The Strain (Should Be) Back (Soon)

24 08 2016

The Strain

Over the last few months, I have steadily begun to grow weary of nearly everything on TV. Since about April for me it’s sort of been about recording and re-recording shows on Playback, of which many shows that I do indeed like, but have grown a little weary of as I watch them while doing stuff on the laptop and have only been able to truly appreciate them when I have a Nano-second to sit down and watch them on TV while doing nothing else. I have been trying to get back into other shows on my own like Arrow, while also watching the last episodes of Castle, re-watching old episodes of Rizzoli & Isles, trying to get more involved with the good but rather cheesy Quantico, The sometimes hard to find funny when doing something else Bob’s Burgers; the enduring but still relatively light Deadliest Catch, The odd repeat of The Bill, the yet to be watched Containment, and the thankful repeats of Rookie Blue. I have watched maybe 20 minutes’ worth of the new Top Gear, but that was 20 minutes too long in my opinion, while really enjoying the new Robot Wars which continues to deliver (at time of writing). There are some shows that gather my interest such as The Closer and Major Crimes which my Mam has been recording, but altogether, the current state of TV for me is pretty bleak and near boring. All I can really hold onto is that soon or later The Strain will be back.

TS2

For those not in the know, The Strain is a TV Series based on the book trilogy of which the first book is named written by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The series (Produced by Carlton Cuse) is about a virus: a Vampire Virus. It brings vampires back to their roots as scary villains and not love icons. Basically, an ancient entity known as The Master (Robin Atkin Downes), has brought a curse upon the city of New York as he has willingly caused Vampires to return. Very quickly many people in New York have begun to turn into what are known as The Strigoi. Being vampires they can only come out at night, however, the Master has a group of major servants in the form of Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) and Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) who work for him during the day to help push and instigate his plan, that being of eventual domination. In his way however are a group of vampire hunters led by Holocaust Survivor Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), Scientists Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro), rat exterminator Fet (Kevin Durand) and computer hacker Dutch Velders (Ruta Gedmintas). That’s not all standing in The Master’s way however as he also has to contend with another batch of Hunters in the form of former convict Gus (Miguel Gomez), and his estranged half-vampire supposed son Mr. Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones). It is a losing battle however as more Strigoi are being turned and New York begins to fall further into darkness, aided further by Kelly Goodweather (Natalie Brown), Eph’s former wife, who has since been turned into a vampire herself and is busy stalking Eph and their son Zach (Max Charles).

TS1

Now I wasn’t so sure about this program when I first heard about it (much like Blade: The Series), but I thought I would give it a go, I watched the Pilot and not only found it very riveting, but also rather terrifying and chilling. The first season pretty much just revolved around the initial spread of the Vampire Plague and the gathering of some heroes, while the second season went more into the public perspective as the plague gained more ground and became majorly noticeable, while the Master starts conceiving new ways to keep things going, whilst other characters begin to question their lives and place within this new world, and as such history and backgrounds of the events and characters begin to get more explored. Since then more characters have become more defined and brand new characters have been introduced. My favourite from pretty much the outset has been Dutch Velders, the group’s complete outsider, and whose character I have come to love and enjoy well.

Dutch Velders

Another character that has also begun to get traction is that of The Born. Better known as Mr. Quinlan, he is the missing link of the series as he is half vampire and possibly the son of the Master, and is out to kill him. His scenes so far have turned out to be rather fruitful and really enjoyable, and as given his position as become to stand out as something of the shows version of Blade, the hunter who is of himself of the species he is hunting, he also has a rather impressive voice.

I have no idea where the show is going to head next, but Series 3 is now on the horizon, having nearly waited a whole year with the Season 2 DVD yet to come out. I know this because I have been following the show’s progress, mostly from the accounts (on Twitter and Instagram) of Ruta Gedmintas. No idea what the show is going to involve other than the episode count going down from 13 to 10 annoyingly. Having not read the books, only reading a brief synopsis I can see some direction of its path, but as of yet, still no clue. Sorry to be so anti-climactic, but it’s true; however I am certain that it should be worth the wait, the show has done this to me once previously but has done more than just deliver, and so I am hopeful it will do so again. I am hopeful it will return within the next couple of months, and will in turn make TV exciting for me, at least for a little while and maybe a bit beyond that.

