Whose Line Is It Anyway? Premiere Review

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So, Whose Line Is It Anyway has returned after being off the years for several years and is airing on WB. Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, and Wayne Brady return with a hosting duties being handed over to the lovely Aisha Tyler. The producers could’ve taken a gamble by shaking things up and trying to reinvent the show but, thankfully, they didn’t. This is the same Whose Line we fell in love with years ago, and that’s a darn good thing. Continue reading

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Dexter Season 7 Footage at SDCC 2012

Two interesting bits of Dexter news have surfaced from the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. First, a “sneak peek” teaser was revealed which basically ran through a bunch of episode stills at blinding speed. The good folks on YouTube knew quickly came to everyone’s rescue by slowing the teaser down enough for us to get a glimpse of every still. Continue reading

Game of Thrones – Season 2 Finale Review

Wow. What do I even say? Here I was thinking that David Benioff and D. B. Weiss couldn’t top the finale to the first season, but they did. Boy, did they ever top it! The season two finale of Game of Thrones did a fantastic job of resolving a few lingering stories that have plagued us for a few episodes but, at the same time, we’ve had some massive cliffhangers thrown at us as well.

First, even though he didn’t open the episode, is Stannis. The weight of his defeat almost seemed to drive him mad alongside the guilt he finally expressed over killing Renly. You can really tell that he’s genuinely frustrated with Melisandre’s whole Lord of Light religion, and the way in which he strangled her and said something along the lines of “where is your god now?” was really incredible. He looked intent on killing her and, despite how much I root for Stannis, it really reminded me of just how big of a cold asshole he is. I’m very interested in seeing what he does next, because Stannis gives off the impression that he’s not one to admit defeat and become submissive. Melisandre told him that he didn’t lose the war… is she right?

Tyrion’s scenes felt a little underwhelming, but it was nice to see him alive and recovering. I was very pleased to see Varys being openly friendly to Tyrion, and the scene with Shae was really comforting. I enjoy seeing how close the two of them really seem to be. Shae handled everything quite well despite Tyrion’s doubts this episode. It’s unfortunate that Tyrion is now going back to the role of “the family freak” now that Tywin is in King’s Landing. Much like Sansa, I’m worried that his stay in King’s Landing is only going to get worse.

As for Sansa, I’m not sure what to think. Joffrey’s decision to marry Margaery Tyrell could be a blessing or a curse for Sansa. It was a nice touch to see her laughing in relief after Joffrey decided to cast aside his vow to marry her, and I also supported her in turning down Littlefinger’s offer to help get her home. Who in their right mind would accept an offer from that man? Would anyone really side with the man who was responsible for their father’s death? If Littlefinger had remained honest with Ned, we’d have a Stark ruling King’s Landing right now. I’m hoping that Sansa refused the offer just because it was Littlefinger making it, but she also turned down Sandor Clegane’s offer in the previous episode. She’s surely heard that Winterfell has fallen to the Greyjoys by now, so perhaps she knows that staying in King’s Landing is the better choice at the moment.

Varys was given a little more depth in this episode, which I enjoyed. When Joffrey appointed Littlefinger as Lord of Harrenhal, you could see the daggers shooting from Varys’ eyes. It was a look of pure contempt and disgust, a look that I don’t think we’ve ever seen on the face of Varys. The man was rightfully pissed off, and it’s clear that he wants to strike out at Littlefinger somehow after his meeting with Ros, the go-to whore for the writers to use in every situation that seems to require use of one of Littlefinger’s employees. I had a little chuckle when Ros stuck her hand between Varys’ legs only to be given a very matter of factly look from the man himself. I was a firm believer last year that Varys is one of the show’s biggest anti-heroes, but this season made me believe that he’s perhaps the biggest. His methods are questionable at times, but as Varys told poor Ned last year, he serves the realm itself – not whomever sits on the Iron Throne. The man is simply after what appears to be peace and unity, but the spiteful Varys seeking revenge against Littlefinger will probably be very interesting to watch next season.

