GEEK OUT! ARROW S03E12 – THE MORE THINGS CHANGE…

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The ‘death of Arrow – Brick takeover’ saga comes to a conclusion. But the threat of retribution from Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassin towards Merlyn and Arrow remains very real. A myriad plotlines come together nicely but not without setting off more new ones.

Laurel settles into her role as Canary as the Arrow team plot to take down Brick. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen struggles to return to Starling City, after rising from the dead. There is some back-story for Merlyn to get through, which humanizes him just a little, so that perhaps the audience can accept somehow Arrow’s difficult choice at the end.

Good superhero TV!

GEEK OUT! THE FLASH S01E12 – DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

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Disappointingly, no development of the Reverse-Flash story line but instead we are pushed into the direction of Firestorm as Hartley Rathaway reveals the mystery of the disappearance of Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein.

On the side, Barry Allen has some down time with Caitlin Snow, which provides the show’s lighter moments. At the centre of attention – Peekaboo, a teleporter whom Flash and the team have to overcome.

A typically good episode for The Flash, with different plot strands being examined in the coming weeks.

THE BOOB TUBE: THE BLACKLIST S02E09 – THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

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The mid-season premiere opens with Reddington being arrested by the CIA as The Who’s “Magic Bus” plays. But of course, nothing is as it seems as the show introduces us to Luther Braxton (Ron Perlman), a high stakes thief incarcerated at a CIA black site – whom Reddington is trying to get to (by getting arrested).

All par for the course for The Blacklist but this time, the plot gets into the whole mystery of Reddington’s connection with Elizabeth Keen. Finally! Of begins to as we can expect that the rest of this season will devote time and effort to revealing the deep secrets that underpin the series. Or be a massive cock tease. We shall see!

 

GEEK OUT! HELIX S02E03 – PARALLEL NARRATIVE IS THE KEY

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Despite changing its setting completely and introducing a flashforward narrative to its plot, Helix has been slowly introducing familiar characters from the first season to the current one. This time (in “Scion”), it’s Dr. Hatake (above) – a key player first time round, to make Julia’s job of saving the Immortals that much more complicated.

Alan gets more involved in the present and the CDC team is discovering that there is more to the cult than meets the eye (duh!). There are double twists at the end – one we probably saw coming and the other that will keep us guessing till the next episode.

GEEK OUT! 12 MONKEYS S01E03 – CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

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Quite a few plot developments in the latest 12 Monkeys episodes that suggests that things will get complicated in the weeks to come. This time round, Cole has to go back to 2014 to question a co-worker of Railey’s in Haiti about the location of the nightroom, before the Army of the 12 Monkeys get to him.

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GEEK OUT! ARROW S03E11 – BEST DARK SUPERHERO SOAP EVER

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When CW’s Arrow debuted, it opted to follow the Christopher Nolan interpretation of the superhero. Functional costumes, real world scenarios and realistic heroes. Another leaf that was taken from the Nolan book was the parallel narratives that were set in different times and places.

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THE BOOB TUBE: SCANDAL S04E10 – FROM LUDICROUS TO PLAIN SILLY

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Scandal may be ludicrous for 90% of the time but at least it’s good fun ludicrous. “Run” – the first episode of the new year has Olivia Pope kidnapped from her home and imprisoned in a Muslim country (probably the Middle East?). Shades of Homeland perhaps?

But, it doesn’t take too long to figure out that things aren’t quite as they seem. The big reveal (it’s a twist in the tail) at the end was utterly predictable and that’s why it was ultimately boring. And the reason for all the nonsense on this episode was plain dumb.

So this is where we’re going with Scandal for the remainder of Season 4? Disappointing.

GEEK OUT! HELIX GETS LOST IN ITS SECOND SEASON AND MAYBE THAT’S A GOOD THING

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Syfy series Helix is back and while it retains much of the key features of season one (i.e. deadly pathogen, CDC involvement, death, gore, immortality and conspiracies), season two differs significantly in having two separate storylines (one in the present, and one in the future). Yes, the LOST flashforward is back!

Curiously, there are a few parallels with LOST – besides the flashforwards, the CDC team is trapped on an island, there is a cult group headed by an enigmatic leader and secrets kept within secrets. Two episodes, there is much to recommend the show with — after one absorbs the disorientating changes from the season one finale.

GEEK OUT! ARROW S03E10 “LEFT BEHIND”

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After the apparent death of Oliver Queen at the end of the mid-season finale, how do the Arrow team carry on without their intrepid leader? Not very well by all accounts, as they get their asses whupped by Vinnie (“I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”) Jones’ silly Brick character. Which is just as well that Olly returns from the dead at the end of this episode. Spoiler? What spoiler? You expected CW to kill off its lead character? Seriously??

But at least, the Arrow’s absence pushes Laurel Lance to put on Black Canary togs and kick arse – so it’s win – win for everyone, eh? All good fun and at least they didn’t milk Olly’s death for too much cheap emotional shots. Although… it’s always cool to see Felicity all vulnerable and so on. Normal service to be resumed? We shall wait and see…

 

GEEK OUT! THE FLASH S01E10 – BLOWIN’ HOT & COLD!

