Sunday, 2 October 2011

This Week's Comics...

Justice League Dark #1

I have to say I'm not a big "magic" fan (odd, I know, for a former Wiccan). I'm more your science fiction/super powers sort of a comic book fan. But this was a well-done comic focussing on the weakness of the Justice League with regards to sorcery and establishing a justifiable reason for another Justice League branded team to exist. Plus the characters all stood out as interesting. I'll be sticking with this one.

The Flash #1

Well paced, well written and well drawn. It was my first ever experience of the Flash and whilst I liked it and will pick up #2, I'm not sure I'm fulling in love with the character... except for his looks. ;) I don't know if this will be a keeper.

Superman #1

I loved Action Comics #1 and Superboy #1 and liked Supergirl #1. But this final edition to the New 52 superbooks was dire. It read and felt like a 1980s comic, devoid of anything of interest beyond the new dynamic in Clark and Lois' relationship (or lack thereof!). By the numbers. I'll stick with it only because I got in the New 52 with the idea I'd do it for the superbooks. But still disappointed.

Green Lanterns: New Guardians #1

Yuck. There's a concept here that might work but nothing actually happened in this issue. Boring. But not bad like Catwoman or Legion Lost, so I'll pick it up again in the hopes something might happen next time.

Teen Titans #1

I liked this book, which set up a plot, began to introduce characters and slowly built-up things and was thus the total opposite of Green Lanterns: New Guardians. Plus Red Robin is cute. I liked this one.

Aquaman #1

My absolute fave of the final week of the New 52 launch. Aquaman is again a character I knew nothing about but I liked his stoic nature through the books. Yes, the insults were over done but the Trench look like they will make for an awesome threat for this story arc and look bloody scary!

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #2 

My pick of the week. Myles' family background gets fleshed out for Myles and the reader this issue as Myles also discovers he's no mutant. He's Spider-Man! The last page was no huge reveal yet still has me yearning to read the next instalment.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Steps Reunion: A Blast From The Past

I'm old. I didn't realise quite how old I had become until last when I watched Living's latest show "Steps Reunion". It's been 10 years since Steps broke up! I cannot begin to explain how much of a soundtrack to my youth Steps music was, but here are a couple of examples. Last Thing On My Mind came out as I was exploring my sexuality and falling from crush to crush at an amazing rate. Stomp was THE song that defined my relationship with my first boyfriend. I cannot listen to it without thinking of him and the fun we had. When Steps broke up I was very sad. A few days later I ran away to Europe. Coincidence? I think so. But still... I loved them deeply. I thought Living's show would be rubbish, really fake and all just a thinly disguised lead into them on stage performing a few songs. I was wrong. Of course it is somewhat "fake" but I found it gripping viewing. This first episode was basically about discussing what led to the break up (some internal jealousy, Claire and H being diva-ish and H having a rather unprofessional relationship with the band manager) and checking up on what the five members have gotten up to since. The footage of their last concert, occuring mere minutes after Lisa, Lee and Faye found out the band was no more, was really engrossing as what may have been seen as tears of joy at the time became somewhat more significant and touching. The idea that they finished the concert, left and never saw each other again was pretty mindblowing. Such a major and successful band just falling apart in the space of hours. Amazing. I'm looking forward to next week's episode when the five members begin to discuss what happened. Drama ahead I suspect!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Terra Nova: My Impressions

My most anticipated media event of 2011 has finally arrived! Terra Nova hit US television last night with a "two hour" (i.e. an hour and a half) opening episode.

So what did I think?

The overarching themes are a bit tired.

1) Future humans found new colony. Earth 2, Outcasts etc have all been there before. This shows going to need to be top quality going forward to overcome the rather tired premise.
2) The same old family format. Estranged father. Check. Rebellious teen boy. Check. Relationship struggling after a long separation. Check. Teen girl going all doe-y eyed over an older guy in uniform. Check. Rebellious teen boy following hot girl into dangerous situation against father's advice then needing to be rescued by said father. Check. I could write this stuff myself!
3) Paradise having a dark side. Please God, we've done this one since Genesis! (which is the name of this opening two parter).

