Monday, June 30, 2014

Gundam 0083: Last Blitz of Zeon - Two Hours to Save You Four and a Half.

This month's entry is something of a turning point in the brand compared to the previous films reviewed. This marks the first Gundam movie not directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino as well as being one of the only movie based on a side-story made to this day.

But first, I should probably start by explaining 0083 as a story to ya. I'll keep this one relatively brief, I swear.

Following the success of Gundam 0080, Sunrise released another OVA side-story, Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories. It's somewhat ironic that, following 0080, arguably Gundam's most overtly anti-war story (as much as the setting allows for, anyway - there's a sort of contradiction at play in a series that depicts the horrors of war, but whose ultimate life blood is in the sale of plastic kits based on its universes weapons) 0083 is one of Gundam's most openly militaristic stories in terms of setting, writing and overall direction. As its story goes, it's been four years since the events of the original series ended. There is an uneasy peace since the Federation and Zeon reached a ceasefire. As this doesn't sell kits, enter the Delaz Fleet, a small group of Zeonic breakaway who refused to accept the ceasefire at the end of the One Year War and have been biding their time waiting for their chance to strike. They get that through the Federation's backwater base in Australia, where they're testing two new prototype Gundams-one of which is capable of launching a nuclear warhead. guess which one Zeon is interested in.
The story from there concerns itself with the Federation warship Albion and rookie test pilot Kou Uraki (Ryo Horikawa) (even in a more militaristic setting, it's gonna be the rookie) who helms the remaining Gundam, GP-01, in hunting the Delaz Fleet and its stolen Gundam - piloted by Feared Ace You've Never Heard of Before, Anavel Gato (Akio Ohtsuka.)

"You've never heard of me before, but trust me. I AM kind of a big deal..."
As a compilation movie goes, there is one particularly curious thing about Last Blitz of Zeon, and even I didn't realize how close this went until I looked into release dates. Rather than wait till the series was over and use the movie as an extra recap piece to score a few extra yen off of the fans, this movie was actually released a mere eight days after the second to last episode went on sale. So, besides retelling much of the series, this movie was the world's first look at how 0083 was supposed to end.

As material for a compilation movie goes, I have to say, I still think this is a bit of an odd choice. As the title suggests, I can understand a compilation movie (or set of a movies) for a refresher if someone isn't sure they want to fully rewatch a 40-50 episode TV series. That's a pretty big time investment, really. By comparison, this is a movie recutting a thirteen episode straight to video series down. Thirteen episodes around twenty-four minutes each, by my rough calculations, that's under six hours (Editor's note: Hey, you can watch all of Now and Then, Here and There and be really depressed in just under 6 hours!). Factor in additional time if one chooses to skip opening and closing credits of each episode and 'Next Episode' previews, it actually clocks in under five. Maybe it's just being anal retentive on my part, but it really seems kind of a pointless time cut.

Or, maybe that's just me trying to say this movie is kind of a mess in terms of a recut.

 I'll admit over the past few months, I've been riding the Gundam movies about their issues of telling a story in the span of a movie. Before, when it was all just titles being directed by Tomino, it could be easily just chalked up to 'hey, he doesn't do well with making movies.' Around here it gets odd, because many other directors-starting here with Takashi Imanishi- seem to fall into the same hole. In this particular case, I think part of that's about wanting to get to the ending so they can offer up the (at the time) new material for viewers, which I can somewhat understand, though I can't say I like it. At the same time, this also means a good two-thirds of the series is essentially put on fast forward.

"I know they may not look it, but I can assure you - these arms were made for hugging!"

Actually, fast forward is an understatement. As the movie of 0083's timeline goes, two entire episodes worth of events are completely gone. I want to clarify this- when I say gone, I don't mean they happened but were just skipped over. Thanks to a new bit of voice over narration tightening up the storyline, the events of those two episodes just never happened. Period.

