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Andromeda: Chaos and the Stillness of It (2005)
Season 5, Episode 20
8/10
Harper is forced to help Burma while Dylan and Rhade return to Methus-2
18 September 2018
Following on from the previous episode General Burma has taken Harper to Seefra-1. He then contacts Dylan and tells him he will kill Harper if his demands aren't met. Dylan makes it clear there will be no deal. He then heads to Methus-2 with Rhade hoping to confirm that the Trance Gemini' aboard Andromeda isn't their old friend. This leaves Beka, Rommie and Doyle to try to locate Harper. They are looking in the wrong place though; Harper is no longer on Seefra-1; Burma forced him to take him and his men to Andromeda. Here we learn he is in league with an old enemy.

This was another solid episode; Dylan's reaction to Burma's demands was obvious the only one he could really make but it was still handled well and set up one of the episode's main plotlines. Burma's actions when he gets to Andromeda led to plenty of good action, as well as the less good 'so fast they blur' action used in some fights. The way Burma was linked to a certain old enemy came as rather a surprise, at least for me, and worked well. The search on Methus-2 also provided a good amount of tension as the structure started to collapse as Trance's sun approached. This plot thread also nicely explained why Trance had been behaving differently recently. We are also treated to some amusing moments; my favourite being Rommie's use of a famous quote from 'Star Wars' when she and Doyle confront Burma's goons. Overall a good conclusion to a two part story.
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Andromeda: One More Day's Light (2005)
Season 5, Episode 19
8/10
Trance's behaviour arouses suspicion and technophobes on Seefra-5 resist evacuation
16 September 2018
With Trance's sun working its way through the Seefra system it is time for Seefra-5 to be evacuated. Rhade and Harper are there working to get the Vedran tesseract machine working but there are more than just technological problems. The planet is led by an extreme technophobe who believes the planetary instabilities are an illusion created by those wanting to lure them into slavery on Seefra-1. Rhade is captured while trying to help the leader's sister, who had tried to organise an evacuation. Above Seefra-5 Beka is surprised when she intercepts a ship containing three Nietzscheans... a race, apart from Rhade, unknown in the system. They appear to be impressed to learn that she is their Matriarch; perhaps a little too impressed. Meanwhile on Andromeda Trance has gone missing; the others note that she has behaved differently since the events on Methus-2 three episodes back.

This was a pretty good episode; the three storylines providing some action, a good level of tension and some genuinely funny moments. There is also a sense of mystery as to where the Nietzscheans came from and what is going on with Trance. Most of the drama takes place on Seefra-5; this provides tension when Rhade is captured, a moment of tragedy and a dramatic 'to be continued' ending which leaves us wondering about the fate of a certain character. The plotline involving Trance has been hinted at before but here it becomes more explicit; it was probably dragged out for just the right length of time without fully resolving things. Beka's adventure with the Nietzscheans provide the episodes laughs; most notably when Dylan accesses the Maru's cameras at what appears to be an awkward moment. Overall an impressive episode which left me keen to see what will happen next.
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Andromeda: The Heart of the Journey: Part 1 (2005)
Season 5, Episode 21
7/10
Time to leave Seefra
16 September 2018
As the series approaches its finale Dylan learns, from Trance, that her people, the Lambent Kith Nebula, have a radical solution to the problem of The Abyss. She takes Dylan to meet the nebula; its apparent leader, Maura, explains that they will destroy the Abyss by destroying the three galaxies... something Dylan finds unacceptable. Meanwhile we learn that the other remaining Paradine have been killed leaving only Dylan. Maura takes Andromeda, and her crew, to the Route of Ages. From there they finally leave the Seefra system and return to Tarazed. Here they learn that not only has less time than expected passed but also a Nietzschean fleet is on its way and the Magog world ship was only damaged rather than destroyed. The crew must decide what to do next.

