Special Features Presents: And now…the end is near!

Don’t worry, I am not going to be closing down my blog. This is just the final post that I am going to be writing. For this year that is. Everyone has been saying it: “Wow, has this year flown by”. And it certainly has. For me this year has had it’s ups and downs. More downs than ups if I am going to be honest, but I don’t want to write my final post of the year as a depressive one. In short I want to make this a cool and fun post to celebrate the end of this year. And what better way to do that, than in showing you all my favorite things that I read, watched and played in 2017. But before I start on that I also want to say that this first full year of blogging has been amazing. I have seen my blog grow in ways that I really did not expect. I have met an awful lot of new bloggers along the way, and some of them have turned into a couple of really amazing friends. Combined with the people I already knew I can really say that I could not live without my blog anymore. It’s become a part of me, and I want to thank each and every one of you that has ever read a post, left a comment or a like. You really are all amazing, and I hope the new year is going to bring you all only fun and good things. And now, let’s kick off this end of year post shall we?

Favorite movie of the year: Bladerunner 2049

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If someone would have told me a few years ago that Blade Runner 2049 would end up as my favorite movie of the year I would have flat out laughed out loud. As I really thought that this sequel to such a classic science fiction masterpiece would be doomed to fail. But I was proven wrong. This beautiful movie had everything in it. It expanded the story of the original film, and combined with breathtaking visual effects, some solid acting and a brilliant score this one is simply the reason why I love movies so much. I can’t wait to own this one on dvd, to watch it over and over again. My absolute number one film for this year.

Favorite anime of the year: Your Lie in April

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One of absolute highlights of 2017 was the watch-a-long with Weekend Otaku for the breathtaking animeseries Your lie in April. I know this one was released in 2014,  but for me it was the first time I saw it this year. What can I say about this beautiful show that has not already been said? It’s an emotional roller coaster that this show takes you on, but it’s one well worth taking. You would be wise to stock up on numerous boxes of tissues because I guarantee that you are going to cry multiple times. But this is a show that is simply put: perfect. I had never thought I would like a slice of life show as much as I ended up enjoying this one. It’s still my number one alltime anime series to date.

Favorite Korean Drama of the year: Goblin

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On the front of Korean dramas I have had a very disappointing year. As in: I saw way too few of them (Sorry about that Kay). I plan to really watch more of these next year, as there are quite a number of them that I still want to see. My favorite pick for this year was really easy though. Goblin was an amazing drama with high production values, a beautiful and heartwarming story but best of all were the characters. They really made this series into an incredible fun watch. I’m not one that usually likes comedies, but the humor in this drama was just hilarious. I really had to laugh at so many scenes. But this certainly wasn’t a comedy as there were also many exciting, tearful but also quite horrifying scenes. If you have never seen a K-drama before this might be a very good place to start.

Favorite Tv Series of the Year: Stranger Things 2

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When a first season for a series is highly succesful and a second season gets announced, fans look forward to it, but obviously are very anxious for it at the same time. What if it sucks? Stranger Things is a show that proves that a second season can be just as good, if not at times even better than the first one. While overall I did think the first season was just a tiny bit better, this second season was just a blast from start to finish. The entire 80’s vibe, the wonderful characters (both old and new), and the storyline combine to make this a show that you can’t stop watching until you have finished it. It was an absolutely amazing watch, and I am already looking forward to next year where season 3 will hopefully give us that same experience again. Stranger Things is simply put: awesome!

Favorite Book of the Year: Sisters of Battle

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Ugh, as with Korean Dramaseries, reading books this year has really been underwhelming. I have such a huge pile of books that I still need to read, and because of the wonderful Dani ,Kim and Didi my Good Reads to read list has completely exploded. (Thanks for that girls 😢 Just kidding, you know I love you 😊). And now there are the wonderful Lashaan and Trang that also keep adding books to this seemingly never ending list. But I did read some books this year, and my favorite was also one that I finished quite recently the Sisters of Battle Omnibus. This one was just a blast to read from start to finish. Great characters, explosive battlescenes and just a terrific science fiction setting are just a couple of the things that made this novel so much fun. But the girlpower is what gave this book it’s real edge. This was a pageturner and a book that I could hardly put down.

Favorite Boardgame of the Year: Eldritch Horror

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When it comes to boardgames it simply doesn’t get any better than this. Eldritch Horror is a fantastic horror/fantasy boardgame that I gave a well deserved perfect score. It’s a joy to play, even when playing it solo, because of the great narrative components it contains. You will find yourself racing across the world trying to prevent an ancient evil from awakening. In the meantime you will experience all sorts of adventures that are always different whenever you play this game. If you love reading books or watching adventure movies, this is a game you should definitely consider adding to your collection. Trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed by this in any way.

