Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 9/29/09

CBS must be feeling good about themselves. They completely dominated the night with the trio of NCIS (4.8), NCIS: Los Angeles (4.1), and The Good Wife (3.2). All 3 look to be set for renewals. The Good Wife actually went up from last week, so we shouldn't be worried.

NBC did the next best with Biggest Loser averaging 3.6. The Jay Leno Show had 2.3 which was surprisingly high. We shouldn't be making too big a deal out of these numbers unless it goes under 1.5 consistently or if it keeps these numbers into next year.

ABC definitely didn't see this coming. Shark Tank continued to suck with 1.5, Dancing With the Stars continued to underperform with only 2.6, and The Forgotten dropped with 2.0. My prediction was right. The Forgotten went under Castle which should keep it safe for a while.

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 2 Crack

After the second episode, The Good Wife is probably my favorite new show so far. While it's set with the obviously looming conviction of Alicia's philandering husband Peter, the show has a great balance between Alicia's home life and her job at a law firm. This show certainly groundbreaking considering the multitude of legal shows out there, and even the wife of a disgraced politician idea isn't too innovative, but what the show does have is a solid cast and good writing, which undoubtedly will give us a good episode every week.

A stripper gets raped, but the state attorney won't touch the case, so Alicia takes the case. It turns out that the stripper was a call-girl and gets thrown into a world she is appalled by. She is also curious about the industry and after she learns her husband pushes the case her way, she gets very suspicious. He calls the stripper Christy and immediately she jumps all over him and asks if she was one of the call-girls the slept with. He of course denies it and later when Alicia questions Christy, she also denies it.

The case is clearly going to end in Alicia's favor and after a semi-surprising acquittal, the State Attorney arrests the offender so it's all good. There are some touchy moments in the case as her friend from college Will (Josh Charles) gets mad at her for overlooking some things. Every time there's a scene between them, I feel as though there may be something between them either in the past, present, or future. I don't want to fall into the paradigm that men can't be just friends with women, but the way they interact (or at least Will) is kind of weird. Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) continues to be a really good character and I love the way she works with Alicia.

Alicia's children are doing research of their own and after a set of photos showing her husband doing lewd things show up at the doorstep, her son discovers they were actually photoshopped. He doesn't tell Alicia anything, but it sets a direction of a long-term arc. With Peter nudging her and all the evidence building up, Alicia will probably uncover some big conspiracy. Great, but at the end of the day, we husband was still unfaithful to her and no matter what he does or what other people did to him, he still cheated on her.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 Episode 2 The Only Easy Day

I'm only going to do a cursory review of this episode since I probably won't be reviewing NCIS: LA next week and I might not even watch it. For someone who has never watched NCIS, this show is fine, but why would someone spend an extra hour when there is a much better show that airs before?

Linda Hunt's character Hetty didn't really grab my attention this week, but this week I think she became my favorite character about of a pretty boring group. There were some awful clichés, but for the most part, I was amused by her and wanted to see more of her. The only problem is that she's supposed to be in charge of the whole operation yet we never see her give out any orders.

The episode was all about SEALs which Agent Hanna was part of. The whole time, I couldn't get a few things out of my head. LL Cool J as a SEAL is ludicrous, this isn't as funny as NCIS, and why this show is different from NCIS. There seems to be more autonomy by the field agents, but other than that, the crimes are of the same nature - naval - and they get solved by a shootout and never in a courtroom.

I watch a lot of television, much more than most people, and I could continue to watch NCIS: LA if I wanted to, but there isn't much that would pull me back. Other than the location, cool cars, and gadgets, there hardly seems to be anything dramatically different than NCIS other than that is worse at doing the same things. When the show was first pitched, the team was going to do primarily undercover work. So far we have seen none of that, but unless there is an arc that everyone is raving about, I don't think I'll do anymore reviews.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 2 Reunion

I'm sorry if my review for the NCIS season premiere was a little sparse, but I reviewed 6 other shows last Wednesday and after a couple of hours writing, the brain kind of turns off. So please stick around and I hope this review will be more enjoyable than the last one.

There were two profound scenes in this episode. One between Ziva and Tony, and the other between Ziva and Gibbs. Ziva and Tony quickly resolve any (I'm tentatively using this word) issues between them and after Ziva had 3 months to think over what happened, that wasn't too surprising. When she leaned in to kiss Tony on the cheek, I actually thought something would actually happen, but alas it nothing happened. I'm wondering whether Ziva had intended this to be a kiss on the lips but diverted after seeing Tony not respond. I'm not exactly sure what Tony is thinking, but I'm sure that will be revealed in following episodes. If I had to guess, I'd say they will be together by the end of the season.

Ziva also talked at length with Gibbs in his basement which was conspicuously missing a boat. Ziva wants to be back on his team, but Gibbs isn't sure he can trust her anymore. After a heartfelt explanation, Ziva is back. We learn that she in fact did have orders to kill Ari, but killed Ari to save Gibbs. Both scenes were pretty good; Cote de Pablo isn't the most talented actress out there, but she does an adequate job.

There was be a recurring issue almost guaranteed to come up again. Ziva doesn't pass her psych evaluation with flying colors. Instead, she doesn't fail, which can be translated as "Ziva has major issues to work out and will probably mess up in a later episode." What I like so much about NCIS that no character ever really outshadows  another. Even if there is more focus on one character, we still get to see the unique sides of everyone.

The crime was normal NCIS fare with the twists Basically a police officer found out that the guys he pulled over bullied him in high school. Someone else finds out and has them killed. I don't really pay that much attention to the crimes and I don't think anyone really pays attention to the crime more than the interactions between the team.

Score: 9.2/10

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 9/28/09

Holy crap!! First I have to go over CBS's ratings. The Big Bang Theory gained from last week getting an insane 5.3. Yes, that's right, 5.3!! The rest of the CBS shows did well. Two and a Half got 4.8, How I Met Your Mother got 3.6, and CSI: Miami got 4.1. All in all, a good night for CBS.

Fox did well riding the coattails of a 5.7 by House to victory. Lie to Me had its season premiere with 2.9 which is a huge drop off from House. 2.9 is good, but that almost a 50% drop which is worrying.

ABC did well with Dancing With the Stars (3.7). Castle once again did not do well and got 2.3. I think it's time to worry. The writing continues to disappoint while the acting is great. The show just feels too cuddly.

NBC continued to suck with Heroes getting a measly 2.5 and Trauma debuted with 2.2. Given NBC's low standards, there's a chance both could be renewed, but I wouldn't bank on that. The Jay Leno shows is still steady with 1.7. The numbers haven't dropped that much since last week, so NBC must be feeling pretty good.

Review - House Season 6 Episode 2 Epic Fail

Somehow this episode managed to incorporate many things I hate: heavy amounts of Foreteen, single scenes with Cameron and Chase, and horrible medical stories. The episode would have gone off a cliff if not for the timely save by House. Without the scenes with House who still has considerable snark, I'm afraid I would have despised this episode.

 Foreman is by far my least favorite character and let's face it, the character just sucks. There's no depth and he's plain annoying. 13 is like that as well and together, the synergy just screams "No more!!" With Jennifer Morrison departing sometime in the near future, we'll see less of Cameron, but only a little. She's hardly on the show and has played a significant role in only 2/3 episodes. The same goes for Chase who is my favorite about of the 3 original team members. I don't see why they are even considered regulars if they aren't going to do anything. Taub is leaving and he is enjoyable to watch occasionally, but I'm sure he'll be back soon. Thirteen is was also fired, but she too will most likely be back.

The medical case was exceedingly stupid. The virtual reality game was idiotic and it was painful to watch 13 and Taub play it. The patient was stupid and the team needed House to bail them out though they were oblivious to this. There was a point when I gave up and stopped paying attention to the medical part.

I like the slow development of House coming out of the psych ward and trying to reintegrate himself. He tries to replace Vicodin with cooking which works well for a while and made me hungry, but his leg continues to hurt. Is he using again? Wilson and Huddy confront him leading to a hilarious scene. There was slight Huddy advancement with Cuddy appealing for House to come back - right in his kitchen.

One small gripe I had, and I have this for many shows is the Chinese. I understand Chinese and whenever I hear it on TV  not from a native speaker, it sounds like gibberish. I know, it's different, it's exotic, but get it right!

Dr. Nolan thankfully was back and hopefully will pop up in every episode. House solves the teams case online and his leg doesn't hurt anymore. Nolan posits that House not being in a hospital is worse than the alternative. The show doesn't work without House, but Hugh Laurie will live forever, right? Will House be permanently changed? I'll hold out hope here and say that I believe the writers will take a huge leap and not make the latest change temporary. After spending a whole 2-hour season premiere on changing, there has to be some real change.