Theon, look out behind you!
Theon, look out behind you!

Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie weren’t utilized very much this episode, but I still liked the sight of them wandering off together. I get a kick out of seeing Hot Pie tagging along, especially after his introduction last season made him look like he’d be a miniature antagonist in Arya’s story. Now he tags along with Arya and Gendry, almost feeling like the comic relief of the trio. Jaqen H’ghar’s appearance and subsequent face changing trick was pretty cool, and it raised a few pretty good questions with the most important one being just what is Jaqen? An illusionist? Shapeshifter? Something even more unbelievable? I’d like to know, but he appears to be exiting the show so we may have to wait a while to really know for sure.

Robb’s surely getting himself into loads of trouble. I can understand that he feels true love with Talisa and that the two of them really want to be together, but he’s definitely digging himself into a hole. Catelyn reminded him, yet again, that he is breaking the vow he made to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters. Given how jerkish Walder seemed to be when we met him in the first season, I don’t think he’ll take too kindly to Robb breaking the vow. The question is… how long will it take for Walder to find out, and what can he do about it? The people of Westeros take promises and vows very seriously, so I don’t know if Robb can put too much faith in being able to cross Frey’s bridge again.

Now, how about the conclusion to Daenerys’ Qarth adventures? I’ll admit that a lot of her scenes have been pretty hit or miss this year and her endless empty threats being made to everyone in the middle of the season were more than grating, but this episode redeemed her fully and made her into a lovable character once again. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate her. It’s just that her constant yelling at everyone in Qarth about laying waste to her enemies and taking “back” the Iron Throne, along with the episode or two where she was pretty dickish towards Jorah struck me the wrong way. The season finale righted every wrong and brought back the Daenerys I liked from before. It was very cool to see her reject every false illusion thrust at her by the creepy warlock Pyat Pree. It was cool to see her reject the Iron Throne and I was impressed with her ability to pull herself away from the illusions of Drogo and Rhaego so easily. And what was even better? The torching of Pyat Pree. The first season’s finale ended with an epic scene of the dragons being born, but I think that this finale’s dragon scene was even better. Those three little suckers breathed fire! We’re not just talking little squirts of flames, but actual breath of fire. Pyat Pree was noticeably shaken when he saw Drogon spit out a small smoky burst of fire, but he clearly didn’t expect a huge barrage from all three of the dragons! It’s not often that I’ll grin and cheer when I see a character burning to death, but Pyat Pree deserved it when he decided to chain Daenerys and the dragons up just so that the source of his magic would never leave him. What an evil little freak.

The final scenes with Daenerys were just as bittersweet. Discovering that her handmaiden Doreah was sleeping with Xaro Xhoan Daxos was a huge discovery. It was a flat out betrayal regardless of what Doreah pleaded. When Daenerys had Doreah and Xaro locked inside of Qarth’s surprisingly empty vault I was reminded that this small woman is not to be messed with. Just as the witch Mirri Maz Duur discovered last year, double crossing Daenerys Targaryen will result in death. Afterwards, Daenerys and her motley crew of Dothraki deserters were able to help themselves to looting and ransacking Xaro’s estate. When Daenerys held up a large golden cup and asked Jorah if it was enough to buy a ship, I couldn’t help but smile. Daenerys is still far away from Westeros so I can’t imagine her even managing to reach her homeland until at least season four, but she’s definitely making progress. No longer is she a poor woman leading a bunch of wanderers. Daenerys now has money. Lots of money. Look out, Essos.

