Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Myah Loves Plato Salmon Strips, Me . . . Less So.


The Good: VERY healthy, Good ingredients, Smells exceptionally fishy!
The Bad: No dental benefits, A LOT of breakage, Expensive
The Basics: Myah gets a lot of benefits out of the Plato Salmon Strips dog treats, but with their fragility, they are a lot more expensive than most would like.


I am a big fan of giving my Siberian Husky, Myah, great new (to us) treats. She seems to like variety and I like getting her new things that we can try and review. Tonight, I'm finally getting around to reviewing Plato Salmon Strips. Myah has been enjoying Plato Salmon Strips for a few weeks now and she has a pretty clear preference for them, though the longer we have given her the treats, the less impressed I have been by them overall. The Plato Salmon Strips are an excellent treat, but between the initial price and the amount of the bag that had broken pieces of the treats, these are a very expensive dog treat.

Basics

Our local discount store managed to get in the 16 oz. bag of Plato Salmon Strips, but at regular price the Plato Salmon Strips would be prohibitively expensive. The Plato Salmon Strips were a great treat to use as a training reinforcement tool.

The Plato Salmon Strips dog treats are little dry brown dog snacks that look like little biscuits! When the bag is opened initially, the Plato Salmon Strips treats have an exceptionally strong fish smell, like more than salmon usually has. The scent is so strong that it leaves a fishy smell on the hands for minutes afterward. Each snack is approximately 1/2" thick and 1 1/8" wide and 2" long. The surface of the Plato Salmon Strips dog treat is grainy and hard, much like freeze-dried ice cream.

Ease Of Preparation

This is a ready-to-eat dog treat and only requires one to open the bag to dispense. The Plato Salmon Strips come in a very crinkly plastic so, Myah rushed to get these treats as soon as she heard the bag.

Myah’s Reaction

The Plato Salmon Strips have minimal dental benefits because the treats break up incredibly easily. Myah seems to respond to the fishy smell and she very eagerly consumes the Plato Salmon Strips. Unfortunately, when Myah consumes the Plato Salmon Strips, they make her breath smell very fishy . . . so if they do clean her teeth with the hard texture, the Plato Salmon Strips pretty much make her breath stink as if they were not hard.

Here's the thing, no matter how much Myah loves the Plato Salmon Strips, they are so easily broken and pulverized and so much of our bag featured broken snacks that they became incredibly expensive. Trying to use these as a reinforcement treat quickly proved futile. A decent percentage of the bag of treats ended up as garnish on her pet food because it was so pulverized. In our bag of Plato Salmon Strips, there were maybe five unbroken dog treats.

Nutrition

The Plato Salmon Strips dog treats are exceptionally healthy. With at least 32% crude protein, 25% crude fat and no more than .5% crude fiber and 15% moisture, the Plato Salmon Strips offers decent nutrition to dogs. Made primarily of salmon, brown rice, and salt, Plato Salmon Strips appear to have nothing bad in them. They also have minimal preservatives, but the Plato Salmon Strips seem to have a decent shelf life. Our bag of Plato Salmon Strips would last until July 15, 2017, which is pretty good. As with all dog treats, it is highly recommended that when you give your dog Plato Salmon Strips, you make sure they have a decent supply of clean water available. Plato Salmon Strips treats are not intended to replace dog food.

Overall

Plato Salmon Strips treats are all right and beloved by my dog, but not my wallet.

For other dog treats and foods, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Purina Dentalife Daily Oral Care Dog Snacks
Pedigree Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavor Stackerz
Purina Benefuls Heartfuls Baked Delights

6.5/10

For other pet products, be sure to visit my Pet Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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"Attack On Central City" Is A Middling Assault On The Flash.


The Good: Moments of character, Decent performances
The Bad: Moments of character, Special effects, No big character moments
The Basics: The Flash attempts an "Attack On Central City" with a lot of delay and character distractions.


Despite having a generally serialized plotline, The Flash has surprisingly few two-part episodes. "Attack On Central City," however, is a second part of a rather overt two-parter. Gorilla Grodd is returning to Earth-1 and his "Attack On Central City" is not only his return, but a part of the larger serialized arc. Barry Allen witnessed a news article referencing the gorilla attack on Central City as part of his seeing Iris being killed by Savitar. As a result, "Attack On Central City" was somewhat more necessary than it was audacious and/or surprising.

"Attack On Gorilla City" (reviewed here!) preceded "Attack On Central City" and is a pretty necessary set-up episode to the new episode. "Attack On Central City" resolves the Gorilla Grodd attack that was initiated by Gypsy from the episode "Dead Or Alive" (reviewed here!) at the very end of "Attack On Gorilla City."

At six-thirty on Valentine's Day, Barry makes Iris a big breakfast, while at S.T.A.R. Labs, Harrison Wells (from Earth-2) and H.R. run into one another and Harry shows nothing but disdain for H.R. After H.R. attempts to celebrate Friend's Day with the S.T.A.R. Labs team, Jesse tells Harrison Wells that she is staying on Earth-1 with Wally. They are shocked when Harry is all right with the move. Gypsy suddenly appears from Earth-2 and incapacitates Cisco and Barry before Harry manages to stop her. When Gypsy is contained, she confesses that she was just on Earth-2 and the S.T.A.R. Labs team braces for an attack from Grodd.