Score: 8.1/10

Monday, September 28, 2009

NBC's Trauma is escapist fun at most

Do you like accidents? Do you like explosions? Do you like nonexistent characters? Do you like bad dialogue?  I know these rhetorical questions are lame, but I'm trying to recreate the feeling of Trauma. One situation after another: Will this person die? Will that person die? Will everyone die? Whether anyone dies or not is hardly the point of the show.

The special effects and visual effects are extremely impressive. There's crashes, explosions, raining metal, and a whole lots of rented freeway. If Michael Bay wanted to make a TV show, I think this is as close as it would get. I'll admit it was pretty awesome while it lasted. The problem is that the scenes are too expensive to create for every episode.

The plot however is paper thin, and this is where the show takes a turn for the worse. While there is a fairly interesting backstory/twist that starts the episode, that is about the only thing other than the effects that caught my attention. There is scene which the helicopter pilot Rabbit is driving that a mad man, hits someone's car, rips an old man's finger off. All this while his new partner is sitting beside him. Yes he has psychological problems from the incident, but this is one of the few moments ever that I've had to pause the episode, and just shake my head at the stupidity.

Once the accidents stop, the episode stalled immediately. The dialogue was horrible and clichéd beyond belief. There were so many times I cringed at how ridiculous some of the lines were. There was an attempt to create actual characters, but between the bad dialogue and inadequate plot, this falls by the wayside. The acting was pretty good for this kind of show, but there was nothing spectacular, not that the cast was given anything worthwhile to work with.

From the 2 new NBC medical shows, I actually liked Mercy better than Trauma. There was moments of Trauma that I actually smiled at, but in the end, neither are shows I will come back to. Maybe I'll Youtube a clip of the latest accident, but there is nothing in the pilot that suggests there is a bright spot somewhere down the line. 

Score: 6.5/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Sunday 9/27/09

NBC won the night averaging 4.9 from 7-11 PM with Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football.

Fox did well with its comedies. Brothers actually did better repeating with a 1.7 compared to 1.0 on Friday. Maybe they should do the same with Dollhouse? The Cleveland Show premiered well with 4.9, Family Guy got 5.2, and American Dad got 3.6.

ABC didn't do quite as well as they usually did with Desperate Housewives getting only 4.5, still good but horrible compared to last year's premiere. The show is on the decline, but there are still several seasons left in it. Brothers and Sister was also down from last season with 3.0.

CBS averged 3.3 with a combination of football overruns, Cold Case, and 60 Minutes. Cold Case was down from last year, but at least it isn't down as much as ABC's shows are. It will be interesting to see how well Three Rivers does next week.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 7 (S03E07) Seven Twenty Three

Don Draper is cornered, what does he do? Run of course, and run he did. For the umpteenth time, Don was faced with a difficult decision and didn't know what else to do other than get the hell out. There's a catch: running doesn't work all the time. This time, something bad actually happened to him. A twosome of crazy hitchhikers offer him phenobarbital which he accepts and ingests while driving. I guess this is part of the different era part of the show. I would never pick up hitchhikers especially at night, while Don would not only pick them up, but all take their drugs and go to a motel with them. He ends up bloody and robbed, so maybe this is karma biting him in the ass for running off. Who knows where he was going or what he was doing. Either way, in the back of my brain, I was thinking "haha."

The episode started differently with 3 different glimpses. Peggy is in bed with someone, Betty is on a couch with a weird look on her face, and Don is lying flat on the ground at a hotel. I think starting episodes like this either with a flashforward or in medias res is always cool to see when not overused. It could be tempting for producers (not the ones for this show) to use it a little too much since the inherent effect is added mystery and expectations.

We can't believe how far Peggy has gone, from a secretary to copywriter, but she wants more. Duck continues to court Peggy and Pete to work for Grey, sending them presents. They agree to send them back though I would never send a free present back even if it was for sending a message. After learning Don got the Hilton account, she ask to be on it and Don basically tells her "GTFO!!" (in a somewhat more civil manner) She meets with Duck to discuss the opening and asks to be copychief, but it's clear that's not happening. Right when Peggy went to meet with Duck, it was pretty clear he was the one she would sleep with and it happened. All you can do is shake your head. I think this brings her at least one step closer to Grey, but hopefully Don can reel her back in before that happens.

The creepy pregnant woman belly feeler Henry Francis is back and the signals between he and Betty are pretty overt. Betty is part of the Junior League who wants to do something about saving the environment, but Betty didn't really care and neither did I. She uses this as an excuse to call Henry who agrees to meet with her and take a hike. That doesn't happen, but instead recommends a fainting couch which Betty buys later and spends her time fantasizing about him on.

Don's reluctance to sign a contract most likely stems from the fact that signing his name would set in stone that fact that he is Don Draper and he works for Sterling-Cooper. He is no longer the guy that can do whatever he wants and is now tied down. He spends his time lashing out at people, and rather meanly I would add, running, and in the end, signing at 7-23-1963. I suppose it could mark the death of Dick Whitman as Alan Sepinwall stated though I didn't quite see it that way. If Don really wanted to, he could still ignore the contract, rip it up, or do whatever deceitful thing Don does.

Sally's teacher Ms. Farrell is back and Don is looking at her all the time. There is an eclipse and the children are using cardboard boxes to look at it. I think the implication is that everything is obscured like what the moon does to the sun in an solar eclipse. Don has no clue what to do with the contract, Betty has no clue what to do with Henry, and Peggy has no clue what to do with Duck.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 6 Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 5 The Fog

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 4 The Arrangements

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

Dexter comes back with...the same stuff

Not to say that that's terribly bad or anything, but how much of the same stuff can you take? Dexter has killed people since the first season, continued killing through the third season, and has wriggled out of any dangerous situation. Other than a few bumps in the road, Dexter has gotten away with everything scot free. His relationships with everyone have remained virtually the same. So what do we look forward to? More killing? Episode to episode there are great twists, but at the end of the season, everything is reset. I'll stick around for the devilish directing and excellent acting headed by Michael C. Hall, but sooner or later, the lack of creativity will catch up with the show.

This season's main story will be the Trinity Killer much in the vein of The Ice Truck Killer and the Skinner except he is much scarier. In the very first episode, we see John Lithgow in action and it is absolutely terrifying. He kills a woman naked in a bathtub filled with water and stays there as the blood spills out. The manner in which he killed her and his total disregard for bathing in blood is just disturbing on so many levels. This is the part of the season I'm looking forward to the most.

Miami PD quickly picks up on the case and Dexter is hot on the trail of yet another serial killer. The Trinity Killer is amazing, but when multiple serial killers flock to a single city within a short span, it requires a suspension of belief that quite frankly I dislike in this type of show. Season 2 was unique with Lila, but the serial killer story gets old after a while. I don't understand why the writers can't take a risk and have people learn about Dexter's secret without Dexter having to kill them. Or maybe everyone learns his secret and he goes on trial. Even if he is acquitted, that would at least up the ante to a point where we are genuinely surprised.

Keith Carradine is also back as retired FBI Special Agent Lundy. With Debra still with Anton the CI, I'm sure this will stir up trouble. Lundy has been tracking the Trinity Killer for years and now ends back in Miami. More fun? You betcha.

The only major change this season is Dexter's family life. He lives with Rita, her kids (I guess his now), and their newborn son. While this will certainly been amusing to watch and Dexter is a delightfully funny show at times, I highly doubt this will translate into good drama. There are already repercussions from his baby. Dexter messes up badly on the stand and a killer goes free. Luckily he has an insatiable urge to kill people and the killer is the perfect target. Too bad he gets called back by Rita. The episode ends on a cliffhanger that is sure to keep people coming back.

Individually, it was a very good episode. There was a nice mix of everything and the Trinity Killer looks like the best serial killer yet (yes, even better than Dexter!). I love almost everything about this show except for long-term planning. I think the quality of the show is still on par with the first season when everything was still fresh, but it's now the first season and it's time for some changes.

Score: 9.2/10

ABC's V remake dead on arrival?

In the past month there has been a spate of news about V that could be interpreted as imminent failure. While the season premiere is still a month away, I have an uneasy feeling from these reports that V may not last very long.

First there was the news of a halt in production. There was a couple ideas out there. One was that the producers for the remake wanted to take Ken Johnson, the original creator of V, off the credits which would save them money. The thought was the the new show is so different that it can't be considered a remake. Supposedly the the WGA resolved this by deeming it a remake, forcing them to pay Ken Johnson royalties.

The other idea which seems to have more credibility was to allow the writers to beef of their scripts. After an amazing well-received pilot episode, you'd think the writers would have everything set, but ABC seems to think the following episodes won't live up to expectations or simply aren't good. Filming has continued, but if ABC thought the scripts needed to be improved, that certainly is something to worry about. 

