Monthly Archives: April 2015

“Thunderbirds Are Go!” Episode 1 Review

Thunderbirds Are Go

When I first heard, last year, that Thunderbirds was being re–made, I was sure it would be a disaster. And when, a mere few months later, I saw the first picture of the all new, CGI-overloaded characters, I was absolutely convinced it would be a total disaster. I think my heart was just about in my mouth when I saw this picture; I couldn’t form a coherent sentence, or even thought, for a long time. My cousins (10 and 5) think the old puppets are creepy, and consider this as passable – “great”, even. Yet I could quite happily say the puppets, strings and all, are much more normal looking than that disaster – Lady Penelope was even worse.

I read the other day that the first episode of the new series was debuting today, the 4th of April, so out of curiosity I looked up the trailer. Honestly, it was as bad and ridiculous as I expected it to be, but at the same time it made me really intrigued – and so I decide I would watch the first episode. I watched Thunderbirds a LOT when I was young, and I went to see the live–action film with all the girls in my class for my 8th birthday (over 10 years ago!), which I personally enjoyed but I know many hated it. But watching the new trailer brought back a lot of memories of the old episodes, which my brother and I owned on video, and just yesterday I went and bought myself the original soundtrack – a huge nostalgia kick! I knew that the new series would be nothing like the original, and I went into it with very low expectations.

And yet, strangely enough, I kind of enjoyed it. Of course it was exceptionally cringe–worthy at times, and the dialogue often fell flat, but at the same time there was something good about it – good enough to have me saying “sit down, Finlay! Sit down!” to my younger cousin many times whilst watching it; he would stand right in the middle of the screen, preventing me from seeing what was happening. I’m pretty sure that wanting to see it all is a good sign, though, because if I hadn’t cared about only seeing half a screen, then what on earth would that have said about the show? Admittedly, I was a little uninterested in the opening scene, but when they started to play the intro, I was just about dancing where I sat. Sure, it was a variation of it, and not totally the original theme, but it’s always been one of my favourite things about the programme – it’s such a recognisable theme, but my favourite part (without doubt) is the part with “5…4…3…2…1… Thunderbirds are go”. I love how they zoom in on the number of each Thunderbird, then pull back to show the full ship, and the bare minimum of sound effects, then BAM! You’re straight into that wonderful tune. I’ve been sitting for the past half an hour replaying the intro over and over again; I love it so much. I can’t describe just how great it is, so take my word for it – and listen to see (hear?) for yourself!

Despite the episode being an hour long (well, that’s a lie; with the advert breaks it was more like 45 minutes), it did seem a little rushed and like they wanted to introduce every single character, old and new, to us at once. Take Lady Penelope and Parker, for instance: I swear they did just about nothing of note in this episode, but they were there anyway. They may have played a minor role, but I certainly can’t remember it. And Kayo (essentially Tin–Tin, but under a new name), well I suppose it was fair enough to involve her, but I’m not keen on the fact that she essentially appears to be becoming a new member of the Thunderbirds. You’re allowed to be Head of Security, that’s acceptable, but Thunderbird ships are reserved only for those bearing the Tracy name! …Wait, I bet she’ll get married to Alan or someone, and then she’ll officially be a Tracy… As long as The Hood doesn’t reveal her secret first!

Speaking of The Hood, he reminds me quite a bit of Ben Kingsley’s incarnation of him in the 2004 film, which (unless I’m just imagining it) was a nice wee nod there. However, he is another character I think was thrown at us a little too quickly – again, I think that’s to do with the episode length. Perhaps if it had been half an hour, there’d have been more of a build up to him, but at the same time I can understand them not wanting to make the first episode into a two–parter. Some of the things he was saying (I’m not quoting, so as to give nothing away… because people are totally going to watch it…) did make me anticipate the next few episodes – okay, the rest of the series – because I really want to know how a rather big event in the Tracy brother’s life actually happened. What with this only being the first episode, we’ve not quite got a feel for the characters yet, but the one I know I can’t stand at the moment is the grandmother. Everything about her is annoying me so far: her ridiculous outfit, her voice, her dialogue. She’s a bit wooden at times too, and so far I’m not a fan – maybe that will change with time, but right now she’s right at the bottom of my list of favourites.

Even though I only watched the episode a few hours ago, I can’t remember terribly much about what actually happened; lots of little things, leading up to them foiling The Hood’s plan (that was unexpected!) and not terribly much else, it has to be said. Hopefully in the next episode, we’ll get some more character development from everyone, and I’m rather looking forward to watching more – I’ve certainly got my Saturday morning viewing sorted, at any rate!

