Alcohol is the question..
But the answer, can be extremely varied. This is not an article on the effects of alcohol, or to discuss the science of alcohol. This is purely, the emotion of alcohol. You hear stories about people drinking alcohol, and becoming more emotional, but is that relevant to everyone?
I know that I myself, am not an alcoholic. I don’t need to drink on a daily basis, I can go weeks or months without alcohol with ease. But what I am, is a person who enjoys the taste of alcohol. Not vodka, or cider, but beers, bitters, lagers, wine. As soon as I taste my first glass, I can enjoy the taste of it for several drinks. If it’s a late night drink, after two or three, I feel tired, and move onto something else. But during the day, I’ve had that first drink, and because I enjoy the taste, I want another. I have had several days with friends where one drink during the day has led to still drinking 6-12 hours later, enjoying myself.
But why do I drink? It’s not the need to be drunk, because I hate being drunk, I’ve actively fought over the last 8 years I’ve drank to make sure I hadn’t gotten wankered, and it is probably on two hands I have gotten extremely drunk. A lot of the time, I will eat beforehand, eat during, and drink in moderation.
But what happens at the tipsy stage? Most people get angry, or jealous. I know I have never, to my knowledge, gotten jealous, whilst drunk, and on maybe 3 occasions, at the most, gotten angry whilst drinking. Most of the time, I’ve found myself opening up. Not as in stories and deep emotions, but as in my love for other people. Yes, when tipsy, I get emotionally lovable.
There are many people in my life, that mean a lot to me. My mum, the most amazing person in my life. My family, who care so deeply, that when my mum is away, will ring me once a week (at least 2 out of 3 parts, the third part will text me irregularly to check on me) to ask how I am. My friends, who even in my lowest moments, still care for me. But, do I show it?
On a day-to-day basis, there are certain emotions I hope to demonstrate. When I was young, I was angry and frustrated, because of my Asperger’s. People couldn’t understand me, I couldn’t translate myself to them, and because of that, I hate life and people. But as I got older, and I realized my symptoms, I began to try and change my default personality. It took several years, but nowadays, my default personality, seems to be one that just, enjoys life. Every day is a gift, I enjoy the little things in life, no matter what.
But despite that default happiness, I’m not an emotionally open person, in that quite often, I can be appreciative of the love shown to me. And it is when I drink, that I become more determined, to want to tell my friends and family, how much I love them.
I think of my mum, a daily inspiration who I thank everyday for making me want to be the best I can be. I think of my two aunts and my gran, who are strong female presences, who make me appreciate any female I know. I think of my granddad, who is the strongest paternal inspiration I have had in my life, one who everyday makes me want to be as kind and loving a man as he was, one who at his funeral, had so many loved ones, they had to have the church doors open to fit everyone in. I think of my uncles, who since my granddad’s death, have tried to protect me every time they see me, check on me, care for me, and inspire me to be the best man I can be. I think of my friends, who even in my lowest moments, seem to still love me. My mum once said, that I have a habit of collecting loyal friends, who would love me through thick and thin. And I like to think that the reason for that, is because I’m the same. I don’t care about the differences between me and my friends, I care about the similarities we have, the idea that there is an emotional similarity that makes them amazing people that I feel privileged to share my life with.
So, what is alcohol to these relationships? Alcohol is what allows me to strip my fears, my shyness, and to be able to tell them how much I care about them. Last Christmas, I sent several messages to close friends, telling them how much they meant to me. Was I slightly inebriated? Yes. Did it mean those emotions were lies? No. It just means that I am so afraid of opening up emotions, that telling these people who mean so much to me how I feel, needs special occasions and alcohol, to occur. And that Christmas, I remember telling at least one of my uncles, how much I loved him, because I always felt guilty for never telling him.
Alcohol, to me, is not a weapon, and it is not something to be feared. In the right intake, it doesn’t make me hyper, or happy. It just makes me determined, to tell those I love, how I really feel. Because everybody, no matter what, has an ego, that needs to be told how much they matter, because it drives them to continue. I love my friends, and family, and I wish everyday I didn’t feel shy or shamed to tell them. But after a few drinks, as I loosen up, suddenly telling them how much they matter to me, doesn’t worry me so much. Do I like the fact I need alcohol to be truthful? No. But do I regret needing drink to open up to people I love? No, because then I think of how cold a person I would seem, the idea that I could never hug a friend or family member, tell them how much I appreciate them, and how much of a dick I would probably be.
Alcohol is a controversial subject. It is contributed to discussions of affairs, abuse, rape, anger, etc. But just for once, I would like to give alcohol a credit, to those who can be happy and loving, but when they want a true, honest, bare moment, need a little liquid courage. Because at the end of the day, alcohol is deemed to be the drink of those who want forget, and sometimes, it’s their fear they want to forget. So, in essence…when I drink, when I get to the tipsy stage, it makes me want to tell those who matter to me, how much i love them. Deal with it ;).
TV Viewing In January - Part 4
- American Horror Story: Coven – 48 minute long Anthology Horror
- 3x10 – The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks
- 3x11 – Protect The Coven
- Everytime I watch this show, I end up thinking to myself “Why do I watch this?” I hate Ryan Murphy’s style of throwing shit at the wall and hoping for the best. I hate seeing characters doing ridiculous things because the plot dictates it. In addition, I find it difficult to like main characters that do not have redeeming aspects. So, what happened in these two episodes that I hated? Well, I hate Madison, and spend most of my time wishing she’d never been resurrected. But now, she’s killed off Misty, who was one of the few redeeming characters, so I just want Madison gone, just gone. Everytime she walks on the screen, I inwardly groan. Nan, played by Jamie Brewer, is one of the best characters…so of course she gets killed off, in an insulting manner. At least Nan had already killed off my second least favorite character, the shitty over-the-top mother Joan, who also made me groan EVERY TIME she appears on screen. And Kathy Bates feels so wasted as Delphine, her character changes every episode, and now she’s racist again, and torturing black people, and the supposed subtext of how terrible racism is, is just complete bullshit. It’s gore, for sake of gore. Oh, and Queenie is feeling bitchy too, because why not? And then Cordelia removes her eyes, to get back her Second Sight, despite the fact nearly all the people under her roof treat her like shit. It’s just ridiculous. Ohh, and the Witch Hunters, those terrifying villains who had about 3 episodes build-up? Dead, gone, or just ignored from now on. Not even surprised. Can’t see how they waste Reddick. But, I will say, I love Lance Reddick as Papa Legba, who is just awesome, everytime I see him. Oh well, just two episodes to go…yay?
