Please go see La La Land at the cinema instead. Safe to say that film was an utter delight. So instead I will be reviewing something I had been so longing for ever since Netflix had announced it. I knew the exact time of day it came out so my fandom friend (hey Jess) and I got together to binge watch the whole thing. I had read and completed the ASOUE book series in 2015 and it is my favourite book series of all time. The way it was written impressed me so much and the story and characters were just the same. So I was hoping the Netflix series wouldn’t disappoint.

A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the Baudelaire children – Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes) and baby Sunny (Presley Smith) – receiving the news that their parents and home have perished in a terrible fire. Mr. Poe (K. Todd Freeman) is in charge of their affairs and sends them to their new guardian Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris). But he has an evil ploy to inherit their giant fortune and will never stop to do so until he succeeds. The Baudelaire orphans however are the most clever children and will always find their way out of his schemes. They also discover that something bigger is at play in their lives.

*small spoilers for the 1st series and the book series*

I have reviewed the 2004 film adaptation on my blog and you can read it here. But be warned. How I wrote back in 2014 was very very unfortunate. I gave it a 2/5 and I think today I would give it the same rating. Partly due to the fact that Jim Carey still shits me off. The thing that I was so grateful for in the series was that the stories of the Baudelaires had room to breathe. Each episode was dedicated to half of a book and the story felt very fluid. It was very nice to see the events unfold just like it was in the book. Daniel Handler (who was the author of the series) wrote the teleplay and was exec producer which is probably why the storytelling was so successful. I especially noticed the similarities between that of the writing in the book and the dialogue/narration in the scripts. Particularly the scene on Briny Beach in 1×01. The writing had the right amount of dread, dark humour and mystery that surrounded the world of these characters and settings. There was even the twist of the Quagmire parents (Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders) in 1×07 which I enjoyed. Jess on the other hand had to pause and was rocking me back and forth saying “WHY SAM, WHY DID THEY DO THIS TO US?!?!?!?” That’s when I knew it had the emotional impact on the audience that I thought it would. I loved the writing and I hope it will continue on until next season.

Bridging between writing and characters, I’ll talk (type, really) about Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton) and his role. I’m so glad they included Snicket’s constant narrations. It felt exciting to see him pop up to tell us definitions, stories and the foreshadowing of the episodes. I was really apprehensive when they announced Warburton would be cast at Snicket as I didn’t think the role suited him. I was very glad I was proven wrong. Warburton has known to have had really big and comical characters in the past, as his voice is very distinct-able. But in this he kept a certain mysterious and engaging presence in the story. Next up is Harris’ performance as the villainous Count Olaf. He definitely didn’t play the man of how I was expecting it, but I loved it all the same. It took a few episodes to make his character believable but once I was settled into the story, I really enjoyed his performance. He had just enough comical moments to make me enjoy watching him and just enough sinister moments to make me loathe the character. The one recurring character whom I did not enjoy was Justice Strauss, played by Joan Cusack. I didn’t find the character to be really warm and caring, like in the books. Instead she played the character as an odd woman with pretty iffy dialogue. Next up is Freeman, who played Mr. Poe. Like Harris, it took a couple of episodes to warm up to the actor but I really enjoyed his performance. Mr. Poe’s character was infuriating which was how it was meant to be played, so kudos to you Freeman.

Now onto the main cast, the kids. The first two episode I had the main film cast in mind so it was hard for my brain to part with those actors. But when the credits rolled on the last episode, it’s safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed the casting of the Baudelaires. Also another nice factor, they were all of appropriate age!! Little Smith who portrayed Sunny looked the part and was of course the adorable factor of the three. She didn’t act much and it’s hard to critique a baby but she was edited to be pretty believable. Then there’s Hynes as middle child Klaus. I loved this casting choice the most out of everyone. He looked the part, was given dialogue that was true to the character and acted the part very well. Weissman played Violet and I felt the same of her. I liked how her character wasn’t overdone, like in the film version. She was very stripped down in her performance, look and actions. Neither her or Hynes overdid their shining moments in the episodes and actually acted like (clever and very smart) children would in their circumstances.

