I’ll start by saying that I was annoyed at Sybil’s wedding being ‘glossed over’ and merely referenced. Still, that wasn’t as big a ‘cheat’ as all the build-up to Mary & Matthew’s wedding and them cutting just as it was getting started.
It was also frustrating seeing the continued friction between Branson and Lord Grantham. Neither of them really came out of their arguments looking too good. I felt sorry for Sybil being caught in the middle of it, but I was also annoyed at how she was featured so little this season. What a waste of a great/likeable character and the equally great/likeable actress who portrayed her.
I finally felt some decent sympathy for Edith when she was jilted at the alter at her wedding. I got the feeling it was coming when we saw her would-be husband’s expression as she walked up the aisle. It seems the show is determined to crap on her character quite often, given that things continue not working out for her. I did hold out hope that picture the sisters took together would be shown again at the end of the season (given what happened)...but no such luck.
When I said ‘given what happened’, I was of course referring to the utterly anger-inducing unfairness and downright mean-spiritedness of what happened to Sybil after she had given birth. The fact that she died was bad enough, but it being due to the pride of men and them unable to agree on a diagnosis of her illness just rubbed salt in the wound. I’d never much liked the doctor we’d seen in the previous seasons, but here he was absolutely right, but Sybil’s father was too proud to listen to him and instead only listened to the other doctor. The fact that she gave birth first, only to die not long after, kind of left a bad taste – like her only purpose was to deliver a child and then she was no longer 'required'.
I was disappointed in some of the characters’ reactions to Sybil‘s suffering and passing. I expected more emotion from Mary (I know that she doesn’t get emotional very often, but this was her sister - she could’ve mustered up a bit more emotion for her at least), as well as Sybil’s father. It seemed Branson and Cora were the main ones showing the appropriate level of emotion given the situation.
At least Edith showed a bit more than Mary (heck, even Matthew did).
The worst part was seeing how much agony Sybil was in – and kudos to Jessica Brown Findlay for conveying that pain so vividly.
I remember reading a comment somewhere about how it looked like her neck was about to explode...and I must concur.
So, to recap – Sybil was barely in the season, she only lived long enough to give birth, suffered immense pain, then died. She was the character in the show who least deserved such a horrible fate...so, what gives? Did Jessica Brown Findlay somehow tick off the show creator by wanting to leave the show? This was a most undeserved fate for such a kind soul as her (other characters later in the season described her best when talking about her fondly). Although I knew it was coming before even starting the show, that didn’t make it any easier to take. This was GoT levels of ‘unbalanced’ in regards to a good character suffering a terrible fate. Bad form, show. If you had to write her character out, couldn’t you have done so in a less sadistic way?
About the only ‘good’ thing (if one can even call it that) to come out of all this horribleness was that it led to me feeling the tiniest sliver of sympathy for Thomas. However, that was more due to the fact that even someone as nasty as him could acknowledge how much of a good person Sybil was. I was less caring about him, though. When he said this...
All I could think was, “Well, there’s a reason for that...you’re kind of an a-hole, Thomas. Maybe not be so much of one and more people might like you?”.
While I could at least partially sympathise with Lord Grantham when Cora was blaming him for Sybil’s death, I do think she had a point – everything she said about why he didn’t listen to the right doctor was indeed true. I do think it was a bit of a ‘cheat’ to have Violet pursue the doctor and pretty much force him to find something that ‘excused’ Lord Grantham and the other doctor from any ‘blame’. It would’ve been wrapped up less ‘neatly/tidily’ if it had just remained unfortunate that Sybil’s father hadn’t listened to the right doctor, his wife, Branson or any of the others who went against the doctor who he did listen to. Yes, it might’ve meant Cora stayed mad at him for longer, but that would’ve felt more ‘realistic’ (as sometimes bad things happen and people are to blame for them...it’s just a matter of learning to forgive over time, whereas this way pretty much led to Cora forgiving her husband after an episode or two).
Regarding the other characters this season (in no particular order)...
Mrs. Patmore continued to be more amusing to me and I liked that she was there for Mrs. Hughes when she needed her. Too bad she seemed to be as unlucky in love as Edith, since the guy who took an interest in her turned out to not be so great – though Mrs. Patmore seemed relieved about not ending up his wife, so as long as she was happy - that was the main thing.