Then there was news the other day of a major scheduling change by ABC. The premiere is still set for November 4, but they are going to only show 4 episodes and then air the rest after the Winter Olympics. There is a rationale for this. The last of the 4 episodes will probably have a huge cliffhanger that will keep everyone talking. Viewership goes down in the winter and ABC will be able to promote the show heavily during Lost and Flash Forward.

Here's the problem though. This move indicates a lack of confidence from ABC. How many people want to watch a show with a huge possibility of cancellation? How many viewers will want to come back after several months and only 4 episodes? The 4  episodes will have to really grab people so they will come back after such long of a layoff. Many series that have extended breaks are established shows with solid fan bases. I doubt V can get very many dedicated fans with just 4 episodes. 

If ABC is having trepidation about the show, why don't they move the series premiere after the Winter Olympics? They can air the series continuously without breaks and keep the the viewers from the first episode to the last. My hope is that they play the 4 episodes before the show comes back in 2010. If not, people might not want to watch without knowing what's going on. Whatever their thinking is, expect heavy promotion on ABC in an attempt to salvage the series. ABC better have an amazing plan or I predict a cancellation. I'm not being negative, in fact, I watched the original miniseries, The Final Battle miniseries, and even the crap TV series, so I am a fan of the franchise. Don't get me wrong, I'm just looking at reality and it does not look good.

With a star studded lineup,  experienced crew, and an exceptional first episode (hearsay), the show should have had no problems. But here we are, the show is clearly in trouble and we'll have to deal with it. Assuming the writing isn't that great, the cast should be able to carry the show to a certain extent. Just the cast of Elizabeth Mitchell, Morena Baccarin, and Scott Wolf should keep people interested. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Since we've on the topic of V, I'm supposed to be writing reviews for V on Nothing is official yet, but I've exchanged emails from them, so if all goes well, look for my reviews there.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Friday 9/25/09 - Dollhouse tanks

I had expect some of the buzz over the summer to carry over into actual viewers. Sadly I was mistaken and a cancellation is almost guaranteed.

Fox sucked with Dollhouse getting a measly 1.0 and it's lead-in Brothers also getting 1.0.  Want me to put a positive spin of this? The lead-in sucked, a scifi movie Surrogates came out, Fox barely promoted the show, and perhaps the biggest one: Fox renewed it for a second season. Even with the horrible ratings last season, Fox still renewed the show. We don't know exactly what they were thinking, but all we can do is hope.

ABC did well with repeats of Flash Forward (1.5), Modern Family (1.5), and Cougar Town (1.5) To top that off, 20/20 won to 10 PM timeslot with 2.3.

NBC did ok with Law and Order only getting 1.3, Dateline 1.5, and The Jay Leno Fall getting 1.5. I'm guessing this is the last season of Law and Order with the move to Friday.

CBS won the night as they usually do with Ghost Whisperer winning its timeslot with 2.2, Medium with 2.1, and Numb3rs getting 1.8. I was surprised so many people watched Medium,. There are 2 possibilities. Everyone who watched Medium on Mondays are NBC followed the show to CBS, or people that watched Ghost Whisperer liked Medium. Either way, things are looking up for the show.

The CW was back in the dumps with Smallville getting 1.0. With The Beautiful Life getting canceled yesterday after only 2 episodes, I think it would be smart for the CW to put Smallville in that timeslot though they've already scheduled a Melrose Place encore.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Review - Dollhouse Season 2 Episode 1 Vows

Miraculously, Fox somehow didn't cancel Dollhouse, so here we are. It was clear from the beginning that this episode has more purpose than most of the first episodes last season. The second season is where lots of shows succeed. After tinkering around in the first season it seems Dollhouse has found it's place. I'd be perfectly content with episodes like this every week and not some random sexcapade that marred a couple episodes.

The engagement of the week seemed straightforward. Echo was going to marry some weirdo named Martin Klar played by Jaimie Bamber. That sounds fine, right? Of course not, Joss wrote this episode and learned from the mistakes of last season. It is in fact Ballard who is the client using Echo to marry Klar who is an arms dealer. Echo believes Ballard is still in the FBI and she is just helping in an official investigation. The plan unravels quickly with Klar's crony Hugo getting pictures of them together. This seemed like a cop out especially considering the secrecy of the Dollhouse but I get that it was done to advance the plot.

Echo tries to open a desk while unbeknownst to her Klar is standing right outside. This is where Jaimie Bamber proved his worth as he went from calm to super crazy, beating on Echo. This triggers Echo to start having flashes of previous engagements. Her handlers are so stupid they don't realize anything is wrong and it takes Ballard to call Topher. He confirms that she experienced pain and wildly changing chemical levels indicating a concussion. Klar takes her to a hangar and Paul confronts him. Echo starts cycling through a couple personalities and Ballard comes up with a plan. He starts hitting her, and activates her fighting personality. She beats up everyone and stops Klar from getting away. It was a great action sequence and made me want more badass Echo.

This was definitely one of the better engagements since it wasn't all about adventure or sex (ok, that one scene was nice). Eliza Dushku did a great job being the good wife (great show btw), FBI agent, and being confused after being smacked around. I hope this improvement continues since she was shaky last season.

The most intrigue of the series happens inside the Dollhouse which is where the focus should be. Dr. Saunders was having trouble coping with the fact that she herself is one of the dolls. I can just imagine how crushing it would be to learn that your entire existence is just so digital information shoved into your brain and the writing and acting certainly invoked this. Amy Acker is such a wonderful actress and I'll be disappointed she'll only be a recurring character this season. Boyd wants to have dinner with her, but then she rattles off a list of things she is afraid of. Of course this is predicated on the fact that these were all designed into her. Boyd says that they are simply excuses.

Her interaction with Topher and pretending to want to have sex with him was a really disturbing scene that made you feel sorry for Dr. Saunders and made you hate Topher less. He's a genius and has at least some trouble grasping with exactly what he does to people. In the end, Dr. Saunders drives off leaving us for a couple episode. She'll appear in only 2 more episodes so I hope she gets as much screen time as she did today.

Alexis Denisof of Buffy and Angel made his first appearance as Senator David Perrin. He has his sights on Rossum and isn't backing down. All we saw of him was a measly press conference so we don't know anything really, but from all accounts, he plays an important role this season.

There could be a weird possibly of a love triangle between Adelle, Sierra, and Victor. In the beginning of the episode, Adelle feels his face and at the end, Victor and Sierra hold hands and smile at each other. Is that too much of a stretch? Victor and Sierra like each other naturally, but Adelle has the ability to make Victor like her.

The big kicker was at the end. Echo tells Ballard she remembers everything. She is all of them (the personalities), but no of them is her. Ballard tells her the real her is Caroline, the imprint that originally belonged in her body. She has grand vision of finding the real person in everyone and asks for Ballards help. He obviously goes along. What better way to indulge an obsession when the obsession asks for help.

I know many people stopped watching last season and for good reason, but it's time to jump back in. The quality has improved and the show seems to have a purpose and direction. With the last scene, everyone is coming back for more, right? I know I am. 

Score: 9.2/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 9/24/09

Wow, I was kind of surprised of how yesterday's ratings played out.

ABC destroyed all competition first with a 4.1 by Flash Forward and then a gigantic 6.7 by Grey's Anatomy.

The biggest surprise to me was how much Fox fell with all the new competition. Bones had a respectable 2.7 while Fringe fell to a low of 2.3. I'm sure Fox did not expect Fringe to do as well as it did last season with the American Idol lead-in, but a 2.3 is horrible especially for Fox and is nearing the area of cancellation. 

NBC was also crushed with Parks & Recreation getting 1.8. The Office did the best out of the NBC shows with 3.8 and Community struggled to keep The Office viewers with 2.8. The Jay Leno show survived with 1.7.

CBS did not have its usual dominance with CSI getting 4.1 and The Mentalist getting 3.4. The Mentalist is going up against Private Practice next week, so expect a Mentalist rebound.

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 2 Spanish 101

The Office has an amazing ability to toe the line between reality and total absurdity. Since Community is made much in the same mold, I think making a comparison here is fair. The opening with the study group with exception of Britta giving total devotion to Jeff left me confused and wondering what happened. The pilot showed the formation of the study group and while they liked Jeff, now they are bowing down at his feet?

Other than that, it was a fine episode. Ken Jeong's first appearance as Señor Chang was beyond brilliant. The homework assignment is to do a simple conversation in Spanish. Jeff is pared with Pierce who complicates things a whole lot. Pierce is a crazy old guy with crazy ideas and Jeff sees that, but Pierce wants to be accepted by Jeff. So Jeff goes along with Pierce to prove to Britta he can be nice. This culminates into one the funniest scenes I've seen in a while. Their presentation turns into a montage with gentle pop music playing in the background. Jeff and Pierce keep switching into outlandish costumes in outlandish situations (Pierce and Jeff rowing a"boat" while the Indian Annie is tied up between them). They get F's, but I guess Jeff made an impression on Britta.

