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Monday, 31 July 2017

Game of Thrones S7E3: The Queen's Justice


Game of Thrones
Series 7, Episode 3
The Queen's Justice.



Just like how last week's episode was made up predominantly of scenes of people sitting around tables talking about strategy, this week's episode consists almost exclusively of long character scenes where two (sometimes three) people stand in place and talk (or don't, as was the case in the scene between Ellaria and Cersei). That's pretty difficult to pull off, especially as most of these scenes are considerable in length -- without action to rely on, or even the dazzle of cool scenery, you have to rest everything both on your dialogue writing and the performances of your actors. If your actors can't sell the tension, and you can't get the audience invested in the scene in seconds, then all you've done is recreate the Star Wars prequels.

Luckily, this episode features some solid writing and some superb performances all around, with the best performances of the episode easily coming from Lena Headey as Cersei, Indira Varma as Ellaria (who actually doesn't have any lines), Dame Diana Rigg as Olenna, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

No Review Today


Quick note to say that there won't be a review today. We'll be back Monday.

Friday, 28 July 2017

What We're Watching 28/07/17


What We're Watching
28/07/17


Game of Thrones.

So, hey, new series of Game of Thrones. Once again, I'm doing it as an ongoing, and so far (with all of about two episodes out) I'm really having fun with it. After a great many series where the plot was stuck in a holding pattern, it's now zooming ahead at lightning speed, even if 'lightning speed' does sometimes mean 'many scenes of people sitting and talking around tables.'

For the first time in a while, too, I genuinely don't know what's going to happen, and that's actually quite exciting -- knowing that there are big things coming, including big changes to the status quo, but not knowing what those big things will be, or even who will be alive at the end of series seven (let alone who will be alive at the end of series eight).

About the only thing I do know is that the series will probably try to wrap up the war for the Iron Throne by the end of this series, leaving the next and final series open to be entirely about defeating the White Walkers.


My Hero Academia.

So, I decided to watch this weeks ago, and then just didn't. But I got around to it the day before yesterday, and marathoned the first thirteen episodes over a span of about three days. Given how short my attention span is, that says a lot of good things about its quality.

(I was told that the first three episodes weren't very good, and while the pace definitely picks up from episode four onwards, I did actually really enjoy those first three episodes, although I think episode three is by far the weakest episode of the series that I've seen so far.)

It reminds me somewhat of Tiger and Bunny and somewhat of One-Punch Man in its aesthetics and sensibilities, and especially in its take on superheroes; and it reminds me a little of Bleach and a little of Fullmetal Alchemist in its structure; and it even reminds me a touch of Kekkai Sensen -- but for all that it's clearly taken inspiration from a huge range of sources, it's also very distinctively its own thing.

Expect a review of it next week some time.


The Mist.

So, here's the thing I've realised about The Mist: It has no idea what it wants to be.

This is most manifest in its approach to the titular Mist and why it's dangerous: In the span of six episodes, we've seen creepy insects killing people, a smoke monster, people hallucinating, the mist causing spontaneous bleeding, the mist causing people to turn into insects, some monster that ripped off a woman's jaw, and the mist making physical manifestations of people from its victims' pasts.

The show just can't decide what it is that it wants this creepy mist to do, so it's just throwing everything it can at it.

Similarly, the show can't seem to decide anything else, and it keeps setting up plotlines that end up oddly and unintentionally ambiguous. For example, early episodes draw parallels between Eve and her daughter, implying that the salacious rumours about Eve are the narrow-minded townspeople trying to punish her for being a rape victim -- until later episodes go 'Heeeey, actually, no, she's unfaithful and terrible and all those rumours were true.' The show's local eyeliner wearing demisexual dude flip-flops between arch-manipulator and fragile morality pet, while Alex's relationship with Eve can either be extremely good or terrible depending on what episode you happen to catch them in.

