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TV Review: The Strain 1.2 “The Box”
Olympus Athens   |  

The Strain FX banner

The Strain
Season 1 Episode 2: “The Box”
Directed by David Semel
Written by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, Bradley Thompson, and David Weddle
Starring Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Richard Sammel, Jonathan Hyde, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown, Jack Kesy, and Ben Hyland
FX
Air Date: Sunday July 20, 2014, 10pm

Last week’s recap: If you haven’t seen the pilot episode, stop reading now!

Last week found Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) of the CDC, a man on the verge of losing his wife and son, called to the scene of a cold, dark plane. He and his partner, Dr. Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro), find everyone (except 4) on board dead, seemingly at once and with no pain. A 9-foot soil-filled coffin disappears from a warehouse by being lifted up. A mysterious old man (David Bradley) with a sword and a pet heart appears at the airport with dire warnings of things he has seen before. Another mysterious old man shows up to pay off Gus (Miguel Gomez), a thug who worships his mother, to drive some precious cargo that must be over the bridge before daybreak. We see a monster suck on a guy’s neck and then smash his head like he was Oberyn Martell. And the medical examiner has a close call when a worm-like virus (or virus-like worm) almost gets under his skin. He pulls in out in the nick of time (whew!), only to be felled by the zombie-like vampires (to the tune of “Sweet Caroline”), formerly known as the dead passengers of the doomed flight from Berlin. One dead little girl returns home to her father’s embrace.

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TV Review: The Strain 1.1 “Night Zero”
Olympus Athens   |  

the strain FX logos

The Strain
Season 1 Episode 1: “Night Zero”
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Starring: Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, Richard Sammel, Jonathan Hyde, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown, Jack Kesy, and Ben Hyland
FX
Air Date: Sunday, July 13, 2014, 10pm

“Hunger……” is the opening word ringing in ominous tones. An airplane at JFK gone dark and filled with corpses. The Strain, one of the most highly anticipated shows debuting this Summer, is an apocalyptic take on vampirism caused by an ancient virus. The vamps are not pretty a la The Vampire Diaries or True Blood. They are not those sexy yet misunderstood vampires trying to blend into our world. They are ugly, gory, hungry, and spreading.

Episode 1, “Night Zero,” finds the CDC racing to the plane to try to figure out what potential epidemic they face. Headed by Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (House of Cards’ Corey Stall), a man losing his family because of his work, and assisted by Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) and Jim Kent (Sean Astin), the clock is ticking and containment is necessary. A mysterious old man with a sword and a disturbing pet (Harry Potter’s David Bradley) knows what it is and knows what must be done.

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Blu-ray Review: Game Of Thrones The Complete Third Season
The Movie God   |  

Game of Thrones The Complete Third Season Blu-ray

Game of Thrones The Complete Third Season
Blu-ray/DVD/Digital | DVD l Limited Edition
CREATORS: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin (author)
STARRING: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Richard Madden, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Natalie Dormer, Stephen Dillane, Conleth Hill, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Maisie Williams, Iain Glen, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jack Gleeson, Sophie Turner, Diana Rigg, Alfie Allen, David Bradley, Liam Cunningham, James Cosmo, Rory McCann, Gwendoline Christie, Carice van Houten, Joe Dempsie, Charles Dance, Kristian Nairn, John Bradley, Michael McElhatton, Sibel Kekilli, Finn Jones, Oona Chaplin, Rose Leslie, Iwan Rheon, Ian McElhinney, Ciarán Hinds, Paul Kaye, Hannah Murray, Kristofer Hivju, Ellie Kendrick, Thomas Sangster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tobias Menzies, Natalia Tena, Richard Dormer, Mackenzie Crook, Clive Russell, Art Parkinson
HBO
RELEASE DATE: February 18, 2014

It’s cold and dark and depressing outside as many of us fight through the dead of winter, but excitement is starting to build in the land of television as Game of Thrones begins to take over once again. It started with the first trailers and behind-the-scenes special for season four. It continues with the release of season three on Blu-ray today. And officially hits its full stride on April 6th with the start of the new season, as the show looks to continue its dominance over others as the best on TV today. The warmth of the sun is not far off now. For us anyway; we know what’s coming for Westeros.

With one of the most shocking sequences of events in TV history setting the internet ablaze with reactions, memes aplenty, and much discussion, season three continued to set the bar extremely high and continued bringing new fans to the series with no signs of slowing down in sight.

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Doctor Who TARDISblend 71: The Time Of The Doctor
cGt2099   |  

Doctor Who TARDISblend Banner

The Time of the Doctor has come at last, as the Matt Smith Doctor must face the standoff of a millennia at Trenzalore, the planet where he is supposed to die. With his most villainous enemies surrounding the planet, the Doctor must defend the human settlement on the surface – his final mission that will last far longer than he or companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) expect…

During TARDISblend 71, we discuss our thoughts as we review Matt Smith’s final episode as the Doctor, and the debut of Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor. We look into the many questions answered during this finale of the Matt Smith era as well as the implications for what may come next.

We also look into 2014 and beyond – as to what we can expect from the new Peter Capaldi Doctor in Series 8. All this and more on the latest TARDISblend!

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Anime Review: Log Horizon
Lord Hobbitsfork   |  

Log Horizon TV PosterLog Horizon
Directed by Shinji Ishihara
Written by Syouji Masuda
Character Design by Mariko Ito
Voice cast: Emiri Kato, Takuma Terashima, Tomoaki Maeno, Ayahi Takagaki, Daiki Yamashita, Eriko Matsui, Jouji Nakata, Kanami Takahashi, Misaki Kuno, Nao Tamura, Ryota Ohsaka, Shohei Kajikawa, Sora Amamiya, Taishi Murata, Takahiro Sakurai, Tetsuya Kaikihara, Yumi Hara.
NHK
Air Dates: Saturdays, 6:30 a.m. CDT.
Currently Simulcasting on Crunchyroll

At first glance, NHK’s production of Log Horizon is reminiscent of many anime series in the fantasy/RPG genre. Sword Art Online and .Hack both come to mind. Nevertheless, this series has its own strengths that allow it to stand on its own, including character development and story details that don’t distract from the plot and wonderful character designs and fight sequences.

