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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Flash S3E13: Attack on Gorilla City

The Flash
Series 3, Episode 13
Attack on Gorilla City

I don't much like Grodd episodes, and I think I've finally started to pin down a few reasons why. Firstly, I'm not very keen on talking animals in things which aren't about talking animals -- they add a layer of narm that is often difficult to shake. But secondly, The Flash does such a horrendously poor job of selling the fact that Grodd is actually a real, live character who's physically present in scenes with other characters.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Supergirl S2E13: Mr & Mrs Mxyzptlk

Series 2, Episode 13
Mr & Mrs Mxyzpltk.

I want to start this review by saying that I am offended. I am offended and outraged and cut to the very quick by what can only be described as an attack on me as a person, because how dare Supergirl's writers force me to write a review in which I will repeatedly have to check the spelling of 'Mxyzpltk.' It's not natural. It's not right. I have a window open on somebody else's recap of this episode, just because the title has the spelling of his name and I can check that.

In other news, this is a romance subplot focused episode, eschewing the show's arc plot entirely in favour of homing in on our two romances this series: Kara and Mon-El (kill me now) and Alex and Maggie (actually pretty well-written). I've rambled before about how I don't think Kara and Mon-El make an even remotely compelling romance, and I don't think Mon-El is a very compelling character: Well, this episode takes us from 'this romance isn't compelling' to 'this romance is actually a little uncomfortable to watch.'

Monday, 20 February 2017

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E19

Mobile Suit Gundam:
Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 19
The Man Who Obtained A Soul

When this episode title showed up on television listings, it was actually really confusing. I thought, initially, that it was referring to Mika -- and it sort of is, for reasons we'll talk about in a bit, but moreso it refers to McGillis, who has now obtained Agnika Kaieru's soul (or the physical representation of it, at least). The implication here (and it's an implication that I'm not sure really applies to the episode's title as it regards Mika) is that McGillis was soulless before, that his experiences had functionally hollowed him out. I'm not sure I necessarily agree with that.

Friday, 17 February 2017

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)

A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017).

I sympathise with people trying to adapt Lemony Snicket's works. There are books that are more cinematic in style, with a heavy focus on action and visuals and sound, and then there are books on the far other end of the spectrum, that lean heavily on the literary form and thus don't tend well to adaptation. Arguably, it'd be difficult to even do a more free-wheeling analogy adaptation of them, since so much of the story of the books is intrinsically tied up in the form they inhabit.

Well, Netflix has decided to try, apparently, paying no heed to the last attempt to do so, which ended in disaster.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

What We're Watching 16/2/17

What We're Watching

I've picked up a surprising amount of new shows lately, which means it is definitely time for another What We're Watching.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Accel World: Infinite Burst.

Accel World: Infinite Burst.

This film actually came out ages ago, but it's taken considerably longer for it to be subbed, and that rather shows how little interest there is in it: While Accel World certainly has a following, it fails to either draw in passionate fans or even people who truly hate it -- reactions to it tend to be fairly lukewarm across the board, a balance of 'it has nice design elements and a kind of interesting plot' with 'it has most of the problems that plague Sword Art Online, Reki Kawahara's other series.' 

In a way, it's this lukewarm regard for it that this film -- if it can be called that -- seems to be trying to fix, providing a big blowout special to see if it can't drum up some extra interest in the show and maybe get it renewed for another series. It will almost certainly fail.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Supergirl S2E12: Luthors

Series 2, Episode 12

Supergirl has a problem. Having teased us with the idea of Lena going evil only to then, much to our collective relief, reveal that she isn't evil at all, they're now faced with a peculiar conundrum: If they have Lena go evil, they're going to disappoint their audiences, but if they tease it and don't follow through, they're retreading old ground. The answer to this conundrum isn't a difficult one, though: Just stop doing 'will she won't she turn evil' episodes.