- Mob City – 58 minute long Neo-Noir
- 1x01 – A Guy Walks Into A Bar
- Frank Darabont directed my favorite movie of all time, The Shawshank Redemption. I loved his pilot for The Walking Dead. And he worked on my favorite show of all time, The Shield. So with those elements, I became open to seeing this show. Plus, I thought Jon Bernthal was great as Shane in The Walking Dead, their best villain yet. So, I looked forward to trying it out. I was a little disappointed to see this episode try a little too hard to convince the audience that Joe Teague was an anti-hero, especially with the killing of Shaun Pegg’s character, who had potential. The character who most caught my eye, was Robert Knepper, who is just awesome as Sid Rothman, who can feel the insanity washing off him, definitely my favorite so far. I look forward to the next episode.
- Banshee – 50 minute long Drama
- 1x06 – Wicks
- I really liked this episode, mostly because of the fantastic flashback to Hood’s time in prison. The Albino was an awesome villain, a distinct look mixed with a surprisingly well-spoken style. I’m actually mildly gutted he got killed off, as he would have been a great recurring villain, but oh well. The present day material had a more philosophical edge to it: what you do after you leave prison. Hood was extremely lucky by being in the right place at the wrong time. Wicks, not so lucky, and his destructive behaviour and lack of realisation at how little ground he had to stood on, left him dead in a river. Any question on whether Sheriff Hood was a bad man, got answered.
- 4. Blue Bloods – 42 minute long Police Procedural
- 4x06 – Growing Boys
- This was an episode about exes. In Danny’s case, an ex-girlfriend, in Jamie’s, ex-gang members. Danny’s ex-girlfriend happened to be played by Charisma Carpenter, formerly of both Buffy and Angel, two of my favorite television shows ever. She looked slightly unrecognisable, which was impressive. I ostly enjoyed seeing both Linda and Maria given bigger roles in this episode, Linda giving Danny’s ex Marianne a bollocking, and Maria collaring the criminal. It was also a refreshing change to see Danny’s less impressive past. Jamie has become one of my favorite characters, the one member of the main Reagan family who is less black and white, and more accepting of the grey in life. His interaction with Tomas could have been a frustrating attempt to make Jamie feel more guilt, but the execution was better than expected, and suggested more far-reaching implications for future episodes.
- Mob City – 58 minute long Neo-Noir
- 1x02 – Reasons To Kill A Man
- Wow, Jasmine and Joe were married! I admit, that I didn’t expect. But, I am worried to see how they attempt to work in their shared history without feeling like bullshit. However, I can see the writers laying down sticks for the next few episodes. We meet Siegel and Malone, the gangsters, we see Sid in action, and we see Jasmine’s actions in the train station possibly setting up for future episodes. Again, the most impressive character is Robert Knepper’s Sid, who has ice for blood and is a wildcard.
- Criminal Minds – 42 minute long Police Procedural
- 9x04 – To Bear Witness
- This could have been an episode where we would be distracted by the inclusion of new Section Chief, Mateo Cruz. Esai Morales was a good inclusion, he conveyed a sense of power, without feeling overwhelming or superfluous. In fact, I liked the fact that he was allowed in so quickly, without taking over the investigation. Of course, I’m also fascinated about what his and JJ’s secret case is. However, despite all this new interests, there was also a really great Unsub-of-the-week. The main victim had been lobotomized, which meant he couldn’t speak and was forced to communicate by blinking. The visual style to display this was both clever and fun to watch, I was really impressed.
- American Horror Story: Coven – 48 minute long Anthology Horror
- 3x12 – Go To Hell
- The first scene with Queenie and Madison shows both of them acting like bitches, giving me an instant reminder of why I hate these people. Marie Laveau has disappeared to hell, unceremoniously killed off, whilst joined by the flip-flopping Madame LaLaurie, who was finally killed off. However, Fiona was killed off, technically off-screen, by the Axeman, who was then the unfortunate recipient of a cringe-worthy ‘female empowerment’ scene where he was chopped and stabbed to death by the Coven. I kind of just want to watch the last episode, so I can wash my hands of this crap.
- 8. Castle – 42 minute long Comedy Police Procedural
- 6x03 – Need To Know
- Oh, right, okay. That was a little…disappointing, at the end. Beckett has already been fired, and now her entire storyline basec in DC, is over. Thankfully, the preceding 40-odd minutes were a good episode. The story of the week, with an interesting homage to Saved By The Bell, created tension between Castle, Beckett, Ryan and Esposito, which was interesting to see. Overall, I mostly liked the episode, but was a little gutted at the decision for the ending.
- 9. Blue Bloods – 42 minute long Police Procedural
- 4x07 – Drawing Dead
- A good episode that focused on two guest characters, one a former police officer who became a bookie, and the other a current officer who shoots a kid with history of gun charges. The former police officer and his former friendship with Danny made him a melancholic figure, one who is given an opportunity to make up for his past mistakes, and lost his life. The current officer, meanwhile, may have been cleared of wrongdoing, but he can never get past the fact he has blood on his hands. I was also happy to see Henry actually make an important appearance, he’s been sidelined for a while, and this episode gave him an opportunity to come to the forefront, as well as look at his and Danny’s closeness.
- Banshee – 50 minute long Drama
- 1x07 – Behold A Pale Rider
- Wow, this suddenly went up a level halfway through. The hostage situation was a huge surprise, and suddenly completely overshadowed the attempt by Ana to drug Hood and give him away to Rabbit. The fact that Hood, when he finally escapes and arrives, easily dispatches the two gunmen, just continues his awesome streak. And yet, one of my favorite scenes was dedicated to the villainous Proctor, and a very human scene between him and his estranged father. This was a surprising moment, one that gives extra humanity to the supposed villain. Really looking forward to the next few episodes, especially as Rabbit’s henchman, Olek, has appeared in Banshee.