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The Flash is back and he’s bringing a couple of rogues along with him! Captain Cold and Heat Wave team up to confront the Scarlet Speedster!

Sorry for all the excitement but how cool was it to bring back the stars of Prison Break (remember when?) Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell (above) to play the cold and hot villains respectively?!?

Once again, The Flash proves that you can have good fun with superhero TV, without being silly, while still being true to the tone of the source material.

As the ending suggested, we will definitely see more of Captain Cold & Heat Wave (their personalities fit as well!) in the coming episodes – awesome casting and great writing! Bring on the Trickster….

GEEK OUT! THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE IS HIGH CONCEPT SCIFI TV AT ITS BEST

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Directed by David Semel.
Starring Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank.

Now, this was unexpected. A TV adaptation of Philip K Dick’s classic scifi novel of the same name, The Man in the High Castle has been produced (by Ridley Scott!) with its pilot just been released (FREE) and is definitely worth watching!

For those unfamiliar with the novel, in The Man in the High Castle, Dick imagines an alternative reality where the Axis powers won WWII and split the USA between them viz. Japanese Pacific States (West Coast) and Greater Nazi Reich (East Coast). The plot revolves around the daily life of the inhabitants of this reality in 1962.

Overall, the pilot is rather slow paced but it builds the world imagined by Dick brilliantly. One is kept guessing throughout this episode but it lays down sufficient groundwork to keep interest high. Especially with the twist at the very end, I can’t wait to watch the rest of this ambitious series.

12 MONKEYS TV SERIES FLATTENS ALL THE CURVES THAT MADE THE MOVIE UNIQUE BUT PROMISES TO BE A INTRIGUING SYFY JOURNEY

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Created by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett.
Starring Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo and Noah Bean.

Regular PoP visitors should be aware that 12 Monkeys is probably my favorite movie of all time. See why here. So you can imagine my trepidation when I discovered that SyFy had done a TV series based on the Terry Gilliam-helmed classic.

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GEEK OUT! BLACK MIRROR WHITE CHRISTMAS: SMART POST-MILLENNIAL SCI-FI HORROR

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Directed by Carl Tibbets. Written by Charlie Brooker.
Starring Jon Hamm, Oona Chaplin, Rafe Spall, Natalia Tena. 

Black Mirror is one of the smartest sci-fi horror TV anthology series ever produced – “a Twilight Zone for the Twitter age” as a reviewer aptly put it. The series debuted in 2011 on BBC and thus far six episodes (three in each season) have been made covering issues relating to the impact of technology on modern life. Without wanting to spoil anything, let’s say that these six episodes are essential viewing for geeks everywhere.

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DAVE GROHL PROVES HIS HEART & SOUL ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE WITH SONIC HIGHWAYS

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It’s easy to get a lil cynical about Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters‘ marketing their upcoming new album Sonic Highways by way of a eight-part documentary series on HBO. But the cynicism will evaporate when one watches the first episode as Grohl and co record in Chicago and proceeds to pay tribute to the Chicago musicians who made a difference – from Buddy Guy to Cheap Trick to Steve Albini to Naked Raygun. This is done with a love, respect and fervour that demonstrates once again that Grohl has his heart and soul in the right place – he’s one of us…

Check out the complex yet visceral opening track from Sonic Highways, “Something From Nothing”….

GEEK OUT!

HBO’s The Leftovers has polarized both viewers and critics with an unflinching look at the impact of loss on a small community. The main supernatural factor of the series relates to the critical event of the Sudden Departure – similar to the Christian concept of The Rapture.

In ten episodes, the series delved into the response of the town folk of Mapleton, New York, the individuals most affected and the social phenomenon that developed to make sense of it all, specifically The Guilty Remnant, a cult group whose main purpose is to ensure that the Sudden Departure is never forgotten.

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GEEK OUT!

THE DOCTOR IS IN

Peter Capaldi makes his debut as the new Doctor Who in the latest episode of the long-running BBC scifi TV series. The main talking point about Capaldi’s casting has been his age. At 56 years old, he is the eldest Doctor since the re-launch of the series in 2005 (after an absence of 16 years) and this episode – “Deep Breath” places a lot of weight on the age of this latest regeneration of the Doctor.

At the end of the episode, it is clear that this new direction is a wise one as it sets up story ideas especially concerning the relationship between the Doctor and current companion Clara Oswald. There are also hints that the latest Doctor may have a character twist that somewhat at odds with his previous incarnations.

The primary story itself (for the Season 8 opener) finds Doctor Who and Clara in Victorian London wherein a T.Rex is rampaging after the Doctor indadvertedly brought it from prehistoric times with the TARDIS. The duo encounter the reptilian Madam Vastra and gang, clockwork repair droids stuck in the past, not to mention a tenuous relationship that needs re-building.

A good start, overall.

GEEK OUT!

CONSTANTINE

“Based on the wildly popular comic book series Hellblazer from DC Comics, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine specializes in giving hell… hell.”

