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Lost Girl: Lovers. Apart. (2013)
Season 4, Episode 3
8/10
Interestingly progressive
15 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
It's interesting, looking back at this and seeing the diverse relationships on display actually as part of the plot rather than as one-off viewer bait.

My 13 year old daughter watched this ep without so much as a snide remark about the girl on girl action.

Lauren and her new squeeze, to my daughter, was as much an as yet to be discovered physical mystery as every relationship that has transpired so far in the show. I honestly think that she has a chance of growing up without the stigma and prejudice my my generation.

TV grows up, too. A decade has passed since Lost Girl, and sure, today, a lesbian couple in a full on flesh-fest, enjoying sex is as common as a blade of grass, but back in 2013, the non-titilating nature and decidedly plot driven nature of the doctor and her new friend's relationship would have been the centrepiece of a contemporary melodrama, attested to by numerous tabloid articles. Instead, it's woven into the episode with a spot of awkwardness and humour, a minor, entertaining and natural adjunct to the main plot line.

How edgy stuff becomes, well, non-edgy after the best part of a decade.. That is really eye-opening. Yet if the storytelling was true, then the tale remains pertinent even after a decade.

This is one such episode that remains completely poignant today, even if the edginess of a lead lesbian role is lost on our younger viewers.
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Lost Girl: The Kenzi Scale (2013)
Season 3, Episode 6
10/10
Another excellent "second tier" character driven episode
13 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
After the excellent episode with Vex taking centre stage, and a series of shows with an increasingly hard-done-for Kenzi, we finally have the cathartic release we were looking for, where people finally confront and overcome their mounting doubts and work together to find out what has happened to the Kenzi in their midst.

Surprising alliances are made, and a relationship is apparently damaged beyond repair.

Season 3 delivers the goods.
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Lost Girl: Confaegion (2013)
Season 3, Episode 3
9/10
A threadstarter masquerading as a lighthearted episode
12 March 2020
This is one of my favourite episodes of the third series. Here we get to see a number of seeds planted that will bear delicious fruit later in the series. Bo, Tamsin, Dyson.... A Slashfictioner's A-list threesome play well together and wait for the epic 80's music interlude to die for. They reveal a little more of each other than any of them planned and set the imaginative juices of the audience free...

But this is just one aspect of this heavily loaded episode.

Speaking of loaded, we get to see a Kenzi heavily loaded with power make an important decision in her life, whether to accept, by the power of a Fae charm, a super heroic power or stay as herself, human.

Finally, and in my opinion the lynchpin of this excellent episode, we get to see a hamstrung Vex who takes stage front and centre with his most meaningful outing to date. He, like his new buddy Kenzi has some difficult decisions ahead, and given his new perspective, he becomes a far deeper and more circumspect character than we had given him credit.

Kenzi and Vex have surprising chemistry on screen and have a lot to bounce off each other. (I'm no doubt sure Vex could manage a double entendre here.)

Ultimately, though, for me, it's a little disheartening to see Vex, such a promising, polarising and colourful character bow out with his tail between his legs.

Let's hope he comes back, later in the season/series.... Surely he's far too good a character to write off for... er... good.
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Lost Girl: Lachlan's Gambit (2012)
Season 2, Episode 20
7/10
Lauren makes a mockery of the previous episode
8 March 2020
Despite the incredible plot building efforts of the previous episode, Lauren's incredibly pathetic demeanour in this episode made it difficult for me to watch any scene with her in it.

It's as if the writers made her forget what had transpired literally 12 hours before in a Scooby Doo episode.

This was the first episode where I wished a long term character would be deleted from the entire show.
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Lost Girl: Truth and Consequences (2012)
Season 2, Episode 19
9/10
Where do you stand and how do you feel about your place in the world?
7 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
These are the two questions that confront our protagonists in this, perhaps the most pivotal episode of the season.

The Garuda is ever closing in and has found a surprising conduit to the real plane of existence. Meanwhile the major players have finally started to position themselves on the chessboard one by one to face it.

Even Kenzi, though not herself Fae, has to take a position and decide, for better or worse, where she wants to stand and be remembered when the storm arrives, with potentially dire consequences for herself and Nate.