As for Winterfell, well, seeing it smoking as a result of Bolton’s bastard son attacking it definitely hit home. It felt like that scene in a lot of movies where the good guy’s base of operations gets destroyed. Winterfell, a location that has played such a central role in the story, has been ransacked and left deserted. What was even more depressing was the demise of Maester Luwin. I really liked that guy because he was the sort of guy everyone would want as a grandfather. He was a gentle and caring old man who was exceptionally wise. Nodding to Osha that he wanted her to put him out of his misery was a truly saddening scene. The only other death in this show that made me feel as sad was Ned’s death. It’s always really somber when a truly good person kicks the bucket, and Luwin was perhaps the gentlest soul on the entire show. I’ve liked his character immensely since day one and I’m going to miss him for sure. Damn Theon’s men for causing Luwin’s downfall! I didn’t expect them stab the poor guy with a pole-arm, but I didn’t expect them to betray Theon either. I should have seen it coming though after Theon’s moment alone with Luwin in which he realized that he wasn’t the man he was basically pretending to be and that difficult circumstances drove him to do every wrong doing that he committed this season. Theon essentially admit that he made some grave mistakes, but those very mistakes made it impossible for him to go back. It was at this moment that he embraced his imminent death, and his motivational and uplifting speech that he delivered to his men almost made me forgive Theon for every terrible act that he was responsible for. Almost.

Sam, I forgive you if you wet yourself. I would have too.
Sam, I forgive you if you wet yourself. I would have too.

And now for the parts that I’ve been waiting to write about, the stories of Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly. With Jon, it was really surprising to see Qhorin Halfhand literally attack him! I know that Qhorin did it to help Jon, and I hope it’s clear to everyone else as well. Qhorin knew that he was a dead man regardless of what happened, but Jon still had a shot at being able to bring the head of Mance Rayder to Knight Commander Jeor Mormont. By outright branding Jon as a traitor and provoking the young steward turned ranger into actually killing him, Qhorin did more for Jon than he can imagine. When the Lord of Bones said “let it be known that this is the man who killed the Halfhand” I couldn’t help but want to give the distraught Jon Snow a fist bump. His ropes have been tied and he’s been given free reign. Way to go Jon, you’re in buddy! Jon’s final scene of looking down upon the Wildling capital with Ygritte was a great way to end his story for the season.

Now… Samwell Tarly, you poor bastard. When Sam and the other two stewards (their names escape me) heard one horn blow for rangers returning, I knew that wasn’t what it was for. When the second horn blow sounded, a smile crept on my face. I knew that it wasn’t going to be for wildlings attacking… and when the third horn blow sounded, my heart rate must have been through the roof. When Sam mentioned earlier in the season that three blasts are for white walkers, I thought to myself right then that we were being told very useful information and that it was definitely foreshadowing. Indeed it was! As Sam proved to be too slow to keep up with the other two stewards as they fled to rejoin the others, we were treated to the silhouettes of a few bodies in the distance. Sam knew what they were, and so did we. As the snow and wind picked up, the mood became extremely tense and almost horrifying due to the idea that Sam could have possibly been about to meet his demise. When the horde of White Walkers and wights finally reached him as he hid behind a snow covered rock… wow, just wow. When the White Walker looked straight down at Sam, I thought that he was done for. Fortunately for the lovable chap, the White Walker decided that Sam wasn’t worth their time and issued a cry for the wights behind him to march forward, leaving poor Sam there all by himself and surrounded by an army of undead that slowly crept past him… towards the Fist of the First Men.

WOW.

We seriously have to wait another nine or ten months to find out what happens!? I don’t know if I can last that long! This was just such an awesome episode that had so much happening that it bears several rewatches this week alone. I didn’t even touch upon Tywin smugly accepting the role of King’s Hand or Jaime being impressed by Brienne murdering three Stark men in cold blood, but those were amazing scenes as well. Everything about this episode was stellar, and it was a fantastic end to a great season. This is how you conclude a season, everyone. The cliffhangers in last night’s finale will keep theorists busy for many months to come and, mark my words, the season three premiere will no doubt be a shockingly good episode with an all time high for the show’s ratings. I felt like the death of Ned Stark last season was the start to the season but with an army of undead marching on the Fist of the First Men? This is the real deal right here. Bring on season three, because it’s going to be a doozy.