But before I get into that, I should probably start at the beginning here (don't worry, I won't completely summarize the movie, but seeing as its problems change based on whichever section of film we're on, it would be best to just go through them chronologically.) In terms of a starting point, Last Blitz actually picks a pretty good place to begin its recap- we start the movie roughly a third of the way into the storyline, with the events taking place on Earth all in the past and recounted in flashback by female lead Nina Purpleton (Rei Sakuma.) One advantage here is that this also allows for a new introduction that lays out some setting that will make more sense later on, but I digress. As I said, on a starting point, this is actually a good place to jump into the story. The problem here is more in how the flashbacks are handled. The choices in what scenes are left in result in some pretty poor editing decisions. Probably the best example of this is in looking at how the movie handles its big event, the Gundam theft. Before the scene begins, we're treated to a few other scenes that make for nice character moments such as Kou's wide-eyed excitement at Gundams, as well as his awkward attempts to impress Nina with his knowledge of the new machine. The problem is, this is also done at the expense of what were several somewhat significant plot scenes the original series included here- such as further stating just how taboo nuclear weapons really are at this point in the series, and how it is that a notorious ace like Gato is able to sneak into a Federation base - in the movie, he's literally just there in a Federation uniform with no bother to cover how he got inside. Anyway, after these bits of character, we cut to Kou and Keith being shooed out of the hangar as GP-02, the nuclear-packing Gundam, gets its payload. Gato walks in, asks if it's loaded, and then says he'll go check. From there, cut to the machine already on the move and Kou already hopping up to GP-01's cockpit. THEN we cut to the Albion's bridge, where they decide to cover Gato's announced theft and the subsequent attack on the base care of bridge chatter.
(Sorry, this long example is just for this one point.)
Yes, I've said in the past, these movies aren't made to be substitutes for the series, a point I will stand by. At the same time, I still feel like these should be able to stand alone as movie. Looking at this from a filmmaking standpoint, this entire sequence is just very sloppily edited. We spend chunks of time on Kou's almost fanboyish admiration of Gundams, which, while amusing, really doesn't play into much of the rest of the feature. Then when the movie gets to what's supposed to be the first 'big' event, Gato's theft and declaring the Gundam to be Zeon's, the movie hits the fast forward button and then tells us what happened afterward. I'm not even asking for the full episode to be put in here, but with one or two minor scenes, not even a minute long, this scene would have flowed a LOT better and avoided that cardinal sin of cinema - telling rather than showing.

"I don't care what it is you told your wingman, I have NOT lost that loving feeling!"

Sorry. The editing on this part REALLY bugged me. Some of the other bits I could accept as a filmmaking conceit if they were going with the story of seeing the Earth events recapped through Nina's eyes, but even that logic sort of falls flat here given she not only witnessed the theft, but the movie then has her offer up an explanation of who Gato is (which I'll be getting back to behind the spoiler tag.)

Anyway, beyond this really clumsy sequence, the rest of the recap of Earth isn't too bad, but for one really awkward choice with regards to the earlier mentioned omission of two episodes. I'll concede that in a movie, they might be seen as bogging events down (even though one of them is arguably one of the best episodes of the original OVA) but just letting the rest of the story play without them leaves a pretty big hole in terms of characterization. The movie comes back several times to the antagonism between young Kou and cocky Federation ace Monsha (Chafurin.) While this is one of the more interesting character conflicts in the overall story (and in some ways actually has more going for it than Kou and Gato's rivalry, which feels rather one-sided for most of the plot,) the omission of those episodes on Earth means that, as far as this movie is concerned, it comes out of nowhere. There isn't even a bit of voiceover narration to explain that the Albion got new pilots, or that Monsha and Kou are both vying for the Gundam (and Nina,) we just pick up right in space as though they've been at it this whole time, even though earlier rewrites say that would be impossible. On top of which, said rewrites also don't really give a reason to keep Kou in the Gundam-again, information that was a casualty of the written out episodes.
Why they bothered to do a rewrite for one part and not then retool the rest to restore the flow, I really don't know. All I can tell you is, the more I look back at the first part of this on a rewatch, the more I realize how incredibly sloppy it is as a recap.

"Hey, batter! Hey batterbatterbatterbatter..."

Fortunately, once they get to space, the plot moves a bit more smoothly. With two-thirds of the movie left, it's got more breathing room and flows through the second half of the series a bit more naturally. Of course, there are still some bumps along the way- most notably the fact that three major characters who are killed in the original series are, in this version, apparently all put on a bus to Mexico. Really, that's as good an explanation as any for the fact they vanish from the movie with nothing said of their absences whatsoever. Likewise, a plot half-alluded to in the original series about a conspiracy regarding the true nature of Zeon's plan (known as Operation Stardust) is left out of the movie entirely which causes its already somewhat nebulous shocker of a finale to feel even more muddled.

and despite that messy writing, they still found a way to get two non-humanoid mechanized hulks to sword fight. Because tense robot fights ALWAYS need a sword fight.

