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‘Colony’ Season Two finale: Total Rendition

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Don’t let all the Spoilers alienate you!

So before diving into Season Two, a quick recap – some time ago, the world was invaded by actual aliens, in spaceships with scary technology and all that jazz, and they divided the world up by gigantic walls into blocs. The story of the Bowmans, the Authorities, the Resistance and yes, occasionally aliens, began in Los Angeles, and Season Two branches out into further what-was-California territory.

Our story continues with Will Bowman, despite his job with the Authorities clashing with his newfound awareness of his wifes activities within the Resistance, insisting on going to hunt down his youngest son Charlie in the Santa Monica bloc, of course by himself. He finds Charlie with the help of his old before-aliens-landed partner, who also takes a hell of a lot of chances helping Will and Charlie get out of the bloc, and ultimately, she comes off the worse for it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, Katie Bowman is concerned about her daughter being taught what sure sound like cult ravings about The Greatest Day, which we gather is some kind of brainwashing about how to treat the alien overlords when they do finally come to lay claim to our planet in person. Katie’s sister Maddie and her ladder-climbing husband Nolan Burgess are attempting to hang on to their cushy Transitional Authority positions by any means necessary, and that includes betrayal most foul, occasionally of each-other.

The eldest Bowman boy, Bram, got himself tossed into a teenager work gang, which of course former-Proxy Snyder has to stick his nose into because, as he would say, leverage is wherever you find it. A shakeup in local TA leadership, handed on down from much higher authority that we see for the first time in Season Two, is bringing down all kinds of heat on Will, Snyder, and Broussard.

Yes, much as he really didn’t want to, Broussard has to come out of hiding with his Resistance cell, for all their sanities’ sake if nothing else. The Red Hand, another Resistance group causing all kinds of trouble for the TA and the Bowmans, prove to be yet another obstacle for Broussard to get anything with his own cell done. Yet word from other Resistance cells outside the L.A. bloc is trickling in, and even shows up in person in a latter episode.

It was, I think, Bram’s involvement with the terrorist attack his little friends at the work gang perpetrated on the alien ship, that began the hunt for the whole Bowman family. Then we had Katie stealing a census list from Maddie, that led us to understand the L.A. bloc is being emptied out for purposes unknown. And of course Will is trying to juggle working with the TA and simultaneously lying to his newly-saddled partner, along with the safety of his family and yes, sigh, his ultimate decision to actually aid the Resistance however he can. Aunt Maddie gets sacrificed by Nolan on the altar of self-preservation, and all the remaining Bowmans have to take to hiding, with only Brussard left from his entire cell being wiped out, to help. And then Snyder, we must never forget he’s a scheming little weasel, gets the news that the entire Los Angeles bloc has been sanctioned for total rendition, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Or is it? The Bowmans have made it out, yes, with that damn gauntlet and Snyder the tracking weasel is with them, but we only saw the spaceships coming for the refugees of Los Angeles. I guess I shouldn’t have expected the gathered ships above the bloc to blow shit up Independence Day style, that’s never really been Colony’s way. But because that’s all we saw, we won’t get to know until Season Three, yes there is one they’re already filming it, if Aunt Maddie was vaporized, sent to the Factory, or what!

Season Two made a conscious effort to expand beyond the small borders of the first Season of Colony, and that’s good because they kind of needed to do that to keep the story interesting. All the Bowmans got their own screen time and own story, which they tried their best to intertwine with the main narrative; most of the time, they succeeded. More than anything, Colony is a human drama centered around a relatively small core of Scifi, so we can’t expect Ridley Scott alien visions – yet. Because the L.A. bloc is now done one way or another, the show will have no real choice but to begin to delve further into the RAP aliens – or risk alienating their audience. But strong acting performances all around and solid story to build on, Season Three of Colony will literally be the one to watch for.

