Game of Thrones Season 4 Review.

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With every season that passes Game of Thrones becomes a bigger and better show, year after year you wonder can this show get better?  Invariably the answer is yes as it consistently puts in glittering display after glittering display.  Game of Thrones has become the best show on TV and rightly so it is a true masterpiece.

Now if you haven’t watched season 4 of Game of Thrones then I probably wouldn’t bother reading on from here because there will be spoilers, but if you have watched season 4 then you might as well keep on reading because you have nothing to lose.

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Season 4 of Game of Thrones covered roughly the second half of the third book and followed season 3 which was pretty damn good, had an incredible game changer in the Red Wedding but at times was a bit ponderous.  I personally have read the books and although it was a while ago I’m pretty sure that the timelines are all over the place for the last two seasons.  Naturally you get things which have happened in the books that haven’t happened in the TV show and vice versa and it is hard to not be nervous when a TV show strays from its source material (because generally that’s when quality drops) but so far Game of Thrones isn’t showing a drop off.

Usually major game changers don’t happen in episode two of a season because early episodes are usually to build to the final episodes but they were left with no choice as Joffrey got his comeuppance after being mean to some birds who were nesting in a big pie.  In fact the last four episodes of season 4 had massive game changing moments in them (Lysa’s death, Oberyn’s death, the battle at the wall and the entire last episode), and although there wasn’t anything quite as dramatic as the final fifteen minutes of the Red Wedding episodes in season 3 as a whole season 4 was much better than its predecessor.

Anyway season 4 was a busy season for the undertaker’s of Westeros with major characters like Joffrey, Ygritte, The Hound, Shae, Tywin, Oberyn, Jojen, Grenn, Pyp, Lysa but thankfully not Hot Pie (whew), yes Westeros is a dangerous place to live it would seem.  Naturally some of these deaths are more impactful than others, mainly the Joffrey and Tywin deaths due to them being major antagonists.

I’m going to break the rest of the review down into each of the many storylines going on in the world of GRR Martin.

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King’s Landing

Probably the place where the most things changed was at King’s Landing, not only did we see the death of a King but also the death of a viper, the trial of a dwarf and the death of a Kingmaker, not too bad in just one season.  I think that Game of Thrones has in the past been guilty of over saturating the show with Tyrion because he is such a popular character, this season it didn’t feel like we were just going to Tyrion because he was Tyrion but rather because his story was vital to the plot.  Joffrey’s wedding was natural a glorious affair as we received rising tensions within the Lannister family, the death of everyone’s most hated character and the realisation that weddings in this show never end well.

The repercussions of the Purple Wedding drove the story at King’s Landing the rest of the season, which included the great trial of Tyrion followed by the awesome trial by combat between Oberyn Martell and the Mountain, which didn’t end too well for the former (or Tyrion for that matter).  On that note how great a character was Oberyn Martell?  He only appeared in seven episodes but he left an everlasting memory in our hearts which was smushed along with his head when the Mountain took offence to him showboating and not using a sword in a duel (that’s a lesson for all the kids out there).

This led us onto the scary thought that maybe just maybe poor Tyrion the lovable little rogue was going to feel the sword along his neck a la poor Ned.  Thankfully after a cunning escape orchestrated by Jaime and Varys Tyrion managed to avoid Illyn Payne.  That same escape also gave us the final scenes for both Shae (who choked on something other than semen that night) and sadly Tywin.  Nobody really likes Tywin because the guy was a knob, but he was a great antagonist.  Tywin wasn’t pure evil, he was a diplomat who did what was best for him and more importantly what was best for his family’s lineage.  I felt that the loss of Joffrey was a big one but wasn’t so bad because we still had guys like Tywin to drive the story but the loss of both characters is a huge blow to the show. Both parts were executed perfectly by Charles Dance and Jack Gleeson and the loss of their chemistry with the other Lannister’s will be felt in the next season.  Also I was disappointed that Tyrion killed Tywin when he was on the shitter, every man knows that the rules of killing say that the one place you aren’t allowed to kill someone is on the toilet and no shots to the balls, Tyrion broke those rules, and I was disappointed.

That leaves us with the wonder twins who brought back incest to our TV screens this season.  Not that I think it is overly remembered now but there was that awkward scene earlier on in the season where Jaime and Cersei’s sweet love making had a bit of a rapey overtone.  Now I don’t think it was rape, it certainly wasn’t rapey in the book but it very much came across as rape in the TV show.  Maybe I’m too sensitive to these situations but generally when someone is saying things like no, I don’t want to and generally fighting against the idea of coitus, but then what do I know?  Pretty sure brothers and sisters aren’t meant to be doing it…

Season 4 finished on a cliff hanger in King’s Landing, Tywin’s dead and Tyrion has escaped along with Varys, leaving the city with a lack of characters but an instant story to start season 5 with.