GENEPOOL (I am assuming and Hoping that it’s still going to be on Watch, even though it has since changed its name to W).





Starting Over

27 07 2016

Rizzoli and Isles

Back in May, I hit a low point. For personal reasons I will not discuss what exactly was making me low, but in order for me to give this blog some meaning, I just needed to point that out. Anyway, I got low, one day I was really, really down, ended up wasting the whole day, not accomplishing or doing anything. There were games on my Laptop that I just did not want to play. There was some writing I just did not want to write, and on TV, there was nothing I wanted to watch. I had a whole load of shows to watch on catch-up, but just did not want to watch anything, even the shows I was really enjoying. Since then I have managed to reach up and get out of my low point, but one consistency remained; that of me not wanting to watch anything I had recorded on TV.

Quantico

I have come to the point that currently, there is nothing worth watching on TV. I have sort of grown out of Holby City, I am several seasons behind Arrow, The Strain is not back until roughly September, Top Gear is Dead!, and Robot Wars has no start date yet (at time of writing). Even though there are still shows on that I enjoy such as Castle, and a little bit of Quantico, I just have no interest in watching anything on TV at the moment. Basically I am bored and disinterested. I suppose I could watch Game of Thrones but first I need to get permission off my Dad to watch them.

I do not know if it’s just that time of year or something, but right now, there just appears to be nothing on TV. Perhaps it’s my mood or disinterest, but right now TV just feels empty, if it wasn’t for Rizzoli and Isles repeats, new episodes of Bob’s Burgers and new episodes of The Big Bang Theory (and apparently New Girl is to return soon too). A few weeks backs though I got some help from a new friend at church. I told him all about the above, and he told me what I needed to do. That was to find something new. Well, I think I have found it, but I wouldn’t exactly call it new.

Breaking Bad Season 1 Poster

A few weeks ago, I took some old DVD’s and games into CEX in Lancaster and got some stuff in return. My plan there was to look out for something in particular. I got some Bill Bailey Stand up DVD’s, some PS3 Games, a copy of the fifth season of Breaking Bad (having trading in the previous 4), but most of all, I got he first season of Arrow. Arrow is not exactly new to me, I have in fact been something of a fan of the show since it first started, but there was a complication. You see, when it first started I did manage to watch the first whole series and I really enjoyed it. So, I waited for and watched the first few episodes of season 2, then something bad happened. I don’t remember the full way round of the details, but the episodes were recorded on a machine, but then I think the machine got corrupted (possibly thanks to some episodes of The Tudors), and the machine was swapped, therefore I lost all the episodes of Arrow season 2 I had not watched yet. I put on a record for the other episodes, but after a while it became obvious I was not going to catch up effectively. So I deleted them and instead planned to purchase season 2 when it got released on DVD. Then however, when it did get released, it was pretty expensive, so I decided to wait until it dropped in price. Meanwhile season 3 had begun, and by the time that I did get a copy of Season 2 (nearly a year ago now), Season 3 was done with 4 on the way. As you can see I have fallen really far behind. In the meantime, season 2 on DVD has remained unwatched while over the last few weeks I have gazed too and throw at season 4’s episodes.

Arrow

It’s always been a plan of mine to get back into it, but I never could work out how, until I came up with a plan. The plan was to start from the beginning. Get a copy of Season 1 on DVD, watch that, then Season 2 and beyond. And so far (at time of writing), it appears to be working. I have watched the first episodes of season 1 and am able just to sit down and enjoy them one after another, no worrying about what will happen or anything like that, just plain old enjoyment of a TV program. Currently I do not know if it will last, if I will be able to enjoy Arrow to the full, or if I will hit another low point and not want to watch it anymore. But, I may as well enjoy it while it lasts, and then find something else to watch when it is all over.

GENEPOOL (suppose it will keep me going until the rumoured X-Men TV Series comes along, not unless it turns out to be like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Uninteresting).





