TV

Agents of SHIELD 0203: Making Friends…

Agents of SHIELD 0203: Making Friends and Influencing People
     Once again this show has hit it out of the park, that is 3 for 3 on the season. However, once again, the ratings for the show have never been lower. This means even though this show is phenomenal they still can’t bring the people back that gave up after season 1. That is unfortunate because so far this season can compete with any other like genre show on tv right now.
      That being said, they reverted a little bit back to unknown characters as the main plot surrounds an asset from season 1 that share a common friend in Fitz and Simmons. We see Simmons under cover with Hydra but by the end we are left doubting the undercover part. The writing on this episode was the strongest so far but they chose a couple things in a sloppy way that didn’t make sense. This added with the fact that there were no known Marvel characters but a strong Hydra overtone makes this an overall good episode but not great.
     You definitely need to see this episode to continue the story arc, it seems like they have a great angle going and I am genuinely looking forward to next week’s episode which only happened 3 times in season 1. There are rumblings online of people saying that this show is full of cliches and is tired and weak, and that is unfortunate that they would be so thick to not actually watch the show, since it is so refreshing from season 1. Besides what is a good ABC show without a little bit of cliches thrown in? I will give this episode a 4/5 with a must watch label.
Rating: 4/5
Notes: Must Watch
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Agents of SHIELD 0202: Heavy is the Head

Agents of SHIELD 0202: Heavy is the Head

     Well after a great season 2 premiere but abysmal ratings (undoubtedly because of the fiasco of last year) the second episode of season 2 Heavy is the Head was just as good as episode 1. We see a death of a team member, a car chase, a dramatic scene between Skye and someone from her past, Coulson struggling with his demons within, and Fitz adjusting to life without Simmons. That may seem like a lot going on for this show, but like I said last week the current show writers and runners have it covered.

     One of Coulson’s team is captured by General Talbot and Coulson pulls a Jax Teller-like plan to get Talbot to see him for what he is, a friendly. But Talbot wants nothing about it. We are even seeing Adrian Pasdar bringing in a great character, even though we watched him bomb on Heroes a few years back. Agent Skye and Agent May bond while Fitz’s new buddy is big time fan favorite all over the internet. This episode is chalked full of everything last season lacked, and so far this season is 2 for 2 in episodes better than all of last year. Alas, it is going to take a lot for the viewing public to forgive season 1, but they need to. It is not even the same show anymore.

     Absorbing Man is back in this episode and more characters are mentioned throughout, with this kind of talent and with the list of stars at Marvel’s disposal, Agents of SHIELD is poised to spring back strong and take the Super Hero show genre by storm. But they need the commitment from fans that may have already abandoned ship too soon. This episode gets a 3.5/5 from me with a Must Watch label.

Rating: 3.5/5

Notes: Must Watch

Agents of SHIELD 0201: Shadows

     Agents of SHIELD 0201: Shadows

     The Agents of SHIELD that we had such high hopes for has finally arrived. Even though season 2 has seen the lowest ratings ever, I don’t think it even matters because if they get cancelled they’ll will surely move on over to the Marvel TV Network Netflix. The show is now about Coulson as Director of the broken SHIELD while being hunted down by General Talbot (Pasdar) and fighting to recruit assets against the also rebuilding Hydra. Episode 1 titled Shadows sees both Hydra and SHIELD vying for a specific artifact.

We see a few Marvel characters show up in this season premiere including a very well done Absorbing Man. Probably the best villain that they have done so far, Crusher Creel (Absorbing Man) is seen trying to steal an artifact that SHIELD also wants, and it is quickly made know that he is taking orders from Hydra. On top of this the US Army is always on the teams tail making it difficult to get things done as a rebuilding security team.

There has been much better dialogue and writing in this 1 episode and you can really tell that this show has done a complete 180 and is now headed in the right direction. It is refreshing because of the bashing that the show took from people that were comparing it to other Super Hero shows on TV even though this isn’t a super hero show, it is just based in a super hero universe that sometimes features super powered people. Overall for a season premiere it was top notch; that along with great writing and a superb introduction to a main Marvel villain I will give this episode a 4/5. It is a must watch.

