Monday, April 10, 2017

Vera Series 7 - The Blanket Mire - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Broken Promise.
"Yer mam'll be worried about yuh." 
"She doesn't care about oos." 
"Ah, shut oop and get in the car."
This episode of Vera puts a slightly horrific twist into the usual body discovery by revealing it rather unexpectedly, as a bit of sludgey sod gives way under a hiker.

18-year-old Mia Hinkin has been missing for six weeks when her body is discovered.

"Why does this feel worse?" says Aiden at the crime scene.

"The publicity," Vera replies. "Feel like you knew her."

Monday, April 3, 2017

Vera Series 7 - Broken Promise - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Dark Angel

One of my favorite things about Vera has always been its style - stark lighting, artsy shots, atmosphere. I've felt that the first two episodes of this season haven't really measured up to the series' visual standards, but Broken Promise, from its compelling cold open to its evocative conclusion, brings colors and contrast that have been missing.

Jamie Marshall, a 21-year-old University of Northumberland student, begins the episode recording a new vlog episode, ranting about tuition and toffs. Simultaneously, we watch him throw himself up the murky stairway of a dilapidated, old pile. It's a dramatic contrast between his frustrated but relatively measured vlog rant and his emotional devastation as - reaching the top floor - he hangs out of a window menacingly.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vera Series 7 - Dark Angel - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Natural Selection.

"The burden of guilt, eh? It weighs heavily. Easier not to dwell on things."

The second episode of Vera opens with yet another body in the water, this time a young druggie named Nathan Weaver, clobbered over the head and dumped over the side of a forest bridge. Meanwhile, a Catholic priest prays the rosary and looks guilty.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Vera Series 7 - Natural Selection - Episode Review

My review of the previous season finale: The Sea Glass.

My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.
My review of the t
hird season of Vera.
My reviews of the fourth season of Vera.
My reviews of the fifth season of Vera.

My reviews of the sixth season of Vera.

Vera Stanhope and her sergeant, Aiden Healy, are called in when body is discovered on the shore of an island. Gemma Wyatt was a ranger who lived alone on the island part of the year. She worked with Sophia Ashbrook and her intern Peter Haden.

Wyatt was widely liked, but sure enough, as Vera starts to dig, a different picture of the victim emerges. Her solemn, surly sister Alice says, "She knew how to be cruel." Of course, it's possible that Alice is just bitter. Gemma and her boyfriend, Ryan, had been pressuring Alice to sell the family farm, but she refused to budge.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Endeavour Series 4 - Harvest - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Lazaretto.

In 1962, botanist Matthew Laxman went missing. In the first minutes of Harvest an atmospheric black-and-white flashback shows us his final moments, as he picked up a man on the side of the road, swerved to avoid a lorry screen.

Back to the present. Relatively speaking.

It's 1967, and Courtney College archaeologists have just discovered a 2000-year-old body in Bramford Mere, close to where Laxman disappeared. Morse has a theory about the old body's cause of death, but the more pressing matter is that a pair of glasses were discovered close by that could have been Laxman's. Thursday was dissatisfied with the investigation last time around ("County," he grumbles, but he also suspects his previous bagman D.S. Lott wasn't "as thorough as he could have been") so he drags Morse along and they start to interview relatives.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Endeavour Series 4 - Lazaretto - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Canticle.
"I suppose everyone's got their own secret sadness, 'aven't they?" 
"I suppose. What's yours?" 
"Flat feet."
Lazaretto begins quite simply, for a Morse episode. Perhaps thanks to director Börkur Sigþórsson (a Scandinavian, if there ever was one), the episode has a bare simplicity and white light that's unusual for the usually warm, cozy show. The color palette reflects the sterile hospital at the center of this week's plot. It takes Morse and co. a while to get there however, because they've another death to attend to first.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sherlock - The Final Problem - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: The Lying Detective.

Who is Sherlock Holmes? I don't mean Benedict Cumberbatch. I mean Sherlock Holmes. The deerstalker. 221B. The legend of the Great Detective. Who is Sherlock Holmes?

Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't particularly interested in telling us. When we meet Sherlock in A Study in Scarlet, we learn almost everything we need to know about him in his first appearance. He's charming, polite, and a brilliant detective. Beyond an atypical big brother and an unremarkable background pieced together from hints, Sherlock is without a history.

Obviously, in these postmodern times, we can't just leave it at that, so Sherlock sets itself the task of unraveling the mystery of Sherlock Holmes. This is the Great Detective's origin story.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Endeavour Series 4 - Canticle - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Game.

Ah, well. I guess it had to happen. Endeavour's a period show, and we can't get by too long without an object lesson. When I read the summary for this episode, I couldn't help but roll my eyes, not because of the subject material, but because I could so easily predict the plot.

Mrs. Joy Pettybon is on a crusade to Keep Britain Decent. An elderly widow, Mrs. Pettybon is quick to denounce anything to do with sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, and - it seems - fun. She's accompanied by her timid daughter, Bettina, and happy-go-lucky colleague, the Reverend Mervyn Golightly.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Endeavour Series 4 - Game - Episode Review

My review of last season's finale: Coda.

Chess, swimming pools, creepy dolls, fishing, computers, Oxford - you'd be hard pressed to figure out what these things have in common, but happily, Endeavour Morse is here to do that for us.

Series 4 of Endeavour picks up two weeks after we saw Joan Thursday pack her bags and hit the road. A lovelorn Morse and a befuddled Thursday are still working through the implications of her decision. Thursday retreats into surly irascibility. Morse, meanwhile, is resentful and thin-skinned, employing some of the snobbish sarcasm that will characterize his later life.

Sherlock - The Lying Detective - Episode Review

My review of The Six Thatchers

Just when I thought Sherlock couldn't surprise me, it comes out with this. While The Lying Detective isn't quite to level of the show's highs, it corrects almost all the problems I had with the previous episode and turns the series back in a positive direction. Whether that will last is up for grabs, but I'm feeling optimistic.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dreams Come True

Image result for carrie fisher
When I went to visit my grandmother the other day, she said, out of the blue: "Leah died."

"Huh?" I mentally ran down a list of people we both know.

"Princess Leah," she explained. And then I understood. Carrie Fisher.

Public mourning is a weird thing, especially for actors. In the last weeks of 2016, a spate of celebrity deaths caused many fans to engage in something...not quite like grief, more like nostalgia. Carrie Fisher was not Princess Leia, but it can't be denied that what most people are missing about her is the white-clad space rebel she portrayed.

And that's even more strange, because Princess Leia is not dead.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sherlock - The Six Thatchers - Episode Review

My review of the Christmas Special

The Six Thatchers is like six different stories at once. On the one hand, you have the teasing of the Moriarty revelation at the beginning, with Sherlock being a jerk to a bunch of civil servants (you know, as I write that out, it seems less annoying than it was - and it was quite annoying). Then we jump right back into the regular routine as Sherlock solves a series of cases. A dizzying montage climaxes with a rather unlikely murder case, which is notable only because it leads Sherlock to notice the theft of a plaster bust of Margaret Thatcher.