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Slaver’s Bay

It’s weird Dany’s story should be a good one, after all she is going about taking over cities and kicking ass, however despite that her story still managed to be pretty damn boring.  Nothing ever seems to happen with Dany, not since the first season has she really had a good story and at times is nothing but an afterthought.  The best thing about Dany’s story is the incredibly awkward relationship between Dany and Jorah (got to feel sorry for the guy).  Sadly this ended when Dany sent Jorah away for formerly being a spy, which was made all the worse when she had teased him days before by having Daario do the walk of shame in front of him (damn pretty boy!).

That’s the weird thing about Dany’s whole story, you know she’s important, you know that eventually she will be back at Westeros and you know that dragons are super cool but you can’t help but wonder when all of this is going to happen.  There seems to be a lot of talk about it without much action.    Instead what we get is more awkward relationships (must be something in the air) between Grey Worm (the guy without the penis) and Missandei (who is meant to be like seven).  Another concern about this story is that they have made no attempt to make Daario Naharis seem like an important character (you know the guy that looked totally different last year).  If you compare Daario to Oberyn for instance it is night and day despite the fact that they’ve had similar screen time, the writers really need to develop his character more.

Dany’s tied up two of her dragons (much to her dismay) but one is still on the loose killing kids willy nilly.  Will season 5 finally bring us some cool dragon play, will Dany begin to realise Jorah was the love of her life and will Daario actually receive some character development?  I guess all these questions will be answered in season 5.

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The Wall

Nothing happened at the wall for ages, yes you knew there was impending danger because they kept talking about it but that danger never seemed to be approaching until the second last episode where it all happened at once.  I personally thought that The Watchers of the Wall was a very good episode and had a few really good holy fuck moments (generally involving giants).  There are two problems with the wall however and they are firstly that because they dedicated a whole episode to the attack it meant there wasn’t much else for them to do in the season so you felt disconnected with their story and secondly Kit Harrington (who plays Jon Snow) is a pretty poor actor which is bad when you consider he has such a big part.

The last episode of season 4 also delivered big for the wall as Stannis came to the rescue with his many formations of horses and cut into the wildling army like a fat man through butter.  This gives us an incredibly interesting dynamic heading into season 5 as Stannis and Red Woman go for a sleepover with Jon and his Night’s Watch buddies.  How will they get on?  Will Sam turn out to be the reincarnation of Azor Ahai?  What will happen to the free folks and poor old Mance?  It should be fun.

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In the Vale

After Sansa’s daring escape during Joffrey’s wedding (leaving early, how rude!) we discovered that it was Littlefinger all along that was helping her with her escape.  Now it would have been a bigger reveal if Dontos had been used last season like he should have been but hey it was still pretty good.  Almost as good as that was Littlefinger and Sansa’s (let’s call it) fucking weird relationship.  Not that Sansa has done anything really wrong here but it’s a bit like walking down the street and seeing a man in his forties making second base with a teenager, it’s just plain wrong.

Beyond Sansa’s awkward relationship with her newfound uncle the Vale didn’t offer overly much, things we learned were that Littlefinger was a fabulous lover, cousins don’t make for good matchmaking and don’t stand at the moon door when Littlefinger is in the room.  It was probably one of my favourite scenes of the season, who doesn’t find it funny to see some crazy bitch be pushed through a massive hole that goes pretty far down by her husband after telling her he preferred her sister?  I know Littlefinger is a romantic!

This season saw the development of Sansa to the extent where she has become a shrewder player in the game.  Finally she has grown up and realised that everyone in this land is selfish and plays around the rules, so she has to as well.  Are Sansa and Littlefinger going to develop into the new power couple of Westeros?  My heart says yes but my head says no…

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Dreadfort

I can recall the dread last season whenever we saw Theon, all of his scenes were pretty similar, torture this, torture that and so on, so surely this season could only be better!  Well sort of…but…how not really.  Reek (as he is now known) was a good boy this season and went on some hunts and even got to pretend that he was Theon Greyjoy again, this however was followed by a bath which you can only imagine Reek will be telling a psychiatrist about some time in the future.  Nothing really happened at the Dreadfort beyond bath time with Ramsay, oh and he got legitimised which I assume was for services to bathing.

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The Trek to the Tree

Hands up if you forgot that Bran existed until the last episode?  Yeah I thought so.  Bran’s story hasn’t really transferred well from the books yet and there really was only one worthwhile episode in the lot for this story.  Despite all that, how great was that scene with the skeletons?  It could so easily have been tacky and silly but instead what we received was pretty damn cool.  The death of Jojen didn’t have the impact which they probably wanted but that is due to them not establishing him as a character enough, I’m just glad Hodor made it through ok and smashed some shit up!  I also wonder what it is with the writers of Game of Thrones and doing the old stab the guy multiple times in the stomach move, poor Jojen got the Talisa treatment.

I can’t help but wonder who the old man in the tree is and what he wants with Bran.  I also can’t help but wonder why the social workers and the police haven’t been round to his house (can trees be houses?) because he is harbouring lots of kids and just keeps adding to the collection, I guess it’s just one of life’s many mysteries.

