Game of Thrones Season 8: Theories, Speculation, and Guesses Part II

Game of Thrones Season 8: Theories, Speculation, and Guesses Part II

I’m back and as promised we’re still on the topic of the season of Game of Thrones. I knew that trying to cover all threads left dangling in a single article would be impossible, so let’s pick things up from where we left off. And if you haven’t read my previous article you can find it here: https://sdfilmthoughts.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/game-of-thrones-season-8-theories-speculation-and-guesses/

-The Greyjoys-

While we know Euron’s endgame is to assist Cersei by ferrying The Golden Company (we’ll get to them in a bit) to King’s Landing in hopes of finally winning her hand, what about the rest? Yara is his prisoner on the Iron Islands and Theon is on his way to break her out, but what are the odds of this going well? With The Iron Fleet doing Cersei’s dirty work there’s a good chance that the Iron Islands are not well guarded. We’re in dire need of seeing Theon finally get some redemption. For the past five seasons we’ve seen his strength erode and the moment we think all is well he cracks. I think there’s a good chance we’ll get some character redemption for Theon, but at what cost? I could see Theon and Yara facing off with Euron only for Theon to die in the process. Because there is one thing that is inevitable.

-Death Death Death-

Oh yeah, we know for sure there is going to be a lot of this coming. I’m almost certain that we’ll see a multitude of side characters shuffle off the mortal coil. At this point it’s almost guaranteed that both Varys and Melisandre are on the top of that list. As she prophesied as much in season seven there’s no doubt in my mind. But along with that odds are Sir Beric will finally die. In the books he gave his life to resurrect Catelyn Stark, so I could potentially see something similar happen. There are many who have a hand to play in the final battle and if Beric believed The Lord of Light wanted to him to give his life to bring someone back he’d gladly do it. Jon Snow has already been brought back, so he’s more than likely out of the question. I could see Sandor “The Hound” Clegane being a possible option. If he were to die and be brought back this would be a big turning point for his character. He might finally believe he has a purpose in life. As heartbreaking as it might be there’s also a chance Tormund might not make it. Our favorite wildling has done a lot in service to Jon and we love him because of it. That would be a huge blow to morale especially for Jon and it would give him more of a reason to keep fighting.

-The Faceless Men-

With Arya’s from Braavos we have not seen nor heard anything about The Faceless Men. While it’s assumed that Arya paid her debt and Jaqen H’ghar (if it was him) let her leave scot free there’s a chance that’s not the end. Arya has been using the trade she learned from them to cross a few people off her list and that may not set well. The Faceless Men worship The Faceless God and as we know there is a strong accounting for life and death. With that said, Arya’s vendetta has been racking up quite the body count. I could see a Faceless Man paying the North a visit next season and death coming with. While we all love Arya and that’s why it would hurt to see her die. But I could see one of the Faceless Men either coming for her or someone she cares about. And if they come for Jon, Sansa, or someone else important she may sacrifice herself to save them.

-Clegane Vs. Clegane-

Everyone seems to be spoiling for this face off to happen. We know that the animosity between The Hound and The Mountain has been something they’ve had in them since they were children. After Gregor burned Sandor’s face for playing with a toy and their father blaming it on a bedroom fire it’s not been pleasant. When we saw the pair finally see each other again for the first time since season one there was a bit of foreshadowing that these two will come to blows. While I personally see this fight as fan service if done well it could be impressive. Sandor may finally get his well deserved revenge and another person could be added to the pile of dead assholes.

-The Golden Company-

This may be the most troubling prospect on the horizon. Even if The Army of The Dead is defeated  Jon and Dany face another epic problem. The Golden Company is considered some the best trained (possibly exceeding The Unsullied) warriors in Game of Thrones. If the North is left in tatters after killing The Night King and his army they’ll be severely outnumbered by the 10,000 strong sellswords Cersei has hired to do her dirty work. But as we’ve seen sellswords have never been the most reliable army. Stannis hired an army only to be defeated by Ramsay and co. and Bronn has said his allegiance lies with whoever is going to win. While The Golden Company have never broken a single contract that could change. Even if they have war elephants I’d assume seeing dragons would make them think twice about marching into battle. And it’s no longer a matter of if so much as when Jon’s true parentage will be revealed. If they found out they were fighting against the rightful heir of the iron throne there’s a chance it would get them to surrender.