Harry and Wally modify Cisco's gear to allow him to better vibe the future to try to prevent Grodd's attack. Arriving at the intersection Cisco sees, Grodd takes control of Joe West to distract The Flash. Grodd attacks a military officer and the S.T.A.R. Labs team, having figured out that Grodd's telepathic influence goes both ways, quickly adapts technology to allow Joe West to show the team who Grodd is currently going after. The General Grodd has under his sway goes to Fort Reynolds to get access to nuclear weapons. As the gorilla army advances on Central City, Cisco attempts to enlist Gypsy to save his city.

Tom Cavanaugh starts "Attack On Central City" by stealing the show by playing opposite himself. The interaction between Harry and H.R. is funny, uncomfortable, and truly impressive performance on the front of Tom Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh embodies a happy version of Wells surprisingly well and playing the opposite in the same scene is incredibly well executed. "Attack On Central City" does a good job of allowing Tom Cavanaugh to perform in such a way that even when the camera only focuses on his face, it is clear which of the two characters he is playing.

"Attack On Central City" returns Gypsy to The Flash and her role is fine, but it lacks some impact. Gypsy is a cool character, but she has not been established long enough for viewers to truly care about her and her arc with Cisco. Jessica Camacho plays Gypsy well, but the interactions between Gypsy and Cisco are played with a seriousness that is hard to take seriously given how little screentime Cisco has had.

Similarly odd is how everyone in "Attack On Central City" treats Harrison Wells (from Earth-2). Wells was not characterized in the second season as an overly angry person. Wells was frustrated and desperate throughout the second season, he was not angry in the way the characters in "Attack On Central City" allude to him; he wasn't constantly throwing things around or yelling at people.

"Attack On Central City" starts to push Barry Allen down a classic heroic dilemma as Barry contemplates killing Grodd. Barry Allen is talked into maintaining his values by Iris, which is refreshing and frustrating. The Flash in this television incarnation is a lawful good character, much like one expects of Superman. Iris and Harrison Wells give compelling reasons for Barry not killing, but Barry makes an excellent point as he realizes that only killing Grodd will keep him down.

"Attack On Central City" features an unfortunately obvious subplot in which Harrison attempts to manipulate Wally into keeping Jesse on his Earth. The effort to stop Grodd from launching nuclear missiles also is weakened by a plan that is unnecessarily complicated. The Flash is standing right next to the missile launchers that Grodd is preparing to use and he opts to try to pick a number to try to save Central City. The Flash has the power to phase through the missile launcher . . . or physically run up the launcher and pull out the exposed missiles(!). Simple problem, simple solution; "Attack On Central City" makes it complicated.

The S.T.A.R. Labs team is similarly stupid in that three Speedsters are sent against a telepathic gorilla and none of them are wearing an anti-psychic helmet . . . which Cisco developed after the first Grodd attack. Come to think of it, the gorillas are wearing armor; why don't Barry and Wally simply throw lightning at (at least) Grodd.

"Attack On Central City" features pretty middling special effects for the climactic battle, but the effects are par for the episode's course. "Attack On Central City" has a few moments, but is a very middle-of-the-road episode.

For other works with Gorilla Grodd, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
"Gorilla Warfare"
"Grodd Lives"
The Flash: Volume 3 - Gorilla Warfare By Francis Manapul

5/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Monday, February 27, 2017

February 2017 End Of The Month Report!

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February was a very busy month for the blog, despite us getting very immersed in Destiny! The month was great for getting new readers and it was unsurprising that the month had yet another big Netflix release as its most-read review! In addition to a boatload of new television reviews, February was big for reviews of other products and some pretty cool graphic novels!

We have been continuing to adapt our prior reviews so they have functional links and our new reviews are being released with good new links, so products being reviewed generally have the right products associated with them. We appreciate our readers sticking with us through Amazon reconfiguring, which is likely to be ongoing for a while longer!

This month, we picked up four new followers on Twitter and a new subscriber! We are always trying to get people to become regular readers and subscribe, so if you enjoy what you're reading, please subscribe by clicking on the right side of the blog to get updates with each posting. As well, if you read a review that really affects you, be sure to "share" it! PLEASE share a link to the blog, not the content of the article; this keeps people coming to the site and, hopefully, liking what they find once they are here! We're slowly growing our readership, so sharing and subscribing to the blog is an important way you can help! If you’re subscribing, please tell your friends about the blog!

In February, we updated the index pages every few days, keeping them quite useful to our readers. The primary Index Page, is usually updated daily and lets you know what the featured review is and has an up-to-the-day tally of how many reviews have been reviewed in each category! Check it out and feel free to use that as it is a much more useful and organized index to the reviews I've written!

If you enjoy the reviews, please consider clicking on the links in the reviews (as most are rendering properly!) and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. As tax returns start coming in, if you're going shopping online, please come through the blog to to it. Thank you so much!

At the end of February 2017, I have reviewed the following:
581 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Fiction
Star Trek Books
Nonfiction
Graphic Novels
Magazines
955 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
3163 - Movie and Television Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Movies By Rating (Best Movie to Worst)
Movies In Alphabetical Order
Best Picture Oscar Winner Film Reviews
Television Reviews
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews In Order)!
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews In Order)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
234 - Trading and Gaming Card Reviews
Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Trek Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Wars Gaming Cards Reviews
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game Reviews
Other Gaming Cards Reviews
Trading Cards Reviews
902 - Toy and Christmas Ornament Reviews
with specialized pages for:
Ornament Reviews
Star Trek Toys
Star Wars Toys
Lord Of The Rings Toys
Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel Toys
Comic Book, Movie, Television Toys
Plush and Other Toys
984 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Drinks
Candy
Cereal
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
264 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
114 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
208 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
207 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
108 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
61 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Review For The Month of February is my review of: DC Universe Vs. Masters Of The Universe and the article This Is Why The Religious Right Targeted Education First!
Check it out!


