Monday, August 31, 2009

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 11 Frenzy

I can't believe season finale in 2 weeks (Labor Day), but it is and we'll have to wait another year until our supernatural friends come back. In comparison to the first season, season two had a lot more action, but I'm not entirely sure whether it was better. While season 2 was certainly paced faster and the tone was set, season 1 had a slow exposition that I enjoyed. The ratings don't seem to indicated others had the same opinion, so we can expect the same action and sex of this season.

Evan Rachel Wood killed it as Sophie-Anne, the Queen of Louisiana. Her disconnect with reality and casual manner reminded me of Glory from Buffy the Vampire Slayer who is my favorite Whedonverse big bad. Both are extremely powerful, but care so little about some things, giving a hilarious performance. Sophie-Anne tells Bill that maenads can't be killed because they believe they can't be killed. To kill one, Bill is supposed to trick the maenad into thinking the god is coming. The maenad thinks it the god will devour it and will let it happen. That's when they are vulnerable.

Tara continues to prove she is a total moron by running off to save Eggs. She escapes by promising her mother she would forgive everything. This became a serious predicament. Who is more idiotic? Tara or her mother. I'll let you ponder this one. Lafayette and Sookie go after her, resulting in Sookie hiding in her house under some fat guy and Lafayette getting turned.

Jason and Andy go to the sheriff's station to get guns which leads to the some of the funniest lines Jason has ever delivered. I almost gagged when Jason was describing how he works out and watches a lot of porn so he can get pussy. His delusions about paramilitary training a hoot, and Jason gives a call to action to Andy.

Sam goes to get help from Eric. He also finds Arlene's children and he brings them along to Fangtasia. Eric and Pam both have some weird (and funny) thoughts about children. Eric agrees to help and flies off to see Sophie-Anne. I know in the books Eric can fly, but introducing his flying ability now seems a little out of place.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 3 My Old Kentucky Home - "I'm Peggy Olson and I want to smoke some marijuana."

This is a review of the latest episode of Mad Men, but mostly is for talking about how great Peggy was. There is no way anyone could not have laughed out loud when she said that. After her great rendition of Bye Bye Birdie last week, I'm not sure how you can love her and her lines. She also had another line, proclaiming, "I am so high." Elizabeth Moss has a brilliant delivery and it was just so funny to me. This marked the first time drugs were in the show, and it was great. I'm not sure how long this show will last, but I'd love to see some employees go to Woodstock and get into a total stupor over the harder drugs.

Roger and Jane's garden party was pretty much the normal fare with sexual innuendo and all, but the major revelation was Don telling off Roger for marrying off someone so young. Sally seems to be going down a dangerous path (as much as a little girl can). She steals $5 dollars from Gene who suspects Carla. Eventually Sally gives it back, but we all know something bad will happen. Joan and Greg's party is so awkward and the tension between all of them is just believable. It turns out that Greg won't be earning big bucks in the foreseeable future and we can just see the WTF? look in Joan's face.

I know there are some complaints that there isn't really a story this season compared to the earlier ones, but this is just the third episode and a lot can still happen. Even if there is nothing going on with Sterling Cooper, from Joan to Roger to the Drapers, and the Campbell's there is plenty to work with. This episode was the characters being thrown into interesting settings and seeing what happens. The show works like that and I'd be fine if there are more episodes like this.

Score: 10/10 (for Peggy)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Psych should stop the jabs at The Mentalist

After the season 4 premiere of Psych, I wrote Psych Vs. The Mentalist. In the 4th episode The Devil is in the Details... and the Upstairs Bedroom, which I will review tomorrow, Shawn once again mentions The Mentalist, saying that Simon Baker, the star of The Mentalist will be on Carson Daly. Now it was all good and dandy the first time it was mentioned in season 3, it was a little fun in the season premiere, but now, what are the writers really trying to accomplish?

It's not cute or amusing. The writers are so fixated on this one subject that they have to reference it several times. They're mad they haven't been nominated for an Emmy. I get it. They feel like The Mentalist ripped off Psych which in my earlier post isn't a fair judgment, and are put off by the commercial success. But they need to get over it. They are professionals and should write to please the fans. The Mentalist references aren't even that funny, and other than themselves, whose benefit are they writing them for?

Let's face it. Simon Baker is a better actor than anyone on Psych. He was great on The Guardian and even better in The Mentalist. He can act serious and funny as well as anyone, and the first season ratings of The Mentalist showed it. He single-handedly carried the inaugural season to a resounding victory. 

While the first couple times it may be okay to say something about The Mentalist, the third time seems like sour grapes, and if there is a fourth time, I will begin to question the intentions of the producers. Are they so egotistical that their priority is to prove to the world that the fake psychic was their idea first? If so, do we continue watching?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Review - Leverage Season 2 Episode 7 The Two Live Crew Job

Just an amazing episode. Two teams with specialists battling over a painting. The possibilities are endless and this episode delivered on every level. This episode can certainly be considered the best episode of the series. This season hasn't been on par with season 1, but I was impressed with the writing. Not once did the writers miss a beat.

We got to see all the main characters and their counterparts go head to head. In my opinion, the funniest was Hardison versus Wil Wheaton. I laughed so much when they both stepped outside their vans, laptops in hand, with the Western music in the foreground. Parker had some hilarious scenes, stealing things, getting pick pocketed by the other guy, and pick pocketing back. Eliot fought was an Israeli woman which ended with them kissing. Each time they would change stances, the other would imagine what could happen, so they kept changing while the audience got to see them fight in their minds.

This season seems to be centering around Sophie and her finding out who she is not as just a name that can play a role, but a real person with an original personality that doesn't have to lie about everything. Sophie almost gets bombed in the beginning and as a ploy to draw her would be killer, they stage a funeral for. Seeing this really impacts her. In the last scene, Nate goes in for a kiss, but Sophie walks off not really sure about anything.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 8 Duped

If you haven't noticed, I've cut down on the number of shows I'm reviewing and the time it takes me to write a review has increased. School has started again and I don't have countless hours in front of a computer. Don't worry, I just need to reestablish my rhythm and I'll be churning out a couple reviews a day. I just need to some time adjusting. Also, I've stopped giving full episode recaps, so my reviews will probably be useless to only those who have watched the episode. I might do a full review for a random show occasionally, but don't count on it. If you wish to see my recaps, visit SpoilerTV and find my recaps for Dark Blue, Royal Pains, and Better Off Ted. For now this site will have straight analysis.

This was the first time we got to see Claudia interact with Pete and Myka and it was fairly predictable. She is kind of like their little sister, a little annoying, but helpful at times. Leena was also in the episode and it was nice to see them all together. In a really weird, creepy sense, it kind of felt like a family.

Myka gets trapped in Lewis Caroll's mirror and Alice goes into Myka's body. There's an episode like this in almost every scifi show. One of the main characters isn't a main character and does out of character things. The writers took this to full advantage and decided to dress up Joanne Kelly which I as a male enjoyed a lot. Joanne Kelly did a good job playing the deranged Alice with the voice and walk. She probably wasn't the best actress for the part, but she is a main character and I really don't expect too much out of this cast.