-Prophecy Three-

So who is, “The Prince(ss) who was Promised”? This has been a major point of speculation not only in the series, but amongst fans. As of now the big contenders are Jon and Dany. While both are viable candidates what if to quote Yoda, “There is another.” I truly believe that Jon will get Dany pregnant and that child will be the promised one. And bonus points if the child is named Rhaegar.

-The Endgame-

George R.R. Martin has previously stated that he intends to have a bittersweet ending for A Song of Ice and Fire’s story. While it has been a road painted with a lot of bitter (Ned’s death and The Red Wedding to name a few) there needs to be some sweet. Either there could be fair and caring people who sit on the iron throne or the Seven Kingdoms will be broken up and Robert’s Rebellion and all the bloodshed will have been for nothing. But how iconic would it be to see Drogon’s fire melt down the iron throne? Or, considering a lot of this mess was put into place by incest it could almost be… for lack of a better word poetic that incest is what cleans it up. Dany has built up quite a following and Jon being a Stark would bring any hold outs to the table. How is that for bittersweet?

-Bonus: Dead Man Walking-

How fucked up would it be to see white walker Hodor in the Army of the Dead? Yeah, let that traumatic image set in.

These are my thoughts, but as usual what are yours? Are you ready to see how Game of Thrones ends? Are you more excited for the final two books? Do you think we’ll get a satisfying conclusion? Let me know. Remember you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @sdfilmthoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

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Game of Thrones Season 8: Theories, Speculation, and Guesses

Game of Thrones Season 8: Theories, Speculation, and Guesses

A week has passed since HBO aired the final episode in Game of Thrones penultimate season. While fans have gotten time to digest the events they’re left with the big question: How will it all end? All we know for sure at the moment is that season eight will have five episodes that will run anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours. Rumors have even been spreading that the season won’t premiere until 2019. If it’s true we have at the very least 16 months of waiting ahead of us. Let’s put some of that time to good use and begin wonder what will happen in those five episodes. Without further ado, let’s begin. And to avoid any ire there will be SPOILERS in this article

-The Structure-

Five episodes doesn’t give much time for the action to unfold. With that if they stick to a traditional structure this will be five acts or three. So one episode for each act, or two episodes for the first act, one episode of the second act, and two episodes for the third act. Either way we can assume that episodes one & two will be rising action (setting up the events between all of our characters), episode three will be the crisis (The War with the Dead), episode four will be the falling action (The War for The Iron Throne), and episode five will be the climax (who is still alive and where their place will be in this kingdom). Not that in-depth, but it gives us an idea of how all the pieces of the story will fall into place.

-Samwell’s Knowledge and Where He Could Go-

With his exodus from the Citadel Samwell has made a point of making sure he can offer as much help to Jon and those who intend to take part in fighting the Night King and his Army of the Dead. Before leaving he took numerous documents that could reveal the secrets key to their victory. Finding out how to make Valyrian steel would be the best way to turn the tide in the living’s favor. What if all the items necessary were in their grasp? It could be all that’s needed is steel, dragonglass, and dragon fire to craft it. With the magical properties of dragonglass and knowing that it can kill white walkers, it might be that combining it with steel and melting them together with dragon fire will create the much needed weapon.

If Sam discovers this and makes sure everyone is armed when the war comes he will have accomplished something not done in hundreds of years. With that whoever comes out on top might see fit to pardon Sam from his duty with the Night’s Watch. Knowing his father and brother (Randyll and Dickon) are both deceased Sam could possibly claim lordship of Horn Hill. That would be a nice reward to our beloved Sam and big middle finger to his dead father.

-Prophecy One-

With three major prophecies in play let’s dig into two of them now and leave a major one for a little later. First, we have Daenerys’ vision in The House of the Undying that spoke of three treasons, “…once for blood and once for gold and once for love”. If we assume that two of these treasons have already happened there’s still one to go. Once for love could be Jorah Mormont. The prophecy states that she will know the treasons, not that they will befall her. When Jorah fell in love with Dany he betrayed King Robert and the possibility of receiving a royal pardon. Once for gold could be Doreah. Having sold Dany out to Daxos she chose to live in luxury only to be left sealed in a vault. Now, what about blood? In season seven’s finale our final sight of Tyrion is him with a rather grim look on his face. What does it mean? It could be that after his conversation with Cersei he is questioning his loyalties to Dany. As we saw with the Stark girls recently, blood is thicker than water. Tyrion may not like his family, but he does love them and would possibly want to help House Lannister survive.