‘Designated Survivor’ Premiere: It could be you, too

Posted in Action, drama, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2016 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So Tom Kirkland (Kiefer Sutherland) is what we in the storytelling world call the Everyman – he has a thankless government job (Housing and Urban Development) that brings him in constant contact with the little people, a loving wife (Natasha McElhone) and two children (the adorably snarky little girl and the drug-dealing teenage son), and he’s just trying to do the best he can and get by. In fact, yes, before this nonsense went down, Tom was about to be “gifted” a new job as ambassador to … do we even remember? Tom asks, in disbelief, is that even a thing? Doesn’t matter, he’s assured it is indeed a thing now, and while ambassadorial perks are peachy, it means uprooting his family yet again, to Canada this time, and effectively admitting he’d just been fired from the Secretary of Housing job.

None of this sits well with Tom, of course, but he chooses not to make a fuss on the night of the Presidents State of the Union address, despite the added insult to injury business of having all his HUDS talking points removed from the speech. He and his politico wife Alex are just hangin out in the secret location for the Designated Survivor, the one person we know damned well and can prove is part of our American government and somewhere far down the line of succession, but is ultimately expendable.

The Presidents speech is droning on while Tom and Alex have popcorn, and then hey, the channel cuts out. That would be only mildly disturbing, but then Secret Service rushes in like the world had just officially ended, sending everyones pulses jackhammering, especially when Tom exposes a window to the capitol. A miniature mushroom cloud is silhouetted against the black sky where the Capitol building used to stand, and holy shit dude, Tom Kirkland, the official Designated Survivor, just by default became the freaking President of the United States.

Tom and his family, minus the teenaged son who they’re still looking for, get whisked away to the White House and suddenly the everyman politician in freaking sweats and glasses is being sworn in as the leader of the free world. And Tom ends up having the exact same reaction many of us would be having in that situation – he just hurls. There is an up side to this though, because it’s here in the bathroom that Tom meets Seth Wright (Kal Penn), a speechwriter for Congress, and apparently the one person prepared to tell Tom the actual truth and his genuine opinion.

A whole bunch more insane stuff happens to poor Tom, including his introduction to the nuclear football, his first attempts at “aggressive negotiations” with a foreign diplomat, and his meeting the psycho scorched-earth-policy military general. Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) is the FBI agent with the eternal troubled past who’s now conducting the investigation into the bombing of the capitol and the possibility of further attacks. Between Maggie Q’s authority and Sutherland’s presence, the show is a fine combination of FBI crime drama and political humanitarian drama, with a twist – in theory, any one of us could be Tom Kirkland, and have near exactly the same reactions as him. Kiefer Sutherland has been a wonderful dramatic actor for years, and Designated Survivor continues to showcase his family acting dynasty talents. Hopefully the show can keep the same tempo going they had in the pilot episode, so we can continue to appreciate the superb drama of this show, to combat the farce of our real-life current political situation, if nothing else.

‘Wynonna Earp’: Join Team Earp

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2016 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Steve the Space Wizard

Website: Wynonna Earp

 Wynonna Earp is my favorite new SyFy series. I say that like I have a lot of favorite series on SyFy, but it really is just this and Battlestar Galactica. Wynonna Earp is a show about the great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp who inherits his magic gun which is used to hunt demons, so as one can expect, there’s a huge helping of cheese to be found here. Cheesy as it maybe, it does have its charm. Besides, I kept watching Battlestar Galactica long after it jumped the shark so I’m not too picky with my choices of entertainment, as long as it’s fun. And Wynonna Earp sure is fun.

The pilot episode introduces us to Wynonna Earp, a jaded, wise-cracking and perpetually peripatetic vagrant who returns to her hometown for her uncle’s funeral. We see that there a lot of demonic rednecks about, 77 “revenants”who returned from the dead and somehow stuck in this tiny town out in the boonies, which is incidentally called Purgatory (yeah it’s not subtle show). Purgatory isn’t exactly a charming place; it’s in the middle of nowhere and the residents are shown as stupid and annoying, and that’s not even counting the revenants. Wynonna’s family in Purgatory consists of her long-suffering aunt Gus, and her adorable younger sister Waverly. Her uncle was killed by the revenants to lure Wynonna back to Purgatory. Why? Because the Earps have a curse; each time an Earp heir turns 27, the 77 revenants return and the heir has to kill them all. Nothing and no one can kill the undead demons except the heir of Wyatt Earp, who inherits his gun Peacemaker as a family heirloom. Peacemaker is the only thing that can dispatch the revenants to hell; they were formerly bandits killed by Wyatt Earp back in the day. If you can accept this premise, you’re in for a good time.