This episode sets a dark and serious tone as the season moves towards the final confrontation. The storyline is tight and tense, with little frivolity or mirth and acting is on point, compellingly conveying the increasing stress and precarious mental states of the protagonists in a layered, emotionally charged episode.

Prepare your tissues, you have been warned.

Marvellous stuff.
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Lost Girl: Original Skin (2011)
Season 2, Episode 9
9/10
fun for the whole family at The Dal
5 March 2020
This is the "once more with feeling" episode where the actoooorz get to flex their acting chops.

While not a musical, the piper plays a wonderful tune and leads us astray in what is ostensibly a frivolous tale, but in fact, like the aforementioned OMWF, turns out to be a heavy lifter, moving the series arc along very nicely indeed, with multiple reveals.

The acting is a little mottled, but Ried is standout in his depiction of the now testosterone laden, alcohol tolerant Kenzi and Silk does a rather camp, but effective melodramatic rendition of the power-tripping, chi-hungry southern Woods.

Wonderful, playful breath of fresh air after a prolonged series of rather brood-some storylines.
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6/10
Character Driven rather than plot driven
21 February 2020
I enjoy a character driven series as much as the next person, but I can't help feel that the characters in this series were rather obtuse, forced and hideously deliberate.

Star Trek has always been about the camaraderie, feel-good factor liberal agenda and the idealist, first-name-basis breaking down of barriers between boss and underling.

In that respect, this series really didn't deliver until the second season, and then, when it did, it literally delivered like an unbound sphincter after a vindaloo.

I consider myself a liberal lefty which is why I was generally ok with the messages espoused and was a fan of TNG, DS9 and other shows like B5, Andromeda and more recently Killjoys, but Discovery really pushed out with the afforementioned, deliberately hard to empathise characters, shed-loads of political posturing, virtue signalling and really, far, far too much shallow-feelz.

Sorry, but for all the epic production values, rather than Michael and whasshisname, former-Voq, ex-klingon... I found the two captains, Pike and Georgiou along with Nhan and Saru and even the animated piece of plywood that was Spock by far the most interesting characters.

The rest were eminently forgettable, Airam, seriously an entire episode about someone we never even cared about (actually, as soon as they started to show her past, I knew she was going to be wearing a virtual red shirt.)

And princess Ice cream.... FFS!

And that Reno? WTAF was going on with her? She was an outstandingly bad actor. I can only assume she is famous on TV somewhere for something other than acting. or a family friend of one of the cast. Clearly I'm missing some sort of insider info on why she was selected.

Anyway, fairly dull storyline for such a high budget affair.
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The Witcher: Four Marks (2019)
Season 1, Episode 2
9/10
That Ending Tho: Toss a coin to your Witcher, indeed!!! Wonderful!
7 February 2020
I haven't read the books, nor have I played the game... Just clicked on the first episode on a whim... The first episode made a solid first impression, but this one was an even better follow up... Some of the scenes felt they were running to someone else's agenda... For example, watching the Yennifer/slash/Istredd gave me the impression I had nodded off and missed an entire chunk of them skipping over the awkward and straight to the engaging tongues...

A little more development wouldn't go amiss..

But the reveals were heartfelt and nowhere near as clear cut as was implied at first.
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Undone: The Halloween Night (2019)
Season 1, Episode 8
9/10
Divisive ending to an epic series
13 January 2020
First up, I would like to say that this is the second viewing of the series. I have watched this first upon release and second, a binge tonight.

Like an episode of Lost, more questions arose than were answered! This has been a wonderful ride through the mind of someone who may or may not be clinically insane, but who, without a doubt, has incredible insight into the world.

Fascinating from start to finish, I can't wait for the next season of this series.

Watching the final episode for the second time, I upgraded my 8/10 to 9/10.

The entire series was pretty much an epic. The characters were relatable: There was no grotesque self-parody nor obsessive self-referential pantomime here. (An appeal to humility; A ruse often used to make a show appear less self-aggrandising and self-absorbed. was not made)

No, this was a character driven show from the get go. The relatability is one of the aspects that set this apart. i.e. The entire show, despite its incredible circumstances, could have quite happily transpired next door. Brilliant, characterisation and brilliant time-line management.