Final thoughts

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Well people: that’s it. Time for me to call it a day. At least for this year that is. I hope you will all enjoy the upcoming final day of the year. If you are going to be using fireworks please make sure you aren’t going to blow any of your hands off. I do want to see each and everyone of you back safely next year. Speaking of next year, I will continue to write about the things I love the most, but I do want to bring a little bit more structure into my blog, as it has sometimes been going all over the place. I have also been thinking of a few new features I want to add, but that is a story for later. As always thank you for reading this and for your amazing support the past few months. See you all next year! 😀😀

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Fear the Walking Dead Season 1, American Tv series (2015)

We all have our favorite television shows. Some of them are obscure and might not even be known by many people. In the brutal climate of television, shows like that are always in danger of cancellation. With sweat forming on your forehead you eagerly await news about a new season. And then two things can happen. One: you finally receive word that your beloved series has been renewed and you happily dance around in your living room (or maybe that is just me). Two: The television Gods have decided the show needs to get the axe, and you spent the rest of your week weeping, expending an entire box of tissues (erm, maybe that’s just me as well). But there are also shows that are juggernauts that are never in that danger, at least not any time soon. One of those shows is The Walking Dead, and it’s still my alltime favorite. When a series is this succesful, the television studios begin to think up ways to expand on that succes. Which usually means that the original show gets a spin off, that takes the established story into different directions.

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Traffic can really be a bitch sometimes. 

Fear the Walking Dead acts as a prequel to the original show, and takes us back to the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. High school guidance councellor Madison Clark has more than her fair share of problems. Her son Nick is a drug addict and his habits weigh heavily upon the rest of her family. One day Nick ends up in the hospital after being hit by a car while he was running in the middle of the street. While visiting him there together with her new boyfriend Travis and her daughter Alicia, Madison tries to find out exactly what has happened. Nick tells a story that makes no sense and is being dismissed as yet another drug induced psychosis. Supposedly he woke up after using his drugs to find the girl he was with that night turned into a flesh eating monster. Travis still decides to investigate anyway, and is beginning to find indications that there might be more to Nick’s story than everybody at first believed. Meanwhile news outlets are showing strange reports about people that brutally attack others for seemingly no reason. Humanity stands at the eve of a total societal collapse and the real horror is about to begin……

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Now doesn’t she look like your ideal prom date? 

Fear the Walking Dead is a completely different show than it’s big brother. At least that was the original plan. When the show first aired a lot of complaints came from fans of The Walking Dead about how this show was incredibly dull and slow, and had so very little to do with the original series. Finally the studios bowed to this pressure and took the series in the direction the fans wanted. And honestly, I think this is a real shame. Why would you want two series that are pretty much exactly the same, only with different characters? What I absolutely loved about this show in the beginning, is how it showed the slow decline of civilisation and the eerie atmosphere. When the first zombies begin to appear people aren’t even worried, thinking it’s just a disease that will eventually get cured. We of course as an audience know how the events will eventually turn out, and how the world is going to fall. One of the creepiest scenes in this first season is when the power begins to fail, and you see entire city blocks turning dark. That event really is the foreshadowing of the beginning of the end, and it was filmed in a truly powerful way.

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Honey, please stay away from me when I am on the phone. 

For me that was one of the show’s greatest strengths. The pacing, especially in the beginning is definitely very slow. I can totally understand how people can be turned off by this, but I think this has also to do with the characters that aren’t all that interesting. Where The Walking Dead has powerful leads such as Rick and Daryl, here we have a normal albeit dysfunctional family that you just don’t really care about. Nick played by Frank Dillane, is a very selfish character whose only goal seems to be looking where he can get his new fix. Actress Kim Dickens in the role of his mother Madison does a good enough job of playing his despairing mother. But in the end she is just, at least in this season, a very dull character. The only character that I at least liked was Travis, played by Cliff Curtis. Here is a man that tries to keep his head above water while his family is being torn apart and society around him is collapsing. He played the part perfectly and was for me one of the shining lights. Later on in the series, his family meets up with another one, that also doesn’t contain very memorable characters.

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Erm, I don’t really think this guy needs a shave right now. 

And that is pretty much this show’s greatest flaw. When a tv series fails to give you characters that you really care for, it’s hard to keep you interested in it. That said, I for one was still very much entertained. I know that in the upcoming seasons, the show is going to change and I heard that some people even say they found it better than it’s big counterpart. (A fact I find very hard to believe). But I loved the way this season showed us how everything started on the road to the zombie apocalypse. I thought it handled this in a very good and believable manner, despite it’s slow pace. Fear the Walking Dead won’t be for everyone, especially not if you are hoping to find full on zombie carnage, of which there is very little here. But for those of you that are interested in seeing what could happen when an unstoppable disease begins to ravage the world, you are hardpressed to find a series that does this in such a realistic way.

I give Fear the Walking Dead season 1 a 8 out of 10 score.

The Best New Years Parties Start on the 29th!