This episode was solid even if its main function was to get our protagonists away from Seefra and to set things up for the series finale. In doing so it raised the tension by explaining the threats that are to be faced without hinting at how they will be overcome. On the downside as they pass through the Route of Ages we are treated to a series of unnecessary memories of the crew's time in the Seefra system; thankfully this doesn't take too long though. Overall a decent set-up for the finale.
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Andromeda: Quantum Tractate Delirium (2005)
Season 5, Episode 18
8/10
The return of Rommie
16 September 2018
As this episode begins Beka and Rhade are working to evacuate Seefra-9 before it is destroyed by Trance's approaching sun. They are hoping for help from Dylan and Andromeda but there is a problem; he wishes to test the slipstream drive first and Andromeda refuses to enter slipstream without knowing the exit point, attempts to override the safety systems aren't successful. There is only one solution; repair Rommie. Doyle works to do this and everything appears to go well until Rommie becomes operational; it then becomes clear that Rommie has 'issues' and could be a danger to those aboard Andromeda.

After so long away it was great to see Rommie return; after what happened to her at the end of the previous season her return was far from guaranteed. The story of her return was solid and didn't go quite as I'd expected. The reasons given for her behaviour are explained well enough both emotionally and technologically. The secondary story involving the evacuation of Seefra-9 wasn't a distraction and provided some more action and a few laughs. As well as two good storylines we get hints of things that might important in upcoming episodes as a key member of the crew acts slightly out of character. The cast does a solid job; Lexa Doig was particularly entertaining as Rommie. Overall a fine episode which fans of the series are sure to enjoy.
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La peste (2018– )
8/10
The Plague
16 September 2018
This Spanish series is set in sixteenth century Seville when an outbreak of the bubonic plague has caused the city to be closed; much to the consternation of merchants involved in trade with the Spanish colonies in the New World. If concerns about illness weren't enough there have been a series of murders; Mateo Núñez, a former soldier who has returned to Seville to find the son of a friend despite being condemned by the inquisition for printing heretical works, is told he will be spared if he investigates the crimes.

If you like your historical dramas sanitised with healthy looking characters then this isn't for you. Even without the omnipresent threat of the plague most of the story is set in dark, filthy back alleys where violence could lurk around any corner. I confess that I found the story a little confusing at times but as it reached its conclusion it really came together and we get a solid conclusion. There are some fairly disturbing scene; including the sight of people being burnt at the stake. The cast does an impressive job, making us believe in their characters. Overall I'd recommend this to fans of historical dramas that don't sugar-coat the past.

These comments are based on watching the series in Spanish with English subtitles.
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9/10
Searching for tigers in the Kingdom of Bhutan
16 September 2018
This three part documentary follows a team of scientists as they search for signs of tigers in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. It is known that tigers have disappeared from most of their former range but little is known of their status in this secluded nation. Alan Rabinowitz, the scientist leading the operation believes that tigers can be saved if there is a suitable population in the foothills of the Himalayas with safe corridors allowing them to move about; that means a population in Bhutan could be key to their survival. When they get there they find what looks like suitable habitat and the locals claim that there are tigers there; not just in the forests, where one might expect to find them, but also high in the mountains. The team set out to discover what animals are about; mostly through the use of camera traps.

This was a fascinating little series; it gave an insight into the animals found in a country that rarely features on television. Those looking for the tigers clearly have a passion for their task and that comes across as we see them work and react to what they find. It must be noted that this series is very much about the search to discover what animals are there; those wanting stunning footage of various creatures are likely to be disappointed as most of what we see are short clips shot on camera traps or footage taken with heat detecting cameras... they do show what is there though and there is real excitement when certain animals are seen. There is surprisingly some real tension in the series; not just the question of whether or not they will find tigers in the places they are searching but also one of the team gets lost at night in an area he knows is patrolled by a leopard! Overall I'd recommend this series to anybody who loves nature, especially big cat lovers.
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Andromeda: Totaled Recall (2005)
Season 5, Episode 17
7/10
Dylan is 'killed' by an enigmatic stranger
15 September 2018
As this episode opens Dylan is helping Harper when there is an accident; Dylan gets highly toxic exotic matter on his hand. The next thing he knows it is apparently a week later and he is talking to Rhade in Harper's bar. They are confronted by an individual who uses Dylan's force lance to incapacitate everybody other than Dylan; he then fights Dylan and fatally wounds him... before Dylan dies the man gives him a cryptic message and identifies himself as an 'Elysian'. The next moment Dylan is back on Andromeda where he has no recollection of Trance. That isn't the end of the strange events for Dylan; he finds himself in various locations and times; the only constant seems to be that in each he meets the Elysian.

