Tag Archives: entertainment

Wynonna Earp: I Walk the Line – Family Tree (Review) Warning: Spoilers

 Wynonna Earp - Season 1

The season finale  of Wynonna Earp raised a few questions while showing  so much about the Willa and Robert backstory.” I Walk the Line” also had at least one shocking reveal and when it ended the fates of Purgatory and Wynonna seemed pretty final.  It also seems that JC  (“Right initials, wrong fella.”) paid Willa a visit or two in the family tree house.

It turns out that Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) was right not to trust big sister Willa (Natalie Krill). Stealing back Peacemaker kept Bobo (Michael Eklund) from leaving the Ghost River Triangle area. This forced Willa to show more of her true colors although Wynonna still missed the more obvious clues (such as  big sister calling the citizens of Purgatory “meat-sticks.”).

” I Walk the Line”  was a very busy episode in terms of action and reveals. For a start, Juan Carlos is not quite the “Yoda” figure he initially appeared to be.  It is clear that he was the other visitor who “made promises in the dark” to Willa. It could not have been Constance Clootie as she only turned up when the Earp heir turned 27 and that was to wipe her memory clean.

Shocking Moments in the Episode:

Learning that Robert Svane (Bobo) and Willa were lovers.  All kinds of wrong this one, despite Bobo’s protestations that he never “touched” the 13 year old child he “saved.”

Willa shooting Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). Later, the Earp heir also unblinkingly went to shoot Wynonna with Peacemaker. 

Sheriff Nedley (Greg Lawson) turning out to be a decent guy after all.

Dolls shooting Willa.

Bobo telling Waverly that she is not an Earp.

Dolls (Shamier Anderson) turning out to be some sort of monster, as hinted by Lucado.(What a b*tch she is,  eh?)

And last but not least; Waverly, after being possessed by giant Hell worm blood, shooting…Who? Wynonna? Doc?

(We become privy to the news that Ward Earp was not a nice chap. He apparently beat up on his wife on top of his penchant for making deals with revenants.  It could well be that Willa was born to go bad from the start. Certainly her personality left much to be desired, although that could be blamed on her brainwashing captor Bobo/Robert.)

There were some stand out moments as well.  The big fight at Shorty’s.  Granted we do not see any of the chaos inside the building but we do get another  glance at the yellow-eyed demon inside of Dolls.

Another noteworthy event was the climatic shootout with Bobo and his telekinetic powers. Cue one middle finger moment from the rough and tumble  Earp heir (the real one).

Peacemaker not working for Willa, after she has doomed the denizens of Purgatory and her sisters, was equally impressive. She also abandons her lover in those final moments.

Thoughts: 

It turns out that, like Waverly, we were right to dislike the eldest Earp. She may well be a tragic figure (and she is to a degree, being captured and saved by a revenant “pedo” obviously changed her a lot) but Willa would most likely never have won the Miss Congeniality award in Purgatory anyway.

Peacemaker also worked on Willa, turing blue versus red, and this must mean that she was less human and more something else. Perhaps more like Juan Carlos…Or not.

And who is Juan Carlos? Or more accurately, perhaps, what is he. More powerful than Bobo and able to step outside the triangle with impunity, JC is a major player apparently. Rather interestingly, when Wynonna cocks and points Peacemaker at Juan Carlos it does not emit a color.  Willa made it turn blue and revenants are red.  No color at all for Juan…

The End:

By the end of the episode, Dolls is taken by Lucado to a black site as punishment for interfering. Wynonna shoots Bobo/Robert and sends him to hell moments after he crosses the Ghost River Triangle line. Waverly touches the worm blood and becomes possessed and then pulls a gun and shoots either her sister or Doc.

(Something  to consider: That rumbling heard by Doc (Tim Rozon) and Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) as Waverly turns may be the tomahawk missiles ordered by Lucado prior to Wynonna shooting Bobo. If this is the case then Purgatory and our heroine are doubly damned in this huge cliffhanger ending.)

Kudos to the entire cast here. Rozon was superb as Holliday. He gave his character a truth that sold the concept of Doc as flawed hero, making him a perfect match for Wynonna who,  as we all know, is flawed as well.

Scrofano was perfect as Wynonna another case of the actor filling her role with enough humor and pathos to make it feel real. Provost-Chalkley made us love Waverly; who was a mixture of eager enthusiasm and angst.

