Psych Season 7 Review

  • Series Title: Psych
  • Season: Season 7
  • Episodes: 14 Episodes
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: USA (Universal)
  • Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Season 6 of Psych was the season of big name guest stars. Season 7 sees a return to an emphasis on the Psych characters and their relationships. If anything, the theme of this season is relationships – romantic ones. Lassiter’s incarcerated girlfriend, Marlowe, is released on parole, and due to plot reasons, Lassiter proposes to her immediately. The two successfully marry, but we never see Marlowe again, which is a shame, as she’s particularly fun. Carlton, meanwhile, seems happier, now that he is married again.

Gus meets a woman on a case and the two start dating. Even meeting Rachel’s 8-10 year-old son from her previous marriage doesn’t throw much of a wrench in the works. However, Rachel’s visa status does, and at the end of the season, she returns to the UK for six months. I liked Rachel, and it was good to see Gus with a steady girlfriend.

But it’s the Shawn and Juliet relationship that takes a forefront of this season. The two are boyfriend and girlfriend at the beginning of the season, and even move in together. But at Carlton’s wedding, Juliet figures out that Shawn isn’t really psychic – and with her con man father and trust issues, she can’t handle it and breaks up with him. Shawn, though, is undaunted. He continuously tries to win her back, but in a much more serious way than the character would have earlier in the series. Shawn tells Juliet he never once lied about his feelings towards her, that falling in love wasn’t part of the plan, he even tells her that he had to come up with something or he would have been in big trouble – and if you think about the pilot, Shawn’s whole “psychic detective” thing started because he solved a case from what he saw on the news – and he would have been arrested as the murderer for knowing too much. Juliet stands her ground, and tells Shawn he must come clean to Chief Vick. And Shawn does. He marches into the chief’s office in the same episode to tell her everything. Juliet realizes this and rushes in to stop him, even falling on the sword for him, saying that she entered a suspect’s house without a warrant and searched the suspect’s computer (in reality it was Shawn who had done that). Vick gives her a stern talking to. Shawn, impressed, talks to Juliet and again professes his feelings, even talking about engagement in a detached fashion. Juliet says she’s not ready for that step, but the two get back together and start dating again.

In the final episode, city hall sends an efficiency expert to the precinct to investigate our main characters. The efficiency expert, played brilliantly by Anthony Michael Hall, is a right ***terd. He’s sexist, racist, borish, arrogant, rude, and stupid. However, he also doesn’t buy Shawn’s “psychic” abilities. In the end, though Lassiter and Juliet are briefly suspended and Buzz is fired – it’s Chief Vick who takes this sword, being suspended for six months, with Hall’s character taking her position.

I suspect Hall’s character won’t be on the show for more than an episode or two next season. But it’s interesting watching him for a couple of reasons. First, Anthony Michael Hall was in one of USA Network’s first original series: The Dead Zone, where he plays a psychic. Second, his character is absolutely horrible – he’s a terrible person. For an actor known for his “Brat Pack” teen movies, and sympathetic characters – seeing him as a polar opposite shows just how good an actor Hall actually is.

Overall, the season is good. It’s Psych: light, fun, adventurous, enjoyable. Even when Juliet and Shawn broke up, the audience suspects they will get back to together – because shows like this tend to end up happily. Season 7 was originally going to be the last season of Psych, but when USA Network’s replacement for it flopped (Common Law – a parody of 70s cop shows) the series was granted one more season. Also, this year (2017) the show is doing a reunion movie to air in December.

Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 3: The Death of Magic

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 3: The Death of Magic
  • Author: Jeff Lemire
  • Artist: Mikel Janin, 
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Black Orchid, Frankenstein (Agent of S.h.a.d.e.), Tim Hunter
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/10/2016

**Spoiler Alert** Justice League Dark starts where the previous volume ended – with Zatanna and Tim Hunter being kidnapped. Engaging the help of Dr. Peril, an A.R.G.U.S. agent, John Constantine and company soon follow to an alternate dimension. There, they discover two problems. First, the very nature of the alternate dimension is physically affecting all of the team, taking away their powers. Constantine discovers he cannot lie and keeps blurting out his innermost fears and his utter lack of real confidence at the most awkward times. Mme Xanadu has instantaneously grown impossibly old. Black Orchid has turned into a bulky flesh creature. Only Frankenstein is unaffected since he is a creature born of science – demented science – but science. The world they have landed on is one of science, where magical creatures are persecuted, hunted, and the use of any magic is illegal.

