Tuesday, August 31, 2010

True Blood - "Fresh Blood"

Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Russell (Denis O'Hare) have an unconventional method for hitching a ride.
Photo Credit: HBO
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'True Blood'
Season 4 - Episode 11
"Fresh Blood"

This is the first time all season that I was actually in Arlene's subplot. The main problem before is that she would get a scene or two every other episode and they were usually the same business of her fretting over the possibility of giving to birth to a homicidal baby. If that wasn't the case, she was usually snarking at Jessica or Tara or Tommy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mad Men - "Waldorf Stories"

Don Draper (Jon Hamm), Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks) and Roger Sterling (John Slattery) looking good at the Clio Awards.
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Mad Men'
Season 4 - Episode 6
"Waldorf Stories"

You have to wonder how networks and producers and writers co-ordinate the progress of a television sometimes. Case in point: tonight's 'Mad Men' airs an episode in which Don wins a Cleo for his floor wax commercial, the night the show wins its third Emmy for Best Drama. Also, I can't help but wonder if the creators crafted "Waldorf Stories" to act as a sort of introductory episode to 'Mad Men' for any potential spill over viewers after the award ceremony when the show rebroadcast at 11:02 PM EST.

Eureka - "The Ex-Files"

Jack (Colin Ferguson) wrestles with a problem while Stark (Ed Quinn) soaks up the... SCIENCE!
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Matthew Rasnake

Season 4 - Episode 8
"The Ex-Files"

Within the first ten minutes or so of this episode, I was thinking that I was going to open this review like so:

I take it all back. Every bad thing I said about 'Eureka' and conspiracy plot-lines... I take it all back.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"The Dark Things" - JLA/JSA Crossover

Review by Paul Steven Brown

Justice League of America #45 - 48
Justice Society of America #41 - 42

Writer: James Robinson
Art: Mark Bagley
Published by DC Comics

The Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America are the premiere superhero teams in the DC Universe. While the JSA is the legacy team that has its roots in the Golden Age of Comics, consisting of members from the '30s and '40s publication era and those younger heroes that have taken on the names of those who served during that time. The JLA is a more modern equivalent of the DC superteam and is usually made up of the more recognizable heroes such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Occasionally, when these two squads combine forces, it's to take on a threat bigger than either could handle alone.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eureka - “Stoned”

Henry (Joe Morton) is blinded by Grace's (Tembi Locke)... SCIENCE.
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Matthew Rasnake

Season 4 - Episode 7

It’s not often that you’ll catch me trying to verbally encourage characters on a TV show, but this episode managed to push just the right buttons, I guess. I think it went something like this:

“C’mon Carter, what’re you doing?”

This came later in the episode. Before we get there...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rubicon - "Connect the Dots"

Will Travers (James Badge Dale) receives an ominous warning from his boss, Kale Ingram (Arliss Howard).
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

Season 1 - Episode 5
"Connect the Dots"

"I strongly suggest you stick to the analysis side of things. I would hate to see you involved in any mayhem." - Kale Ingram

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

True Blood - "I Smell a Rat"

Arlene (Carrie Preston) may have just provoked Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) one time too many.
Photo Credit: HBO
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'True Blood'
Season 3 - Episode 10
"I Smell a Rat"

After a couple of weeks of action and developments, this week's 'True Blood' felt like a bit of a time killer until the final two episodes of the season. Certainly, this wasn't as much of a wheel-spinner like some of the later season two episodes, but compared to the rest of this really fun year, this past Sunday's 'True Blood' just lacked something. There were a few revelations, but for some reason they felt anti-climatic or out of nowhere.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mad Men - "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"

Bobby (Jared S. Gilmore), Sally (Kiernan Shipka), Don (Jon Hamm) and Betty (January Jones): an American portrait of understanding and compassion.
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Mad Men'
Season 4 - Episode 5
"The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"

Far be it for me to criticize an episode that gave us the euphoric moment of Peggy Olson riding a red motor bike in circles against a white backdrop on an empty sound stage, but I think it's too soon to have another "caper episode" so soon after the season three finale. While the finale was a fun homage to a certain film genre of that period and it was executed fantastically, the Honda plot just seemed too formulaic. Hell, Don, Pete, and Layne got to have their 'A-Team' post mission "I love it when a plan comes together" moment at the end, too. Still, this it 'Mad Men' and even a cliche plot idea is better than most television out there.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Buffy Rewind Review - "I, Robot... You Jane"

Moloch just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong?
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
Season 1 - Episode 8
"I, Robot... You Jane"