Let’s talk about the look of the series! I am very pleased with some aspects but also very disappointed with others. The atmosphere, costumes and cinematography were the pros. The look felt realistic with a bucket of dread poured all over it which is what it needed. The costumes for all the cast (particularly Olaf) were pretty outstanding and true to the characters. The way the episodes were captured were great as well. Ones that spring to mind are Violet using her grappling hook to save Sunny in the suspended cage, the Baudelaires facing with the collapse of Aunt Josephine’s house and the parallel shot near the end of 1×01 with the Baudelaires and the Quagmires. What I did not enjoy very much was the CGI and VFX of the season. They green-screened so much – and what was worse (or should I say unfortunate, am I right) is that is was very very noticeable. For a show that was expected to look so crazy and great I wish they did a much better job at making the background settings looks at least believable. The scenes on Lachrymose Lake looked especially shocking. They say it was a big budget shoot but that did not reflect in the environment at all. In saying that, I did think that in 1×07 and 1×08 it was less noticeable. Also I did not enjoy the scene where Sunny suddenly jumps onto “Captain Sham’s” wooden leg and bites it off. It was a great reveal but Sunny’s jump looked SO unrealistic, it wasn’t even funny.

I had no real problem with the editing and music. Though I could have done without the random ensemble song at the end. That was bizarre. The opening theme wasn’t something I loved, but I enjoyed the visual imagery. The colour scheme looked very grim too when it was surrounding the Baudelaires which was a good touch. The second season has already been greenlit and will consist of 10 episodes this time which I’m looking forward to immensely. I trust that they will use the same style and tone as they did quite well in the first season.

I had a great time watching this series. It felt true to the series and even though there were some not great moments sprinkled here and there, it made me excited for the future of the series. The trailer’s below and I prefer this one 100% to the other one I watched. The one I watched didn’t really get me enthused. But I’m glad my expectations were exceeded. The team overall did a great job and I’ll be watching the series again in the near future.

Rating: A great adaptation of a great book series. 3.5/5

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Victoria (Season 1) – Television Review

There’s something about period dramas that captivate me. The language, the settings, the costumes, the regal-ness and politeness etc. My favourite movie of all time is a period drama. (Ever After: A Cinderella Story. At least I classify it as that genre anyway. Side note: If you haven’t watched that film, please do so. PLEASE) I had no idea about this particular series until I stumbled upon it a few days ago. 8 episodes; a perfect binge session. I had watched The Young Victoria with Emily Blunt a few times so unfortunately my mind couldn’t watch it with a clean slate.

Victoria (Season 1) follows Queen Victoria’s (Jenna Coleman) accession to the throne at age 18, her reign for the first few years and her duties as Queen of the UK. It depicts her marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) and her relationships in the palace, both personal and professional. The series also features Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) and many other important figures for the royals in the 19th century.

Like I said, The Young Victoria was in the back of my mind. Particularly in the first couple of episodes, all I could do was compare the story, settings, and characters with that film. Which is why I struggled with the first episode a lot. Thinking back, it may have been the length of the episode (70 minutes) though it was well paced. I’ll detail it more in the next paragraph, but I found Victoria to be too entitled and arrogant in the beginning. However, once the story started to move forward, I found myself enraptured in the world and caring about the characters. The series added or took away elements about the characters that changed the tone and structure of the story. Which was expected as this was a far bigger production (of 1×70+min and 7x50min episodes) than a feature film. I wasn’t expecting as many sub-plot lines as there were. Albert’s brother Ernest (David Oakes) and his flirtatious affair and Miss Skerrett’s (Nell Hudson) secret past was a nice balance between stories. Daisy Goodwin wrote 7 of the 8 episodes (Guy Andrews wrote 1×07) which was great because the tone and style of the series never changed or faltered. There were big sections of episodes which I didn’t care for (namely 1×01 and 1×02) as I felt things were being set-up for the rest of the series. But once the conflict with Lord Melbourne, the Parliament and Albert arose, I enjoyed it greatly.