As the year is beginning to draw to a close, you would say people are starting to wind down and relax. But then there are wonderful people such as Irina, that even near the end of the year publish something amazing.
As you might recall she had this terrific idea of the Blogwarming Party that put new and upcoming bloggers in the spotlight. (New anime bloggers could submit a post to her, and eventually a choice would be made as to who would be featured on her blog). Today the new Blogwarming Party was released on her amazing blog (what do you mean you are not following her yet? Go and do that right now). It featured some very kind words about me (which honestly made me very shy, but really, thanks again), but that’s not what this post is about. It really is about two new bloggers that are meant to shine through this post.
In other words, for everyone who is interested in anime do go and check out these up and coming bloggers. I have yet to read the posts myself, but after reading the very high praise they were given in this one I’m pretty sure that we are all in for a treat. Irina thanks again for this wonderful idea you have created 😀

I drink and watch anime

Hi Guys! How has you December been? Yeah, mine was super busy too! But hey, at least we got it done, right!? I hope you all had wonderful Holidays or at least not completely horrible ones. Next year will be (even) better, I promise. We could all do a Christmas anime marathon together, that’ll be fun! I hope you’ll get the chance to rest up a little at least because 2018 is just around the corner and you will need your strength. There’s going to be a lot of work and a lot of partying to be done. I’m certainly looking forward to it. I have an idea, let’s start the partying right now, the work’ll get done eventually.

Even though I haven’t checked this time (super busy and all) I’m hopingKarandi from100 Word Anime andRemyfromThe Lily Garden will agree to once again share these…

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King’s Game, Anime tv series (2017)

Okay, this might actually be very hard for you to believe but before March of this year I did not own a mobile phone. At least not one that could be called a smartphone. No, I had one of those phones that people used in the past to make phonecalls with. You know the thing that cellphones were originally meant for. These days smartphones seem to have evolved into mobile computers and are used for so many things that I can’t even keep track of it all. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Anyways, the things that people really seem to enjoy on them is the offering of mobile games. And the selection is getting better and better. There seems to be a game for everyone and the graphics almost look as good as though you were a playing a game on a console. But there is also a darker side to it. And that darker side comes in the form of deathgames. Wait…nope sorry, that’s just in this anime. But, I do think after seeing this you will think quite differently about sending someone a text.

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You will see this image a lot in this show. Then again, is the real world any different?

Nobuaki Kanazawa is a highschool student that has just transferred to his new school. When he gets introduced to his new classmates he tries to avoid them as much as he can. Even though a few of them try their best to make friends with him, he just won’t let them in. Naturally people are beginning to speculate as to what the reasons for this strange behaviour might be. But that reason soon becomes apparent as everyone in class get’s a strange text sent to their cellphones. The message says that they are now participating in the King’s Game and that they are not allowed to withdraw. It is concluded with an order that two of Nobuaki’s classmates are to kiss each other, and if they don’t they will get punished. At first they all think it’s a prank devised by Kanazawa. But as time passes by and classmates are beginning to lose their lives, the true horror is beginning to become clear. Nobuaki is the soul survivor of a previous King’s Game and now history is about to repeat itself in his new class. With tensions running high because of increasingly more extreme orders, and people that are beginning to turn on each other in order to survive, the question soon becomes who will be the next victim of this deathgame…..

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This guy looks a bit like a pizza. All that’s missing is some ansjovis.

King’s Game is a mess of a show. But at the same time I quite liked it. You know those horrormovies like for instance Sharknado that are so bad that they actually become fun? You can definitely add this one to that list. That’s not to say that there aren’t things that are going to annoy you though. In the beginning of the series we spent a lot of episodes in the past with the outcome of Nobuaki’s previous King’s Game. That’s all fine, but in the meantime the story in the present takes a backseat and doesn’t really go anywhere. The same goes for the enormous cast of characters that this series contains. As we spent so much time in the past and get introduced to characters there as well, you tend to forget the names of the people we are supposed to care about in the current King’s Game. I really had some trouble indentifying a few of them. Later on though, the show does pick up speed and focusses on the events that matter, and becomes better for it.

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Some people take being hot a little bit to the extreme.

If you are not a fan of plotholes or illogical events, I would say skip this one. For King’s Game is full of them. To give you a small example: at one point a girl is burning up, and she keeps on talking slowly as if nothing is happening, not even screaming once. Now, I can look past certain things, but at times this show really makes you wonder who came up with this script. Because of the enormously large cast, most of the characters are highly underdeveloped. The star of the series, Nobuaki Kanazawa, is your basic hero type of character that is trying to do good in every way he can. He is certainly not a character you will hate, but he’s also not someone you haven’t seen in other forms in countless other animes. His biggest opponent in the game who shall remain nameless in order to avoid spoilers, is a person you are definitely going to hate. But in a good way. To call this character the devil made flesh is probably the best description. Deliciously evil and manipulative you seriously want this person to fail, but at the same time get out on top as well. All of these are the marks of a great villain.

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Please don’t be in shock, this anime isn’t that bad.

