Category Archives: Speculative

Supernatural – Asylum

Okay, when I was making the photo collage for this week’s poll (favorite scary show), I had no idea the random freaky-looking Supernatural image I grabbed would turn out to be from the very episode I ended up watching the same evening! And it was one of Supernatural’s more creepy episodes, which made me regret deciding to watch it so late at night. Ah, well, onto the review!

I bookended watching the episode with two other shows I’m having a hard time getting into (but people/buzz keep telling me I should like), Doctor Who and Arrested Development. I figured perhaps an iffy episode of Doctor Who would make Supernatural seem better by comparison, but I happened to watch one of the most heartfelt episodes – at least so far – of the British show (“Father’s Day”). So it didn’t do Supernatural any favors, but I still thought “Asylum” was pretty decent.

It’s a fairly simple “evil spirits, find the body, salt and burn” episode, set in a creepy asylum. Far too much of the episode seemed to be characters wandering around the place, waiting for ghosts to pop out of any corner (or having them dart around behind the characters’ backs). Both the two cops that visit the place at the beginning of the episode and the two teens caught inside with the brothers later on seemed pretty cardboard – though I did like that the girlfriend knew how to use a shotgun.

As usual, this show rests on the relationship between Dean and Sam, and I am seeing signs of improvement in that area. The scene where Dean pretends to be an annoying reporter, and Sam makes him leave so he can bond with the cop and get answers was humorous. I also liked that Dean knew not to give the spirit-addled Sam a loaded gun – no tearful “I knew you wouldn’t shoot me” moments here.

The good son/rebel son dynamic is getting a bit old, though. As is the tug-of-war between looking for their father and hunting creatures (especially since creatures always win). At least there seems to be some movement on the father end (now that we know he’s just avoiding them) with the phone call at the end of the episode.

Watching this right after an episode of Doctor Who really helped me see the parallels between the two shows and why I’m having trouble getting hooked on both of them. Both have two characters traveling around in a specific vehicle putting their lives in danger saving people from otherworldly attacks. Doctor Who has more reoccurring characters so far, though Supernatural will eventually have more. The visual effects are better on Supernatural, but the storylines are more varied on Doctor Who. I like Dean and Sam better (though only marginally) than the ninth Doctor and Rose, but I know the British dynamic will change in later seasons, while I’m “stuck” with Dean and Sam for the duration of the American show.

My favorite shows, however, tend to have five or more main characters and be set in the same location. Everything from Community to Buffy to How I Met Your Mother to NCIS to The Vampire Diaries fits that mold. Maybe that’s why I never really got into Tru Calling (not enough main characters) or Revolution (characters scattered and on the move).

Anyhow, this was a decent episode of Supernatural, one of the better ones I’ve seen so far. I just hope it doesn’t give me nightmares (remember to not watch future episodes late in the evening!).

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Grimm – The Other Side

This week’s “Previously On” clips seemed to indicate we’d get some movement on the Renard front – both with the effects of the potion and his relationship with his brother. Unfortunately, things still seem to be progressing very slowly. Now I’m just hoping we get some major developments for the midseason finale.

Full review here: Billie Doux: Grimm: The Other Side.

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Grimm – The Bottle Imp

The story on last week’s Grimm focuses on a father and daughter who are badger-like Wesen, while Monroe manages the shop for Rosalee, and Renard and Juliette suffer some side effects from the “pure of heart” potion and the kiss.

For full review, visit: Billie Doux: Grimm: The Bottle Imp.

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Beauty and the Beast – Pilot

I’d heard that the pilot episode of Beauty and the Beast was awful, but I actually enjoyed it. It could have been better, yes. No, it didn’t sizzle, but there were enough good elements for the show to build on I think it will improve with time. The premiere got good ratings (for the CW, at least), so hopefully it will get that time.

The thing that surprised me most about the show was its Castle-like vibe. And it’s not only Kristin Kreuk’s character aping Beckett (with the mother’s death, becoming a cop, and understated-yet-confident detective skills), but something about the sets/filming style reminded me of the show as well (don’t know enough about the technical side of things to pinpoint exact what, though). And even though Kreuk is “CW-pretty,” she still makes a decently believable police detective (unlike Perception’s Rachael Leigh Cook, who still looks more like a high schooler than an FBI agent).

