APB: Personal Matters – Something New, Something Old (Review)

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APB “Personal Matters”moves ahead with the new augmenting the old. In other words, as much as Gideon likes to introduce new technology for his officers of District 13 Murphy spends a lot of time educating her new boss.

Despite the new toys, drones – one of which looks like a four rotor helicopter – motorcycles, new cars, and uniforms that enforce the officers’ safety, she reminds the engineer, and the audience that it all boils down to old fashioned police work as to whether or not a suspect is hauled in.

It is this focus that makes the show more enjoyable as a crime series with a foot firmly in reality rather than as a sci-fi oddity. Gideon pouring money into the police district where his good friend was murdered is interesting and entertaining.

The story line shows the billionaire engineer (a Tony Stark clone or wannabe, if you will) using cutting edge science to assist his officers which slowly wins them over to his way of doing things. (Using algorithms, for instance, to narrow searches down instead of the old fashioned methods helps. Although as new Detective Murphy points out, these may well aid investigations but it is the officers themselves and their contacts on the streets who flesh out any work done.)

“Personal Matters” in APB this week features a pharmacy thief who cares little about who he harms in the actual robberies and in his rushed get aways. He also likes leading the police on a not-so-merry chase where he runs down a little girl and later blows up his get away vehicle and injures Zing, Officer Brandt’s dog.

As in the first episode, the bad guy is caught by the district using a combination of Gideon’s new gadgets and solid police work.  APB also saw the introduction of a new character this week, Pete McCann. A former pro wrestler turned electrical engineer who works for Gideon, it is McCann who produced the helicopter drone that Reeve’s pilots in the second chase of their suspect.

In the first episode “Hard Reset” a cop is shot and Reese is blamed. “Personal Matters” sees another cop wounded, this time it is a police dog named Zing who loses a leg as a result. Brandt is furious and wildly upset at the injury of his dog and the pursuit of the thief becomes personal.

In some ways this episode was a tad predictable. We know immediately that Gideon will provide some sort of uber sophisticated prosthetic limb so Zing can walk normally. Just as we also know that the billionaire’s new toys will help to bring the villain down.

(The burgeoning signs of interest between Murphy and Reeves is also predictable to a huge extent.)

However, the obviousness of certain plot devices can be excused when the series works so hard to point out that the reason Gideon Reeves’ experiment is working so well is because of the perfect marriage of proper police work and the new technology he brings to the table.

Like a  wedding ceremony, the show offers up a combination of something old and something new (It even utilizes something blue…) This new series is entertaining and, so far, a great deal of fun.

Martinez is the new police department pin up girl but one who provides a certain amount of reality to her role. Kirk plays the geeky billionaire engineer who cares brilliantly and the rest of the main players are all down gather bit.

APB airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and catch a cop show that is that little bit different.

Cast:

Guest starring Abraham Benrubi as Pete McCann and Nathaniel Buescher as Mateo.

Powerless: Wayne Dream Team – Rumbrella (Review)

 Powerless - Season 1

So episode two of Powerless “Wayne Dream Team” steps back from the show’s basic premise and devolves into a pallid version of The Office. It becomes less about living in a verse where super heroes battling super villains is not the most important thing on the table.

Granted, the “rumbrella” is a direct link to a super battle dropping tons of rubble on grandma and those around her. However, this and the Super Hero Fantasy League are not the driving factors here. The SHFL is just another version of fantasy football and this lack of originality will kill this so-so comedy.

The big complaint here is that apart from the opening premise in the show’s pilot, the series really has very little to do with any Marvel or DC caped crusaders. Sure Van Wayne is Bruce Wayne’s cousin but the savior of Gotham was not mentioned this week at all.

Fiery super villain’s equalled one. The baddy flew into the prologue and wiped out the pastry vendor’s merchandise. Apart from the rubble protecting umbrella, invented because of the dangers in living in super hero haven, and the choosing of super heroes for the fantasy league, the comic book allusions were dropped.

Emily trying to fit in with her employees, working to be both friend and boss was amusing, as was the HR tyrant who picked on both Emily and Van, but hardly befitting a show about a world beset with problems due to the constant conflict in the skies about town.

Not to complain but for a show set in a place where comic book heroics are supposed to make life miserable for the average denizen, not to mention  make more money for Wayne Enterprises, there should be more references and interactions.

Hudgens is cutely annoying and amusing. Tudyk plays his role with the usual comic aplomb and the rest of the cast work brilliantly. Michael D. Cohen killed it as the small yet pushy head of HR who bullies everyone but forces those who retaliate to watch a six hour anti-bullying video. 

The relationship between Jackie and Van is spot on, the segment where Wayne tries to make his assistant feel guilty was funny but once again, this could be in any setting.

“Wayne Dream Team” feels like a step backward and one can only hope that as the season progresses that there will be more made of this comic book world and the consequences of living there.

(There was a funny bit where Emily talks of finding a cheap place to rent in Mu-To – short for “Murder Town” and the crack about places near where pedophiles congregate. But, once again, these gags could work regardless of the comic book premise.)

