Posted in TV Stuff

Lucky Number 7: Part 3

Part 1 here

Part 2 here

Cast:

Kerr Avon –  Paul Darrow

Vila Restal–  Michael Keating

Cally  –  Jan Chappel

Del Tarrant  –  Steven Pacey

Dayna Mellanby  –  Josette Simon

Zen/ Orac – Peter Tuddenham

Servalan – Jacqueline Pearce

Airing 7 January 1980 Aftermath kicked off season 3, a season that took the show in a very different direction. Gone from the series were Gareth Thomas, Sally Knyvette, David Jackson and Brian Crouch, each written out or killed off. Thomas and Knyvette were the leads of the show and their decision to leave left the show without much of the show’s cast and raison detre. This season the focus shifted to Kerr Avon who took the lead protagonist role. Without Travis, the villain of the piece was former Supreme Commander and presently Federation President Servalan.

The series takes place in the aftermath of a galactic war, started at the end of season 2. The Federation is in pieces, the attacking aliens defeated and the crew of the Liberator is scattered. Avon, Cally, Villa and Orac return and are joined by naive, but lethal Dayna and the cocky space-pirate Tarrant. This new crew lacks the ongoing goals of the old one, some wanting revenge on Servalan, others just wanting some profit out of it all.

There’s a greater sense of fun to this series as well as an attempt to tell stories that aren’t Blake’s war on the Federation. Free from Blake’s shadow Avon becomes more of a leader, his loyalty to his team based on their skills rather than sentiment. His relationship with Servalan simmers with sexual tension and mutual admiration. These are both ambitious survivors who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Darrow and Pierce own their roles and play them with an understated charm, which swings wildly to scenery chewing quite easily. Dayna lacks consistent characterisation and Tarrant tries the whole season to take the ship and crew from Avon who has no time for the games and lets him be in charge, up until it’s time for him not to be. It’s interesting, but graes on you after a while. As well as feeling different, the show looks very different, the main  Liberator set is the same, but the costumes vary episode by episode with varying degrees of success. The other returning cast members are at home with the roles, with Villa being exactly as he always was, a bit of a coward and the voice of regular folk in this show, but Cally adds a cynical resignation to her character, someone who has lost time and time again and doesn’t know how many more battles she has left in her, or even what she is fighting for.

 

It was an uneven season, with many lows and highs. It suffered due to the loss of Blake from Blake’s 7, but honestly not as much as it could have. His absence became a character as much as he had been for the last season and the difference was more than made up by giving Paul Darrow’s Avon more screen time. After building the team for a season it all seemed to come apart right at the end with Avon keeping the team in the dark, the Liberator and it’s AI Zen lost and the team stranded after learning after a year of wondering that Blake is indeed dead. All hope seems lost, but this was in keeping with how the series has been up to that point.

Before I watched the series, I was advised that season 2 was the peak, but I will be honest I found this season more enjoyable. It had a few twists, such as Cally being saved on a medical ship at the start of the season, only to find Servalan on it and the later ending up on a planet that used strangers as organ-banks for the rich. There were fun moments with Villa getting the girl, well for a little while. The villains were quite villainous, with Servalan wiping out the population of Cally’s homeworld in her quest to rebuild and expand the Terran Federation. Or Colin Baker showing up as a mad space-pirate who ended up blowing himself to pieces. There’s fun and a silliness to it. It remains not a good show, but being three quarters done, am invested and want to see how it all goes badly wrong for this plucky band of fairly reluctant rebels. I will go back for season 4 because without Gan, without Blake, without Jenna, without Zen and without the Liberator, I want to know what happens next and it’s always good when a show makes you feel that way.