This was a rather intriguing episode. Once Dylan had had his accident it wasn't immediately clear if what we were seeing was really happening, all a strange hallucination or something somewhere in between. Each of the places Dylan finds himself feature familiar people or situations. This gives a good sense of mystery throughout. Guest star Kevin Durand does a fine job as the enigmatic Elysian. Scenes showing the rest of the crew around an operating table do point towards the 'it's all a dream' theory but other details give just enough hints to suggest that it is more than that. Overall an interesting episode.
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Tatort: Feuerteufel (2013)
Season 1, Episode 872
8/10
Inspector Falke - Firebug
15 September 2018
This episode which was rebranded as the first episode of 'Inspector Falke' here in the UK sees our eponymous protagonist investigating a series of arsons involving cars. The latest case involved the death of a woman who was in her parked car when it was torched. As the episode opens we see a young man filming himself setting fire to the car as the films himself, hoping to impress his girlfriend. He is shocked when he learns somebody is inside.

As the episode proceeds we see Falke, and his new partner Katharina Lorenz, investigate the case. They are somewhat hindered by locals keen to take the law into their own hands to protect their cars. Intertwined with their investigation we see the problems encountered by the man who started the fire; most notably the theft of his phone and his subsequent blackmail.

As an 'opening episode' this does a good job of introducing Inspector Thorsten Falke as his long-time partner moves on to a new position and he gets a new somewhat unwanted new partner. As is the way with such things Falke isn't keen on Lorenz but gradually grows to respect her during the episode. One might thing that following both the police and the person who started the fire there would be no sense of mystery but there are still questions to be answered and the ending does provide a genuine surprise. Lead actors Wotan Wilke Möhring and Petra Schmidt-Schaller are solid as Falke and Lorenz. There is a gritty feel to the story, with some moments of shocking violence and language that might offend some viewers. Overall I'd recommend this to fans of crime drama; just don't expect it to be like 'Inspector Morse' or 'Midsomer Murders'.

These comments are based on watching the episode in German with English subtitles.
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9/10
The Cleaning Lady
14 September 2018
This Argentine series is centred on Rosa; a cleaning lady whose life is changed when somebody is murdered in the boxing gym she is working at. She is instructed to clean the blood drenched changing room and threatened not to tell anybody. She does such a good job that the criminals behind the murder start coming to her whenever they want a crime scene cleaning. When the police, led by detectives Sandro and Gutierrez, search properties that she has cleaned they find no evidence whatsoever apart from traces of the custom made cleaning product she uses. If that weren't enough for Rosa to deal with she also has to cope with having a seriously ill son who is in need of a transplant.

This was an enjoyable little series. Having half our episodes is unusual for this genre, at least for this UK viewer, but they worked well and meant one didn't need an hour or two to watch. The story is told well, I liked how we see Rosa going through her routine before each cleaning job. Antonella Costa does a fine job bringing the character of Rosa to life and Martín Rena and Marcelo Arbach are solid as Sandro and Gutierrez respectively. There are some good tense moments especially towards the end. There are a few moments that require one to suspend ones disbelief; most notably the cleaning product, invented by a friend of Rosa's, which removes all evidence from most materials without causing damage. By the end of the series most details are wrapped up nicely although the possibility of further episodes is still there. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to fans of crime dramas.

These comments are based on watching the series in Spanish with English subtitles.
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Babylon 5: The Quality of Mercy (1994)
Season 1, Episode 21
8/10
A solid episode with three storylines
13 September 2018
This episode features three separate storylines. In one we learn that Dr Franklin is running an unofficial free clinic in Down Below; when he notices patient numbers are falling he discovers that a woman is using alien technology to treat people. At first he is suspicious but later learns more about the machine. In the second story line a killer has been convicted and is due to have his personality deleted; before that is done he must me telepathically scanned by Talia Winters; an experience she finds most unpleasant. In the third storyline Ambassador Mollari offers to introduce Lennier to the 'real' Babylon 5 with interesting consequences.