 

Rating: 4/5

Notes: Must Watch!

 

 

DC Entertainment is Doing Comic Book TV Right

It started with Arrow. The current formula for great comic book TV started 2 seasons ago when Stephen Amell was cast as the titular protagonist on the CW’s new show Arrow based on the Green Arrow from the Detective Comics brand owned by the same company that owns the CW. Season 1 of Arrow was up and down, they were trying to find their wheelhouse and trying to find what type of audience they were going for. They were compared to Smallville that was also on the CW a few years prior. It wasn’t a fair comparison (much like Agents of SHIELD compared to the now hugely popular Arrow) but the comparisons were still there.

Season 2 of Arrow was a huge hit, they did it! A great fan base with a big online following and great DVR ratings numbers according to Nielsen Polls. So now what does DC Entertainment do? What else could they do that would get their new “Brand” out there for the world to see? Well Marvel was putting together their “Phase 3” of the MCU and DC was secretly building the DCMU, but they had something else Marvel didn’t have; a hit TV show. Marvel has Agents of SHIELD and its was panned its first season even though being brought back for a second, and they have the Netflix shows that come out in 2016 but with the already established Arrow and the hugely popular Flash coming to the CW, DC is set for a big win.

DC has Gotham coming to FOX, The Flash coming to the CW, and Constantine coming to NBC this fall. All 3 have been widely praised by early viewers of all 3 pilots. I am super excited for all 3 of them even though Gotham scares me a bit, I mean a Batman show without Batman seems counter productive. The premise and the reviews though make it seem like they are doing it very well and it will be a great watch.

Arrow ended so well, and had a great cameo of The Flash himself Barry Allen in the season. The set up for season 3 was really solid. The preview for The Flash show was solid as well. The trailer for Constantine has been viewed by myself about 10 times, and I am patiently waiting for a good trailer for Gotham to come across the wire. Man DC Entertainment is doing Comic Book TV right.

 

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Once Upon A Time 0322: There’s No Place Like Home (S3 Finale)

Once Upon A Time Season 3 Finale: There’s No Place Like Home

     The second half of Season 3 started out very strong for Once Upon A Time with the introduction of Zelena the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz folklore. As you all know she was Regina’s half sister and she held a grudge that rivaled no other. Of course she tried and tried to destroy any happiness Regina had and in doing so she created the Time Curse. She planned on traveling back in time to change her fate; the one problem was Regina had Snow White, Prince Charming, Hook, and Emma on her side.

     The season 3 finale was a set up for season 4 big time, all of the excitement with the falling action and the storyline resolution came in episode 21 where they defeated Zelena and we saw Regina redeemed by using “Light Magic”. We see in the season finale that Emma and Hook fall into the time portal that Zelena’s magic opened after she was killed by Rumpelstiltskin in the Jail cell.

     This show feels like it is from a Cable Network and not ABC. The finale not being anything but a vehicle for the next season is straight from Cable, but that isn’t that out of place anymore. More and more shows are doing that. While in the Enchanted Forest Hook and Emma have to make sure they don’t change anything due to the Ripple Effect. However, Emma changes a lot of things and they have to make sure her parents end up with each other so that Emma wont disappear.

     It is funny to see them interact with Rumple since he wants Hook dead, and Rumple has a good one-liner to Hook. The episode gets bogged down a little bit with the thickness of the Charming/ Snow connection and showing us that no matter what you change they will find each other. We get it, but the finale did spark the interest in; Is Ginnifer Goodwin forever pregnant? Its really starting to get creepy on the show.

     Emma and Hook go back to Rumple’s Castle where he locks them in his “Vault” where he stores all of the Magic he cannot even control. While in there Hook grabs an urn out of a curio and the camera stays on it too long, so you immediately know that Season 4’s Villain is inside of that urn. But how does it get back to Storybrook? Why Emma of course, she finds out her Magic is back and she opens the time portal back to now. During the commotion the urn flies through as well and crashes into the hieroglyph that Zelena has made in the dirt floor of the Old Barn in Storybrook.