Simulcasting on Saturday mornings on Crunchyroll, Log Horizon is based on a series of novels by author Mamare Touno. Besides the anime adaptation, there have been four manga adaptations of the original novel series as well. The anime centers around three main characters, Shiroe, Naotsugu, and Akatsuki, who are among some 30,000 players in Japan – and several hundred thousand worldwide – trapped in the world of “Elder Tale,” a long-running MMORPG that, for some unexplained reason, has trapped everyone within it. At this point, I must mention that I love the setting for this series. The action all takes place on the actual islands of Japan and in real places like Akihabara and Susukino, but in “Elder Tale,” they are set in a kind of post-apocalyptic, sword-and-sorcery environment.

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TV Review: ‘The Eccentric Family’: Tanuki, Tengu, and Hotpots, Oh My!
Lord Hobbitsfork   |  

The Eccentric Family

The Eccentric Family
Directed by: Masayuki Yoshihara
Written by: Ryou Higaki and Shotaro Suga
Voice cast: Takahiro Sakurai, Atsushi Ono, Ayane Sakura, Bon Ishihara, Hideyuki Umezu, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Junichi Suwabe, Kikuko Inoue, Kosuke Hatakeyama, Mai Nakahara, Mamiko Noto, Mutomu Kiyokawa, Nobuo Tobita, Ryoukichi Takahashi, Takehiko Higuchi.
Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation (YTV)
Air Dates: July 7, 2013 to September 29, 2013
Streaming Free on Crunchyroll

This summer, I had the distinct joy of discovering one of this year’s true gems of anime, The Eccentric Family. The production, directed by Masayuki Yoshihara, whose resume includes Angelic Layer, Dragonball-Z, and Ghost In the Shell-Stand Alone Complex among many others, ran live from July through September on Yomiuri Telecasting Corporation and was simulcast on Crunchyroll, where it now streams free for all users.

The Eccentric Family, or Uchoten Kazoku as it’s known by its Japanese title, takes place in modern day Kyoto and revolves around the trials and tribulations of the Shimogamo family, who are all tanuki, or raccoon dogs. Anyone who has seen Isao Takahata’s film Tanuki War Pon-Poko knows that tanuki are shape-shifters and tricksters who have learned, somewhat reluctantly, to live among humankind. In this production, however, the tanuki are more than willing participants in society, although still somewhat cautious, and with good reason.

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Disney In Depth: ‘Toy Story Of TERROR!’ Review
Brett Nachman   |  

Disney In Depth banner

Our Toy Story pals, terrified as can be, star in a spooky special that just aired on TV. Here is my review of Toy Story of TERROR!, the extraordinarily clever special that you should check out in no time, and I promise you that from this point forward I will limit my rhymes.

Beware, spoilers below!

...continue reading »
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TV Review: The Walking Dead 4.1: 30 Days Without An Accident
Goodman   |  

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 1 30 Days Without an Accident

The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 1 – “30 Days Without an Accident”
Directed by Greg Nicotero
Written by Scott Gimple
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, and Scott Wilson
AMC
Air date: October 13, 2013

The Walking Dead is a mixed-bag of television at its best. The show, (which premiered its fourth season to a record-shattering 16.1 million viewers last night) has never had a problem providing a promising start – it’s what happens after that normally makes me fall through a ceiling, break a leg, and limp away from the show for the remainder of the season.

“30 Days Without an Accident” executes on giving the audience a changed environment, plot threads to drive the new season forward, and a great action setpiece, but all of these things have been done well in seasons past. Can Scott Gimple (who is the third showrunner in four seasons), finally provide us with a show that’s able to give some much needed development to its new and established characters?

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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.16: Felina (Series Finale)
Goodman   |  

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 16 Felina Review

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 16 – “Felina”
Directed and written by Vince Gilligan
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 29, 2013

SPOILERS FOR THE BREAKING BAD SERIES FINALE. You’ve been warned.

“I did it for me…. I was alive.”

So much of Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) Mr. Chips to Scarface journey has been caged with idea that Walter was doing everything for his family. It’s much like the idea that I highlighted a few weeks ago about his Batman-esque “no killing family rule” – the origin of Heisenberg in so many ways came from a place of gray morality for Walter, a justification that was the weakest of crutches as the show progressed.

As a viewer, it’s been clear to me for a while that Walter made every choice because he wanted to do so. And last night finally provided closure to all that.

It’s always been personal for Walt. It’s the thrill, the excitement, and because he was good at being bad.

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TV Review: Breaking Bad 5.15: Granite State
Goodman   |  

Breaking Bad Season 5.14 Granite State

Breaking Bad
Season 5, Episode 15 – “Granite State”
Directed and written by Peter Gould
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Laura Fraser, and Jesse Plemons
AMC
Air date: September 22, 2013

After all the predicting and guessing I’ve made, turns out the most simple reason of all is the reason behind Walter White’s (Bryan Cranston) return to ABQ. Massive spoilers follow.

It’s not Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) or Skyler (Anna Gunn) or Walter Jr (RJ Mitte) that brings Walter White’s newly minted Mr. Lambert back to ABQ. In fact, it’s so much simpler than that. It’s the reason that Breaking Bad has explored for so long.

...continue reading »
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