This might seem like a filler episode featuring three little stories but it is rather fun and gives us a further insight into several characters. It also has subtle political messages about capital punishment and the provision of healthcare for the less well off; these details aren't overstated though. The first two stories are more serious and provide the moral questions and some good drama. The third, involving Mollari and Lennier, balances that nicely with some more light-hearted moments as Lennier is first taken to a bar, complete with exotic dancers, and then to a casino where his knowledge of probability is put to good use. During these scenes we learn so interesting details about Minbari intolerance to alcohol and Centauri anatomy! Bill Mumy and Peter Jurasik are great in their roles. Overall a good episode that provides drama and comedy.
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Andromeda: Saving Light from a Black Sun (2005)
Season 5, Episode 16
8/10
Repairing a broken sun
13 September 2018
In this episode Methus-2, the Seefra system's second artificial sun, is due to turn off for an hour; Harper believes he has a way to extend that time to three hours. During this time the others plan to head into the sun's core in order to repair it. If successful they will save the system from Trance's approaching sun. Once inside they find themselves in a maze of corridors and soon they are all separated. If that weren't enough they aren't alone; Trance's 'sister' is also there and her sole concern is persuading Trance to re-join the nebula; even if that means endangering her friends.

This was a really gripping episode; the fact that there was a fixed deadline for them to repair Methus-2 meant the tension rose steadily as the clock ran down. The crew encounter various snags during the mission; including one that leads Harper, who is back in his bar, to suspect they may have all been killed. It was interesting to hear more from Trance's 'sister'; her comments give us further insight into their kind and make it clear that Trance isn't typical. Laura Bertram did a fine job in the dual role of Trance and her identical sister. There are some clichés of course; the way they are separated and even more notably how close they get to the fixed deadline... not really a problem though as it served to raise the tension well. Overall a fine episode.
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9/10
The City of Lost Children
13 September 2018
Set in a strange dystopian society where children are disappearing. They are being taken by Crank; he believes that his inability to sleep, which causes him to age more rapidly, will be cured by harvesting the children's dreams. He lives aboard what looks like an oil rig along with a group of clones, a dwarf named Mademoiselle Bismuth and a disembodied brain that lives in a fish tank. They are all creations of a scientist who has disappeared. One day Crank's cyborg underlings kidnap Denree, the brother of One, a sideshow strongman. Shortly afterwards he teams up with orphan Miette (Crumb in the subtitles) and they set out to rescue Denree and the other stolen children.

This film is an utter delight with a surreal look and a cast of grotesque characters together with an enjoyable story. The world in which this is set has a distinct yellow/green look and none of the adult characters are exactly attractive in the Hollywood sense, this is helped by the way they are filmed. The villains are over-the-top strange making them more comic than scary. The story is enjoyably weird with plenty of tense moments, again these are done in a way that isn't overly frightening. The cast does an impressive job making their unbelievable characters believable; most notable are Ron Perlman, who plays One and young Judith Vittet who is a delight as Miette. Overall I'd definitely recommend this to anybody looking for something very different.

These comments are based on watching the film in French with English subtitles.
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Andromeda: The Opposites of Attraction (2005)
Season 5, Episode 15
7/10
A woman arrives claiming that Dylan is her husband!
12 September 2018
As this episode opens Harper is working on a project which, if successful, will reduce the imminent threat from Trance's approaching sun. As Dylan asks him about it he senses that there is somebody watching him. Shortly afterwards both Trance and Rhade sense a presence. Beka is then confronted by a mystery woman who nearly kills her by opening a portal into space. She later meets Dylan and identifies herself as Marida... and claims that he is her husband! He has no recollection of her but when they touch he somehow believes they have spent time together. As we learn how this situation came to be Harper's plan is ready to be put into effect; Marida offers to help but she might be more dangerous than she appears.

