Sunday, 10 April 2016

Colony S01E01


"When an outside force occupies LA, a former FBI agent and his wife are forced to make tough decisions."

What I thought?

Sky labels this show as "Gripping futuristic thriller" and gives it an 18 rating. If a city being occupied by an alien force and surrounded by a massive wall wasn't too much of a stretch for most viewers, than the terms "thriller" and the use of "18" will be. There was barely any violence, swearing or nudity to warrant anything over a 15-rating at worst. Compared to most other programmes on TV this was almost like an episode of any weekly soap opera than anything pornagraphic or violent. Perhaps this will change in future episodes? Certainly there is a simmering darkness and grittiness to the show throughout that's really being forced upon us, but all in a rather artificial way. It does a decent job of setting the premise for the rest of the season in this episode and giving us a taster of everything that's going on but it's certainly not making me feel anything like it's a thriller just yet.

The show centres around Josh Hollaway's character Will, his wife Katie and to a less extent, their children. Will was an FBI come miltary hard nut before the alien occupation and it seems most of his colleagues have been removed from the occupied land. Thus he's undercover and hiding his real identity. No matter, that all goes to hell before the end of the episode. After copious very unsubtle pointers in the first five minutes that this family is missing one child, Will and a helper are smuggled like fish (literally) in a truck through a checkpoint into the next presumably occupied zone. This is where the missing son, who it seems was separated from the family at the start of the occupation, resides and it's somewhat Will's fault going by conversation he has with his wife. Things are going well until another lorry explodes at the checkpoint causing carnage. Naturally almost everyone else is killed except Will, who is then bundled into some sort of detention centre by "red hats" who appear to ruthlessly control law and order in the occupied colony. They aren't aliens though. Just humans given these roles. They look like hard nuts too and don't seem to do anything pleasant. Regardless, Will's former identity is discovered and he's brought to the colony's governor, Proxy Alan Snyder, who is played by Peter Jacobson portraying a character so uncannily similar to that which is he played in Ray Donovan. You'd hardly know the difference. Thankfully that was an amusing character. This guy brings an air of joy and humour to proceedings but doesn't really ever go too OTT on knocking what are some really severe issues going on all around them. In return for his freedom Alan asks Will to work for him to discover who makes up the resistance. As it happens, Will's wife Katie is in the resistance, unknown to Will, but undoubtedly highly suspected by us all throughout the episode, not least by the cliffhanger reveal being spoken about in almost every trailer for this show beforehand. Sigh. Yes, we all knew this before we started watching! It's not a surprise.

So, we have a show that is 'Lost' meets 'V' meets 'Under the Dome'. It's got the mystery of Lost, the alien occupancy of V and the "trapped in a location for an unknown reason" bit of Under the Dome. Thankfully this opening episode isn't as badly scripted and acted as Under the Dome, but isn't as dramatic and captivating as Lost. But it's a decent opener thanks largely to not revealing very much about the aliens, if anything. There's some gorgeously beautiful CGI views of the huge wall surrounding the colony, which is not quite on the Game of Thrones scale for walls but pretty impressive anyway. I'd say this show is very much more like V than the others and hopefully they'll keep to their word of drip feeding us information about the aliens, because much like Lost, a lot of people went south when it all went sci-fi on us. Not me though, I loved that show and still do. Colony hasn't started anywhere near on the same level as Lost did but it's made a decent stab at it and has a mystery kept thankfully at arm's length from us, therefore making me curious enough to keep watching.

Rating 6/10 (DECENT)

By the time they actually told us, it was obvious a family member was missing thanks to numerous camera angles telling us.

Will took to being smuggled in a container like a cool guy.

Guess who was the only survivor of the bomb in the nearby lorry? Yes, Will.

Will's wife goes around like a badass but it really doesn't feel natural.

It's that guy from Ray Donovan! And he's playing the same character from what I can tell.

The only time we get close to seeing the aliens is in this beautiful CGI moment of their ship taking off.

Josh's mandatory shirtless moment.

The wall blends in so well that it's hard to notice it most of the time.