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Arya and the Hound

One of the best parts of season 4 was the development of the relationship between the Hound and Arya, every scene was excellent and the two actors had great chemistry.  Then the Hound goes and dies…what the fuck dude?  Honestly!  Killed by a sort of woman as well!  It’s sad to see Sandor Celgane go but how great was that fight with Brienne?  It was brutal!  I could question her actually beating the Hound (a monster of a man) in a fight but instead I’m just going to remember the good times.  Like when the Hound killed that guy, or Arya killed that guy or Arya and the Hound killed those guys…there was a lot of killing in this pair.

The development of Maisie Williams as an actress has been phenomenal; she has great comedic timing but also does the serious scenes very well.  I’m sure Pod and Brienne will become the new Arya and the Hound which everyone should be happy about.  Arya has an exciting new journey ahead as she heads along the narrow sea; her stories tend to be some of the strongest on the show, so I’m looking forward to it.

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It’s a long piece but Game of Thrones is an incredibly dense show and it is incredible how much they can squeeze into ten episodes.  Going forward into season 5 there is huge change ahead for the show; Tyrion and Arya have left Westeros, Stannis and Jon’s worlds have collided and King’s Landing has been turned on its head.

I imagine that season 5 and 6 will cover the 4th and 5th books, so in two years the show will have caught up with the books which beg the question about what will happen in the likely event of the show running out of source material.  Does the show take a hiatus (a terrible idea) or more likely does the show overtakes the books and is treated like it is the source material?  That is two years down the line though so let’s just sweep it under the carpet and hope it goes away like all my other problems…

So what did you think about season 4 of Game of Thrones?  Personally I thought it was pretty spectacular and has moved Game of Thrones into the best show on TV slot.  Do you think that GRR Martin will ever get the finger out and finish those damn books?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

You can find all the latest bm23tvreviews updates by clicking the link and liking the Facebook page or by clicking the link and following the Twitter feed.

bm23tvreviews One Year Anniversary!

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Yes who would have thought that a year ago on this day a young blog was born with the intention of reviewing TV shows left, right and centre.  I didn’t know how things would turn out or if I would even like it but it turns out that I do enjoy writing a little bit too much across this blog and its sister blog where I write about sports.  It is cool to think that thousands upon thousands of people have sat and read (or glanced at and went this is shit) things which I’ve written, and naturally it is even cooler when you people respond to things which you have written, negative and positive.

So to celebrate this joyous occasion I am going to write about my top ten viewed posts on bm23tvreviews, starting with 10

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10. The Top 10 Starring Characters of 30 Rock

I wrote a whole host of things about 30 Rock after watching the whole series again and this was one of them.  In the end Kenneth Parcell won the day and my new BFF DotCom (yeah the guy from the show) tweeted about it, so pretty cool overall.

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9. 30 Rock Season Power Rankings

Another in my 30 Rock series of posts which saw season 3 crowned the champ, again my man DotCom tweeted about this to his five followers.

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8. Where Did Homeland Go Wrong?

I wrote this about five episodes into season 3 of Homeland when I found myself sitting questioning whether or not this was the same show I thought was awesome only two years prior.  Turns out it was but it had became a ludicrous thriller which even a three year old would struggle to believe.

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7. What I Loved and Hated about Breaking Bad Season 5 Part 2

It was an incredible second half to an incredible season of an incredible series.  Quite simply put Breaking Bad was a brilliantly produced TV show which managed to live up to hype and possibly even more importantly didn’t drag out the story.

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6. What I Loved and Hated about Dexter Season 8

Dexter on the other hand is a show which ran way to long and had a very disappointing last season.  It managed to deliver up one of the worst conclusions to a TV show in living memory, I mean a lumberjack…what the fuck?

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5. 20 Greatest Comedies of All Time

A list which was a lot of fun to write and was meant to only be ten but as I went along I kept thinking of more comedies which I felt deserved the recognition.  The list started with King of Queens and ended with Curb Your Enthusiasm and took me about a month to write, so I was glad to see it finished.

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4. 5 Defining Moments of Breaking Bad

I wrote this just before the start of the second half of season 5 and it actually contributed heavily to my best day of views ever.  I really enjoyed reliving these five moments because I do believe that Breaking Bad is one of the best TV shows ever (if not possibly the best) so any excuse to write about it is welcome.

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3. Why the Big Bang Theory Sucks

This was the first thing I ever wrote and it cracks the top three!  God how awful is the Big Bang Theory by the way?  It astonishes me that so many people think that this is a good show, I don’t understand it, it isn’t funny in any way shape or form.  It always bothers me when really poor shows like this get high viewer numbers and then because of that start receiving awards nomination which gratifies their poor excuse for comedy.  It is of course made worse when really good and smart comedies struggle against the chop because it is easier to watch trash.  Drama TV has went through a revolution in quality over the last fifteen years but comedy has hit an all time low and the Big Bang Theory is the epitome of this.