It's just so all over the place. I saw someone describe The Mist as boring once, and it's definitely not boring, because waiting to see how everyone's entire personalities and driving motivations will abruptly change is a rollercoaster all on its own.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Guest Editorial: Shining Knight and Arthurian Knights in the Modern Day [Guest Editorial by Reecey]


Guest Editorial: Shining Knight and Arthurian Knights
In The Modern Day.

(Guest editorial by Reecey.)


Okay, so my sleep pattern has been the worst lately. Seriously, somehow I seem to have fallen into a forty eight hour sleep cycle and as a result I just do not have time to review something.

So you’re getting an editorial instead.

An editorial about King Arthur! Again!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Editorial: Best Trailers of SDCC 2017 (or the ones we liked the most, anyway)


Editorial: Best Trailers of SDCC 2017
(or the ones we liked the most, anyway).



Justice League.



I absolutely shouldn't be excited for Justice League. Snyder is a provably bad director and it will definitely be a total mess.

But, man, I really am. I'm happy to see more Wonder Woman, and the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg all look like a lot of fun. I'm even happy to see Affleck's Batman back, since he's definitely not the worst Batman we've ever had (Christian Bale's Batman takes that title). Steppenwolf is a pretty obscure villain, but I like seeing films give obscure villains a bigger profile.

Most of all, though, it just looks like fun. I'm not expecting it to be a particularly deep film, but I am expecting it to be an enjoyable romp, which is really all I need from a superhero film.


Once Upon A Time.



Oh, man. This is going to be a mess.

The new series of Once Upon A Time -- focusing on a grown up Henry as the main character, but confirmed to at least include Regina, Gold, and Hook (although Jennifer Morrison, and by extension Emma, seems to have left for greener pastures) -- is apparently offering a new curse, a new tone, many new characters, and the reveal that there is an infinite number of parallel fairytale universes, each with their own fairytale casts.

Because that's definitely what this show needs: Infinitely recursive versions of all of its characters, taking an already tangled and overly convoluted show and elevating it to Type-Moon levels of bizarro world complexity.

Time will tell if this series will be fun to watch, but obviously it's not going to be good -- it will, at the very most, be entertainingly terrible.


The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.

These three (sans Arrow, which just wasn't very good, and Black Lightning, which was really just a trailer for the entire rest of the Arrowverse) are getting lumped together as one item, not just because they're all part of the same strand of shows, but also because they're all very similar.

Each one seems to be drawing footage mostly from their first few episodes, and determinedly not giving much away about the plots of their respective series, instead focusing on the character fallout from the bombshells at the end of their previous series -- Barry joining the Speed Force, Mon-El leaving (please don't let him return), and the Legends breaking time (which doesn't seem to be affecting any other series).

The emphasis in each one is different: Supergirl is focusing primarily on Kara's pain, The Flash on getting Barry back (with it left unclear if they do in that first episode or if Wally's going to don the suit), while Legends is basically all hijinks, but they're all fun to watch, and they all set us up pretty well for when those shows return in October.


Star Trek: Discovery.



Words cannot describe how excited I am for Star Trek: Discovery, and the new trailer at SDCC, which gives us some pretty hefty plot details involving Klingons, a mysterious alien inside a sarcophagus, and Harcourt Fenton Mudd (seemingly), has only made me more excited.

In many ways, the aesthetic and tone of the series seem to be a pretty drastic departure from the norm for Star Trek, but I'm pretty okay with that, to be honest, especially as it looks like it should be amazing, with a great cast, a great plot, and some really stunning production values.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Fate/Apocrypha E4: Price of Life, Redemption of Death


Fate/Apocrypha
Episode 4
Price of Life, Redemption of Death.



Hello, naughty children, it's time to discuss stakes, and how they create conflict in a story. Specifically, it's time to discuss how Fate/Apocrypha has no stakes, even four episodes -- nearly a fifth -- in.