The month of February was packed with new, highly-read reviews and it is no surprise that almost all of the biggest reviews were new movies and television reviews! For February, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. "Hot Potato Soup" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9. 2016 Inside Out Hallmark ornament
8. "BOOM" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
7. "The Man Behind The Shield" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
6. Girlfriend's Day
5. "Self Control" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
4. The OA - Season 1
3. Travelers - Season 1
2. A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Season 1
1. Santa Clarita Diet - Season 1

I pride myself on being an exceptionally fair reviewer, but one who is very discriminating. I believe that most reviewers are far too biased toward both what is current and toward unduly praising things. I tend to believe most things actually are average and they ought to follows something around a Bell Curve. Mine is a little lopsided, but not as lopsided as most reviewers I know (who would probably have peak numbers between ten and seven)!

For my reviews, the current count is:
10s - 326 reviews
9s - 506 reviews
8s - 976 reviews
7s - 1090 reviews
6s - 1013 reviews
5s - 1290 reviews
4s - 961 reviews
3s - 749 reviews
2s - 362 reviews
1s - 242 reviews
0s - 116 reviews
No rating - 132 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, including a new addition to the all time Top Ten Reviews! At the end of February 2017, the most popular reviews/articles are:
10. Oz The Great And Powerful
9. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
8. Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Season 1
7. Warm Bodies
6. Iron Man 3
5. Now You See Me
4. Tyler Perry's Temptation
3. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
1. Man Of Steel

Thank you again, so much, for reading! Please share links to the blog with friends and spread the word!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Mon-El Is The Legitimate Hero Of Dr. Jeremiah Danvers's "Homecoming!"


The Good: Mon-El's character, Good performances, Moments of character conflict
The Bad: Most of the characters are presented as naive and simplistic, Plot is an obvious trap
The Basics: "Homecoming" returns Dr. Jeremiah Danvers to the Supergirl narrative . . . and makes a fool out of everyone but Mon-El.


As Supergirl has progressed through its second season, there have been two main dangling plotlines hanging around Kara Zor-El. Kara and Mon-El have had a "will they or won't they" thing going on with Mon-El for most of the season and "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" pretty much committed Kara and Mon-El to developing a romantic relationship. So, it seems natural that now that that is (generally) resolved, the other plotline would rear its head. "Homecoming" returns Jeremiah Danvers (Alex's father and Kara's adoptive father) to the narrative. Since Mon-El and Kara were captured by Cadmus and rescued by Jeremiah, Supergirl viewers have waited for Kara to commit to busting Cadmus up enough to rescue her father. In fact, how the hell has the DEO not gotten Jeremiah back given that Lillian Luthor is in custody and Cadmus is, presumably, suffering from a power vacuum at the top.

"Homecoming" follows "Mr. And Mrs. Mxyzptlk" (reviewed here!), though it follows up more directly on "The Darkest Place," which was the last time Jeremiah Danvers was seen. "Homecoming" is a joyful reunion only on the surface; virtually every savvy viewer of Supergirl will see it as the obvious trap episode that it is. Fortunately, Mon-El is pretty hip to that almost immediately.

The morning after Mon-El and Kara have sex for the first time, Mon-El wakes up alone. The news report, which is on the television, informs him that Supergirl has been out and very active fighting crime and doing good for the morning. Kara returns to the apartment and asks Mon-El not to talk to their friends about them dating, but the moment they show up at the DEO, Mon-El outs them as "dating." J'onn tells the pair to report to human resources, but before they can go, Schott detects Cadmus activity and J'onzz and Mon-El fly into action. The pair takes down a Cadmus convoy and, in the process, rescues Jeremiah Danvers.

Jeremiah Danvers tells the DEO team that Cadmus has a nuclear weapon, powered by the energy harnessed from Supergirl when she was captured. To welcome Jeremiah back, the Danvers's have a family dinner with Maggie and Mon-El accompanying the Danvers women. When Mon-El is cool to Jeremiah, Kara asks him to leave. Mon-El enlists Winn Schott in spying on Jeremiah when Dr. Danvers returns to the DEO. Schott observes Jeremiah breaking into the DEO server room and he appears to be spying on the DEO. When confronted, Danvers immediately comes clean, undermining Schott and Mon-El.

"Homecoming" makes incredibly good use of Mon-El. Mon-El is entirely skeptical of Jeremiah's return and his story and it is refreshing to see a character who is smart and recognizes a trap when he sees it. It is a little disappointing that Kara is nowhere near as skeptical as Mon-El in that she is the hero of the story. "Homecoming" takes on a somewhat melodramatic tone in presenting Mon-El's legitimate skepticism as a conflict between Kara and Mon-El.

Jeremiah Danvers was in Cadmus custody for fourteen years and his return is refreshingly not the rebirth of his marriage. Eliza does not leap to having Jeremiah back in her life and it is nice to see someone who is emotionally-realized enough to know that years apart are not years one can get back. Helen Slater plays Eliza with an emotional distance that even David Harewood's J'onn J'onzz does not. Slater is good in her brief part in "Homecoming" and she and Chris Wood make the most of their time on screen.