The artifact of the week was a casino chip that let the user see the future. This allowed the couple played by Eureka's Erica Cerra and Niall Matter to win exorbitant amounts of money. Like Tricia Helfer and Joe Flanigan they weren't definitely not the focus of the episode and really there was not much attention given to them. If the producers are going to bring in all these high-profile guest stars, I would like to see them be used. They easily could have gone with cheaper guests and gotten the exact same results.

My biggest gripe about this episode was the quick resolution of another interpersonal problem. In an instant, Artie turns from wanting to kill the thing inside the mirror, to putting his hand up to the mirror after realizing it really is Myka in there and they are instantly back to normal. The the huge jumps in reasoning part of artifact finding that I discussed many times, this was a jump in the way normal relationships progress. Instead of taking several episodes to resolve the distrust issue, they solve it in under 3 minutes which is just awkward and unnatural.

Overall, this episode was well written, the pacing was better than most episodes, and kept me amused. I loved the last scene with 'White Rabbit' as the music and I rewatched it like 5 times. The ferret is still here which was forgotten for 7 episodes which is a shame since there is so much funny things you can do with a ferret. I was thinking of an entire episode dedicated to searching for the ferret in the Warehouse and in the process seeing lots of artifacts, but I suspect the writers are too timid to really overhaul the formula for an episode or two.

Score: 8.5/10

Monday, August 24, 2009

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 10 New World in My View

In a shortened episode, there was still lots going on, possibly more than usual and kept a fast pace throughout the episode, never really letting up. This episode was a great setup to what will probably a collision of all the supernatural things.

The episode starts with possibly the most blatant foreshadowing I've ever seen. Sookie walks into Eric's room at the hotel where he is crying. She comes over and basically starts licking the blood off him. Things go a little further and then Sookie wakes up in a van going back to Bon Temps.

Sam and Andy get a call from Arlene to go to the bar and save her. When they arrive, either they were tricked or she got turned. I doesn't matter either ways because they want to sacrifice Sam to a "god," so they hide in the freezer. Meanwhile, Jason is gearing up for the battle, bringing a chainsaw and a nail gun to the bar. He gets into a hostage situation and manages to get Sam and Andy out. The black-eye Maryann followers renege on their agreement with Jason since they are crazy, and Sam lets himself become taken. Outside, Jason and Andy devise a hilarious plan to save Sam. Jason pretends to be the god, dressing up and shining lights on him. Sam tells Jason to fake smite him which Jason does. Sam turns into something leaving everyone bewildered.

Sookie and Bill go back to Bill's house where Hoyt and Jessica are trying to deal with Hoyt's mom. Eventually they get her to play an extremely violent Wii game. They also learn Maryann has taken over Sookie's house. Bill and Sookie go there and confront her, ending with Bill trying to bite her and getting poisoned. They run off to Lafayette's house to figure out what is going on. Sookie tries to look into Tara's mind, but sees nothing. After Bill glamors her, Sookie manages to get into her head and Tara is regular again.

Hoyt's mother starts yelling at Hoyt about Jessica who is losing it. She goes out of control and bites her. The last scene of the episode is probably the coolest ending of the whole series. You see Bill show up at the Queen of Louisiana's mansion in a leather jacket. He is let in and all we can see is her leg with blood dripping off it.

Score: 9.5/10

NBC's Community has potential to be a hit show

I really haven't heard too much about this show and I didn't quite care either. The name screamed boring to me, but I guess it's kind of like The Office; the name isn't impressive, but the show is. To be honest, I knew nothing about the show except that Joel McHale and Chevy Chase were in it. The instant I started watching it and realized the setting was at a community college, I thought of a the great, funny things that can happen on a campus.

The pilot begins immediately by stereotyping people at a community college, the dean actually listing the different kinds of archetypes while we are seen little clips of the main characters who fit the descriptions to a T. It seems like the dean is going to discredit this notion, but loses a flashcard so he ends his little speech there.

Jeff Winger(McHale) is a former lawyer has to go back to college since he was disbarred. Why? He didn't think it was pertinent enough to distinguish Columbia University from Colombia University. From his own admission, he has also never done any work in his life and thus he goes to one of the professors for help. Duncan (John Oliver) is one of his former clients who he saved from a drunk driving charge. There are some funny scenes between them with some interesting dialogue that proves that Jeff is a total ass without morals. I'm sure we'll see a different side to him later, but for now he really has no qualms about dishonorable behavior.

We got a nice introduction to all the characters at a Spanish study session. They all think Jeff is a Spanish tutor, but he only said that so he could meet Britta (Gillian Jacobs). When she learns he's lying, she is disgusted and kicks him out. Abed (Danny Pudi) plays an American-born Palestinian who talks a little too much. I was kind of disappointed he didn't have an accent which I think would make his ramblings much funnier.

There are a couple more characters ,but I don't want to go into more detail,  just wait until September 17 until premiere. I see endless opportunity for his show and will definitely stay watching.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

X-Files 3 a go? Reboot?

A few days ago, X-Files News reported that Gillian Anderson said at the Sarajevo Film Festival that X-Files 3 is coming by 2012. Now assuming that the rough translations are correct, there should be something going on behind the scenes. I know the second movie didn't do so well in the movie theaters, but if you look closely, Fox made decent money on the movie. The domestic gross was pathetic, but internationally, it made $68 million. Remember that IWTB was released the week after The Dark Knight and I'm guessing no one notice while this behemoth was still on screen. The budget for the movie was fairly low and I'm guessing advertising wasn't too much either.

So what do I want to see for the next XF film? I had no problem with IWTB, but I think wrapping up the alien story or at least advancing it would be the best option. There are loose ends everywhere, and some conclusion would be nice. The clock is ticking and I would hate to see our favorite heroes not do battle with the government and/or aliens one last time and be wasted on another standalone. Fox should give Chris Carter a bigger budget. We know what he can do with money, just watch Fight the Future. With more advanced technology, there can be much more. Just imagine the visual effects people can do today compared to 10 years ago.

There was also talk about doing a reboot à la Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica. Just like there is no Buffy movie without Joss Whedon, there is no X-Files without Gillian, David, or Chris. There is no way in hell I would ever settle for some random people to come in and just put their ideas over something that worked fabulously for 9 years. The X-Files is just 15 years old, the actors are still viable, so why would they need to adapt? I'm sure there is an audience out there that won't settle for the pathetic Transformers and GI Joes out there. Chris Carter has proven himself to be able to write amazing scripts that can blend all the different emotions out there and create compelling stories that keep people engrossed.

I want to believe that there will be a third movie. Fans can continue to write letters and send emails to Fox, you will be heard. For now, we'll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 7 Implosion

Yes there was the same lazy writing, the plotholes, the inexplicable leaps, but all in all, this was my favorite episode. I liked the tone of the episode and I thought the pacing was much better, and almost perfect in the first half. By now, I really don't care about the artifact finding, it's the same stuff every week, so I won't be recapping the search.

The addition of James MacPherson was very intriguing, but I wish we could have learned more about him. He used to work at the Warehouse and has high-tech toys. Also, we know he's evil since his Tesla gun shoots red electricity while Pete and Myka's shoot blue.