Usually, a piece of fiction establishes stakes by endearing the audience to a character or several and then either threatening their status quo, or giving them a difficult to achieve goal (or both). Different things achieve this in different ways: A horror might single out just a small number of people in its cast as audience surrogates, but then create stakes through tricks of atmosphere to make the audience themselves feel under threat ('I hope the characters are successful because I'll see something unpleasant if they aren't,'); a series like Game of Thrones endears us to a small group of characters -- the Starks and Daenerys -- and then uses them to expand its roster of characters the audience is invested in, allowing it to spread the action over a greater number of viewpoints while maintaining stakes; a more focused show like Doctor Who will typically focus the stakes on what the companion has to lose or gain in each individual episode.

Fate/Apocrypha hits a crucial moment in this fourth episode as it has its first death, when Siegfried, the Saber of Black, sacrifices himself to save someone else. A character dying tests how invested your audience is in the stakes of your story, because in order to get the most out of a character death, and truly yank on your audience's heartstrings, you need them to be invested in the character dying, the characters close to the dying character, and the stakes of the story and how they'll be affected by that character death.

Fate/Apocrypha fails on all three counts.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Game of Thrones S7E2: Stormborn


Game of Thrones
Series 7, Episode 2
Stormborn.



This episode could probably just as easily have been called 'people discuss forming and/or not forming alliances,' because honestly, alliances and people pondering them really are the bread and butter of this episode. People considering alliances, people struggling with alliances they have, people breaking alliances, pirate attacks, people forming informal alliances, and people encountering alliances and failing to form alliances with those alliances.

In another series, that probably wouldn't work that well, but Game of Thrones has its particular structure and way of pacing: Politicking (interspersed with small fights) leading up to big battles leading to a changed status quo leading to more politicking and so on and so forth, and the fun of watching comes in large part from seeing who teams up with who and how different agendas and failings within specific alliances cause those team-ups to start breaking down. Its slowest series have often been its slowest because they've lacked those elements.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

No Post Today.


Hey, guys, just a quick note to say there'll be neither a post today nor a Let's Play part.

I don't know quite when we'll be back, but I'm going to aim for Monday for blog posts at the absolute latest, and tomorrow for Let's Plays.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Fate/Apocrypha E3: The First Steps of Fate


Fate/Apocrypha
Episode 3
The First Steps of Fate.



Joy of joys, stuff actually happens in this episode! A moderate amount of stuff, at the very least, which is more than can be said for the first two episodes. Having been almost ready to start considering dropping this series altogether, actually having action and plot progression and conflict was a welcome relief.

Picking up some time after the second episode, this episode sees the Black Faction thrown into crisis when one of Avicebron's homunculi uses magic to escape his tank, being taken in by Astolfo and Chiron, who realise the homunculi only has three years to live at the very most. Meanwhile, Jeanne, the Ruler servant tasked with overseeing the war, arrives in Trifas, only to immediately be attacked by Lancer of Red, acting on Shirou's orders, resulting in a battle between Lancer of Red and Siegfried, the Saber of Black. Meanwhile, the Black Faction Masters discuss with their Servants what it is they want to wish for.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Game of Thrones S7E1: Dragonstone


Game of Thrones
Series 7, Episode 1
Dragonstone.



So, after a longer wait than usual (for a shorter than usual series, weighing in at seven episodes compared to the usual ten, although the last two will apparently be longer than normal to partly make up for this), Game of Thrones, still far and away one of the most popular shows on television, has returned.

When the last series ended, we were looking at four monarchs due to clash against each other: Cersei, now queen after Tommen's suicide, ruling from King's Landing; Daenerys on her way to Westeros with Tyrion and Varys at her side, Tyrell and Dornish support, and an army of Dothraki; Jon as King in the North, ruling out of Westeros; and the Night King leading the White Walkers and the dead to assault or otherwise cross the wall. This episode is, unsurprisingly, mostly clash-free, being focused more on setting up the world state and setting the stakes for episodes to follow, but it does so with aplomb.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

What We're Watching 15/7/17


What We're Watching
15/7/17



Jikan no Shihaisha.