     While Emma and Hook are back at Granny’s Diner sharing a smooch, and Snow with Charming are announcing that they named their new baby Neil after Rumple’s son, and Regina face-to-face with the woman who has just came back into her love’s life; The urn busts open and blue liquid fills the trenches of the hieroglyph in the barn and a figure rises up from the liquid. A familiar figure reveals itself and take off a glove… Elsa from Frozen…

     There is much debate on the internet whether or not that is too soon, a great villain, or if that is just a marketing ploy to get more money from the Frozen train that is still sitting in the station printing money. Who knows why the producers chose Elsa, but I love it. My wife and I are so excited for Season 4!

Overall Rating:

Episode 22 (S3 Finale): 4/5

Season 3: 4/5

Arrow Season 2 Finale

Well Arrow Season 2 was a lot better that season 1. It really grabbed its foothold in the Comic Book TV show audience, but did they leave anything on the table? I feel that they did. This is not a spoiler review or even a real review. This is just an article about the direction I feel that the finale went, and where it probably could have gone.

They did a really good job with Thea. She was so whiny the whole season, and with the performance in the finale; I am really excited about where her character goes in the show.

Laurel also redeemed herself and put on a notable piece of attire. I feel the disconnect from the writers early in the season poorly reflected the actresses portrayal of the character. The season progressed and the true greatness of the actress fought through and brought Laurel to the front of the show.

Felicity and Diggle are clearly Oliver’s backbone and what he truly fights for. Felicity is such a great character and Diggle is the perfect sidekick for The Arrow. No matter what they seem to have Oliver’s back.

The finale was titles “Unthinkable” and I have a good theory on why it was called that, but again no spoilers so I will leave that to your imagination. I feel that the show left a few things on the table in this finale, and in my eyes made them look weak. Maybe that was their intention, but I feel it didn’t do the rest of the season justice. Overall it was a great season that was hindered a little by the finale.

Agents of SHIELD 0122: Beginning of the End (S1 Finale)

Agents of SHIELD Coulson: Beginning of the End

     First of all what a great and fitting season finale for a show that started out slow and after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier; found a great foothold in American Television. The episode started out fast with Coulson and his team preparing for “war” against Garrett and Cybertek. There is some ambiguity in the episode about who is actually aligned with whom amongst the “villains” in the show but there is no doubt that the good guys are still SHIELD Agents and that is pretty damn awesome!

     In the opening fight scene Coulson and his crew fight a bunch of the Cybertek Deathlok Soldiers one of whom is wielding the Berserker Staff. The CDSs are no match for Coulson, Skye, Tripp, and May whom just disarmed the Berserker and is now wielding the staff herself. During all of this Quinn and Raina are planning to take the Gravitonium and split but Raina has a close moment with Garrett and she sees how crazy he has become because of the GH235.

     Skye and May infiltrate Cybertek while Coulson and Tripp distract the guards, Skye hijacks all of the CDSs and changes them to their Default Directive which is Protect John Garrett at all Costs. With all of the Cybertek handlers gone Skye takes that main handler and straps a bomb to him so he does what she wants. During all of this Garrett slowly goes more and more insane. While he is talking to Deathlok he rips a door off of the wall and starts to carve some alien designs in it with a nail. They are incoherent but clearly a plot device leading us into Season 2 this fall.

    Ward goes to find Skye after having a talk with Raina, where Raina reveals the darkness that lies within Skye. When Ward gets to Skye he is ambushed by May who proceeds to fight him through walls and into many different things. The fight ends when May nails Ward’s foot to the floor with a air nailer. A swift roundhouse kick knocks him unconscious. During the fight Skye finds Deathlok’s son and gives the ok that he was waiting for.

     During this it is revealed that Fury has found his way to Coulson and helps him fight Garrett. A couple really well placed one-liners Deathlok kills Garrett. The episode ends with the team reuniting under Coulson as Fury hands him the “Toolbox” a device that Fury only intrusts Coulson with. He names Coulson the new Director of SHIELD and gives him the duty to rebuild it and do it slow and right. The coordinates lead the team to a “Secret” facility called the Sandbox where Agent Bobby Koening was stationed as the “Keeper” of the base. This is a direct shout out to the Message Board Fans because clearly they are introducing Live Model Decoys (LMDs).