Episode Rating

A+

Game of Thrones Beers

User satansbrand on RedBubble put together some really humourous and impressive Game of Thrones inspired beer labels. They’re all quite cool to look at, and part of me is tempted to print one or two out to use on an actual beer bottle to see if anyone would notice.

Check them out!

Game of Thrones – Season 2 Premiere Review

So! It’s been almost twelve hours since the season premiere of Game of Thrones and I have to say I came away from it very impressed! The only jaw dropping moments came in the final minutes of the episode, but that is in no way saying that the rest of the episode was worse. It was all very, very, good.

Where to start? Perhaps with the fact that now everyone knows the truth about Joffrey and that he is a Lannister? As much as I hate Joffrey, I do feel a little bad for him because even he knows the truth now, but he seems a little torn on whether or not to believe it. When he confronted his mother about it only to have her slap him, I was blown away when he said that she had committed a crime punishable by death. He said this to his own mother! Cersei, you’ve created a monster!

I was excited about Tyrion being in King’s Landing, but now I’m worried. We know how he treats Joffrey, and if the Boy King is willing to treat his mother with such disregard then what could be in store for Tyrion? I expect that Tyrion is too smart to try anything drastic, and I doubt that he’ll be slapping Joffrey left and right again any time soon.

Sansa’s role was quite minor in the season premiere, but it was still nice to see her save that poor fighter from being executed. She’s definitely very submissive right now, isn’t she? No doubt she knows what will happen if she says a single word that upsets Joffrey and wants to avoid more beatings! I can’t help but feel bad for her as she is stuck in King’s Landing and is surrounded by Lannisters, the very people who are offing her family members left and right. I can’t imagine she’ll be stuck them forever, but how will she manage to get away? I’m very interesting in seeing how she could possibly escape.

Robb had a few good scenes. I especially liked his little meeting with Jaime Lannister. Robb wasn’t able to get through to Jaime too easily, at least until his dire wolf decided to wander into Jaime’s makeshift cell. It was great to see Jaime almost wetting himself as Robb’s gigantic pooch got right up in his face! I’ve never seen Jaime look so uneasy before, it was a great sight.

Daenerys didn’t have any stellar scenes throughout the episode, but it was still really great to see one of the dragons making itself at home on her shoulder as it looked all around and roared as hard as it could with its little set of lungs. I also appreciated her scene with Jorah in which she truly conveyed how much she relied on him. The two definitely share a very close bond and I’m glad to see Jorah sticking with her through thick and thin after his original objective was to do nothing more than merely spy and report his findings to Varys.

The highlight of the episode was, without a doubt, the introduction of Stannis. Right off the bat he made it very clear that he didn’t love Robert as a brother and that his only desire now was to become a conquerer. He is the living definition of cold and ruthless, and I can’t wiat to see more of him. Davos and Melisandre (the latter not being named on-screen yet) are also looking like pretty cool characters. Davos reminded me a bit of Jorah in some ways, but I’m sure that there’s a good amount of individuality to Davos’ character.

As far as the sets are concerned, I was really impressed with Dragonstone! The interiors were so dark and moody, conveying everything that the directors wanted to inject upon their audiences’ imaginations. I was also very fond of Iceland’s frozen vistas being used for the scenes shot north of the Wall.

Overall it’s a bit hard for me to focus on anything to speak about because the episode jumped around so many times due there being such an insane number of characters to follow. Because of this, I didn’t write anything at all about Jon Snow or Bran, though they each had interesting scenes (Jon being north of the Wall, Bran having a dream about being a wolf).

It will be interesting to see how the Lannisters’ hunt for Gendry progresses. After all of Robert’s bastard children were seemingly slaughtered by soldiers, the former blacksmith’s apprentice is the only one who still seems to be safe and sound. The Lannisters have discovered that Gendry left with the Night’s Watch though, which is an interesting revelation. They’re going to try and hunt him down, but will that even work? If they successfully track Gendry down, they’ll also come face to face with Arya as well. Will Yoren allow the Lannisters to lay a hand on Arya or Gendry? I can’t wait to see.

