Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorite TV Episodes of 2013 Part II

2013 has been a great year for television and as we head into 2014 we here at BeyondFandom wish to put the spotlight on some of our personal favorite TV episodes of the year. 

Favorite TV Episodes of 2013 Part I

2013 has been a great year for television and as we head into 2014 we here at BeyondFandom wish to put the spotlight on some of our personal favorite TV episodes of the year. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'American Horror Story:Coven' 3.09 "Head" Review

The first two seasons of American Horror Story dealt almost exclusively with a contained setting be it the infamous murder house populated by both the living and dead, or Briarcliff Manor the torturous mental asylum at the center of last season. Part of the reason why Coven seemed so exciting at first had to do with the idea of several locations and of several factions of an impending witch war. It didn’t take long however for the show to spend way too much time with a set group of characters at Miss Robichaux’s Academy and short-change a number of other characters and stories introduced in the first couple of episodes. Throughout the winter finale, ‘Head’, a number of these backseat storylines were given the chance to shine but this late in the game is it enough to save what’s been a fairly weak season of American Horror Story

Thursday, December 5, 2013

'American Horror Story' 3.08 "The Sacred Taking" Review

Filler episodes of American Horror Story are a very peculiar creature. They look good but they truly put the faults of the season on display. It isn’t that nothing happens--the entire episode was based around a special ritual called the Sacred Taking wherein the coven can produce a new Supreme through the sacrificial suicide of the current one so there was a great deal of plotting and manipulation--it’s just that nothing means anything by the end of the episode. The status remains quo and this season remains The Fiona Show with occasional special guests. This is something I brought up last week, but yet again the focus on Lange’s character far beyond all others is starting to turn Coven into the lesser of three seasons.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'American Horror Story' 3.07 "The Dead" Review

Trying to find a connection in this world whether you’re human or of supernatural design can be a dangerous endeavor. Every time someone opens their heart and mind up to another it leaves them incredibly vulnerable. For some, this is an excellent opportunity to take a chance and broaden their own life experience. While others find it to be a great mistake that leads to immeasurable future harm. Taking this metaphor into the literal everyone on Coven tonight found the relationships in their lives tested, shifting, or reinvigorating. Some even all three as was the case with Fiona and the Axeman’s newly kindled bad romance of murderous proportions. Unlike the show, however I’m not going to spend way too much time on them when there were quite a few interesting developments down in New Orleans in ‘The Dead’.

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' 1.08 "The Well" Review

One of the most prevalent complaints about the characters of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is usually centered fully around the character of Agent Grant Ward. I’ve heard fans complain that he’s too wooden or too dull and while he was definitely the stoic straight man at the start of the show, there have been steps made to flesh his character out more with dry humor and a bit of charm. The writers went a step further last night to try and fully humanize Agent Ward by giving him a sad flashback scene involving the namesake of the episode ‘The Well’. Unfortunately Grant's manpain turned out to be the weakest part of an episode that had a lot to love about it elsewhere as an Asgardian relic caused all kinds of mayhem for whoever put their hands on it. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

'Sleepy Hollow' 1.08 "Necromancer" Review

Well who would have thought that a simple case of ‘she’s just not that into you’ could go so far as to help create a major player in the End of Days? It’s a common occurrence that men often fight wars for their women. But in this case it’s on an apocalyptic scale as we found out the true identity of the Horseman was someone quite important in the shared past of both Ichabod and Katrina Crane--his ex best friend and her former betrothed. I just wish the reveal would’ve been a little more thrilling as it became pretty obvious halfway through that the random suddenly important guy in Ichabod’s flashback would serve a purpose in the episode that was solely focused on Headless himself.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

'The Originals' 1.07 "Bloodletting" Review

This week on The Originals we experience what could be called our first crossover event with The Vampire Diaries when Tyler comes to town.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

'American Horror Story:Coven' 3.04 "Fearful Pranks Ensue" Review

You could say that if last week the battle lines were drawn then this week is all about the opening shots in the grand war of witch vs witch down in New Orleans on Halloween. Already both sides have taken casualties and from how the traditional yearly Halloween time two-parter concluded it’s clear that the battle is about to get truly brutal indeed. Even before Marie Laveau’s wakened her undead horde (for the second time even in just one episode) one side is already facing some serious internal conflicts as Fiona’s actions from last week carry some big consequences that promise to leave at least one witch’s life in ashes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

'The Originals' 1.05 "Sinners and Saints" Review

If you were one hundred percent certain that Marcel was the grand villain of the story, then clearly you haven’t been paying attention.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

