Gaming: The Stanley Parable Review (or “Worthy Of The Universal Praise?”)

October 31, 2013

The Stanley Parable Review

Platform: Available through Steam on PC & Mac

Price: £9.99

Thoughts:

If you look at reviews of The Stanley Parable, they all tend to say the same thing.

People don’t want to spoil what it’s about, because it’s the originality of it that makes it so good.SPar

I can understand that, and having played it myself, I agree that had I known what it was about before playing it, it might have ruined the surprise somewhat.

But what I can’t understand is the praise heaped upon it.

And no, by that I don’t mean that it’s a bad game, but rather I don’t believe it’s a game worthy of the five-star, 10/10 or near 100% level reviews it’s getting.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s very good for what it is, but it’s far from being perfect and after about an hour of continuous play, I got a bit tired of it. Then when I came back to it, I managed to pretty much finish it off in about 30 more minutes. I say pretty much, because I could do more if I entered cheat codes that force the game to offer new material, but then had I not read about them online, how would I know about them? And moreover, by watching the videos on YouTube that showed me how to actually get these alternative scenes, I ended up watching them on that and then had no desire to go back and actually do them myself.

So the question is, even if a game is as charming, funny and original as this no doubt is, can any game that has such a limited shelf life and no replay value once you’ve completed all the various endings be worthy of such high ratings when ranked on the same scale as all other games?

And is it worth paying out £10 for?

On both counts I’d say no.

The Good and The Bad of The Stanley Parable

The Good

  • Genuinely funny narration
  • Well thought out in offering a variety of different paths to explore
  • Functional control with an Xbox 360 Controller for Windows
  • Probably the most interesting and unique demos I’ve ever played (seriously, go and download the demo and give it a go. It’s a game in itself)
  • A terrific idea for a game

The Bad

  • A poor Price-to-Game-Length ratio: £10 for around 90-120 minutes of game play is weak in 2013
  • If you play much of it in one go, the narration can grate a bit
  • Certain endings are there only for those who want to cheat and try to recode the game. What’s the point?

WWE Hell In A Cell 2013 PPV Review (or “Over-Saturated To The Point of Death By Drowning”)

October 28, 2013

I’ve been a fan of WWE since 1991, but it feels like it’s becoming more and more of a chore to watch these days.

Why? Well the main reason is undeniably the not-so-recent move to 3 hour episodes of Raw.

It’s just too much. On Tuesdays I now watch through it in about 20 minutes by just fast forwarding the vast majority of the show just to get the gist of it.

What is there interesting to watch? It’s the same wrestlers fighting each other in the same matches every single week, leading up to them expecting viewers to pay however much it is once a month to see the same matches that they just saw for free a few days earlier.

The product has become over-saturated to the point of death by drowning.

On top of their 3 hours of Raw, there’s also Smackdown; 2 hours of TV time in which nothing of consequence ever happens. I’ve not watched Smackdown in a good 10 years and I don’t think I’ve missed a single important development.

No, I don't know why R Truth is on the poster either

No, I don’t know why R Truth is on the poster either

WWE’s problems have been compounded by their inability to identify the flaws in their product.

They don’t realise that the idea of the slow burn is dead. You can’t have storylines being presented in two or sometimes three segments of an episode of Raw every week and expect it to be fresh and interesting twelve weeks – or worse – six months later. But that’s what they are doing.

I initially enjoyed the Daniel Bryan/Face of the WWE storyline, but since Summerslam we’ve seen him have the same tiresome confrontation with Triple H over and over again, and also seen him face Randy Orton on three consecutive PPV events in a mere 2 months. So what is there left? Compare that to a storyline like the Jake Roberts vs Randy Savage feud from 1991. The two of them met face to face fewer times over six months than Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton/Triple H met in two weeks.

They should run storylines over shorter periods, and if they find that means that they have to use more wrestlers in programmes to keep things interesting, then use more.