Mad props to Michael Eklund as Bobo Del Ray/Robert Svane. The actor managed to make us feel a bit upset at his death despite his character’s very unhealthy obsession with the Earp girls.

Wynonna Earp - Season 1
Michael Eklund as Bobo Del Ray

If Wynonna Earp comes back, if Purgatory and our heroine did not meet a sticky end by the hands of possessed Waverly or Lucado, we will be eagerly looking forward to her next set of adventures.

 

Queen of the South: Alice Braga Is Fictional Queenpin (Review)

 Queen of the South - Pilot

Queen of the South is the USA network’s  newest series and it stars Alice Braga as the fictional cocaine queenpin Teresa Mendoza. This is a remake of the wildly popular telenovela La Reina del Sur (starring Kate del Castillo) which in turn was based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

In a nutshell, the pilot follows Mendoza’s introduction into a cartel, led by Epifanio Varga (Joaquim de Almeida) and his wife Camila (Veronica Falcón). Her lover El Guero (Jon-Michael Ecker) is murdered by Epifanio’s righthand man “Batman.”

Before he dies, Guero is ambushed by Federales  who destroy the Cessna.  He gives Teresa a bag with cocaine, money, a passport, a book he says will save her life, and a gun. 

If she needs anything else, Guero says, she just needs to ask. Mendoza picks up the gun and tells her lover, “Show me how to use this.”

Time passes and ironically Teresa is watching the 1983 film Scarface when she learns of Guero’s death. She  tries to warn her friend Brenda (Justina Machado) who fails to save her husband Chino. The two women, and Brenda’s son, flee the house in a hail of bullets. Teresa does knock the gunmen,  Gato and Pote,  down with the car. 

After getting caught in an ambush Teresa once again outsmarts the men who want to kill her, Brenda and Tony. She makes it to the safe house and grabs the bag Guero left her. Teresa starts looking at the book when Gato and Pote arrive.  Gato (James Martinez) slaps Mendoza and then rapes her. Pote (Hemky Madera) leaves the room in disgust. 

Teresa lays on the bed as Gato violates her. She sees herself in a vision. The future Mendoza tells her, “Go on honey. You know what to do.” She does, pulling the gun from the bag, she shoots Gato in the neck.

Pote renters the room and Teresa holds him off with the gun. Collecting her clothes and the bag, she flees the room naked from the waist down. She calls Epifanio, who is now governor,  and forces him to help her.

As they are driving away, something changes and Mendoza realizes that once again she must help herself. The future Mendoza returns and tells Teresa to think of something fast.

Pulling two guns and aiming  one at  Epifanio and the other at the driver, she and the Don struggle. She shoots the driver in the head and the SUV crashes. Refusing to help Epifanio, she limps off into the desert and stumbles across a gas station.

Queen of the South - Pilot

After the proprietor treats her wounds Teresa uses the restroom. She can hear a vehicle arrive so she hides the book. Two men come in and capture her. Later she finds herself in a warehouse. She is put into a caged area and before Epifanio’s wife Camila arrives to question her she cuts the ties on her wrists.

When Camila comes in, she spots the broken mirror and the blood. Retrieving the shard of glass and wrapping Teresa’s hand; Camila and Mendoza  talk. Don Epifanio did not die in the crash and Camila realizes she knows Teresa.

Mendoza is allowed to live and learns she is in Dallas, Texas, in America.

Queen of the South has Braga narrating the first episode and while this device is often overused or even distracting (or annoying) it works here. Not having seen the original telenovela with del Castillo it is not known if this was done perviously or not.

The episode starts with Braga providing narration as the future Teresa. As she snorts a little cocaine and turns to the window, a bullet comes through the glass. Mendoza flinches and the coke holder explodes.  As the queenpin lay on her back, blood flows from the corner of her mouth. Braga, as Mendoza, then narrates  us back to her humble beginnings.

Teresa Mendoza appears to be based, in-part, on real-life drug queenpin Sandra Ávila Beltrán. According to Braga Mendoza is 100 percent fiction. She also talks about how the new show is different from the Kate del Castillo telenovela;  QotS does not faithfully follow the source material from the book.

Regardless of storyline deviations, the pilot was brilliant. Fast paced, cleanly edited and it had a main character that was easy to get behind.  Braga is a personal favorite, despite I am Legend, which was not her fault.  The actress specializes in playing strong women and hopefully Queen of the South carries on as it began.