-Prophecy Two-

Now let’s take a look at what Maggy the Frog told Cersei as a child. In a nutshell: Cersei would become queen, but a younger queen would take her place. She would have three children all of whom she will outlive. And finally her younger brother will be the person who killed her. So far, most of this has happened with the exception of her death and the new queen. With her recent pregnancy we can assume Cersei is feeling like she has bested this curse. If she were to miscarry Cersei may realize that her fate is sealed and begin acting irrationally. With the Golden Company and Euron Greyjoy on her side she could drive an army north scorching everything she touches along the way. While she always assumed it would be Tyrion that would be the one who killed her, there is another younger brother. Jaime was technically born after her. He’s already left her side to go north knowing she has no plans to help. Seeing her cruelty reach further heights he might sacrifice the woman he loves to save Westeros. He’s already killed a Mad King, so killing a Mad Queen wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

-The Tullys-

With the end in sight there are a lot of major threads left dangling. While some of them may not be key to the main story it’d still be nice to get some resolution. Edmure and Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully haven’t been seen since season six, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be back. Edmure might still be locked away in a cell at The Twins, but what about The Blackfish? While director Mark Mylod has stated that The Blackfish did die off-screen we have no hard evidence. No corpse was seen and characters who’ve been considered dead (The Hound, Jon Snow) turned out to be alive. Both of which the creators kept mum about their fates until they were brought back into the fold. Edmure or The Blackfish would be a key ally to Jon and Dany by rallying the forces of Riverrun to their cause.

-Grains of Sand-

In season seven we saw the fall of two key allies to Dany. The Tyrells were reduced to nothing with the death of Olenna and Jaime sacking Highgarden to “pay their debts”. The Martells were left in ruin with capture of Ellaria Sand and death of the Sand Snakes. Ellaria now sits in a dungeon to watch her daughter Tyene slowly be killed from the Long Farewell. While this could be the last we see of Ellaria it seems like a rather improper send off. There could and should be more for her story.

It seems this article has run long and doesn’t nearly cover enough ground as I had hoped. Funny, when writing about George R.R. Martin’s work I’m now going to take a page from his own playbook. I will split this article in half and continue these discussions in next week’s entry. So if I didn’t talk about something pertinent this time around stay tuned.

These are my thoughts, but as usual what are yours? Do you have an alternative theory to anything written in this article? Are you going to avoid articles like this in hopes of being surprised next season? Will you be back next week where I continue to extrapolating my harebrained theories? Let me know. Remember you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @sdfilmthoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

Ducktales 2017: How does it Measure Up?

Ducktales 2017: How does it Measure Up?

I was pleasantly surprised to a couple weeks back when the first episode of Ducktales was released on Disney XD’s YouTube channel. As a kid I grew up on re-runs of the 1987 Ducktales series and remember my mom putting a hiatus on the number of times I could rent Treasure of the Lost Lamp from our town library. So while initially skeptical when the new broke in 2015 I warmed to the idea. I’ve watched the pilot a few times and wanted to look over some the aspects of the show, give my thoughts, and see where the series could go from here. So without further ado, lets dig in.

-The Story-

While the key components of the ’87 series are in place there are a few great changes. It was fascinating to see Scrooge as an old man who sees his golden years behind him. A duck who lived for adventure to build his fortune now forced to maintain his fortune through business ventures. The boredom has set in and made him unhappy. The introduction of Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby re-ignite the passion for danger. The big aspect that has me really intrigued is the plot point they ended the episode on. As a kid I always wondered where Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s parents were during their childhood. That final shot revealing that their mother was part of Scrooge and Donald’s early adventures gives the show an overarching story full of potential to keep the show interesting.

-The Characters-

It was nice to see in forty plus minutes that almost every character got their traits set up. Huey, Dewey, and Louie now feel like they have their own separate personalities. I will admit the ’87 series never really tried to distinguish the three apart from each other. Aside from a handful of episodes where the plot dealt with one of them having identity issues there was never any character development. I’d go so far as to say that you could grab a script from the ’87 series, exchange dialogue between the three, and it would make little to no difference.

My favorite character revision has to be Webby. She never had much of a personality in the old series and often felt underwritten. I liked how the creators knew they needed to give her more to do to keep her relevant. Some critics have drawn parallels between this new take on the character and Mabel from Disney’s other series Gravity Falls. I can see the similarities, but I’d rather Webby be smart, competent, and be an equal to the boys instead of being as flat as her character was back in the day.