Also introduced in the pilot is Agent Xavier Dolls, a tough, no-nonsense agent of a secret division of the US Marshalls that hunt monsters. Agent Dolls recruits Wynonna into his unit, called the Black Badge Division, and by the end of the pilot she’s forced to give up her vagabond life and killall the monsters. Also wandering into town is Doc Holliday, the original Doc Holliday, who isn’t dead – he was just stuck in a well for all this time (yup, the premise really stretches itself). He hasn’t even aged, thanks to a curse that’s befallen him, because everybody’s cursed in this town, as if being stuck in a remote town that’s full of idiots and/or killer zombie bandits isn’t a curse enough. Doc Holliday is on a mission of vengeance, and we haven’t quite found out what or who he’s after just yet. We’re only two episodes in, but there’s enough mystery and monsters and intrigue to keep me watching. Our hero Wynonna is portrayed as equal parts badass and goofball, which should be charming, but it doesn’t quite mesh (yet). I am generally not bothered by terrible acting (I’m more offended by inconsistent storytelling), but often I find the performances lacking. However I did watch all of seasons 1 and 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I tell myself it always gets better, so I am going to forgive the show’s shortcomings and I am on Team Earp.

Wynonna Earp airs Friday nights on SyFy.

The end of ‘Dominion’: The angels have truly fallen

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, horror, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2015 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Creator: Vaun Wilmott

Website: Dominion

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Based on the movie Legion, the SyFy show Dominion follows a world where God has left us, angels are real and they’ve come down from heaven to terrorize us mortals, plus the one young man reputed to be the savior of humanity!

It would help to have seen the movie before trying to watch the show, but it isn’t a true requirement. The show usually has a preface before each episode, explaining that some 20-odd years ago God up and left the world, and the angels and their hierarchy came down and began an extermination war on humanity. The lesser angels began possessing humans, turning them into a vampire-zombie-like hybrid angel-monster with unnatural speed and strength, black eyes and jagged teeth. The higher angels, most notably archangel Gabriel, led an extermination against humanity, and succeeded by a good margin. From 2013 all the way to 2022, millions of humans were slaughtered by angelic hands, and what was left of humanity banded together in the leftovers of American cities, particularly Vega, New Delphi and nearby Helena. Gabriel (Carl Beukes) leads the angelic armies against the humans, while archangel Michael (Tom Wisdom), believing he was tasked by Father to find the savior and keep him safe, flies off to find his own destiny!

And that is pretty much where we are when the show starts. Inside Vega, the V-System, an occupation-based social class ordering dreamt up and implemented by General Riesen (Alan Dale), has led to all sorts of underground hurt feelings and potential uprisings. The Senate has Lady Claire Riesen (Roxanne McGee), the General’s daughter and Consul David Whele (Anthony Head) constantly at eachothers throats, jockeying for position and control while trying desperately to keep the cities denizens safe from encroaching 8-balls (what they call lower angels who’ve possessed humans) and archangel armies. Nearby female-run city Helena occasionally sends envoys and potential allies, sometimes enemies too, to Vega, usually in the form of Arika (Shivani Ghai) and her minions. New Delphi is another nearby city that not many Vegans know a lot about, but rumor has it their leader Julian (Simon Merrells) has access to all kinds of weapons, supplies, and even an 8-Ball army all his own!