But for God’s sake, my interest in the product is now at an all time low. Something’s got to give.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the good and the bad of Hell in a Cell

WWE Hell In A Cell Review: The Good Points

  • In spite of The Shield wrestling in long matches almost every week, they once again put on a great show alongside The Rhodes Family and The Usos to kick things off. The match in question started slow, but it built up to an exciting and rewarding conclusion.
  • That Goldust remains a hugely popular figure in WWE is testament not only to his ability in the ring, but that they simply do not make characters that are anywhere near his quality anymore.
  • There was a new wrestler to watch in the form of Summer Rae
  • Antonio Cesaro’s Giant Swing was great to see again. The way he managed to get a second wind and swing Primo or Epico faster and higher was tremendous.
  • AJ Lee won, and that means Brie Bella didn’t.
  • The fans cheered when Kane chokeslammed The Miz (who must be one of the all time worst babyfaces)
  • Big E Langston’s spear through the ropes on Dean Ambrose was visually impressive.
  • Alberto del Rio lost.
  • Bob Backlund provided an unintentional laugh (WWE doesn’t provide intentional laughs these days) with his line about how he “…takes an interest in children”. He couldn’t have said that in the UK without raising a few eyebrows

WWE Hell In A Cell Review: The Bad Points

  • Randy Orton winning his match – as a result of some kind of crappy, nonsensical heel turn by Shawn Michaels – was probably the worst thing that could have happened. Again, it comes down to WWE’s idea of the slow build, but the phrase “Strike while the iron is hot” is apt here. Daniel Bryan can’t come out of this with momentum. The fans wanted him as Champion, but instead they’ve got Orton, who they don’t particularly care about.
  • I think everyone knew that the match would end with Michaels somehow costing Bryan the match.
  • I didn’t even bother to watch the CM Punk match. As sick as I am with the Orton/Triple H/Bryan storyline, I’m even more tired of CM Punk’s never-ending, holding pattern feud with Paul Heyman. Chances are the match was dull anyway.
  • Dean Ambrose is supposed to be a great worker, but once again he was part of a mostly sloppy match. Plenty of audible spot calling and clumsiness.
  • Brie Bella’s constant grunting in the ring is hugely irritating.
  • Hornswoggle, Natalia and The Great Khali have no place in WWE anymore, let alone on PPV.
  • John Cena won. Now, I’m not a John Cena hater, but I just don’t see the point in having him win that title. Bringing Cena back so soon after his injury is the same level of fix as someone curing a hangover by getting pissed again.
  • It’s insulting to the intelligence of even the simplest of viewers for WWE not to acknowledge that Los Matadores are Primo & Epico. Though they won last night, you can bet 3 months down the line they’ll be jobbing out to all and sundry.
  • Sometimes, theme music mashups work. But the mashup of Goldust and Cody Rhodes’ themes is not one of those times.

WWE Hell In A Cell Review: Final Thoughts

If it wasn’t for the opening contest, I doubt there would be anything worth praising at all.

Nothing interesting or exciting ever seems to happen, and their idea of “unpredictable” is the exact opposite.

Give it two weeks and nobody will remember a single thing from this humdrum chore.

Buck up your ideas WWE!!


How I Met Your Mother – Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse

October 25, 2013

I’ll admit it; without Doctor Who to talk about, I’ve made far fewer updates to my blog lately.

But what that means is I might start making more regular, shorter updates about other stuff.

So with that in mind, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the newest season of How I Met Your Mother.

I’m sure you all remember my article on how it had become by this time last year (if not, check it out here) but the big question is whether or not it’s actually managed to improve.

And let’s just cut to the chase and say no, it hasn’t.

What’s Wrong Now?

Well not too much has changed since last I wrote about it. The characters are now almost all entirely unlikable, the acting has gone even further down hill, the writing is pitiful and the jokes are non-existent.HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

But it if that was all, then I’d have nothing new to go over.

Incredibly though, the HIMYM team have managed to make probably the worst decision they could make when deciding how to finish it; they’ve decided to set an entire season over 3 days.