I show the episode was going amazingly well until Artie explained what the sword did. It "cuts" light and makes people invisible. I know artifacts are supposed to be unexplained, but cutting through light because of the exact measurements of the sword. It would have been much better if the sword had been dipped in some mystical water an imbued with special powers. In fact, I would like the sword to have a completely different effect since we already can invisibility.

The main problem with episode was all the new stuff we learned about Artie. He sold secrets to the Soviets and he has another name. I knew the unraveling of Artie wouldn't be immediate, but now I have no clue what's up with Artie, his motivations, or his importance that Mrs. Frederick would go to such lengths to procure him.

Claudia was missing this reason for no good reason and it was a shame she couldn't be there for the best episode. Leena had a few scenes which are always great. I'm not sure how Myka and Pete can go back to Artie after knowing what he'd done. It seems the twist was just thrown in so they would get in deep water with the Secret Service, and it doesn't seem like the showrunners really planned anything.

Score: 9.1/10

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 2 (Fox)

After part 1 of my predictions, I will do the new scripted shows for Fox.


I did not watch the pilot nor do want to. Musicals, especially ones on TV aren't really my thing. Fox is definitely trying to draw the HSM crowd with this show, and it pulled huge numbers in the 18-49 category which is what advertisers look at. Their total numbers weren't as large, but it was still substantial. I suspect a lot of people watched just for the ingenuity of a one-hour musical each week. That being said, all the reviews that I've seen have seen say that the characters are unoriginal. It's hard to make a high school show without the typical archetypes. This show is really hit or miss. I can imagine the show doing well pulling slightly lower ratings than the pilot did for several weeks. It also airs after AI so it could become huge since the whole singing thing will continue for another hour. I can also envision the show falling flat on its back after the audience looks past the song and dance.

The Cleveland Show

I expect this show to do almost exactly the same as Family Guy. The show is based around Cleveland and there's not much more to say about it. It's pretty much the same show runners and weird characters.


I don't think this will do well. It's in the Friday deathslot and Fox doesn't have much going on in Friday's except for Dollhouse. The premise is a little bland and I really don't see how the show would succeed. There's Michael Strahan and CCH Pounder, but there's not much else going for the show.

Human Target

This is the show that has me the most confused. I understand how the concept would work in comic-book format, but I don't quite understand how it will work on a week to week basis. It looks like there will be lots of action and shooting. It's airing after American Idol, which boosted Fringe, a marginally good show, into the ratings stratosphere, so Fox definitely has high hopes. I like the cast of Human Target with Mark Valley, Jackie Earle Haley, and Chi McBride. After seeing Emerson Cod gone forever, it's nice to see Chi on another show so quick.

Past Life

I can almost guarantee (not that I'll bet on it) that this show will fail. The concept of the show sounds so stupid. Every week, some detectives will figure out the "past-lives" of their clients using different methods. It just sounds ludicrous and I will for sure not be touching this. The characters sound like the same reused ones we've been seeing forever e.g. troubled past, wracked with guilt and believer in supernatural things. There are a bunch of no-name actors. The one thing going for the show is that it is after the AI performance show which Fox is using as a jumpstart for all new shows. Now why couldn't Fox have done that with Dollhouse either this year or last year?

Sons of Tucson

Nestled between The Simpsons and Family Guy, I expect decent ratings. The idea for the show seems pretty interesting and Tyler Labine was excellent in Reaper. There's not much I can speculate on, but I think this show will work.

CBS has a solid lineup all around, but they canceled a few shows so they need to fill in those slots. They deviated from their usual crime shows so they are taking a slightly larger risk this year.

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 5 (ABC)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 4 (CBS)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 3 (NBC)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 2 (Fox)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 1 (CW)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 9 I Will Rise Up

This episode is probably the last filler before the vampires collide with Maryann. Now filler isn't always a bad thing, especially not with True Blood. Even if nothing really happens, we can still expect some great scenes which we got.

The bomb detonates in Godric's nest killing some vampires and humans. Eric shields Sookie from the blast, but is hurt. Somehow, the manages to get Sookie to suck the silver out of his wounds in the process drinking some of his blood, forming a bond between them. What is it about Sookie that makes everyone so interested in her? She's an idiot. She can't think with any logic and never does anything useful. I'll let the Bill and Eric ponder why they like her so much, but in the meantime, seeing Sookie being stupid is just fun to watch. There was a lot of dialogue in the episode including a conversation between Sookie and Jason and the whole time, I was thinking who was more stupid. They also watch a hilarious debate between the Newlins and a vampire in which the Newlins breakdown and fight each other.

Back in Bon Temps, Hoyt brings Jessica to meet his mother. His mother of course is hateful towards everything and hates Jessica. Hoyt finally stops being a loser and tells her he isn't coming home. Maryann is acting weird again and Tara is totally fine with it. I used to like Tara, but now I absolutely hate her. She still has free will most of the time and even if she doesn't know Maryann is causing the blackouts, Maryann's behavior the rest of the time is still reprehensible. Maryann goes to the jail probably to kill Sam, but he turns in a fly and shows up at Andy Belflour's house. Lafayette was totally awesome this week, first confronting Tara and Eggs at Sam's bar and then going to Sookie house with Tara's mother and actually kidnapping Tara while she was under Maryann's influence. He also got into a little scrap with Eggs, but I was disappointed we didn't we Lafayette destroy Eggs.

Due to drinking Eric's blood, Sookie has a sexual fantasy with Eric with Lorena egging her on. Later, there is a meeting with with the PR vampire and Godric has to sign some papers saying he was responsible. I guess he was responsible since he admitted he turned himself over to the humans. There is a final scene in the end which was beautifully done. Godric is out on the rooftop waiting for sunrise so he could die. Eric is begging him not to while Sookie is watching. Eric may have seemed indifferent, but now she sees another side of him. Sookie then waits with Godric who explains how he doesn't care anymore. As the sun comes up, he starts smoldering, and then bursts in blue flames in a much cooler fashion than Bill did.

I liked the vampire arc with Godric. He was never designed to be a long term character and brought a whole new vampire angle to the show. Before there was Bill and then the rest of the bloodthirsty vampires. We got to see now vampires, more personalities, and a human side to even Eric.

The Maryann story is coming to a close soon, but I think it was the one thing that has been dragging down the entire season. In the beginning, it was creepy and weird, but after a while became became repetitive with no resolution. I liked the inclusion of Lafayette to the Maryann story and I hope he, Sam, and Andy do something about it next week.

Score: 9.3/10

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NBC forum administrators want Chuck to fail

After the Chuck fans mercilessly pounded NBC until they renewed the show, you'd think all the hard working, dedicated fans would get some respect and recognition. Instead, they got a slap in the face -- a dirty, backhanded bitch slap designed to impede free thought and a grassroots effort to bring in more fans. Now why would they do such a heinous act on certain individuals? I don't care. What I do care about is the act that was perpetrated by one individual. What is this act?

On the NBC forum, there is an administrator named AzizalSaqr. In the Chuck Me Out subforum, a member posted a link to Chuck You Tuesday's, a podcast corollary to Chuck Me Mondays. In response, AzizalSaqr proceded to not only delete the link, but also ban the member who posted them. This was her explanation:

Several Podcast links and all posts related to them have been removed. It has come to our attention that the sites include illegal spoiler information in their broadcasts in direct violation of this Forum and Board's Spoiler Policy. The links are being forwarded to the "Chuck" offices in order for them to make the final decision on the handling of the matter, and we ask that no posts be made on the sites until a decision has been made.