"I, Robot... You Jane" is a pretty silly episode conceptually, but for some odd reason, and the show runners almost pulls out a win. Let's face it, this is a story about an ancient demon that gets scanned into a computer, becomes Willow's online boyfriend, and then gets put inside a robot body. Thankfully, there's a lot of fun character interplay to elevate this story above its own ridiculousness.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rubicon - "The Outsider"

Will Travers (James Badge Dale) and Truxton Spangler (Michael Cristofer) have a drink after a successful trip to Washington.
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

Season 1 - Episode 4
"The Outsider"

Despite 'Rubicon' being a show with a handful of running mysteries to deal with from week to week, "The Outsider" is pretty much a standalone episode. We get a few scenes of the isolated Katherine subplot and Will gets some information on the names he had ran (off the record, of course), but that's about it for the bigger picture material. The real meat is in two concurrent stories; one involving Will and Spangler in D.C., the second focuses on Will's team back in New York working on a new case.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Catching Up With... Fantastic Four

By Paul Steven Brown

Fantastic Four #579 - 581

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Neil Edwards
Inkers: Andrew Currie & Paul Neary
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letters & Production: Rus Wooton
Covers: Alan Davis
Published by Marvel Comics

Sometimes you have to stand back for a few months and watch a comic book series progress. At a standard format of twenty-two pages a month, a single issue doesn't always offer enough fodder for a worthwhile review or discussion. I've always believed that three straight issues was a good sampling for determining a comic book series' quality.

True Blood - "Everything is Broken"

Nan Flanagan (Jessica Tuck) knows how to make an entrance.
Photo Credit: HBO
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'True Blood'
Season 3 - Episode 9
"Everything is Broken"

Wow. In one bold move, Russell Edgington completely transformed the landscape of this entire series. Outside of a few snippets of Nan Flanagan conducting interviews on the behalf of the vampire civil rights movement, 'True Blood' has mainly stayed locked away into the southern states of Louisianan, Mississippi, and Texas. Edgington's savage on-camera murder of a newscaster followed by his proclamations of vampire superiority is certainly going to put every vampire on this show on the defensive as the species will now be considered public enemy number one by most humans.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eureka - "Momstrosity"

Kevin (Trevor Jackson) fumes, while Jack (Colin Ferguson) and Dr. Grant (James Callis) clash over their relationships with his mom.
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Matthew Rasnake
Season 4 - Episode 6

In this episode, we revisit the classic sci-fi trope of AI gone wrong, while the Carter/Grant rivalry for Allison's affection heats up and draws Kevin in as a pawn, of sorts. We also get to see some serious developments in Henry and Grace's relationship as well.

Mad Men – “The Rejected”

Joyce Ramsay (Zosia Mamet) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) get high and look at some art.
Photo Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘Mad Men’
Season 4 – Episode 4
“The Rejected”

‘Mad Men’ has dropped the holiday themes that permeated the first three episodes of the season as we begin to really move into the thick of things. Don is still drinking, but with Allison’s very open display of frustration at his behavior towards her, he may now finally start to turn things around. I’m not saying it’s going to happen soon, but his attempt at typing her a letter about the hard time he’s having was directed at himself as much as her.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Catching Up With… Rubicon

Will Travers (James Badge Dale) knows that just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean that they're not after you on 'Rubicon'
Photo Credit: AMC
By Paul Steven Brown

Season 1 – Episodes 1 – 3
“Gone in the Teeth”
“The First Day of School”
“Keep the Ends Out”

I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue watching ‘Rubicon’, the new conspiracy series from AMC, after the first episode. Despite the intrigue and the acting, this show is a very slow burner. I decided to catch up with it this week and I can finally say that I’m sold on it and I’ll continue with it through the rest of the season. As a result, this review will be a truncated look at the first three episodes.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) in a battle of the bands that turns into an actual battle in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Photo Credit: Universal
Review by Paul Steven Brown

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Directed by Edgar Wright
Screenplay by Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall (based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Mally
Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Allison Pill, Kieran Culkin, Ellen Wong, Jason Schwartzman, & more.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1

Review by Paul Steven Brown

“Last Will”

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Fernando Pasarin w/ Cam Smith
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Published by DC Comics

For the past four years, I had really enjoyed Green Lantern and its sister title Green Lantern Corps. The former was the Hal Jordan solo book while Corps focused on the wider galactic politics with a cast focusing mainly on Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner (with great support characters like Soranik Natu and Kilowog). Unfortunately, Blackest Night stretched my appreciation of the Green Lantern concept to its limit. The event was about three months too long and I began to burn out on the ringslingers.

