007: SPECTRE

James Bond is back. Three years after the veritable anniversary smash hit that was Skyfall, director Sam Mendes gives us Spectre.

Here’s what I thought of Spectre in a nutshell:

It’s a fantastic James Bond movie, it shows the franchise adapting to a modern way of storytelling. It introduces repercussions and consequences into a narrative previously devoid of actual development. But it also fails to deliver on the big villain reveal, leaving the most hyped and most anticipated aspect of its story lacking and kinda… underwhelming.

If you want more than the gist, there be spoilers beyond the cut.

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Minority Report first look

New Fall Shows 2015/16 Quick Reviews: Blindspot, Rosewood, Minority Report

TV drama season 2015/16 has begun, and we’re off to the races with lots of returning shows and many, many new contenders. A lot of pilots have come out last week, and here’s a quick review for those that I’ve previewed in the summer: Blindspot, Minority Report, and Rosewood. Continue reading →

Fiction Meets Science — Pippa Goldschmidt, “The Falling Sky”

(A German translation of this review is available on the Bremer Literaturkontor website.)

No spoilers were harmed in the making of this review.

On June 18, 2015, astronomer-turned-novelist Pippa Goldschmidt visited the House of Science in Bremen, together with her translator Zoë Beck, to read excerpts from her novel “The Falling Sky.” As part of the series ‘Fiction meets Science,’ novelists, literary scholars, sociologists, and STEM scientists observe the relationship between literature and science. This examination takes place on two levels: literature becomes the object of sociological study within the context of public discourse on science and scientific progress, for one. On another level, there is a field of tension between science and its representation in art.

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Sherlock, Kitty, and Joan at the Brownstone

Elementary: ‘Enough Nemesis to Go Around’

Previously on ElementaryThe Grand Experiment.

Gregson and Joan grill a suspect

I am so, so glad that this show is back.

It’s a fantastic season opener, for so many reasons. Six months after moving out of the Brownstone, Joan has her own investigation business, she’s got clients, she’s still consulting with the NYPD, she’s on Gregson and Marcus’s speed dial. She helped take down a goddamn drug kingpin (running an operation staffed solely by women, by the way). She was an apprentice, and now she’s her own mistress, she’s making just as much of a nuisance of herself as Sherlock ever did, and it’s amazing.

Things are about to get even more amazing when she reunites with Sherlock for the first time in those six months since he took the job offer with MI-6, and things are, to say the least… incendiary. Continue reading →

Gordon and Captain Essen talk over a case

Gotham: ‘Arkham,’ ‘Viper’ & ‘Spirit of the Goat’

Previously on GothamThe Balloonman.

Arkham

“I told you there’s a war coming, Jim.”

Hitman Gladwell on Gotham

For once, a visit to Wayne Manor has actual plot purposes — if only to show that when a detective puts himself in the hands of a twelve-year-old boy, it’s Arya Stark 2.0, budding Gotham vigilante style. So when Bruce has a nightmare about his parents’ murder, we know how much of a bad idea this is going to end up being.

Meanwhile, Ben Mackenzie is still stuck in his my-voice-is-too-deep-and-my-face-is-too-serious-for-this-simple-conversation schtick, whilst the dialogue between the partners is still stuck in useless infodump. We’re catching a glimpse of bickering in this one, but it’s short-lived. Continue reading →

The aliens of 'Flatline.'

“Goodness had nothing to do with it.” — Doctor Who: Flatline.

Previously on Doctor WhoThe Mummy on the Orient Express.

What I like about this series of Doctor Who is that it doesn’t make everything alright. Things are allowed to not be ok, people are allowed to not be ok. “It’s ok,” could so often have been the tagline to the denouement of the week, but not this time. Not with this Doctor. What I love even more is that this time, they truly used the Doctor-lite episode to give Clara/Jenna exemplary material to work with, and she did, even more excellently than in Kill the Moon, and that was challenging already. Continue reading →

The Weeping Lady

Sleepy Hollow: ‘Go Where I Send Thee’ & ‘The Weeping Lady’

Previously on Sleepy HollowRoot of All Evil.

Early mid season episodes can be tough, both on the characters and on the set-up of the plot arc, so I figured it’d be best to let two or three weeks go by  — watching week to week is great for suspense, but sometimes giving it two or more episodes at a time can be helpful to feel out where things are going. Since I’ll be in London over the weekend and then going back to work, I didn’t relish the prospect of coming home to sets of three new episodes per show, so two will have to suffice. Here we go. Continue reading →

The Mummy on the Orient Express

Doctor Who: The Mummy on the Orient Express.

Previously on Doctor WhoKill the Moon.

This episode affords us one of the luxuries of time travel: the recreation of period dress, set, and costume design — in the future, in space, making it feel endearingly fallen out of time. Donna went ‘flapper or slapper’ in Agatha Christie’s own time, now Clara is stepping onto the Orient Express. A marvel in its own right, of course, but also indelibly connected to, again, Christie. And we’re dealing with murder here, too — except that the perpetrator hails from a different world entirely. Continue reading →

Lewis: Entry Wounds (Part One)

Previously on LewisIntelligent Design.

No-one really expected this would happen. All involved had, before last year, pronounced the seventh series of Lewis (by UK count, not Masterpiece count) the last one. So of course the fandom had held out hope, but I think we’d all sort of wished them farewell with a teary eye and made our peace with it, but apparently the series continued to get such a positive response that they asked Whately, Fox, Front, and Holman to return for another go. Kevin Whately has gone on record saying that he’s doing it sort of reluctantly and that he hadn’t really planned on being this involved in this series at all, but that it just happened and he’s not unhappy about it, either, because making the series is always a lot of fun. He went on to say that he’s willing to do one more, but would feel bad at making more Lewis than there has been Morse — at 30 episodes, they’re closing in.  Continue reading →