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Wednesday, 25 of November of 2015

Fear the Walking Dead, “The Good Man”

“It’ll break him.”


Two thousand zombies march

It’s a crazy zombie party and everyone’s invited!

Upon finishing the season 1 finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I couldn’t help but to feel slightly disheartened.

Sure, there was a lot of heart-pumping action, a fright or two, more anti-authoritarian themes making our military out to be a giant collection of buffoons, and some haunting imagery. But as we flew over the ocean, I couldn’t help but to think this thing didn’t turn out nearly like I thought it would. Completely different actually. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that maybe what I thought this show was doing was in my own head, what I wished to be watching.

Instead, what I got was a thing that’s been proven to work against my preconceptions which is based on how much I like things that don’t really work. Confused by my vagary? Let me put it to you another way.

I wrote 11 things about this season finale, good and bad, to explain myself a little better.

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Fear the Walking Dead, “Cobalt”

“Have you no respect for private property?”


Alicia on the pink bike

Take a ride with me.

If you were wondering when this occupation metaphor was going to tackle the chaos that ensues after the military pulls out of the destroyed wreckage to leave the local population to its own limited defenses, I think you have your answer now.

But I’m bored talking about how this show likens armed fundamentalists to mindless, shambling villains whose army can grow exponentially because their foot soldiers are easily converted by the contagion within us all. Even the torture scene is kind of dull and not only because they STILL don’t know what to do with Ofelia.

Sure, blah blah blah, they moved the plot forward and yadda yadda yadda it’s a major turning point not only for this series but the entire universe. Major character developments for Daniel and his compass pointing in the other direction than Travis who’s being stalwartly naive. Snore.

I’d much rather talk about how teens break stuff.

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Heroes Reborn – “Brave New World” and “Odessa”

Reborn again for the very first time.

Reborn again for the very first time.

Noel: I guess before we wade too deeply into this nonsense, we should probably trade Heroes histories with one another. I watched — and even liked? — Season 1, but quickly found myself frustrated with the show by Season 2. The writers’ strike hit, cutting the show off at its knees that year, which sort of solved that issue. Looking at the episode summaries for Season 3, it’s entirely possible I watched at least the first half of the season, but I legitimately can’t remember if I did or not. Which isn’t a great sign.

In any case, I ended up ditching the series because it was a show that borrowed a lot from comic books but never seemed willing to really commit to being a good comic book series (hi, The Flash!). Creating a mythology whole cloth — and the series was perhaps the biggest success (barest meaning of the word) of a post-Lost network TV landscape in achieving that goal — may’ve just been too much for it to sustain…and the characters were all kind of awfully written.

Nick: I have not watched more than ten minutes of the original Heroes run. To me, Heroes was just the show that came on after Chuck that had Jess from Gilmore Girls and some guy named Zachary Quinto fangirls were fangirling over. I had the vaguest of interest in what happened on the show but then I was also good. Like, I knew that Sylar was into playing the head-squeezing game but I was very much okay not knowing anything else.

What interested me most then (and why I’m intrigued now) is that there was talk at the time when Chuck was paired with Heroes that Zach Levi should be on the superhero show and that, one day, if the fans would ever let Chuck die, that transition would happen. Well, it finally did. And he plays a villain. I never bought the times that Chuck was evil so I’m curious how much I’m going to buy in here. I’m going in with an open mind, some clear eyes, and a full heart. Much like with Parker Lewis, that can’t lose. Read more »

Steven Universe – “Catch and Release”

“Duh, homegirl knows we’re gonna beat her into a green pancake.”

Steven Universe title cardSince the end of Season 1, when Lapis fused with Jasper to form Malachite, we haven’t had any real big plot developments regarding the Gem homeworld. Sure, Peridot’s been trying to get back there for a while (which is what spurred on the first bit of the episode here with her kidnapping of Steven), but Yellow Diamond has yet to make her big appearance, and there hasn’t been any other contact from the Gem homeworld.

What we do get in “Catch and Release,” however, is not a new bit of plot, but a quick line from “Jail Break” brought to the forefront.

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Fear the Walking Dead, “Not Fade Away”

“Liza. She did this.”


Nothing like a round of golf to make you look real personable and salt-of-the-earth.

Nothing like a round of golf to make you look real personable and salt-of-the-earth.

Ready to dig into another life-affirming, feel-good episode of Fear the Walking Dead?

I’m actually of two minds about this episode because “Not Fade Away” deals with a lot of interesting family drama within the context of this military occupation. But it’s also kind of dumb. In a lot of places.

So depending on how you went into the episode, the penultimate episode to the penultimate episode of the season either came off as intense or came off a little silly. Either way, you can’t deny that things are much different after what happened That Night. (PLL references everywhere!)

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Steven Universe – “Sadie’s Song”

“This is not your daughter.”