There are seriously more interesting roads the character can be taken down. Maybe she has well-meaning ideas for her company, but those ideas lead her into conflict with Kara. Maybe Lex is released from prison and makes a bid for L-Corp, setting up a feud between them. Maybe she discovers Kara's secret and has mixed feelings about it. Anything but 'Lillian talks to Lena and we're all convinced that she's evil, but she's not.'

The episode even tries to pull a 'maybe she really is evil' moment at the end, too, as if we're not already exhausted by this whole thing.

In this week's episode, after Lena gives her testimony at Lillian's trial, she suddenly comes under suspicion as a video shows her taking kryptonite to Metallo, who uses it to free Lillian and go on the run. With Lena framed and in prison, she is swiftly kidnapped by Lillian, who wants to use her DNA to unlock a vault of weapons Lex left behind. With everyone around her telling her that Lena is guilty, Kara sets out to clear Lena's name and rescue her from Lillian.

Honestly, she makes prison garb work for her.

Honestly, my enjoyment of this episode was dampened somewhat by how exhausted I am with this plot, especially as it's not just Supergirl that has done it: This exact plotline was Smallville's bread and butter for years, and the only thing that made it tolerable was knowing that there was a foregone conclusion involved in it. 

Incidentally, this episode even makes reference to Smallville, naming Lex and Lena's father as 'Lionel Luthor,' a name which originated in Smallville and only later caught on to comics. This isn't the first time Supergirl has paid homage to Smallville -- in fact, it, the 1984 Supergirl film, and The New Adventures of Lois and Clark are far bigger influences on the series than the comics themselves and are consistently referenced -- but it does throw into sharp relief how this episode could basically be a Smallville episode with the names and genders switched around -- Kara instead of Clark, Lena instead of Lex, Lillian instead of Lionel, Jimmy instead of ... I don't know, Chloe, probably, it's been a while.

As a side note, why is Lionel bald in his flashback? Smallville did this too, somewhat, having Lionel's shift from 'ambiguous ally-enemy' to 'out and out enemy' marked by his head being shaved, employing imagery associated with the already-bald-in-show Lex to indicate a change in disposition, but in this case, Lionel is just appearing for five minutes in a flashback prior to Lex losing his hair, creating the odd impression that 'unnaturally going bald' is some kind of family trait. It's not male pattern baldness, because male pattern baldness does not make one completely hairless from the eyebrows up.

"I'm a serious superhero," says Jimmy 'Nearly Lost An Arm' Olsen.

If it feels like I'm harping on a lot about an entirely different show here, that's because there's not a lot for me to say about this episode -- and I don't even mean that in a bad way. It's a plot they've used too many times by now, but it is still a competently put together episode, and both Melissa Benoist and Katie McGrath bring their A-games as far as acting goes.

The A-plot chugs along at a nice pace, makes sense, and is enjoyable to watch. Meanwhile, it's in the B-plot -- this episode has no C-plot to speak of, not really -- that the highs and lows of the episode come into play.

The high: Alex coming out to Jimmy, Winn, and Mon-El, and everyone's reactions, and all the general cuteness involved there. The low: Any scene involving Kara and Mon-El's romance, oh dear god, just let it end. I don't know why the writers think watching these two flick through the Book of Romance Cliches is going to be interesting viewing, I really don't, and it doesn't help that Mon-El is just not a very compelling character. He just isn't.

Where on earth is everyone getting these colour-coordinated prison scrubs from, anyway?

Oh, there's also some kind of plot thread about how Kara still doesn't have faith in Jimmy as the Guardian, and honestly, I don't blame her, because what has Jimmy even really done as the Guardian so far? He effectively fights street level crime in a show about super-powered aliens. He can't even handle Metallo. Metallo, you guys.

The episode ends on Mr. You Can't Make Me Try To Spell His Name appearing, and it looks like next episode is going to be a week-late Valentine's Day special about him trying to woo Kara, which is -- fine, I guess. Honestly, don't expect me to give that one a positive review, I'm having conniptions just thinking about it.