Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Supergirl Season 2 'Supergirl Lives' Review

The mid-season premiere takes us to another planet (moon) where Supergirl discovers that her powers are not what makes her Supergirl. It is a fitting idea to take the narrative as it allows us to re-discover why Supergirl is an admirable hero.

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There are some wonderful moments with Alex/Maggie where we get to see them basking in happiness. Alex's declaration of 'I have a girlfriend!' was incredibly sweet and Kara's observation of her sister's glow provided some quality comedic moments. 

However, it felt strange to witness Alex's sudden insecurity when Supergirl became stuck on another planet, her albeit dismissal of her relationship with Maggie didn't feel natural for the characters at this point. But Alex's reasoning was understandable because she has always been relied upon to take responsibility for Kara, and so, when she is allowed to be happy, she instantly feels like something bad will happen.

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As Supergirl and Mon-El stumble upon a gateway to another world, searching for a missing girl, Winn is given a subtle sub-plot where he experiences a case of post traumatic stress after he is almost killed while on a mission with Guardian. 

This gave him an opportunity to develop and explore his psychological conditions which reflect our own experiences except with trips in space. There was a familiar spirit to Supergirl's optimism with her belief and faith in never giving up correlating to our current social crisis. 

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Finally, there were engaging moments with Alex/Maggie, Winn's traumatic experience and Mon-El's decision to become a superhero all adding to an exciting and compelling viewing, with a science-fiction aesthetic that blended well with Supergirl's moral expression.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Librarians Season 3 'And the Eternal Question' Review

At first, And the Eternal Question feels like a straightforward attempt at a fresh twist on vampirical themes through a naturalised religious setting, and indeed does, but embeds a beautiful examination of the psychological battle of a brain tumour sufferer. Krisha McCoy’s (2009) Brain Tumour: Boarding an Emotional Rollercoaster article analyses the emotions felt by Cassandra and why they are so varied.

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The audience is introduced to a case of self-combustion which instantly questions the force behind the eventuality of supernatural pressures dictating the death of specific individuals. As Cassandra glances at the obscene innocence of her tumour, her instant refusal to fight cleverly justifies her personal investigation into a resort run by vampires, where the combustion victims are used a test subjects.

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This is a personal story, bravely inquiring into the resort’s treatment of terminally ill residents and questioning the mental cruelty of hope being a false claim, a realistic exploration of a real dilemma far more fascinating to witness when Cassandra meets vampire bio-engineer- Estrella, who has an eclectic understanding of her situation.

The acceptance of her death is a difficult notion to understand because I wandered why she had given up so easily, the simple reasoning behind her decision was she was terrified. Her emotional journey reflects isolation being at the cause of her denial, but her capability to continue her investigation and use her intelligence to solve the case is a wonderful expression of human resilience.

Throughout the episode, she veers towards denial then bargaining with Estrella over whether immortality would be an unconventional path that may be the eternal question that the writers' wanted to ask.

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Lindy Booth’s naturalistic and raw performance seamlessly splits between Cassandra’s excitable and childlike enthusiasm to a grieving woman who has accepted her impending death. The exchange between the two facades is an impressive skill and ultimately reveals how her intentions change; from denying her true feelings with false excitement to achieving justice for the dead residents.

While the episode’s focus is, dark and moving, the other librarians- Jacob and Ezekiel balance the story’s themes with team quarrels and unavoidable capture. Their pre-conceived notions of vampires juxtapose Cassandra’s open-minded view. Dr Belisa Vranich’s (2010) Why we love vampires: The Psychology behind the obsession reveals psychological justification for why vampirical themes are commonly used.

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The compelling factors assimilate from who to believe as the owner of the resort, Estrella’s mother, explains the land’s gift motivated her and her children to live freely with their abilities without the need to stretch their vampirical instincts. The mystery of the orchestrator’s identity is brilliantly and subtly revealed by Cassandra, who observes Estrella’s brother-Tomas overwhelming curiosity into the real source of their freedom.

The relationship formed between Cassandra and Estrella lays the foundations for a diverse and unique relationship which is an alluring reflection of what a peaceful society would look like when people are accepted for who they are. Aaron Anson’s Huffington Post (2011) Coping with our judgmental society article provides detail into why society’s judgmental attitudes create non-productivity and prejudice.

Writer’s Katie Rodrick and Nicole Ranadive have showcased spectacular qualities storytelling, using supernatural themes to guide a character’s acceptance of their diagnosis, where they remind us that you can still be scared and survive. The episode is a remarkable adoption of bravery, intrinsically complex emotions and a romantic acceptance of immortality.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Doctor Who- The Return of Doctor Mysterio Review

This latest special is a love letter to the Christopher Reeve’s (1978) Superman film with a mix of alien parasites and a grieving Doctor. The self-contained story feels separate from the main series, which is a soothing addition to the light-hearted and comedic stories that are almost always present during the festive season.

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The superhero theme embedded throughout the story is a perfect fit within the Doctor Who universe because they both inhabit a sense of imagination and hope, that beings with superpowers can inspire greatness. Film Ink’s (2016) The Age of Heroes: Why are superheroes so popular? article states that during sensitive times in society, it is natural for our consciousness to latch onto the idea of a superhero healing society’s wounds.

Justin Chatwin plays the enigmatic and charming Grant/The Ghost, who meeting the Doctor as a child, swallowed a gem stone which caused his greatest wish to come true- becoming a superhero. Years later, the Doctor and Nardole investigate Harmony Shoal, a classic New York corporate company whose sinister plans to replace human brains with that of the alien parasites- the Shoals of the Winter Harmony, create the antagonistic conflict that the Doctor always finds himself encountering.

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The creatures imbue a fearful visualisation as the humans they have killed, unzip their own heads to reveal the parasite inside the skull. Their plans are predictable, they aim to infect every human on Earth so they can thrive, but the focus is intentionally on Grant and Lucy, a reporter who doesn’t realise she is in love with Grant until they are both almost killed.

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Charity Wakefield as Lucy portrays a clever, confident, strong-willed and curious character that even the Doctor finds himself impressed with. Her interrogation of the Doctor is one of hilarity as she uses her baby daughter’s squeaky toy to scare the Doctor into telling the truth.
The fact that she doesn’t know who the Doctor is cleverly allows him to become mysterious to the audience again through her eyes. Grant and Lucy’s relationship becomes rather complicated once Lucy arranges to meet The Ghost for an interview, which nostalgically resembles the rooftop scene between Clark Kent and Lois Lane in the first (1978) Superman film.
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Once the Doctor discovers the Shoal of the Winter Harmony’s plans, the pace quickens and their spaceship becomes the setting to its eventual demise. As it crashes to Earth, Grant uses his super strength to hold the ship in place, becoming the hero that Lucy has always known him to be which creates a joyful and satisfying conclusion.

Careful consideration has been taken to explore the Doctor’s psychological state as he grieves for River Song. There are snippets of his defensive behaviour as Nardole points out he would rather save a planet then admit his grief. Moffat, Steven (2016) The Return of Doctor Mysterio, “Which is what you always do when the conversation turns serious.”

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The story is a brilliant tribute to the superhero franchise, the humour and heart-warming romance between Grant and Lucy is magical and sweet. With the alien foes and the Doctor’s daftness bringing danger, fear and sadness to the narrative, this feels like an exciting beginning for the new series. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year From 2017!

Happy New Year!!!

Here's to 2017! Let's hope it's a great year for everyone! :D