I picked up Jikan no Shihaisha on a whim a few days after its first episode aired, and was astounded to see exactly how much its first episode was, in essence, Fullmetal Alchemist's first episode, except with 'time' instead of 'alchemy.' It was almost uncanny how much the two were alike: Two brothers arrive in a strange town and encounter a young woman who lives there and is unhappy with her lot in life in large part due to the death of a loved one. While defeating the evil that resides in the town, the two brothers reveal that they were also driven to make the same mistakes as the young woman at one point, resulting in a loss of identity for the younger of the two.

It's the exact same story. What is it about this season of anime and poor imitations of much better shows?

So, I'd settled in for however-many episodes of Fullmetal Timechemist when the second episode came along and, surprisingly gratifyingly, managed to mix up the formula somewhat, shifting the focus onto the idea that the brothers' dead mother(/wife, since one of the brothers is actually the family's father who's been de-ageing slowly and losing his memories) may actually be alive, and introducing a mysterious new character into the mix.

The animation isn't getting any better, though, and Victo is still wearing his coat like an idiot. So there is that.


The Mist.

Well, after the kind of long break that can only be had by foolishly releasing your first three episodes on the same day and then waiting weeks for the fourth, The Mist, an adaptation of the Stephen King book of the same name, has returned.

I can't figure out if I enjoy The Mist, which does sometimes manage to be genuinely scary and atmospheric, or if I hate it, because every single plot twist is telegraphed so largely that people on the International Space Station can see them. I know that everyone in the church is going to die or be converted to Mrs. Raven's weird moth cult; I know the demisexual dude raped his friend and then blamed the football guy; I know that the shady military group who've never been directly seen yet inadvertently caused the mist in the process of trying to study it.

The Mist is only going to be eight episodes long, and honestly I think any more and it would outstay its welcome, which is why I'm going to be so annoyed when this series ends on a cliffhanger to rope us in for a slightly longer second series.


Dark Matter.

Dark Matter is currently going from strength to strength, with the seventh episode of its third series being another surprisingly strong outing from a space opera that was always a lot of fun but has also always slid back and forth along the quality scale.

We're now halfway through the third series, or thereabouts, and while there are plenty of balls up in the air -- Ryo Ishida and Zairon; Ferrous Corp and the corporate war; Three's dead-and-now-AIed wife who he possibly may have killed; and the Android's strange vision of the future, part of which has already come to pass -- the series is dealing with its many plot threads with surprising confidence, leaving me hopeful that, at the very least, we're going to be seeing conclusions to two or three of those four storylines this series.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Dive!! and Free!: Comparing Two Watery Sports Anime.


Dive!! and Free!
Comparing Two Watery Sports Anime.


Usually, today would be reserved for my review of the second episode of Dive!!, that new diving anime that's airing currently, and in a way, it still is, but we're taking a bit of a different tack this time by comparing Dive!! to another overly moist sports anime that's preoccupied with exclamation marks: Free!, the wildly popular 2013 anime by Kyoto Animation.

Since Dive!! is only on its second episode, we are exclusively comparing their opening two episodes: Anything from episode three onwards is absolutely not fair game, and either way, this is really about how each waterlogged anime tries to draw viewers in and keep their interest.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Help! (1965) [Guest review by Reecey.]


Help! (1965)
(Guest review by Reecey.)


Okay, so a short while back, I reviewed Hard Day’s Night, and if there is one thing you should have taken out of that review (aside from John Lennon being the forefather of all trolls) it’s that it’s a very surreal film.

That was in 1964, this is 1965, one year later, and it’s time for the second film, Help!.

This is the Beatles film that I’ve never seen before.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Editorial: 5 Things We Hope To See in RWBY Vol. 5


Editorial: 5 Things We Hope To See in
RWBY Vol. 5.



So, we have a release date for the next volume of RWBY, putting it at around the middle of October, and, much like I did in the run-up to Volume 4, I think it's high time I did a list of some things I'd like to see in the upcoming volume.