So yes, the show has a lot of baggage to get past long term. As an episode, this was enjoyable. Relatively well-paced, and if you ignore the clichéd themes there was some decent writing. The character of Skye seems a bit more layered than the usual rogue girl  leading leading character astray stereotype. I'm interested in what the rebellious off-shoot group the Sixers are up to and just what the actual reason for Terra Nova's existence is. However, the CGI could've been done better. I've seen better in Primeval. The brachiosaurs looked good, the carnotaurs were okay, but the main dino-villians the Slashers were extremely poorly done. In the end there were dinosaurs so that's a huge plus point in my book. 

If they can break free of the clichés and bring a fresh take to the story, the family relationships and the paradise lost motif it might just be an excellent show. But if the writers just play the same old tired tunes, I won't be keeping up with it. It's 2011. I want more than just by-the-numbers sci-fi drama. 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

And This Week In Comics....

Batman #1 

Awesome. I'm not a Batfan. I get my dark, stern crime-fighter fix from Judge Dredd. But I must admit that this New 52 opening issue really hit the ground running. Excellent art, and brilliant cliff-hanger. I remain pleasantly surprised by the quality and freshness of these new DC books. Definitely my pick of the week (against my better judgement...)

Supergirl #1 

I plan to becoming a Superfan. I really like the ethos of the Superbooks, and I have a secret soft spot for Supergirl as I am that one person who has fond memories of the movie. Don't hate me. This was a good opening issue but not sure about bringing Superman into the story at the end. Thought it would've been better to let Kara established her own story before bringing them together. But I'll stick with this.

Ultimate Comics: X-Men #1

Wow. If Batman hadn't ended the way it had ended, this would be my pick of the week. Absolutely excellent. Last week's Ultimate Comics: Spiderman #1 was my first ever furore into the Ultimate universe, and this X-Men book makes me glad I've left it to now. Wonderful opening book, with a fantastic cliffhanger. I cannot wait for the next issue!

Catwoman #1

I wasn't going to read this book, I just didn't have the urge. But the controversy that has been spawned sort of forced me to get it. It was okay. And sure Catwoman was full on sexy throughout the issue, and yes she had sex with Batman, but I think the whole controversy has been over done. But I won't be likely to get #2.

Nightwing #1 

Bizarrely Nightwing is my one Batverse guilty pleasure. I've had a crush on Nightwing since I first discovered him. And this comic was really enjoyable, a great entry point for new readers with Dick Grayson's return to the circus where his parents died and an excellent ending with both a "hero in peril" cliffhanger and a question over just what his assailant meant when he said Dick was "the fiercest killer in all of Gotham". Linked into that Batman cliffhanger perhaps?

Green Lantern Corps #1 

I've always regarded Green Lantern comics as for real DC geeks. And this issue hasn't changed my opinions. I thought the characterisation was good, but the overall story? Dull, unaffecting, and considering the story is genocide I have to say that's pretty poor. This is on my "On probation" pull list.

Wonder Woman #1

I have never read anything with Wonder Woman in it. Of all of DC's characters, I know the least about her. My only experience of Wonder Woman is the classic TV series, which I guess hardly does her justice. I was pleasantly surprised with this issue which might have made pick of the week status if it wasn't for some of the godawful, pointless internal monologues. I'll stick with it though as the story is interesting, the art divine and the overall feel was fresh and new.

Birds of Prey #1 

Given I'm not a Batverse fan, this is yet another Batbook. Perhaps I doth protest too much. An average book this one, but okay enough to make me buy #2.

Captain Atom #1 

Given the freshness of most of DC's New 52 (well those I've read) this felt like a totally by the numbers 1980s superhero comic. A volcano. In New York. Whilst his powers are possibly failing. Oh no! The peril. Probably won't be picking this one up again...

I still have Beyond The Fringe, Star Trek #1 and Orbit (about Stephen King) to read but am pretty much all comic'd out. All I will say is DC's New 52 has been remarkable enough to get me 1) back into comics and 2) off my Marvel obsession. Well done DC!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A Marvel Boy's Look At DC's New 52

My name's Jae and I'm a Marvelholic. I've been one since the age of 11 when I discovered the X-Men and I've never looked back. I've flirted with harder stuff, Dark Horse and Image, and with lighter stuff like IDW and had full-blown affairs with 2000AD but Marvel comics have always formed the centre of my comic obsession. DC, of all the big comic publishers, has rarely featured at all. Sure I own the hardcover Killing Joke, the collected 52 and some other Batman stuff. But ultimately the complexity of the DC universe and it's unfamiliar characters has kept me at arms length.

