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Tuesday, 25 of April of 2017

Archives from author » matt

Leverage – “The Van Gogh Job”

“You know what, man? If I get out of this job without upper respiratory issues it’ll be a miracle.”

An interesting episode. The heist was just a catalyst for our heroes to be placed in a WWII mixed race love story narrated by guest star Danny Glover. Some definitely rose to the occasion, taking advantage of the different material and showing some acting chops. Others may want to stick to the character acting. I won’t name names, but they’re still beautiful blondes and I love their usual character.

Leverage is an odd show to review. Unless you’re talking about the heist itself, which in the grand scheme of the show is mostly inconsequential, there isn’t always much to go on. So I’m going to try something new. The following “review” is going to be a list of pros and cons from the episode. Because the team is comprised of professional con men. Damn I’m good.

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Leverage – “The Long Way Down Job”

“It’s a dangerous mountain. There could be some polar bears or ill tempered Eskimos.”

Leverage‘s return left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. Sometimes the cons are just silly. Or boring. But it’s that oh so lovable ragtag group of liars, cheats and thieves turned do-gooders that keep us coming back. “The Long Way Down Job” was a prime example of why those who are fans of the show love it and why its naysayers are so adamantly against it.

A mountaintop is just not a place for the team to be. It’s a very challenging terrain. A hacker is almost no good because, as evidenced, signals are lost all the time and communication is hard to maintain. Sure Parker climbs buildings, but a mountain is a totally different story. Eliot is just good at everything so he should be fine.

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Switched at Birth – “Portrait of My Father”

“Why don’t you pull out your smartphone and tweet about your newfound love of social justice.”

The title of this episode is somewhat misleading. Yes, the search for Bay’s father is a plot point but it’s a very B, maybe C plot point. And John is such a terrible father/person that I refuse to believe this title is about him as well. But we’ll get into all of that.

My reviews of Switched at Birth should just be running counts and commentary on the uncomfortable, arrogant, racist things Kathryn says or does. After an awkward run-in with a neighbor, she feels the need to define the relationship between the two families to save face. Chicks, man. Why can’t they just let stuff be what it is?

She continues her reign of terror by expressing her discomfort with Regina having clients from her old neighborhood coming to the house so she can do their hair. Cause I’m sure when crime broke out in Regina’s old neighborhood it was the short, gray-haired old ladies who were mugging people and holding up the liquor store at gunpoint. Read more »


Why Falling Skies is better than The Walking Dead

Obviously, plenty of spoilers for both shows follow.

Post-apocalyptic survival has always been a great source of entertainment and storytelling and no two shows have garnered more buzz in the last year than AMC’s The Walking Dead and TNT’s Falling Skies. While the two programs give us very different looks at a very similar overall idea (scrounging for survival), the differences between the shows indicate one is clearly superior to the other.

AAAAAND FIGHT!

For starters, the shows treat action in very different ways. The Walking Dead is actually pretty boring when it comes to this point. For its six episode first season there is not a lot going on in terms of excitement. Is there peril? Sure, but there is not nearly enough ass-kicking, head-exploding action one would expect from the genre. Some will make the argument that AMC has made a “classy” zombie show. They weren’t looking to be all gore and scares, you know, things inherent of the genre. Yeah they kill a zombie every now and then and yeah there was that terrible (CG wise, not plot wise. Well…plot wise too) explosion in the finale, but I needed more! With Falling Skies, we get action left and right. Between the aliens (who we actually get to see. Take that, V!) and the mechs and the ships and the outlaw group there is plenty of stuff to shoot at, hide from and blow up.  The show is incredibly action-packed. When you’re fighting for survival it’s nice to see some actual fighting. And they did it in one-third the amount of episodes. Read more »


Switched at Birth – “American Gothic”

“She’s pretty, she’s smart, she bakes. What doesn’t she do?”

Is that what Bay wears to school? Man high school got awesome since I graduated. This was only going to be a Final Thought but then I kept thinking about it so it’s a tangent worth discussing.

Because really, is no one going to comment on her attire? Does she go to school at Constance Billard? Her parents don’t find it inappropriate? Her brother doesn’t find it a tad risque? Or hot depending on how he feels now knowing that they aren’t related. Speaking of which, I wonder if incest (or a close likeness) is gonna be possible on this show. Probably not. The Family in ABC Family doesn’t really scream incest. Well actually…by definition I guess it does.

I mean come on, who wasn’t reading the incestuous undertones of that scene with Daphne and Toby and the brownie batter. I get that they are connecting as brother and sister but I cannot be the only one who sees incest there! Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

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Switched at Birth – “This is Not a Pipe”

“I’m home. Wherever that is.”

Were it not for Pretty Little Liars I doubt I would have checked out Switched at Birth. While original content is not new to ABC Family, only in recent years has it proven to be a great cable contender. Switched at Birth carries on this new found tradition and is sure to aid ABC Family in its ratings and legitimacy as a home for great television.