Meanwhile, Zatanna and Tim Hunter have landed right in the midst of the Magical Resistance, where the few remaining magic users think that Tim is their savior.

Constantine and company are attacked and captured by the anti-magic police and put in jail. Tim, is convinced by the magic users to lead an attack on the main scientific city. Frankenstein, however, though captured, is taken to a lab for study, rather than simply a prison, like the rest of the group. Therefore, Frankenstein is able to escape and rescue Constantine and the others. Therefore, by the time that Tim’s group attacks the city and prison – Constantine and company have already escaped.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Dr. Peril calls in Tim’s father, not only to tell him his son’s been kidnapped, but to seek his help. Tim’s father goes through the portal to the other world, and he is the hero the magic users expect, having left that world long ago to give his son a fighting chance.

For once everything works out – Tim Hunter stops the attack on the city after Zatanna realizes they’d kill innocent people if they destroyed the city. Everyone returns to Earth – even Mme Xanadu survives.

Although the first story was well-written, and the other “science world” was well visualized and designed (and the art in this book continues to be really impressive) – the story itself is problematical. Science is not in the habit of fostering prejudice and bigotry. If magic existed in the world, it is more likely to be studied by science than to be persecuted by it. Politicians have, at times, tried to twist science and policy to their own devices, but if a world was to be “ruled by science” (another unlikely scenario) it wouldn’t drive an entire class of people underground simply because of who they are.

The second story involves Constantine losing the House of Mystery and it truly wasn’t his fault. We discover just how dangerous the House is – and Mme Xanadu’s important secret.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Library of Alexandria

  • Title: The Library of Alexandria
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: Simon Guerrier
  • Director: Lisa Bowerman
  • Characters: Ian Chesterson, First Doctor, Barbara, Susan
  • Cast: William Russell, Susan Franklyn
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 03/15/2015

Doctor Who – The Library of Alexandria is from the Big Finish Companion Chronicles line. The Companion Chronicles started with one person reading or telling the story (and sometimes a second guest reader), however, this play, as a more recent one (it’s from Season 7), though it still only has two people playing the parts, also has music and sound effects. One thing I like about all the Companion Chronicles is that they really do feel like Missing Adventures. I enjoy that.

This First Doctor story features William Russell telling the story of the time he, Barbara, Susan, and the Doctor spent a few weeks enjoying Alexandria. Susan Franklyn plays the part of Hypatia, a Greek Philosopher, but I’m pretty sure she’s also playing the parts of Barbara and Susan. (One critique I had was at times it was difficult to tell which character was speaking – Hypatia or Barbara.)

Of course, it’s a Doctor Who story, so of course, our characters’ vacation cannot last long. And it’s the Doctor who urges they all leave in the TARDIS before the Great Library is destroyed.

One problem with this story is the lack of surprise – we know the Library is going to be destroyed – and Ian, the Doctor, and Barbara all know it’s going to be destroyed. Ian and Barbara even know they can’t change anything, Barbara’s tried that before and it’s been a disaster.

The story does, however, supply a typical Doctor Who style explanation for what really happened to the Library, but for some reason it just seemed very, very predictable.

On the other hand, William Russell read and acted the story well. The Library of Alexandria really felt like Hartnell-Era Doctor Who. And other than occasionally having trouble figuring out if the speaker was Barbara or Hypatia – all the voices and characters were distinct.

I give this audio a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order The Library of Alexandria on CD or download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 2: The Books of Magic

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 2: The Books of Magic
  • Author: Jeff Lemire, Peter Milligan
  • Artist: Mikel Janin, Lee Garbett, Daniel Sampere, Cam Smith, Admira Wijaya
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Andrew Bennett (Vampire), Black Orchid, Dr. Mist, Felix Faust, Steve Trevor
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/04/2016

**Spoiler Alert** Justice League Dark is an awesome series – fantastic art, great characters, and complex plots. I was especially impressed with the art in this volume – not simply what was in the panels, but how the panels were drawn – the frames within frames effect evokes film noir, and the off-kilter panels at times really suggest movement. Plus the intricate edges of the panels – soft curves, or jagged edges, or thorns in the section where characters are attacked by a wood-creature (think Tolkien’s Ents) basically a giant, evil, sentient forest – add to the atmosphere of the story. And the atmosphere is great. This story moves fast – I stayed up way too late one night finishing it – and I’m glad I already bought volume 3.