Character time! As mentioned, I did not like Victoria’s portrayal in the beginning. In the pilot in particular, I felt she showed little emotion and was much like a brick wall when she spoke to others. This changed in 1×04 when meeting Albert. I won’t lie, I’m a sucker for olden day romance. Hence my favourite movie of all time. Coleman’s and Hughes’ chemistry was undeniable as the couple. I had no trouble believing that they truly loved each other. I was gradually growing on Coleman’s performance but I was struggling a lot with Hughes. I understood what they were trying to do with Albert’s character but it came off very cold and emotionless for several episodes. This included some scenes with Victoria; the dialogue was written as if they cared for each other but his delivery was very monotone and stern. Up until 1×07 did I feel that way. I didn’t have much of a problem with the other characters, supporting and recurring. The antagonists of the series did a great job in their roles – the Duke of Cumberland (Peter Firth) and Sir John Conroy (Paul Rhys). Guys. There’s also a puppy in the series. Dash, the Queen’s lap dog, makes an abundance of appearances which I was truly happy about.

A big part of why I kept watching this series were the settings and costumes. This went hand in hand with the cinematography because this show had some beautiful shots. One in particular I remember was Victoria walking to Lord Melbourne in Brocket Hall in 1×03. Another one was the entrance of Victoria in her wedding dress walking down the aisle. Man, this show has a lot of walking. I also liked how close and intimate the shots were between Albert and Victoria, particularly the bedroom scene at the end of 1×05. My last mention is the moving wide-shot of Albert enjoying the locomotive ride in 1×07. Let me get back to setting and costumes. For the love of god, it looked amazing. And more importantly, the production looked like it’s time. There are some modern adaptions of the Victorian age that look very artificial but this was close to effortless. The palaces, parks and streets of the UK were gorgeous and looked authentic. The lighting the colouring were also played around with a bit, which added to the emotion of the scene and/or characters. Everything felt real, which I loved.

Okay, post-production. My major fault for this show was its scene transitions. They pulled me out of the story and it felt like I was watching scenes sometimes rather than the episode as a whole. It didn’t happen all the time but when it did I facepalmed. This issue had to do with sound design as well as the music would just cut out and go towards a new establishing shot. The actual music and scoring I liked. I would need to watch the series again to form some more thoughts on it, but mainly I didn’t have a problem with it. The theme song and opening titles were too long and a bit annoying though. I skipped thorough it all the time after 1×01.

I loved this series. Even just watching the trailer back it made me want to re-watch it. It may not be for everyone, but if you do like stories about love, duty, and royal drama (or if you simply want to watch something very pretty) please find a way to watch this series.

Rating: I am honestly hating that I wasn’t born in the Victorian era. Great stories with great heart. 4/5.

Orphan Black (Season Four) – Television Review

*spoiler alert*

Brace yourself for a longer review. It always happens with TV seasons because there’s always more content and characters. I was going to review Finding Dory, but I’ll save that for my next one, as I wanted to talk about Orphan Black; specifically season 4. Before this aired, I went back and watched the full series to immerse myself in the world and characters. Also because it’s a big hiatus between seasons and I needed the refresher.

If you’re not familiar with the series, Orphan Black is a story about Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) who finds out she is one of many genetic identicals. Through this discovery she uncovers secrets, organisations and enemies all hellbent on manipulating and destroying Project LEDA; the cloning experiment that created Sarah and her sisters; Alison (Tatiana Maslany), Cosima (Tatiana Maslany), Helena (Tatiana Maslany), Rachel (Tatiana Maslany), Beth (Tatiana Maslany) have the most screen time, but there are 22 overall. I never really know how to describe this show’s story. Partly because it has a lot to do with science, specifically biology and I am definitely not knowledgeable in that area. But of course there are other elements like humour, drama, romance and family. This season dealt with new clones, new power-plays and heartbreaking moments. If what you just read interested you, watch the show from season 1!