Steven Universe title cardSteven Universe realize pretty quickly — more quickly than Adventure Time did — that its supporting cast is a key component of the series. Eric Thurm’s discussed this in his reviews at TV Club a bit (and with me in other conversations), but by giving us looks into the lives of the denizens of Beach City, Steven Universe gives us a reason to really care when some sort of cataclysmic Gem fight breaks out. It’d be one thing if Greg were really the town stand-in, but by showing us folks who are a few degrees removed from the Gems and their adventures, there are real stakes involved in anything that happens when it comes to the Gems fighting off scary things.

The show has elegantly done this with episodes like “Sadie’s Song” that doesn’t involve fusions or weapons or powers of any sort. Certainly the show can blend supporting cast episodes and all that Gem stuff — see last week’s super-effective and genuinely creepy “Nightmare Hospital” — but there’s always been something really great about the show taking a break to just show us a snippet of someone’s life that exists outside of it. Read more »

Fear the Walking Dead – “The Dog”

“Good morning, Susan.”


The Clarks play Monopoly

Nothing like ruthless capitalism to take your mind off the horrors happening outside your door.

This week’s episode is called “The Dog” and, while there was definitely a dog in it, it took me long time to piece together why this dog was the centerpiece of this episode. Nick seems to be the only one that friendly with this dog and then, when the time came for them to escape, they sacrificed the poor pup to Peter Dawson, eater of humans, hater of bounce houses.

I suppose this isn’t their dog (which I gathered because no one seems to even know this dog’s name) so what do they care if it survives Peter’s determined zombie-fueled massacre of the entire Cruz family in revenge on his neighbors daring to celebrate a birthday on the edge of apocalypse.

I’m assuming the episode title has more to do with the heavy-handed Jack London discussion from episode 1 than anything else. And it makes way more sense that the episode is titled based on something Travis did because Travis is the big star in this episode. For being the burdensome weight that might end up killing them all.

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Fear the Walking Dead – “So Close, Yet So Far”

“I hate you.”

“I know.”


Kids wearing surgical masks with frightening grins drawn on them

This is probably the scariest thing this show has done yet.

So now that we seem to have a better idea of who’s who in the world of Fear the Walking Dead, let’s do a rundown of the characters.

Tobias, our blemished, knife-obsessed, (most-likely) redditor, is the only person in the world that seems to recognize anything that’s happening. In this world that seemingly has never produced a zombie movie, he has information that no one else seems to consider and has put together all the puzzle pieces faster than anyone in Los Angeles. He’s also the one that wants to build a bunker and be his own king of canned food. Smart kid.

Liza, Travis’s ex-wife and willing thorn in his side, is the only person within two or three degrees of this crew that has any amount of medical experience. While the show is better off without deus ex machine-gunists, we have to allow some latitude that if no one knows how to fix a wound, this family would surely perish.

And then there’s the rest of the family. Who are all dead weight.

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Fear the Walking Dead – “Pilot”

“I don’t know what a viscera is.”


It's different because of the spelling.

It’s different because of the spelling.

So if you were wondering why The Walking Dead has a spin-off and why it’s set in Los Angeles, I’m pretty sure you have me to blame. That place where Rick finds a tank in the original series (the Fairly-Poplar District)? Less than a block from where I lived in Atlanta. That park in Los Angeles everyone on Fear the Walking Dead seems to drive by on the way to school or anywhere (Lincoln Park)? I run through there every weekend.

The zombie apocalypse seems to want to follow me around. But this time I’m glad to see it. Fear the Walking Dead seems to be about what I always wanted The Walking Dead to be about. And that’s everything everyone else seems to hate to watch.

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Gotham – “Pilot”

“You have a little danger in your eye.”

Gotham Title Card

The city of Townsville.

While flipping through the pages of a comic book, it’s not as apparent but every idea in and around Batman is completely insane whack-a-doo koo-koo pants. We know that Bruce Wayne is one of the greatest detectives this side of a deerstalker but why is it that all of the criminal masterminds and psychopaths of a city have decided against functional disguises of stealth and, instead, lean toward the garrish, brightly-colored, and unquestionably villainous costumes? To make his job easier? How are there so many of these psychopaths in one town? How many daddy/mommy issues can one city breed? Why aren’t there enough funds in the state or even the country to help out a city whose mental health crisis has consistently threatened the balance of world economy and livelihood? Can there be better locks on Arkham Asylum’s doors? And what of the Bat-Man who looked at this rampant psychopathy and decided on the if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them philosophy. Well, as far as the garrish costumes go. He definitely beats them. All the time. With his brawny fists. He just does it while wearing a cowl. Which is not as fashionable as it once was.

So how did Gotham City get to this point where Batman constantly has to swoop in and save the city from itself? What helped to tilt the decisions for the city’s insane population to look at a latex suit and say, “Yep. Time to wear that for 60-70% of my life while doing my crime things”? These are questions Gotham has set out to answer.

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