Speed and Superheroes

I haven’t been much aware of a good number of superheroes during my childhood, most of these people being popular ones these days – it was mostly the game of four at that time, with the four people with names ending with “man”; Spider-Man, He-Man, Batman and Superman along with some regular dose from The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician. Due to Defenders of the Earth cartoon, the one Flash whom I came to know later was Flash Gordon and I never really liked him.

The Flash became known to me more with those animated movies having Justice League of America as the centre of attraction. But the first version of him which was not animated, came to me with the television series called Arrow about which I have mentioned before on this blog. The episode featuring him as the superhero was not that interesting, but he surely caught some attention with that one. Then there was this television series with him as the central character, more like a spin-off from Arrow.

theflash (1)

The television series has been a pretty interesting one; The Flash is without doubt another nice superhero stuff for us to watch. I have felt that a movie would do just fine with this superhero and the stories of lightning speed. As you would guess, I had my doubts about this superhero, but they were erased in a flash. Grant Gustin rightly makes the character enjoyable here. My favourite one here would be Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow whom I surely remember from a number of horror movies – Friday the 13th, The Crazies, The Ward and Piranha 3DD; that is a nice list even though not exactly the ones to be rated very highly as individual movies.

Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells and Jesse L. Martin as Joe West are two others whom I have felt to be deserving the mention – I have felt something special about these characters too. Carlos Valdes provides the humour here as Cisco Ramon. Well, the characters work really well with this television series, and there are some episodes which really make us want to watch the next – I have only watched the first season, and all my thoughts about the series came from there. With how that season ended and from what I have heard about the next season, I am surely looking forward to watching season two soon.

theflash (2)

Even though I like both Arrow and The Flash, I have been more attached to Arrow than the latter as it is darker, and has the super-powers kept to minimum – there is just the presence of some vaccines rather than the meta-human, super-villain, superhero collection in The Flash. I have also felt that all the characters in Arrow have something more – the love angle of The Flash remains a let-down too, with the two main characters. Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak is the best possible factor in both the series combined, and the hardworking hero also makes Arrow closer to the heart.

You know that the action sequences are better with Arrow too; but The Flash uses the special effects to its advantage, and this difference between the two has been more like the same between Batman and Superman – I used to like that latter more when I was a kid, and now I prefer the former. There is one is the grand hero with those special powers and the other, a millionaire who has changed to become the vigilante who fights in the darkness. The world itself has changed, and so the change of preference was to come at some point.

The suspense factor also has Arrow edging ahead, and the tension in both series remains pretty much high, even though The Flash has the terrible romance between the two main characters making things go wrong. The love triangle of The Flash is the one thing that stretches the series and brings it down. Romantic melodrama should be the least of one’s concern in a superhero flick or series, if you ask me. But in the end, you will love this television series too. Well, The Flash has some very nice villains, and that is a strong point there – the series also remains steady, unlike Arrow which has its ups and downs.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the television series, The Flash.

TeNy

Saving the Idiot Box

Even though television has managed to become the big star of entertainment overtaking its predecessors like radio, the internet hasn’t really become the substitute of television – not completely, and not yet. Even though some channels come up with the most pathetic programmes, television continues to survive, as it has become part of life. But this television, which is more of an idiot box, will need better programmes to survive, and I am coming up with such an idea here to save it.

During this season of terrible serials showing pathetic humans who hate each other, what people need is a regular dose of goodness and kindness. In each and every popular television serial, there is too much foolishness in store, and so much of hate is in store, and the same thing repeats for so many episodes. To remove this abomination, there has to be light, as it is the only thing that can get rid of this highest level of darkness. So removing the pitch-black will require new and a lot better programmes.

DSC08981

We need a new sunrise to make television better, by a long way!

The complete annihilation of the fake reality shows have to happen first, because on the ruins of the same, should the new programme be built. The ruins of such pathetic shows will make us remember how terrible these were, and it will serve as inspiration for new and better things. Reality shows and serials remain the big curse for the idiot box, and make sure that they remain the great idiot box. So, the new television programme which will replace these should just have good men and women; those who have made a difference.

There is no shortage of such people in India, and so running the show for an hour every day from Monday to Saturday won’t be a problem at all – we will only have more and more of such amazing people because there is such potential, as long as the whole new generation is not consumed by the evil of modernity in such a way that they are not lost forever. But in any situation, there will be one person or the other, making some difference, and we will be looking for such people to base our television shows on.