Okay, before I go any further, I should point out that this movie isn't all bad.  Its story is an absolute mess, but it's certainly not devoid of merits in other areas. For starters, though light on new footage, it still helps further highlight the OVA's top notch production values. In general, this movie's animation makes good use of its budget. Even in sequences that are largely just stylized still frames, it doesn't really feel like it simply through good use of the details to give the scenes an extra notch of life. In particular, I'm pleased to say the movie leaves in, almost its entirety, arguably one of the best sequences of the whole story, when Kou and Gato engage in a brutal throwdown in their two Gundams that leaves both machines utterly wrecked. It's one of those moments where the animators really get the chance to go all in on a fight and show the machines in question being pushed to the absolute limits of what they can do. With that high a level attached, this duel does NOT disappoint.
On top of this, the movie's visual style is a nice touch that helps emphasize this as its own side story from the main Gundam line. With character designs from Toshihiro Kawamoto (which, humorously enough, evoke a very Top Gun feel in several of their leads- a feeling only built on by the show's first opening's resemblance to Highway To the Danger Zone), mechanical designs by a team including Hajime Katoki and Shoji Kawamori, and art direction from Junichi Azama, the overall feeling of the setting is both familiar to the Universal Century, but also its own contained setting. Even when the film stumbles, it's still damn nice to look at.

Though strangely, the movie downplays the Top Gun-esque levels of comic homoeroticism that made their way into the OVA. As ridiculous as it is, I will miss the hilarious makeout-grade song this scene was given in the original series, completely seriously.

Likewise, the cast are all well chosen for their parts. Horikawa has a good range for playing both Kou's stubborn youth and his genuine rage as the tides of war flow against him. Ohtsuka has a bit of an uphill battle given Gato's being kind of a half-developed character, but he still manages to imbue the 'death before dishonor' archetype with enough drive to make up for that. Beyond the leads, the other main standout would have to be Mari Mishiba as Cima Garahau, a black sheep of a Zeon commander who plays a sort of unpredictable pirate in the overall story. Even when her motivations are somewhat muddled by the writing, Mishiba's performance gives her a sort of twisted personality that really helps her shine amid the awkward writing around her.


One of the big problems in breaking down what works and what doesn't in this movie is the fact that it turns into how much is praising just what's in the movie and how much is praising the things already made from the OVA. Unlike earlier compilations, this has considerably fewer new sequences, and much of the score- barring two new songs- is all lifted from the original series. Even its shortcomings are largely problems that were already in the OVA. I'd like to quote comedian Michael J. Nelson: "close-ups reveal the weakness of the whole premise." I've done my best to limit my complaints to just problems that are in the movie, but one of the big problems the movie has going for it is, as a concentrated dosage of 0083, it also makes the OVA's strengths and weaknesses all the more apparent all around. The only other really movie-exclusive complaint I have is behind the spoiler tag JUST IN CASE.

In all, Last Blitz of Zeon is kind of an oddity as a compilation to me. We have a movie recap to a relatively short series that spoiled the ending several months before its release. Unlike earlier (and Hell, I'll even say later) installments in the franchise, where it's easy to see whee the film format undermines the material. This is a title that, even before being crunched down to a movie, suffered from rushed writing, half-formed characterization and an ending that, despite its best attempts to go out with a bang, mostly just fizzles out, its hands tied by continuity. I can't say it's the worst movie to bear the Gundam brand, or even the worst compilation (the Turn A movies are a special brand of messy,) but the fact is, it's a movie that really doesn't add much of anything to the original story and really only feels like it got made as a promotional stunt. It's certainly not without merits, but unless you're really, really pressed for time, you'd do better to just watch the original OVA series, warts and all, and just look up the insert songs and the movie's prologue separately.

Wow, I did not expect a rewatch to change my opinion that much on this one.
But then, that's why rewatches are important.

Got more material coming your way soon, including our first Summer Reading entry.

You've been warned...
...I mean, till then!

Community's Second Return From the Grave: "How Is Seezun Formed?"

Come on guys, it'll be just like when it's on know, once we Photoshop out the people that have left...

Well, I didn't see this one coming...