Another great addition was making Donald Duck one of the main characters rather than special guest in a handful of episodes. I can not wait to see the dynamic between Scrooge and Donald build through the series. As for Scrooge he is pitch perfect in this new incarnation. I’ll speak more on this below, but there’s one final thing I’d like to touch upon.

I was a little disappointed by the lack of Duckworth in the pilot episode. From a writing aspect I understand his absence from the show. Taking his attributes and splitting them between Launchpad and Mrs. Beakley makes the cast leaner and leads to less messy writing through the series. I am optimistic that Duckworth and numerous other characters from the original series will pop up in future episodes. You can catch a glimpse of Gyro Gearloose in the opening credits and the show’s creators revealed many beloved characters will serve a purpose in show. So, maybe they’ve found a new way to use Duckworth and we’ll see him in upcoming episodes.

-The Cast-

This is kind of a mixed bag for me. The biggest win of the series was landing David Tennant in the voice role of Scrooge. Hearing a Scotsman voicing Scrooge is a great joy over someone trying to do a poor imitation of such an accent. I also really enjoyed hearing Kate Micucci as the voice of Webby. Aside from having previous experience in voice acting (A great take on the iconic Velma Dinkley in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!) she gave the character a much needed energy and was probably the best of the kids. My biggest worry is the three actors voicing the nephews. Huey, Dewey, and Louie are kids and while Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz, and Bobby Moynihan are great comedic actors with impressive chops all of them sounded their age instead of like children. It might just be something I’ll have to get use to, but it’s a little jarring. As of now I’m uncertain about Beck Bennett as Launchpad. There were times where the voice sounded almost identical to Terry McGovern’s Launchpad and other times he sounds like a so so imitation. Again, it might just take some time to get use to.

-The Animation-

This seems to be a big point of contention amongst fans. Some have praised the new take for the color palette looking like something from the original comic strip. Others have said the character design of the nephews and Webby’s heads are too round. I’m on the polar opposite end of both issues. I don’t mind the re-designs of the kids as I assume it was to give them a look to differentiate them from the adults. To me what made the original series great was the vibrant colors that made the show feel more epic than a typical animated TV show of the time had. I hope that as the show progresses they’ll bring more saturated colors into the animation.

-My Personal Opinion-

After all this discussion and dissection of the pilot I really enjoyed it. Much like the recent reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this series feels like a show made by people who loved the original animated take on the characters. Not only does the series act as a great way to bring news into the fold it, but it also gives old fans like myself some great winks to the original show to know it intends to honor it’s legacy.

These are my thoughts, but as usual what are yours? Are you excited to see where Ducktales goes from here? Did you enjoy the new take on the show’s iconic theme song? Are you looking forward to seeing the Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, Fenton Crackshell, and numerous other characters return? Let me know. Remember you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @sdfilmthoughts. As always, thanks for reading.

No One Sets Out to Make a Bad Film?

No One Sets Out to Make a Bad Film?

Bad films are gauged on a critical spectrum all their own. Whether you have films that are high concept failures (The Last Airbender), low budget schlock (Silent Night Deadly Night: Part 2, Street Trash, and numerous other 80’s horror films), so bad they’re good (Tammy and the T-Rex is a personal favorite of mine), movies that set out to be prestige pictures only to fail miserably (United Passions), and the rare film that transcends it’s terrible reputation to become a cultural milestone (The Room, Troll 2) there is no limit to the long list of bad films. We’re often told with multiple misfires that no one sets out to make a bad film. Ed Wood wanted to craft an important film with Glen or Glenda and 20th Century Fox wanted to reboot a superhero franchise with Fant4stic. Neither of these got the reception their creators had hoped, but what about other films? Have we entered a time where the market for terrible films is now being targeted by opportunistic directors, producers, and studios? Let’s take a look at some of the recent trends in bad filmmaking and how they’re contributing bad films in a bad way.

-The Mockbuster Market-

This is something that truly bothers me. The term “mockbuster” came into the filmmaking lexicon around the mid 2000’s. Basically when a large tentpole film gets released in theatres (Thor) a company will release a low-budget knock-off with a similar title direct to video in hopes of exploiting consumer ignorance (Almighty Thor). The most notable example of this is the production company The Asylum. While they originally made low budget films with original concepts (and still do occasionally) all that changed when their version War of the Worlds was released to coincide with the big budget Cruise/Spielberg remake. With a hit on their hands multiple films got released in this vein (Snakes on a Train, Sunday School Musical, Transmorphers, and numerous more) continuing the trend to this day. While this is by no means a current trend as these kinds of films have been around for ages. In fact: if you look back to the late 70’s early 80’s there were numerous films that tried to capitalize on the success of Star Wars. Some of these films have gone onto be classics in a somewhat odd fashion. Piranha rode the success of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, but in turn launched the career of Joe Dante. Who coincidentally went on to direct the Spielberg produced Gremlins. The difference is now it has become a legitimate industry instead of a one off film from a producer looking to make a quick buck to finance their next project.