There are people who work for the poor without asking anything in return. The friends of the rich might not like them that much, and will brand them as having some other hidden agenda – they will abuse these people for their religion, caste or community, but it is the kind of people whom we should be focusing on. We should give absolutely no importance to the celebrities who feed on the blind affection and love of the common man – they are not heroes at all; the one who does his or her duty to fellow beings is the true hero.

We take any person who has worked for the upliftment of the poor – his or her religion and other details won’t matter, and the mistakes are of less significance, because that person is doing something which most of us won’t do. We are going through with our own lives and these people are doing something for the lives of others – it is a beautiful thing, which is why we will need an episode for one such person each and every day, except for maybe Sunday which can be left for the special programmes – ours is not special, but real and of daily life.

DSC03850

We should go on a new path with television; take a big turn!

An hour a day for six days at a time between eight and nine will be appropriate tribute to these people who spend their time and energy for the others, as they are the real heroes. They should be seen at the representation of India in the right way, and not the selfish ones – no actor, actress, model, politician, businessman, cricketer or anyone else who keeps earning so much money and appreciation from the nation, but provides nothing in return deserve a chance. We need television shows on the real great people!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Deep into the Quiver

So, after watching three seasons of Arrow, I have managed to come up with my favourite characters. Yes, the Green Arrow is the protagonist, and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen a.k.a. the Arrow will be a face that I won’t be forgetting soon. He will be co-starring with Megan Fox in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, and so we will be seeing him on the big screen, and it will be a first time at this part of the world. Let that happen in style, and for now, I will deal with my favourite characters in Arrow.

Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) – The smartest person around, and providing all the needed humour, this character came up to make things a lot more interesting. Emily Bett Rickards is undoubtedly the right choice, as she makes us feel that we want more of her during each and every episode. I have my own doubts if the television series would have caught my interest this much without her; I would have still watched Arrow, but this one makes the same a certainty.

arrow (2)

Sara Lance/Canary (Caity Marie Lotz) – Here is one character that keeps coming back from the dead again and again, only matched by the Arrow himself in doing that, except for the fact that she even gets buried in a grave. You see that she comes and goes, but leaves a charming effect. We remember Caity Lotz from The Pact and its sequel, and so you will be able to recollect that face if you have been following the horror movies regularly. I felt that she makes an amazing Canary/assassin, and I look forward to see her in similar roles.

Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) – Ra’s al Ghul does have some warrior daughters who change the situation whenever there is a chance. We had one in The Dark Knight Rises in the form of Talia al Ghul, and here we have her step-sister who makes her way into Starling City instead of Gotham City. Here, once again the heir to the demon has more than what meets the eye. I remember seeing Katrina Law last time in Spartacus, and I loved her here as much as there. I feel that the bow and arrow looks the best in her hands.

Floyd Lawton/Deadshot (Michael Rowe) – What is it about a vigilante television series if we can’t like its villains? Well, Batman as the Dark Knight had us falling for the villains, and here is someone who is not the usual villain. One of the better members of the Suicide Squad, he surely has his moments, and will keep reminding us of him. Some of the best episodes of this television series had him. Unlike the rest of the characters, most of whom are too complicated, this one turns out to be rather straight and clear! Will Smith will play Deadshot in the upcoming movie Suicide Squad.

arrow (1)

Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) – There are not many villains who live up-to their promise, but this one does; hate has a certain amount of charm when concerning this particular villain who hasn’t always been that though. Both in the island as well as after becoming the mercenary known as Deathstroke, this one is surely the villain to look out for. He was really good as Crixus in Spartacus, and he is one of the two performers from Spartacus whom I am glad to see again, unlike those not-so-actors/actresses whom the mindless fans will support!

Helena Bertinelli/Huntress (Jessica De Gouw) and Carrie Cutter/Cupid (Amy Gumenick) – I really wanted to see these two villains a lot more, the former with the crossbow and the latter with those special heart arrows. The former’s never-ending desire for vengeance and the latter’s hope for some weird infatuation and love are two things which contradict each other, but if I have to choose my favourite villains from the television series, I will select these two along with the two just above.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the television series, Arrow.

TeNy

What About an Arrow?

I have never thought that I would watch so many television series in English. But it has been proven otherwise though, as I have watched so many of them; I couldn’t stand some of them, which I decided to skip immediately, and the others including Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Constantine, Gotham, Sherlock and Spartacus. They have kept me interested for such long time that the only thing I wanted was the next episode; to that long list, there is one more and it is Arrow.

Having one billionaire vigilante as the protagonist again, Arrow reminded me of Batman right in the beginning. We know that Arrow or rather the Green Arrow and even the Flash were not the popular names around here, and I am pretty confident that the names were not even known around here. The popular ones had their titles ending with “man” except for The Phantom and Mandrake. Spider-Man, Batman, Super-Man and the He-Man – these were the superheroes of those times.