Yes, you read that right, the entire final season of How I Met Your Mother will take place at Barney & Robin’s wedding.

That’s the same wedding that we first saw the characters at in the opening episode of season six.

The same wedding that we discovered Ted would meet the mother at in the opening episode of season eight.

And we – as viewers – actually met the mother at the end of season eight.

So what’s the point?

Well presumably the idea is that the show won’t work once Ted has met the mother, so this season is a sort of makeshift way of carrying things on because the network demanded another season.

But even so, it just shows a sorry lack of planning.

What’s more, because of either a logistical cock-up or perhaps some sort of rift between him and the rest of the cast, it means that Jason Segal won’t be appearing alongside his co-stars in anything other than flashback or flash forward scenes.

That’s because he’s stuck driving to the wedding alongside some woman we’ve never seen up until this point.

And furthermore, the show will now shift almost entirely away from its roots, with barely any scenes in New York.

Terrible.

But If It Was Funny…

If How I Met Your Mother was still funny, then this would barely be a problem.

It would work.

But it’s not and therefore it won’t.

Over the course of the final 20 editions (as I’ve only watched up to episode 4) we’ll be forced to watch those worn out characters repeat the same tired jokes – like The Ring Bear and “Thank You Linus” – until finally, Ted – who is still hung up over Robin – meets the mother.

Give Up Stuart!!

Why do I watch it? Because it’s too late to turn back.

I’m invested in it now and need to see it through to the end.

I just want to make sure it’s dead with my own eyes…

 


Gaming: Grand Theft Auto V Review (or “A Triumph of Marketing Over Quality”)

October 14, 2013

It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention that Grand Theft Auto V came out last month, and I don’t suppose I need to start this review explaining what it is and what platforms it’s available for.

Instead, I’ll just get straight into discussing the merits of the game.

Note: Bear in mind that I haven’t touched the online part of GTA V so it wouldn’t be fair of me to pass judgement on that.

Grand Theft Auto V Review

Thoughts: Not As Complete As Rockstar Would Have You Believe

Let me preface this by saying that one of the best video games I’ve ever played was made by Rockstar, the developers of the GTA series.GTAV

I adored Red Dead Redemption; it’s almost unique in that it’s a game I actually wanted to 100%. Long after the main story mode – which was hugely enjoyable – was over, I was spending hours on end roaming the desert plains looking for certain types of flowers, or hunting in the forest for that one last bear I had to kill.

It was just superb.

Now today, I finished the storyline mode on GTA V, and I have to tell you, I couldn’t be less fussed about 100%ing it if I tried.

And that’s because GTA V just isn’t as good as Red Dead Redemption.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the polished main story up to a point, and I found myself keen to finish it, in spite of my annoyances with some of the characters (i.e. Trevor, who I’d gotten sick of after about 5 minutes). But once that storyline was over, what was there left to do? Buying up properties? Doing a few more Strangers & Freaks missions where you have to blindly search for aliens or tow parked cars? Side quests involving awkwardly controlled helicopters? Wandering around trying to get a 5 star wanted level rating?

None of that really appealed.

And that’s because some of the extra stuff is crap.

I mean, who wants to trawl the sea looking for submarine parts or radioactive substances? I might if the control scheme for the underwater stuff was even half way decent, but it wasn’t. And speaking of controls, the helicopters and planes – like i said above – were just a nightmare to control. The only challenging part of the game at all was trying to work through some of the more fidgety controls.

But there are more problems.

It tries to add depth by having extra curricular stuff to do like meeting friends for drinks, but that doesn’t achieve anything.

It adds characters contacts into your phone like the woman who is obsessed with fitness but those contacts never answer. So what’s the point?

It has barber shops all over town but they only offer 2 or 3 different styles.

It has clothes shops to buy more gear but the characters just revert to wearing what the game wants them to wear.

It has a host of radio stations that only offer about 10 songs each. Let’s just say I got very tired of hearing Radio Gaga very quickly.