Jay Ryan as Vincent Keller, on the other hand, seems far too young for his character. The actor is 31 but looks mid-twenties, but even if the character was only months into his residency when 9/11 occurred (it’s stated that he was a doctor at that time), he’d have to be at least 37 or some sort of genius who was able to graduate from either high school, college, or medical school (or all three) early. And what secret government agency would do experiments on a trained doctor instead of a grunt or an exceptional soldier? At the very least, weren’t they worried a doctor would figure things out? Unless something comes to light later as reasons for these issues (the program targeted soldiers with high IQs, the modified DNA slows down the aging process, etc.), it seems a bit of a cop out to make Vincent a handsome young doctor.

Also, as many reviews have complained, one cheek scar and an occasional Hulk-out (which only changes Vincent’s face as much as half a Grimm woge) do not a beast make. While the previous Beauty and the Beast show’s full lion face was ridiculous, there really is very little that is beast-like about Vincent.

While the two actors have chemistry together, much of Cat figuring out what’s going on seemed awkward. I was impressed by her fighting skills (taking on three people at the subway station? You go, girl!), but annoyed that most of Vincent’s fights took place off screen. No, I don’t want to see dismembering, but if his abilities are the main beast-like quality about him, we should have a better idea of what they are.

As far as the rest of the cast goes, Cat’s partner, her boss, the medical examiner (with a delightful British accent), and Vincent’s roommate all seem decent enough, but we didn’t spend enough time with them to get a good feel of how they’ll contribute to the show in future episodes.

I’m ranking this pilot 4th out of the new drama premieres I’ve seen, and I plan to keep watching.

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Grimm – Over My Dead Body

This Monroe-centered episode introduces a new enemy, gets rid of a past frenemy, and sends Rosalee out of town on a bus – for the character to visit an ailing relative, and for the actress to go on maternity leave (Bree Turner and her husband recently welcomed a baby boy, Dean, to their family).

Full review at: Billie Doux: Grimm: Over My Dead Body.

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October Giveaway – Grimm!

A spooky month deserves a spooky show giveaway, right? And so, for the month of October, TV Breakroom is giving away season one of Grimm! If you already own the first season of this awesome show (or if you live outside the US), you can choose a $15 Amazon gift card instead. I’m also reviewing Grimm on the site Billie Doux, so be sure to check out my reviews (be forewarned – since they are reviews, there are plenty of spoilers)!

Portland detective Nick Burkhardt starts seeing ordinary people morph into legendary and animal-like creatures, and learns from his dying aunt that he is the last in a long line of Grimms. Like the fairytale-writing pair of brothers, Grimms both catalog and defend the world against these supernatural creatures called Wesen. While Wesen appear human, a Grimm can see who they truly are when they lose control.

Nick teams up with Monroe, a reformed Blutbad (a wolf-like Wesen), who helps him understand this new world and solve Wesen-related crimes. Nick’s girlfriend, Juliette, and partner on the force, Hank, are both ignorant of Nick’s new abilities. Captain Renard, Nick’s boss, knows what Nick is, but chooses to keep that knowledge, and his own true nature, a secret. Part crime show, part supernatural drama, Grimm mixes in humor and mythology while turning fairy tales on their heads.

I’m using Rafflecopter for this giveaway, so please let me know if you have any troubles with it! I tried to make it as easy to understand as I could. Some ways enter will require doing something and then coming back to fill in the needed info, others you can do up to once a day! If you have other ideas of activities that you believe should earn entries, let me know and I may add them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Grimm – The Good Shepherd

Grimm returns with a more widely-known tale – the story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. A Blutbad is pastor to a flock of Seelengut (sheep-like Wesen), and Monroe goes undercover to solve a murder.

An embezzling case is brought to Nick and Hank (why was it brought to them in the first place – aren’t they homicide detectives?), but when the suspected embezzler turns up dead, it becomes a murder investigation. In one of Grimm’s more gruesome deaths (though they didn’t show much), the victim was throw alive into a wood chipper, and was only identified by his metal hip replacement.

See full review at: Billie Doux: Grimm: The Good Shepherd.