So now I’ll be talking exclusively season 4, with traces of previous seasons. All in all, it was a pretty good season. I found I liked it MUCH better than the third, which felt disjointed in its style and story. This season (I’m saying ‘season’ a lot aren’t I) it definitely had a familiar look to it again, while still managing to once again out-do the production value. Story-wise, this season was very gripping. There was a major cliffhanger from 3×10 with Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) being shot by an unknown person for unknown reasons. This of course was resolved in 4×10. Other plot points were Sarah’s worm-bot, Cosima’s illness and work on a cure, Alison’s consequences of committing crime, Helena’s pregnancy, Beth’s backstory, Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) birth family plus a few more here and there. Like I said, a lot of characters. This season was fairly well paced in dealing with a great amount of content in 10 episodes. Episodes 7 and 8 were the only episodes were it felt filler-y and dull. And there were a couple of character arc’s that I felt weren’t fully wrapped up; Kira’s (Skyler Wexler) unknown power, Mika (another clone) and where she is now, and Art (Kevin Hanchard) coming to terms with Beth’s secrets that led to her death.

Speaking of, a special mention to 4×01 which was entirely a flashback of Beth’s story. It was a great way to kick off the season and gave the audience answers to questions we’ve been having for years. After that, the story just kept delving into more moral issues like Evie Cho’s (Jessalyn Wanlim) Brightborn company that dealt with euthanasia. Of course there were some lighthearted moments including new clone Krystal and Felix’s birth sister, Adele. However the overall tone of this season was very serious and so were the character’s stories. It was handled quite well, especially the finale which concluded each plot of the season but still left audiences asking questions.

Characters and actors now. Maslany is half the cast on this show, that’s not an exaggeration. How the hell has this woman not won an Emmy yet. She was nominated at least. Mad props to the make-up department as well who make each clone look so unique. All the clones have such different stances, mannerisms and movements it’s hard to tell that it’s the same actress. My favourite clone changes all the time, but for this season it was probably Krystal. She made her debut in season 3, though we didn’t see her much. Now she definitely had more of a role this season, being unaware of her biological history yet knowing enough to piece most of the story together. Maslany’s portrayal of her kills me every time she’s on screen sipping her Starbucks.

The other clones of course had a more prominent part this season. After Sarah’s encounters with Mika and finding more about Beth, she is swept up again with Rachel. I REALLY was starting to trust Rachel. And then she screwed everyone over in the finale. Never again Rachel. I still hate to love and love to hate her though. Alison had a pretty ridiculous plot, but at least she was more involved with her sisters than in the last season. Cosima was struggling with her illness, although I’m annoyed she never got angry at herself or at others since she is aware that she would have a short time to live. But perhaps she will be okay since she was saved by her soulmate. I really liked how the Cosima/Delphine arc played out, even though it did take forever. Helena kind of popped in and out of episodes which I was a bit annoyed at, but I loved her more maternal and gentle side. All of the other actors were outstanding as well but let’s be real, Maslany steals the show always.

I mentioned before that this season had the fresher look of season 3. Season 3 did it kind of weirdly, but this season went back to its original roots in cinematography and style. Production value was awesome, particularly the sets and locations. Places that come to mind are the bridge sequence between Sarah and Felix (and Beth), the prison where Donnie stays in for two days, and the village off the house on the island of Dr. Monreau. Everything felt larger in the OB world and it gave perspective to the themes of the season. Another element that did particularly well was music and scoring. Particularly in Beth’s scenes it added a lot to her emotions. Some of the original themes made their return, such as Helena’s and Delphine’s. And of course a big congratulations to the continuity/camera crew for making multiple clone scenes look so seamless. I found the scene in 4×10 where Sarah and Krystal are talking to look totally real.

There is so much more I could say about this show but I felt like I rambled enough. If you are into shows about family, science and/or nicely written characters, please watch all the episodes if you haven’t already. Season 5 will be the final season of this series. You know what else I love about Orphan Black? The trailers. They don’t spoil anything, hallelujah! I am sad to wait another 10 months to see these characters again. But if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got all 12 episodes of Orange is the The Black waiting for me on Foxtel.

Rating: I am not into sci-fi shows at all, but this is definitely the exception. 4/5

P.S.: I have probably gotten more out of this show thanks to a podcast I listen to called Talking Shite. They’ve given a recap on every episode of season 4 (plus a few general ones) and my emails/reactions to each episode are in all of them! Tara and Ashlee are fellow Aussies and probably understand the show much more than I ever could. Give them a listen at https://soundcloud.com/talking-shite and show them love on https://www.facebook.com/Talking-Shite-An-Orphan-Black-Podcast-1741127629449819/.

