Archive for June, 2014

The Leftovers Splash

Episode: 101
Airdate: June 29, 2014
Directed by: Peter Berg
Showrunner: Damon Lindelof
Written by: Tom Perrotta (based on the novel by), Damon Lindelof (written for television by), Tom Perrotta (written for television by)

It was with a fair degree of anticipation that I sat down tonight to watch the premiere episode of The Leftovers. Despite a name that sounds a lot like my mother’s meatloaf (love ya mom!), the fact that this is Damon Lindelof’s return to television is kind of a big deal – I’d give the show a chance even if he named it Lost. In some sense, this show is really a companion for his first show – on that one, we dealt with those that were lost – here, we follow those that are left behind. Different perspectives, different stories. And overall, a decent opening to HBO’s new summer series.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review of The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot” will include minor spoilers and plot points. Warning for language.>>
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The-Last-Ship-logo-wide-560x282

Episode: 102
Airdate: June 29, 2014
Directed by: Jack Bender
Showrunner: Hank Steinberg
Written by: William Brinkley (based on the novel by), Josh Schaer (written for television by), Hank Steinberg (written for television by)

You need to expect, when watching a show about a Navy destroyer, that you’re going to get a certain amount of jingoism. But when the constantly reiterated theme of the show is the breakdown of command hierarchies, and the beginning of a new world that, in CO Commodore Tom Chandler [Eric Dane]’s words, has “no good guys and no bad guys,” you wouldn’t be far amiss to expect that maybe, just perhaps, the cheer-leading might get tempered down a bit. But so far, two episodes into The Last Ship, it appears that the writers and actors can’t quite figure out what they want this show to be.

<<Spoiler Alert: This review of The Last Ship Season 1, Episode 2 “Welcome to Gitmo” will include minor spoilers and plot points.>>
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The Leftovers Series Poster


At A Glance:

Title: The Leftovers
Premiere: June 29, 2014
Channel: HBO 10PM EST/PST, 9PM CST
Production Company: Warner Bros. Television
Showrunner: Damon Lindelof
Executive Producers: Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrota, Ron Yerxa, Albert Berger, Peter Berg, Mimi Leder (co-executive producer – 4 episodes), Sarah Aubrey (2 episodes)
Producers: Nan Bernstein Freed (4 episodes), John Blair (co-producer – 4 episodes)
Writers: Tom Perrota (based on the novel by), Tom Perrota (written for television by), Damon Lindelof (written for television by), Curtis Gwinn (written for television by, 1 episode), Jacqueline Hoyt (written for television by, 1 episode), Kath Lingenfelter (written for television by, 1 episode), Carlito Rodriguez (written for television by, 1 episode)
Starring: Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Michael Gaston

The Leftovers is a new series premiering on HBO this coming Sunday, June 29th. It’s premise will be familiar to people who have read Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s Left Behind series, or seen the movies made from it. Then again, the story should be familiar to anyone who attended Sunday School when they were growing up. In a nutshell, it’s about the biblical Rapture, the sudden uplifting of the chosen to heaven preceding the seven year reign of the Antichrist on Earth, leading up to Judgement Day. One day, two percent of the world’s population suddenly disappears. There is no explanation (beyond the mystical), no understanding – they’re simply there, and then they’re gone. The Leftovers deals with the fallout of this event for those that are left behind. Dealing with loss and grief is hard enough when you know what happened to your loved ones; how do we react when everyone’s lost someone, and no one knows why?
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The-Last-Ship-logo-wide-560x282

Episode: 101
Airdate: June 22, 2014
Directed by: Jonathon Mostow
Showrunner: Hank Steinberg
Written by: William Brinkley (based on the novel by), Steven Kane (written for television by), Hank Steinberg (written for television by)

The premiere of The Last Ship came tonight, just under two years after the series was announced, and just over a year since TNT ordered a trial ten-episode run. There wasn’t a lot of hype leading into tonight’s episode, but TNT has been slowly building buzz, releasing promotional videos over the last couple of months, with more in the past few weeks. The show has a powerhouse production company in its corner – Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes – and an experienced cast of actors. So, how well did the pilot episode do?

<<Spoiler Alert: This review of The Last Ship Season 1, Episode 1 “Phase Six” will include minor spoilers and plot points.>>
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WoT02 The Great Hunt


Series: The Wheel of Time, Book 2
Pages: 705 (Mass Market Paperback)
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Date: October 15, 1991

Reading the second book of a fourteen book (fifteen, if you count the prequel) series feels somewhat like still being in the beginning, despite having now read well over a thousand pages set in Jordan’s world. In this, my third review in my reread of Robert Jordan’s epic The Wheel of Time series, I find myself thoroughly enjoying the way so far, and ready to go ever onward. Click through to read my take on The Great Hunt.

