Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The 2013 Fall Season

It's that time of year again where the new fall season for all our favorite shows are about to drop and my particular brand of OCD rears its ugly head and forces me to throw together a spreadsheet of all the shows I plan on watching, when they premiere, what days they're on, what times they air, and then prods me to color-code the whole shebang because I am just that side of crazy.

You're clearly going to have to click to enlarge, pal.

And now I notice I forgot all about American Horror Story: Coven, which premieres on FX Oct. 9th at 10pm. Fuck my life.

Anyway, twenty-three shows made the list this year. Last year I only had three new shows on the chart (Revolution, Arrow, and 666 Park Avenue, the latter being the only one that didn't survive). This year there are a whopping nine: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, The Originals, Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow, The Tomorrow People, The Crazy Ones, Dads, and Dracula. The first four I'm pretty positive will make the cut already. The rest of them are all toss-ups, although I already don't like Dracula's chances, just because that will have to be very, very good to not disgust me. NBC is the show I'm watching least, with two on the schedule and the only mid-season replacement I'm looking forward to; FOX and CW are on the other end of the spectrum, each with five.

I'm sure there will be periodic blogs about how good... or bad... the new shows are, but until then, this is what I'm looking forward to. What about you out there? What are you looking forward to watching?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Advance Movie Review: You're Next

Last week I was lucky enough to attend an advance screening of You're Next, a low-budget horror flick from Lionsgate, and I'd like to tell you a bit about it. I'm going to do my best to avoid any spoilers but there's something about the movie's tagline, "Did you remember to lock your door?" that I just have to get off my chest.

Locking your door doesn't mean dick if they're firing crossbows at you through your windows.

There. Now that that's out of the way, the movie is about a family reunion. The Davison family, three brothers, a sister, and their varied significant others, are gathering to celebrate their parents wedding anniversary. The well-to-do family has been pretty distant lately, something you can tell as soon as they're all together, and for a lot of their significant others this is their first time meeting everybody. The writing is pretty sharp as the characterization crackles in these early scenes. You can more or less tell what kind of relationship these siblings all have to each other and why without really being told, just shown, and the actors do a great job of communicating all that. Seriously, for a cast of full of people I'm pretty sure I never heard of with the exception of Sharni Vinson, the acting is pretty top-notch.

I don't know why I know who she is, honestly, but this blog needed another picture, so...

The family reunion is attacked by strangers suddenly and the violence and bloodshed begins. To be honest, calling this a horror movie isn't fair. Yes, there are a couple of jump scares, but really, it's a home invasion thriller with a lot of violence, a fair bit of gore, and way more comedy than you'd expect. I was honestly laughing through most of the movie. But,and I can't stress this enough, I was laughing with the movie, not at it. All the laughs were on purpose; this is a black comedy through and through.

I don't want to give anything else away, except to say that the plot has two twists to it. The first, anyone with common sense will probably see coming a mile away. The second one, though, caught me by surprise, and that doesn't happen too often with these kinds of movies (full disclosure, though: my guest for the night saw both of them coming, so your mileage may vary).

Mid-sized story short, I really enjoyed this movie, and if you're looking for fun way to kill a few hours, check this one out. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - The Dark Legacy of Shannara: Witch Wraith

Witch Wraith (The Dark Legacy of Shannara, #3)Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One phrase you often see in one form or another on book jackets of the last part of a series is "thrilling conclusion." Well, that phrase definitely applies to this novel. I've read everything Brooks has ever published and I'm pretty sure this was the most thrilling thing he's ever written, for me at least. The many disparate plot threads and twists set up throughout the first two parts of the trilogy race to a head here and it shouldn't be a spoiler to say that not everyone makes it out alive. There were some moments in this story, a story that, when you boil it down, is about nothing more complicated than two sets of siblings, that had me getting misty-eyed. I recommend Terry Brooks novels every single time so me just saying I recommend this is really saying nothing at all; instead, I'll say this is probably my favorite book of his since Angel Fire East. And that is high praise indeed.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

5 Favorite Stand-Alone Doctor Who Episodes: Countdown to the 50th Anniversay 4...

I was asked yesterday what my favorite episode of Doctor Who is. It wasn't a question that I could answer right away. There have been over one hundred episodes since the show restarted, the bulk of which are made out of undistilled awesomesauce. How do you pick just one favorite episode out of that? Even trying to began to melt my brain. So I thought I'd pick five... but even that became too difficult. Do multi-parters count as one episode or two? What about the specials? Where does it end? WHERE DOES IT END???

