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The Shannara Chronicles (2016)
Game of Groans
The pre-release trailer gave me great hope of a faithful adaption.
I've now watched the series and my view is; read the books for heaven's sake as this "adaption" is quite appalling.
Sure, it's geared to an MTV audience, but, why, in adapting a fantasy novel set in a time of magic, dragons, castles etc and, at complete odds with the book, write dialogue that's couched totally in our current day vernacular?
In this Shannana universe, our Wil, bless him, utters every idiom but "dude" and "my bad" and, frankly, I'm surprised the writers didn't slip them in.
While production values are decent, the acting is straight out of a Christmas panto.
Under the Dome (2013)
Turd Under Glass
Season Three has been appalling, right from the moment in the season opener when Barbie uttered the dreaded words alternate reality. It was Bobby getting out of the shower from Dallas all over again. This season, it's almost as if the story editors and script writers get together each week, the night before filming, draft the plot line and write the script. I really enjoyed the first two series but this season, well it's not even worth hate-watching it. Given the great production values it's become a gift wrapped turd. I notice Stephen King was a producer for the first two series but his name seems notably absent from the production credits this season, rats deserting a sinking ship? Given the negative reviews it's amazing Spielberg hasn't waded in with his suggestions, as it's his name, in part, selling the show. But, then again look at how flaky Extant has gone in its second season, dumping the first season and, like UtD, the plotting and writing is being delivered with a complete air of train wreck desperation.
The Following (2013)
A Show That Lost Its Way
Actually, this series never found its way. Right from the get-go, Series One floundered along while Series Two was just dire. Series Three was probably the best of the three, however, it still feels as if the producers had no long term ideas past the original concept of the series with the storyline and script of each episode drafted the night before or in the bus on the way to the studio. It promotes a homo erotic relationship between the main protagonists as in the Hannibal series. Had Bacon suddenly broken and, unwillingly forced a kiss on Purfoy before Joe's execution, everything would've made much more sense. Heck. I would've settled for Purfoy simply repeating his Rome shower scene each week.
Babylon is that very clever sort of black humour the British do so well with that very off kilter aspect of many Channel Four series such as the vastly under appreciated Utopia. Commercial networks churn out soulless, unimaginative, by the numbers, template police procedural spin offs such as CSI:Cyber and the even more soullessly cardboard, NCIS: New Orleans, both of which will probably be rejigged and propped up for second, maybe even third, seasons. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy NCIS, Bones and even L&O:SVU, despite the lumpen Mariska, whose Slightly Animated Brick Wall makes Nelson Eddy's acting positively Oscar-worthy. I also note now she's a producer of the current series, her character seems to be going for Emmy beautification as St Mariska of Hegarty. But, these series are produced with little artistic input other than to change the city of location and the particular dysfunctional issues the ex-Marine/Black Ops lead character has with his ageing mother/father, usually played by Joanna Cassidy or Tom Berenger. Earning revenue seems to be the main concern whereas fostering original, imaginative concepts, characters and story lines are much lower down on the producer's scale of So What, Who Cares. And Babylon? If you enjoyed the subtleties of The League of Gentlemen, then you'll enjoy Babylon But, if you're looking for a series about a law enforcement unit headed by a reformed alcoholic, divorced ex- Marine with access difficulties and mommy issues and watching them noisily solve crimes in between their own complicated love lives, you would be better to play a game of Cluedo or wait until CSI:Wisconsin comes out. If you appreciated Utopia or The League of Gentlemen, then you should enjoy Babylon.
Seventh Son (2014)
Dreadful. Jeff Bridges trying hard to be Sir Ian. What on earth is his accent supposed to be? Amateur musical society posh 101? Has he got marbles in his mouth? Or, has he simply lost his marbles and phoned in his performance because he's over the limit on his VISA and needed the cash? Julianne Moore, normally a fine actress, seems lost, giving a panto performance equal to the ham buffet Angelina served up in the equally dreadful and completely unwarranted Maleficence. You'd be better served watching back to back episodes of Once Apon A Time where fairytale fantasy is being done in a far superior and more entertaining way on a much lower budget, managing more bangs for bucks than Seventh Son. What happened to story telling? The story and dialogue in films like this come across as encumbrances for writers and directors, required solely, it seems, to tie together endless fighting sequences and impressive CGI vistas. Read a book. Better still, read Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising novel sequence where seventh sons will keep you turning the pages, eager for every chapter.