So why should you be watching this? Well, it’s actually kind of hard to explain. I watched this one along with Karandi’s (Who probably needs no introduction for most of you, but if you are not following her yet go press on the link and do so now please), weekly posts for the show, but she also had at times trouble to explain what there is to like. But I can honestly say it’s definitely great horror. The death’s are at times truly horrifyingly gruesome and inventive. The story, even though it has numerous plotholes, is still quite entertaining. And as with any game you do want to see who eventually is going to win. This is by no means a good show, I’m not going to lie to you about that. But if you are a fan of lowbudget horrormovies, and take some of the shows plotholes and events for granted, I can pretty much guarantee you are going to be entertained by this one. I have been weighing things of in my mind all day as to what grade I was going to give this. In the end I decided to give it a reasonably decent one, as I had fun watching this, no doubt about it.

I give King’s Game a 7 out of 10 score.

Erased, Japanese Tv series (2017)

Last year I saw an anime that ended up being one of the best that I have ever seen to date in my life. It was called Erased and I gave it a perfect score at the time. Having not yet revisited it I don’t know if I would give it the same score today that I gave it back then. The review for it was written in the early days of my blog, but I do know that I absolutely loved it. So when I heard they were going to be producing a live action series based on the manga/anime, the first thought that went through my mind was “Oh God, please not this again”. As most anime fans will know, the reputation for these kind of shows/movies that are based on our beloved animated series isn’t one to be very proud of. In fact, it’s downright abysmal if you look at it closely. But, since I loved the anime so much I decided to at least watch the pilot for this one and give it a chance……So, I guess you are all waiting for what I eventually thought of it huh? Okay, I will get to that after I present the plot, but how about when I say that this might just be the best live action anime adaptation ever. Did that catch your attention? Right…as I was saying let’s start with the plot first.

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Hey! No pictures please!

The aspiring manga artist Satoru has a gift. Or a curse depending on which way you look at it. With the ability called Revival he is able to travel back in time to prevent bad things from happening. He always experiences it just before some kind of calamity occurs, and he usually has a short time window to stop it. But Satoru is always able to save the day just in time. But then one day he arrives home and finds his mother dead on the floor with a knife sticking out of her back. With his hands covered in blood Satoru becomes the prime suspect for this grissly deed. Just when he is about to get caught by the police his Revival ability kicks in. But this time it takes him back farther in time than ever before. To his childhood to be exact, 18 years in the past. Now with his adult mind in the driver’s seat of his 11 year old self, he has to find a way to prevent his mother’s death and that of three of his classmates. Most notably the young girl Kayo Hinazuki who he has grown very close to. But his opponent is a very cunning and brutal serial killer that will stop at nothing to achieve his goals…….

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Are you going to eat that cake?

One of the things that live action adaptations, or any adaptations as a matter of fact usually get wrong is that they stray too far from the source material. Or don’t even use it at all. And that’s where Erased really shines. This 12 part Netflix series captures the heart and soul of what made the original so great in the first place. Things like friendship, never giving up, but also it’s darker themes such as child abuse all make an appearance. In the first 6-7 episodes the people who have seen the anime will find it follows the storyline very closely. They throw a few other things and twists in the mix but other than that it resembles it’s anime counterpart almost exactly. In what can be called the second act, it diverges it’s story into other directions without going completely off the rails. In fact I liked that they also devised some original storylines as well, because else the outcome would have been very predictable.

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Did I mention there were some heartwarming moments in this series?

Another thing you will notice when you start watching this is how gorgeous everything looks. The cinematography is stunning in this series. From the bleak factories, to the snowfilled landscapes and beautiful sunsets, everything almost looks like a painting. It really helps in setting the overall tone and atmosphere for this. The acting for this is also pretty good with one noteworthy exception. The children especially are extremely well cast, particularly the girl who plays the young Hinazuki. Just as in the anime she really is going through hell in this show, and the tv series doesn’t shy away from that subject either. Even though Hinazuki appears to be a little bit older than her anime counterpart, the actress that portrays her does a great job making us care about her character. In fact the only actress I didn’t like in certain scenes was the one who plays Airi, the girl who has a crush on the older Satoru. There were a couple of moments that were a bit cringeworthy in the way she portrayed them, but they don’t cause enough trouble to really become a problem.

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Erm, I would change my shirt if I were you. It looks like you had an accident with the ketchup bottle.

If I want to be nitpicking I can also point out that there is a certain character that at one point has a fake beard that looks so stupid it is almost laughable. In fact I found myself wondering who on Earth came up with that. But that’s a relatively minor issue in what is otherwise a truly awesome show. With the episodes being only 30 minutes long, Erased has the name bingewatch written all over it. If you have not yet seen the anime I think you are going to enjoy this series even more than those who did. As the show basically tells the same story there are not many surprises in store for the fans of the anime. But as a fan I can say that I still enjoyed this one immensely. This is without a doubt the best anime live action adaptation that I have ever seen and I highly recommend this series. It is not as good as the anime, in that I can be honest, but it does come very, very close. Erased is a really terrific series that tells a heartbreaking, exciting and sometimes downright chilling story. I dare you not to finish this one in one go.