On a related note, it's also recently been announced that Rooster Teeth will be creating Gen:Lock, an original giant mecha drama, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Anyway, on with the list.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Gladiolus


Final Fantasy XV
Episode Gladiolus



While this is the second Final Fantasy XV DLC we've reviewed, it was the first to be released, having been released all the way back in March to a decidedly lukewarm reaction -- certainly less of a positive reaction than Episode Prompto, which makes sense, since Gladio is both a less likable character and the star of a less interesting (both from a story and a gameplay perspective) DLC.

Set during the span of time when Gladio was absent from the party, Episode Gladiolus follows Gladio and Cor as they head into the Tempering Grounds, a set of ruins inhabited by Gilgamesh, Blademaster and Shield of the ancient Founder-King, which only one person -- Cor himself -- has ever left alive. Working their way down into the ruins, Gladio must face numerous trials and, eventually, Gilgamesh himself, to prove himself worthy of being Noctis' shield, and to obtain Gilgamesh's power.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Fate/Apocrypha E2: The Appearance of the Saints


Fate/Apocrypha
Episode 2
The Appearance of the Saints.



So, first thing's first, we got an opening this week! It was, truth be told, more odd than anything else. The music seems to be trying to go for a sinister, vaguely gothic, horror-tinged thing that is entirely at odds with the rest of the series so far, which is pretty much straight up action fantasy. It also lends basically all the visuals an air of absurdity -- oh, no, look at those people walking slowly down some well-lit stairs as the music tells you how creepy it is; oh, no, that woman is putting on tights, how horrifying.

It's not a strong opening at all, and that bodes somewhat poorly for the rest of the series. Two episodes in, and I'm already sort of wondering if picking this up as an ongoing was a good idea, but it was either this or Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Fission Mailure Let's Plays.


Fission Mailure Let's Plays.


I'm exhausted and possibly sunburned, so instead of an Episode Gladiolus review, let's have some exciting self-promotion of what we're doing on the Fission Mailure channel!



On track to be my longest Let's Play series yet, Trails of Cold Steel is what would happen if Tales of Zestiria and Valkyria Chronicles had a child, and that child was raised by the Persona franchise. 

A turn-based JRPG set at a military academy in a fantasy, early 20th century empire with elements of Germany and Japan, Trails of Cold Steel (part of the larger Legend of Heroes franchise) follows Rean Schwarzer in the dual pursuits of wacky school life shenanigans and thwarting a group of terrorists, led by the mysterious C.

I've been enjoying this Let's Play a lot -- despite acquiring a particularly tenacious stalker who has been in a sustained state of outrage for the last three months because I criticised his waifu -- and as I near the end of it, I'm looking forward to its sequel, and (eventually) the third game in the series, due to come out later this year in Japan and who-even-knows-when everywhere else.



I had a whale of a time Let's Playing Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, so I was looking forward to the Steam release of the midquel, Danganronpa Another Episode, a survival horror shooter of sorts where you have to shoot down robotic bears with a word-gun.

If that sounds completely stupid, that's probably because it is, although the game still manages to build up an impressive amount of tension nevertheless, hiding your relatively fast moving foes around corners and in alcoves and relying on your panic as they sprint at you to do most of the work of adding challenge to the game. Shot through it, though, is a heavy string of comedy and absurdity, both in the fact that you're fighting plush bears and just in the total ridiculousness of the entire premise.

At the moment, this is my newest series, with only three parts done, and it looks scheduled to run for around twenty-five to thirty -- which is a pretty decent length, really.



Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is an odd duck of a game, which is why it's on a sort of hiatus right now where I'll get around to playing more of it whenever I have the time to do so. A very low budget visual novel/strategy game put together by a tiny studio and a not much bigger pool of contractors, it tries to emulate an 80s or 90s anime, with a somewhat kitschy, rather low-effort storyline about a ragtag band of students fighting ghosts with salt, iron pipes, and other such things.

