Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

A Review of The Walking Dead, S5E3 – Sweet, Sweet Revenge

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

So what does it mean to be a good guy in the world of The Walking Dead? We continued to ponder that question this week. We certainly have several examples of what it means to be a bad guy, the latest being Gareth and his camp of cannibals. Those opening shots of the cannibals eating Bob’s leg, juxtaposed with the ones of the walkers were awesome. And then you had Gareth putting his hand against the glass, which was an awesome visual representation of the question, “What separates us from them?”

What’s been cool this season is that if you’ve been collecting the comics, you can actually read along with certain segments of the show. For instance, Father Gabriel’s confession, the dialogue between Gareth and Rick in the church, etc. I love how the show isn’t the comic book, but it’s always fun to see them intersect.

On to the good stuff…

Thoughts From The Walking Dead, S5E3:

Bob dies peacefully after revealing he was bitten during the events of last week’s episode. Not surprised to see Bob die this week, in a surprisingly tranquil manner. After last week’s cliffhanger, I think we needed an episode where the good guys got a win. Bob’s whole “tainted meat” tirade was pretty great. In all honesty, I’m surprised this character lasted as long as he did. But his death scene was extremely impactful, leaving both Sasha and the audience to wonder what good can come from so much carnage.

Rick, Sasha, and the others massacre Gareth and his group. Again, we blur the lines between good and evil. In that moment, the only real difference between Rick’s group and Gareth’s group was that the former didn’t eat their victims after they were dead.

After the massacre, Michonne picks up her sword again. Again, some great symbolism. Michonne ultimately has no choice but to pick up that sword, even though she doesn’t necessarily enjoy wielding it.

A hidden Carl holds his gun forth in defense as the cannibals taunt the group. I was actually proud to see Carl standing up for himself and his friends in such a scary moment. One can only wonder what Carl thought of his dad slicing Gareth up the way he did.

 Glenn, Maggie, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene leave the group to head for Washington. The group definitely needed to shrink, at least for a little while. Things were getting crowded. I was disappointed we didn’t see Glenn and Maggie give Rick a proper goodbye. Lord knows they may never see each other again. We haven’t spent a lot of time with our favorite post-apocalyptic couple this season. With Father Gabriel around, and the show taking plenty of cues from the comic book, I’m curious to see if they’ll have themselves a makeshift wedding.

Father Gabriel confesses to the group. Gabriel’s confession about locking his congregation out of the church in the wake of the apocalypse was just as awesome on television as it was in the comics. And I love that he has to describe it for us, so the whole scenario is left to our imagination. It never fails, what you picture in your head is always worse than what they give you on screen. But the question still remains: What happens to him now? His big secret is out. So from a storytelling standpoint, what do you do with him? Obviously he’s a coward. So do you keep him around to have him face his fears? Or do you kill him off to illustrate there’s no room for that kind of cowardice in the face of a zombie apocalypse. I’m very curious to see if he makes it through this season.

Front page image/image 2, and image 1 from amctv.com. Image 3 from wetpaint.com. Image 4 moviepilot.com.

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A Review of The Walking Dead S5E2 – “You’ll Burn For This”

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I’ve got to hand it to The Walking Dead. It continues to be that show that makes me look at the clock, and dread the ending of an episode. This one wasn’t an edge-of-your-seat thriller. But we DID meet a pretty intriguing new character: Father Gabriel.

*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

Thoughts From The Walking Dead S5E2:

Father Gabriel makes his television debut. Readers of the comic book know Gabriel Stokes, but TV-only fans are obviously meeting him for the first time. Seth Gilliam did an awesome job playing him as not only a coward, but a coward carrying a hell of a secret. In his own way, Gabriel is carrying a tremendous weight on his shoulders, and that’s something Rick can obviously sense.

The most chilling moment in the entire episode was seeing ”you’ll burn for this” carved into the church. It not only implies the gravity of what Gabriel must have done, but it plants a haunting image in your head of someone actually doing the carving.

