September 4th, 2009

Scary Books

Book Reviews: Skin Deep + Wraith

Skin Deep by Mark Del Franco

This is a spin off from the 'Connor Grey' urban fantasy series and it is an okay read. In a world where humans and fey co-exist uneasily, Laura Blackstone lives three lives. One life is her own as a fey PR agent, another is Janice a druidess assisting a SWAT team and another is Mariel who works for fey security. Life as an undercover agent is difficult as Laura struggles to maintain three separate lives. But now all her three personas are colliding on one mysterious case.

Del Franco's writing is of varying quality. Of the 'Connor Grey' series books 1 and 3 are washouts, while book 2 is good. 'Skin Deep' is the start of a new series but I don't fell inclined to search out any future additions to this series. I just don't have enough faith in Del Franco's writing ability.

~
Wraith by Phaedra Weldon

This is book one of a new urban fantasy series about Zoë who can astral project. It's an okay read but Zoë irritates. She comes across as immature and stupid. There are as of now, two more books in the series but I'm not inclined to rush out and buy them. That's because the heroine is infuriatingly moronic, plain dumb and her first person narration makes her come across as a sugar addled spoilt teenager with learning difficulties instead of woman pushing thirty. This is an okay read with a dimwit heroine.
Scary Books

Kings Episode 10 Review

Chapter One

The country's charter is stolen so Silas dispatches David to find it. Katarina's engagement is Jack is short lived as she dies in a car wreck. Jack is now to marry Lucinda. Jack doesn't waste time mourning Joseph as he flirts with another guy causing Lucinda to realise she's being used. David learns Silas allegedly sent his father to his death. This episode had way too much David in it. How is David supposed to become king? He's a bland idiot. Also Jack is a tool, literally. William Cross continues to plot his coup whether Jack wants to be part of it or not.

David's mother shows up to be an idiot, David challenges Silas and gets arrested for treason as a result. Queen Rose show had Katarina killed so David better watch out. Jack continues to switch personalities from ep to ep, Michelle continues to be bland and how does Cross keep getting away with everything?

Best Lines:
"We've gone to war for less insult."

"You pretend to be a good man."

"You accept that ring, you become a vessel for the propagation of his kind. If you can't manage that you will have failed your only employment."
Traveler

Stargate Atlantis Season 4 Eps 15&19 Reviewed

You just knew this show was doomed when just 2 eps of an entire season were watchable. Which is still better than season 5 as only one of its eps was watchable.

Outcast
TPTB finally give back-story on Sheppard when he heads home for his dad's funeral. His family are old money and they suck. Sheppard deals with his ex-wife (Kari Wuhrer of 'Sliders', 'Berserker: Hell's Warrior' and 'Eight Legged Freaks') and his snot of a brother (Dylan Neal of 'Dawson's Creek', 'Blood Ties' and 'Legend of the Rangers'. This was good, Sheppard got to brood and have character.

~
The Last Man
Sheppard walks through a Stargate and ends up 48,000 years in the future where Atlantis is buried in sand. There he meets a hologram of McKay who tells him how the galaxy went to hell without Sheppard. Basically everyone died and the hellspawn villain Michael won. Now Sheppard has to go back in time and save the day. This was very good. But can Sheppard save the day from the idiot villain Michael? Will Sheppard get a guest role on 'Stargate: Universe'?
Scary Books

Retro Review: Smallville Seasons 1&2 Reviewed

How long has this show been running anyway? This was the Golden Age of 'Smallville' before Green Arrow, Jimmy, Doomsday, Lois, Bellereve, French witches, Brainiac, Zod and the stupid badly done rift.

Season 1

X-Ray

Clark develops X-ray vision, which helps when a girl named Tina turns out to have he power to change her form to look like anyone she wants. She kills her mother and then plans to kill Lana and take over her life. Clark saves Lana, his obsession with her was just creepy. Meanwhile a nosy reporter is after Lex so Lex scares him off while wielding a pool cue in an ominous fashion.

~
Cool
Lex tries to befriend the Kent parents to no avail. In a later season Lionel was invited to Thanksgiving dinner, Lex was never invited. Vile people.

~
Hourglass
Cassandra has the gift of seeing the future and gives Clark a vision of himself in a graveyard surrounded by the graves of everyone he knows and there is no grave for Lex. Anyway Lex asks Cassandra to see his future and she sees a vision of him in the White House, then surrounded by sunflowers, which turn to bones while he is bathed in a rain of blood. The vision of Lex's horrific future is brilliant and the shock of it kills Cassandra. But of course it won't come true as Lex couldn't get elected Senator and then got killed off by the vile bully Green Arrow.