Scream Queens (Season 1) – Television Review

*spoilers ahead. like major spoilers about all of season 1*

I love American Horror Story. Whenever I’m talking to someone about television I tell them of AHS and How to Get Away With Murder. And not to my surprise, Ryan Murphy decided to create another show dedicated to horror. I watched the first four episodes of Scream Queens with an indifferent opinion, not knowing what angle the show was trying to go for. It frustrated me because I usually am so quick to decide if I like a movie or TV series or not. (I stopped watching Mad Max: Fury Road after 10 minutes. I know, I’m a horrible human being.) And with this show I can say just fresh off watching the finale, that I’m still a little indifferent.

Set in present time, Scream Queens follows a series of murders at the sorority house Kappa Kappa Tau at Wallace University. Wallace University is led by Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), KKT is led by Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) with her Chanel minions and new pledges Grace (Skyler Samuels) and Zayday (Keke Palmer). As you can see in the featured photo, there are many more characters that play a part in this season. The antagonist is the Red Devil Killer, whom is killing people left and right for vengence.

Every time I watched an episode all I could think of was ‘AHS: Coven 2.0’. Because that’s what it essentially was. Minus the glorious acting of Angela Bassett. This whole season was hit and miss for me. I’m not sure if it was lacking in something or just the direction of the season. As far as plots go, this didn’t go overboard. It definitely had that cheesy horror trope vibe that I’m pretty sure Murphy was going for. But the jokes were more cringe-worthy than funny, a lot of red herrings were everywhere and every time they screamed it seemed so fake. I’ll say that I did like the originality of the story and the pacing of everyone’s character arc. Pete (Diego Boneta) and Chanel #3 (Billie Lourde) were the most interesting characters for me. I loved that Pete was in on the Red Devil’s plan. Gigi (Nasim Pedrad) was a close 3rd. The bathtub baby arc was ace as well, that Pilot had a very good opening. That being said, the writing for almost every episode was terrible. I get that it was supposed to reflect the 70’s/80’s horror movies but there was no real excitement. A lot of the times it was just everyone bitching about who the killer could do, with monologues from some characters we don’t see for half of the season.

Delving a bit more into characters now. I mentioned Pete, Chanel #3 and Gigi, but I want to mention some characters that just annoyed the heck out of me. Denise (Niecy Nash) and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) were the most stupidly written characters in this show. I understand that they were written to be dumb and oblivious, but my god, you don’t have to make them say every stupid thing in the book. I think that’s why I loved the characters that I said so much, because they had layers and depth after each episode. Roberts was awesome as always, though Chanel was basically just a Madison Montgomery clone (from AHS: Coven). I didn’t mind that though – her acting was great. Same with Curtis, Samuels and even Nick Jonas. Alright, let’s talk Hester (Lea Michele) for a little bit.

Clearly Murphy thinks she has the talent of a thousand beaming suns, otherwise the finale would have been totally different. I’ll admit, I was a massive Glee lover back in 2010. No, like it would disgust you how much I was dedicated to that show. Anyway, enough about my guilty pleasures. Michele was great in that show and, like I said, Murphy just fans her with palm leaves and feeds her grapes wherever she stands. The second half of the double-feature finale was absolute crap. Making Hester as the killer seemed too obvious and really ridiculous. That whole intricate plan to frame all the Chanel’s was ridiculous, as well as killing every person that came in her path. She acted well, it just would’ve been nice for something cliche yet refreshing. Could you imagine if there was a surprise song number where Hester bursted out into song? *shudders*

Moving on from bland characters and bad writing, the cinematography was pretty good. Immediately from the Pilot, I got the vibe that Wallace University was a whole place of its own that held mystery and destruction. Every location seemed to have its own set of shots. I particularly remember in Chanel’s closet, it used lots of wides and pans to show how much this character valued objects. In the Dean’s office, it was very forward and straight shots to show that Munsch was very direct and abrasive. Scenes with the Red Devil (and Gigi for the second half of the season) used a lot of zooms and quick-pans/cuts to give suspense and fear. I could just be talking out of my butt on that stuff, but hey, it’s my review! I loved the music this season. From memory there were lots of 80’s songs re-vamped for the show and the original score felt really retro but modern at the same time. No creep factor though, a little disappointing.

