A long time back I reviewed Smiley’s People. At the time I’d seen the previous series – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – but I’d never gotten around to reviewing it. With the show having come out on Blu-Ray and being available through Netflix on-disk, and having seen the film a while back, I figured it was about time to revisit it.(more…)
There have been varying attempts in the past to tell dramatic and mature stories with puppets. The works of Gerry Anderson are great examples of this. Well, it turns out there’s a tradition of these kind of stories in Taiwan and china, through glove puppetry. We got a real great example of this a few years ago with the Taiwanese and Japanese co-production, Thunderbolt Fantasy.(more…)
In addition to taking a look at the Legends Continuity of the Expanded Universe, I’m continuing my look at the modern continuity of the Star Wars Universe with the third season of Rebels. (more…)
Continuing with my asides from my reviews of the Star Wars Legends universe, I’ve finished watching Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels, and would like to give my thoughts. (more…)
Mushibugyo is a series that has a real issue with tonal whiplash. There are anime series that have mixed creepy elements and comedy with tremendous effect – Ghost Hunt is an anime series adapted from a light novel with some strong comedy elements, which doesn’t overlook the creepier and more horrific elements of the narrative, with a well done escalation into further horror.
Mushibugyo doesn’t do that. Mushibugyo starts off with super-colorful characters, an over-enthusiastic and incredibly dense shonen protagonist, and numerous fanservice jokes, but which also contains some surprisingly horrific elements created to the show’s primary menace. (more…)
Fate/Stay Night, as a visual novel, had a several routes the player could take through the game. The original F/SN anime adapted the Fate route, with the inclusion of some elements of the Unlimited Blade Works route, with varying degrees of success. After Ufotable’s successful adaptation of Gen Urobuchi’s novel, Fate/Zero, there was question of what it would look like if they were to adapt one of the routes of the game, and in particular the Unlimited Blade Works route in its entirety. Two years ago, we got that adaptation. (more…)
This is a bit of an aside from my read-through of the Expanded Universe. In addition to reading Truce at Bakura, I’ve also been watching Star Wars Rebels. Having just completed season 1, I wanted to give my thoughts. (more…)
This time I’m doing a meta-review, a review of a critical analysis of film – “The Story of Film: An Odyssey” written and directed by Mark Cousins. (more…)
Crime Dramas tend to be serialized, unless they’re not. Yes, that sounds incredibly silly, but it’s generally true. The majority of crime dramas, whether of the soap opera variety or the serialized drama take the Dragnet/Law & Order tack of one case per episode, and it’s wrapped up at the end. Starting in the late 90s we finally started seeing much more serialized procedurals which would stretch a case out over several episodes, to a whole season, to even multiple seasons – with the most notable example of this being Homicide: Life on the Street.
Why am I bringing thus up with a Forensic Detective series that I’ve already reviewed the first two seasons of? Well, that’s because the first two seasons stayed in the standard episodic vein. This season, however, shifts gear to our first serial storyline. Specifically, the case of the cannibal, secret-society hating serial killer the Gormogon. This review will contain some spoilers. This is your warning. (more…)
If you’re reading this, and live in the United States, you know what the Peter Gunn theme is. You’ve heard it played by your High School Band (or played it yourself), you’ve heard it while playing Spy Hunter, or in a few movies. If say you haven’t heard the Peter Gunn theme before, then you’re probably lying. However, if you said you hadn’t watched Peter Gunn, I’d probably believe you. For a TV series with one of the memorable themes in the history of television, it’s surprisingly not well known outside of the Baby Boomer generation.
My decision to watch this series comes from my appreciation of hard-boiled detective stories. I got hooked on the genre when I was a kid, through the “Tracer Bullet” persona that Calvin would occasionally take on in Calvin and Hobbes strips. Those strips would later lead me to the works of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and other works of the hard-boiled detective genre (along with works which were a pastiche of the genre, like the Max Payne video games, and like Frank Miller’s Sin City). However, while the hard boiled detective often could be found on the printed page, I couldn’t find him often, necessarily, on the screen, big or otherwise. The film adaptations and homages were there – Blade Runner, Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, Chinatown, not to mention TV series like the anime Cowboy Bebop, but considering the prolific amount of work in writing in this genre, the dearth seemed surprising. (more…)
As you may have gathered from my review of the first season, I liked the start of this. I liked the Forensic Anthropologist take on the Science Detective show. I liked the characters, and I liked the stories in the show. Now I’ve watched Season 2, and the show has slightly changed it’s focus, to a certain extent. Specifically, in this season the focus has changed from being heavily based around the murders, with the character focused side plots orbiting around it. Instead, with this season, the show has balanced itself out, like a binary star system (which is thus far the geekiest reference I’ve ever made), between the mysteries themselves and the portion of the plot based around the lives of the people working with Bones.
This is not a bad thing.