-Content for Cable-

My family got cable for the first time when I was a kid and it was exciting. I now had channels like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network at my disposal. Along the way I branched into other major networks. USA was where I initially saw films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Critters, but along with them I saw films like Mosquito and the previously mentioned Tammy and the T-Rex. USA created the spin-off Sci-Fi channel (now known as SyFy) and this is where things got interesting. Many numerous bad films found their way onto this channel and developed a niche following. Then came 2013, there was an abnormal amount of buzz surrounding one of these films. Sharknado (a film from the previously mentioned The Asylum) hit Internet forums like an atom bomb propelling the film to a limited theatrical release and became a multi-film franchise. While the original film may have been an attempt at taking a kooky idea and make something from it the three sequels upped the ridiculous factor just to get more from this insanity. So much so that Sharknado 5: Global Meltdown debuted last night and the possibility of a sixth film not out of the question.

-Critics of the Bad-

Oh boy, here is the big factor that for me has shifted bad filmmaking into the norm. Looking back the kickstarter of this trend was the classic (and thankfully still going strong) series Mystery Science Theater 3000. What makes this show so endearing is how relatable it has always been. Who hasn’t sat around with friends and cracked jokes at a film they’re watching? With the rise of Youtube many people flocked to the platform to critique media. I’ve talked previously about a handful of these channels, but I’d like to shift my focus towards Youtuber I Hate Everything. He has a series titled “The Search for the Worst” where he berates some of lowest rent films made. One of his reviews was for the film “The Amazing Bulk”. In typical fashion he ripped the film to shreds. Surprisingly Wide Eye Releasing the company who distributed the film got in contact with him. They thanked him for raising the profile of the film and even sent him a gift. Along side the gift was a copy of their film “Shark Exorcist”. Yep, this is where things have gone. A studio now relishes the attention a bad review can give that they will go out of their way to make similar situation occur with another film. This to me is proof that some bad films are no longer a fluke. And this is what bugs me the most. What’s the point of putting forth any effort if you can film mediocrity and bank on notoriety to sell it?

These are my thoughts, but as usual what are yours? Do people now set out with the intention of making a bad film? Do you think an industry of terrible films is a problem? Or does it just give people more options for their entertainment? Let me know. Remember you can follow me on Twitter @sdfilmthoughts and Instagram. As always, thanks for reading.

Back in Orange: Discussing Orange is the New Black’s Fourth Season

Back in Orange: Discussing Orange is the New Black’s Fourth Season

Orange is the New Black’s fourth season debuted last Friday and of course it had to be binge-watched. So last night I finished up all thirteen episodes and the time has come to talk about where our favorite characters have gone and what might become of them. I’ll try to keep my thoughts lumped into coherent sections, but we’ve got a lot to cover. If the cage was full for the last three seasons it’s become packed to the gills this year. Fair warning, there are spoilers ahead.

-Plot-

If I had to sum up this entire season in one word it’d be consequences. A lot of what has been built up over the past few years got paid off in full. It has bugged me that it seems like Piper (Taylor Schilling) always got a slap on the wrist instead of getting her comeuppance. Her hubris has been built up to the point where all it had to come crashing down. She had already sent Stella (Ruby Rose) down to max for double-crossing her and now competition in the dirty panty business has set in. This leads to her making questionable alliances with some white supremacists in order to edge out the Latino competition. When Piper plants a bag of underwear under Ruiz’s (Jessica Pimentel) bunk and adds three to five years to her sentence shit gets serious. After getting ambushed Piper is pulled to the kitchen where they brand her with a swastika. As someone who has lost interest in Piper’s storyline this really pulled me back into it.