It just got announced there will be a second season! *mild, confusing cheering* I may have to watch the episodes (at least the god-awful finale) again because there were so many plot lines. I will leave the trailer here, as always. I would recommend to at least watch the Pilot. It’s a very uniquely styled show. But this season of AHS was so much better.

Rating: I hope Murphy knew this was a parody of itself. If so congrats! If not, yikes. 1.5/5

Once Upon a Time (Season 4) – Television Review

A note before I start: I have seen the light and have come out from under the rock I was under! Apologies for being so absent, I don’t really have an excuse except for university and laziness. But I was in Italy in July studying scriptwriting and Federico Fellini, just to make me more pretentious than I already am! His films definitely opened up a whole new world of cinema for me, I may re-watch one of the films I saw and review it later. But to you who are reading this, thank you for doing so, and hopefully you’ll enjoy me typing these words 🙂

*spoilers ahead*

When this show first came out, I absolutely thought it was the best thing ever. An original story with an homage to fairytale characters that were written with a twist. As seasons passed I was still excited to tune it to see what would happen to Emma (Jennifer Morrison), Regina (Lana Parilla) and their crew but for me nothing beat the first season. And with a show that was all about magic, I thought it lost it a bit for season 4.

The season starts off where season 3 left off, showing Elsa from the movie Frozen being released into Storybrooke. New and familiar faces from the franchise appeared for 12 episodes, then it was the villain’s (Ursula, Cruella de Ville and Maleficent) turn to shine for the back 12. Lots of twists and turns in those last 5 episodes until the final cliffhanger was revealed to be Emma turning into The Dark One, essentially. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the past seasons then none of these titles will make sense to you. But if you have “omg I know right, Emma can’t turn dark?!”

I re-watched the fourth season with my sister who needed to catch up, to get ready for season 5, airing in the USA on Monday. Watching things a second time really help me to be more of a douche to really tell if I liked the way it was done. I enjoyed watching it more a second time than the first however, because I remembered the big things but forgot the little moments. First, let’s let it go and talk about the first 12 of Frozen.

When it was revealed they were doing a Frozen storyline I was really worried they would change everything around and/or pick weird casting. I maybe was expecting a musical episode where I would have to bite my tongue all the way through it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Casting first. My favourite character adaption they did was Anna (Elizabeth Lail) of Arendelle, of course. Her attitude, personality, even the way she walked and did her actions, gave me flashbacks to the movie. You could tell she really cared about Elsa, Kristoff and finding the truth about their parents. I would’ve liked to see a little more backstory on her childhood and how she was shaped into this outgoing and kind person, but there were a lot of sub-plots, as there are in every season so far. She wasn’t just there for a comedic relief and an exposition device, you could tell she had a lot of heart and, dare I say, played a better Anna than voice actress Kristen Bell. Sorry Kristen. Next is Elsa, played by Georgiana Haig. That classic blonde side braid is back in action, and the dress is a bit more tackier than the movie version. Her whole schtick was still being able to control her power, and her fear (plus the loss of Anna) was crippling her. I would’ve liked to see a bit more softness to the character, and a bit more sadness. Other than that, mad props to Haig for making this character come to life.

Now the Snow Queen/Ingrid, played by Elizabeth Mitchell. However many backstories from villain’s we are shown, there are only two so far who’s a don’t sympathise with. Ingrid and the Wicked Witch (we’ll get to that!) are both of them. I will say, the second time watching her story I did feel a little bit for her. I don’t know, Season 4 villain’s just didn’t have as much heart. Anyway, the whole pacing and reveal of her story was well executed. I did not see her killing her own sister coming, that episode was so sad. Mitchell played mystery and heartbreak very well, the only thing that really annoyed me was that she stayed in the goddam white dress for majority of the 12 episodes. Other characters that didn’t really seem great or bad to me were Kristoff, Hans and Ingrids’ sisters. Meh.

