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Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 19:43

And that ladies and gentlemen is how you start an episode.

Usually the Battle of Waterloo would be the climax of a show  Here we have thousands of troops, battle squares, siege, storming of castle gates etc. Some brilliant effects are in play here, money has been spent and it all shows.

In all of this carnage we find Strange at his military duty, putting out burning buildings and squishing French soldiers. The battle is won, the Napoleonic wars are over, Strange goes home. 

All the stress has taken its toll now though and all Strange wants to do is settle down with Arabella, finish his book, have a kid or two and fade into obscurity. 

Unfortunately, though, Napoleon wasn’t his only foe.

Norrell and his new best buddy Lascelles are trying to stop Strange's book because their own has suffered because of a scathing review. 

The Gentleman has summoned the sinister Moss Oak, now in the form of Arabella for nefarious purposes...

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Sunday, June 14, 2015 - 18:56

I knew this moment would come.

By reviewing things you are offering a personal opinion on something that someone has put time and effort into. I dont believe that people entirely set out to make bad products, so I tend to be a bit more positive about things. But I always knew that one day I'd see something that others enjoy that I didn't.

So here we are. Jurassic World.

I will make two comparisons with the original film. 

Firstly, the dinosaurs look SLIGHTLY better than they did twenty years ago. 

Secondly, there's a scene in the original where Laura Dern explores a huge pile of dino-crap. I felt like they'd just picked that pile up and recycled it into the script.

The plot centers around...

Geez, do you need me to tell you? 

Blah,blah,blah,genetically engineered dinosaurs, blah, theme park, blah, something goes wrong, blah, people get eaten, blah, lead characters get chased by lead dinosaur, blah, saved at last...

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Sunday, June 14, 2015 - 11:36

They should have called this Trouble and Strife.

Everyone falls out with someone. 

There's a change in emphasis this week. 

From the action driven piece last week, we get a more character based episode. Everything moves along though. Plot threads are tugged across the board. 

Firstly, Childermass is lying on a doctors table with a bullet in his torso after the assassination attempt on his master. As he moves in and out of death he's treated to a vision with a bird of ominous aspect. A raven, hmmm,I wonder what that could represent?

Lady Pole continues to be thoroughly crapped on. Since it was her shot at Norrell that hit Childermass, the general consensus is that what little sanity she had has now left, and she's away with the faeries. If only they knew. So it's off to the madhouse for the poor girl. Norrell as ever wants to remain respectable on this, and to avoid any hint that the magic is the cause, he arranges to keep her...

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Sunday, June 14, 2015 - 11:32

Warning!

Do not watch this program and Game Of Thrones on the same day. 

We all know that GoT has a habit of putting you through the emotional wringer on a regular basis. This show can hit you in the gut too. 

Here's a few highlights.

War, zombies, insanity, attempted suicide,slavery, attempted murder, emotional torture. 

Many things struck me after this episode, the usual high production values, outstanding performances, moral questions, and I was left at the end of the episode drained but wanting the next installment immediately. 

This is fantastic stuff. It is often said that fantasy is puerile and childish. Not GoT, not this. 

The themes are adult, the characters do terrible things. Even the good characters when they need to. 

Take Jonathan Strange. 

After some skullduggery to get him out of the way by Drawlight, he finds himself shipped off to the Peninsular War in Portugal. He's...

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 22:47

How is Lady Pole?

Alive.

Having been resurrected by Mr Norrell last week she's happy and light on her feet. Ready to dance in fact. 

This remarkable accomplishment from Mr Norrell has given him the connections to turn his talents to thwarting the dastardly Napoleon. The magic starts to get BIG. We have thousands of conjured ships blockading French ports. The British Government is delighted. Talk turns to returning dead politicians and war heroes from the grave. Decomposition could be a factor so we don't get to see Zombie Nelson!

Elsewhere, Segundus and Honeyfoot encounter Strange and the stage is set for the magicians to get together. When Strange proves his sorcerous ability Norrell is delighted. 