I give Erased a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features Presents: Christmas Tv Series Episodes

Well, it’s that season to be jolly. In other words Christmas is almost upon us. Tomorrow a lot of people around the world are going to be spending this holiday in a variety of ways. I always love Christmas despite the fact that I also get a bit melancholy around this time of year. I tend to reflect on the things that have happened the past few months, and besides the good stuff there is also the inevitable bad stuff. But I’m not going to be turning this into a depressing post but rather one that will hopefully put you in the Christmas spirit a bit. We all of course have our favorite Christmas movies, and you have probably noticed quite a number of these being shown on a variety of other blogs these past few days. But instead of focussing on movies, I wanted to do something a bit different and focus on the small screen instead. There are a lot of television series that have had some kind of Christmas episode in them, and I thought I would showcase a couple of them here. Minor spoilers are ahead, so you have been warned. Okay, in no particular order lets see what Santa has in store here….

Robotech: Episode 35, Season’s Greetings

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Robotech is an animated series that is composed of three unrelated Japanese anime, that were combined in America into one show. It is a terrific science fiction series that I have been a fan of for more than 30 years now. Robotech featured a really beautiful Christmas episode. In it, one of the show’s main villains the maniacal Khyron, unleashes a devastasting attack on Christmas eve, in an attempt to demoralise the human race. But instead of losing hope, the survivors band together and start to sing Silent Night. It is a very powerful moment, and one that really shows that one should never lose hope, no matter how bleak things might get.

Knight Rider: Episode 211, Silent Knight

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Who doesn’t remember Knight Rider? The 80’s, The Hoff and a talking car called K.I.T.T. It really doesn’t get any better than this. In the second season Knight Rider got into the Christmas spirit with the Episode Silent Knight. Michael is on his way to the annual Foundation Christmas banquet, when he runs into a gypsy kid called Tino. He is unaware that Tino has stolen a gold watch from a trio of bankrobbers that are now hot on his trail, as they are afraid he might indentify them. Well, this one was certainly entertaining and a bit of goofy fun. And of course this being a Christmas episode, everything eventually works out.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Episode 310, Amends

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a highly succesful television series created by Joss Whedon (Yes that guy again). It starred Sarah Michelle Gellar in the titular role, playing a young highschool girl that was the Chosen One with the power to fight vampires and other things that bump in the night. Her great love was the vampire with a soul, Angel. In this really warm and beautiful Christmas episode, Angel is haunted by terrible visions of his past where he was still the evil vampire Angelus. He hears that the only way to get rid of these visions is by killing Buffy. Angel can’t bring himself to do this, and prepares to sacrifice himself by waiting for the sun to rise and burn him to a crisp. But the sun never comes, instead it begins to snow and Angel and Buffy enjoy each other’s company walking through Winter Wonderland. Awwww………

Bones: Episode 309, The Santa in the Slush

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Bones was a really fun C.S.I. type show where the forensic doctor Brennan teamed up with F.B.I. special agent Booth to solve a variety of crimes. Where C.S.I. was very serious for most of the time, Bones usually threw a great amount of humor into it’s episodes that distinguished it from the rest. In this really fun Christmas episode Brennan and Booth investigate the death of a Santa Claus that was found near the sewers of a mall. One of the funniest scenes of this episode is when their investigation leads them to a “Rent-A-Santa” business where they have to interview a bunch of Santas. And of course another great scene is where Booth and Brennan end up beneath a mistletoe. Yes, you can say it again: Awwwwwwwwww.

Supernatural: Episode 308, A very Supernatural Christmas

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Ah, Supernatural. Such an incredibly fun show. One could almost say that this is the Buffy of our time and you would not be very far of the mark either. Now entering it’s 13th season, the show tells the story of the two brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. Both of them have been raised by their father as “Hunters” to fight supernatural evil ranging from demons, spirits and pretty much every other horrible entity you can think of. Supernatural did it’s own version of a Christmas episode in season 3. The two brothers investigate a series of grissly murders where victims get pulled up through the chimney. Their search leads them to a kind of Anti-Santa, who is actually an ancient demon. This episode has a number of great scenes especially the one where the two brothers exchange Christmas gifts.

Chicago Fire: Episode 110, Merry Christmas, Etc.

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Chicago Fire is one of my favorite binge worthy shows. We follow the lives of the brave men and women of the Chicago firedepartment, as they go about their daily routines. Featuring very memorable characters and high octane action and danger, trust me when I say that once you start out with this series you can’t stop. In this Christmas episode a few of the firefighters get accused of stealing a high value necklace after putting out a kitchen fire. I have to be honest that while there are some Christmas activities in the background, this is the only episode on this list that won’t really give you that warm Christmas feeling. But that’s okay, as it’s still a fun and exciting watch.

Merry Christmas!

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This list could go on forever, as there are so many great TV series over the years that have done Christmas episodes. But it has to end somewhere, and these were certainly a few of my favorites. Most of you will probably spent the upcoming days celebrating Christmas, as I am going to be doing myself as well. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas. All of you are amazing, and this blog certainly would not be the same without your continued support and kindness that all of you have shown me. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas I hope the upcoming days will be fun for you as well. As always thank you for reading, and see you at the next post!