Mrs. Hughes was likeable some of the time (she helped make Carson more tolerable – as he became less so this season than he had the previous two), but other times she was quite frustrating – like her continued excusing of Thomas and O’Brien. It’s something I’ll never understand with this show – how horrible characters who never seemed to become ‘better’ people kept getting let off the hook for their behavior, while decent folk were treated badly. It’s baffling. What annoyed me the most was the hoops everyone seemed to have to jump through to get Thomas to stay/not be fired. You could tell the writer wanted the character of Thomas to stick around, so they had to have other characters be extremely forgiving of Thomas and convince others who weren’t so forgiving to let him stay – whereas, by all rights, he should’ve been fired ages ago. And lastly, Mrs. Hughes came across as quite hypocritical with how she seemed to be forever forgiving Thomas, but in the ‘A Journey to the Highlands’ special at the end of the season, MyAnna Buring’s character merely flirted with Branson and Mrs. Hughes immediately wanted her gone...and so she was. That seemed unfair/unbalanced when compared to all the crap Thomas and O’Brien pulled and got away with.
Anna was still likeable, though poor Bates got stuck with a rather boring prison storyline. I was glad when he finally got released, as none of those scenes were particularly interesting. I guess with Sybil gone, Anna remains the nicest of the remaining characters.
Less likeable were the new characters added to the downstairs crew this season. I suppose Alfred wasn’t too bad (which is kind of a miracle, given he’s related to O’Brien), but it seemed a bit repetitive that yet again Daisy took an interest in a guy (Alfred) who was interested in the new girl (Ivy) who was interested in the other new guy (Jimmy). At least I liked Alfred more than Jimmy, who quickly turned into a bit of an a-hole. Then, of course, Thomas had to immediately have feelings for him and there was the whole ‘unrequited love’ thing, but in the special Thomas took a beating for Jimmy and asked if they could be ‘friends ‘ – yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts. I’m sure it’ll turn into more than that in no time. I have no problem with who Thomas takes an interest in, but it’d be nice if he could be a less horrible person who only treats a select few (usually those who can have him fired or who he’s interested in) nicely. He really needs a personality transplant STAT.
Matthew’s mum occasionally supports a character I like, but more often than not she kind of bugs me. Violet got some good one-liners again, and had some good moments, but on occasion she somewhat bugged me too (though not as much as Matthew’s mum).
Matthew and Lord Grantham having arguments got a bit irritating, but I’m glad they were seeing eye to eye again by the end of the season. I was also glad that Matthew and Mary got to have some ‘happy’ moments together too. It was a good thing that he at least got to meet his child and be exceptionally happy...before all that happiness was ripped away due to his tragic accident at the end of the special. He was a good man – he supported Sybil and Branson, had saved Sybil, had stood up for Branson, and seemed to get along with most of the characters the majority of the time. So, naturally, another good person had to unfairly meet their maker. I wasn’t expecting it to play out quite how it did. Like with Sybil, I’d known he was a goner well beforehand, but I’d expected that the last time we’d see him in the show would be as he was smiling/happy while driving his car, then it’d cut to Mary receiving the news while in hospital. I didn’t think we’d actually get to see the accident (not that we did really, we mainly just got the set-up for it and the aftermath) or his dead body – that was quite impactful. And that dang car - it was introduced at the start of the season, and since then I'd thought whenever it was shown, "You get Matthew killed, you deathtrap of a car!" (though, technically it wasn't really the car's fault. He just wasn't paying attention - and that's all it takes, really, is looking away for a split-second. Pay attention to the road/drive safely, Downton people!).
When you look back, this season certainly seemed to have a lot more doom and gloom/darker moments than previously. Two likeable main characters who we’d gotten to know/care about perished it really unfair ways.
The one bright spot this season was the arrival of Lily James as Lady Rose. She was just the energy injection this show needed, I thought. Not only is she super lovely/gorgeous and got a wonderful smile, but she’s got a different sort of personality to the rest of the characters and hopefully she’ll inject a bit more ‘fun’.