Any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that this is a totally fallacious argument based not in reason, but power. Power to control others, subject weaker people to arbitrary decision making. This is not about rules. This is about domination and fascistic control, imposing onto members who spend time making third-party content in an attempt to enrich Chuck fans around the world.

I will now break down, the deficient reasoning of this administrator. Lets review the so called "Forum and Board's Spoiler Policy. " There is a single unspecific line in the rules: DO NOT post spoilers unless they come from legitimate sources such as Media Village, TV Guide, E!, E.W. etc. So what exactly is an "illegal spoiler?" The spoilers have come straight from the showrunners at Comic-Con and other interviews. Now how would this administrator know where the spoilers came from?

Answer: She wouldn't. Many sites post the same spoilers and it is impossible to comb through all the various media sites and compare them to statements on the podcast. There are transcripts of the panels at SDCC posted on several different sites and this is where I along with many other Chuck fans receive spoilers. This fascist admin's act is a direct affront to fans everywhere. She is accusing the podcast members of fabricating spoilers from thin air, belittling them and telling them that what they do is false.

In the spirit of goodwill, NBC created Chuck Me Out as another link between the show and the fans. Within a short few months, a politburo of dangerous people have decided to put an end to the outgoing "Chuck-individuality." Remember, the true power is in the hands of the fans. If NBC wants the show to succeed they need us, the viewers, the fans, the ones who really decide whether the show will be renewed. NBC wanted us to love Chuck. We have loved Chuck in return and now it's time for NBC show us some respect and remove the authoritarian element of the forum and allow for free-expression. It's what's right isn't it?

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 1 (CW)

With a spate of new shows arriving next month, I have some predictions for the success of the new shows. I haven't watched any of the new pilots, but based on the concepts, buzz, and marketing I can make a few speculations. Today I am starting with the CW which only has a few new shows.

Melrose Place

Another 90's primetime soap reboot along the lines of 90210. I expect it to pull almost the exact numbers 90210 has. Since this is CW, it won't be pulling big numbers, I'm guessing it will get between 2-3 million viewers in fact, however, it will bring the demographic CW is looking for -- 18-34 women.

The Vampire Diaries

I expect this to get numbers larger than those of Supernatural and Smallville which would be considered huge for the network. Those tweeners who have suddenly become interested in vampires due the Twilight fad and never heard of Anne Rice until a few years ago will find a perfect TV show. Vampires, cheesy storylines, and pretty guys. Those adults that still haven't upgraded to True Blood will probably be engrossed. Too bad they couldn't be there to save Moonlight.

The Beautiful Life: TBL

Mischa Barton's breakdown may actually help generate some publicity for the show. Paired with America's Next Top Model, I think this show will do OK for CW standards which at quite low. CW knows who they are targeting and this show goes right along with the type.

If anyone is wondering, I will not be watching any of these new shows (big surprise). I approach these shows with a 50-foot stick. I may not be watching, but I'm sure CW will find success with these shows. Even if their numbers don't match up, CW knows the formula: Trashy, sex, cheap. 

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 5 (ABC)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 4 (CBS)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 3 (NBC)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 2 (Fox)

Predictions For New Fall 2009-2010 TV Shows, part 1 (CW)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 6 Burnout

This week, the producers went for a little more emotion than normal, and still kept up the action and dialogue. This had by far a more adult feel to it though the visual effects looked childish. After my little rant last week about how weak the procedural part of the show was, I really don't care. If I want to watch a procedural, I'll watch Criminal Minds. That's why I'll gloss over the plot details and jump into the reviewable stuff.

The artifact of the week is the Spine of the Saracen. This crazy thing latches on to people's spines and uses their electrical charge to kill other people until the host is drained. Pete and Myka go to a site with charred bodies and find an old Warehouse agent. This leads them to another Warehouse agent, Rebecca Sinclair, who had been living in St. Louis after her partner (the body) went missing. As the team tracks down the artifact through a few more charred bodies, it actually latches onto Pete. There was no real danger as always (he is the main character and Joss Whedon isn't the creator), but I felt more tension than in the previous episodes. Joanne Kelly and Eddie McClintock did a great job in this episode conveying the emotions. In the end, Pete attaches cables to himself, hooks himself to the generator, and shocks himself. Pete survives and the artifact is destroyed.

There was an underlying story with Rebecca and her former partner, Jack. They were in love, but Jack loved the Warehouse more. Jack had sealed himself with the artifact to keep it from everyone else. There is a heartwarming scene in which they take Rebecca to Jack's room which is still preserved as Warehouse protocol, and finds an engagement ring. Rebecca gives a cryptic warning to Myka, saying that the Warehouse is like the spine, it will use her up.

There was lots of fun moments in which Claudia and Artie clashed over old vs. new and it looks like Claudia has the upperhand. She rigged a contraption that gives good Bones-esque holograms on bodies from just pictures and even clearer ones from the body. I would like to see an episode where Myka and Pete are in the Warehouse and Claudia is out doing something. There's nothing wrong with an episode where Claudia is out getting a drink or something, and she thinks she sees something Warehouse worthy and follows some clues. From the scenes in which Claudia talks to herself, there's plenty of laughs that can come from Claudia working by herself.

The artifact finding was still severely deficient and there was one instance that the clue was so obvious it was almost absurd Myka and Pete skipped it. There were plenty of plot holes, and the Spine wasn't fully explained, but like I've said, I don't care anymore. The producers don't read this blog and probably don't care what I think.

Score: 8.7/10

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Better Off Ted - the best comedy you've never heard of

Among the multitude of CBS and NBC comedies, ABC premiered a winner last year, Better Off Ted. Unfortunately, the ratings took a huge dip as the season progressed. Presidential press conferences and other scheduling changes really hindered any growth in the audience. Considering that Scrubs didn't do well either despite its rabid fanbase gives us some hope. Since it has already been renewed, I hope everyone watches the season finale which airs today, Tuesday the 11th.

Better Off Ted is created by Victor Fresco, the creator of Andy Richter Controls the Universe which is kind of similar. It features as Ted Crisp (Jay Harrington), the man in charge of the R&D department at Veridian Dynamics, a megacorporation in charge of everything (literally). They make weaponized pumpkins, sheep, and cowless beef. He is one of the good guys among the disturbing world of corporate America. While he doesn't have much funny things to do, he acts as a foil to the tactics of the company, and his boss, Veronica Palmer (Portia de Rossi) who is embraces the culture wholeheartedly, doing whatever is needed for the company or herself, regardless of the consequences. This allows her to do outrageous things which translates into great comedy. De Rossi's delivery is near perfect, portraying the brusk, cold-hearted executive. I thought her brilliant performance deserved an Emmy nomination, but looking at the ratings, I don't think the committee even watched it.