All that appears to have changed with the New 52, DC's latest reboot. I decided to give DC a fair go... and I'm liking what I'm seeing. Here's some reviews of the stuff I've read: 

Justice League #1

Whilst Justice League is completely alien to me, Batman, Green Lantern and Superman are at least characters I know and thus I found myself enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. Green Lantern is young and impulsive, Batman is intelligent and experienced and Superman... well he just seems pissed off (and hot!). The art is excellent and I'm definitely going to be picking up issue #2 next month. This just felt so accessible that I thought... let's try some more!

Action Comics #1

I really enjoyed this introduction to Superman, still learning of the true extent of his powers and a little too cocky. The ending definitely has me wanting more but... the art was middling. This is meant to be a young, immature Superman but sometimes he looked like he might be in his forties. I just didn't feel the art complimented the story at all. Alas... I'll still be getting #2. 

Stormwatch #1 

Intriguing. This is the first book populated by characters I don't know. This did make me feel slightly disconnected from it but I want to know more... who is the Midnighter? What is the giant eye in the Moon? I'll get #2 but I think this is my first book on temporary probation whilst I try to get a proper feel for it. 

Batwoman #1

I know her, she was in 52! And she was my favourite character from that collection too... The art. Well, what can you say? It was exquisite. Beautiful. Mmmm... And the story was just vague enough to make me feel like buying #2 to find out a little more. 

Demon Knights #1

I have no idea of the history of any of these characters, nor of the time period it's set in. But I know one thing... I bloody loved this. Dragons that look like dinosaurs. Characters will a bit of verve. A story that took shape pretty quickly. LOVED. 

Superboy #1

Excellent modern feeling art, complimented by a totally new beginning for a character even a Marvelboy has heard of. I was absolutely besotted by this one. Yet another one for the pull list. This is tiring... 

Legion Lost #1

The art got better as the story went along. That's the best I can say. And the story... was alright. There were too many panels with too much text and I felt it was all a bit of a mess. I might give it the benefit of the doubt (I'm a forgiving completist when it comes to comics) but probably won't be pursuing this one.

Overall... I've been very impressed. 6 out of 7 comics were excellent and definitely grabbed me. Marvel's comic output is becoming a bit of a mess right now, and I think with this new relaunch DC stand a good chance of grabbing a good deal of my attention for the foreseeable future. Very, very good stuff indeed. 

Saturday, 14 May 2011

My Eurovision Top Ten

Today's the day! And after a 7 hour round trip to Gatwick I'm looking forward to settling down with my favourite television show. Below you'll find my top 10 picks from the final, but in no particular order. I would be happy if any one of these won for all sorts of different reasons. Sweden because Eric Saade is HOT. Estonia and Iceland because the songs get stuck in my head. Blue because they're doing it for the UK! And of course Germany's Lena because her song is absolutely awesome.

I can't wait



United Kingdom








Thursday, 12 May 2011

Eurovision 2011: The Second Semi Final! #esc

It's another semi final tonight! I love that we get semi finals now, it really gives us a chance to come to know the songs better. In my opinion, this will be a far more entertaining semi final than Tuesday's, with far better quality songs. Here are my top 5.


Denmark's entry sounds fresh, is sung well and looks good. A Friend In London - New Tomorrow


Rockefeller Street, sung by Getter Jaani, is pure Eurovision. It's poptastic, awesome hook and chorus. Whilst it's not my absolute favour song in the contest, I think it may well win. And it'd be a well-deserved win at that.


Well you know Eric Saade is "Popular" around these parts. Very popular. I will state I don't think this song is even half as good as last year's Melodifestivalen entry "Manboy", but I still think it's awesome.


Hotel FM's "Change" is rather catchy, in my opinion. Love it.


A bit slow, but I like it. Twins are the antidote to those other doppelgangers on tonight... Jedward. Embrace them and "I'm Still Alive" instead...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Eurovision 2011: The First Semi Final! #esc

So tonight is the night... Eurovision begins! I can't contain my excitement *looks over list of songs for first semi-final* Ok, excitement contained. All the middling to awful songs in one semi-final! What a terrifying prospect...