USA has a cracking series on its hands.  The show airs Thursdays and should be put on your calendar as new “not to miss”  TV.  5 stars.

 

 

Uncle Buck: Ride Along/Brothers – Out of Order Confusion (Review)

MIKE EPPS, AALYRAH CALDWELL

Uncle Buck has been a hard sell. It is difficult to not envision the late great John Candy in the role.  This is not to say that Mike Epps is not good in the part, he is just not John Candy. There seems to be some issue with the show as the producers have moved the episodes about fairly freely.   “Ride Along”  and “Brother” are out of sync (Sorry.) and it is a tad confusing.

There can be many reasons to shuffle the episodes around.  According to The Wrap Uncle Buck dropped a massive 33 percent from its debut episode. This may explain the moving around of the segments.

To be fair, “Ride Along” is funny as is “Brother.” Unfortunately the episodes focus more on the adult performers and less on the Uncle Buck/kids relationship.  It is the children who made the cinematic version with John Candy and it should be the same on this re-imagining of the tale.

The show’s pilot followed the film’s formula to a huge degree. Having Buck working hard to get the kids to accept him as well as his brother’s wife.

“L’il Scarface” came next (it was actually episode number three) and focussed once again on the kids. It should be mentioned that the child actors are all amazing. Iman Benson, as Tia, is beyond superb, Aalyrah Caldwell as Maizy is also on top form and Sayeed Shahidi as Miles is consistently  spot on as the male child with attitude. 

“Ride Along” was about mistrust and doing the school run. It was also about Alexis (Nia Long) bonding with Buck. “Brothers” was all about sibling and sorority sister rivalry. The children were part of each episode’s plot but not the focus. 

MIKE EPPS, JAMES LESURE
MIKE EPPS, JAMES LESURE

Herein lies the problem with Uncle Buck, there is too much attention paid to the parents.  The film version was all about the bachelor uncle and the kids, the “grownups” were very much in the background. Changing the format so that Buck is now a “manny” to the kids could still work but the parents, Alexis and Will (James Lesure) need to be on the periphery and  not center stage. 

Understandably this is a vehicle for Mike Epps and that is fine. (Epps is a favorite at Mike’s Film Talk and we were gutted to miss his Vegas show.) But in all honesty, without the show centering on Epps interacting comedically with the children it might as well be called “The Mike Epps Show.”

Uncle Buck is funny, not sidesplittingly so but funny nonetheless, but the move away from the kids is quite probably the reason viewing figures have dropped.  The character of Buck is also very different from the original version. Less a buffoon and more a  womanizing party animal who no one would leave in charge of their kids.

That there are problems with the show is evidenced by the episodic shuffling.  It appears that the producers are trying to up the comedy quotient without adhering to the show’s theme, “Uncle Buck” and the kids.

Nia Long and James Lesure are great performers. They bring much to the table…too much.  There needs to be less “mom and pop” and more Buck, Tia, Maizy and Miles.

Uncle Buck airs Tuesdays on ABC.  Keep an eye on the schedule, last Tuesday there were two episode, out of sequence, and slapped together.  See what you think. Is Mike Epps Uncle Buck or should the title be changed to The Mike Epps Show.

Ray Donovan: Girl with Guitar – Shocker (Review) Some Spoilers

RayDonovan_401_2609.R

Last season’s finale  saw Ray Donovan taking on the Armenians (in the guise of the Minassian’s) and his brother Terry’s nemesis the Russians. Ray ended up  the floor of the church with a bullet in his abdomen. He forced Mickey to leave town and head to Vegas. “Girl with Guitar” picks up after the events in “Exsuscito.”

Ray is watched over by boxer Hector Campos (Ismael Cruz Cordova) until his wound heals. Donovan relives having the bullet dug out by a veterinarian and has a vision that disturbs him.  Detective Muncie (Michael Hyatt) calls Ray into her office looking for Mickey (Jon Voight).

Mick is in Primm, Nevada working in Buffalo Bill’s Green Horseshoe as bartender. The man is up to his old tricks, using hookers to help him rob high rollers as they pass through.  The owner of the casino Bill Primm (Ted Levine)  fires Mickey. 

Ray  hunts down Bridget and asks her to come home.  Abby gets devastating news from the doctor. Terry tries to join the clergy and is turned down and he is not happy, “I f***ing came back from the dead!”  Donovan is approached by Mrs. Kovitzky (Embeth Davidtz) to get close to Muncie. 

