Turn off the Lights
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Star Trek: Discovery – Despite Yourself/The Wolf Inside Review
January 17, 2018 | TV Reviews
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The End of the F***ing World (Spoiler-Free) Review
January 10, 2018 | TV Reviews
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McMafia – Episode One Review
January 6, 2018 | TV Reviews
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Black Mirror (Spoiler-Filled) Season Four Review
January 4, 2018 | TV Reviews
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Vikings – The Prisoner Review
January 4, 2018 | TV Reviews

Television

7.6
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FlashForward – Let No Man Put Asunder

FlashForward has been gaining pace in more recent weeks and the writers appear to be making a conscious effort to address certain unanswered questions which the first ten episodes provoked and failed to return to. An excellent example is the story of Mark’s sponsor, Aaron Stark, and his daughter’s presumed death, return to the US and then subsequent kidnapping. For nearly eight episodes we have heard almost nothing of, what to me, is one of the more intriguing plot lines.  This week’s episode acts as a welcome return to some of these unresolved questions and focuses largely on Agent Noh’s immanent death as foretold by the FlashForward.

7.8
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The Office – “Secretary’s Day”

Within five minutes of last night’s new Office episode, Michael Scott was having a very unusual dinner with Erin, Andy’s new girlfriend. He sat there and stared at her dumbfounded, trying to mask his discomfort at having to sit there and listen to her ramble on breathlessly about her favorite months, favorite age, favorite birthdays and other pointless topics. As much as it pains me to say this, I felt like Michael Scott throughout most of this episode: uncomfortable, confused and impatient. I recommend not watching old seasons of The Office before watching a new episode because comparisons between the two will happen, and the old seasons will always win.

8.4
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South Park – 200

Wow, 200 episodes, it’s almost hard to fathom that a cartoon whose pilot revolved around an anal probe inserted into an 8 year old boy, could run for almost 13 years? A lot has changed over the seasons and although South Park remains crude and abrasive, it has matured to include some not so subtle, but rather intelligent satire and social commentary, specifically on celebrity culture and religion.

In the 200th episode we are treated to a look back at every celebrity and public figure that the show has mocked and ridiculed, as the disgruntled characters decide to band together behind the litigious strength of Tom Cruise. It’s actually quite incredible to see all of these characters on-screen at the same time and it’s astonishing that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have managed to get away  with it for so long. But this is the genius of their deceptively satirical creation. If the show was not so outrageous and uncompromising, then it would have never have succeeded. Its brilliance lies in the fact that no one is safe. It does not discriminate; South Park persecutes everyone.

8.7
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Lost – “The Last Recruit”

With only four episodes left until the series finale, Lost fans should feel a palpable tension hovering in the air; every Tuesday is one week closer to the date that one of the best television shows of all time signs off for good.  Each moment from here on out is important, even the seemingly pointless dialogue between supporting characters.  Tonight’s episode was an anomaly.  It had all the great elements of a Lost episode, had tense moments that reminded me why I curse the television every time the show cuts to a commercial and some great acting courtesy of Terry O’Quinn, Henry Ian Cusack, and Matthew Fox.  However, it also had the misfortune of being one of the last episodes of Lost to air, meaning there was more plot points crammed into this episode than an entire season of Damages (well, perhaps that’s an over-exaggeration, but the episode was bulging at the seams with different scenes focusing on different characters). Thankfully, the writers found a way to focus on each group of characters an equal amount, but I couldn’t help but feel as if Lost was suffering from the same virus that “V” is, cramming in as much material into forty minutes as humanly possible.

Tonight’s episode was called “The Last Recruit,” and the writers keep their cards held tightly to their chest, not revealing the eponymous recruit until the last few moments, and even then, there’s no definitive proof that this person was actually the recruit.  Seeing as the episode descriptions for Lost are purposely vague, I tend to be blind going into a new episode of Lost, which is just the way I like it.  Before spoilers and teasers swept across the internet and infected audiences around the world like a bout of swine flu, the experience of watching a television episode meant not knowing what was going to be happening from episode to episode, and that’s what this entire season of Lost has felt like.  Tonight’s episode picked up exactly where last week’s left off: Jack and Locke have a little chat alone, where we are given confirmation that Locke has been impersonating all sorts of dead people, including Jack’s dad.  We also learn that Sun and Locke are heading to the same hospital, where Sun seems to recognize Locke.  The episode bounces back and forth between the alternate universe and the Island, where the characters continue to collide with one another. 

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Burn Notice renewed for two more seasons

Few things say “confidence” like being picked up for a fifth and sixth season when season four hasn’t even aired yet, which just happened to Burn Notice, currently highly popular spy-meets-MacGyver-meets-A-team show with a decent-sized and fairly diverse following. While this is of course great – a slow rise to popularity and steady renewal is far better than the Firefly-effect – it does cause some concern for the avid fans like myself. Mainly: Will it be any good?

9.0
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Lost – “Everybody Loves Hugo”

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself eating my words on a regular basis.  When the sixth season of Lost began, I approached the premiere with a lot of excitement and a little trepidation; after all, Lost is a creative show that can get away with completely changing their narrative devices from season to season… but an alternate universe in which the plane never crashed?  I was hesitant and was almost a little overwhelmed by the show’s continued descent into sci-fi territories.  I was unfairly harsh with the alternate universe, assuming that no matter what the writers and creators of the show said, this alternate universe was going to have little to no impact on the show and would just be a way to fill the forty minute quota for each episode.  I can’t help but feel like a fool now, because for the second consecutive week, the scenes in the alternate universe were much more compelling than the regular universe.

When the season started, it was difficult to find any real meaning in the scenes taking place in the alternate universe.  Every time the sound of that whooshing plane arrived and the scenes on the Island began to fade into the flash-sideways, I would groan, yet would remain hopeful that we would see Jack or Sawyer or anybody just jump up and say to themselves, “Wait a second.. This isn’t my life!  How am I here all of a sudden instead of the Island?!”  Last week’s episode came as close to that idea as we’re probably going to get, and the idea that these two universes are reliant on one another is becoming more and more clear.  I must say, having Desmond back on the show is doing wonders for its quality.  Not to say that Desmond is the sole reason Lost is good, but it’s certainly given the show a boost of energy, a kick in the butt that will hopefully make the writers realize that they only have four more episodes to come to a satisfactory ending for millions of fans who have been waiting to see if they really know how to end this long, complicated and interesting story.

7.2
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V – We Can’t Win

‘We can’t win’ opens with Chad Decker in a towel. Not my favourite way to start an evening, but half naked men seem to have a way of surprising me when I least expect it. Quickly it becomes apparent that what we are experiencing is merely a dream sequence. Anna appears on screen and proceeds to seduce the still semi-naked Chad and then throttle him. Not the most subtle insight into a character’s mind, but effective nonetheless.

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