Category Archives: Television

Thick S7

The Rise of the Nutters

This was an hour-long Christmas special, aired in January 2007.

While Hugh Abbott’s away, new enemies rear their heads inside and outside the government. A disastrous Newsnight interview, an opposition “week at the coalface” and a leaked “legacy” leave the PM with no choice but to resign six months early.


This is a good example of what happens when a 30 minute show gets expanded to an hour. It takes a good 15 minutes to get into the episode and work out what is supposed to be happening. They expand the story with two main plot lines. One following Malcolm, the other the opposition.

There is a great “bad” interview with Jeremy Paxman. As explained in the commentary, this was an actual interview with a junior minister done during the holiday break. They used Paxman’s questions and edited in the answers from their actor.

The longer format really does highlight just how much swearing there is in the show.

ST:D 1.09

Into the Forest I Go

 

Kol’s flagship emerges off Pahvo’s atmosphere, standing head to head with the Discovery. Tyler and Burnham teleport onto the Klingon ship to better understand its cloaking technology, so the Federation can adjust it to their own ships.

They find Cornwell paralyzed, and Tyler suffers a panic attack when he encounters L’Rell. To distract the flagship, Stamets is asked by Lorca to make 133 mini-jumps in order to prompt the flagship into cloaking.

The continuous jumps traumatize Stamets, who gains a vision of seeing a “clearing in the forest”, while Burnham distracts Kol by challenging him to a fight.

After the 133 jumps are completed, the cloaking algorithm is calculated, and Burnham, Tyler and Cornwell are transported back to Discovery which opens fire on Kol’s flagship, killing Kol and his Klingon soldiers.


The half season ending was good. I expected Tyler or Burnham to be captured. But both survive and bring back Cornwell.

Then the trope of ‘just one more’ comes out and we know the Discovery is making a jump into the unknown.

I think it’s a question not of where they are, but when.

 

Brokenwood 15

Episode 15 – The Scarecrow

Philip Henderson stands next to an impressive scarecrow amidst a field of damaged vegetation. His whole crop has failed. The scarecrow may have kept the birds away but this catastrophe is something bigger.

Angered and distraught, he confronts his neighbour, the cantankerous Doug Randall and accuses him of spray drift. Doug is having none of it and an ugly altercation ensues. The following day Philip is discovered dead in his field – the victim of an obscure poison.

Director: Josh Frizzell
Producer: Sally Campbell
Writer: Greg McGee

Cast:
Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C. Breen NIC SAMPSON
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Kahu RAWIRI JOBE
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Trudy TRACY LEE GRAY
Philip & Thomas MIKE EDWARD
Dahlia TAI BERDINNER BLADES
Ray JASON HOYTE
Doug PETER TAIT
Tamati MARK RUKA
Hemi BROOKLYN NATHAN
Whetu ATTICUS ITI
Larry ADAM GARDINER
Sydney CARL BLAND

Brokenwood 14

Stone Cold Dead (Episode 14)

Charity Highmore-Browne is the owner and curator of Brokenwood’s Historic Village. A stickler for all things Victorian, Charity lives in a time warp.
Her sudden death by an arrow brings Mike and his team into the realm of New Zealand’s colonial past as they deal with a blacksmith, a missionary and the local postmaster. Not to be overlooked is Charity’s sister, who once represented the country at the Olympics – missing out on a bronze medal in archery.

 

Director: Murray Keane
Producer: Sally Campbell
Writer: Tim Balme

Cast:
Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C. Breen NIC SAMPSON
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Kahu RAWIRI JOBE
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Hughes COLIN MOY
Frankie (Frodo) Oades KARL WILLETTS
Charity JACQUELINE NAIRN
Neil PHIL PELETON
Jack SCOTT WILLS
Evie VIOLET O’HALLORAN
Wally EDWARD NEWBORN
Patrick DAVID VAN HORN
David GRAE BURTON
Anna TAIMI ALLAN
Billy DAN VEINT
Nigel GEOFF HOUTMAN
Debra SALLY STOCKWELL
Tony BRETT O’GORMAN
Ron PETER FORD
Dennis SHANE CORTESE
Doctor Carlton ASCIA MAYBURY

House of Cards 53-56

House of Cards Season 5

Chapter 53
Chaos erupts when Frank steals the floor of the House and demands that Congress formally declare war on ICO. When the Speaker insists that Frank yield the floor, he insists that he “will not yield.” Later, Frank and Claire attend Jim Miller’s funeral, which is also attended by Will Conway and his wife. During the service, Jim’s daughter Melissa blames Frank for the death of her father, before whispering something in his ear. Claire appears on Charlie Rose to debate Hammerschmidt, who claims that Frank’s war on ICO is a diversion. Meanwhile, Conway goes into damage control when his wife claims that the mother of Josh Masterson is a victim, too. Claire speaks with Ms. Masterson and asks that she tell her son to surrender. The manhunt for Masterson heats up as the FBI closes in on a location on the Virginia border. However, Frank has been holding Masterson captive in an unknown location and has him summarily executed, informing the press that he “wishes” Masterson had been taken alive. Frank calls to speak with the Millers, but Jim’s widow hangs up on him. Afterwards, Frank and Claire greet people outside the White House, telling them they have nothing to be afraid of.