'American Horror Story:Coven' 3.03: "The Replacements" Review

When Cordelia Foxx performed her snaketastic fertility ceremony with her husband Hank in last week’s episode, people probably assumed it would work. Magic, we've been taught throughout the pop culture landscape, is the ultimate problem solver and just as Delia’s doctor said when he informed her that she could never be pregnant, ‘if I could wave a magic wand, I would’. We've already seen Cordelia try this along with every other method that’s more medically legitimate and still nothing. Tonight’s episode proved the point in several storylines that magic is far from a problem-solver and its consequences are dire in a world where the realms of science and even God preclude what nature can sustain. Or put simply, everyone dies, some people can’t give birth, and never ever fuck your son.  These may seem like common facts of life but in the world of American Horror Story there are few, if any limits.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

'The Originals' 1.04 "Girl in New Orleans" Review

This week on The Originals, the show starts to put a new mystery into play while giving a few of its characters a hell of a lot more backstory than they had before.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

'Revenge' 3.04 "Mercy" Review

So it turns out I was a little premature last week when I announced that Father Paul was dead.

'Once Upon A Time' 3.04 "Nasty Habits" Review

Sometimes a game-changing episode is touted as such in the promos leading up to the episode's air date. Other times, it occurs under the radar and genuinely provides a bit of a shock to the audience. If Once Upon A Time is suggesting what I think they were in tonight’s episode, ‘Nasty Habits’, then this situation definitely falls toward the latter. You'll never look at this version of Peter Pan the same way again.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' 1.04 "Eye Spy" Review


‘People are surveying themselves.’ 

This is Agent Coulson's line during a mission briefing after a bold daylight heist in Stockholm puts the team on the trail of a former agent who at first it seems might actually have a power, but the truth is far more nefarious. While he’s referring to the fact that the nature of this particular diamond transport was flashy enough to gain the interest of several tourists and natives as great Instagram fodder, it’s also a great bit of wordplay and foreshadowing when we learn the true nature of former agent Amador’s immense capabilities. As it stands, it was moments like this one which made ‘Eye Spy’ possibly the finest hour of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. 

'The Originals' 1.03 "Tangled Up in Blue" Review

Tonight on The Originals, we found out that girls like boys who are nice to them (what a concept) and we discovered that babies on supernatural shows are almost always trouble!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

'Revenge' 3.03 "Confession" Review

Even with Victoria Grayson now bankrupt we don’t have to worry about the Hamptons suddenly having a lack of theme parties.  Nolan takes up the reins this week with his very own nautical-themed housewarming party and it results in sparks flying everywhere.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

'American Horror Story:Coven' 301 "Bitchcraft" Review

Even though things on American Horror Story:Coven kick off in the past all the way back in 1834 with the introduction of perhaps the most malicious baddie in all three seasons of AHS, the slave-torturing sadist Madame Delphine Lalaurie, it isn’t until the middle of the episode where the true themes of this season emerge and explode on screen. Newly awakened teen witch Zoe Benson (S1 returnee Taissa Farmiga) attends a local frat party with her classmate, witch bitch Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts), and together they experience a real life horror story as Madison is drugged and the frat boys take turns forcing themselves on her. Kyle (Evan Peters), the only pure boy in the fraternity, was downstairs flirting with Zoe unaware of her deadly secret and when he discovered what his brothers were doing, promptly lost his shit and caused them all to head for the hills so they wouldn’t get busted for their crime. As Kyle gets into a fight with the lead frat boy over the assault of Madison, she wanders out of the party in a daze to stand next to Zoe as they watch the bus drive away. Until that is, Madison lifts her hand and uses her telekinetic abilities to flip the bus over in the blink of an eye--killing several and injuring two of its male passengers inside. This is basically what would have happened at Duke if their victim was a witch and it’s the idea of women struggling against oppression that is the impetus of Coven more so than any other series of American Horror Story.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

'The Originals' 1.02 "House of the Rising Son" Review

Tonight marked the second episode of The Originals, on its regular night and time and what I hope will prove to be the true format that will run through the season.  Where the first episode felt like recap/retcon hell, this episode provided quite a few origin stories when it came to the relationships the original family had with each other and Marcel in New Orleans, and it was freaking amazing.

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' 103 "The Asset' Review

When someone mentions Marvel Comics, the instinctual first thought that comes to mind most likely involves superheroes in tights using their powers to fight off supervillains that have a similar fashion sense. It’s the image of the more popular adaptations from Marvel and likely what some expected to get on the small screen from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But the reality is that in many books Marvel has produced over the years what is more commonly seen usually has to do with the concept of global conglomerates pushing the ethical limitations of what nature and science should be allowed to do. These leaders of industry are then aided by genius scientists and the like that either embrace the megalomaniacal ambitions that come from such power, or come to realize that the discovery is too much and mustn't be allowed to continue. Dr. Franklin Hall, a former mentor of Agents Fitz and Simmons, is firmly in the latter group when the discovery of a powerful rare element leads Dr. Hall to make his own ‘hard call’.