So a master and apprentice relationship is born, but it becomes apparent that there is a big difference in style. It's books and study versus natural talent and flair. This is nicely done . The two leads appear to be well chosen for their...

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 17:16

Welcome to an alternative history.

It's 19th century England, but not the one we're familiar with. 

There used to be magic, but it is now a non-existent curio, studied by theoretical magicians, not a single actual user has been found for 300 years. Claiming to be able to perform magic is strictly the province of charlatans.

Amateur magician John Segundus can't do magic either. His attempts fail, his peers at the local club deride his efforts. No gentleman would lower himself to even try.

Until Mr Norrell. 

Norrell is a Yorkshire scholar of magic who has self-studied himself up to practitioner level, and he's on a mission to bring spell use back to England. He's also loyal to his realm and thinks that his talents can be of use countering the nefarious Napoleon Bonaparte and his armies. 

After challenging his detractors from the local magic club, and scaring them into quitting forever, it's time to reveal this talent to the...

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 12:32

If the truth is stranger than fiction, then surely science truths must be stranger than science fiction?

In a cosy anteroom of Chelsea Old Town Hall we get a demonstration of this. Pop-Up Screens are treating us to a series of films with an analysis of their premise from a scientific perspective.

The event covers five films: Alien, Apollo 13, Terminator 2, Good Will Hunting and Shaun Of The Dead. All well known films, touching on various disciplines from materials science, mathematics, virology and others.It's a bright, sunny London afternoon, so it's obviously time for a bright, sunny London zombie film.

The format of the day comprises an introduction to the major scientific themes of the movie in the form of a discussion between interviewer Helen Arney, virologist Karl Byrne providing the squishy science, and comedian/youtuber Richard Sandling chipping in with a view from the world of funny. ...

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Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 14:35

Endgame.

End of plot, end of season, end of Peggy?

We'll come back to that point in a little while.

This episode begins with the gruesome discovery of the effect of one of Stark's inventions, and what it does to one of the SSR boys. 

Now that it has been tested with sufficiently eye-gouging results, Ivchenko - sorry, Fennhoff and Dottie put their plan into action. Several people die as a result. Seems to be a theme this. 

And after all of the chasing and hiding...

Stark just walks into the SSR building. After complaining about the lousy security contractor that the government uses, he gives the gen on what is actually going on. 

Stark is central to the whole episode. We learn what happened at the battle of Finnow and how he connects to it. Starks' actions put him central to the Leviathan plot. Dominic Cooper plays him brilliantly, with swagger and arrogance, but with a streak of contrition about what his inventions do...

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Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 14:03

Let's play find the lady. 

In fact let's play two versions.

One is straightforward. 

Find Dottie Underwood before she does something horrible. 

The other is more complex. 

The SSR boys play find out what their lady Agent has been doing. This involves interrogation by Dooley, Thompson and Sousa. All three take different approaches, but not the ones you might expect. Souza is bad cop, Thompson the mediator, and Dooley is downright complimentary.

As usual Peggy tears a strip off them. This time during her answers while they are interrogating her!

She wants them to look for Dottie, who is now on the run. 

Dr Ivchenko's real identity is also revealed. It seems a bit odd this, as he is a minor villain in the Marvel universe, and even then he doesn't go by his real name so we have a double cover name. But one thing he doesn't hide is his communication to Dottie. The little morse tapper gets spotted, but it...

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Monday, April 20, 2015 - 21:44

Do they think we're wet behind the ears?

Why?

Why do writers think that this isn't going to annoy people? 

Why do they think that the sudden appearance of characters that are vitally important to the series arc plot, which then plays out in the same episode is a good idea?

We get the big reveal on Henry's adversary this week and....

It's no-one who's been in the series so far.

So why be secretive,why be circumspect? 

It would have been so much better to have either revealed the character early on, then set up suspense of us knowing who it is but the central character's being in the dark.

Or..

By having a well known character suddenly turn out to be the bad guy/girl/transgender to the amazement of everyone! 

Either way, we can have the villain interacting with the main cast, setting up betrayals, influencing the cast, finding out secrets.

By introducing someone new, any suspense is wasted and...

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