During my childhood, I remember believing that the most powerful of the heroes always required their superhero name to end with “man”. For some reasons, a few superheroes were always more popular than others around here. One surely wouldn’t doubt the case of Superman though, as everyone wanted such powers. Batman and Spider-Man successfully represented two creatures, and He-Man provided a certain not-that-super alien side to it, and it was the most watched cartoon series of my childhood. The one memorable team of superheroes was X-Men which followed.

arrow (1)

The Avengers is one of those movies which expanded that horizon further after Marvel had come up with a few earlier and also with the Age of Ultron later. We have quite a lot of superheroes right now, and those like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk has reached the next level with their popularity. As of now, it seems that if you watch the television series Arrow, there will be another one added to the list of the big superheroes; there will the Green Arrow, and the Black Canary, and something more.

So, in Arrow, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), the well-known billionaire playboy from Starling City returns there after being shipwrecked and lost on an island. With his father dead in the shipwreck, his remaining family of his mother Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson) and sister Thea Queen (Willa Holland) welcomes him. But he is no longer the man that he used to be, and intends to correct the mistakes of his father and that of himself while getting back to his world after five years of absence.

Arrow has a little bit too much of drama at times if you ask me. There is something repetitive about it when coming to the real lives of the superheroes and the rest of the mysterious people especially when related to their flashbacks which keep going on and on, but otherwise Arrow is a very interesting watch. I initially liked the flashbacks, but when there were too many of the same, that made me feel strange, and later even stopped looking at the screen when the flashbacks arrived.

arrow (2)

Still, Arrow is the kind of television series which you can just keep watching because it is thrilling and entertaining, and you keep wondering what is to happen next. Green Arrow will remind you of Batman as the Dark Knight a lot. Starling/Star City’s problems are not so different from that of Gotham City. There are no superpowers to our protagonist once again, and the darkness stays throughout its run. After you watch this one, among the three better known superheroes with names starting in the form of “Green” this one surely will be your favourite.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the television series, Arrow.

TeNy

Angels, Demons and Humans

There was a certain supernatural action-thriller released in 2005 which became my instant favourite at that time. With Keanu Reeves playing the protagonist, I ended up knowing more as John Constantine rather than being part of Speed and The Matrix. Constantine was a movie which created such a huge impact on my mind. It redefined my ideas about this world and the other. There was even a game based on the movie, and it also helped; that one was an interesting third person shooter.

Along with being the shooting game, Constantine reflected the movie and had those spells too. The weapons were interesting and there were some captivating cutscenes. The darkness was something even more interesting, and it was my second favourite action game featuring the slaying of demons after Undying. Coming back to the movie, it even had Rachel Weisz in a double role. I loved the depiction of hell in that movie, the shot of a particular cat, the special mixed qualities of the movie, and how the story developed.

The movie and the game are exactly the big reasons why I wanted to watch the television series following the same story and one of the most interesting protagonists in a movie featuring the supernatural. I did have my doubts about this one in the absence of Keanu Reeves who has been the true Constantine for long. But that one never had the sequel it deserved, and here we get used to Matt Ryan as the titular character, and by the half of first season, we are over the film and take him as Constantine.

constantine (2)

I had loved Lucy Griffiths as Liv Aberdine, but that character disappeared after the first episode. She seemed to be the one who was going to assist the protagonist, but that was not to be. But there was Angélica Celaya as Zed Martin, the psychic who assisted Constantine for the rest of his missions. I have felt that she did an amazing job there; this character is mysterious, and becomes the best thing about this television series. I would still love to see a few appearances from Lucy Griffiths at some point.

So, Constantine as the television series brings the adventures of the demon hunter, exorcist and master of the dark arts back to the scene. Here, he starts at a mental institution after a failed exorcism from where he immediately gets out, and starts saving the souls and sending the demons to their own worlds. As the worlds get closer, more paranormal activities occur, and investigations become necessary. After leaving Liv Aberdine and meeting Zed Martin, things get a lot better from the fifth episode, if you ask me. I have actually found the seventh one, “Blessed Are the Damned” to be the best of them all.