Hector gets in trouble and Ray has to help him out. Meanwhile Campos has an argument with Marisol (Lisa Bonet) things get out of hand.  A policeman arrives. Hector panics and takes the man hostage.

Donovan must step in and help Hector who has a big fight coming up. (Campos’ daughter tells everyone that her dad will “da story” the competition.)  Ray does what he does best and fixes the situation.

MIckey has his own issues up in Primm, Nevada.  Buffalo Bill tells him if he comes in the casino again that he will not be able to walk out. Mick takes some peyote and ends up back in Buffalo Bill’s establishment.  Security approach Mickey and he goes on the attack and escapes.

Back in LA Donovan sorts the cop out and afterward speaks with Hector who reveals the shocking truth of who Marisol is and why she has such a hold over him.

Liev  Schreiber still manages to make his character fascinating. Ray Donovan feels a lot like a modern day version of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, sans the gumshoe sign and restrictions of being a PI.  What the two characters share is a certain amount of world weariness and a dogged determination make it to the end.

The big difference is that Ray has the utmost confidence in his ability to make everything work. There is no self doubt in the man at all when it comes to his plans to make things right. It is a trait he shares with Mickey although his father’s confidence is usually misplaced.

RayDonovan_401_3099.R
Jon Voight as Mickey

In season four the powerful Finney clan have disappeared but Sheila Muncie has not.  Kovitzky may be the big temptation this year and Mickey has annoyed Bill Primm the owner of the Green Horseshoe Casino and Hotel.  These two new characters have apparently replaced the Finney family.

Girl with Guitar, which is the name of the painting that Kovitzky gives Ray, sees some powerful guest stars. Ted Levine never fails to intimidate. That deep voice and those steely eyes would make most men quake in their boots.  Embeth Davidtz (who is perhaps best known as Miss Honey from Matilda) also impresses with her entrance. Her character is also intimidating, unlike Buffalo Bill however,  hers is an intellectual menace.

In terms of the regular cast, Eddie Marsan is back as brother Terry. Pooch Hall is back as Daryl and Dash Mihok is still Bunchy.  

The episode ends with Ray and Abby lying in bed and she asks him to tell her everything will be alright. Mickey awakes in another bed with a different, more upsetting,  visitor.

Directed by Liev Schreiber,  Girl with Guitar has a deft feel to it and every twist was projected perfectly.  This season of Ray Donovan may just be the best yet.

The series airs Sundays on Showtime. Do not miss this one.

Wayward Pines: Sound the Alarm – Planet of the Apes (Review)

WP-S2_scn12_0287_hires1

It may be a bit of a stretch, but it appears that Wayward Pines has turned into Planet of the Apes. (Or conceivably I Am Legend with a variation on a theme. In “Sound the Alarm,” it becomes even more apparent that the residents of the Pines are really the aberrations. and not the Abbies.

(The Planet of the Apes connection is not too tenuous. There is a similarity in evolution changing man’s role in world. A shift in time lines; in the film a time warp and in the series a time lapse. There is also the fact that a version of man has “devolved” although one does expect to hear “Margaret” yell out, “Get your hands off me you dirty *fill in blank here.*)

There is clearly more going on here that just “natural” evolution. The world class catastrophe which created the new breed of man appears to have altered more than the civilized behavior missing in these new humans. Telepathy or a hive mentality (which is sort of the same thing) has manifested in the Abbies.

“Margaret” is clearly communicating with the her fellow creatures outside the fence while they destroy the cornfield. She is deep inside mission control and strapped to a gurney but is it obvious that the aberration is “talking” or giving orders to her followers.

(In this instance perhaps the lab technician should have called the female Abbie Boudicca after the fierce leader of the Iceni who fought  against the Roman transgressors. She was fearless and a skilled leader of a band of warriors who gave the invaders a very rough time.  Just saying.)

Wayward Pines this week gives more backstory to Rebecca Yedlin (Nimrat Kaur) and, along with Dr. Yedlin (Jason Patric) we learn that Rebecca is married to Xander Beck (Josh Helman).   Theresa Burke learns that Adam Hassler (Tim Griffin) meant for her husband Ethan to disappear. Adam loves Theresa and felt that Ethan did not deserve her (he was having an affair with a co-worker back then) but things went all pear shaped. 