- 11. Castle – 42 minute long Comedy Police Procedural
- 6x04 – Number One Fan
- Well, status quo has now been resumed. And I guess I can’t complain, really, because the status quo is fun. Luckily enough, the plotline here was distracting enough for me to enjoy, although I was surprised that the hostage who caused Castle to get shot wasn’t punished. The ending was heartwarming, and nicely wrapped up the story. Can’t complain, run of the mill, interested to see where we go from here now.
TV Viewing In January - Part 3
- Sherlock – 90 minute long Crime Drama
- 3x03 – The Last Vow
- I’d already had the feeling that the last two episodes, dedicated to happy, cheerful stories, would mean a very upsetting finale. Turns out, it was also an episode of major twists: Sherlock had been caught in a drugs den whilst attempting to grab the interest of famed blackmailer Charles Augustus Magnusson, whilst also faking a relationship with a bridesmaid from the Watson’s wedding. John’s wife Mary was a former CIA agent who was blackmailed by Magnusson; Mary shot Sherlock during the attempted assassination of Magnusson. Sherlock kiss Magnusson, and could possibly be sent away from London, except for the sudden return of Moriarty. I don’t think I even got all of the twists! I loved this episode, mainly because whilst it was a huge episode, it hinged on the main relationship scenes, especially one dedicated to John and Mary’s argument over her past. The inclusion of Moriarty in the ending was a big shocker, mainly because he’d blown the back of his head off. I’m nervous at seeing how they explain his return. Magnusson, meanwhile, I thought was a creepy, unnerving villain, whose face-flicking and licking of others frustrates the audience at him. Mikkelson was very good in those role, offering a contrast to Sherlock, and yet just enough similarities to make it dangerous. Great episode, but just the third in a series of great episodes.
- Criminal Minds – 42 minute long Police Procedural
- 9x02 – The Inspiration (part 2)
- This was a great follow-up to the season premiere. Fred Koehler actually surprised me with how convincing he was as two individual characters, utilising body language and wardrobe to make a distinction between characters. I used to watch Oz, which he appeared in, and I wasn’t that impressed by him, whereas here he was fantastic. The BAU team are still good, the sub-plot of whether Hotch will become Section Chief offering good character work. Overall, fine episode, happy with it.
- 3. Blue Bloods – 42 minute long Police Procedural
- 4x05 – Lost and Found
- Really good episode on the return of this show. First of all, the kidnapping storyline has a good introduction, creating enough questions to entice the audience, and then involving Erin, Nicki, Danny and Maria in the plot. I gathered quite quickly that it was probably a kidnapping that had to be kept quiet, but I do slightly wish that the villain hadn’t been hit by a truck, instead I’d like to have seen Danny have to make a decision on whether to shoot him or not. Jamie and Eddie’s storyline was great because it continues the theme of Jamie questioning himself and his vocation, as well as offering a sold standalone story for Jamie to enjoy. The ending was Law and Order-esque in terms of harshness, but then led to the third storyline, Frank’s dealings with a police chaplain who is questioning his faith. The fall-out from 9/11 continues to be examined. But my favorite part was Jamie’s reaction to the suicide of the hostage taker.
- 4. Boardwalk Empire – 58 minute long Period Crime Drama
- 4x06 – The North Star
- I always find this show one of the most difficult to discuss, as episodes can easily be dedicated solely to mood with minimal plot development. This episode was a little different, as Nucky and Eli both deal with the emotional repercussion of Eddie’s suicide, Nucky by distraction, Eli by finding answers. Nucky’s was interesting as it involved him working with Lansky and Luciano, whilst Eli became involved with Agent Knox. Knox seemingly got away with it, before a familiar hankey gave Knox away. I’m interested to see how Eli’s own story arc develops here.
- 5. Castle – 42 minute long Comedy Police Procedural
- 6x01 – Valkyrie
- 6x02 – Dreamworld
- I’ve cheated slightly and combined these two due to being two-parters. I was happy to see the opening scene dedicated to Castle’s proposal, avoiding any long-term vagueness just to create false tension. Becket agreeing and them two becoming fiances’ was great to see. I’m a little gutted it skipped several months, avoiding the audience getting to see the reactions of loved ones. But, I’ll make do. This two-partner was good in terms up setting up the new standard, Beckett with a new partner, Esposito and Ryan back home, and Castle floating inbetween. The relationship between Castle and Beckett is different now, there’s a closeness that sells the fact they’ll be getting married. The plot for the two-partner, involving Iraq, marines, a virus and revenge, has enough twists to keep me involved, especially once Castle became poisoned, making the story more personal. However, I was happiest at the fact that they didn’t status quo the whole thing, having Beckett return to the precinct within the two parter. I want to see where they can go from here.
- Criminal Minds – 42 minute long Police Procedural
- 9x03 – Final Shot
- Fascinating episode seemingly inspired by the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, that reveals itself to be a spotlight on the protection of fleeing wives. The sub-plot of the main victim being protected by a cleaner, only for the cleaner to be revealed to be a Sharpshooter fantasising about a woman he’s about to kill, was awesome, and actually surprised me. Good, solid episode as always.
TV Viewing In January - Part 2
- Battlestar Galactica – 44 minute long Military Science Fiction Drama
- 4x13 – The Oath
- And so it happens. Gaeta and Zarek set into motion a Mutiny, causing both Adama’s, Tigh, Roslin, Baltar and Tyrol have to work together to get to safety. I love the fact that why Gaeta and Zarek are in the wrong, they aren’t villains. They have fair points about the Cylon-Human Alliance, they’re just going the wrong way about it. Gaeta, especially, I find heartbreaking, as he’s gone from one of the most loyal to one of the most jaded, desperate. I disagree with his actions, but I understand his reasoning. Moreover, that is fantastic writing.
- 4x14 – Blood On The Scales
- And the Mutiny goes wrong, in an episode that allows Gaeta to show every emotion. Another strong episode, with a surprise reappearance by Romo, played by Mark Sheppard. Whilst I am a little gutted to see Gaeta and Zarek killed off, I think they went out with the best ending possible, and leaves the fleet in a position where they must be wondering “Whatever next?”