The other story was parody on humanitarian protests with Shirley and Annie learning that there are actual atrocities in the world after Britta brings it up. The protest turns into a joke as they plan more protests in the future for other misdeeds around the world. I liked how it showed the ignorance of many people and the silliness of some of these protests. While many are worthwhile causes, sometimes you have to wonder what they are thinking.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 3 Free to Be You and Me

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, good stuff. Who didn't laugh every time Dean brought them up in reference to Raphael? With Dean and Sam apart, there was two fairly separate stories that only made me want to see how they will come together in the end. For now, we'll have Dean and Cas with Sam doing his own thing.

Sam's story was predictable other than the major twist in the end. Sam is now working at a bar. He keeps to himself, but calls Bobby after seeing weird weather. Some hunters roll in town, learn about Sam's demon fetish, fight him, and leave. The big story was Jess's appearance in the beginning telling him that he can't change. At the end, we learn that it is actually Lucifer who tells him Sam is his vessel. Oh noes! I had this hilarious image in my mind of Michael and Lucifer picking up Dean and Sam and using them as clubs.

The specter of Lucifer looming, there was even worse news. Castiel and Dean track down the Archangel Raphael in the hunt for God. Raphael tells them that God is dead and when Cas questions how he came back, there was a simple answer: Lucifer. I never thought of that before, because all Lucifer is just a glorified (or fallen) angel. How could he revive another angel?

There seems to be a lot of blame going on and it's all directed at God. The angels hate him for elevating humans above them and everyone else hates God because he's not doing anything. Part of Lucifer/Jess telling Sam he can't change is to get Sam to blame God. If it's Sam nature to be like this, then it's God's fault. Lucifer and Raphael can't blame themselves for what they do. The thing is, maybe they have a point. God abandoned everyone, angels, demons, and humans alike and now there's nothing to control anything. Whatever happens from here is really in the hands of nobody.

There were plenty of good moments with Castiel and his one-liners. If found the getting laid part a little too strange, but that's part of the show. Dean teaching Cas things could get old fast so I hope Dean isn't tagging along with Castiel every episode. I like last season how Castiel would just pop up which made angels seem more mysterious. Now we're starting to understand Castiel. He's like the good child, always doing good and hoping dad will reciprocate, but this time, dad is nowhere to be found.

I commented on another site: I think Raphael could be justified in what he is doing or not doing (letting demons overrun everything). God is gone and left control with the angels. Unless there is a mandate given by God to the angel, they can come up with reasons for destroying humanity. They are higher beings than humans and maybe they just want to be left alone. We don't know how they think or what ends they want, so I think we should see how this season plays out before casting judgment. 

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Fringe Season 2 Episode 2 Night of Desirable Objects

While I was watching the episode, I kept thinking of an episode of the cartoon Johnny Test in which moles were pulling objects and people underground. The episode is still ingrained in my brain, and the whole time I was expecting to see an entire mole civilization thriving underground. Alas that never happened but nonetheless the story was intriguing.

It was a typical standalone episode prompted by the disappearance of people. What started as a possible connection to Olivia's disappearance became a search for missing guy who was pulled underground. Apparently you can make mole people by genetically modifying them while still gestating. There was that much time dedicated to the mole man story though I found it pretty cool. It was an above average monster of the week which was fine.

I liked how the writers still tried to add a lot of the main storyline into this standalone though I think it could be problematic, which I'll elaborate on later. Walter explains his alternate universe theory again and says that people who have traveled between them are changed. Olivia has superhearing and supervision now which help in the case though she almost kills Peter in arguably the most shocking moment of the episode. Nina Sharp approaches Olivia and tells her where to find some specialist. At the end of the episode, Olivia meets him.

Broyles and Peter's huge plan to fight back is apparently doing well as the most trouble they're having is getting a C-130. Agent Jessup was thankfully scare in the episode and found some evidence hidden in a Bible which goes along with her persona. Charlie clone was up to no good again with his (it's?) awesome typewriter.

The problem with the half the episode being monster of the week and half serialized is that the middle just doesn't produce very good of anything. Spending time on the monster story takes away from the main Pattern story and vice versa. Networks often like standalone episodes because anyone can jump in and start watching, but adding serial elements like the Charlie replacement would surely confuse the average viewer. Fans of the show are extremely intrigued by the alternate universe stuff after the season one finale and are waiting to see what will happen with that.

Score: 8.7/10

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 9/23/09

Premiere week continues as a few more shows debuted.

ABC came stronger than I expected on comedy Wednesday with Modern Family getting 4.3 and Cougar Town also with 4.3. They actually gained on Dancing with the Stars which got 3.2. I don't know what happened but it's no longer the ratings powerhouse it once was. Eastwick got 3.0, down quite a bit from Cougar Town. Just from the first week, all look like they will be renewed, but it's too early to tell.

CBS did well with Criminal Minds getting 4.2 and CSI: New York getting 4.0. The New Adventures of Old Christine did poorly with 2.3.

NBC's Mercy started bad with 2.3, and I doubt it will gain viewers from there. NBC has low standards, but I doubt even Mercy will make it. The Jay Leno Show got 2.0 which indicates huge fluctuations based on whats on other shows at the time. I'd guess he has a 1.0 base which is increased depending on how many people don't want to watch the other shows in the timeslot. 

ABC's Eastwick lacks magic, but manages

I found the show enjoyable. It was light, good natured, and fun, but I didn't see anything that would keep me watching. I can see how the how would appeal to people; it's a bit like Desperate Housewives with magic. I've seen many bad reviews for the show and honestly I don't see why they hated it so much. The dialogue was really fresh for the first act and had a fairly interesting premise.

Some coins fall beside a group of women they make wishes, and toss them into a fountain. Later, they discover they can do certain things. A rich guy named Darryl Van Horne (Paul Gross) comes to town and buys everything. He eggs the women on to embrace their desires.

It touched on social issues like women in the workplace, women's vs men's roles, and had a bit of family drama involved. Each woman has their own issue and it could be interesting to see how they deal with it. Roxanne (Rebecca Romijn) is a cougar (yes I know, another cougar...) and her boytoy wants to be her boyfriend. She has dreams of the future but doesn't fully understand her ability. Kat (Jaime Ray Newman) has an alcoholic husband and after she accidently shocks him with lightening, requests a divorce. Joanna (Lindsay Price) struggles to assert herself at work, but her newfound powers starts changing things up.

Will it continue watching? No, it's not my kind of show. Will other people keep watching? Definitely. I saw lots of things in the show that others might like. I've seen complaints about the whole anti-feminism thing, but it's too early to tell.

Score: 8.5/10

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 1 Truth or Consequences

This episode reminded me why I love NCIS so much. There was a solid blend of humor and deadly seriousness that is unprecedented in any crime procedural out there. I also liked how the formula can be shifted a bit to created a great episode.

After Ziva's capture, we all expected her to be the prisoner in the opening, but no, it's Tony! The narrative is told by Tony to the same terrorist that interrogated Ziva. He uses a truth serum on Tony was recaps the past few months. I liked how there was still a backdrop crime to be solved albeit the simplest thing ever. Gibbs lets Tony look for replacements, most of which don't work out.

Tony, McGee, and Abby track down the terrorists through an unlikely source: Caf-Pow. The plan is for Tony and McGee to go to the region. When they get there, they get captured inexplicably by the same person who captured Ziva. The big kicker is when the terrorist tries to get Tony to spill secrets by bringing out Ziva who everyone thinks is dead. She wants to sacrifice herself, so Tony and McGee won't die, but everyone lives after Gibbs and a special forces team saves them.

Excellent acting by Cote de Pablo and Michael Weatherly and the dialogue between them felt very real. Hopefully we'll learn more of what happened to Ziva as the season progresses, and from the promo for next week, all is not well at NCIS.

Score: 9.5/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 9/22/09

More premieres and more big numbers. Here's the rundown.

NCIS placed huge numbers with 4.6 and almost 20 million viewers. Yes it skews old, but who cares? NCIS: Los Angeles got big numbers retain a high percentage of NCIS's audience getting 4.3. The Good Wife also opened strongly with 3.1 though I wish it could be a little higher.

Dancing With the Stars had a 3.5, low for its standards. The Forgotten got higher than I expected with 2.5, higher than Castle. After the suckage of the pilot, I sure the numbers with drop fast.

Melrose Place continued to do badly even by CW standards with 0.8. The bells of death are tolling.