Top 5 Robot Wars Robots

20 07 2016

New Robot Wars Logo

In 1998, a TV Show began airing on BBC Two that would change Friday Night Programming for many years to come and would become a highlight in many people’s TV Calendar’s. It was a show about engineering, construction, but mostly fighting. The show was called Robot Wars and each week involved people from all walks of life, stepping into an arena with a homemade contraption of weaponry and forcing it to fight with another homemade contraption of weaponry. It was so much fun, it was new, exciting, revolutionary, futuristic, but above all…fun; and now it’s back. Yes, coming soon to BBC Two, the game show about creating but most of all destroying robots returns for a brand new run. I have been excited since the day it was announced, and have already begun to celebrate: my profile picture on Facebook is a picture of my favourite robot from the original show, and I have written a post about the House Robots from the original show too. It has been my goal to write a post though on my Top 5 Robots from the original show, and now that teaser trailers have already been appearing to air on BBC Two for the last few weeks, I thought I should better hurry up and write it.

It has been something of a struggle trying to choose my Top 5. There have been so many great Robots (Steg-O-Saw-Us, Rameses II, GBH, Dantomkia, Cassius, Pitbull, Dominator 2, Roadblock, Panic AttackBerserk 2Pussycat and Behemoth to name but a few) in the show’s history, and whittling them down to 5 was going to be hard. My top 3 were easy as they have always been my top 3, but choosing another 2 was hard. Number 4 was chosen over time as eventually it made sense that it would be in the Top 5, while the 5th position was being fought for by 3 machines. At one point I was sure that it would be those 3 machines holding that title equally, but then it came to mind that one of them stood out more than the other 2 (Tornado and Dreadnaut): so I got 5. Anyway, enough of how I chose the 2 bottom machines, here is the list of my Top 5 Favourite Robots from Robot Wars (original series).

Trident

5. Trident –During series 3, a new format was introduced in the form of more battles, less trials. Because of the more pro wrestling style format; more of certain performers would become firm fan favourites in the future. Many of the future crops of Robot Legends did not actually debut until the third wars with such (and other related) robots as: Firestorm, Wild Thing, Bigger Brother, 101, Spawn Again and Hypno-Disc. One thing though that was good about series 3, it was still virtually about homemade machines that anybody could enter, and still make a name for themselves with relative ease. As the show progressed, some teams poured thousands of pounds into their machines making it look more like a professional gig rather than a fun thing to do. Series 3, and 4, were the place to be, with some machines still carrying that homemade feel, while also making some really interesting designs, and one such entry that stood out more than most (at least for me) was Trident. Trident was an interesting design, it seemed to be very long, and a bit over balanced, but kept upright. It shined both gold and silver, had a triangular wheel axle and a pretty impressive axe. It debuted in series 3 and reached the semi-finals with ease. It stood out for me as 1 it had an Axe and 2, it just looked pretty awesome, but still looked like it could deal a world of hurt to whomever it challenged. I don’t know what it is specifically that makes it stand out for me, except maybe for a flare of je-ne-sais-quoi, which is more than most robots had.

Mace

4. Mace – As the second wars dawned, it was still anyone’s game as to who will achieve immortality. By series 2, Weapons still had a point, and the age of flippers was still over a year away, lifters had more purpose than flippers, and a good weapon would always go far. Series 2 though was a time for new blood to join the fold, as more and more people got in on the act and wanted to compete, and into this fold came Mace. Mace was very box like in shape, but on the front it came with a sort of sloped angle which easily merged with its thin but still effective lifting arm, and while mostly for rear defence, it came with a terrifying looking flail, possibly the only time in the show’s history where one of those was actually effective. It wasn’t the most terrifying of robots, nor was it a looker, for the most part it looked more like a thin shopping trolley than anything else, but Robot Wars is not about looks: it’s about conquest, war and the fight to be the very best, and Mace on several occasions showed that it too followed this belief. It may not have been the hottest date at the prom, but it was definitely one you did not want to meet outside. Mace would appear in both Series 2 and 3 and on both occasions do pretty well and carries an impressive fight record of 6 wins and 2 losses. While it may never have won a title; it is clear that Mace is a bona fide Robot Wars Legend.

Chaos 2

3. Chaos 2 – During series 3, and beyond, a terrible curse was brought into Robot Wars, one that: to cut a long as tory short; basically the show became more about flipping robots around and out of the arena rather than causing any damage. There was some pretty impressive weaponry, but if you did not have a flipper, you were nothing, pretty much. It stayed like this for quite a while. Anyway, while the show became mostly about flippers, some stood out that were worthy of carrying them and showed what Flippers could do. One Robot more than most stood out, and is the only robot in the show’s history to win the Grand Championship more than once, in fact it won it two years in a row: Chaos 2. Chaos 2 had something of a stumpy small body, and looked like a car in design; however size is not everything, as Chaos 2 proved. With Chaos 2, it was all about the flipper and the power within, the robot was designed with that in mind and it worked as a self-righting mechanism too. It was quite a nippy machine too, one that zoomed around the arena quite happily, which is more than could be said for its opponents. Yes, it may not have had a proper weapon, but everything else in mind, Chaos 2 was a pretty cool little machine.