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2. 12 Reason Why Two and a Half Men Sucks

I wrote this in about twenty minutes, didn’t think it was very good and it turns out to be me second top post ever…go figure.  Two and a Half Men is of course a terrible show which after years of pitiful production is finally being put out of its misery, I’m sure we can all smile at that.

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1. How I Met Your Mother and why it Just Sucks

Yes it seems that people like reading about why a TV show is terrible rather than what is good about a TV show, and oh god was How I Met Your Mother a terrible TV show.  For a long time I had the top How I Met Your Mother Sucks search result on Google and after every episode of what was apparently a very disappointing final season I would see the old stats boost something silly as hundreds of people asked the internet why How I Met Your Mother sucked so much.  It was such a popular question that this post has more views on it than the rest of the top ten added together!

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So there you have it a years worth of writing and a top ten to boost, what’s to come in the next year?  Who knows, I certainly don’t.  I’d like to think that someone might just fall upon my blog and decide I’m exactly what they would like in their organisation and would then just pay me to watch TV all day…if only…

Anyway thanks for all the reads over the year and the comments and whatnot.  You can of course find all of the latest updates for bm23tvreviews and bm23sportsreviews on Facebook and Twitter.

Moonfleet- About Smugglers and Stuff.

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This (let’s call it review) of Moonfleet will contain spoilers so beware of jaggy things and whatnot.

Pretty much if you put Ray Winstone into things I’ll giggle with glee as I watch my favourite Eastender act his gruff tubby guy act out and Moonfleet was no different.  Who doesn’t think that Ray Winstone is cool?  The guy has a betting advert where he’s a floating head for Christ sake!  Naturally it saddens me to say that Moonfleet overall was pretty shit, not really Winstone’s fault but rather the fault of poor scripts and a rushed storyline.

On the face of things Moonfleet was set up to be great, pretty nice cast with Ben Chaplin (the guy from that show where he didn’t ever leave his apartment until one day he did and came back as another person) as some posh prick and the guy from the Parklife song (no not Damon Albarn).  It was all set up pretty nicely; add in some pretty faces and we have a show all with gorgeous Ray Winstone at the top of the cliff, perfect.  Apparently Moonfleet is some sort of book or whatever and that’s where the adaptation idea came from, but naturally reading is for weanies (unless you’re reading this and obviously you’re cool) so how would I know that?  Exactly I wouldn’t.

Anywho back to the point, the show is set up really well good cast, good source material and an interesting topic (smuggling stuff, sort of like how you used to smuggle light pens in from Spain except with booze and stuff), yet it managed to fall over because the main character (pretty boy with curly hair as I call him) wasn’t really likable and the pacing of the show was too quick.  Are we really meant to believe as viewers that Winstone and pretty boy with curly hair can develop such a strong bond when they’ve barely been on screen together?  It really could have done with being a three parter or had the episodes a half hour longer (sort of like when they did Treasure Island which I seem to recall being much better, although it is also a better source story so maybe it isn’t fair to judge them on that basis).

I have a few problems with the story as well especially the ending, it just so happens that the boat that they’re on which is travelling to the lovely Caribbean (doesn’t sound like a punishment to me) happens to crash exactly where they used to live…first off why were the British Navy allowing a Dutch boat to sail so close to British land and secondly why were all the Dutch people speaking English?  Yes it all didn’t really make sense, nor did the moment that pretty boy with curly hair (who I imagine was very popular in prison) and girly were so excited to see each other (isn’t she of the belief that he had a hand in killing her father?) after weeks of being apart, my dog doesn’t even get excited when I have seen it for weeks (that’s a lie, I don’t have a dog).  I also didn’t really get the bit where he was given a new identity and stuff allowing him to start over, surely the guard that actually shot girly’s dad would find it a bit awkward that he framed him for his murder (I know I would).

Everything wasn’t all doom and gloom with Moonfleet, there were moments of interest such as when Winstone and pretty boy with curly hair infiltrated the prison to find a shiny diamond only for pretty boy with curly hair to kill some poor guy that was only trying to get his hole and happened to stumble across their mischievous deed.  We also got to find out what Ser Barristan Selmy got up to between being dismissed by Joffrey and coming into the service of Dany (who had minister in the sweep?).

Yes Moonfleet was generally pretty shit but it was only two hours long and Ray Winstone was in it playing an East End gangsta…sorry smuggler and acting the shit out of the part like only Ray Winstone can.  If you haven’t watched this you probably shouldn’t be reading this bit, but seeing as it’s already been ruined for you I wouldn’t recommend watching this because it was shit.

So leave a comment about how shit you thought Moonfleet was and how much it happened to differ from the books.  You can also find all the latest bm23tvreviews updates on Facebook and Twitter or you could just follow the good old fashioned way by buying a carrier pigeon and asking for my address.