Monday, October 7, 2013

'Sleepy Hollow' 104 "The Lesser Key of Solomon" Review

One of the first confirmed success stories of the new fall season, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, just received a second season pick-up for thirteen more episodes. Some people thought it was a little surprising that Fox would order the same amount of episodes that the first season had when many shows get twice the episodes ordered for their second season once they’ve proven worth the investment. Capping the number of episodes per season is the best thing that could have happened to Sleepy Hollow outside of its fantastic casting since every week we’re getting a little more mythology to work with without being overwhelmed. It’s important these days to keep them coming back for more and tonight’s episode, ‘The Lesser Key of Solomon’, grew Sleepy Hollow’s mythology a boost by furthering the connection between the past and present as we learned that the conspiracy goes deeply enough to be found in the smiling facade of a next door neighbor. 

'Revenge' 3.02 "Sin" Review

Tonight we’ve seen what I can only describe as the first genuine feeling of regret Emily Thorne has ever had about taking down someone from her list.  It was only a matter of time before someone she targeted was either entirely innocent, or did everything they could to atone for their sins.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

'The Originals' 1.01 "Always and Forever" Review

I’ll admit that, inspite of the magical baby wank last season, I was still excited for the proper premiere of The Originals.  The backdoor pilot was almost entirely flawless so that only makes me all the more disappointed in the recut version with new scenes that they aired tonight.

'The Vampire Diaries' 501 "I Know What You Did Last Summer" Review

The CW
Despite the fact that everyone’s going to start their review in a similar fashion, I still have to say that shifting a high school show-themed show to college is indeed a tricky endeavor. The thing about The Vampire Diaries though, is that it may actually be one of the better things to happen to this show in years. Splitting up characters into different locales paves the way for new story opportunities and character interactions. Plus, what is college for most freshmen if not parties and skipping classes anyway? Two things that Elena and Caroline get top marks in. Their story line also shows Elena's and Caroline's shared talent for getting instantly wrapped up into a deadly mystery that could threaten their well-being in addition to their vampire secret. It also gives the viewers a chance to reacquaint themselves with the character of Elena outside of her romantic attachments. Back when she had a life of her own, when she went to parties and such with her friends, and her every move wasn't dependent on something the brothers needed of her. Her college mystery plotline also proves that it doesn’t matter that she moved away, the ever-mysterious Elena Gilbert remains an important part of most of this show's stories.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' 102 "084" Review

Last week our newly-formed S.H.I.E.L.D. special team dealt with a powers-related incident--one of the many fallouts from all that has occurred in the world since the Battle of New York changed the rules forever. There was a tease at the end of the episode regarding their next case, a 0-8-4 aka an object of unknown origin down in Peru. The team’s greatest challenge this week had less to do with this object than with the team still trying to put aside their vast differences in personality and training level in order to save the day. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

'Sleepy Hollow' 1.03 "For the Triumph of Evil' Review

After a smashing debut, Sleepy Hollow’s second episode was a little more so-so. Part of that could have had to do with the fact that the ‘of the week’ case had less to do with the central focus of the series than the events of the pilot. So it was a relief to see that the third episode, ‘For the Triumph of Evil’ managed to give viewers a great mixture of a super creepy creature feature as well as a story that pushed the overall plot along quite nicely.

'Once Upon A Time' 3.01 "The Heart of the Truest Believer" Review

When any show reaches it’s third season, it’s usually time to put up or shut up. A first season is all about establishing the world and the characters that reside within. The second can be used as a time to experiment--try new things see what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully, by the time the all-important third season comes about a show’s creators have some idea of what needs to be changed, expanded upon, or dropped entirely. Once Upon A Time floundered quite a bit last year but the season premiere seems to be taking what worked from that year and finding new ways to incorporate it into the storytelling in this new season.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

'Revenge' 3.01 "Fear" Review

Summer may be over here in real life, but it’s just kicking off in the Hamptons on Revenge as the biggest mystery of the fall begins:  Who pulled the trigger on Emily Thorne?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