~
Craving
Jodi (Amy Adams of 'Enchanted' and 'Cruel Intentions 2') goes on a diet that gives her a hunger for the body fat of others.

~
Jitters
Earl Jenkins (Tony Todd of 'Candyman' and 'Final Destination') takes a school group hostage during a tour of the plant. Lionel Luthor flies in and refuses to negotiate, so Lex goes in. Earl lets the kids go while keeping Lex. Clark manages to rescue Earl and Lex from a falling catwalk. This was good, poor Lex.

~
Rogue
Lex's old girlfriend Victoria (Kelly Brook) shows up and asks Lex to join her in a business deal.

~
Shimmer
Lex is being stalked by an invisible entity that threatens him and almost drowns Victoria. Apparently Victoria and Lex are putting together a plan to bring down Lex's father, but Victoria seems to have a scheme on the side. The highlights of this episode is Clark and Victoria creeping around the mansion all 'Scooby Doo' like after hearing mysterious noises.

~
Hug
A man has the power of persuasion on anyone he touches and he shake hands with Lex. So Lex is convinced to kill Clark. Clark manages to knock out Lex mid murderous rampage and Clark refers to Lex as his "Best friend". Later the friends stand in the barn and stare meaningfully into the sunset. Why was Lex's later descent into villainy and Clark just completely turning on him so badly done? The highlight of the episode is Lex's mad act as he sets one of his cars on fire with Clark inside and then stalks him with an Uzi while ranting about how bitter he is with the way people treat him. Poor Lex, he had no idea what the crap this show had yet to unload on him.

Best Line: "Clark, you have some explaining to do!"

~
Zero
Lex is stalked again, he had an endless stream of stalkers this guy. Flashbacks show Lex's past: he wore a leather jacket, went to a night club and drank appletinis! How very dare he!

~
Nicodemus
Jonathan, Lana and Pete are affected by a mysterious flower. Pete tries to kill Lex, Lana's body double shows off her underpants.

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Stray
An obnoxious telepathic kid named Ryan is the victim o'the week.The highlight of this episode is Lex telling Clark about his baby brother Julian who died of crib death. A sad moment undone in retrospect by later idiot Julian developments.

~
Reaper
Lex is bothered by Dominic one of Lionel's lackeys. Lex drugs Dominic, ties him up in the boot of a car and delivers him to Lionel. In a hilarious moment, Lionel just stares at the furious Dominic, shakes his head and shuts the car boot and walks off.

~
Drone
Clark runs for class president saying he stands for "Truth, justice and other stuff."

~
Crush
Justin (Adam Brody of 'The O.C.' and 'Mr & Mrs Smith') was horribly injured in a hit and run. Now he has developed telekinesis and uses to attack people who annoy him. Meanwhile Lex's old nanny Pamela visits him but he is furious with her for abandoning him after his mother's death. The highlight of this ep is the sight of Lillian Luthor's overdone huge gravestone with the water fountain, the eternal flame and the muse. Later eps would reveal that Lex's hero worship of his mother was horribly misplaced. She was a worse parent then Lionel and that is saying something.

~
Obscura
Lex and reporter Roger Nixon contact a man who was a crop-duster who was working during the meteor shower and apparently saw a craft crashing down in a field. This piques Lex's interest and he starts digging up the field and finds meteorite chunks and a mysterious metal disc.

~
Tempest
Clark prepares for his date with Chloe, reporter Roger Nixon uncovers Clark's alien origins and breaks into the storm cellar uses the disc Lex found to activate the spaceship just as three tornadoes hit Smallville. The tornado hits Lex's manor and traps Lionel under beam, leaving Lex with a life-or-death decision to make. Clark dumps Chloe at the dance and rushes off to see Lana sucked up into the tornado. A good cliff-hanger and the highlight is the look on Lex's face as Lionel pleads for help. He should have let Lionel die for his own sake.

~
Season 2

Vortex
Clark rescues Lana while Lex rescues his father. Lex who receives no thanks from the Kents for saving their lives from Nixon. Lionel claims to be blind. Poor Lex.

~
Heat
Clark develops heat vision and sets a classroom on fire. Lex is engaged to the new biology teacher Desiree (Krista Allen) They get married with Clark as best man. Desiree is a gold-digger and sets Lex on fire so Clark jumps Lex to put the flames out. Pause, rewind, play, pause, rewind, play. This was hilarious and very good.