I thought I'd select my top 5 songs for tonight... a difficult task given I'm not thrilled by any on the list but here goes:


I've been scathing about Albania's entries in the past. Too many silly hats and traditional dances. But they've done alright this year, with a poor man's Sertab song. Aurela Gaçe does okay with Feel The Passion


Hungary's entry deserves to top the winners for tonight. A modern, fast tempo'd song with good vocals. Kati Wolf rocks What about my dreams


A touching, well sung song with a good tune. And the story behind it is, of course, heartbreaking. Sjonni's Friends and the awesome Coming Home....


Not the best song ever. Not the best vocals either. But I love it... Glen Vella and One Life


Love this song. Paradise Oskar - Da Da Dam

I expect Hungary to walk it tonight. It'll be interesting to see what actually happens...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Coming Home

Sjonni's Friends entry for Iceland is a very touching tribute song and rather sweet. I don't think it'll stand a chance of winning but this is yet another song highlighting the rather amazing high standard for this year's competition.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: The Secret Is Love

Austria is back! Hurrah! This year's entry is by Nadine Beiler

The Secret Is Love is good, brilliant vocals but a bit too dull to be the winner I think.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Change

Hotel FM bring us Romania's entry "Change". And it's not bad, certainly the best Romania entry I've heard. Great beat, good vocals. Could do well...

In worrying news my other half quite like's Belarus' entry... I've asked for them to be sectioned.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Lipstick

Jedward. Why Ireland?? WHY??? After Dustin the Turkey I thought you couldn't do any thing worse... but JEDWARD???

On second listen it's not so bad but I refuse to link to the live version 1) because it's a carcrash and 2) because it features Jedward.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Born in Belorussia

My first "OMG THEY DIDN'T DO THAT" entry is Belarus'. Enjoy...

As one says in the comments... 12 points from Stalin!!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Popular

There's no getting around it. I have a soft spot for Sweden's Eric Saade, and the greatest disappointment of 2010's Eurovision Song Contest was the fact he wasn't in it representing Sweden with "Manboy"

But he didn't give up and last night won Sweden's annual Melodifestivalen and will thus be flying the blue and yellow flag in Dusseldorf with "Popular"

It's a good tune with an awesome hook and I've no doubt it'll do well in May. How can it not when the singer has as cute a face as this???

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Madness of Love

Italy! Yes, you heard me right. ITALY. They have returned to Eurovision and magically made their way in the "Big Five".

Raphael Gualazzi's entry is actually rather good, a bit low key for Eurovision I'll admit and probably more suited to a classy evening out but still it's a quality song with awesome music.

I'm thinking top 50% finish...

Friday, 11 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Ding Dong

Dana International. A Eurovision legend. And she's back... Israel's entry for 2011 can hardly fail to impress, surely?

But... I don't think it's got winning potential. Compared to many of the other songs in the competition, it's just a bit run of the mill.

Not awful. Just middling... NEXT...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Eurovision Countdown: Taken By A Stranger

In a change to my usual huge pre-Eurovision summary blog post, I'll be posting a daily look at a particular song from this years contest... starting with the hosts; Germany.

Lena Meyer-Landrut's Satellite was a worthy winner last year. Fun, catchy and all round awesome.

This year, having decided they were on to a good thing with Lena, Germany's entry is more grown up and subtle.

Taken By A Stranger doesn't fall very easily into Eurovision stereotypes (such as the "poptastic" or the "OMG they've gone with their country's traditional music" genres). It's a well-crafted piece of music, and it's easy to imagine it in any European pop chart. I don't want to go over the top but, from a personal taste point of view, I think this is one of the best Eurovision songs I've heard. I absolutely adore it. Saying that, I quite enjoyed Scooch...

Check it out and let me know what you think:

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Primeval: S04E04

Sorry for the late update, I've been incredibly distracted by personal issues this last week or so.

Episode 4 of the fourth series of Primeval finally had me interested again. After the previous episode I was worried that there might be no hope for this programme at all but I love being proved wrong. There was a plot. There was several story strands that worked well. There was mild peril. There was character development. And there was less poor use of CGI (except for a couple of poorly edited reused shots).