It puts stuff like tennis in the game which – hyperbolically – some suggested was as good as Virtua Tennis, but the gameplay was so basic and easy to control that I didn’t see the point of ever playing it again after my first go.

And that sums it up. As enjoyable as the storyline mode was, it wasn’t that special – certainly not to an extent that justified the hype – and the extra stuff just felt like window dressing to me. If you’re going to add something to a game, make it worth playing. Much of that stuff just wasn’t worth playing.

So I didn’t.

Grand Theft Auto V Review: Final Thoughts

Ultimately, people will love this game regardless, and I did enjoy it to an extent, but it seems to be a case of style over substance. Mind you, what isn’t these days?

Sometimes the controls felt clunky, other times what appeared to be cool additions to the game just didn’t stand up to scrutiny, and most crucially of all, it lacked a serious challenge and much of the added stuff just wasn’t fun.

So three cheers for the presentation and the attempt to make a video game seem like a proper story, but a hearty boo from the gamer in me looking for a challenge.

I’ve got try the new Saints Row game, because I reckon it’ll be more fun.

Time will tell.

But GTA? It’s nowhere near as good as the hype suggests.

And yet it’s the best-selling game of all time.

A triumph of marketing over quality.,

 


Doctor Who – The Web of Fear and Enemy of the World Rediscovered Review (or “Do Opinions Change?”)

October 13, 2013

A couple of weeks ago on September 30th, I finally reached the end of my marathon Doctor Who review project. From An Unearthly Child through to The Name of the Doctor, I’d seen and written about them all. Sure, I knew I’d be writing about the two episodes still to come this year, but if you’d told me that less than two weeks later, I’d be writing about The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear having had a chance to watch them both in an almost entirely complete manner, I’d have declared you bonkers.

Of course, I’d heard the rumours of the massive haul of recovered material that was due to start with the staggered release of those two stories plus Marco Polo, so although I was thrilled to see them return, I wasn’t shocked about that. But lets put this into perspective; The Underwater Menace Episode 2 was announced to have been returned to the archives almost two years ago and we still haven’t seen it officially released (which is not to say I haven’t seen it *nudge nudge wink wink*) so the idea that these two stories would be announced and released in such short order seemed like fantasy.

But here we are.

Apart from Web of Fear part 3, the most valuable episode of the lot, which has…erm…”mysteriously” not come back with the rest of the episodes (make of that what you will), these two stories are now complete and we’ve all had a chance to see them.

Incredible.

Well done to Philip Morris for finding them and well done to the BBC for their iTunes strategy. Seeing as the episodes are charting world-wide, they must have made a ton of money on them, which shows that there’s an appetite for missing material from fans.

Anyway, having watched the two stories, has my opinion of them changed?

I’m not going to do full reviews of either here, because when I watched them, I wasn’t in the mindset to pick up minute detail; I just wanted to enjoy them as a viewer rather than a reviewer.

But here are my initial impressions.

Doctor Who – The Web of Fear Recovery Review: What Did I Say About It In My Initial Review?

In my original review of The Web of Fear, which you can read here, I finished off by saying

Unlike some stories which I truly believe would not be considered as good if they survived (The Celestial Toymaker being the most obvious example, but I would perhaps controversially suggest Evil of the Daleks too), I don’t think that about the Web of Fear.

It is a classic story that works in the form of the reconstruction, but it would be even better if it survived. If it did, it would be held up as the ultimate Base Under Siege story, considered the real birth of the 70s Unit story and probably thought of as one of the top 10 stories of all time.

Without question, this is one to check out, reconstruction and all.

Doctor Who – The Web of Fear Recovery Review: What Do I Think About It Now?

The most startling thing about my viewing of The Web of Fear was that it didn’t seem to get massively better by watching it in almost its full glory.

While there wasn't much new from a visual standpoint in Web of Fear, seeing the Web (or the Foam Machine) in action was cool

While there wasn’t much new from a visual standpoint in Web of Fear, seeing the Web (or the Foam Machine) in action was cool

Now before you accuse me of being underwhelmed by it, I absolutely wasn’t. I thought it was as good and I rate it as highly as I did before.