She already had some good/amusing moments just in the last two episodes of the season, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.
Also amusing? Drunk Molesley.
Though I couldn’t really take much delight in O’Brien taking down the one who tried to get her drunk (which led to Moseley getting drunk instead) since I HATE O’Brien and have wanted her gone since the first episode of the show.
I’m not sure how much I’m going to enjoy the show with Sybil/Jessica Brown Findlay gone (or Matthew/Dan Stevens for that matter, since they were two of the most likeable characters in the show for me), but at least I’ll have more Lily James to look forward to.
Post by maxwellperfect on Jul 30, 2018 20:44:26 GMT
The Outer Limits, season one. Having watched some good later episodes, I found the first season OL to be a bit of a chore to watch. I do appreciate that it tried harder with realism than other similar shows of its time, and certain episodes do feature some intelligent sci-fi concepts. But too many episodes come down to a big, ugly monster threatening people, and some of the costumes and effects and just laughable by today's standards. Watching season one is basically like watching a series of short B sci-fi movies.
I found the first episode a bit difficult to absorb/fully appreciate (it does require alertness and paying full attention/listening to what’s going on and being said - it's not really a show to have on in the background as you do other things...not that I was doing that, I just think I was a bit too sleep-deprived at the time). I’m not sure if I always completely understood what was going on, but I think I started enjoying it when the more ‘fantastical’ elements started appearing – speaking of, there’s quite some nifty effects on display (some of which can be seen in the trailer).
The effects with the sand horses was particularly memorable.
But I also liked the gnarly use of mud to kill an enemy.
Though there were also some quite lovely visuals, such as...
And whenever we’d get to see 'Lost Hope', with all the dancing and whatnot, it was quite ‘magical’...
As far as the characters go...
Jonathan Strange started off seemingly nice/likeable enough, then in later episodes he showed more depth and even showed he could kick major magical butt. His devotion to his wife, Arabella, and desperation to get her back led to his most interesting development where he purposely wanted to become ‘mad’ in order to talk to the ‘Gentleman’ who was holding her captive in Lost Hope. I thought Bertie Carvel did some of his best work in the latter half of the season when we saw him at war and when he was turning crazy cat ladies into actual cats. He became quite awesome.
Contrasting with that^ was Eddie Marsan’s Mr. Norrell, who seemed like quite the jerk for a large percentage of the series. However, by the end he showed he wasn’t completely irredeemable and the best part of the final was him and Strange working together and actually getting along (after being at odds/against each other previously). I also thought it was a fun character 'quirk' - how much he loved his books.
I’d seen Marc Warren in quite a few different things prior to this, but mostly knew him for playing creepers in The Good Wife and The Musketeers. It appeared as though he was playing yet another character much like those, as once again he was a creeper who was obsessed with a woman who just wasn’t that into him – going so far as to make a doppelganger of her out of wood (to send to her husband in place of her) so that he could whisk her away to Lost Hope and keep her there forever. This 'Gentleman’ was actually anything but. He certainly had a unique look to him, though, with that hair and those eyebrows. I was glad he got what he deserved in the final (though I’d argue he probably deserved even worse – and for his fate to be dealt by those he wronged the most).
The object of his obsession was Strange’s wife, Arabella, played by Charlotte Riley (who I had also seen in a few things previously - the first of which being the 2009 Wuthering Heights mini-series starring Tom Hardy...who she’d eventually marry). I liked that although she had disagreements with her husband, she wasn’t just the typical ‘nagging wife’ character. There was more to her, she was likeable and she, thankfully, wasn’t killed or worse by the ‘Gentleman’ once she made it clear she had no interest in him. It was sad that although Strange got her back, they were separated at the end, but I still thought it was a relatively satisfying end to the show (with some things left open-ended should there be any more).
One actress I thought was a stand-out in this show was Alice Englert, who I’d seen in a couple of things previously...but, unfortunately, I mostly remembered her from that awful Beautiful Creatures movie. Thankfully, here she played a character who I felt much sympathy for, plus she had to spout off purposely nonsensical dialogue, as her character was under a spell/curse where she couldn’t express what she was really trying to say. Englert did amazingly well at portraying this poor young woman who was seemingly ‘mad’ to everyone else, but who never gave up on trying to get free from being yet another victim of the ‘Gentleman’. I'm glad she got her mind back at the end and was finally free.