'Elementary' Season Two Premiere - "Step Nine" Review

Step Nine: “Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

When we rejoin our duo in season two, it doesn’t seem like much has changed in their day to day life.  With the exception of Joan being fifty percent more badass than previously when she single-handedly takes down a runner that Sherlock lost sight of.  So when Sherlock receives a mysterious call that sends them to London we hit the ground running with the introduction of several new characters and Sherlock’s attempt to make amends with at least one of them along the way.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' 1.01 "Pilot" Review

Some of the best books to read are the ones that require you to delve right into the world. Either the book uses terms that will mean something later on or even including intentionally difficult words which require a dictionary to be close by. There's a certain added joy in having to work for the complete picture and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. understands that from the get-go by throwing around concepts such as Extremis and Project Pegasus. In some cases, such a concept will resolve itself with exposition in the episode, or such a concept will be placed into the dialog in hopes that the apparent synergy in this television series will get viewers to seek out the appropriate Marvel comic to read for full comprehension. That may seem daunting to a casual viewer but that's part of what works so well during the pilot episode of this Joss Whedon led endeavor. Despite the fact that there's a lot of additional story alluded to in the episode, there's never an overbearing sense of information overload. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

'Sleepy Hollow' Pilot Review: The Fantasy-Horror Cousin of 'Fringe' Delights Instantly


Hudson Valley, New York. 1781. The scene: a battle rages on between the redcoats and the patriots. Ichabod Crane (a dashing Tom Mison) fights for his life against... that's not a regular redcoat soldier. Two hundred fifty years later, Crane awakens in a cave and to find himself alive in a very different world than the one he once occupied. Meanwhile, a routine police call turns into a double homicide perpetrated by the very same redcoat solider that should be dead but you can't truly kill the Horseman of Death headless or not. 


So it goes for Fox’s latest genre entry Sleepy Hollow, a surprisingly engrossing occult apocalypse conspiracy tale woven around two main figures from that legend (Crane and the Headless Horseman) and police lieutenant Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) who's more than willing to believe as recent events involving both figures bring up dark days from her past while forever changing her future. After watching the pilot it would be impossible not to compare this show with quite a few others currently on the air (Elementary) or have since long ago left our screens (The X-Files). To me, it immediately established itself as a sort of horror-fantasy version of Fox’s most recent genre phenomenon that didn't get canceled after one season Fringe, which makes sense since Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are involved in both shows. Which is nothing but a compliment when a pilot is this  strong, well-plotted, and filled with disturbing imagery right out of the gate.

Monday, August 5, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.10 "The Overlooked" Review

There’s a heartbreaking moment in tonight’s episode of Teen Wolf, ‘The Overlooked’ where in the midst of this ongoing chaos the full emotional onslaught of his situation starts to break Stiles down. He’s alone in an ambulance with Cora Hale who’s not long for the world at the rate of tar-like black vomit she’s hacking up, at least when she actually is conscious enough to do so. A sudden storm has overtaken Beacon Hills and turned the local hospital into a warzone of the first degree as the nearly empty environment plays host to a cat and mouse series of showdowns involving our heroes, the Alpha pack, and Jenny the Darach. Yes, Derek even knows and she’s still alive to saunter around but let’s get back to Stiles before I go off about that. With tears in his eyes and the closest thing he’s likely felt to a sense of defeat in his heart in a while, Stiles tells Cora that maybe she was right about him and about the others--maybe they really only do show up in time to find the bodies.

In that moment it’s clear that Stiles is referring the most about himself than he is anyone else in their group. Scott the werewolf, Allison the hunter, Lydia the banshee, and now and forever Stiles the human. A situation like his kidnapped father would have served to make Stiles feel helpless enough, but tonight he and the others were coerced by Darach Jenny into helping her get out of dodge before she would reveal the location of Sheriff Stilinski or help heal Cora. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.09 "The Girl Who Knew Too Much" Review

Over the weekend Teen Wolf fans were teased that on Monday’s episode, ‘The Girl Who Knew Too Much’, the killer aka the Darach would finally be revealed. That happened but we also got an answer to what Lydia is and finally one of the adults (oh who am I kidding, it’s Papa Stilinski he’s the only one who didn’t know) gets closer than ever to the truth of the happenings in and around Beacon Hills.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.08 "Visionary" Review

Did you ever hear the one about the two unreliable narrators that served as a story frame for Teen Wolf’s first ever flashback episode ‘Visionary’? Well, much like Deucalion or Scott when asked the same question about the scorpion and the frog (or turtle) in the show itself prepare because I’m about to break it all down for you. By the end of this, admittedly much-needed, hour of exposition exploits we as an audience as well as the characters on the show finally have answers to some of the show's big questions. This includes Deucalion/Alpha pack backstory, the nature of Derek’s first tragic love story, and how much of an instigator Peter Hale and Gerard Argent have always been. Mainly though this was a great way to show some background info in order to illuminate some ideas and characters that were immediately thrust into focus early on this year without much known about them. It actually could have been better to have this episode air a little earlier on in the first half of the season, but there are always growing pains when a show has a much longer season to deal with balancing its story in.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.06 "Motel California" Review