Is the show landmark? No. Is it bringing new stories or ideas to the table? Yes and no. But it doesn’t always take innovation to make a hit or to tell a good story. Switched at Birth tells the story of two teenage girls who are just that: switched at birth, and the toll it begins to take on the two families involved. That’s not an unheard of story. But what makes the show interesting is the characters. And the inclusion of deaf culture. And the social commentary.

Oh yeah. And some of the people who are on the show.

The genetic quest for truth begins with a blood test. A student administered blood test. Who the hell green lit that? Terribly irresponsible. Bay’s (cool girl name alert) parents are both A so she must be A or O. Science lesson for you, kids. Bay, who is AB,  is really bothered by this blood test. She remarks that she and her mother are very different, always have been. Their hands, their bodies; they’re not alike. Was she adopted? No. But apparently she thinks it sometimes, and people ask her if she was. Bay says she needs something from her mother, no matter how odd it might sound. Six weeks later, a genetic lab has determined that it is 99.9% unlikely that Bay is the daughter of her parents. A mix up (way too light of a term for what happened) must have occurred at the hospital. See, that’s why you mark your babies before they’re taken away, right Dwight?

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America’s Best Dance Crew – Week 8: Kanye West Challenge

I realized, based on my excitement for this episode, that I hate the majority of superstars out there right now. Most of the featured artists in this season have blown. Kanye is someone whose music I love so I was pumped to have the crews dance to songs I actually enjoy. The fun part about this week was the crews weren’t dancing to just one song, it was a medley of Kanye songs. That’s how deep and awesome homeboy’s discography is.

With only three crews left I was wondering how the show was going to fill an hour. One answer came in the form a group dance featuring the remaining crews. These don’t really do it for me. They try and feature the strengths of each crew while simultaneously have them dance as a single unit, but I find the performances to be rather lackluster. Even dancing to the amazing “All of the Lights” wasn’t enough. Is it the lack of challenges? Is it the lack of competition? I dunno, but I am underwhelmed. Another answer was longer dances. This I liked. The other answer is coming later in the review.

So read on.
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America’s Best Dance Crew – Week 7: Nicki Minaj

This week was the Nicki Minaj episode. While Nicki is generally amazing when on another artist’s track, her solo stuff is sub-par. “Super Bass” might be the only thing off of her largely lackluster discography that I really enjoy. See, you get music reviews here at Monsters of Television as well. We’re so comprehensive.

Nicki Minaj is such a unique person. Have you ever read up on her background? You should. As much as Gaga is beating us over the head showing people it’s ok to be weird and to be comfortable with who you are, Nicki does it just by unapologetically being her crazy and awesome self. This week, the crews had to incorporate aspects of Nicki’s different personalities into their dances.

The episode opened with a huge dance routine done by all of the four remaining crews: IaMmE, Street Kingdom, Phunk Phenomenon and Iconic Boyz. It was just meh, but it did make me wanna go find a DDR machine and bust out some Jane Jana. Major props if you know what the hell I’m talking about.

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Smallville – “Finale”

“I’ll always be there to stop you. Always.”
“Oh I’m counting on it.”

Darkseid’s forces are growing larger and stronger. Old enemies resurface as this new enemy literally hurls Clark’s greatest challenge at him. Everyone has their part to play in stopping this threat and helping Clark become the Man of Steel.

Finales often show us a lot of where we came from before a show takes that final bow. For Smallville that look back was not only cathartic for the audience, but essential for Clark to realize his destiny. He had to realize that moving forward did not mean forgetting his past. He is a culmination of all the experiences he has had and the people he has met. He is a personification if his journey, a journey that we have had the privilege of joining him on for the past decade.

To really understand Smallville, not only in its finale but as a whole, we must do as Clark had to: look at those important to him and the experiences he has had, the hardships he has endured and the trials he has faced that have shaped him into the man he is now and the hero he would become.

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America’s Best Dance Crew – Week 6: Justin Bieber Challenge

Finally.

I have been bumpin’ Bieber tracks all week in preparation. Not that I don’t normally do that anyway. Interesting that the Bieber episode coincides with the release of his new DVD. Not as blatant as the product placement in Transformers, but come on, MTV. I can’t hate too much though, it’s Bieber. Whoever gets “Baby” is gonna have to bring it. That’s my jam. Hoping they do deep tracks too and pull out “One Time”. Ok, let’s just get to the review.

Now that there are only 5 crews left, it all comes down to one showdown. The top 3 teams are all safe. The bottom 2 must duke it out to move on. This week, Iconic Boyz was the first safe group. And they got “Baby”! Their challenge was to incorporate basketball moves into their routine cause Bieber plays basketball in the movie. That seems like they’re grasping at straws to promote connect stuff to the movie. “Hey guys, it’s Justin Bieber. I breathe a whole lot in my movie so I want ya’ll to incorporate some breathing into your dances this week.”

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