Linda Zwordling (Andrea Anders) is Ted's love interest. She in charge of the numbers to make sure everything is in regulation. Ted refuses to have a relationship with her since he already used his one office affair with Veronica. Linda is probably the weirdest character, rebelling against the evilness of Veridian Dynamics by stealing creamer among other things. Phil Myman and Lem Hewitt (Jonathan Slavin and Malcolm Barrett) are the scientists behind many products. They play off nicely against each other, having different ways of doing things which often come into conflict, but in the end they always come together. Rose Crisp (Isabella Acres), Ted's daughter brings another angle to the show. She often has a problem at school which illuminates an issue for Ted so he can take a side on it.

The show is so unique compared to the other comedies on TV. It is wacky and fantastical, while maintaining a meaning to everything. We get a look at the corporate world in a way we never before could see, from the low-level employees to the ones earning the big bucks.

Each episode is punctuated by a fake commercial by Veridian Dynamics. They are shown in a matter-of-fact even if they are ridiculous in concept. Sometimes they are flat out wild, but the voiceover speaks calmly as if it is perfectly normal which is the point of the show. Where average citizens may see something as absurd, those working intimately in large coporations may see something clever and brilliant.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Review - Defying Gravity Season 1 Episode 3 Threshold

I'll keep this review brief since essentially, nothing happened. I don't know if I'm going to continue watching, but I have lots of time. The plot was weak and advanced nothing. After the horrendous ratings it pulled last night, I'm thinking ABC might actually drop it in a couple weeks though I'm hoping there are major changes before that (highly unlikely).

There is lots of zero-gravity puking by Paula and flashbacks at a strip club with the astronauts testing the HALOS by seeing who can get an erection under the hormone inhibitors. It is disturbing and pointless. When the absurdity of the show couldn't be any higher, the writers just had to throw that one in. Oh yeah, did I mention that Paula in her bra is what did it for Ajay? To make matters worse, Shaw is unresponsive after going into pod 4, prompting Jen Crane to talk to him, in the process, showing in a flashback, that they had sex before. Donner and Zoe also talked about Donner's rule about not dating astronauts and they both agree to it. There is something wrong with the lander, and mission control fixes it without telling Donner and Zoe which was the main spaceship thing this week. Ajay is denied access to the space center and is sad about it. Yep, that's as deep as it gets. The episode was attempting to teach us something about doors with Donner's voice over, and Ajay doesn't want to open his door since he already packed everything.

We learned a little more about Beta. It changed everyone's euchromatic and heteromatic gene variations so they are exactly the same. This week the doctor is brought into the loop, but the audience doesn't learn much else. This reveal didn't do much since most people don't know what the hell the phrase meant, but the thing in pod 4 can change the genome and somehow get the people in mission control to do what it wants. What is its form of communication and what makes it so important? These questions are what keep me still interested.

I like the mystery behind the show and despise all else. The creators of the show made a grave mistake trying to make this a soap opera. They succeeded, and made a soap opera instead of a space opera and now we have Defying Gravity. What they should have done is get rid the melodrama, add a little more tension, spend more time on Beta, and get some writers that don't used the same hackneyed clichés. That would be my hope for the show, but that's not going to happen as they've already filmed a bunch of episodes.

Score: 7.7/10

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 8 Timebomb

Wow, that was a wild episode with an explosive ending -- literally. This episode played up the social issues a lot almost to the point of excess as it was in our faces all the time though I think the writers were trying to make a point with this episode.

After Godric saves Sookie, he kills the begging Gabe and then Eric arrives. Godric tells Eric to take Sookie to leave and that he is staying behind. The lock down is starting so it will be difficult to get out. It turns out that Sarah had just used a paintball gun. He learns that the Fellowship of the Sun has Sookie capture, so Jason goes off after her. Eric and Sookie try to get away but are captured. Lorena, Bill's maker starts biting Barry the bellhop and so Bill saves him, bashing her over the head with a TV, managing to escape. He finds Hoyt and Jessica doing it and tells Hoyt to take Jessica back to Bon Temps. Bill shows up to the FotS church and Steve points a gun at Sookie. Jason shows up and somehow shoots Steve in the hand with the paintball gun, giving Bill the chance to save Sookie. Suddenly all these vampires enter the church and start killing people before being stopped by Godric who lets everyone leave.

The vampires, Sookie, and Jason end of at Godric's nest where Bill is being evasive. Jason has an awkward talk with Bill, apologizing and there are a bunch of other random conversations revolving around how Godric doesn't want to fight humans. The writers kept hitting us over the head with the idea that Godric wants vampires to change and be regular people, and wants people on both sides to be forgiving. Eventually, Lorena shows up looking for Bill where she and Sookie go head to head. It a pretty awesome scene that is fairly long and ends with Lorena trying to kill Sookie which Godric stops, and he kicks her out.

Back in Bon Temps, Sam is in deep trouble. He find Daphne in his freezer with her heart ripped out. The police question him and then lock him up. Andy Belflour tries to support Sam, but being durnk and seemingly crazy, he does little to help Sam's case. Meanwhile, we see Maryann with the heart cooking it. I can't believe how long they showed it, but at least it wasn't still beating. She actually cuts it into strips and throws it with other ingredients. Later, she had a soufflé which Tara and Eggs eat. They go into the black eyed state and start hitting each other.

Near the end of the episode, we see and unknown man walking toward the nest. In the end, it is revealed to be Luke who is looking a little puffy. He opens his jacket which is strapped with a bomb. He detonates it, and from the promo for next week, the whole place is destroyed.

Jessica and Hoyt continue to have sex problems. They start up again once at Bill's house, but Jessica starts bleeding. Apparently, her hymen regrows like the rest of her body with the super-healing. Who knows how other vampires deal with it? I'm sure this conversation with Bill will be awkward.

I like how this episode took the focus away from Maryann and focused on vampire culture. I like how Lorena was humanized and I actually felt sorry for her. Godric seems like a pacifist, and paid for it with the bomb. The humans were given a chance, but we they go wild once the nest is destroyed? There is one vampire in particular who seems opposed to Godric's compromises. I'm looking forward to see how the vampire story progresses, Maryann's, not so much.

Score: 9.8/10

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Psych Vs. The Mentalist

Yesterday in the season premiere of Psych, Shawn expressed what the writers were thinking, essentially that The Mentalist is a carbon copy of Psych. Steve Franks, the Psych showrunner offered this analogy "When you go to the cereal aisle in a grocery store, and you see Fruit Loops there. If you look down on the bottom, there's something that looks just like Fruit Loops, and it's in a different bag, and it's called Fruity Loop-Os."

I have watched every episode of both shows and enjoy both of them, so I think I can provide an objective look at the show unlike the Psych writers who seem to have sour grapes about the commercial success of The Mentalist.

The premise of The Mentalist is a former fake-psychic turned police consultant. The premise of Psych is a fake-psych police consultant. That may be similar, but both come from the idea that if someone is extra-perceptive, he/she can glean information that others can't, giving the impression of psychic abilities. Since Jane in The Mentalist doesn't claim to be a psychic anymore, everyone knows he is just meticulous in examining things a trait in regular detectives of other procedurals. Both Shawn Spencer (Psych) and Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) say funny things, and have problems with authority.

The similarities between the shows stop there. Psych is almost purely a comedy. There are no laugh tracks, but a huge part of the show is dedicated to eliciting laughs. The writing is quick and witty with references to all sorts of things. On the other hand, The Mentalist at times delves into heavy drama though it can be lighthearted at other times. Patrick Jane has a past filled with anguish and he has a lot of issues because of it. Shawn is a classic slacker who fooled around his whole life. Psych's attempts at drama are in my opinion fairly weak and I don't know how they can improve that considering how over the top Shawn is.