Justice League Dark is a loose group of DC magic users: Shade the Changing Man (though he’s only in the opening story of this particular volume), John Constantine (we get part of his backstory in this volume), Zatanna, Deadman, Andrew Bennett a Vampire with a conscience, Black Orchid, Madame Xanadu, Dr. Mist, and the bad guy Felix Faust. Steve Trevor (from Wonder Woman) and now with A.R.G.U.S. makes an appearance as well – asking Constantine to gather “the troops” so to speak and rescue Dr. Mist from Faust. That doesn’t go as planned – which seems pretty normal for this series. Justice League Dark isn’t simply about characters who have supernatural powers or who walk on the dark side of the street – it’s about characters who don’t always win – which makes it a more interesting read. These are characters who not only might not do the right thing and whom you can’t always trust (Xanadu is convinced Constantine will cause the destruction of the world for example) but they are characters who can die – like Mindwarp who dies in the opening sequence, causing Shade to walk away.

After the opening fight against vampires, the team takes a break. Steve Trevor comes to Constantine and makes him an offer he can’t refuse to get the band back together and go on a mission for A.R.G.U.S. Constantine agrees and ropes in Zatanna and the rest of the gang – they are to rescue Dr. Mist from Felix Faust and find some sort of mysterious artifact. Well, after complications, they rescue Mist and defeat Faust – then steal the artifact, the first Tesseract, a map to the Books of Magic. However, no one thinks it’s a good idea to give the Tesseract to Trevor or A.R.G.U.S.

Constantine tries to get in to the Black Room, a repository of magical artifacts held by A.R.G.U.S. while there, Faust escapes and Dr. Mist turns out to be a traitor – in league with Faust to get the Books of Magic. The Black Room holds the key to the Tesseract, which Constantine and company have. Meanwhile, Mde. Xanadu has had visions of Constantine destroying the world after being corrupted by the Books of Magic. But in once of her visions, he tells her that “he can’t get the books but there is one who can” – Xanadu searches for a boy, someone destined to be the world’s most accomplished mage, who, as an innocent, can possess the Books without being corrupted.

Constantine also possesses the House of Mystery – a house that can travel in any dimension, and pair of the House of Secrets (possesses by Constantine’s rival and former mentor). When the House of Secrets attacks the House of Mystery (and yes that is as awesome and unusual as it sounds – two houses fighting it out at like Warp 2 or something) Constantine’s House crashes in the desert. Constantine calls in Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and when Madame Xanadu arrives with the boy who has pushed away his magic, Constantine brings in Princess Amaya of House Amethyst to help. He also brings back Bennett the vampire. The group confronts his rival, Dr. Mist, and Faust.

This story really moves, but besides the dense plotting and the magical fights – there’s also really good, realistic characterization. I enjoyed this volume of Justice League Dark very much.

Book Review – Doctor Who: The Beautiful People

  • Title: The Beautiful People
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: Jonathan Morris
  • Director: Mark J. Thompson
  • Characters: Romana II, Fourth Doctor
  • Cast: Lalla Ward, Marcia Ashton
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 03/20/2014

I’m really beginning to love Big Finish’s The Companion Chronicles range. Even though they are not full cast audios, the stories are great and I like the emphasis on the companions and/or the companion’s point of view. In this particular one, Lalla Ward does read the story (even including the chapter numbers and titles – something none of BF’s productions actually do whether audio book or audio play). What I like about The Companion Chronicles range though is that because the stories are about any of the past Doctors, they are more like the BBC Books Past Doctor Adventures or the Virgin Publishing Missing Adventures line of original paperback Doctor Who novels. Those were often some of my favorite stories – and they are something I miss.

This particular story is great fun, and has a good point to it. The Doctor is barely in the story, and most of it has Romana, separated from the Doctor, having her own adventure. She and the Doctor land on a planet, hoping for some relaxation, and the Doctor is craving a good doughnut. However, they’ve landed on a planet-wide health spa. The diet planet, however, is hiding a dark secret – which Romana must discover and stop. The story is brilliant – fun, adventurous, but with a point to it that I appreciated and welcomed. It really felt like late 70s/early 80s Doctor Who and that was awesome too. I highly, highly recommend this story.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order The Beautiful People on CD.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!

Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 1: In the Dark

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 1: In the Dark
  • Author: Peter Milligan
  • Artist: Mikel Janin
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man, Mindwarp, Enchantress
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 9/17/2016

I picked-up this graphic novel on the recommendation of one of the staff at my local comics shop. I’m glad I did – because I absolutely loved it. DC has always had a few magic-users in the Justice League (Zatanna, Dr. Fate) but the ’80s post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Justice League was more SF-based. Dr. Fate, though, is curiously absent from volume 1. This graphic novel comes from New 52-Era DC Comics but despite that it rocks! Excellent characters, excellent writing, and a great plot – plus it does something the Classic late-Silver Age/early Modern Age DC Comics did, which was to create a place where the lesser-known DC heroes and protagonists could shine.

Justice League Dark features the following characters: Zatanna (female magic user who casts spells by speaking backwards), John Constantine (cursed sorcerer), Madame Xanadu (a tarot-card reader who can actually see the future and the past), Deadman (a dead guy who can possess people), Shade the Changing Man, Mindwarp, and Enchantress (the villain). Each of these characters has their own way of doing things, their own types of magic, and their own personalities. Unlike other New 52 books, the characters do not blend together into a homogeneous group who can’t be distinguished.

The plot for volume one features two threads – June Moone is trying to escape being taken over by Enchantress (this will sound familiar if you’ve seen this Summer’s film Suicide Squad) and Madame Xanadu has had a horrible vision of the future if the Justice League Dark isn’t established. Xanadu stresses that the members of this new supernatural Justice League must find a way to work together or the world is doomed.

It’s an excellent story and there is some closure to volume 1. I will definitely purchase additional volumes.

Book Review – Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks

  • Title: Fear of the Daleks
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Author: Patrick Chapman
  • Director: Mark J. Thompson
  • Characters: Zoë Heriot, Jamie, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Wendy Padbury, Nicholas Briggs
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 02/08/2014

Fear of the Daleks is the most “bookish” of the Doctor Who Companion Chronicles CDs I’ve listened to so far – but it is also the earliest. The story is told by Wendy Padbury (who played Zoë Heriot on the original Doctor Who television series) with Nicholas Briggs providing the voices of the Daleks. Zoë is in therapy, trying to deal with the dreams she’s been having – dreams of monsters.

The story changes scenes from Zoë telling her therapist about her dream to the story, where she, Jaime, and the Doctor arrive on an asteroid that is home to a huge, domed city. The city is to be host to a peace conference to end a war between two space-faring races in the nearby system. But before the TARDIS crew can do anything, they are arrested. They are taken to a lab where a megalomaniac plans to use a Dalek mind transfer machine to control Zoë and use her to assassinate one of the planet’s leaders – thus continuing the war. The scientist also plans to use The Doctor in a similar way.

However, although the machine works on Zoë, projecting her astral self to the spaceship hosting one of the two alien races, and controlling her movements; when the Doctor tricks the scientist to use it on him – he is able to resist the conditioning and prevents Zoë from killing the planetary leader. The Daleks are revealed to be behind everything, and the Doctor, again, tricks them into revealing their true nature – causing the scientist to reverse his plan.

Wendy Padbury has a wonderful voice and she reads well – performing what parts she can, though this particular story is more narration than some of the other Doctor Who Companion Chronicles I’ve listened to. Nicholas Briggs has played the Daleks many times, both on the television series, and in Doctor Who audios from Big Finish, though having met him at Chicago TARDIS – I couldn’t help but picture him while listening to this story. The problems with Fear of the Daleks though include it not really being a scary story, some rather silly dialog, and a plot that’s a bit simple. I’ve never been a big fan of the Daleks as a Doctor Who monster – I prefer the Cybermen, and the over-usage of every word ending in -ate imaginable starts to sound silly rather than scary. The plot also was someone flat and simple – I actually wanted to learn more about Zoë and how the Time Lords mind-wipe had affected her life. However, from looking at later discs in this range, I suspect Zoë’s story might continue, and this was only an introduction to her eidetic memory cancelling out the Time Lord’s erasure of her memories of her time with the Doctor.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order Fear of the Daleks on CD.