The news broke earlier today. After NBC decided to let the low in ratings, high in fan loyalty comedy Community go out to pasture, it was given another shot at life. Yes, after facing its potential termination at the end of its third season, and now again with its fifth, the show is once again given a shot at fulfilling its mythical 'six seasons and a movie' (a line, ironically, originally attributed to the superhero series The Cape, which has long since been forgotten by many...I'll admit it, I didn't think the show was as bad as it was made out to be so much as mismarketed.)

This time the resurrection wasn't born of NBC having a change of heart. Rather the fact the series has been picked up by Yahoo of all people. Yes, alongside the search engine that wouldn't die and an email service that people surprisingly still use, Yahoo saw the opportunity to use the series as its flagship to launch their own line of comedy programming.

 I feel somewhat torn here.

My feelings towards Community in general have been somewhat mixed up over the past couple of years. I got into the series mid-way into season two and loved it. I still find the first three seasons VERY watchable. When it was announced the show might not be back at the end of season three, while I was disappointed, I was still okay with it. Especially since the third season had a finale that genuinely felt like a good place to end on. At the time, as far as they were concerned, they weren't coming back, so that season finale was made and treated as a series finale. In that regard, it's a pretty emotionally satisfying note to send things off on.

Then season four happened.

Season four was a turning point for a LOT of fans. Thanks to NBC's decision to oust showrunner Dan Harmon, there was a good deal of conflict among fans of the season. Some shunned it outright in loyalty to Harmon. Of those that gave it a shot, many were altogether disappointed by it. The new showrunners made a decent effort, but it was hard not to feel like they were trying too hard to please the fans and a lot of it just

Then season five came and, to everyone's surprise, Harmon returned to the fold. Even more surprising was the fact that he was able to get cast member Chevy Chase-who had left the previous season after a pretty dark blowout with the writers- to come back and give his character a proper sendoff (or as proper as Community gets, anyway.)

The season itself wasn't bad, actually. There were a few unusual choices made, such as having to work with the fact Donald Glover chose to leave the series, and dealing with the fact that Joel McHale's Jeff Winger had graduated at the end of the previous season lead to them bringing him back as a teacher. At the same time, the landscape had changed. It wasn't really anyone's fault. It was just amid the show's several dances with death, some people moved on and each season was left with the hanging belief that it would be the last.

How many times can you really end a show before it's at last time to call it quits?

I know Harmon's committed himself to the 'six seasons and a movie' cut-off, and at least it's down to the last season, but it's hard for me to get as enthusiastic as I once would have.

I'm definitely happy for everyone to have the work- though I hope this won't interfere with Harmon's work on Rick and Morty, a show that I can honestly say is one of the best new series I've seen in a long while based on its first season. In fact, I hope they're able to see it through for the sake of being able to see it through. Though I DO wonder how Yahoo's production budget will fare compared to what they were working with from NBC.

It's more just the fact that, after seeing the show die and come back enough times, I think I just sort of drifted. I don't dislike it, and I'll probably give the sixth season its due when the time comes, but I guess I feel like I got my closure at the end of season three. Anything good after this is more like bonus content. I like it, but the story's already ended for me.

But I digress, that's just my thoughts on this.

If nothing else, I'm at least feeling more optimistic about Harmon's commitment to his listed shelf life than I am about Benioff and Weiss being able to bring Game of Thrones in for a landing in seven seasons like they're swearing.

Best of luck to everyone involved, and in the unlikely event Harmon is reading this: again, great work on Rick and Morty so far, hoping to see you working with Roiland on season two!

Till next time.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Reading 2014: Hot Dickens For Everyone!

I apologize for nothing.

It's summer again. For many this means three months out of school, blockbuster movies out the orifice of your choice, and, for many still in the pre-GED phase of their lives, summer reading.

Seeking to run with (read: exploit) this idea, I started an experiment with this last year. Take a book that's been the subject of many adaptations, give it a read/reread, then go through a scattering of these adaptations, looking at how each holds up both as a movie and as an adaptation. Last year kicked things off with Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, a book that is not only a good read, but a handy means of inducing blunt force trauma in a good hardcover edition.

This year, we're hoping to have the schedule a bit more worked out, but we're also continuing in part of the theme of last year. This time around we'll be exploring a work by another revered European author of an egalitarian bend who made their bones during the era when serial writing and getting paid by the word was the norm.

As many of you may have deduced by my shameless title, yes, this year's looking at one of the works of Charles Dickens.

