Archive for the ‘TV Review’ Category

Bluest Horizon

Posted: June 1, 2014 by Arushi in Thoughts, TV Review
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lake-towada-japan_Aomori Moon

 
There is something quite enchanting in landscapes that seem to go on forever. Whether it is the sea, sand dunes or even a vista filled with unending ice. There is a surreal beauty to our own insignificance.

Its a bit like being in love. The idea of it is extremely pretty but being caught at the edge of a cold desert is its own brand of hell – one that no one else will even understand. Truly gorgeous from afar… but lets just not get started on what that walk feels like, especially if you feel like you’re walking it alone.

Maudalin musings aside, this image also reminds me of an excellent show I am watching these days – Vikings.

The show tells the story of Ragnar Lothbrok and how he came to rule all the Viking tribes. After Spartacus, its the first historical show that has me hooked so well. There is not much I want to say about the story, except, expect lots of action, adventure, violence, a great story and even politics. Definitely a must watch.

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The Mob Doctor

Posted: February 28, 2013 by Arushi in TV Review
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The Mob Doctor - Poster

It took me around three days to finish the thirteen episodes of the first and only season of The Mob Doctor. It might  have something to do with the fact that I have not had much to do after work recently, or rather that I have not been reading as much as usual. Either way, here we are.

This show is a cross between a good medical show and a good mafia show and somehow it manages to be both. Not completely, or there would be more than one season, but it does do a decent job.

The pilot started with the protagonist telling us that the first time she ever saw a dead body, she was six. She was not scared. Fascinated, actually. That is Grace Devlin: someone who actually remembers the exact number of corpses she has seen till now, even though she happens to be a thoracic surgeon.

Slowly, bit by bit, the story unfolds. Grace is paying off her brother’s debt to Moretti by moonlighting as the organization’s doctor. She is happy to pull as many screw drivers out of skulls as she needs to, until she is asked to kill a key witness. There are some lines Grace refuses to cross. She is a healer, not a killer.

She places Moretti in the way of Constantine Alexander and he solves the problem for her. He is a man who has just stepped out of prison after 15 years. He is someone Grace knew as a child. He is a lot of things, but he is also an old school head of the organization. He offers Grace one out – leave Chicago or work for him. She stays.

Constantine is not Moretti. He has his own rules and he has a soft spot for Grace as well as the Devlin family. So the interconnected web of dependence, like, dislike, love and hate grows. Grace is good at what she does, and Constantine does give her a lot of leeway, but she still does not want to be a part of this world.

This show weaves together how hard juggling two separate worlds can be. Grace’s job demands all of her time, and yet she needs to be there every time Constantine calls. She has a boyfriend, a doctor like her but yet she also has to constantly deal with an ex, one she grew up with and one who is always looking out for her. Because someone has to.

There are so many contrasts here. Constantine is the father figure in the mafia, and he takes lives. Dr. White is the father figure in the hospital and he is the Chief of Surgery. Brett is the quiet, nice boyfriend who tries not to ask too many questions and Franco, while good, is not exactly the definition of quiet.

There is the dilemma of treating the victims of a car crash in the hospital and then treating the drunk driver who caused the crash in a bar. Grace cannot inform the police but she finds retribution in not fixing him up properly, because she does not think he deserves to live. At the same time, Constantine needs him alive and for a good reason, so she manages to eventually patch him up.

It was the contrasts, the contradictions and all the decisions that Grace has to make that kept me hooked. The politics of the mafia are nicely done and so are the politics of the hospital. Both are subtle and nuanced, until they’re not. And it is so much fun to watch it all unfold.

In a way the time management aspects, the juggling of different people in your life, the lies, the occasional truths: all of it, is not something particular to this show. A lot of this is universal for anyone trying to manage two full time jobs at the same time, or two separate relationships – not just romantic, but a sibling and spouse who do not get along. I am not quite sure I have ever suffered from being loyal to more than one person, but it was cool to see how human beings react to situations where they are being pulled in opposite directions.

I think what I found most attractive was how unassuming and quiet Grace is. She doesn’t do politics, anywhere. She is this quiet person who just gets the job done, no matter what that job may be. If it involves her holding a man’s chest open while riding a gurney with him, then so be it. It is that quiet confidence that makes her a good doctor. It would have had her succeed in the underworld too, except, she is not interested.