Derek Series 2 Review.

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This review will contain spoilers to Derek series 2 so I’d recommend avoiding reading this if you don’t want to know what sort of happens.

When Derek was announced two years ago there was a lot of hype about it because it could be taken as Ricky Gervais going out and slagging off people with special needs and people who are old and blah blah blah same old Daily Mail sort of rubbish.  In the end it turned out to be nothing of the sort and Gervais as Derek was endearing rather than offensive.  Derek had potential after the first series and usually a second series of a show builds on that potential, Derek series 2 did the opposite.

That’s the thing with Derek if you sat and told me it was a thirty minute drama series I would talk about how it’s pretty damn good, the problem is that Derek is supposed to be a thirty minute comedy series.  To put it simply Derek isn’t actually a funny show, instead the laughs are replaced with really soppy and self-righteous moments.

You could accept the self-righteous moments if they were accompanied by some laughs, but it is annoying to think that Gervais has went out his way to put these heart felt moments in just to prove the doubters wrong that were slagging the show off and calling for his head before it had even aired.  I mean I don’t disagree with the stuff Derek is saying, go ahead and call your mum if you don’t, be nice to old people and drunkards and who the hell eats snails?  I watch comedies to laugh not to cry, someone should remind Gervais that.

As far as the lack of laughs thing goes it is clear that the loss of Karl Pilkington hurt the show incredibly.  Yes Karl was just playing himself but he was still the best character in the show and without him it felt empty and desperately lacked laughs.  Pilkington was missed so much that the best scene in the show was actually his only scene where he electrocutes himself and quits.  I was hoping he’d show up again later in the series but it never happened and bye went the laughs along with that lovely monk haircut.

Not only did the laughs go when Pilkington exited but it also required his big shoes to be filled, which led to the increase in role for Kev.  The problem with Kev is that he isn’t that funny, and when he is it’s in a gross manner rather than a genuinely funny way.  Kev should be at best a bit part who you don’t have to sympathise with but with Pilkington gone they had to make Kev a much more sympathetic character and because of the type of guy he is it doesn’t really work.  Kev’s spot was filled with Geoff who was essentially a shit Pilkington, it didn’t really work.

Ricky Gervais is actually really good as Derek and it is hard to not like the character, but I thought that he would’ve been above jokes about going to a French restaurant.  If a lesser comedian came out with stuff like that you would be rolling your eyes and questioning why you are watching this?  Derek as a show deserved a second series; it doesn’t deserve a third one, if it gets one it will be solely down to the fact that it is written by and stars Ricky Gervais.

So what did you think of Derek series 2?  Are you also wondering where you can get a nice haircut like Dougie or where Kev gets all his Tennant’s Special?  Leave a comment and share your feelings!

Plus you can find all the latest updates for bm23tvreviews on Facebook and Twitter, all followers are welcome.

Mad Men Season 7 Part 1 Review.

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This review will contain spoilers to the first half of Season 7 of Mad Men, so don’t read on unless you really want to waste the show for yourself.

Only seven episodes in and Mad Men’s final season has sung itself into a year’s worth of hibernation.  Not only did the final scene of the first half of season 7 have viewers asking ‘what the fuck?’ but the decision to split what is a slow burner of a TV series into two sections and spread them over two years without giving a greater number of episodes to compensate should have viewers asking ‘what the fuck?’

Season 6 of Mad Men left us in a situation where our beloved Don’s life had fallen to bits.  No longer the man at SC&P after being forced out by his own partners and a social life which was the envy of no man, shit had hit the fan for Don and surely it couldn’t get much worse.  So how would the agency do without the indispensable man?  Apparently just fine, business was going well in New York and things were going well in LA, so all pretty good.  The major difference was that things in Don’s life still weren’t going so well.  He was still together with Megan, albeit in a cross country relationship, and he was working in secret through good ol’ Teddy, but Don was still empty.  Don had taken advertisement for granted assuming that the agency would never be able to move on without him, that months after being put on paid leave (sounds great to me) they were doing just fine must have been soul destroying.  Things picked up for Don though, being allowed to come back to work as long as he didn’t talk to clients, drink alcoholic beverages or pull Ginsberg’s moustache (all the fun things to do in the office).  After being left outside in the cold he was once again embraced into the bosom of SC&P, and by the last episode Don had made shit loads of cash by selling a controlling stake of the agency to a competitor, so it all worked out pretty well in the end.

Yes Don fell, then got back up, then fell again and got back up and then fell again…you get the picture, as this half season finished Don was back on his feet; his career was back on track, he had got himself out of a loveless marriage and he had found happiness in his work.  At times Mad Men has lost Don’s focus, making him go round in circles doing the exact same thing again and again, but this season it felt like they had a path for him, which you would expect seeing as there is only 7 episodes left to show.