Killertron

2. Killertron – During the show’s first series, the term War suggested lots of robots fighting each other to the death, and while the machines were a load of contraptions made from stuff around the house, the Weapons were anything but, and Killertron was the first one to show off a viable and destructive weapon. Killertron was an Axe Robot unlike most of that class. It would become more common place in future wars (with robots like StingerThor and Terrorhurtz), but at that time Killertron was the only robot to have an Axe that could attack on two sides rather than just one. The Axe was terrifyingly big, and thanks to the machines design of Big Wheels in the middle, and small on the front and back, The Axe came down with more force than most. Killertron would actually have a successful career, making it to the Heat final in series 1 and the grand final in series 2. From there it sort of got lost in the pages of robot history, but thanks to its terrifying weapon, it’s pink and yellow (and orange) colouration, it’s strange wheel design, and generally how good and amazing it looked; the show for those of us who remember the first episode got a treat but also a taster into what this show had in store for us all.

Mortis

1. Mortis – Throughout the show’s entire run, one robot stood out for me more than most. It was this tracked tank like vehicle, and it sported an impressive Axe (or Tanto Blade as it was called) that from the moment I saw it, just fell in love with it. From then on, it became a case of me cheering it on, and even when it was retired after series 4, I had hope that maybe one day, it may return. Yes, it never was UK Champion nor never reached a grand final (it did win the War of Independence for the UK though), but I always knew it should have been champion, and was pretty annoyed every time it was eliminated. Firstly it had an Axe, and then it gained a lifting arm. In the course of the show’s history, it was the most expensive machine built but sort of relatively underperformed and gained numerous faults, but when it was working just right, it showed everyone how capable it was of causing widespread damage to all its competitors. Many roboteers feared and loathed it and beating it in battle was considered a badge of honour by many. In hindsight, maybe it came in a bit too early, and was better built for later competitions, with some beating it by luck in the first couple of series; but from those early years onward, it remained my favourite; and while it has not been seen since, Mortis is still my Favourite Robot Wars Robot.

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Robot Wars House Robots

23 02 2016

New Robot Wars Logo

Robot Wars is back. Yes; the fiercest, deadliest quite possibly the finest game show to grace the home TV screen is set to return to its rightful home on BBC Two. Announced just a couple of months ago, a lot of excitement has already begun to build for the return of a TV game show Icon with announcements including who is going to be hosting it in the form of Dara O’Briain and Angela Scanlon with also the return of Jonathan Pearce on commentating duties, to some sketchy videos showing the possible return of the House Robots. While little has been announced in terms of show content, it has already begun to get some momentum, and excitement is already high. For me, it is a big thing as I absolutely loved Robot Wars and I have wanted it back on for many, many years. Well now it is happening, and I am brimming full of nostalgia. So; while I try to figure out exactly which were my favourite robots for a later post (although I am sure of who Number 1 is), I thought I would do a post on who were my favourite House Robots.

The House Robots for those not in the know were the shows sort of villains. They were a group of robots suggested to be so good that they were unbeatable. They were presented as bad guys, and there was always a cheer when one of them was taken out of action. They were loved, but most of all hated. In more basic terms though they were just an extra addition to add to both entertainment value, plus the overall destruction content of the show. They were sort of like characters in pro-wrestling that would invade the ring and beat the other wrestlers up. But still they were entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Over the course of the shows run there were 9 house robots in total; but this list is really only going to be filled with the best 5, which also happen to be the first 5. So there will be no RefBot, Growler, Mr. Psycho or Cassius Chrome, (or the Sentinel…..or Shove) because no matter who got introduced in later shows, to me there was only 5 real House Robots (the others were more like sidekicks). So, prepare yourself for a destructive route down memory lane, as I present to you, my Top 5 favourite House Robots from Robot Wars.