To say more would give away the plot. But the long and short of it is that this this a good show and definitely worth watching. Especially coz it all starts and ends in 13 packed episodes.

Once Upon a Time

Posted: November 26, 2012 by Arushi in TV Review
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Once upon a time, in a land far away…

Uh, no. Actually it was 28 years ago, in the Enchanted Forest.

 

I just finished the first season of ABC’s new show Once Upon a Time. Its pretty savvy, I have to say.

28 years ago, The Evil Queen unleashed a curse upon the entire Enchanted Forest. It was her last and final attempt to taker her revenge on Snow White and in doing so she ripped away the Happy Endings of everyone. Now they’re all living in Storybrooke, a small town in Maine, unaware of who and what they are and what they have lost. For 28 years, time has not moved forward in this town. The watch tower’s clock remains stopped.

Only one person can break the curse, Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter Emma, who was saved from the curse and sent ahead to our world. A woman now, she does NOT believe in fairy tales, and would never have come to Storybrooke, if not for the son she gave away for adoption ten years ago: Henry.

Henry believes in the curse, and he goes to find his mom so she would come and break the curse and free everyone. Raised by The Evil Queen, who is now Mayor, he is a sweet boy and worms his way into Emma’s heart.

So far it sounds like a typical fairy tale, if a little bit more complicated. Well, its much, much more than that. Each episode goes back and forth between telling a tale in the Enchanted Forest of a character and a story about that character in Storybrooke. Its a beautiful contrast, plus it makes everything so much more intricate.

Not to mention everything (usually) comes back and relates in someway to the main story of Snow White, which is a little bit different than the one Disney told us. For one, Snow White is kick ass. I totally loved the episode when she decided to kill the Evil Queen all by herself. She even decked Prince Charming, whose ridiculous name, actually has an explanation and the guy can fight. For another, Red Riding Hood? Yeah she’s neither little nor is she unable to take care of herself and Granny is excellent with a cross-bow.

But in general, all stories are related in some way or the other and one of the major factors is that almost everyone has made a deal with Rumplestiltskin to get what they want. He is one of the most powerful magical beings in the realm and slowly and slowly you come to see just how deeply entrenched he is into all that is happening.

The most fun thing about OUAT is this intricacy in the plot. A small detail here, (or rather an innocuous deal made with Rumplestiltskin) can mean a huge deal later. For a lot of other people.

Plus since the show works with a variable timeline, as we see the ending of Snow White’s story first (waking up, getting married and the curse) everything else is sort of a flashback with in a flashback.

Yeah.. I would not recommend missing an episode. Then again this show comes from the creators of Lost. That sentence should explain a lot to anyone who watched Lost.

Usually I end up relating one thing to another, and another until even I am not sure just what I am rambling about. But I am not doing that today coz OUAT Season 2 has started and I am gonna go and watch the next episode.

Because guess what? Season 2 is turning out to be even better than Season 1 🙂 and Captain Hook is hot! Seriously 🙂

Kuroshitsuji

Posted: October 25, 2012 by Arushi in TV Review
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Kuroshitsuji literally means Black Butler. It is an anime series, currently with two seasons that is based on a Manga of the same name. There are also some OVA’s and one musical. That should give a good idea about its popularity.

The main protagonist is called Ciel Phantomhive, a twelve years old Earl in Victorian England who makes the deal with a demon to avenge his honor and his family. The demon is Sebastian Michaelis, who now acts as the Phantomhive butler and will help Ciel achieve his revenge in return for his soul.

The core of the show is dark, yet it is interspersed with morbid humor that makes it addicting. Also it is hard to be too intimidated by a demon when not only is he dressed impeccably like a butler, but he also uses silverware as weapons.

Rather it is Ciel who is far more serious, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders and who would do anything to get his revenge yet has managed to keep his humanity about him. He is also the one to watch out for, not the demon. For after all, the demon is a pawn, and Ciel is the one playing chess.

This is such a strange story. Revenge is a common enough theme, so are perhaps demons. I admit, a demonic butler is a new and great twist, but still, it took me a while to understand just what made the story so attractive.

It is Ciel and Sebastian as a combination and the fact that together they are the embodiment of a multitude of contradictions, and that through the doomed situation, one can always see a glimmer. It makes you wonder… could redemption be possible?