To get into the details, this season of Bones has two little side arcs to it. The first relates to the mystery surrounding Bones’ ex-bank robber father, who is still alive but missing, why he and Bones’ mother ran away from their children all those years ago. The other focuses around the blooming romance between Hodgins and Angela, which gets progressively serious over the course of the season. Both of these side plots are pretty well executed. I was a little worried about how they’d handle the arc around Bones’ father, but it worked out well. (more…)
If you’ve been following my reviews on Bureau42, you may know that I enjoy superhero comics, particularly judging by my reviews of DC: The New Frontier and similar works, as well as allusions to superhero comics in other reviews I’ve written. So, I missed Justice League when it first aired on TV. I missed it when it came out on DVD. However, now it’s finally out on Blu-Ray, and I’ve finally seen it. I’m pleased by what I’ve seen. My mind was not blown, but I did enjoy what I saw.
The series does what some of the best Justice League comics runs have done, such as Grant Morrison’s, and kept the league to a tight lineup: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman (II – Diana Prince), The Flash (technically The Flash II as we see Barry Allen’s origin story, but we’re not doing prior incarnations here), Green Lantern (IV – John Stewart), Hawkgirl (I – Shayera Hol) and the Martian Manhunter. (more…)
I enjoy mysteries. I read Sherlock Holmes novels as a kid. I read pulp detective novels and Agatha Christie novels as a teen. As a grown up I’ve found myself drawn to the current trend of forensic detective TV series, like CSI on CBS. After missing the boat early on, I’ve picked up the first season of Bones, and have given it a watch.
The show focuses on Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel), a woman with a doctorate in Forensic Anthropology who works at the Jeffersonian Institution (not-the-Smithsonian). She’s also a novelist, and probably on-spectrum (and it doesn’t help her mental state that she was knocked around the foster kid system for a while). She’s partnered with FBI Special Agent Seely Booth, an ex-marine sniper (played by David Boreanaz), a more intuitive kind of guy. Togeather–wait for it–they fight crime! (more…)
So, I’ve previously reviewed the first two seasons of Burn Notice. While I wait for season 3 to come out on DVD, I’m going to get started on another spy themed TV series – one with more of a James Bond (pre-Daniel Craig) theme.
Chuck is in charge of the Nerd Herd (Not-The-Geek-Squad) at a Buy More (a Not-A-Best-Buy-Circuit-City-Or-Comp-USA consumer electronics chain). His old friend-turned-arch-nemesis from College, Bryce Larkin, sends him an E-Mail that ends up uploading the contents of the Intersect, a classified NSA & CIA database (which Larkin has also destroyed) into his brain. Chuck ends up under the tender loving care of a beautiful CIA agent (whose cover is his girlfriend) and a rather nasty NSA agent (who presumably killed Larkin), while both agencies try to get the Intersect out of Chuck’s head, and deal with various international plots in and around LA. (more…)
This week we finish up the Burn Notice reviews (for now), with a review of the show’s second season. I haven’t watched Season 3 yet, but once I do, you can expect a review.
Following the conclusion of Season 1, Michael finds a few answers about who burned him – sort of. To be more accurate, he’s lost the FBI surveillance and instead has found himself in the care of Carla, his new handler. So, while now trying to make ends meet by helping the helpless, he now must also try to find out who Carla is working for, and what they want to do with him. (more…)
Yes, I am aware that I didn’t finish my recap of Season 1 of Burn Notice. To make up for it, I’m going to review the entire season (and season 2 besides, on a later week). However, we need to begin at the beginning. There will be spoilers, but they’ll be below the cut. I’ll try doing some spoiler-guarding stuff this time.
I’ll let the star of the show take this one (courtesy of IMDB):
Michael Westen: [voice-over] My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy. Until…
voice on phone: [phone rings] We got a burn notice on you. You’re blacklisted.
Michael Westen: [voice-over] When you’re burned, you’ve got nothing: no cash, no credit, no job history. You’re stuck in whatever city they decide to dump you in.
Michael Westen: Where am I?
Fiona Glenanne: Miami.
Michael Westen: [voice-over] You do whatever work comes your way. You rely on anyone who’s still talking to you. A trigger-happy ex-girlfriend…
Fiona Glenanne: Shall we shoot them?
Michael Westen: [voice-over] An old friend who used to inform on you to the FBI…
Sam Axe: You know spies… bunch of bitchy little girls.
Michael Westen: [voice-over] Family too…
Sam Axe: [phone rings] Hey, is that your Mom again?
Michael Westen: [voice-over] … if you’re desperate.
Madeline Westen: Someone needs your help, Michael!
Michael Westen: [voice-over] Bottom line? Until you figure out who burned you… you’re not going anywhere. (more…)
As you can probably tell by some of the subject matter of my reviews, I like spy fiction. In particular, I enjoy John LeCarre’s work, especially the character of George Smiley. Previously I’ve watched the adaptation of his novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, though I didn’t review it here. What I will be reviewing today, though, is the adaptation of the 3rd novel of the “Quest for Karla” trilogy, Smiley’s People, which once again puts George Smiley (played by Alec Guinness) of the British Secret Service (aka the Circus) up against Karla of the KGB, played by Patrick Stewart. There are some spoilers below the cut. (more…)
This week we’re taking a break from reviewing movies for a review of another Doctor Who storyline. This one is one heck of a classic storyline, featuring one of everyone’s favorite Doctors – Tom Baker. Now, does this storyline hold up over time, or is it as flimsy as the walls of one of their sets. Oh, the story? Genesis of the Daleks.