Thank you for making the second viewing, even more enjoyable than the first! A rare feat indeed.
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Undone: Moving The Keys (2019)
Season 1, Episode 4
10/10
Riveting from start to finish.
13 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Well, this is my second outing with Undone, watching the entire series for a second time. I realised I didn't review this ep last time round so here I am in 2020.

Alma is starting to get the hang of her abilities, but as they say, all power comes with a price. It seems her father had received money for his research from a rather unorthodox source that becomes the prime suspect in her case to find out who killed her father. All in all an excellent kernel of information for sure. However she also found out the truth about Sam and why the pictures and furniture had all been moved.

Incredibly emotional acting from all concerned; this episode effortless shares elements of Mexican daytime melodrama with government conspiracies and Fringe-like science fiction. Yet for all the action and story unfolding, the audience is continually compelled to feel for each and every person in the story.

Amazing balance and compelling viewing.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Body (2001)
Season 5, Episode 16
10/10
Buffy Comes of Age.
6 November 2019
This is the moment Buffy becomes an Adult. Sure, there was Angel. And we know what she went through. But nothing prepares you for the loss of a parent.

Not a song or sound to be heard. There were no paid for emotions powered by a moving soundtrack. Silence throughout. Nothing hidden, nothing pre-heated. This is Buffy at her darkest, most real. She suddenly realises she is the eldest in her family and that there is no-one to care for her.

This is a masterpiece of emotional writing and the camerawork and editing do it justice.

What an episode. This is where so-called teen-tv shows the adults a thing or two about growing up.

-- And sorry to jut in, but 18 years later it's hard to overstate just how groundbreaking the Tara and Willow kiss scene was. This was the first time in TV mainstream drama history where a kiss between two ladies wasn't used as a controversy spiking TV talking point, a ratings boost, male titillation or a main plot device to push an agenda or force drama. Without wanting to sound derogatory, this was an adjunct, an addendum, almost a throwaway scene... It could have been cut and nothing, not a single storyline would have wandered amiss... But no. Here where we see two people, in love and distraught in their shock try to comfort one another in the most natural way possible. The sheer understatedness (that's not a real word) of the whole thing was what made that scene so seminal in the fight for acceptance and recognition.
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Angel: War Zone (2000)
Season 1, Episode 20
9/10
sure, the season finale was last week, but...
22 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Please note I write this as someone who is watching Angel for the first time and I haven't watched any eps after this and I'm writing as a response to the 6/10 reviews.

Sure, the season finale basically ended last episode, but the next season needs some framework and all I can say is if these guys are going to be there next season, they're a HELL of a lot better than the crappy, insipid, beaten-to-death-horse of an Institute in Buffy.. That was just painful. And Adam and... holy sticks, lames Riley....

Aaaanyway, rant aside. I feel this show is really trying to reach back to its roots to show the underbelly of the struggling masses being prayed upon while the upper layer of LA is only concerned about "inconveniences."

This show manages to tug at the heartstrings. And while, yes, there were stereotypes... "we don't need no white dude" white men can't jump style 1990s japes, we need to look back and realise this was actually written last century and just move on with our more refined morality and expectations.

The storyline was solid and the acting was fine, especially the sister who was just awesome from start to finish.

The brother/sister storyline was touching... I had been given the impression that vamps lost the nuance of their lives upon tuning, but that damned sister nearly played him like a harp.

Nice setup for next season.
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Undone (2019– )
9/10
Refreshingly accessable story
26 September 2019
The acting and the animation were both top notch and the storyline was tightly concepted and written. Is she mad or is she a "shamen" as Alma's father put it? The jury is still out.

Nice cliffhanger ending, and a second season would not be in any way, shape or form, remiss!

9/10 for a thoroughly bingeable 8 episodes.
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Undone: The Hospital (2019)
Season 1, Episode 2
9/10
Would you choose the Red Pill or the Blue Pill?
26 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
A second, eminently watchable episode!

Things are escalating quickly. One moment, she is waking up from a coma and the next, well, she's waking up from a coma again! And again!

Things are starting to fragment. Is she going mad? Didn't she split up with Sam? Why wasn't her father there for her when she needed him most? Dis she or did she not graduate from college? Fragmented indeed.