I’m curious to see what they do with the Gabriel character once the secret gets out. Do you have him fall victim to the walkers? Does someone kill him? Or do they have him hang around and be part of the group? He could act as the group’s collective conscience, I suppose. But that role seems to be filled by Tyreese at the moment. Once we find out what he’s done, Gabriel could become easily expendable.

Bob is captured and mutilated by Gareth and the Terminus survivors. Not to harp on the comics too much here, but much of Gareth’s dialogue at the end of the episode was lifted from a scene in the comics which saw Dale in a very similar situation.

The Bob character has been a mystery to me for awhile now. He seems like an easily expendable character. But that almost seems too obvious. So what do you do with him?

I can only assume Bob was secretly bitten when the group was retrieving food. Why else would he have walked off and broken down like that in the midst of a celebration? The group does seem to be getting rather large, so taking a survivor or two out of the equation might not be a bad idea. But with The Walking Dead, you just never know.

Michonne moves on without her sword. It was nice to hear a little bit about the origins of Michonne’s sword, and how she became so proficient with it. It was also pretty damn cool to see her kill a zombie with, of all things, a wisk. But I suspect it won’t be too long before we see her pick a different sword up, and resume her blade swinging bad-assery. I suspect part of the reason she’s lost it is to illustrate to the audience she doesn’t need that weapon to be an ass kicker. I don’t think we really needed that hammered home, but it’s a decent route to take with her.

Carl convinces Rick to save Father Gabriel, is optimistic that the group can handle anything. I hope they’re careful with Carl, here. It wasn’t long ago he was essentially portrayed as the demon child. Now he’s all hopeful and optimistic again. I understand that Carl spent a lot of quality time with his dad last season, and that getting Judith back has probably restored a good portion of his humanity. But he doesn’t have to be naive, does he? If this show has taught us anything, it’s that being happy and hopeful usually means something bad is right around the corner.

Front page image/Image 1 and image 3 from amctv.com. Image 2 from zap2it.com. 

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A Review of The Flash S1E2 – Freak(s) of the Week

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Two weeks in, and I’m convinced The Flash is going to be worth sticking with. At least for the short term. For the moment, they seem to be going with the old Smallville “Freak of the Week” formula to introduce new villains, which is fine for the time being. So who did we get this week? None other than Multiplex.

BEWARE! SPOILERS LAY AHEAD!

Thoughts From The Flash, S1E2:

Danton Black, a.k.a. Multiplex, is our villain this week. Somehow I doubt it’s an accident that Multiplex made his CW debut so early in the series. The character was, after all, just named by Latino Review as one of the members of the big-screen Suicide Squad. In any event, his inclusion in this week’s episode gave the special effects team a chance to show off. The scene where Flash is being chased by a crowd of multiples was pretty damn cool, as was the moment where Black literally grows another hand out of his forearm. If this is the kind of thing we have to look forward to, The Flash will be must-see TV for superhero geeks everywhere.

The first line in the episode: “This is the part where I’m supposed to do the whole intro thingy. My name is Barry Allen, fastest man alive. But you know all that already. Alright, let’s get to the good stuff.” This was charming, and I think it’s a nice little nod to what the show is as a whole. It’s not a prequel. It’s not an origin story. This is The Flash in all his glory. How cool is that?

More time with Cisco and Caitlyn. Odd as it sounds, Cisco’s hair is starting to get on my nerves. He and Caitlyn actually have the same hairdo. Danielle Panabaker, however, is endearing as Caitlin Snow. It’s obvious she cares about Barry’s well being. And Cisco’s line about how she hasn’t been this upset since Ronnie (her thought-to-be-dead fiance Ronnie Raymond) is essentially a neon sign pointing to a future romance between the two.