The show certainly has many flaws, which I expected from minute I heard it was being remade, and it’s not a patch on the original – and the CGI is really just atrocious, it has be said, but at the same time I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll make of it (the show, not the CGI – there’s no hope for that). As previously mentioned, one of my favourite parts was the intro being almost the same, but what I didn’t mention is that the launch sequences are nearly identical too. The launch sequence for Thunderbird 2 was always my favourite, as T2 was clearly the best Thunderbird, so seeing it in an updated, and potentially totally different, form was a bit of a worry. But it’s okay, because it’s pretty identical, if sped up somewhat, and with a few changes. IT’S STILL SO COOL THOUGH:

I wish I could say I think this series will be F.A.B, but I don’t yet have high hopes for that – maybe I’ll be surprised! We shall see…

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“Arrow” Season 1 Review

Arrow1

I’ve heard a fair amount about the TV programme Arrow over the past few months; mostly talk about how good it is. Yet I was wary about starting it, as I don’t consider myself a fan of comic books (okay, I’ve never actually read one yet…), or at least comic book adaptations – frankly, I think Marvel have just put me off thanks to every Marvel film I’ve seen. But, perhaps DC would change that and I would discover a very well hidden love for comic book heroes that I never knew I had. Even then, I wasn’t all that sure I would ever buy the series, but then I saw the cover of series 1, and that pretty much decided it all for me – I just loved it, and I still do. Trying to put into words what, exactly, it is that I like about it is pretty difficult, but it’s a mixture of the colouring, is outfit, and (of all things), the font used – everything goes so well and is just really enticing; it worked for me, anyway!

I found that the series took a little while for me to get into, although to be fair I did spend a lot of the time on my phone or laptop at the same time as watching it, as I seem to struggle to concentrate on the one thing. Despite that, each episode (23 in all) is extremely addictive, especially with the cliff–hangers they specialise in ending on – they ensure you can’t stop after only one episode; instead, you’ve got to get through at least 5! Which, in fairness, is no bad thing, but it does tend to mean a LOT of late nights (for me, at least) – in order to finish the last six episodes of Series 1, I was up until 2 in the morning. Totally worth it, of course, although I did want to start series 2 as soon as I had finished the last episode…

I’m not going to pretend that this is a flawless series: it’s not. Some of the acting is questionable to say the least, in particular some moments from Stephen Amell (who plays Oliver Queen/Arrow), and the actress who plays Thea Queen just downright gets on my nerves most of the time (but I still like her, for the most part). It also has to be said that Arrow uses every single cliché in the book, and the script is something I could write in my sleep – it’s pretty predictable, I’m afraid. Very few times have I guessed at what was going to be said next, and been wrong – maybe not word for word, but the fact is it’s not the most stand–out script. And yet, that doesn’t bother me as much as it might – it’s still a very enjoyable show. The action is, in my eyes, brilliant, and I love watching the fight scenes.

Even better, not all of the characters are wooden or downright annoying – Felicity and Diggle are, without doubt, my two favourite characters on the show. They’re likeable, funny, and I find they make the show a lot more enjoyable too. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Laurel – I swear she changes her mind on Oliver, and his alias, at least every second episode, and after a while it gets pretty tedious. But as surprisingly badass characters go, she’s quite high up there. Helena is another character I kind of loved, and I feel we didn’t get quite enough of her – here’s hoping she’s in Series 2, because she’s just great. I loved her outfit, her appearance, just about everything she said – her in general, really. I like to think I can’t be blamed for that… I mean, look at her!

HelenaArrow

One of the best parts of this series is undoubtedly the score, composed by Blake Neely. It’s not too in–your–face, but it’s noticeable and it’s brilliant. I bought it the other night, and although I really like the whole thing, there are some superb tracks that need a special mention: Oliver Queen Suite, Sacrifice, I Can’t Lose You Twice, and my absolute favourite: I Forgot Who I Was. The first time I heard it, I nearly cried and that feeling hasn’t changed yet. For about the past hour, I’ve been sitting here listening to it, and I love it a little more with every listen. It’s beautiful, and I can’t imagine ever tiring of it.

To round my review up, I really recommend Arrow; although it can be ridiculously predictable, and the clichés make me want to cringe sometimes, it has its plus–sides too: it’s addictive (so, so, so addictive), the music is brilliant, the action is great, the outfits are great, and it turns out to be pretty emotional too – I was surprised at how much I cried during the last few episodes.

Also, John Barrowman…

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