Powerless needs to up its game. Having Superstore as its lead-in will ensure a certain amount of viewers but they will not stick around unless the show really delivers. Superstore is consistently funny each week with a splendid cast and great scripts.  It may well turn out to be a hard act to follow.

Powerless airs Thursdays on NBC. Stop by and see what you think.

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Cast:

The Expanse: Season Two Premiere – Space Is Still Dirty (Review)

The Expanse - Season 2

Season two’s premiere of The Expanse takes up after the wholesale slaughter that took place on Eros in the season one finale. Holden and Miller are being treated for their exposure and after a long period are given injections by Naomi. These “patch” injections will need to be taken for the rest of their lives and neither man will be able to procreate, she says.

The Phoebe organism turns out to be in that locked device. Amos and Naomi work together to open the thing and they they hide the stuff in the middle of an abandoned asteroid mine.

Miller and Amos work out their issues with one another. Joe is still angry at Amos killing his friend but after Burton almost strangles the life out of the former cop, aka Star Helix, things settle down.

Back on Earth the U.N.N. quickly proves that space is still dirty, but this time around it is the political double-dealing, war mongering and back stabbing that makes the atmosphere so bad. Avasarala almost dies, hires a spy and struggles to stop the war before it can begin.

Avasarala not only hires a spy, she orders him to put her in contact with Col. Johnson (an act of treason). Johnson actually joins Holden’s crew to invade the space station and learn the secret of the alien virus.

We meet a new character, one Gunny Draper; a tough and nigh on unstoppable Martian bad-arse who looks to be a force to be reckoned with this season.  She does not get to do too much in this two hour premiere but  it is clear that she will be going up against Holden’s team sooner or later.

The big shock, and a move that almost pushes the Earth and Mars into full scale war, was the Martian move to blast Phoebe Space Station into space debris. The missiles, which just missed the U.N.N. vessel, were used to destroy any evidence of the parasitic experiments that took place there.

Once the crew board the vessel, they learn that the parasitic creature, considered to be A) proof of alien existence and B) “the first shot,” was released to help develop a cure.  As the lead scientist pleads his case to continue the work, Johnson looks close to agreeing with the man.

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Miller and Johnson

Miller cuts the discussion short by shooting the scientist mid argument.

The brilliance of this two episode premiere of The Expanse, was its execution. The first half of the open was pretty much expository in nature. We are brought up to speed on where everyone is at and the discovery of just how close this world is to war.

The second half, aka episode two, built up the suspense of the Roci being used to breech the space station. It allowed the colonel to join forces with Holden and his crew and gave Miller a chance to get a bit of payback and closure.

The former cop also shows that he can lead just fine. Although his followers in the infiltration operation are a bit trigger happy. This was an excellent start to season two of The Expanse.

We are shown the relationship developments between Holden’s group and Kamal’s progress as a pilot. The scenes with the simulation training and then the actual battle between the Roci, the stealth fighter and that cannon, were spot on and resulted in some edge of the seat viewing.

Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, Dominique Tipper, Wes Chatham and newcomer Frankie Adams are killing it in space. While back on Earth, Shohreh Aghdashloo rules supreme as Chad L. Coleman wears his rebel hat brilliantly.

The Expanse - Season 2
Chrisjen Avasarala

Season two looks to be as addictive as season one. The Expanse airs Wednesdays on SyFy. Do not miss this outstanding science fiction mystery.

Cast:

Face Off All Stars: The Devil Is in the Details (Review)

Face Off - Season 11

The second episode of Face Off All Stars “The Devil Is in the Detail” saw the first team sent home and a different winner this week. There were some stunning examples of work by two different teams, Niko and Cat were neck and neck with Ben and Evan in this competition while Stella and Jasmine along with Logan and Adam were at the bottom of the spectrum.

Face Off All Stars feels a lot more streamlined this year. We see much less of McKenzie, she no longer accompanies her father during the sculpting phase of the competition, and Michael spends less time with the All Star competitors. (This may well be because they are former contestants.)

Everything seems to move faster, the processes themselves and the judging go much quicker, again it may well be down to the nature of the competitor’s themselves. All have been on the show before in various seasons and all know how things work.

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The show this week focussed on devils and angels. A concept meant to reflect the teams’ foibles and strengths. The twist being that these were to be shown on the same model.

As usual there were issues for some of the team members. Stella and Jasmine could not get their act together enough to develop a cohesive plan. This put them behind and consequently a dodgy mold insured they spent more time rushing than creating.

Ben and Adam got off to a poor start when the cowl ended up looking like a “devil hoodie.” The two, who make an excellent team, wasted no time ripping off the offending bit of work and starting over. (They did so well that they almost won the competition. As it was, their effort took them out of the bottom spot they found themselves in last week.

Logan and Adam just missed the mark with their interpretation of the challenge and narrowly missed being sent home.

The winning team, Niko and Cat, were interesting to watch as they worked through each phase. As they passed sculpting. molding and application, Cat insisted that Niko focus all his attention to the wings. This, and the brilliant paintwork done on the face of their model, sold their creation and it was, as Ve Neill pointed out, beautiful.