The Jay Leno Show posted gains from Monday with 2.4 with a good lead-in with The Biggest Loser which got 3.1

Warehouse 13 ends first season on high note - S01E12 Review

Definitely the best episode to date. After a season of working out the kinks, the finale delivered and gave us an hour of fun with a few twists mixed in. We finally learned what MacPherson did that was so bad. He used a phoenix ring that makes people invulnerable to fire to save his wife. There is one small drawback, it immolates other people, so he ended up killing people.

So now MacPherson is out to cause trouble. The plot is fairly simple; MacPherson is selling artifacts, and he must be stopped. This was all under the backdrop of suspicion. Somehow MacPherson had artifacts supposedly in the Warehouse, so there may be a mole in the Warehouse. We meet MacPherson's wife who seems to think MacPherson is a good person. I think the writers tried to bring in moral questions about the Warehouse and it's practices, and I may be mistaken, but they failed if they tried.

There are hints through the episode about who the mole was. Claudia was the most obvious choice, being dangled out there with overwhelming evidence. After seeing a picture of MacPherson, she realizes he was her brother's professor and had helped her break into the Warehouse. Mrs. Frederick and Leena suspect there might be something sinister behind that which makes Claudia very upset.

Myka, Pete, and Artie capture MacPherson after a cool use of artifacts and bring him back to the Warehouse to be bronzed. MacPherson is literally frozen like in Star Wars. Apparently the Bronze area is for super evil people that haven't reached Hitler level yet. Once again, I was pissed off by the fact that Stalin killed double the number of Hitler which Mao starved four times the number of Hitler, yet Hitler always gets mentioned first. Stalin singled out Ukrainians, so what's the big deal?

Someone lets MacPherson out (no it wasn't Leia), and lo and's Leena! She's always been the weird one, so it's not that surprising. The whole episode, I was wondering whether it really could be Claudia. She was much too obvious a choice, but then again, the simplicity of the show lends to her guilt. As MacPherson leaves, Artie gives chase, but MacPherson blows up the white thing leading into the Warehouse. I'm guessing Artie has an artifact that kept him alive, but nonetheless the cliffhanger was really fun.

The episode was paced nicely and Pete had some really funny lines. The use of surveillance cameras and body changing artifacts gave a nice undertone of distrust. With a renewal, Warehouse 13 is turning out to be a great show. I know I've had my share of complaints, but I waded through them, kept watching, and I'm not that concerned about this show anymore. Not everything has to make sense.

Score: 9.4/10

ABC's The Forgotten a dud, Jerry Bruckheimer's downfall?

I'll keep this short as I'm low on time (I've been writing and watching for about 3 hours now), and I don't want to go overboard and rail on the show for paragraphs. I also want to spend time examining Jerry Bruckheimer's shows and his lack of a hit in years.

Christian Slater stars as Alex Donovan, head of the branch of the Forgotten Network. They are a group of civilians who use their time identifying unknown dead bodies and on occasion, finding the villain. Think of it as Cold Case with the crimes occurring in present day with the investigators being regular people.

After a long drawn out search and eventual capture of the criminal, it felt empty. Throughout the episode, the victim voiced over what she felt or did. I thought it was really stupid especially if she didn't have anything good to say. I guess the forgotten still need to talk to the audience. The characters weren't compelling and the dialogue was pretty cheesy at times.

Score: 7.5/10

Assuming this show gets canceled, and I'm fairly certain it will, this marks yet another Bruckheimer failure in recent years, not that some of his other shows were as bad as the Forgotten. I've taken a list from Wikipedia of shows he's produced and bolded the hits.
The Forgotten (2009-present) TV Series (exec. producer)
Dark Blue (2009-present) TV Series (exec. producer)
Eleventh Hour (2008-2009) TV Series (exec. producer)
Justice (2006) TV Series (exec. producer)
E-Ring (2005–2006) TV Series (exec. producer)
Close to Home (2005-2007) TV Series (exec. producer)
Just Legal (2005–2006) TV Series (exec. producer)
CSI: NY (2004–present) TV Series (exec. producer)
Skin (2003) TV Series (exec. producer)
Cold Case (2003–present) TV Series (exec. producer)
Profiles from the Front Line (2003) TV Series (exec. producer)
Without a Trace (2002–2009) TV Series (exec. producer)
CSI: Miami (2002–present) TV Series (exec. producer)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000–present) TV Series (exec. producer)
Soldier of Fortune, Inc. (1997–1998) TV Series (exec. producer)

Notice something? There hasn't been a show lasting over 2 season since 2004. I liked Close to Home and Eleventh Hour, but those were also canceled. Jerry Bruckheimer is still TV gold, but you've got to wonder what happened to his unprecedented success. It could be because he isn't producing shows only for CBS. That could be the case but it's obvious from the evidence Bruckheimer is at least on a slump. I'm sure he'll find a few more hits in his career, but the time of plunking the Bruckheimer label on a show and expecting ratings success is over.

ABC's Cougar Town takes on different subject

Bill Lawrence's (Scrubs) new comedy Cougar Town airs tonight but I have a review already. Courteney Cox plays Jules Cobb, a recent divorce that just can't get back into the dating game. There's nothing wrong with her, except she's over 40 and there's slim pickings at that age, not that I have any experience. Seriously.

Basically the show revolves around a group of older woman and sex. I don't really like the idea, but there's certainly lots of jokes the writers can make out of it. I'm curious to see the demographics that watch the show. I'm a guy, and the whole idea of the show is unappealing. Even after watching the episode, I still felt ambivalent. There were plenty of funny moments that I laughed at, but I would like to see more before I put my seal of approval on it, not that any really cares.

One of Jules's friends is Elle played Christa Miller who has sex with her unattractive husband, but is fine with it. Her other friend is Laurie played by Busy Philipps who pushes her to find guys. Eventually she finds a young guy and has sex with him 3 times, learning later his name is Matt. Her friends have funny reactions to this as expected.

Her son Travis (Dan Byrd) is in high school and is humiliated by a real estate sign her mom has that shows all her assets. Apparently, kids are stealing the signs to do things... He also walks in on Jules and Matt, and later his dad is at the high school mowing the lawn shirtless. His life must suck.

I'm not sure if I'm going to watch next week. My Wednesdays are open, but I just don't like the concept. Watching a show about cougars doesn't really interest me though I'm sure others like it. It's a preference thing, and I'm not going to dock any points for that. The acting and writing were good.

Score: 8.7/10

NCIS: Los Angeles more of the same - quality television

I'm trying to finish reviewing the new CBS shows before I move onto ABC's The Forgotten and then to old shows, so please bear with me.

Imagine NCIS. Transport it all the way to the West Coast. Imagine bikinis and palm trees. Replace the characters. Now you have NCIS: Los Angeles.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, NCIS is the best crime procedural on television right now, but do we need a copy? Or more pertinently, do we want a copy? That's up for the viewers to decide, but I'm here for the review. If you haven't watched NCIS and don't want to catch up on 6 season and want to watch something similar from the start, here's your chance.

After a dead Navy intelligence officer is found after a shootout between the police and cartel members, Callan (Chris O'Donnell) comes in to the new headquarters which is much better than the grimy warehouse that was used in the 2 NCIS episodes. It turns out that he was in some business with Mexicans. After some digging around the team finds out that his daughter was kidnapped and the officer had to help them access satellite imagery before a joint US-Mexico operation along the border. There is a twist that wasn't particularly shocking. It turns out that the daughter's father, the officer's wife's ex-husband "kidnapped" her. How's that for apostrophes? I had a sneaking suspicion he was up to something after I heard his Spanish name.

Callan and Hanna (LL Cool J) walk into the house posing as people with access to satellites. The father already knows NCIS is involved, so the situation quickly escalates into a fight. The good guys win and the bad guys die. Not particularly original but it was still good. The thing I liked about NCIS being spun off of JAG is that the 2 shows were fairly different. In the case of NCIS and NCIS: LA, they are pretty much the same.

LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell have great chemistry and we'll probably be seeing them together for most of the episodes which is a plus. The other characters took a back seat as Callen and Hanna did most of the legwork. There wasn't anything particularly interesting about them, but if anyone catches my attention in later episodes, I'll be sure to bring it up. Linda Hunt's character Hetty was a new addition replacing Louise Lombard's Macy. I'm not sure why everyone had so much problems with Macy. I rewatched the 2 episodes featuring them, and found nothing wrong with the acting or the character. Hetty is eccentric and really short. If you've seen the Disney movie The Incredibles, she looks almost exactly the same as Edna Mode, the gadget lady.

I thought the addition of Vance was useless since he'll be on a little screen all the way in DC. I don't like Vance anyways and a double dosage of him is even worse. Depending on how much time you have, it might be better spent watching NCIS. I have lots of time, so count on me for another review next week.