Tony Jones appears again as the founder of Wayward Pines and in the flashback sequences Megan Fisher (Hope Davis) also makes an appearance. David’s sister Pam does not show up in these memories which is interesting to say the least. 

Speaking of Fisher it seems a certainty that this control freak who created the privileged attitude in the First Generation is now on a path of no return.  Not only has she questioned Jason and Meredith, but she also has annoyed Yedlin and Margaret. Out of this group that Megan has antagonized it will most likely be (ironically) the female Abbie who will take this major annoyance out of Wayward Pines.

Obviously the Abbies are more intelligent than previously thought. The mark on Margaret’s  palm is clearly “man-made.” It could be a tattoo but one wonders if the mark is indicative of a pervious scientific experiment, something that occurred during the catastrophe that created the creatures.

WP-S2_scn12_0026_hires1
Rochelle Okoye as “Margaret”

After all, Pilcher did “slingshot” his little slice of humanity past the event.  The knowledge base of Wayward Pines is limited in that it has no information from the time of the catastrophe. Abbies could have been developed in a lab, genetically “blended” to ensure the survival of mankind.

If this is the case, and evidence seems to point to this as a viable theory, then all of Pilcher’s people are the aberrations and not the creatures outside the fence. Margaret and her “tribe” may be the true survivors of mankind who are indeed replacements for the denizens of Wayward Pines.

A word on the Generational’s requirement to procreate (or breed). Poor Frank (Michael Garza) apparently learning that he swings for the other team and freaking out because of it. Seems that in this new world being gay is not an option.  It leads to a death sentence according to Frank…

The series airs Wednesdays on FOX. Tune in and see if Frank survives his revelation and whether or not “Margaret” is the Boudicca of the Abbies.

America’s Got Talent: Week 4 – The Last Buzzer (Review)

America's Got Talent - Season 11

You have to love Simon Cowell. On America’s Got Talent he has mellowed somewhat until, that is, something really yanks his chain. His obvious annoyance at Mel B. for taking too long to buzz the “compliment guy” was funny. Yet on Week 4 of the auditions he used his golden buzzer for a cancer survivor who could bring tears to the audiences eyes.  Cowell also, quite rightly, made the statement that the “kids are taking over.”

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Julia Scotti

In this season the age range has been pretty dramatic. From a 62 year singer with a voice and soul for days to a pair of nine year old twins performing a piano duet.  In the terms of the older contestants the 68 year old former teacher as stand up comic was very funny. And the 14 year old singer who is living with her mum at a neighbor’s was impressive and got four yes votes.

 America's Got Talent - Season 11
Jayne Brown

A professional footballer from the NFL blew everyone away with a magical card trick that was above and beyond “slight of hand.”

There were a few heart stopping moments. Such as  the chap who hung things from his face and nipples, and a couple of heart tugging ones. Like  the Golden Buzzer singer and the stand up comic who waited a long time to follow a dream.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Calysta Bevier

A knife throwing act went over very well as did the piano playing nine year olds who both adored Simon Cowell and wore their hair long. These two lads were cheeky and talented.

 America's Got Talent - Season 11
Elias and Zion

In terms of singers, it was 62 year old Ronee who captivated the audience after Simon stopped her moments into her musical number. With that trademark directness, Cowell told her the song was not for her. “What else have you got,” he asked. The response was a heartfelt and inspirational performance of Natural Woman.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Ronee

Once again too much time was spent on the “wasters;” the delusional and the nutters. Granted it was mainly via montage, except for “complement man,”  but it did limit the time spent on really exceptional looking acts.

For example: Cinematic Pop got a few  seconds on the telly. We had to make do with their closing moments and the panel of judges waxing lyrical about their act.  Why do we have to waste time on the odd ones and miss out on the talented. I had to look up the act’s picture via the press site to even learn their name.

America's Got Talent - Season 11
Cinematic Pop

A little time was spent on the married couples on the show, two of which went on to the next round; the knife act and the “magician clothes changing” act.

Not being a huge fan of those tissue moments (call me cynical but it is clear that these are spotlighted to ring a certain amount of schmaltzy tears out of the audience) I was surprised to find  a lump in my throat when Calysta sang her fight song.

Below are some videos from the show, including Calysta’s number. The one that prompted Simon Cowell to push that Golden Buzzer; the last one in this season of America’s Got Talent. Watch them and see what you think.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays on NBC.