The Doctor and his companions are diverted from their Trans-mat (teleporter) trip back to the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions In Space – their Time Machine to you who are new to the Who), by the Time Lords, who instead send them to the planet of Skaro in the distant past. Their reason – the Time Lords have come to realize that the Daleks are far more powerful than they realized, powerful enough to destroy even them. Thus, they have broken their rule of non-interference and are tasking The Doctor (and his companions, Ian and Sarah Jane), with the task of finding a weakness in the Daleks in this early stage of their existance, or, if possible, to elimiate them. (more…)
Travel documentary series, while at times they can be enoyable, aren’t necessarily my thing. Often times, like Travels in Europe, by Portland native Rick Steves, or Globe Trekker, the people hosting the show are people who travel professionally – they write about it, and often times they take the time to get to know an area, and thus they have all the tricks and tips to pass along to you to make your stay more comfortable. I’ve also found that these end up making the documentary a little less approachable. They’re being told by an old hand. So, in the course of my travels and travails through Netflix, I found a travel documentary series by Michael Palin – Around the World in 80 days. Being a fan of Monty Python (as is any self respecting geek), I watched it. Now, what did I think about it? (more…)
There have been many excellent documentary series about our cosmos and how it works. Many of them, particularly Cosmos, Stephen Hawking’s Universe, and The Elegant Universe, have been hosted by noted astrophysicists, astronomers and cosmologists, such as the late Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Brian Green (respectively). They’ve also generally been on public broadcasting, or on channels like the Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel – which focus on science programming. The History Channel has now started running The Universe, a series on our universe and our solar system, how it works, and what it’s like, and how we know what we know about it. So, the question is, is the show on par with the documentaries I’ve already mentioned, or does it kind of fumble the ball like The Dark Ages did?
Covering everythng from how our solar system formed, to the properties of the various planets, to the threat to our planet from Near Earth Objects and Gamma Ray Bursts, to The Big Bang and how we learned about it, the show covers a multitude of topics about our Solar System, using visual analogies, computer generation representations of planets, asteroids and events, and interviews with cosmologists, physicists, and astronomers to explain how the universe works. (more…)
Thanks to the wonders of “Netflix Watch It Now”, I’ve been able to catch up on some great documentaries that I missed because I don’t have cable. I’ve also caught up on some not-so-great documentaries that I missed because I don’t have cable. This documentary fits into one of those categories, and I’m not entirely sure which.
Covering the period from the fall of Rome to the start of the Crusades, this documentary tries to cover basically all of the basics of European History during this period, using accounts from historians who are experts in the period, as well as footage of actors re-creating life during the period known as the “Dark Ages”.
Being that I don’t, generally, listen to popular music, I didn’t watch the Grammy’s this year. Instead, NBC is running a mini-series based off the French comic book XII. I decided to give this show a try, mainly becuse I hadn’t read the comic book, hadn’t played the video game based off the comic book, and, frankly, I wanted to give a mini-series based off a non-Supers comic book that wasn’t from the US or Japan a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. There are some spoilers below the cut, so be warned.
The nice thing about being able to stream episodes from, say, Hulu (or NetFlix, if they’d ever get episodes up on there) is that I can just stream the episodes online rather then waiting for the next disk. It allows for me to get new posts up faster, all the better for you, and I don’t find myself jonesing for the next episode. At least, until I run out of episodes, but I’ve got another 10 to go yet before we hit the end of the season. So, shall we begin?
Yeah. Remember where I said that I wouldn’t do a Where I Watch on here because I couldn’t get enough feedback to support it? Well, yeah, I kinda lied about that. Not really. I’m going to give this a try to see how it turns out. I’ll be starting with the first season of Burn Notice, so kindly provided by Hulu and streamed to my Playstation 3 by the PlayOn Media server software I’m trying out.
If you want to follow along, you can try Hulu as well, and Season 1 is on Netflix as well. We don’t have the complete season 2 on DVD yet, and Hulu’s only got episode 9 of season 2. Yeah, that makes no sense to me either – you’d think you’d have all of season 2 up to now, but I digress.
Before I get started, just to give you an idea on how I do these. I scribble down notes in a notebook (my journal actually – yes I journal, with a fountain pen) in a general stream of consciousness fashion, and then once I’ve finished with the episode or episodes (depending on the show) I attempt to edit those into something coherent (and occasionally succeed) and then post those in the relevant thread or, in this case, a blog post. I tend to do much more editing for reviews. So, on with the post. There are semi-spoilers here.