Now let’s talk our favourites from Storybrooke. My god, I don’t remember Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) getting so tall. He’s obviously going through changes and my sister and I were laughing at his voice cracking from time to time. More on him later, he didn’t had a real impact for me in the first 12. It was all about the Captain Swan ship sailing away. Emma and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) were starting a relationship amidst all the chaos that was thrown their way, going on dates, cheek kisses and even throwing a ‘Netflix’ reference in there. Before the whole ‘Netflix and chill’ trend, a missed opportunity. I started to miss Neal/Baelfire desperately, but Hook’s whole transformation from season 2 developed really well. His character, for me, is the one that’s changed for the better the most. Regina is love, Regina is life. My sister, as we were watching, finally started liking her, HUZZAH! The more something is revealed about her past, the more I love her. This was all about her and Robin Hood (Sean Mcguire) and their true love though. I didn’t really have a problem with Robin, though I did feel like he was placed there just for Regina to be happy. Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin (Robert Carlyle) was so bad, but in a good way – hang on, let me explain. Since marrying Belle (Emilie de Ravin) Rumple’s just gotten worse in wanting power more than love. I really wanted him to change but he never did. The Charmings, David (Josh Dallas) and Mary-Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) a la Prince Charming and Snow White pissed me the hell off this season. They made all the wrong decisions, were just there because they’ve been there from the start and talked nonsense. At least Rumple had motivation to become worse in personality, but they had nothing except bad writing.

Now the back 12 episodes. These episodes redeemed my hope in the show, and as fun as the Frozen storyline was, I felt it didn’t progress as nicely as other seasons. The back 12 introduce Ursula, Cruella de Ville and Maleficent as well as all the twists and turns of Storybrooke residents. Secrets revealed, choices made and love conquers all, all that good stuff. Don’t get me wrong, the magic still wasn’t there (HA, pun so intended) but it was nice to see some episodes end of real cliffhangers. This whole premise was centred around those villain’s, The Author, Lilly (Maleficent’s daughter and Emma’s childhood friend) and the whole love triangle of Robin, Marian and Regina.

But first let’s talk about Rumbelle, the ship everyone loves, or now, loved? I knew she would find out he was lying to her, honestly I’m not sure why she didn’t see it sooner. But I get that her character sees the best in people and she didn’t want to believe. Rumple thought he could have both power and love, and when she delivers the line (in the finale) “Why wasn’t I enough?” that kicked me in the balls I never had. I hate what he did to her but I kinda want to see them work through their problems, as he has changed so much for Belle already. Aaaand just when I couldn’t think The Charming parents couldn’t get anymore annoying, lo and behold!! I did love the whole ‘secret’ sub-plot about getting rid of Emma’s darkness, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was having to lie to Emma, Henry and everyone else about it. Season 1 David and MM would’ve just told somebody within two episodes. Ugh, hopefully next season they redeem themselves in my eyes.

Anyway, besides that tragedy let’s talk about the villain’s. Ursula’s backstory (tying in with Hook) was pretty similar to that of The Little Mermaid which I didn’t mind but I wish they took a whole new idea and an original approach. Cruella’s backstory (tying in with the Author) had a great twist to it andI was amazed at how much that wig aged her. Maleficent’s story (tying in with Regina and the Charmings) was probably the most captivating of the three. Maleficent was probably my favourite of the three, even though they did change her costume and the actress from S1. The whole pregnancy story really made me sympathise with her more and in the end, I think she was turning into, not a hero, but an anti-villain. Segueing to Lilly, her daughter. The flashbacks of Emma and Lilly were cool to see, as well as the reveal that Emma knew her when she was a child/teen. For most episodes, she was portrayed as a really cold character, which I didn’t mind but then she suddenly turned into a depressed and sobby character, which I thought came a bit out of left field. The Author was a big part of this story too, as everyone wanted to get written a happy ending for them. I thought the casting was really good, he fit the sort of narcissistic type. I also found the Isaac/Cruella thing really refreshing as well.