So, even if you are not going to be impressed by the first episode which losses its main lady character by the end after wasting too much of its ideas on her, you can keep going, because things are only going to get more interesting. You get the demons, angels, strange humans, fallen angels, and so many kinds of creatures from the other world that you will wish to keep the whole thing going. Even though it started in a rather funny way, things do get more serious later, and also more complex.

constantine (1)

The types of evil has rather increased here and the creatures catch our interest in an easier way, but compared to the movie, I have found the television series lighter. There are some moments and dialogues which are rather memorable, and will keep us wishing to return to the series. What this television series has left me more though, is a desire to watch a sequel to the Constantine movie, but that is not going to come anytime soon, I guess. But as I have nothing to do, and have been keeping my patience level high, I shall still wait. I have read that this series will see no more light, and so what other choice do we really have?

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook of the television series, Constantine.

TeNy

Bat and the Metropolis

As a child, I was less of an admirer of Batman than a number of other superheroes. But there was still something that I have always loved about the story. It was all about the villains then; none of the heroes had the villains like Batman could face. They were special and Batman was not. I did like the movies on Batman at that time too, but that was about villains too. The Nolan trilogy of Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises made that clear, many years later.

So when I read that there was a television series about the origins of the wonderful villains as well as the city itself, I was certain that I wanted to watch it – The Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, The Scarecrow, The Riddler, The Joker, Hugo Strange, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze. The story here revolves around James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) of the Gotham City Police Department during his earlier days of his service. Paired with elder and the more experienced detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), he will have a lot to do.

gotham (2)

So, the Gotham City is the kind of world which has quite a lot of crime, as you would expect. The corruption is everywhere, and a long time before Batman, there were the two officers doing their duty, surrounded by crime lords and their henchmen who control so much. It is not easy to handle crime and corruption without going through them, as the crime lords have their people in the government as well as the police department. With morals and the hope to change the city for the good, James Gordon will do what he can.

Gotham television series actually starts very slowly, and it took some time for me to get into the story, characters and the environment, it was with the sixth episode that things got a lot more interesting. It is mostly due to the return of Oswald Cobblepot known better as The Penguin, the future villain of Batman who has the most interesting past. Robin Lord Taylor as the intelligent thug who makes it big despite his troubles, has some moments which are just top-class.

After The Penguin and his master manipulations, there is Camren Bicondova as the young Selina Kyle, long before the Catwoman had a chance to be the big cat. I knew that I had seen her before, and that was in the 2014 movie Girl House, with that first sequence. The Cat is the next most interesting character in this series, and this girl has so much talent; The Catwoman is a character who has always deserved an origin story like this, close to the oiriginal Batman story and not alone.

Meanwhile, Benjamin McKenzie and Donal Logue manage to do some great job at the same time as the police officers doing their work, against all odds as you can guess. The prettiest face should be Morena Baccarin as Leslie Thompkins, the love interest of James Gordon after Erin Richards as Barbara Kean had brought the charm earlier. But everything in the city is connected and revolves around the murder of the parents of Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). It is all about the name “Wayne” in the end.

gotham (1)

I have only watched the first season, and it was nice to watch such a prequel to Batman and his villains. I believe that it can only be better with our villains transforming into what they are to be later. Even though The Penguin and Catwoman are the ones who were in focus here, The Riddler was very close to being there as the bad guy. We also know that Poison Ivy, Scarecrow and Two-Face are already there in the present form before the transformation. What comes with them is the past of Batman as the little Bruce Wayne.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Gotham television series.

TeNy

Celebrities and their Fans

I was watching an episode of Vellanakalude Naadu (The Land of White Elephants) on Asianet channel on last Sunday, and I found the idea talked about to be a very interesting one and more valid than anything else for the present time. The satirical tv series has been doing a good job every weekend, but this one can be considered the one episode more close to life than any other. They have come up with an idenity separate from the big satire program Marimayam on Mazhavil Manorama and it feels good.

The episode dealt with the blind fans and their great role-model celebrities. It showed us how ridiculous the celebrity worship and the fan clubs happen to be. There is absolutely no point in these as the fans are never really the admirers as they should be. There are only two kinds of fans who are usually seen during a movie release; one is the type which got no ability to think for themselves and blindly worship a person for some strange reason, and another is the kind of fan who stick to this for material benefits.

Yes, there are fans who are not part of these two groups, but they are rare and as they don’t hate and abuse others, their voices are less heard. The other groups of fans whose lives are based on hate will make them heard because they are intolerant. What they do in the name of their favourite celebrities happen to be the curse of the movie industry. I have always believed that a movie should be watched and appreciated without caring about who acted in the flick.

vellana

We know the most significant work which these fans do. They go around telling everyone and posting on the Facebook media that a terrible, average or above average movie of their favourite actor or actress is awesome. They abuse people who say that the movie is not that good. They also degrade the movies of other celebrities telling everyone that they are pathetic. Some do it because they are blind followers and others for some material benefits. But both types of fans are such pain on the social media.