But what was interesting was that when you put it against the other recoveries of the last 20 years, this is probably the one find that doesn’t feel “New”.

Why is that?

Well think of it like this…

Whether it’s Tomb of the Cybermen, The Lion, The Day of Armageddon, Airlock or Episode Two of the Underwater Menace, they’ve all seemed completely fresh. We were getting to experience new sets, new performances and a completely new visual experience.

With the Web of Fear, apart from a handful of additions, the recovered episodes mainly take place in the same sets as the previously existing first episode and mostly have the same actors.  Really, the majority of the story involves people in dark rooms standing around talking to each other.

So if you’ve seen the reconstruction as many times as I have – and to be absolutely fair to it, the reconstruction was very, very good and managed to capture most of the key facial expressions throughout – the recovery feels like being reacquainted with an old friend rather than seeing something completely new.

There are some exciting bits that turn the fanboy-o-meter up to maximum geekery though, like the brilliant fight scene in Covent Garden. Now that’s something that the reconstruction just couldn’t do justice. It was exciting, and I think it is truly an iconic moment in Doctor Who that had been pretty much forgotten about. I certainly had no idea about just how cool it was. People talk about the Daleks in Trafalgar Square or The Cybermen walking down the steps in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral, but this is right up there with it. Beautiful.

Incidentally, did you notice the guy who played Charlie Slater in Eastenders looking exactly the same then as he does now?

Seeing the episodes properly also allowed us to see the Web itself, which wasn’t in Episode One in the tunnels at least. In some respects it looked a bit ropey (such as when Jamie and Lethbridge Stewart opened that door to find giant bubble wrap on the other side) but the sight of the web flooding into the base at the end of Episode Five was very well done for the time.

The last notable bit that the recovered episodes managed to bring to life better was the final confrontation scene. Sure, it has exposed the Yeti as being blokes wearing outfits with massive visible zips on them, but it was still cool.

Perhaps the only thing that I was disappointed about was that there weren’t any visible cues that had been lost to reconstruction to suggest Staff Sgt. Arnold was the Great Intelligence’s body all along.

To me, it’s never made 100% clear whether he was always under the control of the GI or if it happened after he disappeared into the web. I know there was a scene early on where he implies that he knows The Doctor isn’t with the Yeti, but I’d have preferred more.

In the end though, I thought it was very good, but I don’t think my overall opinion of the story has changed any as a result of its rediscovery. It’s exactly as good as I thought it would be,

Doctor Who – The Enemy of the World Recovery Review: What Did I Say About It In My Initial Review?

In my summing up of my review of Enemy of the World, which you can read here, I said…

Although the story slows down a bit towards the end, and starts off with an episode that simply cannot be appreciated in reconstructed form, I would urge you to track this one down.

It’s different from any other Dr Who story and offers you a chance to see Patrick Troughton play a completely different role.

Thankfully Episode 3 survives, and I would say that it’s the best one, so at the very least, give that one  a shot…if only to see Griff the Chef.

Meanwhile, in my Patrick Troughton Era Rankings article, I also said

I’d dearly love this story to exist because of how different it is to the rest of stories throughout the Troughton Era and the series as a whole. Who knows, maybe I’d think less of it if it survived. Maybe the best episode is the one that we have. But I like this story a lot and think it’s a sleeper hit.

Doctor Who – The Enemy of the World Recovery Review: What Do I Think About It Now?

I was right about some things and wrong about others.

  • It is the sleeper hit
  • Episode 1 is massively visual
  • Episode 3 isn’t the best one
  • It doesn’t slow up towards the end
  • It is totally different

Basically, The Enemy of the World is absolutely brilliant.

And here’s the thing….

This is the exact opposite of the Web of Fear. The reconstruction of Enemy of the World did it no justice at all. We’re not seeing the same actors in the same sets, we’re seeing completely new Doctor Who here.