It's fun in very small doses, and arguably its biggest problem and its biggest selling point is its unique dialogue system: You select a mood (friendly, loving, inquisitive, angry, sympathetic) and then a body part (eyes, tongue, hand, ears, and nose), with the result being some kind of odd randomised mix where you might end up, say, giving someone a sympathetic look (for eyes and sympathetic), or you could just as easily end up observing something about their appearance, and so on, and so forth.

Since getting characters to join your party requires picking the right combinations, and since the game gives very little indicator of when you're getting people on side, you'll end up missing a lot of party characters. On the bright side, you can do what I did, and play as a human labrador, sniffing and licking everything you see.

Friday, 7 July 2017

What We're Watching 7/7/17


What We're Watching
7/7/17.


Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu.

An offshoot of Kantai Collection and an increasingly growing Japanese subculture of female history aficionados, Touken Ranbu is an otome game about traveling through time to protect history using an array of personified famous swords, all of whom take the form of attractive young men. It's currently spawned two anime adaptations, a slice-of-life dealio called Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru and this, a more action-oriented story about protecting the timeline from 'historical revisionists.'

The first episode was, it's fair to say, not brilliant. It's got Ufotable's distinctive style, including the always slightly awkward blend of traditional animation and CGI, and that's popular enough that a lot of people probably watched specifically for that -- but if they did, the episode itself probably put them off watching any more, because the story is a whole lot of nothing.

The plot could be boiled down to 'two sword guys arrive in town, there's a fire, historical revisionists attack with skeleton monsters, more sword guys arrive to help,' but it's strung out over twenty minutes with endless, endless exposition that mostly involves going over the same relatively simple concepts again and again.

I'll probably three-episode-rule this and watch at least the next two episodes, but I do so begrudgingly.


Fate/stay night Unlimited Blade Works: The Abridged Series.

Another one from Project Mouthwash, whose work I really do kind of adore.

In this case, though, my only exposure to Fate has been one episode of Fate/Apocrypha, so my entire approach to this abridged series is different -- because I'm not going to get any series in-jokes, but also because this will be my first exposure to the story of Fate/stay night.

So, a little after watching the most recent episode, I went and checked out one particular scene from it in the actual episode, and was surprised to find that it didn't really measure up. The Abridged version of that scene was better by a not insignificant margin.

So, yeah, go check that out.



Castlevania.

I have zero familiarity with Castlevania, the now thirty-one year old franchise of vampire themed action adventure games, so this animated mini-series, weighing in at four episodes long and available on Netflix, will be my very first proper exposure to it.

I've watched two episodes so far and I have admittedly mixed feelings. The first episode, following Dracula as we find out his motivation for destroying Walluchia, was surprisingly good, with some actually really striking moments that upped the horror stakes considerably. It was a strong enough opening episode that I immediately went and watched the second episode, at which point I was disappointed.

The second episode is ponderously slow, and does little to build up any kind of atmosphere or provoke any kind of emotional reaction from its audience. It shifts the focus to Trevor Belmont, seemingly the main character for the rest of the series, but doesn't really have him do anything, instead spending more time establishing a reason for him to go to the city of Gresit, and then a reason for him to go into the catacombs.

Here's an idea: Start with him going into the catacombs! Establish why he's there as you go, especially as his motivation is simple enough that it can be explained pretty easily.


Re:Creators.

Okay, after a solid six episodes of not really being good enough to make me stop wishing I could just watch the in-universe shows, Re:Creators has managed to pull in my interest somewhat, with a relatively meaty and surprisingly well-handled storyline about Sota having driven someone to suicide, the plot ratcheting up a few notches in terms of stakes and pacing, and even some decent character moments.

It continued at a pretty solid clip to episode twelve and the end of the first arc, with a recap episode coming after, so it remains to be seen if episode fourteen (and the remaining nine episodes of the story) can keep up the level of quality it's set in the last five or six episodes, but I do hope so.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Dive!! E1: DIVE TO BLUE


Dive!!
Episode 1
DIVE TO BLUE.