What they do in the theatres happen to be even more ridiculous. They make sounds in the darkness and clap and scream so much for their favourite actors that listening to the dialogues is impossible. The howling which they do for the movies of other actors make sure that listening to dialogues is hard otherwise too. They try their best to make the theatre experience hell of the common man and make it even worse for the family audience. According to them, the world belongs to them only.

The fans also do pour milk over the giant flex hoarding of their favourite actors. Well, wastage of food when children are in need of nutrition comes easy, doesn’t it? Earlier, there was an incident in which a fan climbed over a flex hoarding of their favourite actor at Thiruvananthapuram and fell down while trying to give the huge thing a shower in milk. What did he earn other than the loss of his own life? It is a strange thing about life, that you make the people who love cry for you in the name of a person who doesn’t know or care.

The celebrities need their fans to make them popular and the fans need money while some fans are just dumb. The celebrities will surely make advantage of this, creating fake campaigns about their greatness, simplicity, skills, social work and everything else. If you see a lot of such posts from fans about “simplicity”, “social work” and the rest of the qualities, there is a big chance that these situations are created and paid for. It is not the media and fans that need the celebrities, but it is the other way around; otherwise, we would have seen the celebrities talking against the fan clubs – do we see such a thing? Not at all. Vellanakalude Naadu on Sunday showed how disgusting this hero worship is, in a clear manner.

***The image used in this blog post is a screenshot of the first screen of a video of the television series shared by Asianet.

TeNy

Satire of White Elephants

Even though Marimayam of Mazhavil Manorama is the better known satire on Malayalam television channels, there is another program which is aired at 10:30 PM every Saturday and Sunday, keeping a high standard for itself too. Vellanakalude Nadu, the satire shown on Asianet has its name inspired from the 1988 drama satire directed by Priyadarshan, scripted by Sreenivasan and produced by Maniyanpilla Raju. It had Mohanlal and Shobhana in the leading roles supported by a fine group of popular names of that time.

With its memorable comic scenes and its work as a political satire on the system as well as the people who were around it, the movie is often considered as a classic even though its Hindi remake Khatta Meeta with Akshay Kumar and Trisha Krishnan in the lead roles didn’t do that much. Translated as “The Land of White Elephants” with its title, this television series deals with the random situations that a common household come against, and it usually has someone from outside trying to interfere with their lives.

The last week’s episode had the protagonists, Sivadasan and Kunjumol being fooled in the name of providing visa to work in the Middle East. It is a commonly used idea, and the episode actually added an addition layer to it along with creating some more funny situations with the neighbours and the relatives. Cheating related to visa has been quite common with agents making fools of the people who are in need of an urgent job. Such characters are also common, making an appearance also in the recently released realistic flick, Pathemari.

vellana

All the stories revolve around the two protagonists, and the rest of the cast actually changes their personalities. Susu is the neighbour and friend of Kunjumol, but both friends are jealous of each other. Susu’s husband is played by two actors, one playing the character called Vinod and another Jimmy. Both characters are part of the television series in one role or the other, with one who doesn’t play the husband role plays another person in the locality. Another character is Manjulan who comes up with something new every episode.

The rest of the characters include the sister and brother-in-law of Sivadasan along with two other characters from the locality. The need for them arises according to the story of the episode. There are times when the story is almost fully shot inside one house only. Sometimes there will be more focus on the different offices. The episode usually starts with Sivadasan and Kunjumol, ending it also with them, with other characters dropping in between. There have been a few exceptions about it though.

There have been a good number of interesting episodes in Vellanakalude Nadu, and almost all of them have left some nice and valuable messages on the society. There was one episode which dealt with the mobile tower related issue and another one with the phenomenon of fake certificates. The issue of companies making false promises towards its customers, was one of the best taken episodes. They could even take the common problem of alcoholism and bring the message in a very interesting way.

The advantage of this program is that the cast is not just very good, but they are also a lot suitable for the characters which they play here. The earlier episodes were different though, set more in the offices than anywhere else in the Marimayam style, and the characters were also somewhat different, even with the core remaining the same. The change of the focus to houses instead of the offices has helped the program to bring an identity of its own, different from Marimayam, and it has been a good positive thing which will make sure that the program does better!

***The image used in this blog post is a screenshot of the first screen of a video shared by Asianet.

TeNy

The Weekend Satire

There is a certain amount of difficulty in finding the interesting satires these days. As far as the movies are concerned, the last big one goes a long way back to Pranchiyettan and the Saint as a full satire, even though there were others with some qualities of the genre. Bringing effective full satire to the audience needs a lot of skill and understanding the viewers as well as the society in a critical way. It is clear that most of the television programs never really understands what the viewers want. But there are surely exception in the same field.