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Scorpion: In which we learn that you shouldn’t call Happy “sweetheart”

Another week, another Pilot Era Post

Pilot Era

Cast:

Elwes Gabel Walter O’Brien

Katherine McPhee Paige Dineen

Eddie Kaye Thomas Toby Curtis

Jadyn Wong Happy Quinn

Ari Stidham Sylvester Dodd

Robert Patrick Cabe Gallo

Riley B. Smith Ralph Dineen

First Aired: 22nd September 2014

Plot: 90’s Ireland and the hacker known as Scorpion has hacked into NASA. American forces led my Federal Agent Cabe Gallo take ‘Scorpion’ into custody, but are surprised to find he is 10 year old Walter O’Brien.

Years later and Walter has acclimated to life in the US. He’s holding down a job, has lost his Irish accent and has no real idea how to deal with people. He, for example, thinks it’s perfectly appropriate to schedule his break up with his girlfriend to coincide with a job sorting out a diner’s WiFi network. In the diner with the owner is waitress Paige Dineen and her young son Ralph, who due to his lack…

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Spin Off Special: Stargate Atlantis, or in another galaxy they speak modern English?

This week’s Pilot Era Post and it’s a spin off

Pilot Era

First aired: 12th October 2004

Cast (Main):

Joe Flannigan Maj. John Sheppard

Tori Higginson Dr Elizabeth Weir

Rachel Luttrell Teyla Emmagan

Rainbow Sun Francks Lt. Aiden Ford

David Hewlett Rodney McKay

Paul McGillion Dr Carson Beckett

Cast (Guest):

Richard Dean Anderson Gen. Jack O’Neill

Michael Shanks Dr. Daniel Jackson

Robert Patrick Col. Marshall Sumner

Andee Frizell Wraith Queen

Spin Off Specifics:

Where did is spin-off from? Stargate SG-1

When did it spin-off from? This season ran alongside SG-1’s season 8.

What is different? Rather than set on Earth and dealing with the Go’auld, this was set in another galaxy in an alien city. Other than that it was a new cast, but very much a stargate show.

Was it necessary? The Lost City plot only really has a point if you are going to go to the Lost city, so there’s a story that can be told.

How did it…

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Warehouse 13: In which we learn where the Ark of the Covenant Ended Up

Another Pilot era post,
Probably should write something specific to this blog at some point.

Pilot Era

20180531_112357244676955.jpgCast:

Artie Nielson Saul Rubinek

Myka Baron Joanne Kelly

Pete Latimer Eddie McClintock

Mrs. Frederick C C H Pounder

Leena Genelle Williams

First Aired: 7th July 2009

Plot: Secret Service Agent Myka Baron is running security on an event at the Smithsonian that the US President is due to attend. On the final run through of her security protocols, she encounters a curator, working on an ancient bloodstone. He cuts his hand and after Mya leaves, the bloodstone starts glowing. Elsewhere after a one night stand with a waitress working the event, the Secret Service Agent who wrote those protocols, Pete Latimer dresses and heads to the event himself.

At the Smithsonian, Pete talks to Myka who seems to find him quite the irritant, complaining about how the protocols have been changed and he asks that she delay proceedings since he feels something is wrong. Myka is less than…

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Dollhouse: In which we learn what you can be Ok with is flexible with enough money.

Another Pilot Era post

Pilot Era

_20180603_0829302022064776.jpgMain Cast:

Eliza Dushku Echo/Caroline Farrell/Miss Penn

Henry Lennix Boyd Langton

Olivia Williams Adele DeWitt

Tamoh Penikett Paul Ballard

Franz Kanz Topher Brink

Amy Acker Dr. Saunders

Enver Gjokai Anton Lubov

Dichen Lachman Sierra

Reed Diamond Mr Dominic

Guest Cast:

Kurt Caceras Gabriel Crestejo

Haley Alexis Pullo Davina Crestejo

First Aired:13th February 2009

Plot: A young woman named Caroline is in a meeting with Adelle DeWitt, she is being asked to volunteer for something. She’s clearly upset and is blaming herself for something. Miss DeWitt asks for 5 years, reluctantly she agrees.

It’s night-time, at some point later and two people are racing on motorbikes in the street. One of them is Caroline, but really it isn’t. The other is a guy called Matt. They race to his party and after a romantic moment, she is whisked away by Boyd Langton, who offers her a ‘treatment’ and she’s away…

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Lucifer: In which we learn that with Angels its sun’s out, guns out.