Dead Metal

5. Dead Metal – Dead Metal has always been something of an outsider in comparison to the rest of the group. He has always been difficult to place nor had much of a personality in comparison to the rest of them. This however has also sort of worked in his favour. In comparison to the rest of the House Robots, he has changed very little. He has always sported a pair of pincers and circular saw. Like some of the others he was updated a bit more by series 3, by having the saw not on an arm like it had been, but instead more on an extending beak position. He started out as something more like a scorpion before becoming something more hawk like. His look has always been off-putting and has not look as crisp as the others. This however is his charm, because while the others are more like personalities, or characters; Dead Metal is more like a grotesque Monster; A Beast to say the least. A creature of pure destruction, sacrificing looks for power. So while he did start of relatively boring, and has not been in as a favoured light to the others; he has his own characteristics and charm, and that is in by having none of those things in the first place.

Sgt Bash

4. Sergeant Bash – The original leader of the Gang. Sgt Bash had a great start to his career carrying a magnificent yet terrifying (as well as very effective) flame thrower, his main weapon of choice. He also came with some kind of frontal ram later replaced with some claws and a circular saw at the rear. Given his name, he was dressed up to look like a military commander, and until the arrival of Sir Killalot was the group’s leader. Sgt Bash always remained something of an up front leader and continued to enjoy a popular career as a house robot and continued to remain a main figure-head in the arena all the way through the series run.

Sir Killalot

3. Sir Killalot – When first introduced in series 2, Sir Killalot made a quick impression thanks to new host Craig Charles giving a live demonstration of the machines powerful claw hand attachment. I remember his debut quite well, and I believed he was far too overly powered (but not in the same kind of language, as I was not even in high school yet). I thought his size was far too big, and his strengths far too good. Basically he had to far and unfair an advantage to everyone and everything else. But to come to think of it now wasn’t that the point? I mean, these guys were villains, they were not her to battle and win, they were here to bully and destroy, and now they had the perfect leader to send them into the battlefield. Sir Killalot was always magnificent. He was huge and came packed with weapons as iconic to that of Bash in series 1. He was big, came on tracks, but more importantly, looked like a cyborg. He had human like features. Arms, hands, even a face that would put those Brotherhood of Steel Fallout 3 characters to shame. He was imposing and deadly; and remained so throughout the show’s run. While he may have been copied slightly with the arrival of Mr. Psycho in series 6, there was only one true leader of the House Robots, a robot so deadly, it did not need any form of back up…..unless it fell in the pit.

Matilda

2. Matilda – The show’s first real personality and everyone’s favourite (for a time at least) Matilda was iconic the first time she rolled on-screen. She was a simple enough idea but came backed up with a whole lot of weaponry. Her charm was in what she was, she was a Dinosaur. She looked so detailed, and was a very close embodiment of a robotic Triceratops, complete with tusks that acted like fork lifts. But this was not all she had though, because she also came armed with a tail, a tail chainsaw, and a cool looking one at that. While she may have had that replaced with a fly-wheel, the chainsaw armed Matilda was always her most beautiful form. She was simple, beautiful but always deadlier than her male counterparts.

Shunt

1. Shunt – Shunt is a little bit different to all the other house robots. Yes, while they are all independently different from one another in look and abilities…and of course name, Shunt has one extra level of difference which makes him that extra bit unique. You see if you look at all of them, there is a certain level of character and personality, suggesting that there is more life in them and that they, as robots are the next stage in earths cycle for the need of a dominant life form. Shunt though, is less cyborg, less android. He does not look like a living creature, nor has a name to suggest it. You see, Shunt is more like a machine. He/It looks more machine like, more robotic than the others. His design is more like a bulldozer than anything else. Armed with not one, but two bulldozer blades and a terrifying axe and suggested that it can pull a land rover. He has virtually no colour nor personality. But because of that he always stood out for me. I like Axe Robots, plus I like big imposing robots that look like they can deal damage instead of just flipping robots up and over. Shunt is not a robot to make others less powerful or invulnerable, he is a robot designed to do what House Robots are meant to do; once again, Bully and Destroy. Using its scoops and axe to pin robots just where he wants them, and then use the axe to kill them all together. Not so deadly an assassin, but more like a vicious tank, plus he just looks unstoppable, and as far as I remember, he was; and that for me is why he was my favourite.

GENEPOOL








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