Score: 8.6/10

CBS's The Good Wife brings an A game

Wow, out of all new shows this season, The Good Wife ranks up there with Flash Forward. The writing is smart, the pacing is great, and of course the acting headed by Julianna Margulies is top-notch. The show's premise is taken from the headlines. Congrats to me for not using the word' ripped.' It just sounds so crude. We all know the yearly sex scandal by a politician while his dutiful wife stands beside. There seems to be a lot more of these scandals as of late due to as I suspect a general disrespect for politician's and their personal lives. I'm sure JFK would be skewered in today's world of investigative journalism and electronic media, but I digress.

The press conference in the beginning is extremely well made from the lighting to the interspersed cuts of the incriminating videotape. Alicia (Julianna Margulies) has the all too familiar blank look signaling she doesn't really know what to do. She tries to look out into the crowd, at her husband's hands, and finally a thread on his jacket. That's the image the media shows us, but what happens behind closed doors? The Good Wife tries to portray what may happen and it does not disappoint. Right after the press conference, she gives him a slap he deserves though I think a couple hundred more would do justice.

Six months later and her husband (Chris Noth) is in prison for corruption, charges he insists aren't true. Without any income, Alicia needs a job, and having practiced law before raising a family, she jumps right back into a law firm. There is a nice balance between her personal life and the case she is on which is pro bono.

The court case is simple and straightforward, but the pacing is fast and it never got too heavy. Her client is accused of killing her ex-husband. She swears someone else shot him, but the surveillance tape does not corroborate her story nor does the eye witness account. She finds some evidence the police glossed over and caught the lie of a security guard. Being her first case in years, it starts off rocky, but Alicia finds her footing and manages to get her client off. Her co-worker Kalinda helps her a lot. I enjoyed their relationship professionally and personally.

I definitely will be watching this show every week and reviewing it. There's some social commentary blended in with all the office politics, and of course the whole point of the show which is the wife.

Score: 9.6

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 9/21/09

Huge day for TV ratings. Lots of returning shows and a limited number of viewers to court.

House was the big winner pulling in an average 6.6 (!!) for the 2 hours. That's way more than the last season started and creamed all competition.

The CBS comedies did well though they were down from last year. How I Met Your Mother had 3.5, the new comedy Accidentally on Purpose got 3.2, and Two and a Half Men got 4.4. The big CBS story of the night was The Big Bang Theory which in the new timeslot got 4.6 which matches the series high. CSI: Miami  returned with a good 4.3, down slightly from last year.

Dancing with the Stars came back shockingly low with a 4.1 average over the 2 hours. This translated into worse ratings for Castle which had a pretty disappointing 2.3. There's something about the show that skews it older. It's not flashy, it's not edgy like CSI: Miami.

Last but not least (ok, it this case it was) is Heroes. People are starting to give up on the show and the episode got 2.7, lower than the season 3 finale. If it has the same weekly ratings drop as the last season, expect a cancellation. The episodes are expensive to make and a 2.7 to start off with does not help.

Jay Leno continues his drop until stabilization getting 1.8. In the end, I expect him to hover around 1.2. 

Review - Castle Season 2 Episode 1 Deep in Death

I started watching Castle for Nathan Fillion. After one season, I'm still watching the show because of Nathan Fillion and now Stana Katic. The acting on Castle is top-notch from everyone, and that's pretty much the only reason why I continue to watch the show. Out of all the crime procedurals out there, and there are many, Castle ranks among the weakest in terms of the criminal element. The writing of the show is exceedingly weak in comparison to the acting, and after a season, it hasn't improved much. The show still has a child-like innocence to it bordering on Bones.

The episode starts with everyone being slightly testy with Castle. After reopening Beckett's old wounds, Castle has lost the graces of her colleagues. Castle is at the precinct for a photoshoot, and Kate has to partake in an interview which she clearly does not want to be in. A body is discovered and a reporter tags along. it was pushed off the top of the building. Fairly standard, but there's lots of things to do with it.

Here's where the writing starts breaking down. On the way to the morgue, the body is snatched by gunmen. This is fine, but the following investigation is much too simplistic. The guy was in debt and went to play poker with Russian mobsters. He's also a drug mule. Great! (I'm being sarcastic)

The one thing I did like about the episode was Castle's apology and Beckett's acceptance of it. Castle was sincere and that's really all Beckett wanted, for him to take responsibility for his actions. I'm many think otherwise, but this step forward was not premature. I'm sure there will still be residual feelings of distrust throughout the season rearing its ugly head.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - House Season 6 Episode 1 Broken

That certainly was an interesting episode. This is by far the greatest deviation from the normal format and I was really surprised only 2 regulars were seen (Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard). In terms of production, acting, and writing, the episode was amazing. Hugh Laurie was unbelievable through the twists and turns of a mental institution. There was no medical case other than some random music box stuff which I found pretty stupid and unnecessary. There has to be better ways to show House being helpful. Other than that, the episode was very multifaceted, touching on House, the patients, and the guy who runs the hospital.

The opening was highly impressive and there were no credits which according to Wikipedia hasn't happened since season 3. I though the episode dragged on a little too long and could have done better condensed into and hour and a half. An hour wouldn't do justice, but 2 hours was a little too much. After a while, I just wanted House to run off. Screw character development!

The funny thing is that the 2 hour episode was designed specifically to give House growth as a person which included interpersonal relationships. We know this is heading down the path of Huddy as much as some people would like to disbelieve. He meets Lydia, sister-in-law to a deaf patient. They connect over music initially and growth pretty close. Eventually House sleeps with her. Almost immediately after, she moves away after her sister-in-law is cured by House. Talk about a double-edged sword. House is pretty upset about it, he probably never got upset when the hookers left, so he shows he actually cared for someone which is almost unprecedented.

House's rapping roommate Alvie was awesome. I don't know if it was his manic condition, but could you not love him? His optimism and exuberance shone through the dregs on the blue tinted hospital. His rebellion against authority compounded with helping House and then hating House for giving in was hilarious. It would be cool to see Alvie in Princeton-Plainsburo someday and we'll see whether his personality is when he's regular. There's this crazy guy Steve who thinks he's a superhero. House tries to help him realize his dreams, but Steve ends up jumping off a parking structure. House feels bad about this when he normally would not which is another sign he's changing.

Dr. Nolan is House nemesis who turns into a friend. Initially, House tries to go to easy way out with blackmail and causing general mayhem, but Nolan knows House like the back off his hand. House can't do anything other than to play ball which he eventually does. They have some nice conversations which reveals a little about both of them.

Notice how in the beginning I never indicated whether or not I thought the episode in its entirety was good. As an episode of 'House,' I didn't particularly like it. It just was not my cup of tea. I like House for the fast-paced medical mystery and House's interactions with everyone. For a one time deal, the episode was certainly good, but I would not want to see. I like how the show always maintains a sense of normalcy from episode to episode, and while House did show significant growth in this episode, there was a surreal nature to it which made it feel weird.

Score: 9.0/10

Monday, September 21, 2009

Will people continue to watch Heroes?

Just so people won't jump all over me, yes the title is meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek. If you've followed me blog, you'd know I love science fiction shows, so I watch Heroes right? Wrong. I stopped watching the show during season 3 with about 5 episodes. I couldn't stand it anymore and decided I wouldn't put up with the crap I was seeing.

This has continued on to this season. I will not be watching the premiere, so don't expect a review tomorrow unless I decide to do a full-on satire piece. We've heard it all before.

"Season 4 will be the best season of Heroes!" "The ideas are amazing this year!!" "You can't miss this season!" "We're going back to the basics...and MORE!!"

When have we heard that before? Oh yeah, before season 2 and season 3. Before we were all disappointed by the lackadaisical storytelling and horrid pacing. Before time-traveling became a plot device.

I loved season 1. There was a wonderful sense of mystery behind everything, Sylar was awesome, and everyone had an interesting story. The season finale/final showdown was ultimately uneventful and anticlimactic, and I see this as the beginning of the end. The writers proved they couldn't pull off a Buffy-like clash in the finale, but it was just the first season. There was time to improve, so no need to worry. Yes, there are those that disagree with my assessment of the season finale including my brother.

Season 2 was marked by the writer's strike and never fully developed. Television suffered in general that year, so I gave it some reprieve. All the plots would have come together better had there been more episodes. Yes, it was disjointed and awkward. I watched it, and honestly, there were some cool moments. Superpowers are cool...

Season 3 came around and this was the season to prove to the world Heroes was a great show. With 2 seasons around under it's belt, Heroes was poised to make some noise. The first few episodes were intriguing as the premise of each Heroes volume has been, but the execution never succeeded. Arthur Petrelli turned into a joke. Actually, everything became a joke. Even the superpowers became lame. It ended anticlimactically again midway through the season, the writers opting to start a new chapter instead of continuing on with the banality they currently had.