Both operate with real members of law enforcement, but often, Shawn will do things on his own ignoring Lassiter or Juliet. They have never managed to stop him from doing something. In The Mentalist, Lisbon can put her foot down on Jane and stop him. Psych is dedicated solely to Shawn and Gus, but The Mentalist has a multitude of other characters to explore and a serial killer they are tracking.

Steve Franks got it wrong comparing them as Fruit Loops to Fruity Loop-Os. It's more Fruit Loops and Total. Completely different products with their own merits. 

Review - Psych Season 4 Episode 1 Extradition: British Columbia

I have no clue why Psych came back so late compared to the other seasons, but it's finally here and our favorite psychic detective is back in action. This week, Shawn and Gus take a skiing trip to Canada and Shawn recognizes an art thief, Pierre Despereaux that Lassiter had been after for years. Juliet comes along and thus Shawn begins the hunt for the art thief that can't be caught.

There is a funny scene in the beginning where Shawn and Gus try to follow Pierre on the ski slopes and fail miserably. At the Canadian RCMP station, they meet Ed, who is immediately impressed by Shawn. The thief has already struck, stealing a necklace. They meet Lassie and Jules there and find Pierre on the roof who jumps off, leaving only Shawn and Gus as the witnesses who no one really believes. They later meet Despereaux at a restaurant they had reservations at, and he writes down exactly what he's going to do the next day. Shawn has a "vision" about a Manet being stolen and everyone goes to stake out the only one in the vicinity, but it is stolen right under their noses.

After Gus figures out that Shawn had planned everything for him and Abigail, but she had a scheduling change, and he kicks Shawn out of the carriage. Shawn finds Despereaux's hotel room where they talk and Despereaux lets Shawn leave. The next morning, Lassiter and Juliet go to where they think Despereaux will land his plane, but Shawn thinks otherwise. He finds what Despereaux will be stealing next, he, Gus, and Ed try to steal it themselves. The police show up and arrest them, but the item was still stolen. Shawn's dad makes a brief appearance bailing them out. Later, Shawn figures out that it wasn't art thievery at all, but just insurance fraud. The police are waiting and Desperaux is caught. In the final scene, Shawn takes Juliet to a bridge where he was planning on taking Abigail. They talk and both say things won't be awkward between them and it is purely platonic. As Jules walks away, Shawn says to himself "But how?"

I was kind of disappointed it was a master criminal in the end, but the whole episode I was thinking insurance fraud so it wasn't too much of a surprise. The episode seemed anticlimactic and it seemed like Shawn was given way too many chances. Nonetheless, the episode was funny and as this is a comedy first and foremost, it was a good episode.

Score: 9/10

Since the show took a shot at The Mentalist, I will have a post named Psych vs. The Mentalist later. Stay tuned.

Review - Burn Notice Season 3 Episode 9 Long Way Back

I know it's a day late, but a review's a review. This episode is the summer finale and we won't have a new episode until some time next year. For now, we can continue rewatching the summer finale to our content. I think this was the best episode this season, Michael having been pushed to take a side.

Some guy named Thomas O'Neil from Ireland is here to kill Fi who was preparing to leave for Ireland. Her brother shows up, and thinks, Mike is Michael McBride, so he has to use his Irish accent. I'll admit I haven't a big fan of Jeffrey Donovan's accents, but I think he did a good job with this one. Fi and her brother try to kill O'Neil who has a whole armed detail with him. Mike manages to save them, destroying Ms. Reynold's car in the process leaving Sam pissed. Michael comes to O'Neil posing as an arms dealer that will help kill Fiona if he helps him with a job. They hope to plant O'Neil's signature bomb on him.

Later at the safe house, O'Neil breaks in, shooting Fi's brother, and kidnapping her, but oddly leaving Michael unharmed. Michael figures it out and confronts Strickler who admits to everything. Strickler pulls a gun on Mike who shoots him dead. Mike takes his cellphone and tracks O'Neil to a dock. Sam and Mike manage to save Fiona, her brother survives, and it seems like Fi is going to stay.

There is a subplot in which Madeline hired a realtor to sell her house. This leaves Michael kind of unhappy about the situation showing how sentimental he is about the place even if bad things did happen there. Maddie ends up not selling the house.

At the end of the episode, Diego calls Mike freaked out saying that Stricker is dead and someone is here to clean up after him. Mike rushes to his hotel to find Diego dead on the ground. I'm guessing murder, but maybe he was so scared he killed himself. At the very least, there is someone new in town that is very dangerous and I'm sure more adventures will continue happening.

Burn Notice really redeemed itself after the lackluster Paxon story which was absolutely pointless. Strickler managed to push Mike toward something he wanted, but when push comes to shove, he will always choose Fiona. These past few episodes have been high on the emotion, but still maintained the action and this was no exception. I thought this episode would reveal something about Mike and Fi's past but all we learned was that he saved her in Belgrade.

Score: 9.7/10

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Review - Leverage Season 2 Episode 4 The Fairy Godparents Job

Sorry for posting this so late but I feel really burned out lately. I've been spending way too much time typing these review as quite frankly I'm not sure what I'm going to do once the fall shows start. I'll probably stop recapping what happened and instead give a brief review of the episode and score it. I won't be recapping this episode today, but check back in tomorrow and I might have added a recap. For now, I have review.

Episode 4 was the most coherent episode so far. This is what exactly what Leverage was in season 1 and what it is supposed to be. The pacing was great and I felt the character focus on Sophie was maybe one of the best of the whole series. After her mystery boyfriend breaks up with her for not really knowing her (who can blame him?), she has a very personal moment, actually telling the truth, and completing the con in the process. Nate and Sophie is looking real good on the horizon.

The 2 FBI agents from last season Taggert and McSweeten were also back, so Parker and Hardison play along with their old role. McSweeten is hitting on Parker the whole time and she is just annoyed by him leading to some funny scenes with her (which scene with her isn't?) Hardison is a little jealous, but I don't think anything will happen in that department soon. There were some fun scenes with Eliot posing as the gym teacher and him fighting someone.

I had one weird observation, when Nate first introduced himself as the German principal, saying "My name is..." I thought he sounded almost exactly like Borat. I'm not sure if that was Timothy Hutton's intent, but I immediately thought Borat when I heard it.

Score: 9.5/10

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 5 Elements

Please, someone tell the producers to watch a real procedural. I've been kind of nice to them so far, but it's already the fifth episode and they haven't been progressing very fast in the artifact finding department, even regressing in this episode. The banter between all the characters has improved and is by far the best thing about the show, but the main part of the episodes, finding the artifact, is still very, very, very, weak.

Hopefully if they aren't going to improve on the procedural element of the show, they will write in a majority of people just talking to each other. It was fun watching Claudia interact with Artie and Leena. She's a bit wild, apparently extremely smart, and kind of has a dirty mouth. Overall I think she's a great character and plays off the other two quite well. I can't wait until she speaks with Myka and Pete.