Okay, I'm better now. So I decided to tackle my problem by dividing my answer into three separate lists, one each for the stand-alone episodes, the multi-parters, and the specials; one per month between now and November when the 50th Anniversary Special airs, culminating in a blog post to go along with it. This entry, then, is for the stand-alone episodes. I'm also going to do my best to encompass all three Doctors and most, if not all, of their companions as they all have their merits, but just to get this out of the way...

Eleven and Amelia Pond. They win. The end.

And because even five episodes wasn't enough for me, we're starting with an...

Honorable Mention: The Rings of Akhenaten (Series 7.2)
It's always fun when the Doctor takes a new companion to the stars for the first time, and Clara Oswald's first trip was no exception. She woofed at an alien who spoke in barks. She befriended a child fated to die to save her world. And she saved the Doctor with, of all things, a leaf. And the Doctor? What was he doing that made this episode so great? He was just raging against an ancient, hungry planet ready to devour everything, with nothing to back him up but a song and the aforementioned leaf...

5. Father's Day (Series 1)
Despite the fact that the monster of the week is just a glorified reject from The Langoliers, this episode touched me. In the episode, the Ninth Doctor takes Rose Tyler back to the day her father died so she can be there for him, and despite the Doctor's warnings about paradoxes, Rose tries to change history. The episode has a touching ending and reveals both sides of the Doctor: the caring and compassionate friend... and the Oncoming Storm.

4. The Eleventh Hour (Series 5)
The first appearance of the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, and Rory Williams, this episode begins not just the season-long story of the cracks in time, but really the two-and-a-half-seasons-long story of the entire Pond family. With his new friends, the Doctor must hunt down a shape-changing alien before another race of aliens destroy the Earth looking for it. The Doctor is, of course, successful and the Earth-threatening aliens leave, but he calls them back for a chat...

I do enjoy when Eleven gets all ornery.

3. Vincent and the Doctor (Series 5)
This episode doesn't seem to be one of the most beloved generally, probably on account of the lameness of an invisible monster... but it's got Bill Nighy and Tony Curran as guest stars as the Doctor and Amy hang around with Vincent Van Gogh, my personal favorite painter. A lot of his art is showcased, and there's an absolutely brilliant moment at the end when they bring the depressed Van Gogh to the future so he can see just how beloved and appreciated his talent eventually becomes. And if nothing else, the episode led to this absolutely stunning image:

2. Midnight (Series 4)
Away from his companion (at the time the horrible Donna Noble, the only companion I can't stand), this episode features the Doctor on a train on a distant planet. Doesn't sound so great, right? But there's something else on the train possessing passengers, and it's working its way towards possessing the Doctor. The whole episode is a study in tension, claustrophobia, and paranoia, and it all just plays out brilliantly.

1. A Good Man Goes to War (Series 6)
There are so many ways I could tell you how great this episode is. It's the first appearance of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. There's the whole "Demon's Run when a good man goes to war" poem and what it means, or how "he'll rise higher than ever before, and then fall so much further," or how "the only water in the forest is the river." I could tell you about  the three minute, forty-two second victory, or the fate of Colonel Runaway. There are one or two clips of Eleven getting ornery again that could speak for themselves, we know I love those, but instead, I'm just going to leave this here.

Rory Williams. The Last Centurion.

Next month I'll be back with the list for multi-part stories. Until then, feel free to share your opinions on these and/or any of your favorite episodes, people.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - The Dark Legacy of Shannara: Bloodfire Quest

The Bloodfire Quest (The Dark Legacy of Shannara, #2)The Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Surprise, surprise, I loved a Terry Brooks novel. I'm sort of like a broken record when it comes to my reviews of his books, but he's been my favorite author since I was, like, twelve, so you'll have to forgive me. What I really like about this novel is that it has a harried pace that moves the action and plot along a lot faster and more frenetically than most of his novels, but that in no way detracts fro the amount of characterization going on here. Honestly, and I say this all the time, but if you're a fan of fantasy novels, this is another must-read from Mr. Brooks.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - The Dark Legacy of Shannara: Wards of Faerie

Wards of Faerie (The Dark Legacy of Shannara, #1)Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's hard for me to fairly review a Shannara novel because going back to the seventh grade, so much of who I am and who I want to be is due to the writing of Terry Brooks. I usually love all his characters, as I do here. I usually love all his plots, despite some people's complaints that they can be formulaic (come on, all fantasy novels are formulaic, it's how the genre works), and this novel is no different. Yes, I love the characters and the plot that advances the world while hearkening back to its history, and I love the action. So why then the four stars instead of five? Some of the twists were predictable, and I felt the novel had some pacing problems; the set-up takes quite a long time but the climax races. Still, the last page put a smile on my face and made me want to dive right into the second part, which I'm just about to do now.

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