Who do you like your eggs in the morning? Alan arrives for breakfast.

Secret codes. Secret knocks. Secret rooms. Oh look, Katie is in the resistance. Yes, Yes. We knew this from the trailers!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Star Wars Rebels S02E21 "Twilight of the Apprentice"


"After gaining information about the Sith, Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka battle the Inquisitors with the help of a new ally, but are overmatched when Vader arrives."

What I thought?

This is the first ever episode of Star Wars Rebels that I've watched twice. I rarely watch anything a second time, not least all the way through. Some of the reason for that I won't go into here, but did my views change from first to second time?

Yes, they did. On first watch I was underwhelmed. Probably because I'd been so hyped up about a massive finale, Vader, and someone probably dying, that when it didn't all happen the way my mind had somehow predicted, it was naturally deflated. But, there's a heck of a lot contained in this episode and lots to digest long after it's finished, which is why this episode is most definitely rewatchable as you debate and re-debate nuggets of information amongst the massive reveals.

In short, Ahskoa, Kanan and Ezra find a sith temple. The former Darth, Maul, seduces Ezra when he becomes separated from the other two, slowly fueling his darker sides as they uncover the secrets of the temple. How much Maul is betting on Ezra being the apprentice that he claims near the end, is anyone's guess. All Maul wanted was the power behind the temple to destroy all his enemies; Jedi and Sith. Throughout the episode, the inquisitors are there, including a new one, who seem to only be a plot point to distract our heroes before they run away and then come back at inconvenient points. The Grand Inquisitor in series one was awesome. He was mysterious, strong and had great dialogue. The inquisitors in the second series are just annoying, quite frankly, and carry no weight to them other than the inconvenience one might feel after stepping in dog poo. Not to worry, because Maul kills two of them (off-screen deaths of course, this is a cartoon) and although the 3rd one kind of gets away, it's ambiguous if they died. But it's suggested from other sources that they are indeed dead. This could be the end of the inquisitors. As a concept they are great, but this second season they've been much of nothing really.

Vader arrives near the end, on top of his tie-fighter! An awesome entrance. He chats too much for me, but only just too much. Maul is very chatty throughout the episode but this is the post-film Maul who does nothing but natter. He's very different to the film's Maul who was almost mute. I like Maul, but somewhat prefered him when he hardly muttered a word. Word on the street though is that Maul is the third season's main foil for our rebels. He doesn't care much for them, but we can be sure he cares less for the Empire.

We never saw Maul Vs Vader but we did see some of Ashoka Versus Vader. The fighting wasn't overly dramatic but the cinematic display throughout this episode, along with background music was awesome. Vader seems to do nothing but stride and push his lightsabre about these days rather than be too animated, but he's clearly dark, evil, big in stature and powerful. Naturally one can never have enough Vader on screen.

So, at the end what do we have? Looks like Ashoka will be playing less screen time next season, going by rumours. She's still alive, despite everyone believing she was destined to die in the finale. Vader is slightly battered from the experience. Probably more battered than I'd expected given his powerful awesomeness. Kanan ends up blind, which looks permanent. This probably spells more trouble for Ezra as with Ashoka and a slightly more subdued Kanan we now have clear evidence from this episode that Ezra is dabbling in the dark side much more.

A few quibbles; Vader, arrives on top of ship. Autopilot? It flies away when he dismounts? Guess it must of been. I also didn't think how reasonable Kanan and Ahsoka were with Maul rang quite right either. And why would Yoda send them there? Lots to think about.

Rating 8/10 (GREAT)

It started with a ... ship, of course. Hic!

Anyone falling from that height, with that much rubble, would be dead or very hurt but alas our heroes are fine.

Maul didn't really help at all with the doors.

Chopper was awesome as always. Manning the tie-fighter guns was cool.

The Inquisitors this season are really a menace and annoying, carrying little threat.

Some beautiful visuals in this episode.

Cool use of lightsabers but far too much of it and somewhat ridiculous.

Now this is how you make an entrance.

The man behind the mask.

How dark is Ezra going to go next season?