DOCTOR WHO 5.6 (31.6): The Vampires of Venice

What I liked most about “The Vampires of Venice” episode of DOCTOR WHO was the characterization of the 11th Doctor and Amy Pond, because while the plotline was serviceable, if felt all too familiar.

The story saw the Doctor (Matt Smith) take Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) on a date to Venice in 1580, where they discover the cosmopolitan city has been sealed off from the outside world by Rosanna Calvieri (Helen McCrory), who operates a curious school for girls. It’s no surprise that Signora Calvieri and her “family” are vampires – but not exactly the kind of vampires one might expect.
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LOST 6.17: The End

“I got a bad feeling about this.”
– Hugo

I wonder how many LOST fans felt the same way as the final episode unspooled with the sort of musical montage that usually ends episodes. Well, in the words of Sawyer: “Sonofabitch.”

They did it.

LOST ended nearly perfectly.

The-powers-that-be chose to end the story, rather than merely answer questions. Here we the viewing audience were, wondering how the lingering questions were going to be addressed, but it looks to me that show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse said, “Screw that, we’re closing all the character arcs.” After watching the characters finish their journeys, I’ll be damned if I can think of any nagging leftover questions that still seem to matter. I feel totally satisfied by the story. So what if we don’t know the original human name of the Man in Black. Walt was “special” because…well, because he was. Maybe all kids were revered because of the pregnancy thing.

Far more important to me, was the fact that the main characters reached some kind of closure. Almost everybody got happy endings in the Sideways universe, while events unfolded on the Island the way they had to. In a way, TPTB had it both ways: They gave the fans the sweet ending they wanted but also played out the brutal endgame on the Island. And on this show, it made total sense for Jack to die, yet still be happy. And the final funereal moments, when everyone was gathered in the church, made clever use of the concept of the hereafter to gather all the characters together no matter when they died. Everyone was dead. Some folks died before Jack (the Kwons), some long after (Hugo). “There is no ‘now’ here,” Christian told Jack. They all gathered because needed to be together. Jack needed all of them, and they needed Jack. And this was a true ending. As Jack told Hurley, “There are no shortcuts. No do-overs. What happened, happened. All of this matters.”
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LOST 6.16: What took you so long?

“We’re very close to the end, Hugo.”
–Jacob

As LOST winds down to its final precious hours, the bodies are piling up almost as fast as the reveals. The question is: Are the corpses and the answers worth it?

This week we saw Jack (Matthew Fox) step up and accept guardianship of the Island, prompting my new $64,000 Question: What took so damn long? I can understand if Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) wanted Jack to accept the job of his own free will, but…why did he wait so damn long to ask? Jack surely would have taken stewardship of the Island in exchange for letting everyone else get off. And the way Jacob casually dismissed Kate’s (Evangeline Lilly) question about why she had been crossed off the list – it was just a line of chalk on a wall and so the job is hers if she wants it – had me ready to scream. He was willing to give it to any of the candidates? Why let everyone go through so much pain and torture? Why all the mystical mumbo-jumbo? Why?
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DOCTOR WHO 5.5 (31.5): Flesh and Stone

While last week’s episode, “The Time of Angels,” was arguably River Song’s story, the second chapter of this big DOCTOR WHO tale, “Flesh and Stone,” was clearly all about Amy. Once again, we saw the Doctor refracted through the important women in his life: his current companion and his future…what, exactly?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Doctor came up with a cunning plan to get out of last week’s cliff-hanger (He maneuvered it so everyone was able to fall up to the Byzantium using the ship’s artificial gravity. Great. What really made this episode for me was the touching scene between the Doctor and Amy when he left her in the clearing so he and River could go find the primary flight deck.
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Review: Robin Hood (2010)

Honestly, I don’t think the world needs another Robin Hood movie. And apparently Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe and co. agreed, because their new Robin Hood is in no way, shape or form a Robin Hood movie.

There is no robbing the rich and giving to the poor, and while we do meet Little John, Allan A’Dayle and Will Scarlett, this Friar Tuck keeps bees and brews mead, and Maid Marion is a longbow-firing noblewoman trying to protect her land from bands of marauding feral children. Oh, and “Robin Longstride” never even meets the Sheriff of Nottingham!

The story follows Robin and his companions John (Kevin Durand – Keamy from LOST), Allan (Alan Doyle), and Will (ER’s Scott Grimes) as they attempt to return home with King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston) after a decade of waging the Crusades. The king, of course, doesn’t make it, so Robin and the boys seize and opportunity to impersonate knights and ferry the royal crown back to England. Once in Nottingham, Robin discovers that not only does he like pretending to be Robert Loxley, he likes Loxley’s wife, Marion (Cate Blanchett), so he decides to stick around. Meanwhile, Godfrey (Mark Strong), decadent Prince John’s (Oscar Isaac) hatchet man, runs around apparently killing barons and pillaging at will. The nobles bluster about a charter of rights (a concept that would eventually become Magna Carter). And Godfrey is also acting as an agent provocateur for the French, who are looking to invade.
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Coming Attractions: Vampires of Venice

When the Doctor (Matt Smith) decided to take Amy (Karen Gillan) and her fiancée Rory (Arthur Darvill) on a romantic excursion to 16th century Venice, he did not count on running into a nest of vampires! Hence, the name of the next episode of DOCTOR WHO to air in the USA, “The Vampires of Venice.”

Follow this link to see a video preview of VoV, and this one to see promo photos on the Blogtor Who website.

STARGATE UNIVERSE 1.17: Oh, the Pain! The Pain!

Honestly, I dreaded the approach of this week’s episode of STARGATE UNIVERSE because the previews made it look like the silly old “alien makes you face your worst fear” cliché was in full effect. Sooner or later every show gets around to this hoary chestnut, and I figured SGU better just get it out of its system. To make it seem even worse, the fears glimpsed looked to be standard-issue dull; I mean, claustrophobia? Really? Why can’t some alien force somebody to face the terror of…speaking in public? Supposedly most people dread that more than dying!

Happily, the actual episode proved to be much more enjoyable than anticipated. Not stunningly original, but at least well-executed. As usual, the excellent cast stepped up with some terrific performances (special kudos to Elyse Levesque for her conflicted Chloe), and the direction kept the story moving at a good enough pace that the audience did not have time to linger over the overly familiar plot points.
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