Volume 4 was more of the same. It started off nice, and just got slower and slower as it went on. The writers had no new ideas and if they did, quickly discarded them. I watched half-heartedly and tried to reach the end, but in the end, I gave up.

I promised never to watch the show ever again. No matter how good season 4 is, how many critics lionize the season, I will never watch another second. The viewers have been promised many things, and never have the writers come through. The character development was pathetic and silly, and the stories had no gravitas. People say never say never, but this time, I mean it.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Sunday 9/20/09

I was going to make this a weekly thing as evidenced by my last ratings post, but it was a little too long and it's hard to focus on one thing.

As usual, Sunday Night Football won with resounding 8.7 winning the night for NBC. Honestly the game wasn't that great though it was close in the end. The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards did better than last year's near low with 4.2.

I know you want me to give my thoughts on the Emmys, but I didn't watch the whole thing, in fact, all I watched was the very beginning. After Kristin Chenoweth's surprising win for supporting actress in a comedy, I turned off my TV. I loved her speech, and I loved Pushing Daisies, but I don't really care about the Emmys. Last night, I speculated on Twitter "I've always had a sneaking suspicion that half the Emmys is built on studios and networks paying the committee."

I got excited when I saw ABC had King Kong on, but then I remembered how long the movie was. It got around 1.1 average for the whole movie. The CW continued with sub-.5 ratings, and Fox did well with comedy repeats getting around 2.6 for the entire night.

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 6 Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency

Holy crap!! That scene when the new British account person Guy MacKendrick gets his foot sliced was simply unbelievable. I've watched lots of violent shows and movies with exceedingly bloody scenes, but this had to rank near the top. This was more shocking than anything on Fringe whose first intent is to be shocking. Driving a lawn mower in an office was never a good idea, and I knew something bad might happen, but that? The blood and the screaming was so overwhelming I had to pause it, recollect myself, and rewatch the 10 seconds. I would like to add an addendum to the episode title: Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency and Gets His Foot Chopped Off. The discussion of the incident after, priceless.

We got to see the consequence of Eugene's death on Sally. She shows an obvious dislike of baby Gene not wanting to touch him or even look at him. Sally had this weird notion of reincarnation regarding the baby. Same name, same look. I guess it would be reasonable for Sally to be frightened of the aspect. The most difficult parts of the episode to watch was when Betty tried to deal with Sally. First, she shows Sally a present from "Gene," and tries convincing Sally it's really from Gene and not from her. She's so cold in the scene with her blatant lie and absolute lack of effort to connect on an emotional level. Her words in the end sum it up perfectly "She's a child, she'll get over it." 

Sorry Betty, but I think it's time for you to get over it. Her insistence of calling the baby Gene even though it upsets Sally is childish. Yes, it keeps the memory of Gene alive, constant reminders of name should do that, and that's fine. The problem is that because the name upsets Sally, she should talk to Sally and explain things to her. That's why Betty is a parent and Sally is the child. Even so, she makes no effort to comfort Sally and in the end, Don is the savior.

Joan's troubles finally come to a head as she prepares to leave the agency. Her husband doesn't get chief residency and will never become a surgeon unless he practices in Georgia, and no one wants to work there. If they are to survive financially, Joan needs a job. Unfortunately, there's no way she could take back her job. The shame involved would be too great for someone like Joan. By the way Joan saved Guy, she's probably not going anywhere, but I wonder how far her home life has to slide before she tucks her tail and comes back to Sterling-Cooper.

A large part of the episode dealt with the British executives taking a trip over the pond. Cooper is speculating of what will happen and tells Don they have been paying close attention to him and even suggests of a London job for Don. The whole time, Don has a WTF look on his face, clearly not understanding what is going on. It turns out that there is a restructuring headed by Guy MacKendrick. As we know, his foot gets cut off, and his career is also cut off. I guess someone else is getting a promotion. Don perhaps?

Six episodes in and lots of people including me have been talking about the pacing which has kind of been aimless. It looks like there's going to be changes at SC including possibly courting Conrad Hilton whose identity was confirmed this week. Fresh off an Emmy win, Mad Men is doing great and still impressing me.

Score: 9.4/10

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for 9/13-9/18/09

Today marks the beginning of a new weekly post discussing notables in the TV ratings arena. A couple big shows came back this week, so there's lots to talk about. I'll do a day by day breakdown of anything that should interest people. I'm ignoring Saturday since it's dominated by Cops and America's Most Wanted, and no one really watches on Saturdays anyways. Just a little note, I'm using overnight data (live+same day DVR). The numbers will be the 18-49 demographic which is what the advertisers covet. Total viewership isn't that important, but if I see a skewed discrepancy between the 2, I will bring it up. 

Sunday (9/13)

ABC canceled Defying Gravity, and the last scheduled episode sucked with a .8 rating. NBC destroyed the competition expectedly with Sunday Night Football. King of the Hill bowed out with a respectable 2.9, low in comparison with previous seasons, but still the highest among scripted shows that night.

Monday (9/14)

The Jay Leno Show jumped into the 10 PM slot, and defied all expectations, mine included. I initially predicted at least a 3.5, but had no idea it would get a whopping 5.1. The final performance episode of American's Got Talent garnered a good 3.3. One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl season premieres met the CW standard getting 1.2 and 1.4 respectively. Gossip Girl did well with women which really is all the CW is looking for. They know nobody watches the network, so they target a specific demo.

Tuesday (9/15)

I have to start everything off with the Jay Leno Show. It's one of the biggest experiments and we had to keep a close eye on it. It had a huge 35% drop to 3.3 which is still amazing by NBC standards, especially for 10. With one week until the season premiere, NCIS repeated strongly with 2.4. 90210 and Melrose Place in their second episode this season continued to post low ratings with 1.2 and 1.0 respectively. I expect a Melrose Place cancelation at this rate.

Wednesday (9/16)

The Jay Leno Report continues with less than exciting news. He actually gained from the previous day to reach 3.4. Glee continued to be strong with 3.1 though there is a large gap between the demo and viewership which was only 6.64 million, much lower than the demo would indicate. This indicates the show doesn't have broad appeal, a high school dramedy musical not being typical viewing fare for retirees, so it could pose a problem to Fox. I don't see much opportunity for ratings growth though the current numbers are good. 

Thursday (9/17)

Leno continued to slip reaching a low of 2.7. I know it's too early but yesterday after seeing the ratings, I was ecstatic to see it go down. There were several season premieres this week. Bones on the new day got an impressive 3.0 while Fringe without the benefit of American Idol actually lost viewers to drop to 2.9. The Vampire Diaries continued it's success with the help of Twilight obsessed, television challenged females (I know I'm being silly and petty) getting 1.6, very high for CW standards. Supernatural didn't do too hot again, getting a measly 1.2, good for CW averages, but it is one of the best shows on TV right now and would get 2-3 times more viewers on another network. After crashing and burning last season, Parks and Recreations came back with 2.1, much better than it ended last season with. The Office season premiere was way down from last year, but managed to receive 4.0, still a very high number. The much anticipated series premiere of Community managed to keep most of The Office's viewers getting 3.7. I'm really happy about that and hope it can maintain those numbers.

Friday (9/18)

Leno fell again to 2.1 on a really bland Friday which NBC won handily with Dateline. There was nothing else on Friday, seriously. Remember, Dollhouse comes back next week at 9!!!! I'm such a shill for Joss Whedon...

Since this is new, any feedback would be welcome.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 2 Good God, Y'All!

After last week's season premiere Sympathy for the Devil it would be near impossible to top that effort, but second episode attempts and comes fairly close a cool story and great character development. This episode brought back some of our old friends: the Harvelles Jo and Ellen, and Rufus.

As a fan of Jo, I was disappointed once again with the way the writers treated Jo, giving her few important lines, and delegating her to throwing holy water and fighting. They didn't give her a proper sendoff again, and had about 2 words with Dean. I kept expecting her to show up at the very end to talk with Dean, but with 5 seconds left, I gave up hope.

I had to get that off my chest first since the Roadhouse/Jo was one of the few big problems of the show. The way the town looked was chilling, and that feeling carried throughout the episode. There were no demons in the town. Instead, War, one of the four horsemen was there to cause trouble. His red horse? A red Mustang of course. How awesome is that?

Literally, it felt like a small town war. Part of the town was hunkered down in one house and part of the town was in another house. I loved the use of the first person shots to show how people were viewing others with black eyes. War was simply devilish (ok, wrong word), and he kind of just disappeared, so I'm hoping he comes back.