A practice that, nowadays, seems to thrive strongest in the comic book industry.
In that regard, I give you the British Stan Lee.

More specifically, we're looking at his timeless tale of rags to riches to relatively comfortable working wages with more of a sense of identity, Great Expectations.

"You there, boy! What day is this and do you want to see a dead body?"
(...yes, I know that NEITHER of those references works here.)

For those of you playing at home, the story is fairly straightforward. It concerns Pip, a child who (like many Dickensian leads) has no parents and an altogether miserable upbringing (okay, Joe's actually pretty cool to him, but his sister, in true British fashion, beats the ever-loving Hell out of him.) Anyway, after a chance encounter with an escaped convict, Pip finds himself catching the interest of local eccentric recluse Miss Havisham, and in turn, his eye is caught by her adoptive daughter, Estella. Their relationship is...let's just put it this way, if Dickens were writing this book now, the fanfiction people would write about these two would likely be loaded with some VERY disturbing overtones. Estella pretty regularly berates Pip and, despite himself, he's head over heels for her.

"I leave here every week in misery and come back for more...
...maybe they're right. Maybe I DO have issues."

Anyway, after lamenting that his class may deny him ever having a shot with her, Pip receives notice of a mysterious benefactor who wishes to make him a gentleman. What follows is ultimately a coming of age story at heart – Pip grows, learns, loves, laughs, loses...all the big 'l's, really. In the end, cliched as it is, he does find himself, even after it seems like he's lost it all.

Yeah, you can see why classrooms roll this one out quite a bit.

I picked this for my second year of this for two big reasons. The first is, like Les Misérables before it, this is a book that lends itself to a lot of different variation in adaptation. While nowhere near as daunting in scope as Hugo, Dickens still loads this with a lot of side stories and minor characters that make for interesting reads, but won't always hold up in a filmed version. So what gets prioritized will vary from filmmaker to filmmaker. To that end, the characters are just on the line between cliché and nuance so that different filmmakers may see different things in them. To some, Pip's naivete may pass for utter stupidity, and to others, someone like Miss Havisham may simply be a stereotype of a vengeful old woman, and Estella...let's just say reads could get very conflicted on her. Additionally, the confines of film does allow for tightening up of one area where even I'll acknowledge Dickens tends to slip - his tendency to indulge in coincidences with the kind of zeal traditionally reserved for Robert Evans and a big mountain of cocaine. Granted, that was also pretty common in the age of serial writing in general, but nevertheless, Dickens developed something of a reputation for it. So it's interesting to see how films tighten up some of the chains of coincidence to reel in the stories from time to time here.

"So you can stop here and take the broken clock, the moldy wedding cake, and the burnt out candles as your prizes...
Or you can go for what's in the mystery box!
What's it gonna be?"

The other reason I picked this is, actually a bit of a personal one (and will also play into my first pick for adaptation.) My first really getting into the mechanics of adaptation as a process in film actually started back in college with the course 'Film and Literature' (...hey, it's an honest name.) It had an interesting spread of books and adaptations covered (to give an idea, my final paper for the course was on A Clockwork Orange,) but one of the first we covered was Great Expectations, comparing the book to the old David Lean adaptation.

Truth be told, this almost was the first book at the time, but having just finished Les Misérables, and that taking six months at that point, it seemed best to do that one while it was still fresh. Especially since a reread there would be one HELL of a time investment (may still do it someday, but I digress.)

But yes, this is a personal project as well.

So, starting next week, and every other Friday, expect to see a fresh review from this project. Though this first one will be Thursday...doing an article on a British classic on July 4th just feels wrong.

Keep an eye out!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Concerning Disney, Star Wars, and A Lot of Unhatched Chickens

This is not a review. But, amid the reviews, I'm looking at trying to introduce shorter pieces. One part for the sake of practice, and one part so I can vent this, cause something like Twitter just doesn't cut it for these thoughts.

Anyway, it's weird realizing only two years ago Disney bought up the entire rights to Star Wars lock, stock, and barrel from George Lucas. The day it happened, the responses were a mix of enthusiasm, relief, and apprehension.

The two years that followed have only added to those feelings on all fronts, with decisions ranging anywhere from the decision to entrust Episode VII to J.J. Abrams to the mass culling of the Expanded Universe. Personally, I'll miss the Thrawn installments, but I won't shed any tears for Waru, the dimension-hopping space tumor (Yes, this was a thing - look it up if you don't believe me.)