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Grimm – Quill

Grimm kicked it up a notch with this episode – it’s right up there with many of the best episodes of the show, while (hopefully) establishing a status quo for what the rest of the season will be like. And yes, it looks like there’s a Scooby Gang forming.

Full review: Billie Doux: Grimm: Quill.

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Grimm – Bad Moon Rising

Grimm (and Nick) finally let Hank in on the secret in this episode – Wesen exist. Why Hank can see them is still a mystery, but with Monroe spending more time with Rosalee, it’s nice that Nick has someone else who understands (at least a bit) about what’s going on.

Full review here: Billie Doux: Grimm: Bad Moon Rising.

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Grimm – The Kiss

Grimm finished its two-part season opener with a bang – great fight scenes, humorously awkward moments, and wow-did-they-really-just-do-that revelations.

Full review here: Billie Doux: Grimm: The Kiss.

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Supernatural – Home

Okay, I’d heard this was a good episode, and it was one of the better ones I’ve seen so far, but as it ended I felt rather ambivalent. What, really, has changed?

This episode, thanks to one of Sam’s prescient dreams, takes the brothers back to Kansas, where a mother and her two young children have just moved into the boys’ childhood home. Early creepy indications include scratching noises and the sighting of a figure wreathed in flames.

Dean and Sam make some inquiries around town and finally meet with a no-nonsense female psychic who knew their father. Missouri’s presence in the episode shows again how hard it is to connect to a show when there are only two main characters. She made a good addition to the team for the episode, and made me wish for a consistent third character to liven up the relationship dynamics.

Okay, after watching this episode and the Heroes pilot, I am going to have a lifelong fear of garbage disposals. The monkey with the cymbals was pretty clichéd, though.

I figured out early on that flame-figure was Mary Winchester, thanks to coming across spoilers while verifying facts for polls. So that part of the episode didn’t have the impact on me that it could have. And seeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s name in the credits let me know that good ol’ dad would be showing up at some point – unfortunately it was in a closing scene with Missouri, so no family reunion just yet. Plus his excuse for not seeing his sons seems incredibly lame. There’d better be a good reason for why seeking this “truth” is keeping him apart from his sons when it didn’t for the first 20 years after the fire. Especially after Dean’s phone call to him, which was some of the best acting I’ve seen on this show so far, by Jensen Ackles or anyone else.

And so Dean and Sam faced their fears, went back home, and saved the day – but what do they have to show for it? Yeah, it was cool that they saw their mom, but a) they already knew she was dead, and b) they already were pretty sure she loved them. It’s interesting that we as viewers now know that John Winchester isn’t locked in some hell dimension, but his sons don’t know. So as far as I can see, nothing changes. Maybe I’m just too used to Joss Whedon shows, but after a pivotal episode like that, isn’t something (even if it’s a tiny shift in a relationship or a new fear a character will have to overcome) supposed to be different?

Well, there is the fact that now Dean knows about Sam’s dreams. Would have been nice to touch on that near the end. But I guess I’ll have to see if this episode has much of an impact on later ones.

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Alphas: New Time, Lookbook, and Episode 5 Previews

This second season of Alphas has been amazing so far! (Not watching the show yet? Get caught up by entering to win the first season on DVD!) Now, Syfy is airing the show at 8PM on Mondays, as well as its normal 10PM slot, bookending the quirky Warehouse 13.

Syfy has released TWO previews for the August 20th episode, “Gaslight.” In my opinion, the second preview gives a little too much away, so you may want to skip it. (I haven’t seen the episode yet, so it might not be that bad, but in any case, it’s a very odd sort of spoiler.) Update: Not a spoiler at all, just a very delayed memorial service. I wanted to make sure it didn’t mean a character was somehow still alive and then later died in this episode.

Also, Lauren Holly (pictured above, best known for playing NCIS Director Jenny Sheppard) makes her first appearance on the show in this episode, as Senator Charlotte Burton, a government official with mysterious ties to Dr. Rosen.

One more cool thing: Syfy has created a digital lookbook, featuring 8 Alpha abilities. Click on it below for a fullscreen version, complete with video clips.