Now the plot twists. There were a lot in these episodes. The Lilly thing, the discovery of the Author, how all the villains and heroes were connected… but the big one that sold it for me was that Marian was actually Zelena, the Wicked Witch who’s arch was told in the third season. SHE WAS MARIAN THE WHOLE TIME, WHAT. I remember the first time I saw her change into Zelena (Rebecca Madder) I almost flipped my keyboard. I didn’t see that coming at all, and thank god they put a reason behind why she did it, and not just to keep ratings up. Oh and on top of that, she’s pregnant with Robin’s child, back when he thought she was still Marian. Holy chipped tea cup. Where that whole thing left off, it wasn’t really resolved thanks for the Author, so hopefully it gets more interesting in season 5.

Other aspects besides story and characters for a moment. Sorry, when I watch film and TV those two things are my main priorities. The first thing I notice was that the SFX were horrid. Compared to the last seasons, they just looked tacky. (etc. Elsa’s ice powers, the Dragons, various spells and explosions, and don’t get me started on the rock trolls in Arendelle) Music was always the same which I liked, they’ve had the same composer since season 1, which helps the tone and mood of the scenes. Costumes as always were amazing, from the ones in the Enchanted Forest to even Storybrooke ones. I’ve noticed they’ve made Regina change her clothes, hair and lip colour depending on her mood and feelings which is a nice touch. The way it’s shot and coloured always looked gorgeous, though slightly changed. I’ve always loved the colour scheme for every new environment and place, doesn’t disappoint this time.

To wrap up on this heck of a back 12, Henry’s the Author – which I hope they’ll do something interesting with and Emma is now the Dark One? But from the promo below, she doesn’t look like she has all the darkness in her yet. We’ll see how it kicks off on Monday. I know this is a bit long, I’m a bit rusty, be nice! Thank you for reading again and I’ll hopefully be writing more reviews soon!

Rating: 3.5/5, I’m not mean.

The Walking Dead (Season 1) – Television Review

Before I start, I just want to say a big thanks to everyone who’s followed and read my blog so far! I’ll try and keep it up. Keep reading, following and commenting 🙂

*spoilers for season 1 ahead*

As well as films, I am obsessed with television shows. I only usually start adding shows to my list (yes I have an iPhone app to keep track) that have been recommended to me many times. And one of those shows was AMC’s The Walking Dead. So I sat down for a good 6 hours and watched the first season.

Police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from a gunshot injury to find the fictional town of King County invaded by “walkers” – zombie like creatures who feed on the living. He manages to stumble his way to a group of survivors and finds his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callis) and son amongst them. They try to salvage what is left of the town and travel to meet others to help find a cure for the walkers.

The first two episodes really intrigued me a lot. There was amazing acting, great make-up on the walkers and nail-bitting suspense and action. The next two episodes seemed to slow down in pace, but I suppose that’s because they were building characters and relationships. Lincoln really suited the role of Rick and I really liked Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) – Lori’s secret lover before Rick turned up – unexpected mini-breakdown. The character I’d never thought I’d care about when watching the Pilot is Andrea. I’m excited to see of where her character goes (or doesn’t go, no spoilers please!). Glenn is an absolute sweetheart and I have yet to make my mind up about Daryl.

This show needed more aerial shots, like the one above and the one of Andrea and Amy in the middle of the lake on the boat. The CU’s were a bit too close and the camera work a bit iffy but overall pretty good. Again, colouring really set the mood. The almost sepia tone of the city of Atlanta and I found it really interesting that everything was washed out except for the grass. Creative choice I think. As the gore goes, it wasn’t too bad, apart from the scene where Rick and Glenn are covering themselves in rotten flesh. When you become I film student, I just think you focus on how they made that little girl’s mouth look so deformed, rather than being disgusted! I watch American Horror Story, so I’m a little more tolerant.

I’m not sure if I liked the lighting in the campfire/night scenes. I’m not an expert but it was still tricky to make out a couple of faces. The explosion of CDC was decent but the noises seemed a bit manufactured, as did other various sound effects throughout the six episodes.

Overall, a good season for a foundation of what’s to come. I’m about to watch 2×01 as I type, I hope I’m not disappointed.

Rating: #pleasekeepglennsafe. 3.5/5