The mythology of what happened to the world, the Extermination war on humanity by the angels, plus the restructuring of cities and the defenses to keep the angels out, the defection of Michael and his attempts to aid the last dregs of humanity and the mighty Savior, are given out piecemeal over the course of the show. The politics of Vega are fairly easy to understand, though one would think that the humans would finally have actually banded together against the angelic horde, rather than continuing to jockey for position and as much power as they can continue to grasp. David Whele is the best example of this, being willing to sacrifice everything he has up to and including his own fractious son, for power against the angels just a little while longer. While the winged monsters are battering against the city gates, Whele is plotting with Arika, or making deals with Gabriel, or talking himself out of execution, yet again. Whele seems to represent the flip side of humanity, our pettiness and greed and selfishness, even in the most dire of situations when we should be coming together against the outside Enemy. Played by the forever-awesome Anthony Head, Whele is the worst kind of character you find things in common with, to your everlasting shame, and serves as a warning against giving in to your darker desires.

Then there’s Alex Lannen (Christopher Egan), the savior himself. Always and forever the reluctant hero, it took Alex several episodes to embrace his newfound powers and tattoos. It did get a shade tiresome, because we’d rather be seeing Alex exorcise 8-balls or fighting armored archangels, then hear him whine about destiny yet again. His little side romance with Lady Riesen and his angelic cohort Noma (Kim Engelbrecht), was more or less fine and demonstrated the better aspects humanity had to offer.

Much ado is made over the long-standing feud between angelic brothers Michael and Gabriel. Gabriel leads the angelic armies against the humans, scoffing at the idea of the Savior until it turns out that the child is very real and those magical tattoos Michael was safely holding for the later use of the Savior have been passed on to his guardian. Michael and Gabriel have been arguing and fighting amongst themselves since, oh, since they both can remember really, which is a very very long time, given the idea that angels live forever. They argue over what happened to Father, what Father would want them to do, but angels were never meant to be without a chaperone of some kind, and so order-less Gabriel leans toward the destruction of all humanity, while Michael searches for any kind of peace, between humans and angels, but also within his own heart. The whole storyline of the town of Mallory and what Michael found there, and also what found him, was interesting, if a little odd. Believe me when I say I really wish they had introduced Lucifer sooner.

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And why is that? Because, my dear crazy angel lovers, Dominion has been cancelled after only its second season. At the very least, the show ended on a very strong note. For those who had been watching the show from the beginning, and they started very strong, being the most-viewed scripted series on Syfy in its first season and all. Season two’s numbers rapidly slid though, and the angels have truly fallen. The last episode really stuck it to several key characters, we could’ve have seen some awesome and horrific actor do Lucifer on the show, we even got to see Lady Riesin’s eyes blacken! We fans will never know the answers to the questions the last episode brought up, and we wanted to know, which is a good feeling for the show to go out on. We’ll miss you, the angels who both loved and hated us, and the humanity that continued to thrive even in the face of angelic extinction!

Dexter Season 7

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Romance, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2012 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Website: Dexter

Producer: Showtime

Rating: 8/10

Dexter Morgan, blood spatter analyst for the Miami metro by day and vigilante serial killer by night, returns to face heartache and persecution once again!

Season 6 was a major disappointment, let’s just be frank about it. Even Edward James Olmos as a bad guy, who turned out to be a figment of another bad guys imagination and it wasn’t even Dexter’s, couldn’t save that totally weak plot. The only upshot to the entire season was the cliffhanger at the very end, where Deb walked in on Dexter in the killing room right as he did the deed. And that’s where Season 7 begins, thankfully, as Deb struggles to understand and accept this new information about her adopted brother. At first she tries to therapy or even cure poor Dexter, to stifle or at least control those urges his Dark Passenger demands. That doesn’t work at all, though there is a wonderfully tearful scene where Dex is about to do someone in and calls Deb up for help like an addict calling his sponsor. Meanwhile there is of course other stuff going on.