Chapter 54
At an event in New York City, Claire is informed that one of Frank’s old friends has gone missing and is presumed dead. Meanwhile, Frank hosts a luncheon of the nation’s governors, seeking to gain the support of the governors from five critical swing states. Catherine Durant states her opposition to Frank’s “war” on terror, while Donald Blythe believes it has helped his poll numbers. Meanwhile, Aidan Macallan attempts to hack into a telecom switching center and delete everything that may implicate him and the Underwoods. As Aidan nervously awaits the file deletion, electronic devices around the Washington, D.C. area are affected in what Frank claims is an ICO cyber attack. He uses the incident to pressure Congress to accept his declaration of war. Meanwhile, Conway takes his kids trick-or-treating, but as the military mobilizes in response to the cyber attack, he has an outburst on live TV which Frank and Claire drink to.

Chapter 55
The day before the 2016 election, Conway holds a 24-hour live-stream call-in with voters and is asked a question by someone who knows about his time in the military; Hannah insists that Will is too humble to discuss the topic. While Claire and Frank campaign together in Pennsylvania, Doug confronts Governor Matthews for not following through with establishing voting centers or bringing in the National Guard. Back in D.C., Cathy alerts Frank to a Syrian national with strong ICO connections named Mohammad Kalabi. With Conway getting all the publicity, Frank calls into the 24-hour live stream and tells Conway that he can ask him any question he wants. Will responds by asking why he was never given a chance to complete the mission and save Mr. Miller after successfully negotiating the release of Miller’s wife and daughter. Frank says the terrorists could tell Conway was weak, meaning Frank had to step in and take control. Frank’s last-minute call grabs the morning headlines. However, the Underwoods are given worrying news: voter turnout is unsettlingly low across the country. Frank, however, insists that they are not going anywhere.

Chapter 56
On Election Day, voter turnout for Frank and Claire is low, and the polls are working in Conway’s favor, yet he remains cautious. Frank calls the governor of Tennessee and tells him that the home of a suspected terrorist has been raided and a plot to bomb the state’s polling stations has been uncovered, urging him to shut them down. A riot caused by a bomb-sniffing dog occurs at one Tennessee polling station and injures several people. Frank is able to convince the governor to halt voting and declare a state of emergency. A curfew is enacted, much to Conway’s dismay. Amid terrorist threats, the governor of Ohio calls Frank and says he is considering closing down polling stations, while Frank adamantly tells him not to, pretending that he doesn’t want that to happen. After Conway wins the state of Pennsylvania, Frank calls him to concede the election, but slyly says to the camera audience, “What, do you think I learned nothing from Al Gore?” In the wake of the call, Conway, his wife Hannah, and some of his advisers are elated, but his campaign manager Mark Usher remains skeptical. Several hours pass and Frank has yet to publicly announce his concession, frustrating Conway. At that moment, the governor of Ohio makes a national TV broadcast to announce he felt he had no choice to close the Ohio polls due to the potential terror threat and that the results are not certifiable as a result. Several more states hold their election results as well, thereby leaving the election contested. In the Oval Office, Frank and Claire discuss remaining in power for decades to come.

Thick 2.3

The Thick of it #6

Hugh attempts to toe the party line on special schools whilst staying true to his conscience. He also accidentally sends an eight-year-old girl an expletive-laden email, intended for Glenn, and Terri faces the blame.

Malcolm: Oh, I’m really sorry, you won’t hear anymore swearing from us, YOU MASSIVE, GAY SHITE! FUCK OFF!

Hugh: I categorically, did not knowingly not tell the truth. Even though unknowingly, I might not have done.

Ollie: I had a girlfriend with special needs once, actually. (smiles smugly) Luckily, I was able to fulfill them.

 

Thick 2.2

The Thick of It #5

There’s a cabinet reshuffle in the offing and the PM’s new ‘blue skies’ advisor Julius is making trouble. Robyn Murdoch struggles to cover Terri’s duties, and is removed from Malcolm’s morning meetings.

ST:D 1.08

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

The title is Latin for “If you want peace, prepare for war”. It is adapted from a statement found in Book 3 of Latin author Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus’s tract De Re Militari (4th or 5th century), although the idea which it conveys also appears in earlier works such as Plato’s Nomoi (Laws).

Perhaps the title should have been ‘Star Trek goes to Planet Avatar”. It’s got everything you need; blue leaves, strange sparky things and a tree of life (er communication?).

This is written by Kirsten Beyer, authors of  at least six Star Trek novels, none I have read.

It isn’t the best episode so far. Little tension, adventure or action. It just plods along to the end. It could be the fault of ex-stuntman director David Barrett. Or the story that isn’t very engaging.

And at the end, it’s not clear if Admiral Katrina Cornwell is dead.

Thick 2.1

The Thick of It 

At a ministerial visit to a factory, Hugh is accosted by a member of the public. With Terri away on compassionate leave, only Malcolm can help bury the story, but will he? Meanwhile, Ollie is dating an opposition advisor and hastily seconded to Downing Street to “ring his girlfriend”.

 

Thick 1.3

The Thick of it 1.3

Malcolm thinks Hugh’s empty flat in London could pose a problem for the successful Second Home Housing Bill. Meanwhile, Hugh develops a dislike for his media-savvy junior minister Dan Miller and Malcolm explains the art of a “good resignation”.