- Nikita – 43 minute long Spy Thriller Drama
- 2x01 – Game Change
- Man, I love this show. It reminds me slightly of Chuck, with every season unveiling a higher, more dangerous covert organisation. Whereas Fulcrum was a product of The Ring, Division is a product of Oversight, the new big bad. And, the evil favorite, Amanda, is relishing control, with Alex working for her and Percy hidden down below in a prison. The fight between Nikita and Alex was dirty, personal, and impactful, a demonstration of how good Alex has gotten, and how much better Nikita is. I’m interested to see Alex’s relationship with Nikita and Division over the rest of the season.
- 2x02 – Falling Ash
- So, Owen returns, and he’s working for Gogol. A good supporting character undertaking a mission that requires betraying himself to an evil corporation, is an interesting twist. Interested to see where it goes from here. Ohh, and Birkhoff is now on Team Nikita, awesome!
- 2x03 – Knightfall
- An interesting twist on an international assassin, as he’s been shackled down, made a paraplegic, and forced to be the face of several assassinations. An interesting villain-of-the-week as at the same time, Alex attempts to take revenge on a Russain who portrayed her father. Alex going rogue isn’t that surprising, but it takes her more fascinating as she’s a wild card, capable of anything.
- 2x04 – Partners
- The title can have several meanings here. There’s Nikita’s old partner, Kelly. There’s Alex and Roan, newfound partners forced together. And there is the unveiling of Kelly partnering with Gogol. Gogol has appeared twice now, so their roles are gradually increasing from last year, suggesting there may be several upcoming storylines with them. I look forwad to seeing more of Ari, good villain.
- 2x05 – Looking Glass
- Shane West does a good job as Michael, but his history is a bit more vague than Nikita and Alex, so I liked this look back at a job he had to undertake that also calls back to Nikita’s difficult with sex-based assignments. I’m interested to see what happens in the future with Michael’s son Max, maybe it’ll be left open, or it will come back to have an impact.
- Fringe – 43 minute Science Fiction
- 3x07 – The Abducted
- The idea to have episodes alternate between a prime and a parallel universe is an idea that is quite frankly, genius. It allows the creators to help build both universes, offering two interpretations of a character, with the audience getting to feel something for both versions. This way, whilst we want Olivia to be saved and come home, we can accept Fauxlivia as something more than just ‘the enemy’. Here, we spend time getting to know Colonel Broyles, an opportunity for Lance Reddick to stretch himself, showing his human side with his family. The ending is awesome, a shocking moment for Peter as he discovers he’s been sleeping with the Fauxlivia.
- 3x08 – Entrada
- And so the first arc of the season has ended. Olivia and Fauxlivia have swapped placed back to their original homes, as Peter and the team deal with the shock of realising that they’d been working alongside the enemy. The actions of Captain Broyles was a warm moment, ending in a cold, dark death that will probably impact the rest of the season for Broyles. Can’t wait to see what happens now.
- 3x09 – Marionette
- Ouch. This is what happens next. Anna Torv demonstrates one of her best performances as she deals with the aftermath of her return. Nobody knew about the swap, Peter had slept with Fauxlivia and not even realised, and Olivia is broken hearted because of this. “How can you not realise?”
- 3x10 – The Firefly
- A beautiful rendition of the repercussions of Walter’s theft of Peter back in 1985. Christopher Lloyd and John Noble make a wonderful couple as they attempt to recover Lloyd’s memories after meeting his dead son. The inclusion of The Observers also impacts upon the mythology, making them even more mysterious and vague, their willingness to seemingly manipulate our heroes for good or bad means I’m fascinated to know more.
- 3x11 – Reciprocity
- Peter is getting dark and vicious in his fight to find out the truth. Him revealed as the killer of several shapeshifters is a good shock, but makes sense in the contect of the situation. Knowing he could be the weapon needed to destroy a universe, of course he would feel desperate. However, how long he keeps it hidden may be frustrating to watch.
- 3x12 – Concentrate and Ask Again
- The introduction of a telepathic character, I feel, is a great idea. I’m always interested in characters who read minds as I’d always wondered what it would be like. The portrayal here is a bit darker to the usual style, forcing Simon to live in a secluded location so as to prevent the pain of hearing everyone. His connection with Olivia, because he can’t hear her thoughts, was like Twilight but good.
- Battlestar Galactica – 44 minute long Military Science Fiction Drama
- 4x15 – No Exit
- A lot of info-dumb about the history of the Famous Five, and what led to now. An important but slightly dragging episode.
- 4x16 – Deadlock
- Argue, argue, argue. This episode was another drag, mainly devoted to arguments and bitchiness between characters. Whether it was watching Ellen/Saul/Caprica, or Gauis/Paula, it was just frustrating and annoying. The main thing we learned was that Caprica lost her baby, which was dark, but made sense.
- 4x17 – Someone To Watch Over Me
- This was much more like it. I loved the detail of Starbuck’s enjoyment of music, sitting alongside the piano player. This was probably the last true episode that could be dedicated to Starbuck, and it allowed Sackoff to demonstrate why she was such an important part of the series. I also enjoyed the Boomer storyline, slightly dark and cruel as can be, as Boomer has sex with Helo whilst his actual wife, Athena, is locked in a cupboard. The desperate tactics of Boomer is surprising, but leaves an interesting stance on her character, I can’t wait to see what happens.
- 4x18 – Islanded In A Stream Of Stars
- This was actually a slightly beautiful episode, a melancholic goodbye to the actual ship, Battlestar Galactica. As Adama batles against having to include Cylons for fixing the ship, his stubbornness mirrors his fear of admitting defeat that the ship is dying. Whilst this occurs, we witness Helo and Athena struggling with the loss of their daughter. It feels like the last episode was supposed to portray the loss in your past, and this episode was about saying goodbye in the present. The two-part finale, will discuss the future.