Since the artifact finding was so lame and disorganized, I don't really want to go into detail. Someone is wearing a Native American fox skin coat which allows the user to go through anything. This person stole some ugly statue from an auction house and Myka and Pete investigate. There were 2 bidders, Gilbert Radburn and Jeff Weaver whose father is a weasel, so he is the natural suspect. Weaver is played by Syfy alum Joe Flanigan who compared to Tricia Helfer a couple weeks ago did not a very good job. He just didn't come off as the rich-guy-who-wants-to-atone-for-his-father-by helping-Native-Americans-reclaim-their-past kind of guy. Did I just do that?

It turns out that there's a guy called LaSalle that Weaver is helping. LaSalle works for Radburn as a spy. I thought the LaSalle nonsense was unnecessary and totally pointless. They barely explained his motivations (his uncle) and the whole time I was wondering what the hell this dirty guy was for. There are 4 statues for each Indian element and together something bad happens. Weaver decides to transfer the statue and on the way, the man with the coat steals it, throwing Pete out the truck. At the hospital, Myka is really concerned for him, but he tells her to eat with Weaver and try to get information. It seems like Myka is always yelling "Pete!" because something bad might have happened to him, and she always concerned, even though from the third episode, she supposedly hates men.

Artie calls Pete who miraculously heals from his injuries, finds a hidden panel in Weaver's house, and opens a room full of stuff about Walter Burley, the guy who made the statues and LaSalle's uncle. Unreasonable search and seizure? The fourth amendment? Apparently Pete and Artie think "Badgy" allows Pete to go through Weaver's house even though the only reason is because Jeff's father and Radburn had tried to sell all the statues together years ago.

Radburn captures LaSalle skulking outside his house and takes a bracelet telling him how to arrange the sculptures. Put in a row in the morning, they form a map to a Lenape cave with a bunch of artifacts. At the same time, Claudia helps Artie find the cave. The ending is pretty lame, anti-climactic, and made no sense. Radburn picks up the artifacts which gives him lots of power, Pete, Myka, and Jeff show up, he throws them around, Pete takes the arrows and stabs Radburn. Radburn blows up into some light, and then Artie recruits Claudia to work in the warehouse.

Yeah, it really ended like that. With all the interconnected parties involved, there was really no resolution, especially since Radburn had stuck LaSalle in his wall earlier. There was no real upside to the story except getting the artifacts back. Usually in these Native American stories, there are usually some comments about how they were mistreated and some kind of redemption. Instead, this episode used Native American mysticism as a source for the artifact and left it at that. No historical or cultural significance.

I know it may seem I'm coming down hard, but after a few episodes in, there needs to be improvement on all fronts. I guess I can live with convoluted stories, but I would like to see more. A few weeks ago, I said the procedural part was too plain, but not in the way people are motivated to do things. The artifacts are never really explained, and there are huge jumps in reasoning that always leads them in a right direction. In most procedurals, there are small steps and usually a couple in the beginning that don't pan out, but reveal something else that may be useful later. In Warehouse 13, there is a lot of nothing going on until a huge break from one of the characters with minimal evidence to back it.

Score: 8.5/10 (dialogue ftw)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Defying Gravity vs. Virtuality

Earlier this summer, Fox aired a movie/pilot named Virtuality created by Ronald D. Moore, the master behind the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. That show has a very stark resemblance in some regards to Defying Gravity. Now I'm not going to claim that one show copied from the other, but I would like to point out some similarities and differences.

Both shows involve long term space travel, but the goal in Virtuality is to find an inhabitable world outside our solar system. In Defying Gravity, they are on a preset course around the universe. It seems more in reach, but nonetheless challenging for all.

First of all, the reality show. The Virtuality reality show is shown in a Real World/Surreal Life/Big Brother sort of way. There are hidden cameras and quality cameras used to record the person speaking to the audience. It's much more surreal in the fact that it's a fucking space mission, but it's also a show for huge profit with a huge audience. The Defying Gravity show is more toned down, less intrusive, more instructional. It's not about showboating or revealing the despair of the travelers. In this regard, I think Defying Gravity did a better job.

The characters of each crew has both men and women, but where Defying Gravity has the usual cliches, Virtuality has a very broad base of characters. There are unusual people and personalities in Virtuality. I know they;re not really astronaut material, but neither are those in Defying Gravity, so the hell with it. If you're not going to portray realism, go all out and be crazy.

The "scifi elements" are very different. There is almost no discussion of science in Defying Gravity, and we don't know the propulsion or the sustainability. All we know is that they have the capability to go around the solar system within 6 years and stay alive. Virtuality explains the oxygen production and how they will get out of the solar system.

The way each show deals with the long term nothingness is very interesting. Defying Gravity deals with it in a way that shows a disturbing lack of creativeness from the creators. Essentially, the astronauts will have to spend 6 years with the same people doing god knows what. They are specifically given "Halo" patches that decrease libido, but what are they supposed to do? If someone offered me the chance to spend 6 years doing research on a cramped ship I'd decline in a heart beat. I don't dream about the stars and I certainly wouldn't want to come back to Earth with 6-years passed by. Virtuality takes a page from Ron Moore's other new show Caprica with the virtual reality. The astronauts put the devices on and they can enter any scenario of their choice. This leads to some wild experiences and insight into the character.

Both shows have a twist with a little mystery behind it. The Defying Gravity ship Antares has something on board that controls people. The Virtuality ship Phaeton has a virus or something on board that is hurting people in the virtual world, even raping a member. In the end, the captain kills himself, but "downloads" himself into the virtual world.

The human reactions to the journey are different and odd. In Defying Gravity, the astronauts seem fine, upbeat, and even indifferent even though they will engage in a journey with probably dire consequences. Virtuality takes a much deeper tone reflecting on the real psychological impact on how people would react to long term space flight bolstered by weird virt modules.

Review - Defying Gravity Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot Season 1 Episode 2Natural Selection

I was hesitant to watch this since it was touted as Grey's Anatomy in space. I'm definitely not a fan of Grey's Anatomy and other prime time soaps. I might watch it once in a blue moon, but never regularly. I am however, a huge fan of scifi and seeing a space show on one of the main networks skewed me into watching.

There is a huge flaw in advertising this as Grey's Anatomy in space. Scifi fans don't watch Grey's Anatomy, and Grey's Anatomy fans don't watch scifi. I have no clue what ABC or the producers were thinking. I think they could have pitched the show with more Lost in mind. Admittedly, Defying Gravity isn't traditional scifi, but ABC has to know what kind of audience they want and judging by the overnights, they were way off the mark.

The plot revolves around an unrealistic portrayal of astronauts as they go on a 6-year journey to a bunch of different planets. 4 men and 4 women great idea... They also have HALOS patches that supposedly inhibit libido, but we know that's not going to work out.

There is a pretty big conspiracy/mystery behind everything which I will go into after explaining the plot of both episodes along with commentary.

The main character is Donner played by Ron Livingston. He's an all-American hero, he left some people behind on Mars, he's kind of impulsive...we've seen him before. Throughout the show, he gives little commentaries a la Meredith from GA, and like most TV monologues, there weren't any insightful things said. We kind of just learned a little about how he thinks. There was nothing profound, different, or special about it.