Ciel is hell bent on revenge and will go to any lengths for it. Yet he works for the Queen and tries his best to protect London, for that has been the duty of his family for generations.

He has loyal servants, friends etc. whom he goes to many lengths to protect but in the end he would sacrifice them all to achieve his goals. He is not heartless no matter what he has gone through. He is just a child but he has the will power to rival any adult and a sense of responsibility that truly does credit to Noblesse Oblige. 

Sebastian is a demon yet he does many acts of kindness because he can. He loves cats. Yes, he is taking care of Ciel and helping him get his revenge so that he may devour his soul, yet at times one wonders if he really does cares for him and the others. At the end of it all, you wonder if he has decided that he likes this little distraction in his very long life?

If the main characters are such a blend of colors, the side characters also do not disappoint. They are many, with different backgrounds, motivations and loyalties. Everyone has an agenda and it is quite foolish to take any person at face value.

Whether it is Lao, a representative of a Chinese company in London, who runs many opium dens and always has the beautiful Ranmaru on his lap (she who is as strong as any assassin).

The Undertaker who is willing to share information if only one can make him laugh, or maybe Grell, who is a Shinigami (death god or Grim reaper) who has a major crush on Sebastian. They all have a story and none are afraid to get their hands dirty to get what they want.

The servants that Sebastian hired for the Pahontomhive Mansion are also quite an enigma. The cook is a pyromaniac, the maid breaks almost everything and the gardener is freakishly strong. The steward is old and frail and does nothing but drink Japanese green tea. They have their reasons for everything too, and yet somehow, Ciel has managed to gain their unwavering loyalty. He even manages to tame a hellhound.

Then there is  Lizzie (Lady Elizabeth Ethel Cordelia Middleford), Ciel’s fiancé and childhood friend. A girl obsessed with cute things, who made even the demon dress in pink, because if everything is adorable, then only good things will happen to Ciel.

In effect, this highly unreal story is made up of some very real characters and thus extremely addicting.

I will talk about the second season some other day.

If you are not a fan of subtitles, the first season has been dubbed already. But even in Japanese, this show manages to be British, which is kind of cool.

For anyone who does like anime, this is a must watch 🙂

Rome

Posted: October 18, 2012 by Arushi in TV Review
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I finished watching the second season of ROME a few days ago only to realize that there is no third season. It is an excellent show and so I was quite disappointed.

I loved the visuals, the characters, the plot, the depth given to everything, the whole ambiance. It is an utter delight to watch. Yes, I will be watching the first two seasons again, eventually. Can’t really help that.

I wish there had been more, but we can’t have everything we want.

Season 1 starts off with Julius Caesar (52 BC) and Season 2 continues on till Octavian strengthens his hold on Rome and defeats Anthony (31 BC). These two seasons do cover a lot, and are really good about giving a glimpse into Roman life. Its a great, if violent, history lesson.

There were times when the show felt like a moderate version of Spartacus.. (Caesar was after Spartacus’s time though) and there were other times when it felt like that humans had not changed all that much in the past two thousand or so years. Still the same scheming, plotting people that we used to be.

Cool!

After all, we survived 2000 years since then, so I am hoping that as we’ve not changed all that much, we might survive another 2000. Not that I would be alive to care, but still. Good to know.

Leaving my philosophy aside, the show has quite a few characters that I absolutely adore. One of them is Mark Anthony. Its interesting how I never thought much of him after reading the plays (yes I know I should watch plays, not read them) but after the show, I really wished he had survived.

Not because he was a better ruler than Octavian, but rather because he seemed honest to himself. Also, probably because even though I might not want to admit it, I am a romantic at heart and Anthony makes for a great romantic hero. Albeit one that dies. Or maybe I like him because of it. Who knows? He’s just likable and the looks do help.

Another really cool thing about the show was that the lives of two common (ish) soldiers was interlaced with all the political events to give a feel of the life of the normal people from that time. They started out as rivals and then went on to become the greatest of friends, always loyal to each other. Also, since they seemed to be in different places upon many occasions, it was a fine way to find out what was happening where.

In general, I’d say if you like shows that have anything to do with history, and don’t mind it being a bit too realistically graphic, this is not a show to be missed. I do say it years after the show came out, but hey, better late then never.