 

 

My reviews of other books in The Wheel of Time series:

Prequel: New Spring, reviewed May 28, 2014
Book One: The Eye of the World, reviewed May 29, 2014

<<Spoiler Alert: While it feels a bit odd giving a spoiler alert for a book that is over twenty years old, there are always new readers discovering Jordan and his epic series. This review contains plot and character details from this book, as well as from previous books in the series. If you wish to remain spoiler-free, do not click through.>>
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got21

Episode: 33
Airdate: April 20, 2014
Directed by: Alex Graves
Written by: George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire” by), David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator), David Benioff (written for television by), D.B. Weiss (written for television by)

With the end of Season Four of Game of Thrones, I finally have the time to catch up on the two episode reviews I missed while on my family vacation earlier this spring. Here’s the first one, for the third episode of the season.

The last episode ended on a truly dramatic event, reminiscent in more ways than one of the end of Episode 0309, “The Rains of Castamere.” There, the final shot, and the final act left viewers with a sick feeling in their stomachs, and the knowledge that we wouldn’t be able to see the full repercussions of the event as it was already the penultimate episode of the season. Here, the event has, arguably, a potentially larger effect on Westeros, but we have eight more episodes to see the fallout, beginning with “Breaker of Chains.” Click through after the break to get my thoughts on this episode.

<<Spoiler Alert: This article is a review and partial recap of Game of Thrones S04E03 – “Breaker of Chains” – it will discuss major plot points and events in detail, and may contain strong language based on dialogue from the episode; read further at your own risk!>>
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The-Last-Ship-logo-wide-560x282


At A Glance:

Title: The Last Ship
Premiere: June 22, 2014
Channel: TNT (USA) 9:00PM, Space (Canada) 9:00PM EST/ 6:00PM PST
Production Company: Platinum Dunes
Showrunner: Hank Steinberg
Executive Producers: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Steven Kane, Jonathan Mostow, Hank Steinberg
Producers: Tony Mark, Todd Arnow, Ellen Stafford (Associate Producer)
Writers: William Brinkley (based on the novel by), Steven Kane (written for television by, 3 episodes), Hank Steinberg (written for television by, 3 episodes), Cameron Welsh (written for television by, 1 episode)
Starring: Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin

The Last Ship is a TNT summer series (airing concurrently on Space Channel in Canada), beginning this weekend and set for a ten episode run. It is based loosely on the 1988 novel of the same name, by William Brinkley. The show follows a group of US Navy sailors aboard the USS Nathan James (DDG-151), a fictional class-name destroyer. With them are two paleomicrobioligists, which turns out to be a boon (or is it?): while they’ve been out of radio contact on a remote mission, most of the rest of the world has been dying off from a mysterious illness. With their resources and expertise, the Nathan James may be humanity’s last hope for survival.
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Whether it be as a stable worker at Winterfell, a companion and bearer of Bran Stark, or as a warg’d fighter of incredible strength, Hodor is one of my favorite characters in Game of Thrones. He doesn’t have a lot of lines, but Hodor actor Kristian Nairn manages to put a whole bunch of emotion into it every time he says his name. Below, I’ve collected several shots of Kristian Nairn both in and out of character, and have an interesting take on the title song that fans of Hodor will appreciate. Click through for some Hodor facts and fun.

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Maleficent Poster


Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton (written by), Charles Perrault (based from the story “La Belle au Bois Dormant” by), Jacob Grimm (based from the story “Little Briar Rose” by), Wilhelm Grimm (based from the story “Little Briar Rose” by), Erdman Penner (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, story adaptation by), Joe Rinaldi (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Winston Hibler (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Bill Peet (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Ted Sears (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Ralph Wright (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Milt Banta (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by)
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley
Release Date: May 30, 2014
Runtime: 1 hrs. 37 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

This is not your mother’s fairy tale. Maleficent is Disney’s attempt to go live action with the story they first showed in 1959’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty, itself an adaptation of Charles Perrault’s La Belle au Bois Dormant, which, one step further, was an adaptation of the tale as collected by the Brothers Grimm – which means it was an adaptation of a story transmitted orally. You’d think that an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation (just take a look at all those writing credits above!) might get a little diluted; but, with a message that drastically moves away from the typical Disney paradigm, and a powerful performance from Angelina Jolie, there is nothing diluted about it.

<<Spoiler Alert: There will be minor spoilers regarding thematic elements of Maleficent – bear this in mind before clicking through.>>
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got21

Episode: 40
Airdate: June 15, 2014
Directed by: Alex Graves
Written by: George R.R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire” by), David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator), David Benioff (written for television by), D.B. Weiss (written for television by)

All men must serve.

How soon a season passes. These ten episodes have gone by in the blink of an eye, and now we begin the long nine and half month wait until next April (I’m going to guess Sunday, April 5th as the premiere date). But before we get all mopey anticipating the long hiatus, let’s take a look at tonight’s excellent season finale. It managed to tie up even more loose ends, answer some questions, and began to move the pieces together for what should be a new season full of change. The power shifted tonight – but by how much won’t be seen until Season Five begins. Click through after the break to find out what we learned, and to see where we might be going.

<<Spoiler Alert: This article is a review and partial recap of Game of Thrones S04E10 – “The Children” – it will discuss major plot points and events in detail, and may contain strong language based on dialogue from the episode; read further at your own risk!>>
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