"Homecoming" is somewhat infuriating in that J'onn J'onzz is characterized as ridiculously naive. J'onzz is a telepath and when Mon-El raises questions about Jeremiah's return, it is an unfortunate use of his character to have him not telepathically scan Dr. Danvers. There are very few times I compare the source material with the derivations, but in "Homecoming" it is hard not to. J'onn J'onzz in DC Comics is the Martian Manhunter, one of the DC Comics Universes most skilled detectives. Seeing J'onzz not even in the ballpark for an analytical detective is frustrating, but in "Homecoming" he is played as a simpleton.

"Homecoming" is difficult to watch because Mon-El is characterized brilliantly and everyone else on Supergirl is suddenly an idiot. How did the DEO not have simple metal detectors?! How does a single incident completely turn everyone back against Mon-El?! And how do the writers of Supergirl not figure their audience is more savvy than this kind of dumb, obvious episode?!

For other works with Dean Cain, please visit my reviews of:
"The Darkest Place" - Supergirl

4/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Better Than Expected, Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls Are Fun!


The Good: Very real chocolate flavor, Inexpensive, Protective canister is nice
The Bad: Very low on nutritional benefits
The Basics: Surprisingly delightful, Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are the flavor worth picking up!


I love trying new (to me) snack foods. When I picked up the Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls (reviewed here!), I thought I would absolutely love them. At the time we bought that canister, we also picked up a canister of Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls. The genuine surprise for me was that both my wife and I found the Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls to be vastly superior to the Espresso flavored wafer rolls. Despite our enthusiasm for the other flavor, the Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls had a more accurate chocolate flavor to them than the Espresso and that made them easy to solidly recommend!

Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls taste sweet and good and make one wish for a chocolate-coated version for even more chocolate flavor. As they stand, though, they are well worth trying and stocking up on.

Basics

Snakkers is the U.S. imprint of a Greek manufacturer with a long history. The Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls come in a metal canister that houses about fifty cookies. Each cookie is a 4 1/4" long by 3/8" in diameter tube. The wafer cookies are kept well-protected and outside removing the first two to three cookies, the cookies seem to remain incredibly well-intact!

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls is not a real challenge, simply open the canister, pull out a tube and consume! Once one selects a cookie, all you have to do is stick it in your mouth and chew; there is nothing complicated or foreign about eating these cookies.

Taste

Opening the canister, the Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls smells strongly of chocolate. In fact, opening the canister emits a chocolate flavor that is distinct and real; these smell just like fresh-baked brownies.

On the tongue, the Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are dry and chocolatey. As the wafer rolls crack open and one gets access to the center, the Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls taste strongly like chocolate frosting. The sweetness is not at all generic; the flavor is very much chocolate and sugary, which is delightful.

The Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls leave a slightly dry, strongly sweet aftertaste in one's mouth after they are consumed.

Nutrition

Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are intended as a sweet snack, not a full meal. Four of these cookies (weighing 32 grams) represents a single serving and they are not at all nutritious. Made primarily of sugar, wheat flour and palm oil, these cookies are not at all an all-natural food product. The Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls were produced on equipment that forces them to add a disclaimer about peanuts, sesame seeds and tree nuts. Obviously anyone with a milk allergy should avoid them, though there are also allergy warnings for soy, egg, and wheat!

Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls have 150 calories for a single serving, 50 of which are from fat. A full serving represents 13% of one's RDA of saturated fat, though they are cholesterol-free. The Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are exceptionally low in sodium for a cookie, having only 15 mg (1% RDA) per serving. The Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls have 2 grams of protein, but no other real nutrients. As one who is working on getting heart-healthy, I wish they had been even a full gram of dietary fiber.

Storage/Cleanup

Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are easy to care for and clean up. Unopened, they have a pretty decent shelf life. The canister we picked up a month ago had an expiration date of July 28, 2018. Kept sealed, I am sure they would have lasted at least that long. As cookies, they can leave crumbs, but because the cookies are found in a metal canister, they have little breakage until one bites into them and generates crumbs then!

Overall

Snakkers Chocolate Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are wonderful and worth stocking up on for anyone looking for chocolate wafer cookies in a cool shape! These are perfect with coffee, chocolate milk, or adorning ice cream!

For other reviews of cookies, please check out my reviews of:
Seth Greenberg’s Orange Brownie Crunch
Chips Ahoy! Birthday Frosting Filled Cookies
WhoNu? Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

6.5/10

For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who Truly Cares If Agent Carter Gets Her "Hollywood Ending?!"


The Good: Direction is fine
The Bad: Lack of character development, Predictable plot, No astonishingly good performances
The Basics: "Hollywood Ending" resolves Agent Carter in a way that barely connects the series to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


When it comes to missed potential, Agent Carter might well take the cake. As the show entered what would end up being its series finale with "Hollywood Ending," it seemed like the show had played every possible "spy television" conceit to the detriment of the characters, the performers and, indeed, the plotline to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead of being a smart show that started to weave the threads that would lead into the blockbuster films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and connect the years between Captain America and the early scenes of Ant-Man in a compelling way), Agent Carter instead played out as a heavy-handed rip off of Alias (reviewed here!). "Hollywood Ending" merely continues that latter trend.

"Hollywood Ending" starts in the very last seconds of “A Little Song And Dance” (reviewed here!), so it is tough to discuss the explosive finale of the penultimate episode. "Hollywood Ending" is burdened at the outset by forcing the show to explain in a plausible way what Zero Matter is (after all, Frost and Wilkes can hear voices from it) and resolve the character of Jack Thompson. Thompson is either an incredible spy or exactly the type of person who would be a HYDRA seed within the nascent S.H.I.E.L.D.; figuring that out could plausibly link Agent Carter to Captain America: The Winter Soldier (reviewed here!). Sadly, "Hollywood Ending" does not do that.