Maya & Marty: Episode 4 – Faltering (Review)

Maya & Marty - Season 1

The guest list was shortened, Ricky Gervais and Cecily Strong , but Maya & Marty still faltered in the comedy department.  This is a show I desperately want to like but thus far the show’s output is outdated, forced, too long and only occasionally funny. Do not let the audience reaction fool you. The  poor folks trapped in the studio setting are prompted and cajoled into laughing hysterically.

Granted there were a few standout moments. The Gervais and Jiminy Glick segment was amusing only in that “The Office” writer and star was good value for money.  Cecily Strong always manages to get a laugh  or two in and she featured in the only other passable skit in the episode.

Maya’s Sophia Loren commercial started out well but soon fell into that show biz trap where the writers assume the audience know far too much.  The introduction of Short as Leonardo who sounds like Cary Grant would be lost on anyone under the age of 40.  It would even be questionable whether those over the cut-off age would know of Grant’s obsession with Loren,or even care who Loren was.

The two stars made a couple of films together and on “Houseboat,” Cary became besotted with the Italian star. The Oscar winning  Italian sex symbol told of  the “affair” in her autobiography. A book that was most likely read by your grandmother, and not your mum.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Sophia Loren and Leonardo (Martin Short doing Cary Grant)

The opening monologue was a let down. Shrieking like  a pair of Mancunian fishwives Short and Rudolph did their best Dick Van Dyke cockney impressions.  Apart from being annoying the slang thrown into the sketch was inaccurate.  (Note: Knackered is slang for being tired not being pissed (drunk) and the quote “Lovely Jubblees” – which was used constantly in  Only Fools and Horses  – is “lovely jubbly” a cockney saying it is the singular and not the plural.)

Cecily Strong appeared in three sketches, the Mexican morning television parody, Mario Bros and the air traffic controller segment.  To be honest the latter skit felt like it was influenced by the old Carol Burnett long running sketch “Momma.” Regardless the three skits  were amusing if not actually overly funny.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Don’t you hate Stacy?

Out of all the sketches the air traffic one was the best and Gervais meeting with Click (Short) came a close second. The latter skit worked because Ricky seemed to be having so much fun. The Mexican morning show came in third, mainly because of the Trump and Hilary gags and the Mario Bros sketch was nostalgic but not laugh out loud funny.

So far the variety show is limping into its first season and missing the comedic mark. Four episodes in and the series is still faltering in terms of pacing and comedy that tends to go on too long. (Or completely misses the mark.)

The  episode highlight was the Broadway for Orlando number midway through the show. Just released via iTunes the song, performed by a number of well known actors who tread the boards, was a heart warming segment.  The proceeds of this song go toward the families of those killed in Orlando.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
What The World Needs Now

The feel good moment made up for the usual ho-hum comedic offerings and it would be nice to  see Maya & Martin actually performing a higher type of comedy. Leave aside the pale imitations and reliance upon outdated gags.

Both Short and Rudolph are talented and funny people and regular Kenan Thompson does not look embarrassed to be on the show.  This SNL summer replacement may still find its feet and start delivering.

Maya & Marty airs Tuesdays on NBC.  Hopefully it will get funnier, until then it is #faltering.

 

Pretty Little Liars: Tick Tock B*tches (Review)

 HUW J. COLLINS, SHAY MITCHELL

So it is the last season of Pretty Little Liars (aka PTT) and with “Tick Tock B*tches” the show lurches into its last mystery and the possible (Probable?)  burial of Hanna (Ashley Benson). This new “Scooby Gang” now has Mona (Janel Parrish) as a member and they are all looking to find Charlotte’s killer and save Hanna.

The show opens with a Goodfellas moment where a number of the Liars are digging a grave. There are no jokes about wings or legs but a lot of anguish as they dig a hole for, apparently, Hanna. Although it could be for Ali (Sasha Pieterse) since her hubby is trying drive her insane. 

(There are shades of “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” here…)

There are a few changes in terms of villain, “A” is now “A.D.” and if the show was going to have a season eight, that might have changed to “A.D.H.D.” (Sorry could not resist this one.)

Pretty Little Liars has managed to bring whole new meaning to the mistreatment of women, however young, at the hands of villainous characters. They have also managed to give Hanna enough of an intelligence upgrade that, after a hint from “Dream Spencer,” she managed to escape.