Iris starts following stories about the “Red Blur.” I’m still not into Iris West. We did, however, see some flashback scenes that help define their relationship a bit better. But I still don’t understand what Barry sees in her, other than the fact that she’s simply physically attractive. I suppose once she figures out Barry is The Flash, it’ll at least be satisfying to see our hero finally get the recognition he longs for from her. On a site note, having her date Edward Thawne, the hero cop and future Reverse Flash, is a nice touch in terms of twisting the knife in Barry’s gut, so to speak.

Dr. Wells kills Simon Stagg. So Harrison Wells is both a liar and a killer. He’s not exactly Zordon, is he? Obviously he’s got some kind of time travel thing going on. I’d like to see this story arc resolved this season, so that next season we have a more evolved Barry, who doesn’t need a mentor quite as much. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s only the second episode, after all.

Front page image, image 2 from tvfanatic.com. Image 1 from geekoutpost.com.

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A Review of The Walking Dead S5E1 – Hope Your Stomach Isn’t Weak….

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I don’t remember The Walking Dead ever being as bloody and violent as the season five premiere was. Maybe I’ve just become desensitized over the break, But man…hroats getting cut, a zombie eating a live human’s face, people getting pulled apart in full view of the camera, a dude threatening to snap a crying baby’s neck. Good lord.

So watch for puddles and disemboweled bodies as we dive in, here…

Thoughts From The Walking Dead, S1E5:

A somewhat Negan-ish character appears at the end of the episode. No, ladies and gentlemen, that wasn’t Negan. From Robert Kirkman himself, via Twitter: “That was NOT Negan at the end of the episode. Note the face tattoos.” And frankly, I’m glad for that. It’s too soon after The Governor’s demise to simply bring another villain from the comics in to replace him. If, however, they want to create somebody new with his/her own unique modus operandi, that’s another story. But let’s save Negan for down the road.

A post-credits scene reveals Morgan on his own in the wild. Very happy to see Morgan is around this season. One of the biggest missteps Robert Kirkman made with the comic book was simply making Morgan one of the Rick’s group. He had the potential to be a really cool character with his own unique point of view, who could explore different parts of our post-apocalyptic world. I would think a reunion with Rick and the group is inevitable, but here’s hoping they keep Morgan on his own for awhile.

Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and Bob find themselves at the mercy of human butchers. Yeah…intense much? The Walking Dead continues to push the envelope in terms of gore. The image of all that friggin’ blood in the trough was bone chilling. The “Termites” actually had kind of a Dexter Morgan vibe to them.

Terminus gets wiped off the map. I know I wasn’t the only one surprised to see Rick and the others leave Terminus to the zombies. We spent half of season 4 focusing on Terminus, so it was reasonable to assume we’d be spending a decent amount of time there. But the surprise isn’t unpleasant, per se. We were shocked to find out what Terminus was, and we got to explore it a bit in this episode. It certainly served a purpose in terms of getting the gang back together. And who knows? Maybe we haven’t seen the last of these folks.

Savage Rick is a hero. Go figure. Rick spent most of last season trying to fight that savage side of himself. But when you’re up against people like the Terminus folk, Savage Rick is the guy you want on your team. Leave friggin’ Farmer Rick on the bench.

Carol and Tyreese reunite with the group after last season’s prison massacre. Seeing Daryl reunite with Carol once again begs the question: What are they, exactly? Is there a romance there? It seemed like there might have been a spark between Daryl and Beth last season, but Daryl and Carol seem like a much more natural fit. Now that they’re reunited, I wouldn’t expect that question to go away any time soon.

Beth is alive. On Talking Dead tonight, showrunner Scott M. Gimple revealed that Beth is alive, and apparently is someplace bad. Beth has some haters out there, but I’m a fan. Emily Kinney is a fine actress, and I hope we get to check in with this character soon.

Conan O’Brien appears on Talking DeadConan needs to host this damn show. He’s funnier, and not even remotely as awkward and grating as Chris Hardwick. Seriously, get Hardwick off my television.

Front page image from hollywoodreporter.com. Image 1 from digitalspy.com. Image 2 from theepochtimes.com. Image 3 fromzap2it.com.