Beyond Don Draper Mad Men is a mish mash of different characters, all of whom are scrapping to try and get some screen time.  Naturally this causes problems as each season introduces a couple of new people yet doesn’t get rid of anyone in turn.  It’s seen great characters like Harry Crane (show the man some love, he just wants to be a partner), Ginsberg (what a great moustache) and Ken Cosgrove (argh!) relegated to such minor roles that poor Ginsberg had to cut off his nipple just to get some screen time!

This half season wasn’t totally cruel to all our favourite characters; we saw the rebirth of Peggy’s career as she took a bigger role in the agency, Roger made a comeback after going missing in season 6 and Sally showed that all teenage girls in the 60’s were smoking and kissing nerds.  It’s tough when you have to juggle about fifty nine different characters but when the writers get it right, they definitely get it right.

Season 7 of Mad Men threw in some new antagonists to the mix to spice things up with Lou and Jim Cutler (who I know isn’t new but was actually given personality in this season instead of just being boring Roger with glasses).  It is hard to not root against these two, because after all who likes middle aged men who wear cardigans?  Plus they were mean to Don too, which is quite upsetting at times because he’s fragile.

Sad to see Bert Cooper go out because he has been a part of the show since the start, hell he’s the C in the SC&P.  To be fair he hasn’t really been a big part of the show for a number of seasons and he would have got lost in the shuffle if they had killed him off at the end of the series or had let him see the end, so in a way it’s the nicest thing you could do.  Heck he even got to do a song and dance number in a weird moment that had me asking if Don had been tripping acid or even if that nice man at the bar had slipped something in my drink (I’m too trusting).  Quite honestly I don’t really know what the ending to the mid-season finale was about, it wasn’t in line with what Mad Men generally does but sometimes crazy shit happens in life so you just have to get on with it.

Mad Men is a character driven show, it uses the characters personalities and arcs to develop the story, however one thing that Mad Men has always struggled to deal with is outside story arcs, no I don’t mean things that actually happened in the 60’s (like the moon landing) because they do that very well, but rather things which never actually happened and are fabricated for the TV series.  Every single season it seems that there is some sort of new merger, takeover or starting up of a new agency, it’s all a bit too much at times.  Only last season SC&P came into existence yet they are all set to sell up a controlling share and be happy doing so?  Don’t get me wrong if someone waved millions of dollars in my face (especially back then) to sell my soul I’d have it packed with a bow on top and delivered it straight to them, but this is the same group of people who risked it all to avoid losing control to the exact same buyers, it all feels like a stretch.

The first half of season 7 was pretty damn good, my main complaint would be that it was not enough, just as you were getting into this season they’ve pulled the rug from under you and told you to come back in a year, it’s a slap in the face to the fans.  The decision has clearly been made to try and squeeze as many awards and as much money as they possibly can out of Mad Men before it ends, which is quite sad really.

Looking forward we only have seven episodes to go until Mad Men finally comes to an end, it is going to be hard to tell where the season will go in these last seven episodes because the first seven saw the resurrection of Don Draper, will the second seven be the downfall of Dick Whitman?  It will be interesting to see where the writers take the show in the final seven episodes, here’s hoping that Mad Men gets the ending the series deserves.

Leave a comment about what you thought about the first half of season seven and what you hope to see in the second half.  As always you can find all the latest bm23tvreviews updates on Facebook and Twitter all followers are welcome.

Mad Dogs the Finale Review.

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I wrote about Mad Dogs series 3 when it came out and at the time I talked about how you expect so much more from what is a quality group of actors and how the show doesn’t really make sense, well nothing really changed in what is being called the finale (how grand!).  There are spoilers of a sort.

It always felt that the writers were writing Mad Dogs on the fly, not knowing where they were going from series to series, and I think this really showed in these last two episodes.  They hit the reset button once again to start what is essentially the fourth series, with the guys being given their identities back by some crazy American bitch and then heading off to Baxter’s daughter’s wedding.

It was different to see them in their domesticated lives, finally seeing the wives that they talked about and the daughters, and for me it should have followed along this line for the rest of the series.  The sense being that they have changed and because of that they move back into a life of crime because the mundane life that they have returned to is no longer what they desire.

Instead we saw them fall out (again), sell a house and meet back up in South Africa (you know that place they were desperate to leave).  Obviously you knew shit was about to hit the fan because it wasn’t going to be a story about four guys who did lots of things wrong and are now living life to the fullest, well that and the guy in the wheel chair who was keen on revenge.

What bothers me about the path they went down (the assassin path) is that they seemed to be the world’s shittest assassins when firing at the main cast (that or they had good plot armour on) yet one shot on crazy American bitch and her brains are all over the place.  Now you could turn to me and say that the reason for this was that they wanted to bury them on the beach and it was all part of a bigger plan, which is a fair point but not really very likely.  I know South Africa has a reputation for being a bit gun happy but you would think that someone would phone the police when they hear a sniper in the suburbs…or maybe I’m over thinking it because I live in Scotland and here people get all antsy when an unusual car drives through your street.