You know, when talking about this anime, I've called it a Free! knock-off that doesn't understand what made Free! compelling for audiences, but it turns out that the four novels it's based on actually came out nearly a decade before the light novel that Free! is adapted from. It's entirely possible that Free! is a knock off of Dive!!, even -- but it's unclear how much Dive!! is like its novels, since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are a major plot element.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Fate/Apocrypha E1: Apocrypha: The Great Holy Grail War


Fate/Apocrypha
Episode 1
Apocrypha: The Great Holy Grail War.



Full disclosure: I've never watched a Fate series before. While I flirted with watching Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero, I actually never got more than a single episode into either, and to date my biggest engagement with the franchise has been watching some of Project Mouthwash's Abridged version. Thus, while I'm familiar with the broad strokes of the series -- magicians summoning historical figures to fight in battles over a Holy Grail -- I come to this ongoing as almost a complete stranger, which makes me decidedly not the target audience.

But an ability to draw in new fans is important for any series, so I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, especially since, if this series impresses me, I might well end up branching out to the other parts of the franchise.

So, Fate/Apocrypha: Does it manage to create a strong and good impression with its first episode?

Monday, 3 July 2017

Doctor Who S36E12: The Doctor Falls


Doctor Who
Series 36, Episode 12
The Doctor Falls.



As we reach the end of this series of Doctor Who, I can't say that my views on this series have been especially favourable. While these last two episodes have been good (with even this finale managing to be a fairly solid episode, if one that leans a little too heavily on regeneration fakeouts and the like), the ten episodes before them were all somewhat lacking -- some less so (like the Monk trilogy, Empress of Mars, and The Eaters of Light) and some more so (like Oxygen, Thin Ice, and Smile), but with none of them managing to be either terrible or especially brilliant.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

What We're Watching 1/7/17


What We're Watching
1/7/17



Killjoys.

A new series of Killjoys, my favourite currently airing space opera (from the grandiose field of three shows, one of which I cannot abide, so that may not necessarily mean much), has just started, so I'm pretty excited about that.

With the last series having split up the main gang, with John heading off to do his own thing while Dutch and D'avin investigate the Hullen conspiracy in the Quad, in advance of Aneela arriving to take it over.

But all other things being equal, this wasn't a brilliant first episode -- John's new partner was immediately replaced with someone entirely different, clearly shoehorned in because Clara's actor wasn't available; Dutch and D'avin's storyline was oddly difficult to keep up with but basically boiled down to 'surprise, there are still a load of Hullen in the Quad!'; and the whole thing just felt like it lacked much in the way of impact.

Still, the series has nine more episodes to pick up the slack, and I'm certainly not going to stop watching.


The Mist.

The Mist, an adaptation of the Stephen King novella of the same name, is clearly trying to set itself up as the go-to horror series for 2017, and it's sort of working out? I guess?

The basic concept is that a town has been engulfed in a thick mist that both makes people hallucinate and is occupied by both monsters and crazy, murderous animals that all collectively now have a thing for gruesomely killing people. With half of a family stuck in a shopping centre and half of it stuck in a church, the two families must try to reunite while surviving the deadly mist, and the conspiracy behind it.

When it's effective, it's very effective, with some brilliant scare moments. When it's not effective, it's also mind-numbingly boring, mistaking 'tension' for 'long, lingering still shots where people talk about nothing in a vaguely ominous way.'

Only three episodes are out right now -- and there's another two weeks before we get a fourth -- but it's off to a somewhat promising start, at least.


Re:Creators.

Re:Creators comes highly recommended, so I finally got around to giving its first episode a watch, and I can definitely see why people are enjoying it so much. It has a moderately interesting premise (even if Vogelchevalier does seem like a show I'd rather watch than the show about it), some great fight scenes, and Hiroyuki Sawano doing his Hiroyuki Sawano thing, so there's that.

Whether the series can actually find any depth or build that moderately interesting premise into an interesting plot remains to be seen (well, by me, at least), but I'll definitely be watching at least a few more episodes and seeing what I think.