As Jack Thompson prepares to detonate the Gamma Bomb, Peggy Carter holds him at gunpoint before a force knocks them all over. Entering Manfredi's facility, the SSR team recovers an apparently healed Dr. Wilkes and witness the Zero Matter going into Whitney Frost's body. Rescued by Jarvis and Stark, the SSR team is extracted. Manfredi, however, is frustrated by Frost's personality change with the Zero Matter and he turns to Howard Stark for help. Wilkes is concerned about separating the Zero Matter from Frost, while Stark wants to separate the two and take custody of the Zero Matter.

To get the equations that Whitney Frost is developing, the SSR team sends Manfredi to get her out of her room. While Carter and Sousa are getting photographs of her work, Frost menaces one of Manfredi's men and is shocked when his man actually has been extorted by the Feds! Getting the data back to the SSR, the team figures out that Frost is building a device to create another rift, without uranium. When the Rift Generator is created and activated, Frost senses the Zero Matter and it leads to an explosive climax for Peggy Carter's SSR team and Whitney Frost!

"Hollywood Ending" puts a human face on Joseph Manfredi, which humanizes the villain right before he is to never be seen again. Manfredi is in love with Whitney Frost (albeit in a generic way that is entirely independent of who she has become) and that allows him to willingly work with the SSR team. But the connection between Manfredi and Frost is tenuous at best and the most real moment for Manfredi is when he realizes that his man is on the take and he is genuinely shocked.

I am one who is very much for tolerance and inclusion, but "Hollywood Ending" goes for politically correct in a way that even I find troubling. Sousa is a great choice for an administrator, but using him as a field agent in a situation where the team might have to move quickly is somewhat ridiculous. A man with a serious limp who walks with a cane is not ideal for a clandestine mission where speed might be essential. Sousa is a good character, but a poor choice for infiltrating Frost's home.

Agent Carter takes on something of a ridiculous quality in "Hollywood Ending" through the technology that is being created. Whitney Frost is in psychic communication (presumably) with beings from the dimension that the Zero Matter is from. As such, she begins creating incredible calculations and equations for a device that will allow her to create rifts. It is beyond the realm of reason to believe that in 1947, even Howard Stark has the equipment on hand to manufacture the Rift Generator. That an advanced dimension would work on analog technology as opposed to transistors and digital or even more advanced technology is preposterous.

"Hollywood Ending" resolves the Isodyne case and completes the story of Agent Carter in a way that fans might want it to continue, but those who enjoy a serious story are not likely to. After all, viewers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were led to believe that Peggy Carter spent much of her life pining for Steve Rogers. While Agent Carter does a decent job of disproving that, it does not do so in a way that provides those invested in the franchise with viable alternatives to Captain America for Peggy Carter. Given how much of Agent Carter's second season hinges on some semblance of romantic entanglements for Peggy Carter, the lack of genuine emotional spark for Carter and her suitors is somewhat unforgivable.

Ultimately, "Hollywood Ending" is what the name promises; most everything gets wrapped up nicely, but Agent Carter ends at a point that might be aggravating for other series's, but just seems passe for the spy drama genre. Viewers are supposed to care who the shooter is in the final scene of the episode, but the villains are like the heroes in Agent Carter; unless they are someone who is seeding into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, the character is dead and gone long before the major action people care about ever begins.

"Hollywood Ending" resolves Agent Carter with even a minimal sense of style, making for a particularly lackluster season and series finale that leaves the blase prequel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the very bottom of the franchise.

For other series finales, please visit my reviews of:
"What You Leave Behind" - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"Thank You" - True Blood
"Goodbyeee" - BlackAdder Goes Forth

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Agent Carter - The Complete Second Season, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the final season of Agent Carter here!
Thanks!]

0/10

For other television reviews, please check out my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Our Two Cats Who Like Soft Food Love Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner Cat Food!


The Good: Cats seem to enjoy it, Fairly good ingredients, Does not smell bad
The Bad: Does not entice our kitten, Comparatively expensive.
The Basics: Friskies Turkey & Giblets Dinner Pate cat food is enough to delight two of my three cats!


Over the years, my cats have become more and more acclimated to wet cat food. Wet cat food was not something that I used to get; it was usually so expensive compared to the dry cat food and I've long lived on a budget. But, as the price has come down and my cat Elim has had special needs that require him to eat wet cat food in order to maintain his weight and get him up to a healthy weight, I have bought more and more wet cat food. One of the new staples around my home has been the Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner Cat Food. The Turkey & Giblets Dinner Pate is a cat food that both Elim and Timber seem to enjoy, even if our newer cat, Evie, does not go for it.

Basics

Friskies Turkey & Giblets Dinner Classic Pate comes in a metal 5.5 oz. single serve container. Supposedly, Elim for his weight and age should eat two of these containers per day! Even on sale, that would be a pricey endeavor, though $1/day might not seem pricey, it adds up compared to dry cat food that Elim and Timber are used to. Ironically, the directions state that kittens might need twice as much of a serving, but Evie (our one and a half year old) cannot be enticed into eating even a little of the Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner Cat Food.