Is something else at work in that damaged mind of hers?

With the tumultuous nature of her mind bucking like a rodeo horse beneath her, she somehow needs to find a placid, tranquil path out of the mayhem to regain some semblance of sanity and normality.

This is an excellent story which continues to unfurl the past while opening new doors into the future. Undeniable hints of Groundhog Day and maybe even the knotted timeline that is Primer abound as Alma finds herself so far beyond Kansas, it's not even funny!

8/10 another solid showing.
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Undone: The Crash (2019)
Season 1, Episode 1
9/10
Solid start with great performances from the sisters.
26 September 2019
Alma appears very dissatisfied with her lot in life, which is presented as a sort of millennial affliction, if you will. However, it becomes clear that this is not entirely without reason: Family relations appear strained and the loss of her father has clearly affected her deeply.

The climactic start and flashback leading up to it feel natural and well paced, without rush or undue lingering.

It only takes a few minutes to become concerned for the mental wellbeing of Alma and immersed in her small world, which is rendered lovingly and in exquisite detail. In fact, I became so immersed and the rotoscoping was so fittingly done that I often forgot I was watching an animation.

Overall, a fairly convincing start with a compelling lead character and a nice mysterious hook at the end that hints at exciting things to come.

8/10
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Living Conditions (1999)
Season 4, Episode 2
6/10
So annoying that it annoyed me.
9 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I managed to get through this forgettable episode in about 20 minutes.

I am allergic to corny dialogue and 2D characters and this episode was full of predictability.

Oz wanders past a group of obvious werewolves and the goon squad taser gang follow.

And did I mention how annoyingly rancid Kathy was.

Not a fan of detached MOTW episodes.

And besides the introduction of walking Men Bad Women Good cliche that is Parker, nothing new was introduced.

Thus I have given it a totally mediocre, forgettable score of 6.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Anne (1998)
Season 3, Episode 1
9/10
Good Lord. Only a showman with supreme confidence would dare.
28 August 2019
As an episode of Buffy, I'm only rating this a seven, but by golly the cojones on the team for coming up with such a depressing downer of a first episode. Hence the upgrade to a "9."

This is pretty much as dark as Buffy gets. Sparse humour interspersed with black humour completely enshrouded in sorrow and portents.

Even the Scoobies visiting the Bronze almost break fourth wall with their "depressing night" gag.

The fact that Wheedon feels confident enough about his series to start out with such a suicide-in-waiting of an ep just shows how much confidence he has in the rest of the season..

And holy moly, this season delivers.
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7/10
That last line, tho....
7 August 2019
Is it possible that a single dialogue can define an episode? While I've never been a fan of the Scooby Doo Monster Of The Week style episodes, this rather non-cannon ep was vindicated by the final dialogue, IMO.

Not a keeper, episode wise, but a doozy of a final signs and portents type dialogue.....
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel (1997)
Season 1, Episode 7
9/10
Appropriately Titled.
7 August 2019
I honestly don't get it. The first time round, as a sprightly 20 something, I never got the depth of feeling of the whole Angel Buffy relationship thing. Actually, I stopped watching Buffy after the first season due to major life events. Also, nothing about this show twigged enough to pick it up, despite pretty much everyone I know being a major fan.

And as a fan of the whole genre of Vampires, gothic and the undead, that was pretty odd.

In 2010 or thereabouts, I watched the whole show, all 7 seasons, and while I loved the show and Joss's vision, still the relationship between Buffy and Angel didn't resonate.

Here, at the age of 50 I decide to watch the show again, once more with feeling, and ... Waterworks...

Perhaps it's the foreknowledge of what's to come, perhaps it's personal experience of loss and pain... Who knows. But finally, I see what all the Bangel Slash Fiction was about.

These two had serious chemistry on screen.

And conversely, I wonder why I was so immune to it ...
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8/10
22 Years on, how does the pilot hold together.
7 August 2019
It's very interesting to see the march of technology and the difference in production values of shows from the 20th century.

This is a Pre Jack Bauer 24 series and as such it could never compete on a sheer production value basis with modern shows that command budgets greater than many A rank movies.