~
Red
Clark is exposed to red kryptonite and acts wildly starting a bar fight, hanging out with trashy new girl Jessie, buying a leather coat, teasing the blind Lionel and coming on to Lex in his study. Pete (who is on the secret now) and Jonathan team up to bring the psycho Clark back to normal.

~
Nocturne
Lana gets a stalker/boyfriend in the form of the poetry spouting Byron. In a hilarious moment, Clark apologises to Lane for not being "straight" with her.

~
Lineage
In wonderfully done flashbacks, we find out what happened after the meteor shower: Lionel met the Kents after the meteor storm and Jonathan helped him save Lex and then toddler Clark stroked the unconscious young Lex's cheek. That caused Lex to wake up for a moment to make eye contact with toddler Clark before passing out again. That was sweet. In a less sweet moment Lex learns Lionel had a son named Lucas with one of his mistresses.

~
Skinwalker
Clark falls into an Indian cave. The caves hold ancient cave drawings, including a prophecy. Those stupid problem causing caves.

~
Insurgence
Lex discovers his father has him under electronic surveillance and hires some thugs to bug Lionel's office. This results in the thugs taking Lionel and Martha hostage as they pan to rob Lionel's vault. Lex, Jonathan and Clark head to LuthorCorp. It turns out the Daily Planet building is right across the road from LuthorCorp. The Kents exchange another sickening group hug and leave Lex all alone. This ep was full of rift foreshadowing.

~
Suspect
Lionel is shot and Jonathan is arrested. Clark and Pete investigate and everyone is a suspect. In a truly obnoxious moment Clark accuses Lex of shooting Lionel and framing Jonathan and never apologises.

~
Prodigal
Lex finds his half-brother Lucas. But he and Lionel kick Lex out of the mansion so Lex has to move in with the Kents. Lucas finds out Lionel has been faking his blindness. It turns out Lionel set up everything to play the siblings against each other and then Lex and Lucas team up to play Lionel. Lucas was never seen or mentioned again after this ep. The highlights of this ep were Clark's instant hate for Lucas. Lex living on the farm and Clark saying he trusted Lex.

Best Line: "Psychotic little bastard"

~
Rosetta
Clark goes to visit a Dr Swann (Christopher Reeve) and finds out Swann received a signal on the day of the meteor shower. The signal identifies Clark as Kal-El from the planet Krypton and Swann says Clark must find his destiny as he is the last of his race. Clark and Jonathan open the ship with the key and Clark translates a message from his true father telling him to rule Earth as a God. The highlights of this ep was Lex finding Clark lying in the road during the night and Clark arriving home in the morning (just what did they do in-between?) and the 'Superman' theme playing as Swann confronts Clark.

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Visitor
A student named Cyrus seemingly starts a fire with his eyes. Cyrus has a history of mental problems because he claims to be an alien. Chloe finds out Cyrus is the unidentified orphan of parents killed in the meteor shower. Clark inadvertently causes Cyrus to suffer a mental breakdown. It wouldn't be the last time Clark did that to someone either. Meanwhile Lex's girlfriend Helen moves in and finds a locked room that is a shrine to Clark Kent.

~
Precipice
Helen is stalked and stabbed by an old boyfriend so Lex takes the law into his own hands. He nearly kills the stalker but can't do it. He asks Helen to marry him as the song "Don't Fear The Reaper" plays in the background. Of course the baddie the song is foreshadowing is Helen, not Lex. The highlight of this ep was Clark and Lex hunting down creepy stalker guy.

~
Calling
Lionel cuts a deal with Chloe to investigate Clark on his behalf in return for a Daily Planet job. The ship comes to life. Highlights of this ep are: Lex asking the Kents to sit in for his parents at the reception dinner and Clark and Lex hugging.

~
Exodus
The spaceship announces (via the voice of Terence Stamp)that it is programmed with the memories of Clark's Kryptonian father Jor-El. Helen marries Lex and Lex is hurt when Clark doesn't show up to be best man. Clark misses Lex's wedding to go to the ship and destroy it. The Kents are caught in the blast which causes Martha to lose her baby. Chloe embraces the dark side with Lionel. Clark later forgave her, something he never ever would do for Lex in later seasons. Jonathan yells at Clark for his stupidity. Clark believes he is better off on his own so he puts on a red kryptonite ring and leaves town on a motorbike doing about 1 MPH. Meanwhile Lex and Helen fly off on their honeymoon but Lex wakes up to find the plane empty just before it crashes into the ocean. Great cliff-hanger but season 3 never explained how the Kents explained the big hole where their stormcellar once was or what Helen's whole personality switch was all about. The show was never this good again as it all went downhill.
Traveler