Now that I’ve written separately about the problem with Jennifer Blake and Derek Hale, reviewing this episode can be done without the distraction of random love-making scenes with the mortally wounded. Aside from that, ‘Motel California’ might well be one of the best episodes outside of last season’s ‘Battlefield’ and easily a stand-out for season three so far. The entire cross-country team plus Lydia and Allison are in the middle of nowhere forced to stay at a sketchy hotel with a history of violence that fuels an exploration of the inner demons of three of our increasingly tortured Were boys: Scott, Boyd, and Isaac. It also gave Team Human a chance to show why they continue to be the most capable characters on the show.

'Teen Wolf''s Derek Hale and Jennifer Blake: A shipper-free perspective

Throughout the hiatus the whisperings of Derek getting a love interest this season got louder and louder until there was actual confirmation. We knew who it was going to be and those of us willing to give the development a chance were eager to see how it all played out. We’re now halfway through the first part of the third season and so far, the development between Derek Hale and high school English teacher Ms. Jennifer Blake has been quite underwhelming. But in ‘Motel California’ it became downright ridiculous as their scenes together hit all the wrong notes and proved that if this pairing is ever to be saved then there is so much work left to be done by Jeff Davis and co.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.05 "Frayed" Review

Since Teen Wolf is balancing out two main antagonistic forces in the first half of this season, it was time this week to have an episode that once again focused primarily on the war with the Alpha pack instead of the sacrifice rituals. Make no mistake about it, this is definitely a war and with that distinction comes the establishing of roles, battle plans, and scars lots of scars physical and otherwise. It also comes with casualties and ‘Frayed’ saw the demise of an alpha. Despite that grim subject matter, this episode also had some of the very best Stiles antics yet as well as the most effective case made so far for the redemption arc of Allison Argent.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.04 "Unleashed" Review

Anytime a show has to deal with bringing in new characters, expanding the relationships of its core crew, and balancing new storylines there are difficulties in doing so smoothly. Four episodes in and ‘Unleashed’ had a few more issues with handling concepts such starting new ships for known characters. Last week, Derek saved Scott and co’s new teacher Ms. Blake from a rabid werewolf thrashing. Now he’s showing up before school in her classroom checking on her well-being (good), trying to impress her with his knowledge of the metaphorical nature of The Crucible (she’s an English teacher Derek you’re not impressing her), and Ms. Blake responded in kind with suspicion and nervous twitchiness.

The problem with creating a pairing out of this situation is that it feels so random. We barely know anything about Ms. Blake outside of the fact she’s a hot young teacher with a penchant for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Monday, June 17, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.03 "Fireflies" Review

One of my favorite things about this show is that not only does Jeff Davis make you pay attention so you can often come to the correct answer before one of his own characters does, but he is perfectly comfortable with allowing a central mystery within one character drive more than one plot while staying a mystery. Take the saga of Lydia Martin for example; we’ve only been given glimpses of why she’s such a unique player in all of this. She’s immune to the bite, she seems to be drawn to some sort of mystical force, and she has a habit of hanging out with corpses accidentally or not. This week’s opening felt strongly reminiscent of a plight suffered by another television character, Hannibal’s Will Graham, in that Lydia too wound up in a place without a sense of why she was there or how long it was since she left home. Somebody get her a piece of paper to see what her drawing of the nearest clock looks like.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

'True Blood' 601 Review - "Who Are You, Really?"

Season six of True Blood is shaping up to be an exploration of power, and how those who have it can grow corrupt and lose themselves to it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

'Teen Wolf' 3.02 "Chaos Rising" Review


Now I know that for some younger viewers of MTV’s Teen Wolf the original Scream film is a bit of a dusty entry in the horror genre. Something that older siblings would mention but not something that they have personally seen. Well there’s a character in the first couple of Scream films played by Jamie Kennedy whose purpose was to keep viewers abreast of the meta rules of the very film he was in—the rules of a horror movie. One of the most important rules of this canon has to do with girls losing their virginity. It’s a play on the perception, especially in a girl’s teenage years, that the women who are liberated sexually are courting trouble. Put simply, if you’ve had sex or are going to have sex then you’re probably going to die. New character Heather learned this fact the hard way in tonight’s episode.