Another Pilot Era Post.

Pilot Era

_20180603_083051276838232.jpgFirst Aired:25 January 2016

Cast:

Tom Ellis                                                    Lucifer Morningstar 

Lauren German                                     Det. Chloe Decker

Kevin Alejandra                                     Det. Daniel Espinoza

D.B. Woodside                                         Amenadiel

Lesley Ann Brandt                                 Mazikeen 

Scarlet Estevez                                      Beatrice ‘Trixie’ Decker

Rachael Harris         …

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Constantine: In which we learn that there are some really shoddy mental hospitals in England

And another Pilot Era post, a day early, so I can go on me jollies

Pilot Era

First Aired: 24th October 2014

Cast:

Matt Ryan                John Constantine

Lucy Griffiths            Liv Aberdine

Charles Halford        Chas Chandler

Harold Perrineau    Manny

Jeremy Davies         Richie Simpson

Miles Anderson     Dr. Roger Huntoon

Julia Lehman         Talia

Plot: In mental hospital institution in England, voluntary patient John Constantine is struggling. He is a demonologist and exorcist who recently lost a young girl to a demon during an exorcism in Newcastle. He’s having a crisis of faith, whilst the staff at the hospital are trying to convince him that the darker worlds of magic are not real. But it’s not working, because the ghost of an old friend possesses a fellow patient to tell John that this old friend’s daughter is in grave danger. No…

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The A-Team: In which we learn that Hannibal liked dressing in Yellow Face (Done)

Another Pilot Era post.

Also TV series suggestions are welcome.

Pilot Era

First Aired22 July 1983

Cast:

George Peppard John ‘Hannibal’ Smith

Mr. T Bosco ‘B.A.’ Baracus

Tim Dunigan Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck

Dwight Schultz H.M.Murdock

Melanie Culea Amy Allen

Plot: San Rio Blanco, a small village in Mexico is being repeatedly robbed and terrorised, this time the group is looking for American journalist Al Massey, who is with local Manny Cortez, tries on his own to escape, sparing the town any reprisals, but is caught. In LA, newspaper journalist Amy Amanda Allen is trying to find out what happened to her friend Al but is suspended by her editor, due to her harassing the authorities over the issue. At her wit’s end, she looks into another story her paper isn’t looking into, that being the team of soldiers on the run from the military police after escaping custody after they were arrested for a crime they didn’t commit. These men John’…

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Posted in Comics n Stuff, TV Stuff

Well that was unnecessarily dark: Or, I really enjoyed Titans

A few years back, Marvel made a deal with Netflix and made some TV shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Punisher. They were gritty and less family friendly that the MCU movies and dealt with themes of guilt, PTSD, race and the effect violence has on you and those around you. Each one had a strong first season, which myself and the MIGHTY Rosie binge watched at the first opportunity. The second seasons and the Defenders series were less strong and were more of slog to get through, to such an extent that it took two months to watch Luke Cage and I gave up on Iron Fist, bypassing Punisher altogether. It wasn’t that they were good, it’s just they kinda struggled to have the same impact. I didn’t feel I had to watch the next one and there seemed less and less reason to carry on after the story had been told.

I tried some of the other shows in a similar vein, with Runaways being such a faithful adaptation that all it did is make you feel you had already watched it. Black Lightning came next which felt too similiar to other shows to be it’s own thing. Then came Cloak and Dagger which was also faithful to it’s source material in that it was overly preachy with uninteresting lead characters. So by the time that Titans was announced I was somewhat less than optimistic.