It is clear that Hanna does not need to be the sharpest tool in the shed to escape it, she just needs a dream pal to give her a clue. (It is curious that the “how” is never shown, just Hanna sprinting in the woods with that “cleared up” mouth wound…)

This last season sees unlikely allies, an evil twin, a Brit (or Aussie) pretending to be a Yank and Ali being driven mad by injections and her horrid husband and his ally. Hanna has apparently finally found her brain only to be caught out by the evil twin.

To be fair the episode was fairly inventive. The hiding in the closet bit with Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra (Ian Harding) was impressive but not as much as that magic transportation trick outside the bedroom window. All the Liars have also found Alison guilty of murdering Charlotte based upon Emily (Shay Mitchell) asking a semiconscious Ali if she was responsible. 

Ali, all wide eyed and terrified, responds with a “God help me” plea which Em takes as a confession. (Sometimes the mental capacity of all the Liars seems pretty diminished when something like this happens.  Although Emily can be a little…slow at times.)

Another example of the group not performing well can be seen at the bar.  Aria volunteers to check the place out after Spencer (Troian Bellisario) reveals that Mary Drake (Andrea Parkeris talking to a Brit or an Aussie there. Shortly after she arrives and orders a beer we hear muttered dialogue in the background that can be either English or Australia. Then, inexplicably, she leaves the establishment to show  at Ezra’s door for some Aria time.

Not to complain, but this last season seems a little sloppy.  Granted this is the premiere episode but to some extent it does seem a bit slapped together. After watching the season open there was one burning question that remained after the end credits rolled.

Will Hanna cope with Mary Drake? Without Dream Spencer to help her can she outsmart this new threat, whom she clearly believes is someone else?  Or will it be back to the shed for Hanna? Answers and or suggestions in the comment section below…

Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays on Freeform.

Guilt: American Psycho – James and Molly (Review)

 EMILY TREMAINE, DAISY HEAD, ANTHONY HEAD

Since last week’s opening episode none of the characters have suddenly become likable. The plot is moving forward, with its hints at murderous members of the royal family and a high cost bordello where girls from university work for a bit of extra cash.  James (Anthony Head) becomes clearer in this installment of Guilt, entitled “American Psycho” and apart from having a romantic tryst, or two, with Molly,  is not a nice chap at all.

It is obvious that Grace’s stepfather impregnated her murdered bestie Molly. Although the stressed older playboy may be more concerned with keeping any connection with the high end bordello quiet.

Grace (Daisy Head) manages to  effortlessly appear in the worst light possible much to her sister Natalie’s (Emily Tremaine) alarm and Stan’s (played by Billy Zane) annoyance. “She’s like a whack-a-mole,” he mutters when spying her latest boneheaded stunt.

The negative publicity tops out with her getting the nickname “American Psycho” after a reporter takes a picture of Daisy laughing moments after her tearful memorial speech for Molly.

Earlier there is a video of Daisy getting physical with Molly and a classmate threatens to go public with it unless a payment of £15K is received.  Stan takes care of this with his usual flair and the student ends up with enough for  a new laptop and a threat of punitive action if she approaches Daisy again.

Molly’s brother is doing his own investigations into his sister’s murder and when he tracks down the womanizing professor Patrick (Kevin Ryan) begins beating a confession out of the academic Lothario.  The man’s wife appears with a hunting rifle. 

Telling Patrick to get away from her husband, she then shoots him. Patrick is covered with blood. As the camera pans away from the house, another shot rings out.

This episode of Guilt piles on the twists and turns. There is the “50 Shades” bordello where a girl costs the pimp running it a cool £20K by refusing to provide some service. (One really has to ask what sexual act could be worth that much.)

There is clear evidence that Molly was having a fling with James and Grace’s other roommate is not a law-abiding type.  Madam Prosecutor is shagging her lead detective, and has been for some time apparently, and (back to James again)  the stepdad is paying well above the asking price for all this to “go away.”

Grace still comes across as the most self-centered and gormless student ever in a London university.  Natalie continues to annoy. (One wonders how she ever won a case back in Boston, she is so irritating.) Gutterie is amusing and somewhat droll. His love of hats is a nice touch as is his glib assurance that no one else could keep Daisy out of jail.