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Supernatural – Bugs

I went into watching this episode expecting it to be terrible (perhaps remembering Smallville’s cringe-worthy bug episode of its first season), but to my surprise it wasn’t half bad. I even laughed a few times, including when Dean stuck his towel-wrapped head out of the bathroom.

One of the things that made me enjoy the episode was getting some backstory on Sam’s relationship with his dad. Even though it was presented awkwardly (come on, writers, this isn’t the 80s), it really gave me a better idea of how the brothers relate.

Since the description gave away that a Native American burial ground had something to do with the bug attacks, I had the Buffy episode “Pangs” in my head the entire time, but the two didn’t have all that much in common. I did think the much more specific curse on “Bugs” made an interesting difference. (And now I have an arrow-riddled Spike yelling, “A bear! You made a bear! Undo it, undo it!” going on a constant loop in my head.)

I really disliked how the final attack was supposed to be 6 hours long (a little after midnight until dawn), and yet the way it was shot it seemed like a half hour at most. It made the sunrise seem like a cop-out.

All in all, while “Bugs” was a little corny in places, it was much better than the last episode, and is giving me a little hope for the show.

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Supernatural – Hook Man

So, it’s been almost exactly a year since I last watched an episode of Supernatural. I gave the show six episodes in the summer of 2011, and it failed to impress me. But since many of this site’s visitors love the show, and I’ve caught several cool moments (and unfortunately far too many spoilers) while doing research for polls, I decided to give it another shot. Especially since it’s now on Netflix.

Sadly, “Hook Man” was a rather terrible episode to try and get me into the show. Basic premise: an angry spirit with a hook for a hand goes around killing people, and Dean and Sam have to risk their lives to stop him (yes, quite similar to other episodes). Far too much of the episode was taken up with “scary atmosphere,” there was only one major twist I could see coming a mile away, and please tell me getting picked up/questioned by law enforcement doesn’t become an every-other-episode part of this show. I didn’t recognize any of the guest stars, though apparently the minister (Dan Butler) is from Frasier.

Dean and Sam were a little less awkward together in the episode, but still have a long way to go. With Supernatural hinging so greatly on their relationship (as the show’s one constant), it has to sizzle. A few of the later clips I’ve seen indicate that it eventually does (one of the reasons why I tried another episode), but I don’t know how much I’m willing to watch to get to better episodes.

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve seen so many other speculative shows that early episodes of Supernatural pale in comparison. Buffy, Angel, and Grimm all started with a similar “baddie of the week” setup, yet their main characters are far more engaging, there are more plot twists, and fun dialogue makes you laugh.

I did like how this episode showed Sam (yes, I still want to call him Dean – thanks, Gilmore Girls!) connecting with someone and showing how Jess’s death is still affecting him. But it’s still painted too broadly – this show could use more nuance. I wonder if that’s why it’s so popular internationally – less subtlety prevents things from getting lost in translation.

Another part I enjoyed was Dean and Sam falling on each other after climbing in a window, as well as Dean’s remarks about Sam’s college life (and his choice of caffeinated beverage).

But I still don’t get why thousands of teen girls and young women are so into these guys. Give me Spike, Monroe, or Wesley any day (or Giles, Xander, Oz, Angel, Nick, Captain Renard, Doyle . . . yeah, the Winchester boys would be pretty far down on the list – and that’s only looking at 3 other shows at the moment).

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Alphas – Season 2, Episode 3 “Alpha Dogs” Preview

TV Breakroom reported several months ago that a new Alpha was joining the Alphas team this season, and Monday’s episode “Alpha Dogs” introduces her character. Here’s a brief synopsis of the episode:

On the third episode of the second season of Alphas, Erin Way joins the cast as Kat, a young loner whose Alpha ability allows her to pick up any skill at a glance and while her skills are permanent, her personal memories are short-lived.   Also, a mysterious murder leads Harken (Malik Yoba) and Hicks (Warren Christie) to an underground Alphas-style fight club.  Meanwhile, Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) traces the existence of Stanton Parish (guest star John Pyper-Ferguson) back to 1864, and Parish’s Alpha ability is witnessed for the first time via a flashback to the American Civil War.  Alphas airs Mondays at 10PM ET/PT only on Syfy.

Take a look at this sneak peak:

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