At first, Donner and Shaw who was with him on Mars are just the alternates. Simultaneously, Ajay and the commander Crane have some kind of heart condition that make them unable to make the journey safely. Donner steps in as flight engineer for Ajay, and Shaw becomes the commander.

Interspersed through the show are video clips of the members talking that are shown to the public. It's similar in style to Virtuality which I will go into in my next post. The astronauts muse fairly unrealistically about their thoughts and is kind of bland as well. The "reality" show involves Paula going around with a camera asking people questions. It's not very intrusive and I actually liked the fun tone it brought to the show. Maybe it's just Paula, but I like her character.

The main problem of the pilot is Ajay who puts his spacesuit on a walks out of the ship. When Donner and Shaw get there, Donner manages to talk him down. I was hoping for something dark, maybe Ajay dying or going crazy, it seemed Donner got him back too sudden.

There are flashbacks showing Zoe Barnes during training. It turns she became pregnant from some guy who said he had a vasectomy but didn't really. Jen Crane, the wife of Rollie Crane, the commander helps her get an abortion which from my impression are now banned. Everyone seems overly promiscuous so I really don't get it and this show doesn't seem to be one that will delve into social issues since they'll be in space with 5 other people for 6 years.

When Donner gets his physical, the doctor tells him that scans show he doesn't have a vasectomy even though the chart says he does. This is a pretty big clue that he was the one who had impregnated her which is confirmed in the second episode.

There is an ongoing thing with Zoe hearing sounds of a baby. It probably has to do something with her abortion. Ghosts? Her mind? It's interesting and I'm hoping it can shed light on the abortion ban. Also, Donner has dreams of being on a spacewalk while Zoe is naked and floating out of the spaceship. This happened when he wasn't even slated to be on the ship, and later he brings up "fate" to Shaw.

In the second episode, Zoe is testing her suit, but the door suddenly opens and she flies out. To make matters worse, there is a leak in her suit and pressure is dropping. Luckily, Donner had, as a result of his dream, attached the tether to her suit even though it was unnecessary. He manages to pull her in, saving her.

The flashbacks show how Donner semi-stalked Zoe until she slept with him. Right after that happened, she gets a call saying she is part of the space program. The flashbacks also show how physicist Steve Wassenfelder had some self-confidence issues and failed the swimming portion and how Ajay helped encourage him.

Jen Crane is working on natural selection with bunny embryos, looking at natural selection and then destroying them. Paula asks her some questions about doing that and she gets a little testy.

And finally, the conspiracy/mystery/what makes this show interesting. There are references in the show to "it" deciding things. How "it" decided it didn't want Ajay and Rollie and miraculously gave them heart murmurs, putting Donner and Shaw on board. "It" got Steve onto the ship even though he bombed the swimming. Somehow the mission commander Mike Goss and Shaw's wife Eve follow it's orders more than tests or qualifications. Later, Eve says it is onboard the ship and called it "Beta." 

It's possible there is alien influence which is kind of lame. What would be cool is if it were some kind of entity of fate, a physical manifestation of destiny that influences everything. Zoe seems to imply that this Beta is stored in pod 4 and Shaw has to get to it. At the end of the episode, he goes into pod 4, the door closes behind him and he starts screaming.

I have some issues to gripe about. The show is set in 2052 except nothing is modernized. Bathrooms look exactly the same, bars look exactly the same and mission control looks exactly the same. The visual effects were decent for a low-budget TV production, but there were some times when the ship going through space looked pretty bad.

Other than the twist with the thing controlling everything, the show is basically a rehash of things we've already seen. There wasn't too many soap opera elements, but from the set up, I can see where we can get huge doses of it, something I certainly do not want. I will continue watching and review the show since I want to see exactly what's on the ship.

Score: 8.0/10

I will have a post named Defying Gravity vs. Virtuality in a couple hours. Stay tuned.

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 7 Release Me

I went to sleep really late last night watching a bunch of episodes, so other than the plot of this episode, I can't think too clearly about anything. I woke up this morning and I'm still way out of it, so bear with me and hopefully I can come up with something good.  

With 5 episodes left, there is sure to be crazy things happening and yesterday's episode was no exception. There were some pretty big revelations and one big shocker. I found it interesting that they described a bit of vampire physiology when they don't go to sleep during the day.

Maryann continues her orgy until Andy Belflour comes stumbling in and shoots his gun. This startles everyone enough for Sam to run away and turn into a bird (how awesome is that?). The next morning, Eggs and Tara don't remember anything and Maryann is acting all weird having killed a rabbit. Sam finds Daphne down at the pond and she explains to him that Maryann is a maenad, worshippers of Dionysus. I'm not sure if this was too much of a surprise as there was already some speculation on this. Daphne explains that Maryann can't do anything to her or Sam since they are supernatural beings and they have to voluntarily join her. Later, Andy goes to Sam's bar and acts all crazy, except he isn't and knows what happened. No one remembers, but Sam knows the truth.

Later, Daphne and Maryann meet at the pond where Eggs promptly comes out with the black eyes and stabs her, most likely to death. I wonder how much control if any people have when Maryann is influencing them. People do appear to have sex with people they found attractively previously, so there has to be some part of their mind left. This begs the question about Eggs and whether he is a bad person or not. It's a good thing the only finished the orgy from last episode and didn't have a new one. Frankly, I was kind of tired of the constant orgies every episode. They were all the same except in degree and last way to long. I guess the producers just wanted to show a bunch of breasts and sex.

Sookie and Hugo stay captured and Hugo is totally freaking out. He tells Steve everything who learns her last name is Stackhouse and now Jason is dead meat since they think he's helping the vampires. It also turns out that Hugo was the informant. This kind of came as a surprise, but there were so few people to consider that it wasn't that important. Steve and Gabe confront him and Gabe takes him off to be killed. Jason manages to fight him off and runs away. I'm wondering whether Sarah Newlin is more insane than Steve Newlin. Sarah tells Jason she has to tell Steve what this did since she can't give up all her values. After she learns he is Sookie's sister, she drives out and shoots him. It looks like it was a real gun, but from the press releases, Jason is still in action in the next episodes.

The Jessica Hoyt storyline was pretty hilarious as they revealed to each other they were virgins. Their story is so sweet and innocent, but since this is True Blood, there has to be a disastrous turn somewhere.

Meanwhile, Lorena has Bill trapped in his hotel room. We see flashbacks of them breaking up and Lorena's reaction. Bill says she lost her humanity and the tedium ensues. Bill is probably one of my least favorite vampires. Angel can be broody and cool at other times. Bill is just weird all the time. We also learned she came because of Eric who wants Sookie for himself. Sookie manages to send a telepathic message to Barry who tells Bill (or his door) The episode ends with Gabe beating up Hugo and trying to rape Sookie. Godric somehow breaks out and pwns Gabe.

I don't know if it's my sleepiness, but I don't think this episode was that great. There was some Bill backstory that could have been told in much shorter time. The Maryann story is great, but I would like to see some progression. Almost nothing has been done, especially when it seems like she has no ultimate goal. Couldn't Sam just get a gun and kill her?

Score: 9.2/10

I will have a review for Defying Gravity and a comparison to Virtuality later today. I might need a nap or something because I feel dead right now.

Related Posts with Thumbnails