Ease Of Preparation

The Turkey & Giblets Dinner Classic Pate opens up easily enough in the 5.5 oz. metal container. The small metal container has a thin aluminum lid that easily pulls off. Opening the container reveals the food inside. Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner looks like a lump of ground beef, dark brown with a fatty gravy around the edges. This cat food may be dispensed into a cat's food dish by either smacking it against the bottom of the dish or spooning the contents out into the dish. Alternatively, this wet cat food may be eaten right out of the can, though the metal edges are sharp and that method is not recommended for cats.

Elim And Timber’s Reactions

The Friskies Turkey & Giblets Dinner Classic Pate smells generically meaty, not specifically like turkey. Despite that, Elim and Timber both go for the Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner Cat Food pretty much the moment I open a can. When I plate it, both cats will stand around the plate to eat it until the other is done. The cats both seem to love the Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner Cat Food and will eat it whenever it is out and they are hungry!

The Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner Cat Food does not leave either cat with any sort of smell on their breath.

Nutrition

The Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner is very nutritious for cats and it has nothing noticeably bad in it. Considering that the primary ingredients are meat by-products, water sufficient for processing, and turkey, the Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner Cat Food seems pretty good. According to the guaranteed analysis on the container, there is a minimum of 10% crude protein and 5% crude fat and no more than 1% crude fiber, 3% ash, and 78% moisture. This is food appears to be wheat-free and it most definitely requires refrigeration after it is open!

I cannot afford to give Elim and Timber this regularly, though Elim gets it quite often - especially since our local discount store started stocking it pretty regularly. Hard cat food has clear dental benefits that the Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner does not have. When the cats chew (to split into bite-sized pieces) their hard cat food, it scrapes plaque and tartar off their teeth. There is no such physical operation going on with this cat food.

Overview

Friskies Classic Pate Turkey & Giblets Dinner appears to be loved by two out of my three cats, which makes it well worth giving to most cats!

For other Purina cat foods, please visit my reviews of:
Beyond Barley, Egg & Cranberry Recipe Cat Food
ONE Smartblend Healthy Metabolism cat food
Friskies Mixed Grill Classic Pate Cat Food

7/10

For other pet product reviews, please visit my Pet Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Borg Take On "Camelot/3000" In Legends Of Tomorrow!


The Good: Decent plot development, Special effects, Most of the performances, Fun and dangerous tone
The Bad: Virtually no character development
The Basics: Legends Of Tomorrow goes forward and back in time with "Camelot/3000," which allows Ray Palmer and Stargirl to become real heroes!


One of the issues for television shows these days is that the television-watching audience has become far more sophisticated than they used to be. Viewers today are much more savvy about serialized arcs, so they tend to be able to handle long arcs and they appreciate a good story that develops over quite a few episodes. Because of the binge-watching phenomenon, individual episodes have to stand on their own and hold up as part of a larger season's story better than they used to. Legends Of Tomorrow has been having some trouble in its second season finding a flow that works for the show episode to episode. One hilarious episode is followed by an intense and violent episode, which is followed by a dark, but predictable, one. "Camelot/3000" treads toward the serious, which is good given how dire the stakes are becoming in the season.

"Camelot/3000" follows on the events of "Turncoat" (reviewed here!), which had a pretty long denoument with Rip Hunter returning to the Legion Of Doom as their tool, while the Legends celebrated Christmas aboard the Waverider. "Camelot/3000" returns Rip Hunter, villain, to the narrative and allows the Legends Of Tomorrow to become a part of Arthurian myth.

Opening in Detroit in the year 3000, Rip Hunter arrives where he meets Charles McNider. McNider does not give up the fragment of the Spear Of Destiny that he possesses, but Hunter realizes that it is probably inside the scientist. Arriving at 3000, Heywood and Jiwe disagree on the nature of their relationship. Jiwe is upset because McNider was Dr. Mid-Nite in her Justice Society Of America and after they discover McNider's corpse, Jiwe clashes with Lance. Lily Stein's daughter created an algorithm for finding the pieces of the Spear Of Destiny and it points the Waverider crew to 570 Britain. While in 3000, though, Dr. Stein stole something from Dr. Mid-Nite's laboratory. When in Britain, the Legends encounter Guinevere and Palmer talks his way into the court of King Arthur. At Camelot, the Legends find Stargirl acting as Merlyn and she explains how the J.S.A.'s final mission went down.

When King Arthur tracks down his mysterious Black Knight, the knight turns out to be Damien Darhk. Darhk and Rip Hunter take control of Arthur's mind and hold Camelot ransom for the fragment of the Spear that Courtney (Stargirl) hid. Fortunately, the object that Stein stole from Mid-Nite's lab is the telepathic control device Rip Hunter is using. Stein uses Rory as a test subject, but the test only informs Stein that Hunter and Darhk are coming in force on Camelot. As Guinevere steps up to lead the remaining knights, the Legends search for the last piece of the Spear to take it from Stargirl. When Heywood checks his manuscript, he realizes Palmer will die in the past and the Legends have to decide whether or not to leave him and save reality or let Palmer become a hero.

By the point of "Camelot/3000," Legends Of Tomorrow has created a web of temporal anomalies that are pretty extraordinary. It seems like a huge stretch to believe that the season can be resolved without it actually undoing the entire season. The adventure in Camelot for Legends Of Tomorrow is, at the very least, fun.

"Camelot/3000" unfortunately minimizes Sarah Lance. Lance continues to get played as a one-note character. It's fun watching Lance seduce historical women and the chemistry she has with Guinevere is good. But it seems like that is the only note the writers are playing with the character. Lance has the potential to be a great leader, but most of the second season, she has been relegated to a simple assassin or temporal lech. Fortunately, by the end of "Camelot/3000" writer Anderson Mackenzie finds more for her to do as an inspirational leader.

