Rabu, 13 November 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'Arrow' right on target


Arrow has launched into its second season with breathtaking speed and precision.

NEVER losing the momentum it built in the last quarter of the first season, the second season of Arrow moves full speed ahead with its action quota and storyline.

Just four episodes into the new season, it has – so far – given its viewers more than a few jaw-dropping moments, with each episode ending with Ay Caramba-type cliffhangers.

The first season concluded with the unleashing of a man-made earthquake orchestrated by the first season's baddie, The Dark Archer. This has left the poorer part of Starling City, The Glades, in ruins, and the occupants so angry that it's only a matter of time before they retaliate against the rich and powerful. That is pretty much the theme for the second season.

But first, we have to deal with what's happening with our hero, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). He is consumed by guilt because he was unable to stop the disaster, which led to the death of his close friend. So what does he do? Oliver decides to return to the island – probably to punish himself for failing his city.

Luckily, his pals who know about his dual life – Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (David Ramsey) – track him down and convince him to come back. So, you know, they can get started on healing the city.

Interestingly enough, this is handled in just 15 minutes of the second season premiere. There is no lingering on the island or Oliver brooding and contemplating where he went wrong. Seeing one DC Comics character on television (yes, you, young Clark Kent of Smallville) crippled by guilt is more than enough, thank you very much.

'A little advice, Oliver ... ease up on the eyeshadow before people start mistaking you for Rocket Raccoon.'

'A little advice, Oliver ... ease up on the eyeshadow before people start mistaking you for Rocket Raccoon.' 

In the second season, the secret lair beneath Oliver's nightclub has gotten a facelift too, along with all his arrows. On a less superficial level, the hooded vigilante has decided to change his modus operandi and not kill every baddie he comes across. Instead, he lets the authorities deal with them in accordance with the law. This kind of control is obviously a positive development for the man who played judge, jury and executioner in the first season.

As a counterpoint to this development, the show's flashback sequences show us Oliver committing his first kill during his initial time on the island. Back in Starling City, however, Oliver's story sees yet another transformation; with his mother in prison (thanks to her role in engineering the earthquake) and his stepfather out of the picture, he takes on the role of CEO at Queen Consolidated.

There are undoubtedly similarities between Arrow and Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. There is even one episode dealing with vigilante copycats, like in The Dark Knight. But, since Arrow is "copying" from a good source and churning out good episodes, we are totally OK with that.

While Arrow is supposed to revolve around the main character, it has given us a couple of strong supporting characters also. Well, except for Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy); she is as boring as ever and still has zero chemistry with the rest of the cast. Actually she's even less likeable now since she is now determined to capture Starling City's vigilante and bring him to justice.

Her character is being developed to distract Oliver further as she now has a new problem – alcoholism. No disrespect to this real problem, but Laurel just makes it nonsensically dramatic.

Fortunately for the viewers, the strong female quota is filled up quite remarkably by Rickards (for the Starling City scenes) and Celina Jade (for the scenes on the island). Rickards' character has been bumped up from being Oliver's IT girl to his executive assistant. Felicity's promotion has elicited a number of hilarious exchanges between her and Oliver – whoever is "funnying up" the script for their scenes together is doing a good job. That man is just too serious sometimes.

Another girl who is making heads turn is Black Canary (Caity Lotz). In the comics, Black Canary has been paired romantically and professionally with Green Arrow. Here, she is initially a stranger to Oliver. More importantly, her presence gives rise to an interesting storyline when it is revealed that she is somehow connected to Ra's al Ghul, Bruce Wayne's teacher-cum-enemy in Batman Begins. This allows the show to feature even more of its trademark cool action sequences.

Another girl that has piqued our interest is Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau), a calculative businesswoman who is trying to take over Queen Consolidated from the Queen family. But there must be a reason for casting Glau, known for action-oriented roles, right?

There are other characters' stories running concurrently too – Roy Harper finally realising his ambition (to be the vigilante's assistant) and Thea Queen running her brother's club and being a pillar of strength for her imprisoned mother.

Personally, I like what the series has done with Paul Blackthorne's Detective Lance (who is now Officer Lance, after his demotion). He now seeks out the vigilante to help him bring down the bad guys.

This is the man who was vehemently against vigilantism and yet he now sees that it is not the worst idea out there if it stops the crooks. It's a complete turnaround, leading you to wonder what the consequences could be here.

With so many balls in the air, Arrow is capably juggling everything like a pro right now. If the second season keeps at this pace, it will be a worthy inheritor of the (Nolan) Batman legacy.

*Arrow airs every Monday at 9pm on WarnerTV (HyppTV Ch 613).

Bill Cosby developing new sitcom


'Warmth and forgiveness' will be theme of family comedy.

BILL Cosby says he's trying to develop the kind of sitcom that fans of The Cosby Show miss – a family comedy about "warmth and forgiveness".

Cosby – who's first standup special, Far From Finished, will air on Comedy Central on Nov 23 – told Yahoo TV he's working with Cosby Show executive producer Tom Werner on a new series. It was unclear whether he would star.

"I want to be able to deliver a wonderful show to network," said Cosby, 76. "Because there is a viewership out there that wants to see comedy, and warmth, and love, and surprise, and cleverness, without going into the party attitude.

"They would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes. Warmth and forgiveness. So I hope to get that opportunity, and I will deliver the best of Cosby, and that will be a series, I assume, that we could get enough people week after week after week to tune in to, to come along with us."

Cosby's publicist did not immediately respond to a request for more details about the show, which would mark the return of one of TV's most beloved figures. In recent years, Cosby has been better known for his blunt critiques of the younger generation than for his comedy.

But it's hard to overstate his importance as an entertainment icon. He's widely considered among the best standups of all time, helped redefine TV's portrayals of American-Americans with The Cosby Show, and won three consecutive Emmys for I Spy. – Reuters

Fourth animated series by Seth MacFarlane to debut next year


Bordertown portrays relations between a US border patrol agent and his Mexican immigrant neighbour.

THE creator of Family Guy, The Cleveland Show and American Dad! is developing his fourth animated series, slated to air on Fox from fall 2014.

In Bordertown, Seth MacFarlane will focus on everyday life in a sleepy desert town just north of the Mexican border.

MacFarlane's controversial humour will focus on Bud Buckwald, a US Border Patrol agent and father of three, and his neighbour Ernesto Gonzales, a Mexican immigrant and father of four. As Buckwald begins to feel threatened by the cultural changes taking place around him, the two families develop a complicated relationship built on friendship, romance and (mainly) conflict.

Bordertown will likely join Fox's Sunday evening animated comedy line-up, which already includes MacFarlane's first series, Family Guy, aired since 1999, alongside The Simpsons.

Fox dropped The Cleveland Show and American Dad! this year. The latter show – which has aired on Fox since 2005 – was picked up by TBS, and its 11th season will debut on the US cable channel in July 2014. MacFarlane's other TV creation, the live-action sitcom Dads, premiered on Fox in September. – AFP Relaxnews

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