29 May 2014


I've been trying to find a show to compare to Banshee before I started writing this text, but I just cannot. I was never good with comparisons, I guess I lack that particular talent to see similarities between two movies, tv shows, books or whatever. All I could think of when seeing Banshee's main character (Sheriff Lucas Hood) is yet another Italian comic that I love: Mister No. I wish he was as famous as Batman or Spider-man and more people knew about him, it would be a lot easier to present this anti-hero.

Our hero, an ex-con whose real name was never said in the show (!!!), arrives to Banshee, Pennsylvania in search for his lover Anastasia. They got separated 15 years ago when he was arrested for diamond theft (they stole them from her father, a Ukrainian crime boss), sacrificing himself so she could escape. Anyway, on his way to town he enters a bar and meets a guy who happens to be the new Sheriff of Banshee - Lucas Hood. Sheriff Hood has just arrived, same as our ex-con hero, and is on his way to meet his deputies. While they were chatting, two goons enter and start a fight with the bar's owner. Sheriff interferes and kills them both, but dies himself! Guess what: the unnamed hero takes good Sheriff's identity, buries the bodies (with the bar owner's help) and starts a brand new life as a protector of the law! Don't be fooled, he's not after redemption - he just wants to find his former girlfriend and/or the diamonds she has and get the hell out of there. But things get complicated...

We may not know his name but everybody refers to him as to Sheriff Lucas Hood, so that's what I will call him. Hood gets to meet his former love (her new name is Carrie), learns about her new identity and family and refuses to accept her new life. He decides to stay around, do his job as a sheriff and keep an eye on Carrie and her family. After all, he is not the only one who's after those diamonds - Ukrainian mafia has been looking for Carrie for 15 years as well. While doing all that, Hood does his job as a Sheriff, but his methods are a bit... unorthodox. And you just have to love him! Although he's a thief, he is a good guy. He will not stand aside while someone's harassing a woman or a child, he acts on impulse and often gets in trouble because he will not bend down. He has a special love/hate relationship with Kai Proctor, a local gangster and ex-Amish. Speaking of that, Banshee neighbors a small Amish settlement as well as an Indian reservation along with a few casinos. A beautiful mix made for trouble, a perfect place for someone like Lucas Hood. 

The show is currently in between seasons. So far two seasons and twenty episodes have been published and I really enjoyed watching them. Banshee looks and feels like a b-movie, a comic book with a lot of action and sex. Oh I forgot to mention that - Lucas is a big charmer and Banshee is filled with hot women. The cast features Antony Starr as Lucas Hood, Ivana Miličević as Carrie (she's a Bosnian too btw! But I doubt she's a nerd :), Frankie Faison as Sugar, the bar owner etc etc.

Season 3 is coming in January 2015. I will make sure to remind you on time!

23 May 2014

The Americans, Season 2 Finale!

Spoiler alert! Do not read if you haven't seen the last episode!

I guess I was distracted (don't ask why), but I missed the fact that The Americans season 2 was coming to an end. The Finale was aired on wednesday evening and although it wasn't as dramatic as last year's final moments it was still quite tense and very satisfying. And very, very surprising. For me at least.

So what was in it? A damn lot of things! First of all I was glad to see that Stan cannot be manipulated after all. No matter what was at stake (Nina's life!) he still passed the final patriot exam and failed to deliver Echo to the Soviets. I wonder what will happen to Nina now, but I don't think she will die. Don't forget that she is not the first embassy employee who was returned to Soviet Union because of betrayal and that person is still very much alive.

As for the solution to the murder of Emmett and Leanne Connors and their daughter... I'll have to quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle here:

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

I don't know about you, but I didn't suspect Jared at all. Not even for a millisecond. There was a problem with a lack of suspects concerning the slaughter in the hotel, but Jared... No way! Kudos to the writers of this show, I never saw it coming. And how it all fit into the final moments of the season... I guess I am simply amazed with how they made it all fit. Jared's recruitment, his devotion to the cause, Center's plans and ideas, Claudia's statement about Elisabeth's and Phillip's children. It's simply perfect and a great intro for Season 3.

Oh yeah, Larrick is dead at last. And Soviets still don't have everything they need for their own Stealth program. Seeing a 5,25" floppy disk was a personal highlight of this episode, it brought back some wonderful memories.

That's it from The Americans for this year. Season 3 has been confirmed so now it's just a matter of time before this great show is back on TV.

До свидания!

20 May 2014


British forces occupied New York in August 1776, and the city would remain a British stronghold and a major naval base for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Though getting information from New York on British troop movements and other plans was critical to General George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, there was simply no reliable intelligence network that existed on the Patriot side at that time. That changed in 1778, when a young cavalry officer named Benjamin Tallmadge established a small group of trustworthy men and women from his hometown of Setauket, Long Island. Known as the Culper Spy Ring, Tallmadge’s homegrown network would become the most effective of any intelligence-gathering operation on either side during the Revolutionary War.