There are two programs which successfully brings the satire to the next level though. One of them is Marimayam which deals with the corruption in government offices and other institutions, and makes fun of the situations. Broadcasted on Mazhavil Manorama on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00 PM, it is one of the longest running satires ever in a Malayalam channel. Meanwhile, the second one is Vellanakalude Nadu which is broadcasted on Asianet at 10:30 PM every Sunday, bringing the satire related mainly to two families and their surroundings.

tvmarimayam

Existing since the time we remember Mazhavil Manorama has come to the viewers, Marimayam still continues its awesome journey. Even with its major actors S. P. Sreekumar and Rachana Narayanankutty not being part of the program, the rest does manage to hold things together. This Saturday had the funny version of how KSEB had decided to charge extra money if people are not at home when the employees come home to take the electricity meter reading. It was another fun episode to watch, and proves to be very interesting to the audience.

The Sunday version was even funnier with the episode dealing with dogs, dog lovers, common people and the government authorities, taking the satire in the right direction concerning the recent events. Another program in Mazhavil Manorama, the family comedy serial, Thatteem Mutteem also had the same theme this weekend, and Marimayam successfully takes it to the next level. We are given some idea about how it is going to be on Saturday itself. This is more of an episode which understands the pulse of the audience.

It is difficult to watch anything else when Badai Bunglaw is running on Asianet, but Marimayam has the worthy episodes which make us do the channel change in its direction. The last week’s flex episode was one of them; the same can be said about the episode on how people fall victim to money lending firms, and now this one is there for the week. This episode has one of the characters being bitten by a dog and in retaliation, the person beats the dog, and all of a sudden, the dog lovers appear.

What follows this incident is a series of funny situations which lead to an even funnier finish with the message that we can take to heart. There is the talk about how co-existence is something which is not forced, but has to come from mutual understanding and respect, and with respect for the life of the other – it is not hate that brings co-existence to life, for situations are not always the same. It is also the two hundredth episode of the same program.

Marimayam is the political and social satire which you have been looking for!

Lets get to the other program. Vellanakalude Nadu had a nice weekend earlier with a simple story. But this weekend’s show had a higher level of comedy. Beginning the episode at a police station, this one starts and ends with full fun, even though a message is less conveyed. The two programs made sure that this weekend was more fun than it was expected to be, at least the nights. Add the episodes of Badai Bunglaw and Onnum Onnum Moonu and that finishes the interesting weekend!

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Page of Marimayam.

TeNy

Blood of the Fallen

I recently came across Spartacus, the television series which was inspired by the tales and historical accounts of Spartacus, a Thracian fighter and a later gladiator who had started a grand slave uprising against the Roman Republic. I have been looking forward to watching this one since a long time ago, but got the chance only later. The Third Servile War which occurred between 73 and 71 BC, depicted here has the take mostly from the viewpoint of the slaves and has more to do with ideals of Spartacus himself as expected.

I have managed to watch all the three episodes and also the prequel. Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Vengeance and Spartacus: War of the Damned as well as the prepared prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena brings the story of the slave rebellion with interesting changes, and stylish presentation of another page from the history stained with blood and war. There is no shortage of moments which would make the parental guidance advisory list very long with its sex and violence, but Spartacus remains big entertainment.

spartacus (2)

The question about Spartacus aim being immediate freedom or ending slavery will forever be doubted, and so will the extended aims behind them. But this television series got us the legendary slave himself, giving life to the historical figure in an interesting way, beginning as the man who is sold to slavery and wishes to free himself and his wife from Rome as he rises in the gladiator ranks eclipsing the champion of the time, Crixus the undefeated Gaul by defeating the man they called “the shadow of death”. But with the death of his wife, and knowledge of treachery, he changes his path.

The first season is actually the best of them all, with interesting gladiator fights and an end which is very much satisfying with the death of the bad people of the time. It also has the one Roman who remains respected throughout the season until death, a feature which is absent otherwise. The battles as well as the opponents are very much catching our attention too. This has Spartacus moving away from the aim of being with his wife and focuses on freeing the other slaves from captivity.