Yup, we seem to be experiencing technical difficulties

It’s been a while since I have had problems with WordPress. I ofcourse had the fun issue of my comments disappearing (twice), but as of last week there is a new incident I wish to warn you about. At first I thought it was just a random thing, but I have now been hearing that it has been making an appearance on several blogs. So what horrible thing is it this time? Well, it’s not getting notifications for new comments on posts that you wrote. I noticed this for the first time when one of my regular readers the awesome Vinnieh (do check out his blog as it is really so very good) only seemed to have left a like. Knowing Vinnieh as someone who pretty much always leaves a comment, I checked out my post and sure enough there it was. Since then every single comment left by him, does not get a single notification.

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Today quite a few other comments left by fellow bloggers also did not pop up. And I don’t seem to be the only blogger affected by this. The amazing Dani, (you should really give her blog a look as well, it is truly terrific), also mentioned that several comments over on her blog did not get a notification either. So that’s why I am letting you all know that it seems that instead of comments disappearing, you now don’t always get notified there is one. It also seems to follow a random pattern. For instance sometimes I get a notification for a comment, but when someone leaves a second comment for the same post it doesn’t let me know. Hopefully this very annoying issue get’s resolved soon. But in the meantime you might want to double check your posts. I hope this warning was helpful to everyone. Thanks for reading, see you on the next post!

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, American movie (2017)

I’m not a very happy man right now. In fact I’m pretty much at a loss for words and don’t even know where to start or how to write this post. This is probably going to be one of the hardest reviews that I have ever written since I started blogging. And it is all for a new movie in the science fiction franchise that I have loved for so many years. Today though, The Last Jedi, managed to really destroy the saga with a film that was destined to divide the Star Wars fan base community. I’m sorry to say that I am on the dark side here by stating that I really hated this movie. There…I have said it. I don’t think after all these years of watching movies, that I have ever been filled with more anger towards a film than for this one. I am also going to be breaking protocol here by writing a spoiler filled review for the first time in the history of this blog. It is really the only way to explain why I am feeling so much anger inside….and yes I know, I did hear Yoda’s words. Anger eventually leads to the Dark Side. Beware, this is a very different review by me than you are used to. It really is going to be a rant so if you are (force) sensitive to these sort of things, you can still turn away.

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Is it me, or do these things look like giant monkeys?

***!!!Spoilers Begin!!!***

So this movie pretty much picks up where The Force Awakens ended. The Rebellion is on the run and The First Order have somehow taken over the entire galaxy all of a sudden. (Which is kind of odd, seeing as they only had one base to begin with, which was destroyed in the last movie). But I’m willing to overlook that part. After episode VII fans were left with a lot of burning questions, chief amongst them being who is Snoke, and who are Rey’s parents? Let’s start with Snoke first. He is set up to be an extremely powerful villain, who has force powers that seem to be even stronger than those of The Emperor. So just who is this evil being? Well….who cares director Rian Johnson must have thought as he gets killed by Kylo Ren turning a lightsaber on him. I was completely stunned when this happened. Why introduce a seriously sinister and mysterious villain, that had fans speculating over his origins for months only to just kill him off in a single stroke? And without ever finding out who he was and how he came to be this all powerful figurehead?

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I know I look old to you, but really you don’t have to be rude about it and close your eyes.

Okay, right….so Rian is surely going to redeem himself by answering the question to who Rey’s parents were right? Erm…..wrong. Rey’s parents were, drumroll please: nobodies. Simply drunken scavengers that sold Rey off to slavers. Which means Rey herself is a nobody as well, and has no apparent bloodline to any famous force sensitive families. That’s what they came up with? Really? Great job, truly and utterly spectacular script writing. How on Earth is Rey able to do all the things that she is doing? It really makes no sense whatsoever. I had some hopes left, and those were centered on Luke and Leia. To be fair, both Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher played their parts beautifully. There is a truly heartbreaking scene near the end of the movie in which brother and sister are reunited, and that one really gave me some goosebumps. But the old heroic Luke we came to know and love as fans is gone for most of the film. In his place is a cynical and whiny old man that wants nothing to do with any of the Rebellion’s problems. And after everything he went through in Episodes IV-VI, his change in personality, despite the cause that triggered it, seems too far fetched for me. And of course just because he can, Rian decides to kill off Luke as well.

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Look, my lightsaber is still shiny and red!

Remember Yoda saying after Luke left before completing his training in Empire that there was another? We later learn that he was talking about Leia of course, but she never got Jedi training. But what happens in this movie? After getting blown into outer space, she survives in a cold hard vacuum, flies like Supergirl and pulls herself to safety by using the Force. A feat that to my knowledge not even the most powerful Jedi were able to do. I could go on but really, you get my drift. This movie is just so full of plotholes like these, that not even a Jedi mindtrick is able to save it. Are there no positive things in this movie? Well, that would be too harsh a judgement, and also not fair. Oscar Isaac, echoing his own character’s words is the fire that really shines in this film. Poe Dameron has a much bigger role in this movie than in the Force Awakens and he really has become one of my alltime favorite Star Wars characters. He truly is both a hero and rebel in the biggest sense of those words.