And while Web may have focussed a lot on conversations, Enemy of the World is a visual feast from beginning to end.

Seeing the story come alive rather than in the form of stills, you get to see stuff you never would have known about otherwise.

Look at the opening scene as an example. The reconstruction basically describes a scene where Patrick Troughton takes off his clothes and goes into the sea in his longjohns as “The Doctor goes into the water”. They also get the bit wrong about him

The reconstruction of Enemy of the World failed to pick up on a number of brilliant visuals, including this one of Salamander having a crafty smoke

The reconstruction of Enemy of the World failed to pick up on a number of brilliant visuals, including this one of Salamander having a crafty smoke

stubbing his toe and Jamie laughing. What actually happens is he falls into the sea.

But it’s more than that. There are so many interesting bits of direction throughout that the reconstruction misses.

What about the scene where the helicopter takes off with the cameraman in it and the shot pans out and out and out? That’s absolutely superb.

Or the scenes on the park bench and under the jetty?

Or all the location filming?

Or especially the scene where Salamander goes down into the underground base?

Every single part of that was lost to the appreciative eye for 45 years,

Then of course there are the performances of the actors. The looks that Patrick Troughton gives as both the Doctor and Salamander are brilliant, and that scene where Salamander is smoking a cigar in the underground base while he’s supposed to be checking equipment adds so much to the character and to the mood.

Perhaps my favourite performance though is that of Milton Johns as Benik. He’s just so much better in this than in any of his other appearances, and again, the strength of his performance only truly comes to life here. To be fair, in my original review I said he was the stand-out, but scenes like the one where Fariah dies or when he interrogates Jamie and Victoria just seem so much better now.

As I stated above, I said that I felt it slowed down a bit too much when watching the reconstruction, but I’m reviewing my stance on that. Maybe it was the two-minute scene with no dialogue that put me off a bit at the time or maybe the reconstruction just couldn’t realise the dialogue in the bunker properly, but I had no problems with it watching it here.

Finally, the confrontation between Salamander and the Doctor looks better than I think anyone had given it credit for.

Do I have any problems with it? Not really. The only bits that stands out a little are the cliffhangers. Episode 3 ends on a dramatic one, but the rest don’t. I quite like ones that are just pauses in the action rather than  putting The Doctor or one of his companions in “mortal peril” that you know they’ll get out of, but at times, these ones just seemed too abrupt and undramatic.

Doctor Who – The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World Rediscovered: Final Thoughts

These are just my initial thoughts of course and I’m sure more will come to my attention when I watch them again, but my initial final thoughts (if that makes sense) are that The Web of Fear is as good a story as I thought it was in reconstructed format. I did think it would be better if it was recovered, but I don’t feel moved enough to say that is is. It was very good and it still is, but it’s nowhere near being a Top 10 of All Time.

The Enemy of the World though has gone up massively in my estimations.

I liked it before, but I absolutely love it now.

The visuals make such a difference to the acting performances, the feel and the direction.

It truly is an underrated gem and for me, I would go as far as to say it’s in my Top 3 Patrick Troughton stories now.

Of course, the rumourmill states we’ll be seeing many more missing stories returning to the BBC in the months and years ahead, so maybe that’ll change when we get to see the likes of Power of the Daleks in their glory.


Stuart’s Entertainment Review: The US Summer TV Season

October 1, 2013

Last week saw the start of the Fall Season of US TV, but at the same time, it also meant that the Summer Season came to an end.

And with it went two of my favourite Television Dramas of All Time.

Here are my thoughts on four of the shows I watched during the summer.

And there will be spoilers.

Breaking Bad

It’s incredible to think that when Breaking Bad started, it had the vibe of a black comedy.Breaking_Bad

Compare that to this final season.

There’s a huge difference.

By the time the series finally ended on Sunday night, the world had come to realise just how good a show Breaking Bad was, and it also highlighted the lack of vision from UK TV executives who failed to bring it to our screens, meaning NetFlix UK were able to grab the exclusive rights to its broadcast.