     Overall I rate this episode a 5/5 while the season gets an overall 4/5 from me. The 1st 1/2 of the season was a 2.5/5 or a 3/5 but the second half of the season and especially after Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a strong 5/5 from each episode. I am very excited that Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a season 2, but I am a little concerned that there might be a 13 week hiatus between the mid season finale this fall and the mid season premier next spring. ABC announced that will be the running of Agent Carter starring Haley Atwell as the titular character based on the rise of SHIELD (Hydra). I know ABC will rework a lot of things before then, but right now it makes me nervous.

Agents of SHIELD 0121: Ragtag

Agents of SHIELD Coulson: Ragtag

     Another damn good episode. Man ABC/ Marvel/ Disney has a hit on their hands. The slow start and the bleeding off of fans, coupled with the fact that producers and writers clearly listened to some things true fans had to say; created a true Whedonesc show that ends very strong and full of cult like fandom.

     This episode opens up with a young Grant Ward in a Juvenile Detention Center and Agent John Garrett comes to recruit him. It is revealed that Ward killed his younger brother by accident by setting the house on fire. Garrett uses many different techniques to try recruit Ward while he was there, many of which work. Ward agrees to join SHIELD and work with Garrett.

     May and Coulson go under cover to infiltrate Cybertek which is revealed not to be either Hydra or SHIELD. While inside they have a  funny back and forth as Coulson is acting as Fitz and May is acting as Simmons via ear piece. While inside they realize that they have to get to a certain room inside of the building and make their way towards it by force.

     Raina meets with Ward and she tells him she is curious about Skye and where she comes from. She tells Ward a story about a small child abandoned in province in China 25 years ago. The child was found in a village within the province but Monsters destroyed everything in the village to find the baby. Raina revealed to Ward that those monsters were not there to kill the baby but to save it.

     Raina tells Ward she thinks Skye and her are the same on the inside, and that she does not trust Garrett any longer. Ward has a lot of confusion on his face, but just then Garrett collapses and reveals that he is dying.

     The files that Coulson and May find in the Cybertek HQ reveal the Deathlok program goes back to 1990 and the 1st person to become a Deathlok was in fact Garrett himself. But his organs and everything are dying and the cybernetics can only keep himself alive for another month tops.

     As Coulson and his team split up, half of them go to the barber shop in Havanna and the other half go to the Plane on a runway outside of Havanna. At the plane Fitz and Simmons disobey an order from Coulson and run into Ward who captures them and takes them onto the plane. Meanwhile Coulson, May, Skye, and Trip infiltrate the barbershop base.

     It flashes back to Garrett and Ward sitting around a campfire about 10 years earlier and Garret reveals to Ward that he is actually Hydra and that SHIELD left him for dead. That is why he started Deathlok, so he could live to see SHIELD pay for betraying him. He recruits Ward to Hydra there. In the flashback Ward is told to kill his loyal dog, and in the present he is given the same order to kill Fitz and Simmons. With them trapped in a container to keep them away from Ward, he drops them out of the plane into the Atlantic Ocean.

     Raina comes in and while Ward is taking care of Fitz and Simmons she injects Garrett with the GH235 and he goes inferno like the Extremis’ Solderies earlier in the series, but he stabilizes and wakes up feeling refreshed and confident. The episode ends with Coulson, May, Skye, and Tripp surrounded by numerous Deathlok soldiers and a soldier carrying the Berserker Staff; while Quinn meets with 2 top US Military Generals about the US buying Deathlok soldiers from him.

Rating: 4.5/5

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 0120: Nothing Personal

Agents of SHIELD Coulson: Nothing Personal

2 episodes left in the season and it is safe to say just like many Joss Whedon shows it is finally making its way into greatness after making such a slow start. “Nothing Personal” starts off with Agent May finding Agent Maria Hill while Hill is talking to Pepper Potts on the phone walking in New York. Hill played by Colby Smulders drops some names from the Marvel Universe like Man-Thing mainly as Easter Eggs for fans of the show.