This was another enjoyable episode. It starts well with hints that somebody unexpected is aboard; this is quickly confirmed as we first see Marida observing Dylan. It isn't long before she is found but that isn't the end of the mystery; especially after her announcement. There are hints at her identity before it is revealed but this isn't dragged on too long. Then there is still the question of whether she is dangerous; she states that she is in love with Dylan but that could just make her more dangerous. Monika Schnarre does a solid job in the role of Marida. There are some good moments of tension. Overall a good episode.
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Andromeda: Past Is Prolix (2005)
Season 5, Episode 14
7/10
Trance's sun returns; threatening the Seefra System
11 September 2018
As this episode opens Harper discovers an ancient Vedran program that will destroy eight of the nine planets in the system if activated. Dylan determines that it will be necessary to evacuate those planets but he will have other problems to deal with first. Trance's sun arrives via the Route of Ages as part of a plan to recreate Tarn Vedra. Trance faints and develops a fever that could ultimately destroy Andromeda. While this is going on the crystals that control the teleportation system linking the planets are stolen; Dylan and Orlund, the crystal's protector, try to retrieve them but it won't be easy as they are now in the possession of dangerous thug who has no intention of returning them. If that weren't enough Rhade is refusing to do anything that could endanger Beka since he learn she is destined to be the matriarch of all Nietzscheans.

This episode provides plenty of tension and action. There is the concern about what is happening with Trance; Beka and Rhade face enemies and take risks to save Trance; and Dylan and Orlund are in real danger when they try to retrieve the crystals. The action is solid and includes both physical fights and an ambush in space. There is also the usual degree of humour; much of this is provided by Orlund's inability to follow Dylan's instructions which serves to worsen their situation; Rob Daly is a lot of fun in the role. More questions are raised about Trance and her future as she makes an important decision. Overall another good episode.
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9/10
Horror amongst the beatniks
10 September 2018
Walter Paisley is a busboy at the Yellow Door cafe. Here he listens to pretentious beatniks, notably poet Maxwell H. Brock, and dreams of being an artist like them. Unfortunately for him he has no real talent. Then one day he accidentally kills his landlady's cat; thinking back to Brock's words in encases it in clay, complete with the knife he killed it with. Suddenly he is a hit amongst the beatniks and he is pressured to come up with a new work. Events lead him to be confronted by a policeman, who he kills with a frying pan and so creates 'Murdered Man'. Further works are created before the night of his exhibition.

This may be a low budget horror film from almost sixty years ago but it is still a lot of fun. It viciously satirises the pretentions of the beat generation while providing plenty of grim laughs. There are also a few moments that are quite disturbing even if we don't see horrors happening just off screen. The contemporary setting, at the time of making, makes a refreshing change from the usual gothic fare featuring supernatural horrors in Eastern Europe or Victorian London. Dick Miller does a solid job as the disturbed Walter and Barboura Morris is likeable as the woman he has a soft spot for. The rest of the cast are solid making us believe in their various pretentious characters. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to fans of older horror films looking for something different.
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8/10
A classic that is still funny after sixty five years
10 September 2018
Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw are two showgirls from Little Rock; Dorothy is bored by money but her friend Lorelei is determined to net a man who is rich and will shower her in diamonds. She believes she has found her man in the form of Gus Esmond, a rich but awkward character. They are to be wed in Paris. Lorelei and Dorothy catch a ship across the Atlantic; along with Ernie Malone, a private investigator employed by Gus's suspicious father; the US Olympic team; and Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman, an owner of a diamond mine who catches Lorelei's eye. As the voyage gets underway Dorothy and Malone develop a relationship but that appears to be over when she learns she has been spying on her friend. Their situation only gets worse when they arrive in France.