There were other memorable characters too (some likable, some...not so much), but I did grow to enjoy the show more as it went on (even if there were often times where I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening/what characters were saying). One thing this show did really well was the ‘magic’ – which you’d hope for, given this was a show about magicians. The magic wasn’t beams of light shooting out of hands, but much more effective/imaginative.
I also liked that the show had humour, but not the ‘in-your-face’ sort. It wasn’t trying to make you laugh every minute, and it didn’t feel the need to undercut every genuinely emotional scene with some out-of-place ‘joke’. It was understated, but funny, and all the more effective because it was used sparingly.
If this is indeed the only season we get of this show, then I’m quite content with it. I may have started off being a bit unsure about how I felt regarding the series, but by the end I was pretty into it.
Post by Chalice_Of_Evil on Aug 17, 2018 10:43:54 GMT
The last show I finished watching on Blu-ray was Big Little Lies.
Prior to watching it, I hadn’t really known anything about the series. All I had to go on was the praise it had received from others and the trailer I watched (which didn’t really tell my anything about the show and didn’t exactly make me interested). Anyway, I gave it a go, and by the end of the first episode it had managed to get me interested. I really enjoyed the performances of the actresses.
Reese Witherspoon was great as Madeline. She got some really amusing moments/lines, but on the occasions where her character showed vulnerability and deeper emotions, she sold it as well. There was more to her character than first appeared, and I liked how loyal she became to Jane and her son who she’d only just met. At times, though, it did seem Madeline let her personal grudge with Laura Dern’s Renata get the better of her when she could’ve smoothed things over. However, by the end they got past their squabbling – which other shows could take a page from (that women characters don’t always have to be portrayed as constantly at each other’s throats and are capable of forgiving).
I know some people don’t think much of Nicole Kidman as an actress and are quick to dismiss her, but I thought she stood out in this show as one of the best performances. Celeste’s being the victim of an abusive husband rang absolutely true and felt very ‘real’. All the scenes of her abuse were hard to watch (as they should be) – especially the one in the final episode. Her therapy sessions also felt uncomfortably real. Nicole gave such a believable performance, I’m not sure how it is some people seemed to praise the therapist more than her (she was fine, but didn’t do anything other actresses couldn’t have done). In my opinion, this performance from Nicole should silence all her naysayers (though it probably won’t, given that some people just can’t admit to being wrong – unlike the women in this show who, when confronted with the truth, swallowed their pride and admitted their mistakes).
I’d recently watched Shailene Woodley in her three Divergent Series movies and was wishing to see her in something else, so that probably had something to do with why I checked this show out. Her character of Jane was probably the least ‘flashy’ one. She didn’t have the funny lines much, nor did she have the constant abuse storyline, but she too was a victim of abuse/rape and I thought Shailene played that well. Of course she wasn’t going to be wise-cracking or anything, she felt very ‘haunted’ (which I imagine was the intent). Her fractured memories of what happened allowed for some interesting visuals – though it also got a tad confusing at times.
I know some people had issues with how everything seemingly ‘came together’, including who Jane’s rapist was, but I felt it was done well. And I’d take something others may have predicted over something out of left field that made no sense. A predictable ending that makes sense is preferable to an unpredictable ending that makes no sense, I think. What I really appreciated in the final (and was possibly my favourite moment) was when Madeline, and then Celeste, only had to see Jane’s reaction to Perry to get what Jane was feeling and who he was to her (and kudos to Shailene for her reaction to him, as well as the other two actresses for their reactions to her reaction). All three actresses completely sold that scene with no dialogue/nothing but looks.
Leading up to that scene, I not only appreciated then build-up of tension (where it really felt like any character could’ve been the killer and could’ve been the victim), but that the climax involved all the main female characters and them coming together. I also appreciated how right before then, Laura Dern’s Renata had come to Jane to apologise for thinking her son had been the one to abuse her daughter.