What’s more, the show has morphed into something completely different. The humour – while still there occasionally – had long since been replaced. This had become dark, serious stuff, and us viewers lapped it up.

From the moment the first episode of this year’s run finished – with the amazing cliffhanger of Walt and Hank finally having it out – through to the end of the last one, it was some of the best television I have ever seen.

And Sunday’s episode was the perfect way to end it.

Walt – a man who had spawned such articles as “Is (he) The Most Evil Television Character In History” – ended it on is terms. The right people died, the right people lived and justice – for what it was – was done.

Personally, I was thrilled to see Landry (sorry, I can’t call Jesse Plemons’ character anything other than that) die, because he was so effectively written that I personally really hated him. Villains can often be very boo-hiss, to the point where you find yourself rooting for them a bit. But him? What an absolute bastard. And credit has to go to Plemons for that because he was amazing as the baby-faced, emotionless killer without a moral compass.

Everything about the Breaking Bad final season, and the finale as a whole, was spot on.

The acting, the music, the direction, the story-arcing.

I loved it.

And I’ll miss it now that it’s gone.

Dexter

Dexter on the other hand was one giant damp squib.dexter

The finale itself was about as good as it could have been in the circumstances, but those circumstances were unnecessary and the fault of a writing team who had run out of ideas.

I’ve seen interviews with them where they try to defend storylines that went nowhere and did nothing, like Misuka having a daughter and Quinn trying for sergeant, but there is no defending them. They were just in there to waste time before the series ended. There was just nothing else left for them to do but hang around.

That’s not to say the acting was bad, because it was fine – at least it was fine from the regular cast.

But it should have probably ended a year earlier with LaGuerta catching him rather than being killed by Deb.

Was Dexter’s fate a fitting end for the character?

Well, considering one suggested alternative was a Brittas Empire style dream sequence, then I’d say it could have been a lot worse.

Like Breaking Bad, I’ll miss Dexter a lot now that it’s gone, but unlike Breaking Bad, it didn’t go out on a high.

The Newsroom

Talking of going out on a high, we have The Newsroom.The_Newsroom_HBO

Only it’s apparently not over yet.

As much as I enjoy the show, and thought that the second season was still fresh and interesting, the problem is that the last episode broadcast seems to have wrapped up every single story-arc.

Will and Mac have finally got together, the team have mended fences with their bosses upstairs, Jim is happy, Don and Sloan have got together and the Genoa storyline is over.

So what’s left?

Do they start afresh?

And would that potentially mean the show loses some of its luster?

Who knows?

As I say, I’ll be happy if it returns – as it’s supposed to – but if it doesn’t, I won’t feel short-changed.

Under The Dome

Finally we come to Under the Dome, the wacky TV show based on the Stephen King novel about a giant invisible dome that covers a small town in the USA.Under_the_dome_logo

Let’s just get this straight now; Under the Dome isn’t even in the same stratosphere as these other three shows in terms of quality, but it does manage to be unintentionally hilarious.

Though it started with a nice idea, the overall standard of writing and acting soon let it down.

From characters who speak entirely in exposition to one-dimensional heroes and villains who act without reason, this is a real guilty pleasure of mine.

One character, for example, is now romantically involved with the man who murdered her husband a few days earlier. Though she made him sleep on the couch the night she found out he was responsible, the next day she told him that she wanted to get on with her life and needed him to be a part of it. It was just ridiculous, but it was so unashamedly ridiculous that you couldn’t help but admire it.

What I like about it is that it’s a bit like Lost, but without taking itself too seriously. Lost turned into a load of crap but it still fancied itself as TV’s best show.

I sense everyone involved with Under the Dome knows that it’s utter tripe, and are happy to play along.

Get Involved In The Debate

Stuart Reviews Stuff is a free entertainment blog. If you enjoyed this or any other article on the site, please consider taking a moment to Like the official Facebook page. You can do that by clicking like on the side panel, or visiting the site here

You can also follow me on twitter @sgmilne

Feel free to get involved in the debate.