Introducing Hannah McKay, Dexter’s new love interest. I don’t particularly care that she’s acted by Yvonne Strahovski of tv series Chuck fame, hardly ever does a Dexter show member actually need to ride on the shirttails of their previous successes. What she does do is work that character into something Dexter needs, a companion who doesn’t judge, who makes him feel safe, that he can actually discuss the Dark Passenger with. After all, Hannah McKay herself is a former murderer, though her means of choice was poison, and therein lies the fatal flaw. Even between admitted murderers, it’s very hard to ever fully trust a poisoner. A lot of lip service is given to Rita, Dexter’s wife who was killed in an epic episode in a previous season, and how Hannah compares to her memory. Which isn’t much fair, but not entirely unexpected. And Rita’s kids even show up for an episode, like the producers went oh yeah, we remember that storyline, lets include them a little and remind the audience. Some importance, only a little really, is placed on Harrison, Dexter’s son, if nothing else as a reminder that Dexter’s cover life is now real to him and Dexter doesn’t want to give it up if he doesn’t have to.

Miami Metro is full of change. Quinn gets himself into trouble with the Ukranian mafia (yeah you read that right) and gets a stripper girlfriend; frankly none of us give a damn about this entire storyline, other than how it pertains to the psycho boss Isaak, who wants Dexter dead for killing his partner. Hey man, that’s what happens when you mistakenly take out an FBI agent: a shadowy blood nerd by day swoops in and murders you in cold justice. Angel Batista is deciding to retire from Metro and open his own restaurant, and while we the audience still love his character, it’s getting old. Then there’s LaGuerta, who just can’t let the whole idea that Doakes is/was the Bay Harbor Butcher, go. She found a blood slide at Season 6’s last crime scene, the church, just like the ones the Butcher was famous for, and well. She just has to continue the search for him, and bring in extra help with former Agent Matthews, even when evidence is planted all over the place to dissuade her otherwise. She goes as far as to get a certain long-standing villain who instigated the murder of Dexter’s mother out of jail on parole, a trap set to catch Dexter in the act of murdering vengeance. Deb, while agonizing over her hatred of Hannah and her desire to help keep her beloved brother out of jail, ends up far too deep in the whole mess, and it culminates in the last episode. The cliffhanger for Season 8 is good, Dexter-worthy even, and makes me sad to know that the next season will be the last for our beloved blood spatter vigilante.

Hatfields & McCoys

Posted in Action, drama, Historical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Production Co: Thinkfactory Media

Website: Hatfields & McCoys

Review Rating: 8

The story of a bitter blood feud between two families over the West Virginia and Kentucky river borders after the civil war ended.

This is actually a long-standing story that was referred to in a lot of older cartoons I watched when I was younger – Looney Tunes and Disney mostly. Two pioneer style mountain type families, the men all in hats and beards, the women in Little House on the Prairie dresses with their hair up, all a-feudin and a-fightin and a-lovin and a-dyin. This version of the actual story of the Hatfields and the McCoys, is a lot darker, but there is a lot more grit and realism too.

So we start off with the incredibly memorable Kevin Costner, who’s finally back in a role at which he excels, the reluctant anti-hero “Devil” Anse Hatfield, instead of those godawful romantic comedies he had been gracing us with. Bill Paxton, who astounds in these kinds of roles right out of Tombstone and the like, is Randall McCoy, leader of the opposing family. The two of them start off at the end of the civil war, where ‘Devil’ Anse decides he’s plumb had enough already, and deserts his post while Randall looks on in disapproval and disbelief. Some while later, Randall is released from his own post, and takes his disapproval all the way home to his stunned wife, turning his own thanks to God for leading him home to his family. The show does a fine job of reminding the audience of this original disapproval of Anse abandoning his post, when originally McCoy and Hatfield loved eachother like brothers serving in the army for years. And soon, trouble begins. There’s arguments over logging rights, boundary properties, a sly McCoy lawyer (he doesn’t use that last name, so one has to be reminded of that fairly often), and a Hatfield judge doing his damnedest to remain impartial to the law. The wives would be friends, but their menfolk don’t approve, and it’s always the women and children who suffer for these kinds of feuds. Anse’s brother is beat to hell and shot down at the fair, there’s a whole actual trial in the courthouse over who owns the pig, and each time emphasis is placed on the fact that, when things are brought to the Family heads, they take revenge yes always, but in as restrained a manner as they can manage. Anse and Randall were originally brothers, friends at least, and they both in their own way try to minimize collateral damage.