Jericho Season 1 Review, Part 2

Crossroads
Emily thinks what her wedding day to Roger could have been like and Jericho is menaced by Ravenwood. This was okay, it has been obvious since 'Four Horsemen' that Roger will be back someday. Mary is suddenly friends with Heather and Emily. The booze in the bar finally runs out. Dr Dhuwalia gives his back-story of being trapped in Las Vegas without water or power. Ravenwood tell the truth but no-one believes them, something that will have massive repercussions in season 2. Johnston Green gives Jake a handbook to assist in setting up a Jericho defence force, something they didn't bother with until now. Eric asks the survivalists for help, something nobody else thought to do. The road that is blocked by two passenger planes doesn't seem to give anyone any bother as Jonah and his gang and Ravenwood tool about with no problems. Eric dumps April for Mary, he doesn't know that April is pregnant.

~
Red Flag
Planes drop food and other vital supplies on Jericho. Trouble breaks out between the townspeople and the survivalists for the pallets. Then Gracie is murdered. This was okay. Gail and Eric Green act irrationally, Johnston Green shows off cold war paranoia, people claim to be hungry but nobody actually looks hungry or dirty. Eric discovers that he is the least favourite son now. Stanley and Mimi bond. The food pallet drop sequence was well done and the mysterious leaflets in the pallets intrigued, shame TPTB never went anywhere with them.

Best Line: "My family is hungry now, not when you decide it's okay for them to be hungry!"
~
Vox Populi
Gray uses Gracie's murder to get elected mayor. Jonah faces a lynchmob. Dale avenges Gracie's death. Bonnie screams in sign language and Roger returns as Emily is trying to get it on with Jake. We get more back story on Jake as Emily discusses their teenage romance. Stanley and Mimi bond some more, Jonah is exiled, Bonnie finds herself a bad boy boyfriend and Roger reveals he walked from Nebraska to get back to Emily and her polyester hair extensions. One has to wonder, where was the Jericho defence force? Didn't they see Roger and his band of plane survivors walking into town? This was good.

~
The Day Before
Flashbacks to 36 hours before the attacks show Jake as a sort of reformed bad boy with secrets, Hawkins as a kidnapper, Emily as selfish and the Green parents having marital problems. Jake sports a suit and tie and has combed hair, he looks nice. In flashback Johnston praises Eric as the good son, oh how times change. More mystery about Jake's past is sown here. This was okay.

~
Black Jack
Jake, Heather, Johnston and Dale visit the trading post of Black Jack and see the harsh realities of their new world. This was excellent and stuff set up in this ep played out well into season 2. In the funniest moment of the entire show, the expedition to Black Jack is suggested and the entire population of the town turn to look at Jake. Hilarious, Gail is amazed and Jake looks sheepish. The message board at Black Jack is full of visual clues and hints about future plot arcs, it's something to behold on freeze frame.

Elsewhere Dale and Skylar continue to plot, it is revealed Germany dropped aid on the town of New Bern and Hawkins' conspiracy side plot drags on. The New Bern plot get its start here, I sort of wish they hadn't done the whole New Bern plot.

Best Lines:
"Where's the President?"
"Which one?"

~
Heart Of Winter
Food is low in Jericho. Nobody thinks to mention that maybe they shouldn't have eaten all their supplies at that huge BBQ or got themselves blacklisted from Black Jack. Jake, Stanley and Mimi go out hunting but run into problems. This was good but the Hawkins/conspiracy plot eats up too much airtime. This was good. So much bleakness in this episode: the field of dead bodies, mass migrations and murderous road gangs.

Also Johnston and Gail discuss how Jake wasn't always the problem child and how he hid alcohol in his closet as a teen. Where are all the migrations heading? Why were they never mentioned in season 2? Why don't Stanley and Jake huddle together for warmth if it's cold enough for a water bottle to freeze solid? Mimi has to go for help and she isn't very good at that. Johnston and Gail drink and drive to save Jake. An injured, cold Jake weeps to his father about killing a child in Iraq. Johnston is stunned and then doesn't want to talk about it any more. Doesn't Johnston wonder what Jake was doing in Iraq? Apparently not as they never discussed it again, Jake only revealed the full details of his past to Eric in season 2.

~
Semper Fidelis
Marines claiming to be on the forefront of the reconstruction efforts arrive in Jericho. However Johnston and Jake soon realise they aren't Marines at all. This was okay. But how did the fake marines fuel their tank? The marines actually are telling the truth about the reconstruction but even they don't seem to realise it. People are leaving Jericho for someplace better, never to be seen or mentioned again. Somehow the talk of food riots in refugee camps doesn't dissuade them from leaving. This was good.