I'm intrigued by Matt now, whereas before I was just annoyed by him. What is his backstory? When asked about school he suggested he didn't remember it. Is this a lie? Is he from a different time? Is that why he is so friendly towards Emily?

I want to know. I'm interested. Finally Primeval! FINALLY!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Primeval: S04E03

Talk about a mixed bag. This episode, "Tree Creepers" showed  us everything that can be good about the concept of the show. But it also showed us everything that can be bad about it's implementation. 

The A-plot was regarding 3 time travellers who appear through an anomaly in a theatre, followed by two rather nasty arboreal reptiles. The B-plot has Connor stuck back at base working on a security system that accidentally locks down the entire ARC. 

The good points: The time travellers (up to 15 of them supposedly) are an interesting addition to the show and something that appears, hopefully, to be adding a bit more depth to the usual "monster of the week" run of the mill show. In fact the story continues into at least next episode which is excellent. 

Connor had plenty of screen time. 

And there were some interesting questions that'll make me come back next week:

Will Rex survive?

Why are the time travellers around? Are they lost or simply adventurers? 

What are Gideon and Matt up to? 

What is Burton's "New Dawn" programme? 

Now for the really bad points:

The CGI-human interaction is truly appalling. The fight scenes between Matt and a Tree Creeper was truly boring as at no point would my mind allow me to believe the Tree Creeper and Matt were even in the same room. Something has to be done to avoid too much reliance on CGI if they are unable to use it in a compelling way. 

Doctor Who expects us to suspend all belief of reality and accept the insane, illogical and stupid as real. That works because Doctor Who's that sort of show and it's built up our trust over many, many years. Primeval's writers have obviously watched the Doctor's mad cap solutions to things (Think nice thoughts!) and thought they could try the same on their show, and that no one would care. They are very wrong. Showing electricity moving up a pole as if it would be visible, or Rex's amazing recovery from unconscious to happy flying Rex in about 2 seconds are just too unbelievable. They take me out of the story and ruin it for me. I don't want to have to sit there, in a show about time-travel for heaven's sake, and think this is just totally unrealistic. 

And it's not just in the technical, nit-picking aspects that this "unreal" feeling permeates through the show. The human reactions to situations don't ring true. Burton is dying in a room without oxygen. Connor is working on a solution. Connor seems unconcerned, slow, unhurried, and relaxed. It's jarringly awful writing. I wanted to see urgency, fear and focus. I wanted tension. The most tense I felt was as to whether or not Rex would survive and even that was ruined by his super quick recovery. When you're more concerned about whether a CGI flying lizard might survive than one of the more compelling characters (Burton), then you know something is up. 

The reason I stopped watching Primeval during series 3 was because it had an excellent concept that was being handled extremely badly. This show has a really great potential but it's now series 4 and I just don't see it being realised. I'll persevere but only because I hope for better.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Primeval: S04E02

The second episode of series 4 was a vast improvement over the first. Whilst both are still run of the mill monster of the week episodes, the second episode had a heart. There were jokes, Lester, Abby and Connor actually acted like themselves and there were more hints of what Gideon (the old man who keeps talking to Matt) is up to. And with Connor's friend from the dodo episode returning and our first look at Rex and his new home in the menagerie, we had a good sense of the highlights of earlier series.

Plus Kaprosuchus was this weeks monster. How anyone can not go "Whoop" at that, I don't know!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Primeval: S04E01

I've been looking forward to the return of Primeval for some time. It's a bit bizarre, given the fact that I gave up on series 3 halfway through and promised myself never to watch the show again.

So I sat down to watch the first episode of the fourth season with my expectations raised extremely highly and thus I was disappointed.

The problem with the show had been that it was becoming ever more a "monster of the week" show. That was forgiveable at the start, but I'd hoped to see a thread of a story going through each episode. The Helen Cutter stuff just didn't do it for me. Thus when this first episode turned out to be little more than just another monster of the week story (it's a Spinosaurus, which sort of makes up for it!) I was crushed.

However, I'm being unfair. The acting was better than usual. If we forget the massive plot holes (good to see somethings never change), the story was alright as a set up. The end showing Matt Anderson talking to some old fellow, and the possible dynamics of Philip Burton's relationship with the ARC leave me hopeful there might be something more to come.

So yes I was disappointed. I shall lower my expectations for tonight's episode accordingly and cross my fingers for improvement.