I must admit that while I'd obviously heard of this film I knew nothing about it when I sat down to watch... I didn't even realise it was a musical! If you aren't a fan of musicals don't be put off though as between the musical numbers there is a fun story with plenty of laughs. These laughs are, as one might expect, fairly gentle with no material that is likely to offend anybody. Marilyn Monroe is a lot of fun as the not-as-dumb-as-she-appears Lorelei and Jane Russell is equally impressive as her friend Dorothy. Elliott Reid is really solid as Malone; the closest thing the film has to a non-comic main character. The musical numbers, including the famous 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend' are fun enough although they are probably the areas of the film that feel most dated thanks to changing musical styles... this isn't really a problem though as they are still rather fun. Overall I'd recommend this for anybody looking for some inoffensive fun.
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Babylon 5: Babylon Squared (1994)
Season 1, Episode 20
9/10
The return of Babylon 4
9 September 2018
When a tachyon emission is detected in a remote sector of space a fighter is dispatched to investigate; it returns on auto-pilot; its pilot has died; apparently of old age. A distress call is then received; apparently from Babylon 4; the station that just disappeared four years previously. Sinclair and Garibaldi lead a mission to rescue the crew. Once on board Babylon 4 they each witness flashes of other times and meet an alien named Zathras who explains that the station is being taken by 'The One' to be used in a great war; whether in the future or the past he doesn't know. While all this is going on Delenn departs Babylon 5 alone and heads to a meeting of the Grey Council where she is offered a promotion which, if she accepts it, will mean never returning to Babylon 5.

This is a top notch episode which tells us much more about how Babylon 4 came to vanish as well as suggesting important things to come; especially when we learn the identity of 'The One'. The way Babylon 4 appears and disappears gives a real sense of urgency to the rescue mission and Zathras's words just add to the mystery; one can only assume that certain details will be returned to at a later date. The story involving Delenn is more than just padding; as one watches one can't help wondering if she will really be leaving Babylon 5 and even after the resolution certain questions remain. Not everything about the episode is serious though; we are treated to an amusing prologue where Sinclair and Garibaldi play a prank of Ivanova. Overall this was another really solid episode; the series is really getting into its stride.
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Andromeda: Moonlight Becomes You (2005)
Season 5, Episode 13
8/10
Beka and Rhade risk madness while Trance is drawn to Seefra-2
9 September 2018
As this episode opens Harper, Doyle, Beka and Rhade are searching the tunnels for what they believe to be Vedran treasure. They find a door, which closes after Beka and Rhade enter; according to legend if they pass a test they will be rewarded... if they fail only madness awaits. Harper and Doyle try to open the door again but this only results in Doyle being severely damaged. Meanwhile back on Andromeda Trance says she feels drawn to Seefra-2; suddenly she transports to the planet; Dylan follows her by more conventional means. Once there she heads to a carnival show featuring a being, named Ione, claiming to be a 'Sun God'; his show clearly involves props and pyrotechnics but he has a link to Trance. His 'manager' is determined that neither Trance nor Dylan should get involved with him.

This was another solid episode; it was fun seeing Trance Gemini taking the main role. The episode is effectively two separate stories that are ultimately linked. The one involving Harper, Doyle, Beka and Rhade provides plenty of tension while the one involving Trance and Dylan provides more intrigue. This includes Dylan meeting a man who believes he will fulfil an ancient prophecy and Trance's relationship with Ione which features a nice little twist concerning the latter. The cast does a solid job; most notably Laura Bertram, who was a lot of fun as Trance. Overall an enjoyable episode.
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Andromeda: Pride Before the Fall (2005)
Season 5, Episode 12
9/10
Beka's new boyfriend is not what he seems
9 September 2018
The first thing I'd say about this episode is that if you haven't already looked at the cast list avoid doing so until after you watch as one character name would spoil the big reveal that comes at the end of the episode.

As this episode opens Dylan is in the process of acquiring a power source that could get Andromeda fully operational; then quake causes him to be trapped; he calls for help but Andromeda and Doyle can't agree on a plan and Beka is too busy with Peter, her new boyfriend. Luckily Rhade manages to rescue him and the power source. Obviously there are going to be more problems though; not long afterwards Peter tells Beka that he has planted a bomb on the Eureka Maru that will detonate if she lands or makes any outgoing transmission. He then approaches Rhade and while complimenting him starts a fight. He also claims to have mastered the Route of Ages and suggests the date isn't what Andromeda's crew believe it to be. Ultimately Peter's true identity is revealed; something some of the crew find difficult to believe.