I imagine a lot of people probably disliked Renata’s character, but I thought we got to see enough glimpses of why she was acting the way she did. The best example was in her scene from the second-to-last episode where Jane came to her and they finally talked like sensible adults and Renata expressed just how powerless she felt in protecting her daughter from this bully who’d been hurting her. Despite Jane jabbing her in the eye, Renata behaved civilly and I actually did buy that these two women who’d been so opposed to each other finally let go of their animosity and just listened to one another.
Jane did a good job of getting the truth from her son regarding who was really abusing Renata’s daughter...it’s too bad she couldn’t have applied this line of questioning to him earlier in the series, though. I was glad that both Renata and Celeste accepted what Jane told them, and Jane herself admitted that her son could’ve been lying/blaming others. However, Celeste knew from how she and her husband were at home, that his abuse of her had obviously rubbed off on one of her sons and I was glad there was no fight between her and Jane. Likewise, Renata didn’t see Jane as shifting blame to another kid, she believed her.
I can’t say Bonnie left much of an impression as a character, as she just seemed always calm/’Zen’ about things...and that was pretty much it. Really, the most notable thing about her character happened in the last episode when she witnessed Perry being rough with Celeste and then was the one to deliver the final blow to Perry in the fight, shoving him so that he took that fatal tumble down the stairs. I think that it was ‘right’ for her character to do it (as much as it would’ve been satisfying to see either Jane or Celeste do it), as it hinted that she had her own demons regarding such men as Perry.
If I had one quibble about the climactic scene, it was the quick cutting/editing of the fight which made it difficult to see what each of the women were contributing to it. I could see him beating the hell out of poor Celeste, and I know the others attempted to stop him, but I couldn’t see clearly who did what exactly until Bonnie pushed him. The over-editing was a bit much to take at times, as was the use of songs. Some of the songs (including the one for the opening credits) were well-chosen/used, but constantly having scenes with characters singing got a bit much after a while. I also wasn’t fond of Madeline’s youngest daughter and the way she’d refer to her mother as ‘woman’ and the way she acted a bit too ‘mature’ for someone her age. I don’t know, maybe this is how kids her age act these days (though I rather hope it isn’t), but it just felt a bit too much like the writing was trying hard to make her seem more ‘adult’ than she actually would be (other times she acted more believably, though).
I’m not fond of kid characters in shows or movies, so I was a bit hesitant to check the show out when I learned they’d be featured quite heavily, but on the whole they were more or less tolerable.
The men of the show didn’t feel quite as developed as the women, but they weren’t cardboard cutouts either. They each had nuances to them at times, and all the actors played their parts well. I have to give special mention to Alexander Skarsgård, though, for playing someone so despicable in an utterly believable manner. He’d switch from appearing pretty decent to completely horrible with seemingly such ease and every scene between him and Nicole Kidman’s Celeste was full of tension. None moreso than after he’d discovered she’d gotten a place to escape to when she was preparing to leave him. There were so many times it seemed like he was going to snap and kill her (as he previously threatened), that every moment between them kept you on edge.
I could go on and on about how good this show ended up being, but I’ll just say that it was a very pleasant surprise how much I enjoyed it (though that Detective and her constant clicking of the cigarette lighter got old fast. Please, if we ever see her again, have her cut that out. Also, the ‘Greek chorus’ characters felt intrusive - like the music at times - and their snark kind of ruined the flow of things, I thought). I did read prior to watching this show that it had scored a second season. I’m not sure if it’ll be able to top this one, but I’m glad I watched this season at least. It’s something people really should watch. I highly recommend it.
Post by Chalice_Of_Evil on Aug 20, 2018 9:42:41 GMT
I just finished watching The White Princess on Blu-ray last night.