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First Images of The CW’s Reverse Flash Surface

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Mere days after The Flash‘s premiere on The CW, images of the Reverse Flash in-costume have surfaced online.

What’s more, the character appears to be duking it out with The Flash, played by Grant Gustin.

In the DC Comics Universe, the Reverse Flash is the supervillain identity of Eobard Thawne. The show’s counterpart to that character, Edward Thawne, is played by Rick Cosnett. Events in the pilot indicated the Reverse Flash will play a major role on the show this season.

Source: Newsarama

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A Review of The Flash S1E1 – Run Barry, Run!

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

When Arrow premiered a couple of years ago, there was a lot to complain about. Much of the dialogue was bad, and the acting was strictly so-so. There was a lot of potential there, much of which has been fulfilled as it moves into season 3. But Arrow had plenty of kinks to work out.

With The Flash, there are considerably less of those kinks. The pilot suffered from a lot of the problems that typically plague first episodes, most notably contrived and expository lines. But for the most part, The Flash had a much smoother debut than Arrow did.

After a freak accident involving a particle accelerator and a lightning storm, forensic scientist Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) finds himself with the gift of super speed. But when Barry learns he wasn’t the only person affected by the storm, and a weather-shifting criminal is at large, he vows to use his abilities to protect Central City. Along for the ride are the architect of the particle accelerator Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), and his two assistants at S.T.A.R. Labs: Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker). Inspired by his friend Oliver Queen (again, see Arrow), he dons a mask and takes up the mantle of The Flash!

As expected, The Flash partially follows the Geoff Johns rendition of Barry Allen’s origin (Johns co-developed the show, and co-wrote this episode, after all). As a child, Barry loses his mother to some sort of mysterious lightning phenomenon, and his father is falsely charged with her murder. Thus, Barry becomes a forensic scientist, bound and determined to discover the truth about what happened that night. I’ve got no complaints here, as the Johns origin injects an element of tragedy that a lot of fans are looking for in their superhero stories nowadays. Plus, if the TV show goes the same route the comics did (which it appears they will), it’s going to be really cool to watch this play out.

On the other hand, something we’ve never seen before is how Barry and Iris West (Candice Patton) are connected on this show. After his parents were out of the picture, Barry was raised by a cop named Joe West. Iris is Joe’s biological daughter, and as such Barry and Iris have a sort of brother/sister relationship, which Barry wants to take to the next level. The notion that Barry is crushing on his surrogate sister has, quite frankly, a creepy vibe to it. But I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

There is, however, the issue that there’s not any romantic chemistry between Gustin and Patton. One of the reasons we get that creepy brother/sister vibe is because they feel like siblings. Not exactly material for a sizzling on-screen romance. Oddly enough, there seemed to be more of a spark between Barry and Caitlin during that “You don’t smile very much” exchange. Maybe Barry and Caitlin in the short term, while we slow burn to Barry and Iris?

Grant Gustin makes a better everyman than one might think. In his first scene with Candice Patton, he plays his over-enthused science geek role very well. He’s also got the right look for Barry Allen. He’s not chiseled like an MMA fighter the way Stephen Amell is. But he’s also not portrayed as an hyper science nerd the way Tobey Maguire was in the original Spider-Man. He’s in a nice middle ground. And he’s got a certain charm to him that feels right for the role. Gustin’s differences from Stephen Amell are a major plus, in my opinion. The Flash needs to be a different kind of show than Arrow. There’s no need to be quite as dark are broody here. This show can be a little lighter. In that sense, Gustin makes for a good leading man.

The only major downside to this episode from my vantage point was the Flash costume. Point blank: It looks like something made in a basement. It’s also needlessly dark. In terms of color, it’s more faded and subdued than just about anything else we’ve seen in the modern era. Thankfully there’s a little hope. The Arrow costume has obviously evolved a bit as the show as progressed. With luck, the folks at S.T.A.R. Labs will whip him up something that’s less depressing.