There is the small question of why an academic has a hunting rifle versus a shotgun as it is much easier to imagine the professor hunting pheasant with a 12 gauge rather than something bigger with a “proper” rifle and  a scope.

Guilt is piling on the intrigue  but still lacks any main characters we really care about. This may change if Daisy is allowed to stop being so vapid and self absorbed and if Natalie becomes less irksome.  Anthony Head gives good bad guy so smart money should be on him being the killer and not the faux royal “prince.”

The series airs Mondays on Freeform. Tune in and see what you think about this Amanda Knox type murder mystery. See if there is a legitimate James and Molly connection or not. Let us know who you fancy for the killer.

Hunters: Our System and Telegraph (Review) Spoilers

 Hunters - Season 1

A good sign that a series has lost momentum is when images from the episodes suddenly become very hard to find. Going to the press website only to find that pictures have not been posted since episode seven and the show is now on nine and 10. Hunters now at “Our System” and “Telegraph” is suffering this problem.  With its grim delivery, this Whitely Strieber sourced series has been a hard slog from episode one.

The premise is of aliens living among us; wearing our skin and imitating our emotions was a good start. Sadly the show has been so serious that it has been hard to get behind any of the protagonists.  Of the two central characters, Hunter and ETU agent Regan (Britne Oldford) is the most sympathetic of the lot and her colleague Flynn (Nathan Phillips) comes a close second. 

Out of the entire ETU workforce, Finnerman (Sarah Peirse) as the coldblooded killer who rules the roost is despicable. This woman’s focus on complete annihilation of the aliens is sickening and slightly reminiscent of the US Government’s tendency toward genocide when dealing with the Native American contingent. 

The only other ETU agent who comes near Finnerman in attitude is Briggs (Mark Coles Smith). His “the only good alien is a dead one” mantra has never wavered from day one. Even Flynn (Nathan Phillips) beating Briggs unconscious has done nothing to change his snotty and deadly  demeanor. 

In “Our System” Flynn is sent to visit another survivor from Afghanistan whom he has avoided for years. Once there he discovers that the man is not his old war buddy but a Hunter masquerading as his friend. When the alien realizes that he has been rumbled, he beats his wife to death in front of Flynn.

That episode was all about Flynn remembering what happened in Afghanistan and trying to learn why he was marked and saved. It was also about just how many Hunters there are and how insidiously they intermingle with humans.  This hunter even chopped off one leg so it could imitate Flynn’s old chum.

In “Telegraph” it was about Regan’s father breaking the Hunter code. Which allows Finnerman to decoy the aliens into  being trapped, she says, for containment. The truth is very different, Finnerman orders the aliens killed, not contained and she instructs her troops to kill Regan as well.

The unadulterated hatred that Finnerman and Briggs have for the alien race may boil down to human deaths in general but more likely it has to do with  their killing people for their skin.  The repugnance felt by many of the human race was apparent even before McCarthy (Julian McMahon ) began blowing things and people to bits.

Finnerman’s dispassionate approach is not exclusive to Hunters either. When Emme (Shannon Berry) has her message to Flynn intercepted by ETU, where she talks about knowing what Abby really is, the leader orders Regan to “contain” the child. Since contain is often ETU-speak for kill,  Emme has a death sentence passed even though she is Flynn’s daughter. 

Abby returns to explain to Flynn what the purge really is and the trap in the hotel works.  47 alien men, women and children are trapped in the building and Finnerman gives the kill order.  Musa arrives and offers to help his people surrender peacefully. When he realizes that they intend to kill everyone, he strikes back.

Regan barely escapes, with Flynn’s help, and Finnerman looks frightened when she realizes how badly her operation went.  Odds are that she will not be in charge much longer.

In many ways, “Hunters” mirrors the “establishment” stance on things that are different, or more accurately  the religious communities innate hatred for anything that falls out of their realm of teaching. Gays, same-sex marriage and trans-gender issues are all met with the same unthinking hatred as the very different aliens in this show.

Show creator Natalie Chaidez has given us extremists on both sides of the battle line. Finnerman on the human side and McCarthy on the other. Musa could be seen as an extremist except for his focus on saving his people and not annihilating the other side. 

Hunters airs Mondays on SyFy. There are only two episodes left in season one. Stop by  and see what you think.   There are some disturbing images and scenes so be warned, the alien suddenly and viciously killing his human wife was very shocking.  This show should make one think about what is happening on the screen and off. Give it a try.