TV Viewing in January - Part 1
- Vicious – 22 minute long Sitcom
- 1x07 – Christmas Special
- Vicious is not a brilliant sitcom, I know that as I watch it. And yet, I often find myself enjoying it, most likely on a meta-personal level. Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Ian Jacobi are two fantastic, world-class actors who fifty years ago would have had to hide their sexuality for fear of persecution. And yet, today, they can star on national television, playing a gay couple. Their banter, whilst not the strongest part of the episodes, are given life by these actors, who know how to make bad dialogue sound fantastic. The storyline is very simplistic, Ash wants to cook Christmas dinner, and the others entertain themselves with ‘Truth Or Dare’. However, for a Christmas episode, it does the job, offering a happy ending and sending the audience home in a good mood. Nothing brilliant, but I liked it.
- Sherlock – 90 minute long Crime Drama
- 3x01 – The Empty Hearse
- I love this series. I remember sitting down to watch the first episode with my housemate Lauren, both of us being tempted on the spur of the moment. Within twenty minutes, we were both loving, and watching that episode together is one of my favorite moments of University. I also recall watching both season finales with my housemates, The Reichenbach Fall leaving me particularly emotional afterwards. After a long wait over the years, the episode tonight was like a breath of fresh air, a cheeky and fun rendition that brought back to the fans the loving chemistry between Freeman and Cumberbatch. The actual answer for how Sherlock faked his death, for me, is the right level of clever and outlandish for me to accept, and I am also fascinated to see how Lars Mikkelson portrays the season finale. A welcome return to Sherlock that leaves me overenjoyed in excitement for the next episode, but also a little sad to not be sharing it with my housemates like previous seasons.
- Banshee – 50 minute long Drama
- 1x02 – The Rave
- The Pilot of this show was one that surprised me. The premise of the series, an ex-con takes on the identity of a town’s new Sheriff so he can stay hidden from his former boss, seemed outlandish, and yet was done in a way that I found plausible enough to not mind. This episode, I was left uncertain of. Whilst I expect the main character to struggle with a new role, his actions are too ridiculous to take. He beats up several handcuffed criminals, he tries making out with an ex during an open house with several people around, he walks up to someone brandishing a loaded gun and dares them to shoot him; it just goes too far beyond plausibility. The episode wasn’t fantastic, but I am willing to allow the next few episodes to try convincing me.
- 1x03 – Meet The New Boss
- Okay, this was a bit better. Several scenes devoted to discussions between family members help to begin building up each character as multi-dimensioned, a good example of world building, ala the villain Proctor having a humanising moment, or a twist to reveal why Mr Rabbit, the crime lord, is so determined to find the protagonist. This also leads into a slightly ridiculous, over-the-top, but fantastically violent fight between Sheriff Lucas Hood, and a UFC fighter who rapes & assaults a waitress. After three episodes, it shows that this show will be more along the lines of over-the-top, fun Strike Back, which means I will allow myself to be more understanding of some seemingly ridiculous writing choices, i.e. a public beat down by a Sheriff. Ohh, and lines such as “You need to go somewhere I can’t see you, and stay there”, help me enjoy the series, too.
- Only Fools and Horses – 30 minute sitcom
- 1x01 – Big Brother
- I’ve always enjoyed this series, it has an inherent Britishness to it that has realistic comedy that has tinges of emotion to it as well. It’s the sort of comedy I hold up as my preference, where the humour is based on the characters and their interplay. A lot of the best moments are comedic dialogue between the two brothers, based in their apartment. However, despite this, I’ve never watched the first season, and decided to make the effort to watch it. This episode is a solid pilot, it introduces us to the main characters, gives background information about their parents and how they’ve only relied on each other, and it also gave us our first business mishap. The choice of 25 rejected suitcase is ridiculous enough to set our expectations for future episodes, which was a good choice.
- 1x02 – Go West Young Man
- Whereas the first episode focused on their business mishaps, this episode focuses on the mishaps with women, the brothers’ attempts to pull some birds. With an accidental introduction to a gay club, and the sale of dodgy car, the episode shows us an example of future episodes, how the A-Plots and B-Plots will tie together later in the episode.
- 1x03 – Cash and Curry
- This episode seemed more focused on setting up the brothers as the supposed plotting con-men, only for the Trotters to end up swindled, a twist that would probably be a set-up for future episodes, showing how fallible the brothers are. Very much an episode of the times, it wasn’t as bad as I was worried it would be.
- 1x04 – The Second Time Around
- This is probably my favorite episode so far, as it focuses on the relationship between the three Trotters, the lengths to which they’ll go to protect one another. While it is slightly ridiculous, it’s also fun and heartwarming to see how much they love each other.
- 1x05 – A Slow Bus To Chingford
- This episode was slightly different to what was expected, a slightly quieter episode that allowed David Jason to reveal the motivations and dreams of Del Boy. By doing so, it helped build the required sympathy from the audience to follow him in later episodes.
- 1x06 – The Russians Are Coming
- Again, building on the previous episode, this is a more somber and quieter episodes, allowing Grandad to be humanised more than previously, and focused solely on the interactions between the three main actors. This feels like the precursor to similar standards of episodes, based in the later seasons, where Rodney and Del Boy experience personal trauma and sadness. By showing the ability of the actors to portray angst, but also having a strong mix of comedy, it shows the standard to which John Sullivan could reach.
- Criminal Minds – 42 minute long Police Procedural
- 9x01 – The Inspiration (part I)
- I’ve been a long time fan of this show, for me, it’s a solid, dependable show that has interesting characters and great villains. This episode continues that run with a fascinating antagonist, an UNSUB who is inspired by the praying mantis. The praying mantis kind of freaks me out, anyway, so this made this episode a little more unnerving than usual. I’m glad to see the continued chemistry between the team, and have to admit, I can’t for the next episode after a fantastic cliffhanger.
- Banshee – 50 minute long Drama.
- 1x04 – Half Deaf Is Better Than All Dead
- Okay, I don’t know what it was, but I really enjoyed this one. The fact that Proctor got arrested was slightly surprising, as it showed a huge step forward. The aftermath, though, with the introduction of a White Supremacist group, leaves me feeling there’s a lot of potential to this town, and that anything can happen.