Legends Of Tomorrow smartly raises the stakes with the big picture - as Lance recognizes it - with the last fragment being put in play. The addition of a mind-controlled army - it is like a Borg invasion! - could have been a mess, but Legends Of Tomorrow manages to pull it off by having the characters play to their strengths. Dr. Stein is not a traditional fighter, so having him try to hijack the technology Hunter is using to win the day makes a lot of sense. The episode makes surprisingly good use of Stargirl and Ray Palmer . . . two characters who have been either entirely undeveloped (in Courtney's case) or underused - Ray Palmer hasn't had a truly decent arc since Hawkgirl left at the end of the first season.

While "Camelot/3000" has a long build-up, the resolution to the episode is well-executed, even if some aspects of it are predictable. While it might be tough to believe the season might not simply get undone in some fashion by its end, "Camelot/3000" is almost enough to make the viewer believe that the Legends actually have the potential to end up as legendary characters!

For other works with Caity Lotz, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
"Invasion!" - Arrow
"Invasion!" - The Flash
Legends Of Tomorrow - Season 1

6/10

For other television and movie reviews, please visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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So Much Unresolved! Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic Is Unsatisfying.



The Good: Great start, Decent artwork
The Bad: No time for reflection or genuine character development, Three incomplete stories (and a villain origin story!)
The Basics: Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic starts to tell an intriguing and solid story before diverging into two other, completely unresolved, side-narratives!


Recently, I have begun enjoying Daredevil books again and it is interesting to me to catch back up with the vigilante. The whole Marvel Now! reboot of Daredevil was fraught with problems and it was somewhat unsurprising to me when I picked up Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 1 - Chinatown (reviewed here!) and discovered that Matt Murdock (Daredevil) was being returned to New York City and his secret identity was restored. In other words, the writers over the last decade pretty much wrote Daredevil into a corner and lacked a sustainable model for continuing the book. So, following Chinatown, I was actually eager to pick up and read Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic.

Not being overly familiar with a wide variety of titles, I am not sure if Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic marks Elektra's return to Marvel Comics in the new Marvel Now! framework, or if it is merely her first appearance in Daredevil since the reboot. But, fans of the long arcs of the Daredevil character will no-doubt be psyched then Elektra pops right up in Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic. Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is a trade paperback anthology that compiles four issues (6 - 9) and the Annual #1. Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is very easy to pick up and read, though readers have to know going in that the Daredevil storyline has been reset so only Foggy Nelson knows that Daredevil is Matt Murdock (so Elektra, in this incarnation, would not know Daredevil is blind). Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is essentially three stories, with no real connection between them, which is frustrating especially considering where the first story ends!

At 2 A.M. in Hell's Kitchen, Daredevil is waiting for Elektra on a buildingtop when she appears, more violently than Matt expected. Daredevil was expecting Elektra because she appeared in a night court case that Murdock was working in his capacity as A.D.A. and Elektra and Matt went out for a drink afterward, so he is surprised when she attacks him. Daredevil is saved from being murdered by Elektra when Blindspot comes to his rescue, but he sends his apprentice away. Once alone, Elektra reveals that she is searching for her daughter and is convinced Daredevil knows where she is.

Elektra gives Daredevil a phone, supposedly with a video on it, that shows Elektra's daughter Iona, being trained by The Hand, while Daredevil watches. When Matt takes the phone to Foggy (the only person around who still knows his dual identity), Foggy tells him the phone is empty, which makes Matt suspect Elektra is playing him. When Daredevil reveals that the phone was empty to Elektra, she chases down the person who gave her the phone and is triggered with a simple phrase. Daredevil believes he knows who is behind programming Elektra. Abruptly, though, Elektra is out and Daredevil heads to Macau to recover a briefcase that Black Cat is trying to sell on the black market there. Aided by Spider-Man, Daredevil fights through gamblers and thugs from New York to Hong Kong to recover the case . . . only to have Spider-Man extort him for information once it is in their possession! The book climaxes with Echo rushing to aid Daredevil when she is at a concert where the audience is transformed into creatures through the use of sound waves. Preventing Daredevil's superhuman hearing from picking it up, Echo learns from the veteran hero that this is probably the work of Ulysses Klaw and they set about to stopping his latest attempt at propagation.

Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is intensely unsastisfying, not only because the book is capped off with a pointless backstory for Melvin Potter (where Daredevil is barely present as a tangent character!) and an adventure with Echo where she completely dominates the narrative and Daredevil might as well not even be in it, largely because the set-up for the book is so good . . . then abruptly dropped. The Elektra and Daredevil story is completely a set-up story and it is an intriguing one. Elektra has been programmed by someone with the express purpose of hurting the assassin and rattling Daredevil. Great! Daredevil thinks he knows who the culprit is, so the next logical step in the story should have been for him to hunt down his suspect and get to the bottom of why Elektra was being used as a pawn. No such luck for readers of Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic changes to a completely different story.

The climax of that story - spoiler alert! - puts Daredevil in a position to take out a number of significant villains in the street-level criminal world of the Marvel Universe. So, readers are prepared to see how Daredevil takes out Tombstone, Wilson Fisk and Black Cat (among others), but when they turn the page, Echo is on a date! Seriously?! After one strong set-up and one set-up at the end of a winding, pointless narrative, the book ends with Daredevil as a guest star in his own book and it's not even truly worth reading.