One thing I’ll credit The CW for: They’re not giving us prequels like Smallville or Gotham. With both Arrow and The Flash, they’re going straight to the meat and potatoes of the superhero genre. Flights, tights, heroes, villains, and super powers. The Flash also doesn’t waste a lot of time getting into the action. This was only the first episode, and already we’ve seen our hero take on the Weather Wizard. This show also had more than a few Easter eggs for comic book geeks to chow down on. That newspaper headline at the very end gave me chills…

At the end of the day, The Flash is very encouraging, because there’s so much potential here. We’ve got a forensic scientist with super powers, which makes for an interesting blend of science (Flash Facts, anyone?) and science fiction. Also, between Barry, Iris, Edward Thawne (the future Reverse Flash), and the plot involving Barry’s parents, been set for some very emotional storytelling. If this show is done the right way, it could have a lot of awesome things going for it.

That’s certainly enough to get me to tune in next week.

Front page image from neverendingradicaldude.com. Image 1 from rottentomatoes.com. Image 2 from justjared.com. 

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A Gotham S1E1 Review – Break Out the Shoehorn

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I’m about as big a Batman fan as you’ll ever find. And yet, I hadn’t been looking forward to the premiere of Gotham at all. Why, you ask?

Because prequels suck.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course. But generally speaking, prequels suck. One of the reasons this is true is because they take a certain spontaneity and happenstance away from what they’re preceding.

For instance, let’s say you want to do a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. And you want to have the Scarecrow and the Tin Man meet for some reason. That concept takes away from The Wizard of Oz, in my opinion. The story is no longer about this band of four misfits who just happened to meet one another, and are now following their hearts’ desires to Oz. You’ve changed part of the story because the Scarecrow and the Tin man aren’t strangers anymore. They knew of one another, and thus their entire dynamic is changed. And that dynamic is part (albeit a small one) of the magic of The Wizard of Oz.

This logic is one of the major reasons I stopped watching Smallville. In that universe, before he’d ever become Superman, Clark Kent had met Lois Lane, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Cyborg, and numerous other heroes. They’d shoehorned various characters from around the DCU in an attempt to keep the show interesting, when in reality it probably should have ended at season four or five.

I knew Gotham would be more of the same. Sure enough, less than five minutes into the first episode I was proven right. Selina Kyle, the future Catwoman, just happens to be watching when Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered in front of him. Again, this changes the dynamic of the relationship between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Now, could that be good thing? Possibly. But based on what’s come before, I’m not banking on it.

Oh, and the Riddler also analyzed the bullets that went through the Waynes.

And Poison Ivy’s father is framed for their murder.

Damn it, people. This is only the first episode!!!!

Still, let’s acknowledge the good with the bad. Gotham has a nice feel to it. As a lifelong Batman geek, the setting looks and feels like I was hoping it would. Gotham City is a character unto itself. It’s dirty, it’s cold, it’s rainy, and it’s corrupt to its very core. In that sense, Gotham definitely delivers.

The show is also very well cast. Everybody fits their role, fairly well. I was particularly impressed with three performers: David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne), Donal Logue (Harvey Bullock), and Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot).

From the very start, David Mazouz is able to give us what we want out of a young Bruce Wayne. He screams in terror and pain when he realizes his parents are gone forever. He gets broody when he learns some discouraging news about the investigation into his parents’ murder. And then he gives us a touch of vengefulness toward the end of the episode. This is good stuff. He’s certainly the best young Bruce Wayne I’ve ever seen on screen. But he’s also had the most screen time of any young Bruce Wayne, so let’s consider that.

Donal Logue fits the part of Harvey Bullock fairly well. He’s not the pudgy cop who favors the drink that we know from the comics, but he’s certainly on his way. He and Ben McKenzie’s Jim Gordon have a nice cynic/optimist chemistry, which could be fun to watch as the series progresses.