I’d previously watched The White Queen, starring Rebecca Ferguson, on Blu-ray quite a while back and what mainly got me interested in checking out this new one was the fact it starred Jodie Comer as Princess Elizabeth (or, as she's often referred to by other characters in this show, 'Lizzie'), who grabbed my attention when I first saw in the TV mini-series Thirteen. I found her pretty compelling in that, and since then I’ve been watching her in the TV series Killing Eve, where she plays a very intriguing (and at times darkly amusing) psychopathic assassin. How she didn’t even garner an Emmy nomination for that is just baffling. She’s easily the best part of that show and plays the part exceptionally well. I’m mainly only watching for her. So it came as a tad disappointing that The White Princess wasn’t nearly as interesting as her other two shows I saw her in. It felt rather confusing/all over the place, and it had its fair share of irritating/loathsome characters which made it hard to enjoy.
Michelle Fairley was good in Game of Thrones, and I loved seeing her play a bad guy that got what she deserved at the hands of Jack Bauer in 24: Live Another Day...but, sadly, her character of Margaret Beaufort didn’t get what she deserved here (I guess they couldn’t change history THAT much – but, by all accounts, a lot was changed in the book this show was adapted from...so it seemed they were picking and choosing what historical facts they played fast and loose with and which ones they adhered to). The closest she got to getting what she deserved was in the final episode – and it was quite satisfying to see her son call her out and toss her about, wanting nothing to do with her. And although Elizabeth got the final word in at the end, it still didn’t quite feel like ‘enough’.
The next most irritating character had to be Margaret ‘Maggie’ Plantagenet. She started off nice enough, but once her brother, TEDDY, was imprisoned...she just wouldn’t shut up about him! I mean, I get why she wouldn’t...but it got very old, very fast, hearing her uttering his name over and over and over again every episode. By the end, she was right up there with the other Margaret as being someone I wanted Elizabeth to off...but, frustratingly, that was not to be. Instead, rather sadly, Maggie brother (the innocent Teddy) got put to death...and after he’d been promised as many friendly dogs as he’d wanted! I did feel sorry for him, but it was hard to feel sorry for Maggie since she’d annoyed me so.
There was a third Margaret (apparently people weren’t very imaginative with names back then), in the form of Margaret of Burgundy, played by Joanne Whalley (who I’ll always remember as Sorsha from the movie Willow). I get that she’s older now, but I just couldn’t see any resemblance between how she looked in this and how I remembered her as Sorsha.
And ‘Margaret’ wasn’t the only popular name back then, it seems, as there was Princess Elizabeth’s mother...Dowager Queen Elizabeth, played by Aussie actress Essie Davis (who I’ve been a fan of since first seeing her in the TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries). She was good here, but like the other talented cast members, felt kind of ‘wasted’. Someone else I like, Amy Manson (who I last saw as Merida in Once Upon A Time and who portrays Cathy Gordon here), was also wasted. In her first couple of episodes I thought she wasn’t going to get any/many lines at all. She got a few more in the last couple of episodes, but by then the show was over.
Jacob Collins-Levy (who, at times, vaguely resembled Michael Fassbender, I thought) as Henry VII didn’t really hold my interest much early in the show, but got a bit more interesting by the end. I think I liked him the most in the final episode. The rest of the time he just seemed to whine and be paranoid and just generally petulant. He did have decent chemistry with Jodie Comer's Lizzie, though.
I’d previously heard the name Suki Waterhouse, but didn’t really know who she was/what she’d been in. Recently I’d seen her in the movie Insurgent on Blu-ray, and then saw her in this – where she got a much bigger role than that movie (still, though, she was written out about halfway through and it felt like they underused her – though her character wasn’t exactly the most likeable).
The most frustrating thing about the show was that its most interesting/entertaining episode (for me, anyway) seemed to be its final one. It’s too bad it couldn’t have picked up much earlier. Still, it was worth watching for Jodie Comer, who I have quickly become a fan of. Whatever faults the show had (and it certainly had a few), her performance wasn’t one of them. I look forward to seeing her in more things (as well as continuing to enjoy her performance in Killing Eve) and hope she gets a big role in a major movie at some point.
To get ready for the 2017 Christmas Special of Doctor Who which would see Peter Capaldi regenerating into Jodi Whitakker, I watched the entire run of Doctor Who: New Series from its premiere episode in 2005 (reviving the British series that had run for 26 seasons, ending in 1989) right through to the most recent broadcast. Otherwise, I don't watch series TV.
I don't think you fully understand, Mr. Bigelow. You've been murdered.