On the plus side, in addition to the return of Elektra, Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic marked the first time I recall that the Night Nurse, Linda Carter, popped up in a Daredevil book I had read. Between that an a reference to Black Cat, my slowly-growing knowledge of the Marvel Universe is finally coming in handy!

Beyond that, the only real positive aspect of Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is the artwork. All of the characters are recognizable and there is a decent sense of movement panel to panel, especially in the fight scenes. Elektra looks amazing, as expected, and that helps her story pop. Macau and Hong Kong make for interesting settings for the second story and they look good as well. Echo's portion of the book has a different visual style and that helps characterize it and K.L.A.W. nicely. It might not be the most compelling story, but it is rendered in a visually distinct way.

Ultimately, though, it is not enough to save Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic. Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 2 - Supersonic is far more frustrating a read than it is intriguing or well-developed.

For other works by Charles Soule, please check out my reviews of:
Inhuman Volume 1: Genesis
Inhuman Volume 2: Axis
Inhuman Volume 3: Lineage
She-Hulk: Law And Disorder
She-Hulk: Disorderly Conduct

3.5/10

For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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"Attack On Gorilla City" Sets Up The Flash Team As Fools!


The Good: Special effects, Most of the acting, Jesse/Wally subplot
The Bad: Predictable plot, Character defects, Light on character development
The Basics: "Attack On Gorilla City" is an important set-up episode for The Flash, which puts Gorilla Grodd in the driver's seat and makes fools out of most of the main characters.


The Flash has had very few conceptual missteps in its two and a half year run, but one of the problematic aspects of the series has been its treatment of Gorilla Grodd. Last seen in the second season episode "Gorilla Warfare" (reviewed here!), Grodd was removed from the narrative of The Flash when, rather than use Grodd to help in their struggle against Zoom, Grodd was sent through a portal to an alternate universe. "Attack On Gorilla City" returns Grodd to the narrative as Barry is forced to journey to Earth-2 to confront the displaced gorilla.

"Attack On Gorilla City" is preceded by "Untouchable" (reviewed here!) and the prior episode climaxed with a portal opening and Jesse Quick appearing to ask Wally West for help. "Attack On Gorilla City" promised the chance for viewers to see the Earth-2 Harrison Wells again and the episode introduced Solovar to the television universe of The Flash, which is something fans of the book have been waiting for!

Two weeks after Harrison Wells went on an expedition into Gorilla City on Earth-2, Jesse Quick crosses over to Earth-1 to get the help of the Flash. Jesse Quick wants The Flash's help in saving Harrison Wells - who is the only member of the expedition team who is still alive - and Barry agrees because one of the headlines from the future he is trying to alter involves a gorilla attack. Barry, Cisco, and Dr. Snow prepare to go to Earth-2 and Julian Albert tags along. In Central City, Kid Flash and Jesse Quick speed off to stop a robbery and Jesse seems to recognize just how Wally West has changed in her absence.

Barry and his team walk into a trap and are captured. There, the Flash and Vibe's powers are dampened and Wells arrives - manipulated by Grodd. Grodd wants The Flash to overthrow the gorilla king, Solovar, who plans to wage a war on humankind on Earth-1. Solovar arrives at the cells and he refuses to let the Flash's team go. Barry steps up to fight Solovar in combat (the gorilla's justice) to try to save his friends.

"Attack On Gorilla City" affords the writers of The Flash a chance to poke fun at Tom Felton. There is an allusion to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (reviewed here!), which Felton was in. As well, the whole set-up for Harrison Wells in Gorilla City is very King Kong.

For a contrived parallel universe episode, "Attack On Gorilla City" has a fairly decent set-up. The idea that the evolved gorillas living in Earth-2's Gorilla City need Wells to open a breach is a good one. What makes little sense is Grodd's story; why the Earth-2 gorillas would want to wage war on Earth-1 before conquering their own Earth first makes no sense. Similarly off is Cisco's plan for The Flash in the combat. Cisco advises Barry to punch Solovar, but it takes a while for them to work up to the obvious solution to a giant telepathic Gorilla holding a massive metal shield; lightning throw.

Tom Cavanagh clearly has fun returning to the role of Harrison Wells after playing H.R. for so many episodes (and in "Attack On Gorilla City"). Unfortunately, Cavanagh is not able to hide his smirk while playing Harrison Wells as possessed by a gorilla.

The Jesse Quick and Kid Flash subplot in "Attack On Gorilla City" is fairly well-executed. The two characters have decent on-screen chemistry. "Attack On Gorilla City" has a decent balance of their scenes with the Earth-2 scenes. Their relationship-building is balanced nicely against The Flash's philosophical speech and combat.

The special effects in "Attack On Gorilla City" are exactly as good as one expects from The Flash. The combat scenes are excellent, but even the set designs and special effects for the setting are pretty impressive.

"Attack On Gorilla City" is a trap episode and part of the problem with the episode is that the traps are so obvious that it is astonishing how stupid the S.T.A.R. Labs team is by comparison. Despite the idiocy of the protagonists, "Attack On Gorilla City" manages to have good pacing, direction and plot development enough to set-up the next episode well.

For other works with Keith David, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Rick And Morty - Season 2
Cloud Atlas
The Princess And The Frog
Gamer
Coraline
Mr. And Mrs. Smith
Crash
The Chronicles Of Riddick
Dark Fury
Barbershop
Requiem For A Dream
Pitch Black
Princess Mononoke
Hercules
Gargoyles - Season 1
Robert A. Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters"
Platoon

5.5/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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