Robin Lord Taylor perfectly fits the visual bill of a young Oswald Cobblepot. But he’s also got the acting chops to convincingly give us the pre-Penguin Cobblepot that we need to see here. He’s a pitiful, whiny, sniveling worm, who just hates being called “penguin.” Given what we saw at the end of the episode, his arc could be extremely interesting as the season continues. There was a beastliness to Taylor’s performance in that final scene that was reminiscent of Danny DeVito in Batman Returns.

Still, this first episode was plagued by a problem that often haunts superhero-related TV shows: The dialogue. Gordon’s line to a grief-stricken Bruce about how “there will be light” sounds written. And Bullock kills the scene where we meet Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen with that damn ”Well well, if it isn’t…” line. I didn’t know people still said that in TV shows. It’s a phrase that needs to be blacklisted from script writing.

So what’s the bottom line on Gotham? It’s not that bad…for now. But fans like me, who get frustrated over things that are just a little too coincidental, i.e. Selina seeing the Wayne murders, are likely going to have to white knuckle through a lot. Like Smallville, this show is a prequel. But it’s drawing power comes from seeing characters we know and love from the world of Batman. And to get characters like The Riddler, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman into a pre-Batman world tends to require some shoehorning. A viewer’s suspension of disbelief can only be stretched so far.

So let’s see just how far Gotham can stretch before it snaps.

Front page image from fox.com. Image 1 from ew.com. Image 2 from femalefirst.com. Image 3 from teenidol4u.com. Image 4 from mtv.com. 

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Are the Teen Titans Headed to TNT?

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

It’s going to be a big fall TV season for DC Comics fans. Between Arrow returning to the CW alongside a new Flash show, Gotham coming to Fox, Constantine coming to NBC, and a Supergirl show reportedly in the works, there’s a lot to look forward to.

Now, TNT is throwing its name into the hat, as the network is reportedly preparing to order a pilot for Titans, a series based on the DC Comics Teen Titans comic book series.

The show would reportedly be based around characters like Nightwing, Starfire, and Raven.

Akiva Goldsman is attached as the writer. Goldsman won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for 2001′s A Beautiful Mind. He’s also written screenplays for plenty of comic book movies, including Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, and I Am Legend.

The Teen Titans characters are no stranger to television, at least as far as animation is concerned. Teen Titans premiered on Cartoon Network in 2003, and ran until 2006. A sequel series, Teen Titans Go!, began airing on the network last year. The characters were also featured on Cartoon Network’s Young Justice show.

Image from voicesfromkrypton.com.

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Craig Ferguson in Talks For Syndicated Tribune Media Talk Show

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Craig Feguson is reportedly in final talks with Tribune Media to host a daily syndicated half hour talk show.

The show would air in the 7 p.m. (Eastern time) hour across Tribune’s 42 stations. The idea would be to pair the show alongside a rerun of an established sitcom. The company is also in talks to expand distribution of the show beyond its own outlets.

Ferguson has hosted The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson since January 2005. He would reportedly take his executive producer Michael Nadius with him to Tribune as well as his character sidekicks Geoff Peterson (voiced by Josh Robert Thompson) and Secretariat.

Ferguson was at one point supposed to succeed David Letterman on The Late Show. But shortly after Stephen Colbert was announced as Letterman’s replacement, Ferguson announced he was leaving the show in December.

Image from tartanweek.com. 

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Gotham Casts Dexter Star David Zayas

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Salvatore Maroni, the character who (at least in most story continuities) was ultimately responsible for creating Two-Face by throwing acid into Harvey Dent’s face, has been cast in Fox’s Gotham.

David Zayas, best known for his role as Angel Batista in Dexter, will play Maroni in a recurring role on the series. Maroni’s arch rival will be another gangster Batman fans are familiar with, Carmine Falcone (played by John Doman).

The Maroni character was also featured in 2008′s The Dark Knight, played by Eric Roberts.

Gotham premieres this fall on Fox.

Source: Newsarama

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