That's History. And this is Turn. It's based on history but it's been adopted to fit the TV show so the timeline has been altered and adjusted for... multiple seasons I guess. Turn covers the Culper Spy Ring but instead of 1778 it's set in 1776, right after the fall of New York. All the notable historical characters from both sides are present, including General Washington himself. I personally always had a weak spot for history in general, while American War for Independence has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Why? Because of the comics of course! Ever since I learned to read I had my hands on comics, and apart from Mickey Mouse I was a big fan of two Italian comic book characters: Commandant Mark and The Great Blek. Both of them were American patriots fighting the dreaded Red Coats and ever since then I've been lured to that particular part of American history. And that's why I like this show!

Although it feels a bit too slow, Turn does feel good. The main character is Abraham Woodhull, a cabbage farmer and a son of Setauket's judge. Abe is recruited by his childhood friend, Captain (and later Major) Benjamin Tallmadge to spy on His Majesty's Army. As if being a spy is not hard enough, Abe also has to fight his own father, his feelings for his former fiancee and a childhood friend (who also happens to be a part of the spy ring), local British officers who tend to make his life miserable... 

The "other side" is represented by Major John Andre, a British intelligence officer working on discovering and neutralizing such threats. Also present are the Queen's Rangers, lead by Robert Rogers who spice up the entire scenario with their hunt for Tallmadge himself. Most of the Royal army's officers and soldiers are represented in a standard manner: pompous, ruthless and arrogant so it was a real (and pleasant) surprise to "meet" Ensign Baker, an officer stationed within Woodhull's own home. Baker seems like a really nice fellow, too bad he's fighting on the wrong side.

Overall, Turn has a LOT of potential but we haven't seen much of it yet. I hope we do soon because the season is nearing the end and it's a matter of life and death for Turn - season 2 is not confirmed yet.

16 May 2014

Season Finales: The Following, Agents of SHIELD, Arrow

Since this is my view of a several season final episodes expect a lot of spoilers. You've been warned!

Quite a lot of shows are coming to an end for this season, and here are my thoughts of those I've mentioned on this blog before. The first one is The Following finale which was aired two weeks ago. And it was bad, just as the rest of that show that managed to trick me once again into watching it. Too many turnovers, captures, escapes... and the lack of true thrill. At least for me. I may have not been objective enough because The Following made me angry too many times before, but I think the ending was quite predictable and shallow. At least Emma is finally dead, even though that happened even before the final episode of Season 2. Too bad Claire is still around...

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continued with a series of great episodes and concluded a successful season with the death of the master villain. To be honest, the episode was a bit underwhelming to me, I probably expected more. I may have expected someone important to die and when that did not happen... But it was far from bad and it set up a good foundation for the next season. I guess the producers weren't sure if they would be greenlighted for season 2 so they rounded up the story with no loose ends at all. Fortunately, Agents will be back for at least one more season and I am looking forward to it. I hope we will finally learn about Skye's past. Oh, and we finally got to see Director Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) again, for the first time since the grand opening episode of the show. And he was awesome, as always!

And finally - Arrow. My favorite weak spot among the TV shows. Oliver and his companions were on the verge of defeat, but if anyone could turn it around it's Arrow! I loved how they gathered just about EVERYONE who ever appeared in this show wearing a mask or had a special skill, and they made them fight Slade's army of superstrong junkies. It was good seeing Nyssa Al Ghul and her Assassins, Deadshot and the other captives, even Malcolm Merlyn, the Dark Archer himself. The finale was a great spectacle and even though it wasn't as good as the last season's destruction of The Glades - it was still great and very satisfying. The overlapping of the past and present conflict between Oliver and Slade was well done and enjoyable to watch.

I am looking forward to CW's new version of The Flash and I hope it will cross with Arrow a lot in the future. It was really cool how they showed us the "creation" of Flash during Arrow's mid-season. I bet Sheldon was super excited watching that!

That's it for now! Enjoy the shows.

13 May 2014

Tyrion Lannister

Not gonna say much except for: thumbs up to Peter Dinklage for his superb performance as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones. You rule man!

12 May 2014

Organ Trail: Director's Cut (2012)

Game score: 70%
Platform: Steam, PC

Zombies are IN for quite a while now and this game has been around for a few years as well. It was originally made as a parody of Oregon Trail, a really old game that had numerous re-releases (it was made in 1971 and had like 10 incarnations so far) that allowed a player to experience the settling in western United States. Organ Trail was a free flash/browser game that had a lot of fans, so the creators started a Kickstarter campaign to make a Director's Cut as a fully commercial title. After the funds were collected the game was made and is now available for Steam and mobile devices.