- 1x05 – The Kindred
- Probably my favorite episode so far, the battle against the motorcycle gang, and the spotlight upon Deputy Siobhan was interesting, so far she’s the least shown characters and yet one I find fascinating. The fact that Proctor and Hood ended up working together against the Motorcycle gang was unsurprising, but a good way of adding a gray area to the show.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand – 53 minute long Historical Drama
- 1x13 – Kill Them All
- I love this series, I can’t help it, it’s like the drama of Game Of Thrones with the style, tone and presentation of 300. I originally watched the prequel series, Gods Of The Arena, by pure chance, wanting to see what the show was like, and found myself enjoying it greatly. Because of that, I tried Blood and Sand, which started off a little rough, but every episode, got a bit better, then a lot better, eventually culminating in this episode, the season finale. This episode, is fucking awesome, and so satisfying to watch. Starting in media res, the fight scene between Crixus and Spartacus gains new meaning after every flashback, ending with the audience fascinated to see what Crixus, Spartacus, Batiatus, Oenomaus, Ashur, etc, will do. And then the screen runs with blood. This show proves that it holds nothing back, completely decimating the Roman cast, every slave gaining some form of revenge. This is an awesome stand alone season, but one that leads into stronger thematical seasons over the next two years. And also, Andy Whitfield, in his final appearance, deserves recognition, for carrying this series through some difficult episodes, to the strong finale it ends on.
- Mad Men – 47 minute long Period Drama
- 5x08 – Lady Lazarus
- This was a fascinating look at two of the male characters, Don and Pete, and how they relate to a female. Don, the alpha male, who helped Megan gain a prominent position in the Agency, has to deal with the fact that Megan is unhappy, wanting to return to acting. He puts on a brave face, wanting to be the supportive husband, but deep down, he feels confused, the idea that she knows exactly what she wants, whereas he doesn’t. Pete, likewise, has everything he wanted (good job, money, wife, kids, home) and yet is tempted by another woman because he feels there is emptiness to his life. The fact that neither of them can put their finger on why they are unhappy, makes it more fascinating.
- 5x09 – Dark Shadows
- I’m sorry, but I cannot stand January Jones as an actress. I know Betty is supposed to be childish and/or mentally traumatised, but she drags down every scene she appears in. I know they can’t just get rid of her, as she’s still the mother of Sally, who has become one of the most interesting characters on this show, but the difference between these two female Drapers in terms of acting is massive. I’m just thankful we had time with Roger, and his ex-wife, Jane. Roger is a great supporting actor who can hit the emotional drama just as well as the one-liners. In fact, I’m enjoying his dramatic scenes much more, because he’s so strong at them. His storyline and the inclusion of Michael Ginsberg’s argument with Don, are the saving graces of a Betty-set episode.
- Sherlock – 90 minute long Crime Drama
- 3x02 – The Sign Of Three
- I can understand if some people don’t enjoy this episode, they feel there is less attention dedicated to the crimes in this season, but I personally loved it. This new season seems to be very concentrated on the reunion of the main characters, and the emotions of the two. This was epitomized within Sherlock’s Best Man Speech. Slightly rambling, encompassing several crimes, several stories, it also included one of the most cringeworthy speeches I’d ever heard, before changing on a dime, and making the internet cry. His confessions about his love for John, choked me up, and was one of my favorite moments in the show. I’m also a huge fan of Mary, I love the fact that her and Sherlock get along so well, it probably helps the audience to accept her. Not only that, but she’s intelligent, loving and funny. In essence…no wonder John loves her! I do feel that the reason we’re having such emotionally happy scenes, is because the third episode is going to be heartbreaking.
The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy
On the 21st December, I finally got to watch the final film in the trilogy, “The World’s End”. Before I did, I had already had several friends lambast it as the worst in the series. For me, I found the film full of subtle humour that was tinged with emotion, particularly sadness and lamentation. Whilst I admit it may be the least laugh-out-loud of the series, I also feel it is the perfect end to the trilogy, and reinforces a slight arc I’ve noticed in the movies: life. Let me explaon.
The first, “Shaun of the Dead”, released in 2004, is the equivalent of a slacker, teenage movie. The main characters, Shaun and Ed, act immature and stuck in the guises they acquired in college. By refusing to accept maturity, Shaun loses Liz, and his journey to save her is also a metaphorical journey for him to grow up. Also, the use of zombies, represents the teenage years, these supposedly dangerous and brainless creatures who consume the world around them without thought or care. This is emphasised within the ‘morning after’ scene, when Shaun goes to the shops, oblivious to the Dead. His acceptance of them at face value shows a common lack of care by people to those in the world around them. Shaun is a juvenile teenager, and as such, must defeat the physical examples of such horrors, to become a responsible adult.
In “Hot Fuzz”, my personal favourite, Shaun and Ed have become Nick and Danny, two responsible adults looking for their place in the world. They both know what they want to be, police officers, but to do so requires a commitment and determination not truly achieved until the third act, when they become a team. Before that, responsibility and position of power is represented by the older generation, those who manipulate Nick and Danny from achieving their true potential, and again, it is in defeating the older generation, that they become true police officers. They’ve become true, responsible adults who are capable of standing on their own two feet.
And finally, we come to “The World’s End”. By now, Nick and Danny have morphed into Gary and Andy, two men who have lived their lives, and found themselves wanting more, either a more complete, family-based happiness, or a nostalgic return to simpler times. These adults become consumed by their pasts, unable to truly look forward, desperate to become the people they’ve always wanted to be. So, in this movie, they face aliens, but metaphorically, they face their pasts, as personified by the blanks. It is only by facing the blanks, or their pasts, head on, that they finally reach a level of contentment.
Over the three movies, Pegg and Frost morph from irresponsible teenagers, to young adults looking for their place in the world, and finally into middle-aged men looking for contentment. As audiences grew over 10 years, so did the characters that anchor the movies. And of course, why wouldn’t life make sense as the true arc of the movie? In each film, it is the fight for life that drives the story, whether against zombies, cloak and dagger villains, or aliens.
“Agent Carter of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Firstly, one of the most likely shows: a TV series revolving around Hayley Atwell’s character, Peggy Carter, has already been suggested as a strong favorite. Peggy Carter was originally introduced in “Captain America: The First Avenger” as the love interest for Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers, but Atwell took a possible stock character and enthused humor, intelligence, classical beauty, and the ability to kick ass. Following this up with a Marvel One-Shot, that was similarly popular, Atwell has admitted to being interested.