Viva Bianca and Lucy Lawless are the ones who continues the awesomeness of the first season into the second from the Roman side. Replacing Lesley-Ann Brandt with Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Naevia comes as the big mistake of the second season, with Andy Whitfield already being lost to cancer and Liam McIntyre replacing him as Spartacus. Even though that latter replacement does work later, the change of the lady playing Naevia works completely against the series.

spartacus (1)

Except for a few battle tactics and some talks about ideas, Spartacus: Vengeance remains the weakest of all seasons. The only hope remains Katrina Law as Mira and Nick E. Tarabay as Ashur along with Viva Bianca and Lucy Lawless in a story which is less thick. The later efforts from Gannicus also bring some relief to this one, and the ending is fair. Even with two of the best Roman female characters dead, the excitement returns to Spartacus: War of the Damned as the ideals as well as the aim becomes clear here.

The last season is the deciding one, as Spartacus understands that justice will never exist in this world and decides to leave beyond the reach of Rome while Crixus decides to march on Rome with his people only to meet his end to the large army of highly trained Legionaries. Gannicus getting his spot is the biggest boon of this movie, and in the end, we know what happens. The prequel deals with how Gannicus had risen to the great hero and the God of the Arena. I would talk about these in detail later, and consider this post as what has come to my mind right after watching all the seasons.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Spartacus television series.

TeNy

And then the TV Series

I have developed a love for TV series only recently. The case of Game of Thrones has been of eternal recommendation. Everybody loves that one, and Sherlock has its long list of admirers, and after this writing is complete, I hope to create more for Hannibal too. The next to watch on my list are VikingsSpartacus and Breaking Bad. I made the choice to skip True Blood and The Vampire Diaries as a Twilight reminder came up and that was shocking.

SHERLOCK [Seasons: 3. Watched: 3]
Rating: 8.9/10 @TV.com

sherlock

For a long time, I had believed that Robert Downey Jr. is the only one who could be Sherlock Holmes, and I have even considered the man the one true Holmes and less identified him with being Iron Man. Benedict Cumberbatch is not the only person who changed my views on the true Sherlock, because there was Martin Freeman as Doctor Watson and Lara Pulver as Irene Adler. Jude Law was very good, but Martin was so perfect in the role. Rachel McAdams was the cutest Irene with that hair style, but Lara Pulver became more of that character. Now I have two favourite people each for all three of these characters.

I might still prefer to watch Holmes with that older setting because it is the one true investigator from my childhood, but with this cast, Sherlock TV series is always a joy to watch. It was only the third season which was a let down for me, and the credit for the same goes the very last episode, as “His Last Vow” left me less interested. The secret of identity of Watson’s wife and the villain with Appledore Mind Palace felt ridiculous; it was only the possible return of Jim Moriarty that gave me the desire to wait for the next season. Season Two was my big favourite and Season One also felt awesome.

GAME OF THRONES [Seasons: 5. Watched: 5]
Rating: 9/10 @TV.com

got (1)

I came quite late to the Game of Thrones fan club which meant that I had to watch four seasons in a week and also got to watch the fifth episode soon enough. The result is that now I am left waiting with so much desire to know what happens next; the fifth season’s end had me desiring to know what is next, more than ever. There is no other program which has kept me with such desire to know what happens next, and never in my life has so many of my favourite characters been dead. Well, the Vampire Team has hoped that some of these dead people join the group (only those with heads on the necks).

As I expect for a lot of more people to die, I keep my trust on Tyrion Lannister. I was sure that the character played by Sean Bean had ninety nine percent chance of dying, but I should have kept it at a higher level. I have loved how the characters change and twists happen throughout the movie, and how those unexpected things come out of nowhere. I have special love for the undead, and I will also support a few minor characters whose names shall revealed after their deaths. Until now, I am sure not to love only one character, Sansa Stark, and everybody knows it. In the end, Game of Thrones is just the truth about humanity.

HANNIBAL [Seasons: 3. Watched: 2]
Rating: 9/10 @TV.com

betterlife (1)

Based on the characters in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, Hannibal arrives to take the gore and psychological horror to another level – rather too violent for the normal viewer; a lot more than Game of Thrones, and much more disturbing. Most of us might know Hannibal Lecter as Anthony Hopkins who received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal in Silence of the Lambs. Here Mads Mikkelsen comes up with another brilliant performance as the psychiatrist and serial killer who plays mind games with the FBI. Hugh Dancy plays Will Graham, the FBI special agent who discusses his problems as well as the cases with the devil himself as he descends into an abyss of terrifying minds. The murderers are many, and cops are less here! And there are amazing quotes flying everywhere.

