Tag Archives: Grace

“Frontier” Season 1 – A Good Start to the Trade and Political Drama of the 1700s

“Frontier” is  a show whose premise I loved and whose story has a lot of potential to be extremely great. There are a few things that keep it from being great though and those are the cliffhanger ending and the main protagonist and villain just aren’t all that complex and because the focus is on them and not the more interesting characters it brings the story down and keeps it from a great Season 1.

The story of “Frontier” takes place in Canada as the Kree, Americans, French, Scottish and English Hudson Bay Company vay for control of the Fur Trade in the area. Beneath of all this the story follows Michael Smyth (Landon Laboiron) an Irishman from England who is blackmailed by Lord Benton (Alun Armstrong) into becoming a spy against Declan Harp (Jason Mamoa), a half-Kree warrior seeking revenge against Benton and the Hudson Bay Company.

Slight SPOILERS

The Pros: The Factions – There are a lot of factions in this show and that is what makes it so interesting. You have Kree who want trade and those who want war, you have the brothers and one of the brother’s wives representing the Scots, you have Lord Benton and the Hudson Bay Company and his Captain Chesterfield who is his protector and enforcer and Grace and her Ale House which she uses to broker information and work her way into the fur trade as well, while helping Declan Harp on his revenge quest as well as an American faction causing chaos and trying to gain control over the area too.

The Ale House – The Ale House is one of the most interesting places on the show as here secrets are revealed and we see it as the only true women run faction in the area after the Kree leader is overthrown by her son. Seeing them navigate a world where women are treated like dirt is fascinating and Grace is a way more compelling character than Michael or Lord Benton as she leans good but is ruthless and shows how she has survived and thrived.

Declan Harp – Jason Mamoa’s Declan Harp is amazing! This is a man who lost everything to Lord Benton when his family was murdered by him after he joined the Kree and looked out for Native interests (his mother’s side of his family) and from this we see why he is so lost in revenge. This arc is still open though as in the end he escapes death (he does this a few times) but as far as we know, Lord Benton is still alive after the chaos.

Okay: The Protagonist and main Villain – Michael and Lord Benton are acted well but written flatly. Benton is just a misogynistic, racist, greedy man and Michael is just the idealist boy wanting to save his girlfriend who finds a higher calling in Declan’s cause. Both of them could have been given so much more complexity.

The Cons: Cliffhanger Ending – The Cliffhanger ending is really what brings the story down the most. The writer’s didn’t know if they’d get a Season 2 (Which they did thankfully) so leaving it open ended just made it so all the work and loss and fighting meant nothing. The factions are still aligned and though some maybe battered, we haven’t seen anything really change. We aren’t shown any solid change outside of Michael joining Declan over his girlfriend and even within that Lord Benton was implied to be still alive. For all the setup over the 6 episodes, there needed to be solid payoff.

This is a good start to a series that has so much potential. I love the fact that we see the different reasons that different factions have for wanting to join or fight the Hudson Bay Company and how complicated the politics get as each of the faction’s leaders vay for control of the trade even as other aspects of the war blind them to that or do things that hurt their own factions cause. I’m glad this show got renewed for a Season 2, this like “Dark Matter” is another good show coming out of Canada and one I highly recommend.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10 Cliffhanger and predictable protagonist brought it down but still a good start to what could become an unforgettable series.

 

12 Days of Doctors – The 8th Doctor – “Doctor Who The Movie” – Paul McGann Should Have Got a Series

Doctor Who tv movie

We continue 12 Days of Doctors with our count up to 12th’s First Adventure with Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor and the “Doctor Who” movie.

This was after the show had been taken off the air, and the first attempt at a reboot and also at expanding the market for Doctor Who into the U.S.A. and Canada. It didn’t succeed, and there are well deserved reasons for that I’ll go into in the assessment.

The story of the film begins with the 7th Doctor taking the The Master’s remains back to Skaro after he was executed there for his crimes. The Master escapes and forces the TARDIS to land which leads to the 7th Doctor getting shot by gangsters. One of the medics who picks up the Doctor’s body gets possessed by the Master and another doctor named Grace accidentally kills the Doctor when she thinks his heart rate is beating uncontrollably. This leads to his regeneration into his 8th Incarnation, and the story unfolds from there with the Master’s plan and the Doctor trying to find out who he is.

doctor-who-96-tv-movie-cast

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: the Introduction – The introduction is pretty cool. It is narrated by Paul McGann and we see the 7th Doctor reading the “Time Machine” and going about his normal life until everything goes to crap. It was great seeing Sylvester McCoy again, even if he doesn’t survive past 20 minutes. Seeing the Dalek’s used as executioners was a fitting Time Lord way to do things too and seeing the Old Master from the classic series was great again as well, before his death.

The 8th Doctor / The Eighth Doctor – Paul McGann is fantastic. He reminds me a lot of the 5th Doctor in how empathetic he is and he is one of the Doctor’s who is aware of things around him more so than most…glimpsing peoples’ futures or deducting them. He also inspires Grace and Chang to actions to save him in the end. He is just that kind of Doctor and I wish he’d gotten his own series. He deserves it and very worthy of the mantel. Also, he has a great fashion sense.

Cons: The Companions – Chang Lee and Grace are just terrible human beings. Chang steals the Doctor’s stuff works with the Master when the Master is clearly evil…his only redeeming quality comes at the end when he resists the Master. Grace has the same problem, she’s a cheater sleeping with one of her fellow doctors (the one who gets possessed by the Master) and is pretty useless up until the end. She does save the day, so I’ll give her that, but having her be the main companion besides Chang Lee was a mistake. None of them are likeable or talented enough to carry the story. Both are extremely selfish characters.

The Master – The Master is just bad…he dresses in a leather coat with sunglasses initially and spits slime. Making him like a demon was a mistake, as it took away the fact that Time Lords are supposed to be very human. He was also pretty inept and only was able to get so close to winning because of Chang Lee stealing the Doctor’s stuff which allowed him to get in the TARDIS and set his trap. Eric Roberts is just a textbook movie bad guy, there is nothing unique about him and all he does is create tension when the plot needs him too. His Master isn’t unique or memorable. His whole plan is to use the TARDIS’s energy in the Eye of Harmony to transfer his soul to the Doctor’s body so he has more lives…yep, pretty convoluted and he misses a lot of opportunities that he would have had to succeed.

The Doctor is Half Human – So glad that they ignored this plot point in the tv show. It has no purpose and is only their so Chang Lee can open up Mcguffins in the TARDIS. Him being Half Human makes no sense given how old he is and the mythos of him being one of the earliest Time Lords. This was a poor plot point to make the Doctor more human I think and again, so glad that the new series and the classic series never went there.

The Supporting Cast – No one is memorable, everyone is a one note partier, an arrogant Doctor, Businessmen, Scientist or gangster. It is sad how poorly this movie was cast and written. Doctor Who deserved better than that.

The only thing good about this movie is Paul McGann. I wish he’d gotten his own series, and I hope at some point a mini-series can be commissioned for him. He owns this role and gives it a unique and empathetic twist. He is what drove the film, cause even though it was in many ways just a stupid action film that happened to star the Doctor…he made it “Doctor Who” and he was the Doctor. “Night of the Doctor” we get to see him again, and that will be a special review for another time. Paul McGann, I hope you can get the chance to be the character that you own so well so that you won’t be associated with such a terrible film.

Final score for this film is 5 / 10. Would be a below average action movie if not for the appearance by Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor.

Doctor Who 8th Doctor