May enlists Hill to help Coulson and reveals he is up at Fury’s secret base in Canada because it is feared the Alexander Pierce is responsible for TAHITI and Coulson may be inadvertently Hydra without knowing or wanting to be.

Back at Providence Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, and Agent Tripp are struggling to find out answers about where everyone went. While looking around Fitz stumbles upon a note left by Skye that reveals that Ward is Hydra just as Simmons find Koenig’s dead body bleeding from the ceiling. With Fitz freaking out and Simmons doing the autopsy on the body, it is determined that Ward is the killer and Fitz starts throwing and crashing around not wanting to believe Ward could do this. It was a very heavy scene and one great proof that this show has come a long way.

While sending Hill with Talbot to Providence to get Coulson, May is seen digging up a grave and retrieving a USB device from it and returning to her car. She plugs it in to her laptop and the scene fades back to the grave and it is revealed that it is Coulson’s grave that she dug up. Pans back to her laptop and shows “CLASSIFIED for Fury’s Eyes Only” She presses play and is startled.

Skye and Ward are seen in the original diner from episode 1 where they all first met Mike Peterson, and she starts stalling while sending information to local police about Ward while cops are in the building. She gives Ward a long speech about loyalty and being a good person, finally the cops make Ward and start to take him, he breaks free and chases Skye into the street. Deathlok (Mike Peterson) is there waiting on her, they are get onto the bus and fly away. On the plane Skye berates Ward again calling him a Nazi, and spitting at him. But as Deathlok shoots Ward with a device that stops his heart, Skye agrees to help if Ward can live.

Coulson sneaks onto the plane to try to save Skye while Hill and Tripp try to stop Ward from flying the plane. As the plane takes off Coulson finds Skye and gets her into the Cargo, they jump into Lola the red convertible and drop out of the plane to safety. A couple of missed shots by both Ward and Deathlok allow Coulson and Skye to escape easily.

Coulson starts to realize that SHIELD is no more, and is never coming back. They are sitting around a motel telling stories and swapping notes. All Coulson can think of is his team. He goes to his room and May is there waiting for him. He tries to apologize and May stops him. She says, “You’ve got to see this.”

May pops the USB into a computer and it is the Classified item from earlier. She presses play and it is Coulson. It is revealed that Coulson was Fury’s lead on TAHITI, and the message was from Coulson to Fury saying to abandon the project because even though the Alien’s blood cures the victim, the side effects are not worth living. Madness, psychosis, and violence is the side effects and the only way to get around it is to erase and replace the patient’s memory.

So Much Great TV Right Now

Golden Age of TV

Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hannibal, and the rest of the list goes on and on and on. How have we gotten so lucky enough to get this great TV when for so long it was just all Reality Shows? I think we have paid our price to the TV Gods and they have returned our sacrifices with an almost unlimited supply of great programming for Nerds and TV enthusiasts alike.

Lets start with HBO: Game of Thrones seems to be taking the world by storm. Almost everyone is talking about it, and the story lines ripped right from George RR Martin’s books. Veep, a high powered comedy; True Detective, a deep crime drama; and so many more that hit different people’s taste buds. Who could want more from a cable premium channel?

Next up we have FX and AMC blasting shows such as American Horror Story, The American’s, The Bridge, Bates Motel, Sons of Anarchy, and The Walking Dead. All of which are smash hits. We lost Dexter and Breaking Bad last year, but with those losses we see more hits coming. The History channel has a Game of Thrones like hit with Vikings and The Bible.

Network TV has great shows as well for Nerds and TV lovers: The Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow, Under the Dome, Once Upon a Time, Agents of SHIELD, Big Bang Theory, Revolution, Hannibal, Modern Family, Parks n Rec, Brooklyn 99, Arrow.

Netflix is also bringing great programming back with the resurgence of Arrested Development, and hit shows such as House of Cards and  Orange is the New Black. Netflix annouced the deal with Marvel to bring super hero shows to the network in 2016, and that was a huge annoucement.

According to TV Guide out of the top 100 rated shows on TV; I reccomend almost 30% of those shows and most of which are on basic cable. So when you think to yourself next time, “Man nothing is on TV” actually there is a ton of great programming that I think you would enjoy.