However, apart from the clunky computer monitors, colour cathode ray TVs and the tail end of post-Farrah Fawcett hairstyles, the show holds together remarkably well.

Sure, the music is a touch trite but the show's basic charm and character stands the test of time.

It's perhaps Anthony Head's Giles' apparent timelessness and the library's musty air at the centre of the nascent Scoobies that helps the show remain aloof from the fads and trends that often make shows painful to watch in retrospect.

The paced dialogue and funky slang were never really grounded in reality and hold up as a stage performance rather than a snapshot of any time.

All in all an interesting start to the show.
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Unaired Pilot (2003)
Season 1, Episode 0
8/10
An interesting titbit for the hard core fans.
7 August 2019
A very interesting "alternative" to the version which aired, with a few members of cast that were replaced before the show aired.

It was clear that JW already had a fairly clear vision for the show and I think this was an excellent pitch to the networks to show them what he was aiming for.

As a sales piece to the broadcasters of the day, I think it was as good as could be expected and did its job well to sell the rather odd sassy yet gritty plus vampires concept the execs.

As an actual episode, the pacing and dialogue were improved upon for the actual pilot that aired and IMO this show would have been a lesser affair without Hannigan's Willow.

All in all, a rather interesting slice of history for Buffy aficionados if not for the casual viewer.
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6/10
Worthwhile Prequel
16 July 2019
A worthwhile prequel made all the better by Bautista's mature acting chops. Very impressive. He is turning into a far more flexible performer than any of his peers from the ring well outside of the goofy action-comedy genre.
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7/10
Rather disappointing
11 July 2019
TBH, I expected more, while at the same time, I knew what to expect... If you catch my drift.

Yes, it was a sequel, but it was far too derivative for its own good.

And random...

And pointless...

And directionless...

All in all a waste of a premise.

The characters were not at all relatable. There was no chemistry and no depth. There was no need to invest in any of the characters or fear for their demise, not because we knew they would survive, but because we just can't bring ourselves to care.

None of them were developed in any way whatsoever. Hell, the most consistent and likeable character wasn't even a replicant, it was a hologram...

And the second most empathetic, enjoyable character dies within minutes.

This in itself speaks volumes about the other characters in this movie.

There was no message except some tacky sea level rising inferences, countless PC references and nods to demographics, that never played out...

And a storyline drawn to within an inch of its life by its sheer length.

Much like the plot of this movie, some things, like a case of genital warts, or chlamydia are frankly embarrassing and should be dealt with in private, severely and promptly.

This plot was like Disney purchased it and dictated the plot.
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Dark: Double Lives (2017)
Season 1, Episode 4
8/10
Patience
5 July 2019
While I have no issue with the series being a slow, involving watch that apparently requires something called "patience" -a commodity in short supply it would appear- I do find the shallow, "this show is slow and boring" reviews far more trying on my nerves.

The characters' buildup and the parallels between the past and present are starting to remind me of Twin Peaks, the mysteries are mounting more quickly than they are being solved, suggesting concentration will be required to keep track of all the relationships and characters..

While not a very self contained tale this week, this episode sets the scene for Truths very nicely,
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Good Omens: In the Beginning (2019)
Season 1, Episode 1
10/10
A tribute to the book I never read.
25 June 2019
What can I say? As someone who was surrounded by Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett readers as a teen, I didn't see what all the fuss was about.

I had been a staunch supporter of "hard" sci-fi: Asimov, Heinlein, Crichton, Lem et al ... I didn't see what all the fuss was about and found the surreal mix of humour with the "serious business" of humanity's future rather demeaning...

But then I watched Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective agency on Netflix and I suddenly realised what I had been missing all these years..

Why had I ridden my high horse? Why had I been elitist instead of inclusive? WHy had I denied myself the pleasures of Ringworld and Rincewind all these years????!

Here I was a fan of The Blackadder and Red Dwarf on TV but when it came to contemporary books I remained aloof and somehow thought that humour was discrete from intellect...

Oh fool is me...!!

Do I still have time to make up for lost.... er.... time?

I do indeed hope so..

My Kindle is now loaded with the bits of the 80s and 90s I missed when I was actually there!
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