Anyway the rest of the story is essentially the guys trying to run away from lots of Tony Blair’s (also known as Gordon Brown’s worst nightmare) and in the end not succeeding.  Mad Dogs always followed this formula; guys get in to trouble, they panic, they fall out, they make up and reminisce and then everything fixes itself, except in this case they died.  The same formula for every series, almost identical scripts, the next being more ludicrous than the one which preceded it.  You really wonder why four good actors agreed to do it, and then you realise that they got free holidays to South Africa and Mallorca, and it all becomes clear.

I was surprised when they did a second series of Mad Dogs because to me it didn’t feel like it needed one, they told the story it was ok and that is that.  Instead they decided that they would try and squeeze as much out of it as they possibly could.  This led to odd scripts that didn’t actually make sense (like how four guys with no training manage to avoid drug gangs and the CIA for so many years) and massive plot holes which the writers never attempted to fill.  The simple fact is that Mad Dogs should have been a one off and should have finished with Quinn jumping in to the pool after killing the Spanish lady, which was the perfect ending, this was not.

Speaking of the ending, it didn’t actually make sense either.  The only thing I can assume is that they were shot and this was some sort of out of body experience and with Baxter seeing himself under a Tony Blair mask it said that they had done this to themselves, and then they plunged off a cliff (should really have put up signposts to avoid that from happening, somebodies gonna get sued!).  It didn’t really fit with the show, again not that I am one to tell the writers what to do, but a better ending would have been to have the camera under the bag (like they did) and have that person hear the three gun shots (one after the other) and the sound of bodies falling to the ground followed by a sharp intake of breath and then cut to black, that would be more fitting to what had happened with the rest of the show.

Overall the Mad Dogs Finale was as underwhelming and disappointing as the show as a whole, so maybe in a sort of twisted way it was the perfect ending for the show.  Mad Dogs isn’t a bad show, it just isn’t a good show, and with a cast like this it should have been really good.  So for me Mad Dogs will go down as a show which missed a cracking chance to do something special and instead offered us something we have seen many times before.

Leave a comment about what you thought of Mad Dogs the Finale and the series as a whole.  Plus find all the latest bm23tvreviews updates on Facebook and Twitter.

What I Loved and Hated about Boardwalk Empire Season 4.

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This review contains *spoilers* for season 4 of Boardwalk Empire.

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What I Loved

  • Chalky

o   One of the things I really didn’t like about season 3 was the distinct lack of Chalky, season 4 fixed that and gave us Chalky, Chalky and more Chalky.

o   I’m not saying that Chalky’s entire story was the best but Michael Kenneth Williams acted his ass off and probably deserved an Emmy nomination.  His rivalry with newcomer Jeffrey Wright (Narcisse) promises to deliver further in the season to come.

o   His fight scene with Dunn was awesome.

  • The Fall of Arnold Rothstein

o   The man who always wins begins to not always win…must be tough.  You can see that this is the downfall of a man who has so far in the series always been one step ahead of everyone on the planet.  If you read history (because he’s a real guy), shit don’t turn out well for old Rothy.

  • Eddie

o   Great dramas have this knack of being able to take a bit character and all of a sudden make them vital to an episode or the storyline.  Boardwalk did exactly this with Eddie’s story arc this season.  For the previous three seasons he was nothing but a butler and bit character, and as is often the way in life he is punished for trying to go beyond that and better himself.  Eddie met a sad end which was made even sadder when you consider he was beginning to flourish as a character.

  • Back to Prohibition

o   One of the major things I disliked about season 3 was that instead of following history the writers went in the direction of making up their own storylines, which is fine, but more than often real life is more interesting that fiction (especially when you consider the subject in this matter).  What made the first season of Boardwalk so good was that it had the chase element in it, Van Alden chasing Nucky.  Season 4 brought this element back with Knox’s chasing of Nucky.  Everyone knows that the excitement is in the chase and in this case the chase is for prohibition, thankfully the writers remembered this for season 4.

  • Dr. Narcisse

o   Great bad guy.  He is essentially the yang to Chalky’s yin.  It is also cool to see an intellectual, well read and charismatic black man being portrayed in a time when that very much would not be the stereotype.

o   It is funny how at times you end up feeling sorry for the main antagonist of the season because especially at the end of the season he is heavily racially abused, it’s relevant to the times so it is good that they put it in there but it doesn’t make it any less hard to watch.

o   Also glad to see that Narcisse wasn’t one of those one and done bad guys who are written into a show in the first episode and are killed off by the last one.  It will be really interesting to see where the character goes from here after he struck a deal with J. Edgar Hoover to spy on his mentor, because white men be sneaky like that!

  • Mickey Doyle

o   Ha, this guy’s awesome!  All he has to do is his stupid little snigger and I’m loving it!