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Niko applying those exquisite veins

Emily and Tyler also finished in the top three this week with their creation.     Once again, the entire process in the second episode of Face Off All Stars with the judges seemingly only reacting to the efforts of the worst and best in this challenge.

They did all agree, however, that Emily and her teammate Tyler did a breathtaking job on the filigree corrosion of their character and it is clear that Niko and Cat will face their stiffest competition in the area of paintwork from these two.

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Emily Serpico painting that marvelously detailed corrosion.

By the end of the episode, Cat and Niko won as much for their enormous wings as they did for the beautiful painting done on their model. Stella and Jasmine were the first team to be sent home. The two women were not overly pleased to be the first but as Jasmine pointed out, they were happy to have competed with the group of All Stars on the show.

Going into the next competition, Niko and Cat now have immunity while Logan and Adam have one “fail” to their credit. This series continues to show the creative process behind the magical makeup used to invent characters that fall outside the realms of reality.

Face Off All Stars airs Tuesdays on SyFy. If you love cinema and makeup do not miss this series.

Face Off - Season 11 SyFy (Photo by: Jordin Althaus
(l-r) George Troester III, Cig Neutron, Rachel Wagner, Gage Hubbard, Keaghlan Ashley, Melissa Ebbe, Jasmine Ringo, Stella Sensel,Emily Serpico, Tyler Green, Cat Paschen, Niko Gonzalez, Adam Milicevic, Logan Long, Evan Hedges, Benjamin “Ben” Ploughman

 

 

The Path: Liminal Twilight and Dead Moon – The Burning of the Light (Review)

Hulu The Path

Things have gotten decidedly weirder and darker in The Path. Season two started with a two episode premiere. “Liminal Twilight” and “Dead Moon” take the storyline deeper than before and in many aspects the whole Steven Meyer plot has become convoluted and a tad confusing.

Eddie still wears the mantle of “Denier,” Sarah and he are still uneasily sharing time with their kids and Cal has gotten that little bit more out of control. Abe is now in Rung One training (undercover) and Steven Meyer woke up only to die. He was apparently pushed off the cliff by either Eddie or Cal.

(Eddie in the visionary state or Cal in real-life.)

In the first of two episodes we  re-live Eddie’s vision of Meyer. So far so good. However, the movement leaders, which includes Richard, are shown Steven’s body. He appears to have fallen off the mountain and died.

But…

A local deaf man drew a picture of Meyer’s fall and it looks like another white man pushed him. Richard believes it is Eddie. It could have been Cal, after all, the fractured and mentally unbalanced leader did visit Steve.

Or, did the deaf man actually see “spirit” Eddie arguing with spirit Steve? It is all a bit confusing. What is not, however, is the steady deterioration of Cal Roberts.  The self-made leader is getting out of control and despite asking Sarah to lead with him, Cal is struggling to maintain the reins of control.

In the first episode, he wildly overbids for a building he wants for the movement. By the end of this segment, he shows Sarah Silas’ body. She makes him dig her old mentor up and Cal then lies and tells Lane that the man’s death was an accident.

In the meantime, Eddie and Hawk are drifting further apart as evidenced by the boy’s indifference and hostility towards his father at each “illegal” visit. Summer, on the other hand, enjoys the time she spends with dad.

Sarah is visibly shaken by the truth of Silas’ death and it is this guilty knowledge of Cal’s murderous act that comes across as “leakage” when she has a session with Richard.

Abe continues to work undercover in the organization to bring Cal down and it is his efforts that keep the Meyerist’s from gaining tax exemption as a religion. This forfeiture of a religious tax status causes more problems and Cal insists that Mary and Sarah accompany him to a fund raising get together.

Once there, Cal blows it by simultaneously asking for money while denigrating the party members’ lifestyle and monetary worth. Sarah comes close to having sex with an invited guest and Cal punches the man in the stomach after he acts like a boor.

Out in the woods Hawk’s new friend (played by Hunters actress Britne Oldford) confesses that she fears the dark. After opening up, the two connect in a deep and meaningful way and the second episode ends with Hawk apparently levitating. (Or in the parlance of the Meyerist movement, floating up to the next rung of the ladder.)

Eddie sleeps with his dead brother’s wife. She does not notice the new “tree-like” red veins extending up his back and it looks like Lane may now have a new woman in his life. Cal is still somewhat obsessed with Sarah who may be warming up despite the fact that he killed Silas.

The Path has managed to shift gears and take things to another level.  It is now difficult to understand who killed Steven. The visions of him choosing Eddie to “be his son” intermingled with his protestations on the vision mountaintop, are confusing.

The Hawk levitation brings back a certain amount of mysticism but at the end of the day, we do not know whether the young Lane really lifted up into the air or whether he imagined it.

Clearly things are going to be heading south even faster now that leaders of the movement believe that Eddie went to Peru to kill Steven. Cal’s meltdown is also accelerating as is Sarah’s loss of calm. With Abe, hiding in the group in plain site, season two could turn out to be explosive.

The Path airs Wednesdays on Hulu.

Cast:

Guest starring Britne Oldford as Meyerist novice.