In her Marvel One-Shot, set one year after the events of “Captain America: The First Avenger”, Peggy ends up joining Howard Stark, as played by Dominic Cooper, to run S.H.I.E.L.D. together. Also appearing in the One-Shot, is Dum Dum Dugan, as played by Neal McDonogh. With the set-up of Carter joining S.H.I.E.L.D., it would be easy to build upon that over the series.
“Agent Carter of S.H.I.E.L.D.” could star Agent Carter working alongside Howard Stark and Dum-Dum Dugan, possibly searching for Steve Rogers’ body, as well as attempting to find the remaining Hydra agents, following the end of World War II, possibly even battling Arnim Zola, as played by Toby Jones. Possible other characters who could appear, would be a young Nick Fury, and even Alexander Pierce, Robert Redford’s character in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. I would also personally quite like the inclusion of Carter running her own team of The Howling Commandos, Captain America’s former combat unit, thereby also allowing to reflect the memory of characters such as Bucky Barnes. A spy team consisting of Peggy Carter, Dum Dum Dugan, African-American Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Japanese-American Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), British parachutist James Montgomery Falsworth (J.J. Felid) and Frenchman Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci), under orders from Howard Stark, could also help invest new characterisation in the underwritten roles of the original movie.
The style of the series could be inspired by “Nikita”, a current popular Spy Thriller that focues on a kick-ass, feminine female lead, who works alongside a team, and could even include Craig Silverstein as the showrunner, creator of the soon-to-be-ending “Nikita”. The series would interest fans of not only “Nikita”, but shows such as “Mad Men”, due to its periodic choice.
Possible Cast: Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), James Montgomery Falsworth (J.J. Felid), Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci), Nick Fury, Alexander Peirce, Arnim Zola (Toby Jones).
With eight episodes dedicated to a possible mini-series, it may be the closest that the audiences will have to a Hulk movie starring Mark Ruffalo for quite a while, and may be the only time we can immerse ourselves with several favorite characters. With eight episodes to work, they could go with the “Luther” method, having multiple episodes covering one story, two stories over four episodes with “Luther”, a possible two-four stories over eight episodes with “Hulk” (my own preference being two stories).
With Bruce Banner now having been granted freedom by S.H.I.E.L.D., it would be fascinating to see the return of Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) as Bruce and Betty attempt to rekindle their relationship. There would be obvious problems with the opposition of General Thunderbolt Ross, as played by William Hurt, but it would also offer an opportunity to build a friendship between Banner and Leonard Samson (Ty Burrell), who in the comics attempted to help Banner cure himself of his alter ego. A major complication could occur with the escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. by Dr Samuel Sterns, aka The Leader (Tim Blake Nelson), who could even help Abomination escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. as well.
Recent rumors have also surfaced about there being interest in casting Jennifer Walters, Banner’s cousin, otherwise known as She-Hulk. Angie Harmon, in particular, revealed last year that she would love to play the character (http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/07/31/angie-harmon-dream-role-playing-sexed-up-hulk/). When examining the relationship between Banner and Ross, you could also include Banner’s relationship with his family, Walters possibly using her lawyers degree to help Banner get reinstated into a work role. This could lead to a double-bill finale where Walters is shot by The Leader, and whilst under capture, Banner has no choice but to give Jennifer a blood transfusion to save her, which would lead to her developing into the She-Hulk.
Whilst the CGI effects of characters such as Hulk, Abomination and The Leader would not be cheap, the smaller episode order, as well as the option of featuring all of them in their human forms on a regular basis, means the show would be financially possible. The series could also help lead into a possible Hulk movie during Phase Three, building on the goodwill earned in “The Avengers”.
The style of the show could be similar to the original TV show, a melancholic depiction of a man dealing with his demons. Due to Ruffalo depicting a Banner who has gained control of his transformations, he could display a reluctant hero uncertain whether he wants to try helping those less fortunate, or remove himself from society. The depiction could even be similar to Richard Harrow in “Boardwalk Empire”, a man capable of great talent who is ostracized by society because of his ugliness, in Harrow being literal scars, in Banner being his alter ego.
Guillermo del Toro has admitted to being interested for several years in a Hulk show, so if Marvel could get him involved, it could be akin to Whedon in charge of “The Avengers”…pure magic.
Possible Cast: Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Jennifer Walters (Angie Harmon), Leonard Samson (Ty Burrell), Dr Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), Abomination (Tim Roth).
Whilst there is no question that it would be awesome to see characters such as Tony Stark, Captain America, Thor or Loki, on television on a regular basis, they, as well as the other Avengers, would be extremely unlikely, due to all the actors being solid A-list stars nowadays, as well being signed up to movie deals with Marvel. Therefore, we will not see any spin-offs of these characters.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is one of the more unknown choices by Kevin Feige as a film choice, due to its strange setting and unconventional characters. Also, the cost of characters such as Rocket Raccoon or Groot would be too expensive for 13 episodes. So, unfortunately, they are just as unlikely an option.
Phase Three has only announced one upcoming film so far, which is “Ant-Man”, a heist movie as written and directed by Edgar Wright. Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones are both supposedly close to being signed up as the main characters, so it would be unlikely for them to appear in a television show. So, no Ant-Man or Wasp.
“Dr Strange” is supposedly all but confirmed (http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/10/23/doctor-strange-to-bring-the-supernatural-to-marvels-movie-universe) by Kevin Feige, supposedly being in ‘active development’. I originally was going to include Dr Strange as a possible 13 part TV series in the style of the popular shows “Doctor Who” and “Supernatural”, two series that utilize similar elements to the movie, but with this recent accounement, it’s safe to say it is very unlikely.
And finally, it is extremely unlikely that there will be any show related to S.H.I.E.L.D. in its current iteration, seeing as “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” already exists in that genre. So, finally, this option is out of the window.
Other shows that are seemingly unlikely, due to their likely nature of being movies in the upcoming Phase Three, we probably won’t see anything related to Black Panther, or The Inhumans.