Next we have Joe Caputo (Nick Sandow) trying to keep the ship from sinking after taking over as warden. The company MCC who privatized the prison are tying his hands while he deals with some new COs who don’t know the proper boundaries between prisoner and guard. I’ve always liked Caputo as he is the guy who is dealt a bad hand and keeps trying to make it work. He knows everything the company is doing is wrong, but has to play the game. Although he’s not above breaking the rules to help. It made me happy seeing him use former warden turned activist Danny Pearson (Mike Birbiglia) to get Sophia (Laverne Cox) out of the SHU. The man has scruples most of the time in spite of how the season ended. We’ll delve into that a little more later. It was also nice that Caputo is forced to see his former employees who walked out now in different jobs. He’s basically getting haunted by the ghosts he created.

The big elephant in the room is seeing how Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) escaped her predicament from last season’s finale. While she’s being strangled to death by Kubra’s man Lolly (Lori Petty) comes to the rescue beating the guy down. It’s now time to figure out how to dispose of a body in a prison. With the help of seasoned murderer Frieda (Dale Soules) they’re able to dispose of the body after some cutting and burying. Now Vause has to not only deal with her own grief about suffocating and turning a hitman she knew into garden fertilizer, but the fact that Lori is going even further off the rails than normal. This leads to Alex making questionable choices until she finally breaks down in front of Piper and the two re-kindle their relationship. Lolly on the other hand isn’t so lucky. After digging up the garden to re-route the sewer line the body is discovered and Officer Healy (Michael Harney) knows Lolly was involved after she gave him an incoherent confession he took to be delusions. Lolly is shipped down to max and we’re probably never going to see her again.

Let’s discuss some of the other plots from the series. First is the fallout from Pennsatucky’s (Taryn Manning) sexual assault from last season. This is going to be a controversial and important discussion topic from this season. The fact that when Pennsatucky says to CO Coates (James McMenamin) that he raped her and he is shocked that she sees it that way is disturbing. What’s worse is that in spite of an apology to Pennsatucky we see in their final scene together that this may not be a one time thing. It’s kind of horrifying especially with recent events, but I commend Jenji Kohan and the writers for taking this route. It shows that some men (even as adults) have been so poorly educated in understanding consent that they don’t believe that they’re committing sexual assault. It’s ugly, but it needs to be talked about and if this show can get that started it’s a step in the right direction.

Once again we get a glimpse into Officer Healy’s background. We knew  his mother was mentally ill, but we get to see him dealing with it. One of the moments that hit me the hardest from this season was watching Healy commit himself after Lolly’s incarceration into max. The fears that he had the same issues as his mother are now a reality. He may not have always been the most likable character, but his intentions (either in the prison or at home) were to do his best for the women in his life.

The Judy King (Blair Brown) story was probably the weak link for me this year. Sure, it was funny and had some great moments, but in the end it never really went anywhere. The only real positive that came from this entire plot was that one of my favorite secondary characters Yoga Jones (Constance Shulman) got more screentime. King’s only real role on the show was to kind of stoke racial tensions between inmates.

Now to talk about the moment that’s going to be plastered all over the message boards for the next month. The death of Poussey (Samira Wiley) hit extremely hard. She has always been one of the few characters who did her best to stay out of trouble. Aside from her spat with Vee she kept a good rapport with all the inmates. This is probably why they picked her to die. She was the most pure of the inmates and that made her death all the more heartbreaking. Throw in her friendship with Taystee (Danielle Brooks) and her romance with Brook Soso (Kimiko Glenn) and we got a whole lot hurt in the final episodes.

In typical Kohan fashion we’re left with a mid-scene cliffhanger for what’s ahead. After CO Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) is let off on Poussey’s death a riot builds. One of the COs was stupid enough to bring a gun into the prison. When he’s cornered he pulls it out, but gets pushed and loses his grip on the gun. Daya (Dascha Polanco) picks it up and points it at the COs. She’s being cheered on to shoot them as we cut to black. Will she shoot one or both of the COs? I doubt it. I’m assuming Mendoza (Selenis Leyva) will talk her down considering Daya’s mother asked Mendoza to keep her safe before she got released a few episodes prior.

-Cast-

As always the cast is firing on all cylinders. I’d say the best performance of the season was Danielle Brooks as Taystee. While I’ve always liked her character this year we got to see her go even deeper with her emotions. I will seriously be disappointed if she doesn’t get Golden Globe and Emmy nominations this year. It was nice to see Kimiko Glenn get more work tossed her way. I did feel that Uzo Aduba got shortchanged, but considering her prominence in prior seasons it’s not all that disappointing. It was painful seeing Crazy Eyes’ flashback episode that showed what got her locked up. I was disappointed by the scaled back amount of time Laverne Cox received, but I’m grateful she’s back. I didn’t mind the loss of previous season’s COs as it usually felt like their plots were always low priority for the writers. And while Ruby Rose was a fun addition to season three I’m glad they didn’t try to find a way to write her back into the series just because of her popularity. Sometimes a cameo is all you need to display a character’s present predicament.

