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by Jessy Krupa

6 Nov 2015

Tonight’s installment started in the way that countless horror movies (and episodes of Supernatural) have started: two nervous teenagers being hacked to death in a room so dark that you can scarcely see what happened.

As it so happens, they were staying in the former home of accused ax-murderer Lizzie Borden, which has been turned into a hotel/tourist trap. (Yes, there actually is such a place in Fall River, Massachusetts. It has free Wi-Fi, and is rumored to be haunted.) Dean (Jensen Ackles) and a particularly excited Sam (Jared Padalecki) are soon at the scene, looking into whether or not this was the doing of a vengeful spirit. (Long-time viewers might remember that Sam is a true crime fan or as Dean puts it, has a “creepy serial-killer fetish”.) Their investigation leads into the best part of the episode, when the Winchesters show how the haunted house is a hoax, rigged up with hidden speakers, flickering light bulbs, and an EMF machine in the basement. This is especially unexpected, considering it’s an actual business that the series is fictionalizing here.

by Jessy Krupa

16 Oct 2015

Has streaming/DVD viewing changed the way television tells its stories? You could make that argument for Supernatural‘s 11th season, as its first two episodes are directly connected. “Form and Void” begins exactly where the season premiere left off, with Sam (Jared Padalecki) dealing with the effects of the mysterious black vein virus, Castiel (Misha Collins) being tortured at the hands of two snotty angels with obscure Biblical names, and Dean (Jensen Ackles) discovering what makes Amaura so special.

Was anyone surprised that baby Amara is a vessel for the Darkness? No. We’re also not surprised that she can “eat” souls, age rapidly, or that she apparently ends up hanging out with King of Hell Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard). But one of the things that makes Supernatural so interesting is that even though viewers often have a general idea of what is going to happen next, the show still finds ways to surprise us.

by J.M. Suarez

4 Mar 2015

There are some shows that come out fully formed right out of the gate. And then there are those that take a little time to find themselves. Parks and Recreation may have had a somewhat rocky first season, but when it found its voice in its second season, there was no stopping it from becoming the best comedy on television.

by Fergus Halliday

9 Feb 2015

Aimed at giving the caped crusader the Smallville-esque treatment, the Gotham series follows Jim Gordon’s (Ben McKenzie) early days in the Gotham Police Department as he investigates the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Despite a promising pilot episode, the first season of Gotham quickly fell off track in terms of quality—not to mention far short of the potential its source material bestows. It’s never been outright terrible, but the series’ habit of repeating its critical storytelling missteps is wearing out the patience and enthusiasm of many viewers. What’s more, the pattern bears a frustrating similarity to the growing pains that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. went through in its first season.

by Evan Sawdey

17 Nov 2014

There are a lot of people who like Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor. There are a lot of people that will (rightly) point to episodes like “The Girl Who Waited” and excellent new characters like the Silence to help really drive the point home that following the monumental popularity and goodwill that David Tennant’s tenure as the Tenth Doctor generated, Matt Smith’s run in the big blue police box was just as good as his predecessor.

Except those people would be wrong.

While there will be some great episodes associated with the 11th Doctor—especially when you factor in the Series Six arc of companions Amy & Rory dealing with their pregnancy amidst all of their incredible time adventures—it was by the time the show reached Series Seven that it was obvious that showrunner and Sherlock scribe Steven Moffat was running low on ideas, episodes like “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” and “The Angels Take Manhattan” really pushing the credulity of a show that already dealt with monsters, time paradoxes, and all sorts of otherworldly wackiness. Things seemed to be taking a turn once Jenna Coleman was brought on as Clara, the quirky, fast-talking girl that almost-flirted with the Doctor and seemed to match him on a basis of pure witticisms. When we first met her in 2012’s “The Snowmen”, we find out she leads the strange double-life of being a barmaid as well as a governess, and, most interestingly, was the same girl that was featured in the pivotal episode “Asylum of the Daleks”. Mysteries abound for this sassy new companion.

However, as she spent more time with Matt Smith, that initial pep of energy that she gave us withered away, as her matching Smith on a quirk-for-quirk basis proved to more grating than it was endearing. Although fans were thrown a bone with the wonderful 50th anniversary special, during which Clara had a mercifully brief role, by the time we reached the Neil Gaiman-penned “Nightmare in Silver”, Clara was commanding an army of reluctant soldiers and still offering wry faces and goofy grins even as the soldiers she was leading were dying all around her. It was ill-fitting for the character, and basically painted her as someone made of all quirks and zero emotion. Even with Matt Smith’s halfway-decent send off, there was still a sense of lacking to his final run in he TARDIS, and while some of it could be attributed to tired scripts, having a companion that was simply not interesting on any notable dramatic level is what ultimately marred the last of Smith’s tenure.

Thus, when Peter Capaldi was announced as the 12th Doctor, it was noted how his character would be unlikable at first, but the audience would grow to love him. True Whovians knew this was a bad omen, as the last time they tried that, it was when Colin Baker was the Sixth Doctor, and the producers at the time wanted to make him an absolute jerk that slowly worms his way into the audience’s heart with his gradual reveal of honest emotions. Instead, Colin Baker’s incarnation just came off as a jerk ... and little else. He was saved by a few decent scripts (see: The Trail of a Time Lord), but his character went down as one of the more contentious Time Lords in the canon, and not in the lovable and curmudgeonly way that Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker had done so well.

Thus, “Deep Breath”, Capaldi’s first episode, was a bit of a strange one to start of Series Eight with: he’s making passes at a female dinosaur, being somewhat dazed throughout the episode as he’s finding the limits of his new body (and the audience is getting used to his accent)—it made for a strange stew. However, despite his non-violent victory over the strange Victorian androids, what was most interesting about the episode is how the Doctor really pushed Clara into the action without a safety net, at one point locking her in a room where she was clearly in mortal danger. It was an odd move, but in truth, this leads to one of the two reasons why Series Eight has been one of the most out-and-out spectacular since the surprisingly satisfying Donna Noble-starring Series Four (with Tennant and Catherine Tate) ...

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Marina and the Diamonds Wrap Up U.S. Tour at Terminal 5 (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Marina's star shines bright and her iridescent pop shines brighter. Froot is her most solid album yet. Her tour continues into the new year throughout Europe.

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