Much to do is made about the supposed romance between Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy, though for the life of me, it didn’t seem like much of a romance at all. Johnse has a bit of a reputation for seducing pretty girls, and when he falls head over lust over Roseanna, the fact that she’s a McCoy just adds danger spice to his already overflowing libido. Nothing for it but for them to get found out, her to get knocked up, Roseanna disappears to a relative to give birth and fairly soon after that both mother and child die from some mysterious wasting disease that’s classified as depression. This entire time, Johnse has sworn up down and sideways that he loves Roseanna, and yet, rarely puts in the effort required to visit her and ends up seducing (or is it the other way round) her best friend Nancy. Another McCoy – shocking.

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it is a very good show. The middle gets a little more muddled over family feuds than I would like, simply preferring to focus on the veteran actors in the roles of Family Heads, but that’s me. Costner and Paxton really are the stars of this show, having earned their spurs all over the place in similar films already. Tom Berenger is Jim Vance, Anse’s eldest uncle and the personal psycho whirling dervish of the Hatfield clan. Powers Boothe is Judge Valentine “Wall” Hatfield, and boy does he bring the house down. Matt Barr, who’s apparently been on lots and lots of TV, is Johnse Hatfield and I just didn’t care for the character, but that’s me. Lindsay Pulsipher is Roseanna McCoy, and while she did fine as the melancholy little thing, once again I just didn’t much care for the character herself. Andrew Howard is “Bad” Frank Phillips, bounty hunter turned sheriff involved in the feuding for his own reasons. Ronan Vibert is Perry Cline, smooth and deadly McCoy lawyer. A fine cast and thorough efforts at things like sets, proper costumes and adherence to the speech and mannerisms of the time, give the audience the real feel of being there.

Movie Moxie loves TV presents Lost Girl

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Creator: M.A. Lovretta

Website: Lost Girl

Review Rating: 7

Bo is what turns out to be a Succubus, thrust into the world of the Fae without choosing a Light or Dark side, with her trusty gothic sidekick Kenzie.

So apparently the world the Fae includes things like vampires, shapeshifters, and yes even Succubi. Now, if you happen to be a fan of the storybook Fae, or movies or history or whatever, then you know already that they have their own cultures and traditions and castes and clans. That does not include Succubi and the like, who are technically Demons. Doesn’t matter – we go on. All sorts of Fantasy-style creatures are mentioned in this interesting modern take on the Fae world – like a creature from Japan, a Kappa, who is once again technically a water demon (which means something very different to them) and can be considered a Fae, sure. There’s a bar owned by a Dwarf, where Bo meets with a lot of these Fae over drinks.

Bo is a Succubus, sexy and seductive and dangerous, yes. This means she feeds off humans (and others) when she has sex, and has been running from city to city leaving a trail of dead bodies behind her. She comes to some as yet unnamed city, gets entangled with the Fae there, and gets told she’s one of them. Of course now Bo has to decide which side, Light Fae or Dark, to belong to, and give up her cherished newfound freedom. So Bo decides, to belong to neither side, but still be involved in this whole Fae world, not that she really has a choice. She takes up residence in the city in some rundown place, with Kenzie, and begins trying to forge relationships with the various Fae she knows, learn about her real parents, and control her “condition”.

I actually rather enjoy this series, and frankly didn’t expect to. It is SyFy, so the ability of the writers and the CGI used is anyone’s guess. I enjoy the Woodland Fae Dyson that Bo seems to have latched onto; Kenzie has the best one-liners anywhere; and the interesting dynamic between Bo and the human doctor trying to help her manage her “condition” and not be seduced in the process makes for really steamy scenes. The show does rather remind me of Laurell Hamilton’s book series Meredith Gentry, all about Fae royals in modern times. For fans of the SyFy channel and the whole Fantasy/SciFi/Horror mashup deal, this show could be for you.