Comic book fans can breathe a sigh of relief as this TV adaptation of Alan Moore’s occult anti-hero delivers a more faithful version than the ridiculous Keanu Reeves movie did. A look at the trailer makes it clear that the series will take its cues from the highly rated Hellblazer series penned by Jamie Delano. Yes, he’s English, has blonde hair and relatively unknown Matt Ryan (who is Welsh) seems to have Constantine’s characterization down pat. Debuting this Friday on NBC. Do not miss it!

Official Site

 

PoPINIONS

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SAVING THE SINGAPORE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Copyright piracy is not new. Back in the 60s and 70s, this was rampant in Singapore. We had pirated LPs and cassettes selling at a fraction of what the original releases cost. Also, pirates were able to compile hit songs across various record labels – something the labels could not compete with. Also, many record stores would offer copying services to their customers, providing mixtapes at an affordable cost.

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TUBEWATCH

TRUE DETECTIVE (Starring Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey & Michelle Monahan)

From the epic surrealistic opening credits, it’s clear that HBO’s new series True Detective is going to be something different. However, the moment one sees the first murder victim, one’s mind is immediately cast to the first season of Hannibal! In addition, for some bizarre reason, McConaughey’s Rust reminds me of an Americanized Sherlock Holmes (i.e. Benedict Cumberbatch).

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TUBEWATCH

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It is universally accepted that some of the best screenwriting can be found on the tube nowadays. The latest episode of BBC’s Sherlock (“The Sign of the Three”), it must be said is probably the best one yet. Using the platform of John and Mary Watson’s wedding, the writers manage to push pointed characterization, complex non-linear plotting and a dramatic whodunit with finesse and aplomb.

Throughout, Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a razor sharp performance that conveys all of Sherlock’s complicated thought processes, his other-worldly demeanour and ultimate sad loneliness, with Martin Freeman’s Watson the perfect foil, as usual. There is of course, a cost to being as brilliant as Sherlock is and the story never ever lets you forget about that. But that’s what makes the character completely relatable to an entire spectrum of misunderstood savants.

One wonders what is in store when the season 3 finale is dropped, very very soon. A mouth watering prospect!

 

TUBEWATCH

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SHERLOCK: SEASON 3

As a young kid, I loved the Basil Rathbone version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective. Subsequently of course, Sherlock Holmes fans have had no shortage of versions to choose from. Perhaps its the unsmiling Jeremy Brett one or the Steven Spielberg’s vision of the Young Sherlock Holmes or the latest Hollywood incarnation with Robert Downey Jr or even the quirky Elementary US TV series (where Lucy Liu is Watson!)

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THE MTV SHOW

“The MTV Show” Season 2 Premieres Saturday, 20th April 2013

Two weeks ago, Power of Pop was invited to the preview of the second season of The MTV Show at the Waterfront Studio at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). MTV’s popular original series, The MTV Show, a weekly music and lifestyle show that features top-rated music videos, movies, celebrity news and popular culture, returns for its second season with a new format. The refreshed programming format enables its millennial viewers to determine what goes on the show, through active social media engagement.

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GEEK OUT! LOVING THE SERIAL KILLER

You might say it began with Dexter.

Remember how it felt all those years ago when you first watched Dexter? You mean, the hero of the show is a serial killer? Mind-blowing, wasn’t it?

Considering how unique and groundbreaking Dexter was, it’s rather amazing that it’s taken almost seven years for more tv series involving serial killers to show up. In 2013, we’ve had The Following, Bates Motel and Hannibal take up Dexter’s challenge. Truth be told, it’s been a mixed bag so far from these three offerings.

The Following actually presents us with an entire cult of serial killers led by the charismatic Joe Carroll (James Purejoy) and pursued by the FBI and former agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon). The series started out promisingly enough but since then has degenerated into a totally implausible tale, where the FBI is constantly represented as incompetent and helpless whilst Carroll, is somewhat portrayed as an infallible super-villain! Utterly preposterous – the inherent flaw in the plot requires that Carroll never be caught which results in ridiculously unrealistic stories. What is truly amazing is that the series has been renewed for a second season already! Now that is a crime…

Bates Motel is obviously based on elements taken from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal Psycho movie. A prequel of sorts but set in modern times (the movie was, of course, filmed in the early 60s), Bates Motel is a strange beast and so far rather mystifying. There is a general creepiness about the town in which the Bates (mother Norma and young son Norman – not forgetting older son, Dylan) reside in and there is a sense of a dark underbelly to the town in question. The leads (Vera Famiga and Freddie Highmore) do credible jobs with their respective roles and there is enough brand awareness to keep viewers interested (as evidenced by the series being renewed for a second season) but overall, I am waiting for the series to deliver a more than average impact.

Although only the premiere has aired thus far, Bryan Fuller’s re-imagining of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon holds the greatest promise of the trio. Focusing on the relationship between special FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and psychiatrist Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen), there is much to admire in Hannibal. The genuine attempt made to connect the audience with Graham’s fraught psycho-analytical experiences and Mikkelsen’s deliciously dark portrayal of the sinister Lecter, makes Hannibal one of the more surprisingly successful TV series revolving around a serial killer.

With Dexter on its last legs, I am betting on Hannibal to deliver the thrills, spills and yes, the kills, in the weeks to come.