As the game starts you are given a station wagon with some limited supplies (food, scrap for car repairs, a few spare tires, mufflers, car batteries, medical kits...) and 4 companions. Your goal: reach safe haven at the west and survive the zombie apocalypse. The whole game is set around random events that occur as you travel from one city/settlement to another while scavenging supplies, trading with other people, fighting off zombie attacks, escaping gangs that are after your supplies etc. Each hour that passes (in a matter of 2 seconds) is a possible trigger for a random event and they vary from simple weather changes that can slow you down to encounters with all kinds of people (these trigger classic text adventure kind of stories).

Settlements offer a place to rest and trade and you can also get a job to earn some more supplies or money (arcade shootouts with zombies or bandits). Each city has a car shop that can upgrade your station wagon or a combat school to enhance your own abilities. Don't forget to refuel as well or you will get stranded in the middle of nowhere and forced to trade when you don't really want to.

The game looks and feels as if it was made in early 1980s and that gives it a specific charm. But don't let it turn you away! Seriously, it's kinda cute to have such a game in 2014 (or 2012, when it was made), a game that relies on gameplay rather than on awesome graphics. It's a lot of fun with all those events that may or may not occur, but it does have its limits. I completed it 4-5 times and it lost its charm - once you figure out the best way to gather supplies, when and where to sell them and what to buy instead - it gets real easy. True, there are difficulty levels but even the hardest one is hard only at the start. As for the zombie combat, I'll give you a tip: when you want to shoot a zombie click on the zombie and hold the mouse button as you drag it towards your avatar. It's a direct hit in 95% of cases.

I haven't played the mobile version (I got it as well, but I just never cared much for mobile games) so I can't say much about it. From what I saw online it's quite popular and people who own it love it! Give this game a chance, it's fun even though it's very limited.

07 May 2014

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This show is a perfect example of a super big-hype, high expectations product gone wrong. Back when it was first announced, we were spammed with dozens of Marvel's superhero movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk... concluded with The Avengers) and even though most of them were also super big-hype and all that blah-blah, we still hoped for the best. It was set in a timeline right after the events in The Avengers, it listed Director Fury, Agent Hill and Agent Coulson (??? Didn't he die by Loki in the movie?) and promised a lot due to its setup. But it ended up being a big, big failure.

Or is it?

Now scratch all that and throw it away! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is actually a very weird show - it really was something we expected a lot from, but it started so slow and bad that I am sure a lot of people gave up on it. If you are one of those who gave it another chance, and I am glad I did - you are up for a treat! I'd mark episode 14 as the turning point - when I saw Lorelei appearing (yay, an Asgardian!) in the show I was hoping they would finally make it fun to watch and follow. They did and I am very glad I believed in it all this time.

I won't write about the story nor the characters much, I don't want to spoil it in case you haven't seen it yet. If you are unfamiliar with the world of Marvel, here's a few lines: it's set on "normal Earth" (so no fantasy cities such as Gotham etc), but is a home to a few superheroes and a super top secret agency called S.H.I.E.L.D (it stands for Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division but that is unimportant to be honest). The agents mentioned in the title are brought together into a team by Agent Coulson and are given random assignments all over the globe, protecting us puny humans from all kinds of evil, including the superbad aliens and their artifacts. There are NO superheroes in the team whatsoever, everyone is a regular human with S.H.I.E.L.D. academy in its past and a lot of skills under the belt. These are the true good guys, comic-book type, the kind we all love. The episodes follow up on each other so you cannot skip any and just go back in (it's not CSI).

There's just one more episode left in this season, so it's a total of 22 for season one. I am not sure if season two is confirmed or not (I didn't do my homework, sorry) but I sure hope it is. Well, it will depend on season finale. I don't know what to expect from it, this show has turned around once already. Fortunately, that turn was for the good and lets hope it stays that way.

04 May 2014

Vikings, Season 2 Finale!

I was away for a few days so this may be a bit late (the finale was aired on Thursday evening in the US), but when it comes to Vikings - it's never too late! As you may or may not remember, I recommended this show back in February, hoping for a good season 2. And now when the season is over... IT WAS AWESOME! It was even better than the first one which focused on telling us about Viking customs and culture. Season 2 was all about conquest and politics (but in a good way), loyalty and betrayal, slaughter and blood. 

The entire season 2 was quick paced, covered quite a large time period (about 5 or 6 years if I got it right) and it showed how powerful Earl Ragnar truly is. Ragnar had allies and enemies, he had to deal with the loss of his own village, bring his own justice to those who betrayed him and learned a lesson along the way. Season finale showed us how wise he was throughout all that time once all his allies showed up in front of his true enemy. Poor bastard thought he had it all figured out, but it turned out he was simply outplayed in the game of thrones. You win or you die. Simple as that.

I know this is a rather short text, but I always try not to spoil much with my own ramblings. If you haven't seen this show yet - do it! It's well worth your time! So far it's 2 seasons and 19 episodes in total and season 3 is confirmed.