Now, having pinpointed what shows are unlikely, let us move onto shows that would be more likely…
Marvel’s TV Package…
In the last two weeks, reports have begun to appear on websites such as Deadline (http://www.deadline.com/2013/10/marvel-preps-60-episode-package-of-four-series-a-mini-for-vod-cable-networks/) and IGN (http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/10/15/marvel-planning-massive-tv-expansion-that-includes-four-tv-shows-and-a-miniseries), among others. In these reports, they suggest that Marvel Studios is attempting to create a package to shop to VOD (Video-On-Demand) and Cable Outlets, examples being Netflix and Amazon. This package contains four live-action drama series, and a miniseries, all to be sold collectively, for a possible 60 episodes.
With “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” having been given a back 9 episode order, bringing the count up to 22 episodes for the first season, the highest-rated drama debut in just under four years, and solid numbers combined from ratings and DVR gains. With strong numbers after just five episodes, it is unsurprising to see Marvel Studios wanting to capitalise on the current popularity.
One of Marvel’s strengths over Phase One and Phase Two, so far, has been the choice of making sure every film have its own individual thriller. In Phase Two alone, “Iron Man 3” has the feel of a buddy cop movie with Tont Stark and James Rhodes, as written by Shane Black; “Thor: The Dark World” has a fantastical element mixed with war elements’ and finally, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is inspired by 1970’s spy thrillers/conspiracies. Because of this, the proposed TV series’ will likely inhabit different genres to one another.
Now, the choice of 60 episodes would seem a random number at first, until you realise that the current preference for many live-action dramas in the last five-ten years, is to have 13 episodes per season (“Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad”, “Being Human”, “The Shield”, “Spartacus”, etc). If the four live-action dramas all contain 13 episodes, that is a combined 52 episodes, leaving 8 episodes for a possible miniseries.
Now, at the moment, there is no talent attached, and no shows announced, just purely feelers having been sent out, I thought it would be interesting to write some posts on possible shows for this package, as well as shows that would be unlikely. So, over the next few days, there will be several posts dedicated to show options. First, what won’t be likely?
Title: The Imposter
Director: Bart Layton, in his feature film debut.
Writer (Editor): Andrew Hulme.
Genre: British-American Documentary Film (similar films would be “An Inconvenient Truth”, or Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”).
Seen Before, When, Who With: Never seen before, was recorded off Channel 4 on 33nd August 2013, viewed on 19th October 2013.
Starring: Frédéric Bourdin, Carey Gibson, Beverly Dollarhide for the documentary interviews, Adam O’Brian for drama sequences.
Running Time: 99 minutes.
Thoughts: ”The Imposter” was a documentary film that seemingly erupted out of nowhere, exploding into the movie world at the 2013 Sundance Festival, taking the critics by storm. Achieving a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and grossing just under $2 million at the box office, it was an unquestionable success. As the trailers began to debut on television, and more reviews came flying in, I became even more determined to watch the movie. Obviously, it took a while to actually view it, but now I finally have.
My first thought was that there was an unexpected reminder of a 2003 docudrama I watched, entitled “Touching The Void”. “Touching The Void” was two styles meshed together, one a normal style of having the participants involved sat talking to the camera, and the other style a dramatic reenactment of what occurred. In “Touching The Void”, the reenactment was that of two mountaineers climbing up a mountain, and one of them ending up having to cut the rope of the other; In “The Imposter”, the reenactments were that of Bourdin attempting to outwit and manipulate Spanish officers, FBI agents, and members of the Barclay family. Using these reenactments helped craft a creepy, uncomfortable atmosphere that traversed the murky world we’re inhabiting during this movie. Adam O’Brian, in fact, caught my eye, as he created a wonderful body language that instantly suggested trauma and a conniving criminal.
The actual interviews themselves are contrasting and fascinating. The Barclay family come across as uncertain and desperate for closure in the early stages, before starting to seemingly close ranks as the documentary begins to turn the screws on the families failure to realize Bourdin wasn’t their son. Bourdin, on the other hand, comes across as surprisingly open and candid about his thoughts, plans, motivations, and yet, also completely unemotional at his actions; he feels neither pride, nor remorse. Bourdin purely tells the facts, and it’s an addictive watch to discover to what lengths he went. Bourdin is a larger-than-life story, that leaves you struggling to look away from him.
Layton has created a docudrama that entices mystery, horror and shock, as well as introducing a director whose use of the camera is intelligent and candid. During the dramatic reenactments, Layton demonstrated a fantastic use of patience, slow tracking, and atmosphere. This film definitely left me interested to see what Layton does next. For Bourdin and Barclay, though, I am left unnerved and bewildered at just how strange life can truly be, compared to fiction.
Returning to Tumblr?
I’ve recently found myself missing Tumblr. Not so much the panic of making sure I regularly update, which I definitely suffered from. I would, in fact, often write up to 15 (seriously) different posts and queue them up over the next week. For some reason, I HAD to blog regularly. I reckon it was because for me, it suggested a creative freedom. Blogging regularly meant I was doing what I love - writing.
But then the love subsided; Tumblr became a chore, not a pleasure. And over the last year, as I struggled with the inability to find work, and the pressure of keeping up a facade of happiness when I felt bleak and pathetic, I forced a self-imposed exile upon myself, removing Tumblr from my favorites and refusing to go back. I would focus on finding work, and finally clearing an overdraft that was threatening to envelop me.
And then in May of this year, I found work, and better yet, a month later, a regular income. Sure, the job was hard and I struggled, but I was no longer reliant on Jobseekers Allowance, I no longer felt ashamed to spend any money. And better yet, I could contribute to the household. My pride began to return, as did my fondness for life. The difference, according to two of my best mates, when they first saw me after starting to regularly work, was immense. I seemed…myself again, no longer down or miserable.
This happiness has gotten better, as this week, I finally got out of my overdraft. It has been a long haul, but I was finally secure, and happy. And it was then, that I thought back to Tumblr, my social media of choice. I no longer have the time to blog like I once did, as I devote 11 hours every day solely to work (including travel). But maybe, just maybe, I can start slowly, small little posts, and try returning to the world that suits me. The world of Game of Thrones, Sherlock, Joss Wed on, Avengers, and more. Maybe one day I shall return to publishing reviews, recommending media, and just taking pleasure out of the emotions that rise out of the viewing of films & tv shows I love.
Maybe, one day, soon…