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Chewie and Porg, the new talkshow coming to you soon!

In true Star Wars fashion we get a couple of grand battle scenes, and the fight near the end of the film really is one of the best in the franchise. And then of course there is at least one villain in this film that still is every bit as interesting as he was in the first movie: Kylo Ren. Adam Driver portraying the character does an amazing job in bringing his conflict to life. The fun thing about Kylo is that you never really know what his next move will be. Is he truly evil, or is there still light in him? It is a question that I think he can’t even answer himself, and that is what makes him such a really fun and scary character. From a visual point of view the movie really looks amazing. The special effects are really top notch but never become too much like a few scenes that were in the prequels. Last but not least we get the Porgs, a new and quite loveable race of beings that provide some truly entertaining scenes that had me roaring with laughter.

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Yep, this face pretty much sums up how I felt after leaving the theatre yesterday.

***Spoilers End***

So, there we have it, the first true rant that I ever had on my blog and for a movie that I had been looking forward to for two years now. Ever since leaving the theatre yesterday afternoon I have been thinking that there is something that I have missed in some way. That I am somehow being too harsh. But then I looked over on IMDB and saw the responses and reviews the movie is getting and I know now that I am not alone in this. As all of you know, at least everyone that has been reading my blog for a while now, I always respect other people’s opinions. So if you loved the film, I think that is great. With this film though for me Star Wars has turned into a new direction that I just don’t like. It has ripped out the heart of what made Star Wars so much fun in the first place, and what is left into it’s place is something rather cold. I don’t know if the magic is completely snuffed out now. Only time will tell I guess. I also know that this review is maybe going to cause a great disturbance in the Force amongst some of you. For that I am sorry. Know that in no way I wish to offend anyone here, it is simply my take on the film. Never would I want to force (push) my opinion on you.

I give Star Wars Episode VIII a heartbroken 4 out 10 score.

 

 

 

 

Star Wars episode IV: A New Hope, American movie (1977)

There are some stories in this world that are kind of hard to believe. Take the Star Wars franchise for instance. No matter the fact if you love it or hate it, I think nobody can deny the fact that it’s incredibly popular and makes a ton of money. But did you know that director George Lucas had an incredibly hard time to even get a funding for the first movie in that galaxy far, far away? After writing a 13 page treatment for it, he went from studio to studio, but pretty much no one believed that this was a movie that would attract an audience. After getting declined numerous times, Lucas finally got a green light from 20th Century Fox. But he only got a very small budget with which to make the movie. After many hardships during filming, including suffering a near heart attack, Lucas managed to complete his film. When the movie was finally released in 1977 it blew everything that had come before it completely away and became a huge success. It never fails to make me smile when I think about this story, as it is proof that pretty much everything is possible as long as you keep believing in it.

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You seem to have trouble talking. Is it something I did?

Now 40 years later, Star Wars is still going strong with no end in sight. This week the eagerly awaited eight installment of the franchise will be released. I have already got my tickets, although I still have to wait a few days, as I will be seeing it on saturday morning. Which means that I have got to avoid social media the upcoming days in order to not come across spoilers. It’s only fitting to conclude my Countdown to the Last Jedi feature with the movie that started it all, Episode IV, A New Hope. Probably most of you know the story of this film by heart, but for the few unlucky souls that have never seen this one, let me break it down for you. In a galaxy far, far away an evil Empire has grown that holds everyone in an iron grip. With the creation of a new weapon, a planet killer called the Death Star, it seems the Empire is ready to snuff out the final rays of light. But there is always hope. A rebellion has grown that has managed to steal the technical plans of this new terrorweapon. The plans are currently in possession of Princess Leia, who is racing home to try and find a weakness in the Death Star. But the Empire’s brutal enforcer Darth Vader is in hot pursuit with the sole purpose of extinquishing the rebellion once and for all….

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That’s no moon, it’s erm…..I don’t really know actually.

I was one year old when this movie came out, so I never saw it in the theatres when it was released. I of course did see it at a later age, when the special editions came out and the movies were brought back to the cinema. But the experience could never rival what movie audiences at that time must have felt. These days we are not easily surprised anymore by special effects. But imagine the reaction people must have had when that Star Destroyer came into view for the first time in 1977. Movies that featured that level of special effects were completely unheard of at that time. And in that way it pretty much changed the movie industry overnight. Rival companies were trying to play catch up and released science fiction movies that tried to copy what Star Wars did. With a few exceptions, most of these attempts failed. So what exactly made this movie so special, and why has it captured the hearts and minds of so many people?

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Your hair looks really ridiculous you know that right?