~
Winter's End
April goes into early labour and Jake has to drag Dhuwalia out of the bar and into the medical centre to operate on her. Meanwhile the trade deal with New Bern gets complicated. This was good. April and her unborn child die of pregnancy complications in a very sad moment. Eric weeps over the fact he was making out with Mary as his wife and child were dying. Mimi and Bonnie try to bond. Nobody explains how Mimi and Bonnie were going to dry the sheets they were boiling. Stanley and Eric head off to New Bern despite the obvious warning signs. Dale and Skyler continues to act like brats.
Scary Books

Harper's Island Episode 13 Review

Sigh

A flashback shows a young Abby and Henry bonding making one wonder if Henry killed his parents. It also shows how far back Henry's icky obsession with his half sister goes. Wakefield and Henry continue their murderous plan. Sully sends Shea and Madison off in a boat, why the rest of them didn't pile into that boat and escape some time ago is beyond me. Shortly thereafter Henry confesses his deeds (he killed JD, the Reverend, Trish's dad and stepmother) to his best friend Sully and stabs him. So who put the deer head in Henry's bath tub then?

Jimmy's suspicious of Henry and so is Abby. Then Henry shows his dad who is the bigger loon by stabbing him. Henry burns down the church to make the FBI think everyone is dead. He sets up house with Abby on the island, somehow the FBI don't locate the big house full of windows. Henry reveals that he first met Wakefield seven years ago during Wakefield's rampage when his dear old dad nearly skewered him. Then dear old dad taught him how to be a serial killer. In flashback Wakefield gets to glower a lot.

Henry can't understand why Abby doesn't want to play house with him and so shows off his serious anger management problems. Can Abby escape the loon? How long has Jimmy being tied up in that room? In the end the legend of John Wakefield claims one final victim and the show ends with some video testimonials from the wedding guests on the boat (as seen back in ep 1).

This was very good, Christopher Gorham was really good as the loon. Hopefully after 'Popular', 'Jake 2.0', 'Medical Investigation' and 'Ugly Betty', he'll get a decent show. All in all I enjoyed my trip to 'Harper's Island'.

Best Lines:
"Let's say the psycho has a son. Are you saying he's a wack job like his old man?"
"Maybe he's just really pissed."

"His mom abandoned him, gave him up for adoption. Let him be raised by some loser family who never bothered telling him he wasn't theirs."
"Life's hard, grow a pair."

"You're creeping me out."

"It's not like I killed them all, my dad did a lot."

"John Wakefield's right behind you."
"How stupid do you think I am?"

"We've completed our search of the island and we found over 20 bodies."

"Everybody's dead."
"They had to go."

"Wakefield killed my mom and Dad. She was your mom too."
"She threw me away."

"When I looked at him, there was a connection."
"Connection? With the man who hung my mother from a tree?"
"Kinda weird huh?"

"You destroyed everything I ever loved."
"But you have me."
"I DON'T WANT YOU!"
Scary Books

United States of Tara Season 1 Ep 1 Review

Pilot

I've been longing to see this ever since I saw the ad for it. And it was worth the wait, it is a hilarious, bad taste gem. Tara (Toni Collette of 'Muriel's Wedding') a wife and mother of two has multiple personality disorder, this leads to wacky hijinks with her family. The show is better than it sounds, it's just brilliant black comedy with lots of zinging one liners. This was written by Diablo Cody who gave us 'Juno' and the upcoming 'Jennifer's Body'.

In this ep Tara can't deal with her slutty teenage daughter Kate and so turns into another personality named T who is also a slutty teenage loudmouth with such terrible dress sense she could be a cast off from 'Charmed' or 'Charm School'. Tara's son Marshall and husband Max (John Corbett of 'Sex & The City' and 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding') regard all this as perfectly normal. Tara's sister Charmaine thinks she's faking and is hot for Max. Kate is having issues with her noxious boyfriend which prompts yet another of Tara's personalities, this one named Buck to emerge. Buck deals with the "waste of hair product" boyfriend.

This was hilarious, full of great little moments like the quick scene of Buck, Max and Marshall at the gun range doing what Marshall calls "murder practice.".

Best Lines:
"Is anybody home? Marshall? Estonian cleaning lady? Mommy?"

"This is why I love you the best out of all the alters."

"We're gonna buy cheap hot clothes that make us look insecure."

"Why can't mom just be maniac depressive like all the other moms?"

"I did not raise you to let boys who wear pigtails push you around."
"These are Samurai knots."