4 September 2011
This episode takes a break from the whole 'search for Melody Pond' plotline that I feared would dominate this half of the season. While it seemed a little out of place that Melody's parents - Amy and Rory - were so blasé about not looking for their daughter, it gave us a welcome respite so that we could get into a more insular story.
The real star of Night Terrors is writer Mark Gatiss, who gives the episode a brilliant sense of tension and suspense, as well as great 'villains' in the form of the dolls. Their look is pretty creepy, and their lack of expression, persistence and child-like voices are reminiscent of the episode The Empty Child. Matt Smith continues to cement his role as The Doctor, his performance in this season a lot more confident and comfortable in his role. Daniel Mays, who plays the child's father, was pretty stale, and his performance didn't seem to differ from his role as Cass in BBC's Outcasts i.e. constantly surprised and looking as if he'd just been crying.
My main criticism of Night Terrors was the ending, which seemed a lot less 'Who-ey' than other episodes this season, and a lot more emotional and, dare I say it, mushy. There was a lot less emphasis on the high concept sciencey jargon that The Doctor is famed for, and the episode seemed to end on an anticlimax.
Still, the episode as a whole was tense and very well shot, giving us a healthy dose of creepy into what is becoming an increasingly more 'kid friendly' series. I hope for a lot more of the same in the episodes to come.
17 January 2011
By the end of Season 1, the five super-antiheroes settle their personal differences and form a bond close enough to be confused with friendship, forged through fighting against others who use their new found powers for their own dark ends.
Season 2 picks up more or less straight after Season 1, and each episode introduces a "super mystery benefactor called Super Hoodie, and how each character manages to overcome the limitations of their powers. The identity of Super Hoodie is revealed with a 'Bwah?!' moment that is both awesome and unexpected.
The characters are very well developed, and you can see their progression as the series goes on. Particularly with regards to Alisha and Simon, their changing relationships with people and their overcoming of their personal demons is well presented. Nathan, Curtis and Kelly remain pretty much the same as they were in Season 1, with the exception of one episode a piece that gives them some revelation (which they promptly seem to forget and go back to their old selves). The main strength of Misfits is that all of the characters are flawed. There is no real sense of good and evil, nor of justice. The main characters need to survive with each other as well as against the rest of the world, and so there is no time for morality.
There is one plot hole at the finale (but, since it involves time travel, it can be forgiven - just), but aside from that, season 2 of Misfits surpasses the first and goes from strength to strength. I can't recommend it highly enough for UK viewers, or those familiar with British culture and television. Everyone else, well, give it a shot and you might be pleasantly surprised. Season 2 is available to purchase on DVD now [UK Only].
13 September 2010
|Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head) in the grip of madness.|
A year has passed, and Lady Morgana is still missing after being taken under the wing of the sorceress Morgause (Emily Fox). A series of frantic and suicidal missions have been ordered by Uther Pendragon. When all hope seems lost, Morgana is found and things begin to return to normal in Camelot. However, Morgana is a changed woman with vengeance in her heart and murder on her mind.
Without giving too much plot away, this is one of the darkest episodes of Merlin to date. The magic that has been done against Uther sets up two quite chilling scenes that reveal more of his character and personal demons that the other seasons have so far. The relationship between Merlin and Arthur has become a little more relaxed than before - there is more banter between them, and the bond between them is getting noticeably stronger. I think that at this stage there needs to be more respect of Merlin by Arthur, however. In the second season it could be subtly seen beneath the insults and commands, but there didn't seem to be any development in this episode.
|Lady Morgana (Katie McGrath) plots against Uther.|
As usual, the locations and sets of Merlin were beautiful, and the visual effects were pretty impressive. I was just a little bit disappointed to see the return of the Dragon this soon into the season after being dismissed at the end of the last season, but this was overshadowed by the awesome look (and voice) of the Dragon.
A solid beginning to what will be a very macabre season, with Morgana's turn to evil as the overriding plot piece. With next week's promise of a Morgana/Merlin showdown, Merlin riding the Dragon into battle and an army of the dead, it looks like Merlin has remained on form. If you haven't watched Merlin yet, I suggest that you start. Now.
Merlin on the BBC website