I’d say my biggest problem was using characters this season to represent previous antagonists. Ruiz was basically a less threatening version of Vee and Piscatella was a serious version of Pornstache. While both may have felt intimidating neither of them were original. I did miss both Pornstache and Bennett, but I understand why they’re no longer here. Their stories have been wrapped up, at least for the time being. I was also disappointed by the lack of Piper’s family. Aside from a single call put into her brother Cal (Michael Chernus) there’s no real interaction for Piper with the outside world. This could be to show that the closer she gets to her release the less connected to the non-prison world she’s becomes.

-Final Thoughts-

Plain and simply this is definitely a big improvement over season three. Like I said earlier I liked how we got to see so much payoff from all the stuff we’ve seen get built up in past three years. With at least three more seasons to go and about eight months left on Piper’s sentence there’s a lot still to do, but where are we going? Until next June we can only hypothesize. As usual what are your thoughts? What was your favorite part of season four? Did you enjoy the entire season as a whole? What are you planning to binge next on Netflix? As always, thanks for reading.

Revisiting Point Pleasant

Revisiting Point Pleasant

While I was doing research for my “Brilliant, But Cancelled: Single Season TV Shows” articles there was one show I kept thinking about. Point Pleasant was a supernatural series with a dash of melodrama sprinkled in that debuted on FOX in January of 2005 until it’s cancellation in March of the same year. The reason I did not include this in any previous article was because I wanted to watch it again to see if it was as good as I remembered it being. Or if it was another one of those shows that got justifiably axed from TV. So with over a decade since it initially debuted lets look back and see how it holds up.

-Background-

There was a fascination in pop culture with religious iconography in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Films like End of Days, Stigmata, and The Ninth Gate were being released in theaters and it was only a matter of time before it migrated over to TV. The show was created by John McLaughlin (who had previously written for the show Carnivale and that definitely had some influence on this series) and Marti Noxon (best known for her role as a writer and co-producer on the hit shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it’s spin-off Angel). Basically, during a horrendous storm a young woman named Christina (Elisabeth Harnois) is seen floating in the ocean. Young lifeguard Jesse (Sam Page) rescues her and with nowhere else to go she it taken in by the Kramer family who is reeling from the lose of a sister/daughter and strange things begin to happen to Christina. Throw in a meddling half-demon who stirs up trouble (Grant Show) and the reveal that Christina is the Antichrist and everything gets crazier with each episode.

-The Cast-

This was something I liked about the show. While some of the acting may not have been up to par it at least was entertaining. It was a smart move to have a show that revolved around both teenagers and their parents as it meant you could have fresh faces in the cast, but they had the support of veterans to help tell the story. I’ve got to give Elisabeth Harnois credit, she played the role of Christina fairly well making her sympathetic with an undercurrent of sinister. You truly see the struggle within her to fight against her destiny. I also enjoyed the sister dynamic Christina and Judy (Aubrey Dollar) had through the series. They built it up so well that to see it destroyed was genuinely sad. Of the adult cast my favorite was always Amber Hargrove (Dina Meyer) as she was always underestimated due to her beauty, but she’s cunning and fights for what she wants. I also wanted to touch on another favorite character of mine, Father Tomas (Marcus Coloma). He gave the Christina a much needed ally in the struggle with her identity. What’s also great is seeing some actors before they hit it big. Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame pops up in a handful of episodes as a love interest for Judy. But hands down the best spot was Jon Hamm as a longed haired psychotic doctor. I had no idea who he was back then.

-Plot-

I’ve delved into some of the broad plot points, but lets get a little more specific. So the main crux of the story is Christina’s internal battle with the revelation that she is the daughter of Satan, but there are subplots galore. Judy losing a her sister Isabelle to suicide and her mother believed to be insane due to Isabelle’s ghost contacting her from the afterlife trying to warn of what’s ahead. The romantic relationship between Christina and Jesse and how it means more to the fate of humanity than either knows. Boyd’s backstory gets fleshed out and we discover what brought him down the path he took and how he’s seducing Terry (Brent Weber) to do the same thing. There’s also Christina’s search for her mother and the answers that quest might unlock. I’m not even gonna go into all of the adult’s subplots as there is so much to this story. I really enjoyed how they set up a lot in these thirteen episodes. It’s such a shame we never got a resolution to that cliffhanger of a finale.