Titans was originally the Teen Titans which was a bunch of sidekicks including the original Robin (partner to Batman) Aqualad (sidekick to Aquaman), Speedy (sidekick to Green Arrow), Kid Flash (nephew of the Flash) and Wonder Girl (sidekick of/younger version of Wonder Woman) which was as bizarre as Silver Age Bob Haney could make it. Then came the New Teen Titans, which kept some of those characters (Robin, Kid Flash & Wonder Girl), Doom Patrol alum Beast Boy and some new characters (Cyborg, Raven and Starfire) who were created by the new creative team Marv Wolfman and George Perez. It was a massive success for DC when they needed one and the characters blossomed into success stories.

There are other iterations of the Titans, but to be honest, whenever everyone talks about the Teen Titans, this is the version they are talking about. The excellent cartoon series Teen Titans and it’s successor the risable Teen Titans Go (Don’t care, still hate it.) contained most of that line-up. So when the TV was announced, this was where the line-up would come from. Still less optimistic.

Then came the trailer and some screen shots and then came the internet fandom bitching and moaning, too grim and gritty, too off model yadda yadda yadda. So again, my expectations were so low that it was more of a question of ‘might as well’.

But it was actually good. There was the story of Raven, who was revamped as a gothy teen and the death of her stepmother, which brings her into contact with a Detroit detective called Dick Grayson, who up until a couple of years ago was Robin, a role that has left him tortured by the violence he has committed and yet also addicted to that violence. As he realises the danger he is in they flee, meeting up with Hawk and Dove first them colliding with Beast Boy and Starfire as Rachel’s past comes for her. As well as Hawk and Dove, we get a look at the Doom Patrol and Wonder Girl, with the added bonus of Jason (the second Robin) Todd who is exactly as obnoxious as you expect.

The dark tone, the team-less team and the fact that these characters work best as animated ones are all reasons that this shouldn’t have worked and yet. Each character gets their own unique spin with Starfire being unaware of her past through most of the season and Beast Boy being traumatised by something he does in his animal form. We also see that the life Batman leads can do so much harm to those around it. Robin isn’t the swashbuckling boy wonder of old, but a man suffering tremendously with PTSD and guilt. This isn’t the Robin who softened the Batman’s edge, he’s the weapon Batman forged him into. We have a unnaturally powerful girl, a woman who burns like the sun and a boy who can be a green tiger once he’s stripped off, but the scariest is Robin who can and will do brutal harm with abandon. This version of Robin isn’t what I expected, but it was compelling. That’s a microcosm of this whole show. Unexpected and compelling. The violence is brutal, but in a way that feels earned. These guys are doing violent things, mostly for their own reasons and there is no sound effect projected into the air that softens it. It talks about the damage it does, both to the body and mind and I found the whole thing fascinating.

The pacing is tight, with one episode’s exception and after each episode, I checked the time to see if I can watch another one and when I couldn’t, I was disappointed. This was dark, unrelentingly so at times, but this was the best comic-related TV series that I have seen since the first couple of Marvel Netflix shows. I would highly recommend this, even if the characters haven’t grabbed you in other incarnations, because this is a show that made me give a toss about Hawk and Dove and I didn’t think that was possible to be perfectly honest.

It’s on Netflix here in blighty, but I assume it’s available elsewhere and is well worth checking out. Fair warning, there’s a cliffhanger.

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Hot in Cleveland: In which we learn that even the dive bars are nice in Ohio

4th post from Pilot Era

Pilot Era

First Aired: 10 May 1997

Cast:

Valerie Bertinelli Melanie Moretti

Jane Leeves Joy Scroggs

Wendie Malick Victoria Chase

Betty White Elka Ostrovksy

First Aired: 16th June 2010

Plot: Recently divorced writer Mel is having her midlife crisis and jets off to Paris with her best friends fading soap opera star Victoria and eyebrow sculptor Joy. She’s a bit more down, since they bump into her ex Anders, on his way to a romantic getaway with his new young fiance. They are on a plane from LA to Paris when some kind of technical problem causes the plane to crash-land in nearby Cleveland Ohio. The trio is shaken and seek a post near-death experience drink. In a bar they discover after years or LA men looking past them to younger women, here in Cleveland, men date women their own age and they are being hit on. Overwhelmed by…

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