Given that this is the hundredth episode of 'Andromeda' it deserves a good story and I think it gets one. Questions are raised and answered in a good way, some of these promise to effect the remainder of the series. Guest star Lochlyn Munro is solid as Peter; the sort of character one can believe Beka might get involved with but also one arrogant enough to accept what we later learn about him. There is some good action as Peter gets in fights with both Rhade and Dylan and plenty of tension as Beka searches for the bomb. There are hints at Peter's true identity before the big reveal; this reveal should be a good surprise. Without going into details the episode also provides one great moment that should have fans wanting to cheer. Overall an impressive episode.
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The Grudge 2 (2006)
6/10
Some good creepy moments but a rather messy story
7 September 2018
This sequel is somewhat different to the previous film in that rather than giving us a single story we get three linked stories that are shown in an intertwined manner.

These feature Aubrey Davis, the sister of Karen, the protagonist in the first film heads to Tokyo to see her hospitalised sister. Things quickly turn sinister and she meets a journalist who is investigating the house Karen had lived in and attempted to burn down. This leads them to discover a link to a previous owner's mother who acted as a type of exorcist. A second story follows three girls, from an international school, who visit the house and start having terrifying visions. Finally, in the third plotline, a family move into a new home in Chicago where strange things happen when the neighbour's daughter returns home.

I found the previous film to be genuinely creepy, especially the first time I watched it, but this was too messy. It had plenty of good moments but having three stories was at least one too many. Even though it provides the film with a fine opening the section in Chicago seemed superfluous; its purpose seemed to get the franchise out of Japan. The two Japan based sections were better; the one involving Aubrey gave us some good background to how the house came to be cursed and the one featuring the school girls provided the best scares. Some things don't really make much sense; notably when Aubrey visits her sister in a Tokyo hospital none of the staff she deals with speak English but an elderly woman she visits in a remote rural area speaks it fluently. The cast are solid enough and most of the special effects are good, in a suitably creepy way. Overall I'd only recommend this to fans of the original, even then cautioning that it isn't as scary.
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Andromeda: Through a Glass, Darkly (2005)
Season 5, Episode 11
7/10
The return of an old friend
6 September 2018
As this episode opens the Andromeda crew are trying to help refugees on Seefra Five; it isn't easy though as their oppressor has a formidable air defence system. Then Höhne, the Perseid scientist who was assumed dead after an accident on board three yours previously materialises on Andromeda's bridge. For him no time has passed since the accident. He offers to help adapt the tesseract machine to transport goods down to the refugees. While doing this he establishes that there is still a link to three hundred years ago, before the fall of the Commonwealth. Dylan plans to use the devise to both save his crew and the Commonwealth but there is an unexpected problem that threatens the entire Seefra system.

This was an enjoyable episode; the story provided plenty of tension and a nice twist towards the end. There are also some nice emotional moments. The highlight however was the return of Höhne, an amusing and likeable character. Alex Diakun does a fine job in the role. The troubles on Seefra Five did seem to come out of nowhere; here we have signs of heavy fighting but I don't recall any mention of trouble before; even in the previous episode where Dylan and Doyle went to Seefra Five... this isn't much of a problem though. Overall another decent episode as the final season reaches its midpoint.
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9/10
Puerile but very funny
6 September 2018
On the off chance you haven't come across them before; protagonists Beavis and Butt-Head are a couple of teenage wasters who spend their lives watching television and dreaming of scoring with a woman. When their television is stolen they get off their couch and set about getting a replacement. This sees them head to a motel where they meet Buddy; he mistakes them for the hitmen he hopes will kill his wife, Dallas, for $10,000. Our dim-witted duo misunderstand Buddys request that they 'do' his wife; thinking they are going to get lucky they fly to Las Vegas. Here they meet Dallas; they don't do her but she promises that she will meet them in Washington DC, where they will get what they want. Before they set off Dallas sews something into Beavis's shorts... the X-5 bioweapon system! They head across the country, accidentally causing mayhem on the way... they are pursued by the ATF.