Yes, the special effects were mind boggling, and even though they are now showing their age, they still hold up very well even today. But for me it’s the story and the characters that form the main reason why I love this movie so very much. It’s the ultimate epic tale of good versus evil. Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, and of course the classic actor Alec Guinness as Obi Wan Kenobi, all of them did such an amazing job in creating wonderful and heartwarming characters. When you look at this movie now, it’s amazing how young they all look. I don’t know if this makes me old or something, but it’s just incredible when you realise that time seriously is flying by faster than the Millenium Falcon on lightspeed. But let’s not get off track here. For another reason this movie is so memorable is it’s main villain: Darth Vader. The first time he enters the screen you can’t help but feel intimidated. He is the very personification of evil, and it oozes out from him in every way. For me he simply is the best villain in movie history.

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We are all going to be made into action figures? You are kidding me right?

When it comes to Star Wars it is really hard to stay objective. I have been a fan of this franchise ever since I saw that memorable opening crawl on my television screen for the first time. It is also hard to believe that after 40 years we will again see Mark Hamill reprise his role for which he has been famous all his life. No one yet knows what is in store for Luke, but I will be awaiting with anticipation that is bigger than a Womp Rat, I can tell you that. For those of you that have not seen this first film I can only say that I envy you. To experience a movie like this for the first time is something truly amazing. And yes, in case you were wondering this really is the movie you should start with first. I know it’s called Episode IV, but this was the very first installment. (Even though Episodes I-III were released much later, but that is a story for another time). A New Hope is an amazing piece of cinema, and a movie that you simply must see at least once in your life. And so we have reached the end of this feature. I leave you with the original trailer for the movie, and for those of you that are going to the cinema the coming days to see Episode VIII: May the Force be with you!

I give Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope a 10 out of 10 score.

Sisters of Battle, a Warhammer 40000 novel by James Swallow (2017)

Imagine a grim and dark universe that only has one thing on it’s mind: war. Not a very bright thing to look forward to is it? But it has been the setting for decades for a tabletop game called Warhammer 40.000. In that game players battle each other with fictional armies of painted miniatures. Taking place in the 41st Millenium (talk about a time jump), it is one of the most detailed science fiction universes ever created. With literally thousands of novels and sourcebooks that tell the tales of the men, women and aliens that are living in there, it can be very overwhelming for people that are not familiar with it. In this far future, mankind has taken to the stars and have created an Imperium that consists of thousands of planets. Humanity is led by The Emperor that was mortally wounded in a great war called the Horus Heresy. He now permanently resides on Terra where he is kept alive on The Golden Throne. In his name vast armies of Space Marines take the fight to enemies ranking from aliens to horrifying demons.

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Yup…..we get girlpower now!

I myself have never played the game, but I really love the stories that are written for this universe. I have a pretty big collection of books in this range, and most of these tell the accounts of the soldiers of the Imperium, the superhuman Space Marines. That’s why it was very refreshing to find a novel that does something entirely different. It brings girlpower to this male dominated universe! The Sisters of Battle Omnibus features four stories that focus on the women soldiers also known as the Adepta Sororitas. Fanatically loyal to the Emperor, these women are not supersoldiers or enhanced in any way. But what they may lack in strength, they more than make up for with their courage and faith. In this omnibus we get introduced to Sister Miriya, who has become one of my favorite Warhammer 40.000 characters. Raven haired, headstrong but courageous to a fault she is an absolute delight and a true heroine.

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One of the more horrifying enemies that lurk in this book: The Necron.

The second main character of this book is Sister Verity, who is not a soldier but a medic and almost the complete opposite of Miriya. Where the former is of the type to shoot first and ask questions later, Verity always tries to reason through everything and is an incredibly kind soul that always sees the best in people. This unlikely pair soon become vast friends, and are going to have to face some true challenges. The four stories that make up this omnibus are all good, but my two favorites have got to be the two novella length ones. In Faith and Fire the two Sisters are going after a rogue psyker that has killed Verity’s real sister, and is responsible for the death of countless other humans. But soon it becomes clear that there is something far more sinister going on. In Hammer and Anvil Miriya and Verity land on a planet that contains an outpost from the Adepta Sororitas that has been silent for years. No one really knows what transpired there, but the truth is more horrifying than both could ever have imagined.

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Who would argue with a woman like this?

James Swallow, the author of all four stories, has really outdone himself. This collection comes running out of the gates, and never once becomes boring in any way. There are some great battlescenes, terrific characters (both heroes and enemies) but there is also enough time amidst all the carnage to tell some great tales. If you have never before experienced the Warhammer 40.000 universe this omnibus certainly is a great way to enter it. As it features a branch of The Imperium that hasn’t been featured in many other novels yet, you need no real other knowledge to enjoy this book. If you love military science fiction, that has fast paced action and interesting characters I highly recommend checking this one out. It really was a great read from start to finish, and one of the best novels that I have read all year. And really, who can resist an awesome cover like that!

I give Sisters of Battle a 9 out of 10 score.