Next week can’t come soon enough… But it sure beats waiting ten months!

Episode Rating

A

Dexter – Season 6 Finale (Review)

I won’t lie, season 6 of Dexter wasn’t always good. There were a few low points throughout the twelve episodes, but there were a few really great highs as well. The whole Brother Sam arc was very well done and I really enjoyed Dexter hunting the Tooth Fairy.

With that said… I was not a fan of the Nebraska episode since it just reeked of questionable writing. I also feel that they drew the whole Gellar thing out for too long. While Gellar seemed like an interesting character and potentially worthy as a villain, the fact that he was dead the whole time resulted in the character having very little time on screen and, when he did appear, he didn’t do a heck of a lot. This caused me to care less about Gellar even before the big reveal that he was dead occurred. The writers let that one go on for far too long.

And then there’s Debra’s feelings for Dexter which came completely out of left field. The whole dream kiss scene in the penultimate episode was pretty cringe-worthy, and I’m glad that Deb’s feelings were toned down a bit in the finale. She has certainly accepted that she is in love with Dexter (proving herself to be quite damaged mentally) and she’s come to the conclusion that she wants to tell him. Thankfully her psychiatrist made it clear to Deb that she can control her own feelings but she cannot control Dexter’s. I hope that this is a message from the writers that Dexter will not return Deb’s love. This episode made it pretty clear that he only loves her as a sister and anything else would feel tacked on just for the sake of pushing some kind of weird Deb and Dexter romance forward. I sincerely hope that the writers realize that a good majority of viewers do not want a relationship to form between the two. Poor Jeff Lindsay must be wondering what the writers are doing with his characters! They really are going out of their way to make sure the TV series cannot possibly follow anything in the books ever again, aren’t they?

I put off mentioning Travis until now, so I’ll talk a bit about him. I really felt that Colin Hanks amped up his acting a fair bit in the finale. While Travis isn’t the best villain in Dexter history, he was still pretty compelling in this episode as it was clear he was breaking down at a pretty remarkable rate. It takes a special kind of guy to talk to two clearly dead bodies that are soaking in their own blood. Obviously Travis is more gone than most of us anticipated. Anyway, great performance by Colin Hanks after Harrison was kidnapped. Travis was certainly a fitting big bad in the finale and I was glad to see him fully escape from the shadow of Gellar and stand on his own two feet.

A few minor things. Quinn survived the season! How many people were expecting him to get killed off? I thought he was going to go a few times, but we’ve still got him. Hopefully next season he’s a little more grounded and “over” Deb since that was ultimately the root of his bad behavior this season. I enjoyed seeing Angel basically turning his back to Quinn and, even though I feel bad for ol’ Joey, he really did bring it all on himself. Angel was right to say that he can’t trust Quinn anymore after he screwed up so many times throughout the course of the season. Almost costing Angel his life was obviously the biggest error on Quinn’s part. Hopefully he smartens up next season and the request that Angel put in to have Quinn transferred to another department does not go through.

I’ve obviously saved the biggest part for last. Deb seeing Dexter kill Travis. She didn’t just witness a simple killing, no. Deb saw Travis wrapped in plastic surrounded by quite a few kill tools and, of course, Dexter in his kill outfit with that pleased look on his face as he delivered the fatal stab to Travis. Dexter turns killing into a methodical art and now Deb is aware. She has seen it.

Debra. Saw. Dexter. Kill.

So we’ve finally been given the ending that we were cheated from getting last season and I couldn’t be more satisfied. There are a lot of questions that season 7 will have to answer such as how Deb handles the sight of Dexter performing what almost looked like a ritualistic killing. The whole deal with Louis and the prosthetic hand is also in the air. There is no doubt in my mind that Louis will be back for season 7 and will play a very important role in the development of the season.

All in all, a good end to a remarkably inconsistent season that bounced back and forth between being good and bad more times than I can count. It was a shaky ride, but the end was worth every second. Bring on season 7.

Episode Rating

B+