In the past couple of months, they have been kicking things further into overdrive. After a previous statement about plans to have a Star Wars movie every year, it looks like Disney wasn't just offering hyperbole. In fact, in the past few weeks, besides updates on the Abrams movie (which I have to admit, some misgivings about the writer bailing aside, I am feeling more optimistic about) they've already booked two different directors for follow-up entries. Almost immediately after Godzilla proved a box office success, they approached and scooped up Gareth Edwards to helm their first Star Wars spinoff project. Now word around the proverbial campfire is that Rian Johnson, known for the films Brick and Looper, has been tapped to do the next two main Star Wars installments after Abrams directs Episode VII.

Right about now, I feel conflicted. Of what I've seen of Johnson's work, I like him as a director. He's got a good style, and there's certainly some projects I'd be interested in seeing him take on. That said, I'm not sure Star Wars is one of them. This isn't to say I don't think he can do it - Lord knows directors have proven me wrong before. At the same time, this is one of those choices where I'm going to want to wait and see what comes of it. The same goes for Edwards. I'm admittedly less sold on him as a director in general than I am with Johnson, but at the same time, my concern is less with his general skill as a director, and more with the fact that what I've seen of his style leads me to wonder if Disney approached him because they thought he'd be a good fit for Star Wars, or simply because they saw he can make a movie that'll move at the box office.

I realize this is something that's already been discussed by other people, but with this announcement, it bears repeating - this now means they have at least four titles lined up, at a rate of a movie a year (unless they've backed off of that) and they still haven't even started yet to know if people like them.

Guys, even in his prime, Lucas at least waited three years between each movie.

As it is, it's taking a lot of convincing to tell myself that Disney isn't going to overextend this brand before Episode VII is even out of the gate. Sure, it's Star Wars, but the fact is, it's the first time a Star Wars film is being made with a whole new creative team. To already be making this much of a plan before you've even tested the new formula is taking a BIG risk.
Also, before anyone mentions Marvel here, I'll reiterate that Marvel actually played it pretty carefully when they started out. They played the Avengers plan fairly close to the chest until Iron Man was out, because they knew not to write up a bill of goods they weren't sure they'd be able to pay. Luckily, Iron Man was a hit, but had it not been and just stopped there, they were still early enough to retool their plans. Disney, meanwhile, is announcing an entire game plan that assumes this will all succeed, just because it's Star Wars.
On top of all of this - this plan runs the VERY dangerous risk of creating Star Wars burnout. Yes, people love Star Wars, but in the past they had downtime to enjoy what they got from it before being hit with the next wave. A new movie a year, spinoff or not, risks overloading your audience and devaluing the brand when everyone gets sick of it. It's the same line comic book movies are dancing on the risk of right now, and in those cases they at least have proven they have some stay power first.

...I could keep going with the hyperboles, but I promised I'd keep this short.

In closing, to sum up my thoughts on this matter as I try to stay positive, Disney, heed the words of the movie that started this whole brand:
"Great, kid! Don't get cocky!"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Game of Thrones Season 4 - Part 2: George R.R. Martin's Murder Tour Goes International

and we're back. When we last left things, we looked at the many ways the universe has it in for the Stark daughters, and how King's Landing has largely become the Lannister show. It's like Dallas, only with less pantsuits and more whores and murder.
That could actually work.

Anyway, we continue this by looking at the remaining focus characters: remaining Stark child Bran, would-be liberator Daenerys Targaryen, the increasingly luckless House Greyjoy, the last of the original king contenders, Stannis, and finally the mortality-prone men of the Night's Watch. know the drill. Although this one's not AS bad with them.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Game of Thrones Season 4 – Part 1: Domestic Affairs (Figurative and Literal)

So I know I generally tend to stick to film here, but, as I said in a previous review, sometimes I watch other things (and let's face it, nothing wrong with discussing other material from time to time, no?) In this case, I initially hadn't even planned to do this review, but after watching some of the responses to the season on the internet, most notably its penultimate episode, I figured why not just look back and sum up.

Which brings us to now.

Before we go into this further, I'm going to warn now – there will be spoilers here. I'll try to keep book spoilers to a minimum, but given it's a full season write-up, I'm going to assume if you're reading this you're all caught up on the series anyway.

You've been warned. Simon Pegg image. Don't blame me from here out.