  • Richard

o   Damn…I loved this character…what started off as a guy who really only worked alongside Jimmy developed into being one of the most complex and interesting on the show.  Whether it be at the start of the season where he goes back to his sister or when he finally seems to have got his life back together before meeting his tragic end, Richard was probably this season’s best character and it was a fitting end for such an unusual and complex character.

o   I loved the moment when Richard is about to do his last job before running off into the sunset to a perfect life and for the first time in the show he is not a ruthless killer.  It is a bit like I said earlier, when everything seemed to be going so well for him, the one thing he used to be able to rely on has now disappeared and it cost him his life.  Richard reminds me very much of Omar from the Wire, in the way that he kills almost naturally but in doing so he lives by a code, an odd code but a code nonetheless.

o   Great last scene where he dreams about what life could have been whilst he dies under the pier looking at the sunset.  I’m glad they gave Richard the last scene in the season, he deserved it.

  • The Last Episode

o   Such an excellent episode with so much going on, needless to say there was a lot of bloodshed, but this is a perfect way to end a season and set up your last one.

  • Those fights

o   I’m talking Chalky v Dunn and Eli v Knox.  Damn these were nasty grubby affairs.  Desperation is often what makes a great on screen fight, the desperation to not lose because the loser doesn’t get up, and both of these fights had exactly that, really good stuff.

 

What I Liked

  • The Rise of Al Capone

o   Everyone knows Al Capone, he is the most famous of all the prohibition gangsters, so you knew that it was only a matter of time until he took over the Chicago Empire and began to forge his legend.

o   It will be really interesting to see where season 5 takes this because you feel like an Al Capone season could actually run on its own and could be very interesting.

o   Once again Stephen Graham was excellent in the role as you slowly see the character turn in to the legend over every season.

  • More direction

o   Although I think the show deserves more than one more season, the good thing about this is that it allows for Boardwalk to have greater direction.  I felt season 3 suffered from not having enough direction to the extent that you could almost skip straight from 2 to 4 and not miss a beat.  The good thing about this season being the second last season (as will be the case for the last season) is that the writers could be more direct instead of mulling around about how they can stretch the series out as long as possible.

  • Willie Thompson

o   Another great example of taking a bit character and giving him a bigger role.  Willie seems to be taking the role that Jimmy vacated as Nucky’s protégé, and it is sad that he won’t have another couple of seasons to develop the character.

 

What I Disliked

  • Characters whose stories have ended but are still on the show

o   As a show develops some characters become more important than initially intended and some become less important, it is the natural flow of things.  The problem is that Boardwalk has held onto these characters rather than letting them go.  I’m mainly talking about Margaret and Gillian, two characters whose story arcs should be finished but are kept around out of loyalty to the actors.  Thankfully it seems as if Gillian’s is over.  Sadly it seems that Margaret’s isn’t which is a shame because she isn’t an interesting character.

  • What happened to Lucky?

o   There was a distinct lack of Lucky Luciano in this season of Boardwalk which is a real shame because he is a very intriguing character.  I’m not really sure why this was but hopefully this is fixed by next season.

  • Why so little Meyer?

o   Similar to the Luciano thing, maybe it isn’t surprising because after all you don’t really see Meyer without Lucky, but again he is also a very intriguing character.  The odd thing about Meyer is that they teased him taking a bigger role when he struck a deal with Nucky but then never actually took that bigger role on the screen.

  • Remus?

o   The guy talks about himself in the third person all the time and is a big fatty, why did he only get one scene?!?!?  Me want more Remus!!!

  • Gaston Means

o   I love this character as well, the smart talking southern boy who talks in riddles.  So why the hell was he in this season so little?  I get it he was under custody, but come on!

 

What I Hated

  • Why only one more season?

o   I actually didn’t hate anything about this season; the one thing I do hate is the fact that this is going to be the second last season of Boardwalk.  I actually think that if they had said that there was only going to be two more seasons that would have been perfect, it would have allowed the show to have direction but given it time to fully tell the story.  The problem with Boardwalk only getting one more season is that it means that the last season is going to seem awfully rushed.  I had always assumed that Boardwalk would run the length of prohibition, because after all that is what the show is centred around, but that would mean the last season would cover approximately four to five years.  Maybe I’m wrong but another two seasons would have covered that perfectly and allowed for the show to finish with a good legacy.  I’m surprised that HBO have made this decision because historically they have a tendency to allow a show to fully develop for art’s sake rather than chase ratings and make decisions based upon that.  Not every show can be the ratings cow that Game of Thrones is.  Needless to say I was pretty disappointed by this news.

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I really enjoyed this season of Boardwalk Empire, incredibly well acted (oddly didn’t mention Steve Buscemi in my write up…he’s awesome) with intricate dialogue and clever storylines.  As I said earlier often the best stories are the ones which are actually true and although not everything which happened in Boardwalk actually happened, it is based upon real life and that makes it all the more interesting.

So what did you think of Boardwalk Empire season 4?  Leave a comment and let everyone know.  Plus find all the latest bm23tvreviews updates on Facebook and Twitter.