I have to admit it was truly a lot of fun to dig through this series and rediscover a lot of great pieces. Does it hold up? For the most part I’d say yes, but I’ll forever be bugged by the lack of closure. I was also surprised by how for being made over ten years ago it didn’t feel terribly dated like some movies and TV shows. If you’re interested the show has been available on DVD since it’s cancellation, so you can rent it from Netflix or purchase it off Amazon. These are my thoughts, but as usual what are yours? Did you watch Point Pleasant when it originally aired? If not are you going to now? Do you wish that shows that get cancelled would at least have a chance to wrap up their story properly instead leaving us hanging? As always, thanks for reading.

Brilliant, But Cancelled: Single Season TV Shows Part 3

Brilliant, But Cancelled: Single Season TV Shows Part 3

Yep, we’re back with another installment of “Brilliant, But Cancelled”. Because if there’s something that TV likes to do it’s make sure that good shows don’t get the fair shake they deserve and letting crap go on for ages. So, without further ado let us take a look back at a handful of these shows and remember them. Otherwise they might as well be relics lost to time.

-Clerks: The Animated Series-

While Kevin Smith’s offerings have been pretty hit and miss for the past few years (I enjoyed Red State, tolerated Tusk, and have no idea what to think of Yoga Hosers at the moment), but this entry in the “View Askewniverse” is a fun one. Teaming up with former Seinfeld writer and future Veep showrunner David Mandel we got a mere six episodes of an entertaining if ridiculous show. If was nice to see Dante and Randal (being voiced by their respective live action actors) return for more antics at Quickstop and RST Video. And to this day there are still some hilarious lines that get stuck in my head. “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit you old hag!” or “An all painter threeway, man” Add onto that the fact that Alec Baldwin voiced the series villain Leonardo Leonard and you’ll get hooked re-watching this series over and over. (Available on DVD)

-Eerie, Indiana-

This show was a bit of an odd creature that debuted on NBC in 1991. It wasn’t until it got re-aired on The Disney Channel a few years later that I caught it. For me there was something ingenious about the show’s concept. After his family moves to the town of Eerie, Marshall becomes friends with Simon and together the pair begin to investigate the strange events that transpire within the town. Geared to be almost like a Twilight Zone/Twin Peaks for young adults it was a hit with critics, but even with help of director Joe Dante (who was a creative consultant) the show didn’t gain a fanbase until after it was cancelled. In 1998 a spin-off series Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension aired with mixed results and was also cancelled after a single season. (Available on DVD)

-John Doe-

What kind of a list would this be if I didn’t include something that aired on FOX. Yes, another series that the station was willing to greenlight and promote, but didn’t want to stand behind when it’s rating slipped. A Sci-Fi-esque drama that starred Dominic Purcell in the title role, the series revolved around a man who wakes up on an island with no memory of who he is or where he came from. On the plus side he now knows everything humanly possible. Using his newfound knowledge he sets out to discover who he is and in the process help a local cop and friend solve cases. As the series goes on we get drawn into a conspiracy surrounding who John Doe is and what his significance to humanity may be. After the series was cancelled the show’s creator Brandon Camp revealed the mystery behind John Doe and while interesting it might leave something to be desired for a few fans. (Available to watch on Hulu)

-Garfunkel and Oates-

This show getting cancelled still stings a bit. Based loosely off the real life adventures of musical duo Garfunkel and Oates (Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci) this series was described to me as a female version of Flight of the Conchords. Aside from having a pair of musicians as stars and musical numbers in episodes the shows have no real connection. What makes this show work so well for me is the chemistry between Lindhome and Micucci. Since they’ve been friends for ages they’ve got excellent comedic timing and it makes the show unbelievably funny. The best part is neither woman is afraid to let their personal lives influence the series. There are is one episode where Riki decides to freeze her eggs and another where Kate is told she suffers from Peter Pan Syndrome. Not exactly the lightest plotlines to introduce. With only eight episodes you can binge the series quickly, but you’ll enjoy it. (Available on Netflix Instant)

So there you have it. Another list of shows that had a very short, but sweet run. The sad thing is that over the coming years I’m sure more shows will get cancelled after a single season leading many more lists like this. Until then, what are your thoughts? Did you like any of these shows? Will you watch any of them after reading this article?