I have watched only two seasons of the series, and found them too interesting to stop. Caroline Dhavernas is another complicated addition, as her intelligent character remains clueless for most of the time in the two episodes. Laurence Fishburne of The Matrix, Othello and Event Horizon makes a powerful impact here. Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds is fun, and Kacey Rohl as Abigail Hobbs is one cute addition in a world of chaos. You also get to see the Scream Queen and the Grand Lady of Horror Movies, Katharine Isabelle who plays another character with her own special weirdness. Almost everyone is strange and a possible serial killer, and that makes this series really special 😀

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Pages of these three television series.

TeNy

Television on Safe Mode

During these days when televisions have become the true idiot boxes and are eating our brains, there are a few programs which manage to be better than the others. There are not many interesting things going in the Malayalam television channels these days, except for may be a few songs and comedy clips. Oridathoridathu is a program which should have been still there on Asianet, but it is not. But if someone is caught in a situation in which only Malayalam channels are there, he or she also needs to be saved, and here are a few programs which surely won’t make you throw the tea cup to the screen.

1. Badai Bungalow (Asianet): With a new and interesting concept, this one is the first preference for most of the people I know. Ramesh Pisharody and Arya are the new couple here who are the tenants of Mukesh in his bungalow, while Dharmajan is their cook who wishes to become a movie actor and Manoj is a neighbour who keeps coming to their home with something weird all the time. Praseetha plays the aunty who is still waiting for her knight in shining armour to get married. Every Sunday, they invite a celebrity guest, and it is followed by moments of unlimited fun to which the whole cast contribute so well. There is also an audience who can interact with the cast.

2. Marimaayam (Mazhavil Manorama): Working with so much efficiency as the one big satire for a long time, Marimayam has managed to create a big impact on the audience since the beginning itself. It mocks the ridiculous situations at the government offices as well as with the public, as there is a certain reflection of what happens in the common man’s life. All the problems that people have to face because of the system and the society are brought to light in a funny way. It also brought the actress Rachana Narayanankutty to the big screen, and also S. P. Sreekumar. More than an year old, the program is still going strong – no wonder when the system always needs cleaning.

Marimaayam is the political and social satire which you have been looking for!

Marimaayam is the political and social satire which you have been looking for!

3. Ningalkum Aakaam Kodeeswaran (Asianet): Continuing to be the Kaun Banega Crorepathi and Who Wants to be a Millionaire in Malayalam, this one is blessed with one of the best hosts of all time, Suresh Gopi, and keeps a certain responsibility towards the society going. Only if the locking of options had happened right after the contestants had answered without giving them clue that the answer was wrong, this would have been the top program. The contestant should never be helped, otherwise the resulting money should go not for him or her, but for the host. Measuring of knowledge should be done in a righteous manner without shortcuts. Otherwise, people can be helped directly.

4. Thatteem Mutteem (Mazhavil Manorama): Dealing mostly with the relationship between a mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law in a funny way, this one uses simple incidents and exaggerates the same to evoke laughter, but still stays close to life. The family which includes the mother, son, his wife, his daughter and son, creates all the fun inside the house itself. The home is where the fun is, and K. P. A. C. Lalitha and Manju Pillai steals the show along with Jayakumar who is mostly the one who begins the fun every episode. The kids are also nice, especially Bhagyalakshmi. Veena Nair’s guest presence at times also remain unique. This is a real hope among the pathetic television serials which keeps coming.

The cast of Thatteem Mutteem, never losing the charm.

The cast of Thatteem Mutteem, never losing the charm, even after all these years.

5. Onnum Onnum Moonu (Mazhavil Manorama): Even though this one has its ups and down according to the celebrities who come to the show, the whole thing works due to Rimi Tomy and her trademark style. Without her, the program has almost no charm, but she is there, making fun of everything including herself in a show which is more comedy than anything else. There are also some of those celebrities whom we don’t know or see, who become better known to us due to this show. The whole thing is so cheerful that it leaves the viewers happy – it is sure credit for Rimi Tomy and Mazhavil Manorama.

6. Comedy Stars (Asianet): Formerly Vodafone Comedy Stars, this has been the best comedy show on Malayalam television so far, and the first episode was huge. This program to select the best comedy team in Kerala surely had some of the best in the field and has given the Malayalam industry some of the interesting comedy actors like Noby, Nelson and Ullas. It has lost some charm in the recent years, but with the last episode mocking the educational blunders of the state’s tenth standard exams in which almost everyone passed, this has raised the level higher. This has made the common stressed man happy throughout the years, and there will surely be some nice skits coming up with so much scope for satire in Kerala.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Facebook pages of Marimaayam and Thatteem Mutteem. I also give a special mention here for the programs Don’t Do Don’t Do on Asianet Plus and Vellanakalude Naadu on Asianet, the former being a celebrity comedy show and the latter being another satire!

TeNy