This film certainly won't be for everybody; it is definitely puerile, the character designs are crude and the animation isn't the best... it certainly isn't Disney! These 'faults' are what makes the film such fun though; it is stupid but hilarious. The plot is solid enough to give the two slackers a reason to travel across the country. Their antics are varied; accidentally causing a disaster at the Hoover Dam, being more interested in flushing urinals than the world famous 'Old Faithful' geyser, offending a group of nuns and ultimately going to the White House, where many amusing things happen. They aren't the only amusing characters; we also have a senior ATF agent who is keen on giving cavity searches; a pair of hapless neighbours who get caught up in the mayhem and weapon smugglers Buddy and Dallas, played by A-Listers Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. Overall I'd say this won't be for everybody but if you want a really good laugh at fairly lowbrow humour you could do much worse.
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Andromeda: The Test (2005)
Season 5, Episode 10
A stranger arrives to judge the crew
5 September 2018
Shortly after this episode opens something arrives in the Seefra system; it first appears as a ball of energy and when it encounters Beka it causes her to recall her worst memories. Later a man each of the crew has had dealings with dies. His name was Prieus and he spoke his dying words to Dylan. Afterwards 'The Stranger' appears and questions each of Beka, Harper and Rhade about their dealings with Prieus. He also talks to Dylan; he tells him that he will tell him how to get out of the Seefra system... on condition that he kills the person responsible for Prieus's death. Trance has a very bad feeling about the situation.

This was an intriguing episode; early on it looks as though it will be about Prieus's dealings with the crew after we see him offering Harper the means to convert ordinary items into pure water... then he is promptly killed and we have a murder mystery. Then 'The Stranger' turns up; he is menacing without being overtly threatening; Bill Mondy does a fine job in the role. He seems to appear and disappear at just the right/wrong moment. Having Dylan agree to kill the person who murdered Prieus raises the tension as do Trance's forebodings. The fact that these events take place during a storm only serves to add to the atmosphere. The ending provides some good surprises. Overall an enjoyable episode.
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Andromeda: What Will Be Was Not (2004)
Season 5, Episode 9
8/10
A misunderstanding leads to Trance leaving
5 September 2018
As this episode opens Harper and Rhade are arguing over the latter's bar bill; Beka and Doyle get involved and soon they have set off a full scale bar fight. As it breaks up Rhade states that they all know who is really to blame for their situation. He means Dylan but Trance enters at that moment and assumes they mean her. Believing she isn't wanted to leaves and heads down into the tunnels of Seefra One. Here she meets Orlund, a sweeper responsible for keeping the tunnels clean and safe, who mistakes her for a princess. He has also discovered ancient Vedran technology including a weapon that turns its targets into stone. Dylan and Doyle head down to the tunnels, looking for Trance.

This was an impressive episode; its start emphasised the tensions that have built up amongst the crew before giving us a good Trance centred story. This story tells us more about the Seefra system and how the planets are interlinked; especially after Orland demonstrates a certain piece of Vedran technology that he has found. Orland is an interesting character; nicely ambiguous and potentially dangerous; guest star Rob Daly does a fine job in the role. Regular Laura Bertram gets a chance to shine as Trance gets are larger part than she has had in most episodes of this season. We also learn a bit more about Doyle; a character I was initially unsure about but now rather like. Overall a good episode which provides details that should advance the overall season plot.
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Andromeda: So Burn the Untamed Lands (2004)
Season 5, Episode 8
7/10
Dylan must choose between helping an oppressed group of getting a power source for Andromeda.
3 September 2018
As this episode opens Harper is showing Dylan a weapon he has recently acquired; his interest isn't the weapon itself but the crystal that powers it; he believes that, with some modifications, it could be used to power Andromeda. The problem is that it is only mined in one area and that area is controlled by Cutter, a man who oppresses the miners and doesn't welcome strangers. Dylan and Rhade seek jobs working for Cutter but as Dylan learns of how the miners are treated his priorities start to change. Meanwhile Doyle heads to Andromeda and gets a frosty reception from the ship's holographic AI.

This episode was solid enough but did feel as though we'd seen the story many times before on other sci-fi series... how often have we seen protagonists having to save an oppressed group of people from an unpleasant character? Still it provides some decent action. Further entertainment is provided by the effect the crystals have on Harper as he finds himself unable to do things he would normally find easy. The subplot involving Doyle and Andromeda was okay but felt like it was there to pad out the main story. Overall a decent episode if not a stand out one.
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