Eureka - "Crossing Over"

Jack (Colin Ferguson), Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), and Henry (Joe Morton) stand in awe as Dr. Grant (James Callis) lets his magnetic personality shine through.
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Matthew Rasnake

Season 4 - Episode 5
"Crossing Over"

With the cheekily named “Crossing Over,” we get back to our comfort zone where our characters are all involved in some way with the episode’s major plot, which plays directly into the season’s over-arching storyline.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eureka - "The Story of O2"

Kevin (Trevor Jackson), Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), and Dr. Grant (James Callis) take shelter... from SCIENCE!
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Matthew Rasnake

Season 4 - Episode 4
"The Story of O2"

I suppose I would consider this a character-heavy episode, with the catastrophe-of-the-week taking a smaller role. From my earlier reviews, one would be forgiven to think that what follows here would be an excited and glowing review. For some reason, however, this episode has left me a bit flat. Perhaps that has contributed to me being unable to give writing this review more of a priority... I love my Eureka, and while nothing is ever perfect, it’s hard to admit when that bowl of vanilla bean ice cream you’ve been craving is disappointingly freezer burned.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DS9 Rewind Review – “Move Along Home”

Kira (Nana Visitor), Sisko (Avery Brooks), Bashir (Alexander Siddig), and Dax (Terry Farrell) look on in horror at the potential decimation of their acting careers due to their appearances in "Move Along Home".  Allamarain!
Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’
Season 1 – Episode 9
“Move Along Home”

Oh… that was bad.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buffy Rewind Review – “Angel”

Angel (Daniel Boreanaz) and Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) can't fight this feeling anymore and they've forgotten what they started fighting for.
Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’
Season 1 – Episode 7

Oh, thank God; a mythology episode. The last episode, “The Pack” was pretty horrendous, and “Angel” was a welcomed palette cleanser. This episode is more in keeping of what I want to see from this series.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

True Blood – “Night on the Sun”

Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) realizes that a shotgun is more reliable than glowing hands.
Credit: HBO
Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘True Blood’
Season 3 – Episode 8
“Night on the Sun”

The third season of ‘True Blood’ continues to be the strongest of the series. The first was engaging due to the newness of the show and a season long mystery. The second season felt clumsily cleaved in half; a stronger half about the Fellowship of the Sun and Godric gave way to the disappointing resolution of the Maryann plot. Despite a few subplots that I’m less invested in (I’m still looking at you Jason Stackhouse and Arlene Fowler), this season as a whole has felt tighter conceptually than the previous two.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mad Men - "The Good News"

Don (Jon Hamm) and Anna (Melinda Page Hamilton) share the end of 1964 together.
Credit: AMC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Mad Men'
Season 4 - Episode 3
"The Good News"

Structurally, "The Good News" is an odd little episode of 'Mad Men'. For the most part, this is very Don Draper heavy installment, but we get sprinkles of Joan's private life interspersed throughout. Also, via his interactions with both Joan and Don, Lane Pryce is given more illumination. Throw in a very brief and concise ending scene (Joan asking the partners of SCDP "Gentlemen, shall we begin 1965?") and we're left with an impression that the epilogue portion of season four has concluded and the real Texas belt buckle sized meat will start hitting the plate next week.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DS9 Rewind Review – “The Passenger”

Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’
Season 1 – Episode 8
“The Passenger”

“The Passenger” is extremely pedestrian Star Trek. There are no surprises, the mystery is clumsy, and the solution is steeped in techno-babble. Sadly, the core concept of a criminal that lives on in someone else’s mind as a stowaway is actually interesting. Unfortunately, the execution isn’t very good.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

True Blood – “Hitting the Ground”

Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘True Blood’
Season 3 – Episode 7
“Hitting the Ground”

Wow. That ending certainly took the title of the episode literally. While vampire politics took a backseat to the perils of Sookie Stackhouse this week, their implications are certain to have a dramatic impact on this series moving forward. Edgington’s extremely bold power play at the end could result in a civil war amongst the vampire establishment. Given his age and power, plus an army of daywalking werewolves at his disposal, this could get nice and messy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mad Men – “Christmas Comes but Once a Year”

Review by Paul Steven Brown

‘Mad Men’
Season 4 – Episode 2
“Christmas Comes but Once a Year”

These first two episodes of the fourth season are really driving home the sense of isolation that Don Draper feels, now that he is separated from Betty and not around the kids that often. For someone in his position, the holidays can be the loneliest time of the year. So lonely that he’s making passes at the nurse from down the hall or engaging in a sudden romp with his personal secretary, Allison. In both cases, Don has been extremely drunk.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cultural Wormhole Present: X-Nation Episode 2

In this installment of X-Nation, Antony and Paul are joined by Liz as they discuss the news from the San Diego Comic Con in the X-Buzz, take a look back at the Month of X for July 2010, and travel back in time for more Days of X-Men Past. Plus, Corwin fills us in on July's Deadpool books in the Merc Report.