Castiel has less powers now and can't even heal Bobby which is a shame. Maybe Castiel can find God, maybe he can't. If God was the one who saved Dean and Sam, and revived Castiel, why isn't he helping? I hope there is a good answer to this, and not some lame cop out. Misha Collins does a superb job portraying Castiel who I think has some of the best lines.

At the end of the episode, Sam leaves to go do his own thing after realizing Dean will never trust him again. It's clear Dean doesn't really want him to go, but he knows he can't trust Sam and Sam can't even trust himself. Hopefully Sam doesn't go off the deep end while he's alone, but without any guidance his demon problem could rear its ugly head again. This is what I like show much about the show. The situations however otherwordly they are, always have a human element. The brother's relationship is organic and natural unlike some other genre shows (I'm looking at you Heroes), and it will be a pleasure seeing how they mend their clearly broken relationship.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 1 (S06E01) Gossip

I absolute loved the parkour opening. I watched it like 5 times and it is definitely in my top 5 of openings of The Office. I liked the ending with the interns, but I thought it would have been funnier to see a rehash of parkour.

The gossip allowed for everyone to get their jokes in, but the highlight was Andy asking people if he was gay. Michael trying to fix a problem always spirals out of control, resulting in horrible consequences. This week, the victim was Stanley. While his affair precipitated the chain of events, Michael had to get in on office rumors tell the truth. His attempt to solve the problem, starting more rumors, only resulted in everyone learning about Pam's pregnancy, and Michael still ends up tipping off Stanley's wife. All in a day's work at Dunder-Mifflin.

Wow, this review is really short. Comedies usually aren't too long plot wise, the majority of time is dedicated to jokes which is impossible to convey the hilarity with words, so I guess this is the right length. The last scene reminded me why everyone loves Pam and Jim so much. Is there anyone that disliked Jim putting the sonogram on the frame?

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Fringe Season 2 Episode 1 (S02E01) A New Day in the Old Town

Did you catch the X-Files reference? I know you're wondering why I'm bringing this up first, and I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but The X-Files is my favorite TV show of all time. If you didn't catch the reference and have it recorded, got back to 2:33. The victim of the shapeshifter is watching an episode of The X-Files. The episode in question is Dreamland Part II. If anyone remembers the episodes, it involves Mulder switching bodies with an Area 51 employee. I'm not sure if that counts as foreshadowing since most people either missed it or couldn't recognize what it was, but it certainly related to the episode. There was another reference with Broyle's saying something about X designation whatever that means.

Just a warning, I'm not the biggest J.J. Abrams fan except for his work early in Alias (maybe Felicity). I won't go on ranting and raving on how great he is; I think he goes for thrills and twists as a priority instead of the story. That's a perfectly reasonable way to make shows, and people like it.

I loved the discussion in the supermarket between Walter and Peter. Apparently Walter thinks Peter liked custard as a child and Peter insists he didn't. This kind of innuendo about the alternate universe is part of Abrams that I love. Walter seems to be trying to make it up to Peter like somehow some custard is going to repair any damage ripping someone out of another universe causes. The scene in the end where Astrid, Walter, and the cow said happy birthday to Peter was very unsettling.

Most of the episode, Olivia was bedridden after get thrown through a car window from the alternate universe. How she got from the WTC to the car is anyone's guess. She doesn't remember any specifics, but know there is something urgent to do. I think too much of the episode was spent on Olivia since we knew she wasn't going to die, but her condition does seem to push Peter and Broyles to action.

The shapeshifter thought it had killed Olivia, but when it failed, whoever was only the other side of an awesome typewriter ordered it to interrogate her, and then eliminate her. It fails after quick thinking by Peter and is cornered underground. Charlie supposedly kills it, but the last scene reveals that it had in fact killed Charlie and has taken his place. Predictable? Yes. Cool? Yes. I guess we now know what Kirk Acevedo meant when he got fired. He'll probably be gone by midseason. There's no way an imposter can last for a whole season. Oh wait, Lost season 5...

Charlie's new replacement is Agent Jessup who was exceedingly boring and annoying until we see her connecting Pattern events with Biblical phrases. She seems like a very generic character, but her belief that somehow the Pattern is related to the Bible is certainly interesting. That does not make her character interesting though, but then again, I don't find any character in the show interesting other than Walter.

Score: 8.5/10

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ABC's Flash Forward the next big hit

With all the promotion ABC had for this show, I had no doubt the first few episode would have huge ratings. After watching the pilot, I am convinced this show will have huge success. Is this the next Lost and the network has been promoting it? I hate comparing shows directly, but I think Flash Forward can replicate the ratings and the sense of mystery.

The pilot is paced a little unevenly and the episode is mostly just exposition, but the suspense and cinematography blew me away. The first act in which the whole world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds is simply amazing and looked very expensive to produce. I loved the kangaroo that runs down the street and everyone is too busy to care.

There are many characters, and therefore many flash forwards to explore. Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) is the main character and is an FBI agent. In the future, he has relapsed and is drinking while investigating the event through something called Mosaic. At the end of his vision, people with guns or at least laser scopes enter the room he is in which is located in the FBI office. His wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) has a very disturbing flash forward. In it, she is with another man, someone she has never seen before. We soon learn that he is one of her patient's father, though they are oblivious to the fact by the end of the episode.

I thought it was premature to show who the man was, since they would have to meet in the next episode which could pose several problems. That being said, I can imagine many ways it could work, and I trust that the writers have a good plan.

Aaron Stark (Brían F. O'Byrne) is Mark's sponsor and sees his daughter, who supposedly is dead. This sounds very interesting, since he would want the vision to become true to most. Janis Hawk (Christine Woods) is an FBI agent that sees herself pregnant even though she has no boyfriend. So far, she is ambivalent about it, so we don't really know where this story stands. Demetri Noh (John Cho) is Mark's partner and going to be married, but has no vision of the future. Immediately he suspects it is because he is dead which of course has huge psychological recourse. Bryce Varley (Zachary Knighton) is Olivia's intern and is about to kill himself before the flash forward. After, he wants to live.

And there you have it, all the characters and flash forwards so far. There's going to be more characters and flash forward introduced as the series progresses; there is endless material to work with. At the end of the episode, Janis is going through surveillance camera tapes. Everyone slumps over at exactly the same time, except in one, an awesome looking guy with a black trench-coat strides along. Will this show work? I hope so.

Score: 9.5/10

5 Best Television Related Websites

I know you must be wondering what sort of sites I like going on other than this one. I have over 10 sites that I visit daily for TV information, but I have singled out 5 sites that you can't miss.

5. Sci Fi Wire

Basically any show under the wide purview of "scifi" is covered on this site, so the shows include Medium and Ghost Whisperer which have scifi elements, but normally would not be considered with Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. This allows for a huge coverage in the number of shows. The site has lots of spoilers not on any site, and lots of interesting articles. I know you might be wondering why Sci Fi Wire instead of io9, but I have a simple reason: io9 has too much non-TV content.

4. TV Spoilers Center

I wouldn't necessarily classify this as a spoiler site, but more of a trailer site. It has the fastest updated promos and sneak peaks for next weeks' episodes. It's a nice site if you don't want to continuously scour Youtube and other video sites. The site may be in Spanish, but there's nothing to read anyways, just videos and photos.

3. TV by the Numbers

If you love reading about ratings like I do, TVBTN is the best site to do it. Not only does it have the overnights posted quickly, it also has great analysis of the numbers. I find the site has many great commentators which is always a pleasure to read. If you want to learn about TV ratings, this is the site to start. The guys running the blog read the comments and answer questions efficiently, and you can learn a lot just be reading the posts.

2. Spoiler TV

If you're  spoiler junkie like I am, you should be hanging around this site as often as possible. It has spoilers for every scripted show out there and is updated very often. The site has original exclusive content, and content from many different sources. It may be faster to go to the original sources, but for pure aggregation from a number of sites that would take you too long to access, this is the best site out there.

1. Television Without Pity

This site is by far the best television sites out there. It has extremely detailed recaps of many shows old, and new written by very good writers. Initially, I wanted this blog to be like TWoP with detailed recaps, but I stopped that idea when I realized it would take to long, so I turned to reviewing the episodes. They have some nice blogs that are always fun to read and provide up to date information on the TV world. Probably my favorite feature of the site is the photo galleries. They have a huge range of categories and provide substantial text to go along with the photos.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 11 (S01E11) Nevermore

Last week, someone asked me on Twitter why I give Warehouse 13 such high scores in comparison to my generally negative remarks. In 3 tweets, I replied " I know there's lots of problems with the show, but at heart it's a show about fun and nice banter and I don't expect more. There's other shows with plotholes and inconsistencies that don't have the chemistry or dialogue that I would rate lower.I see so many obvious ways the show could improve that I have to point them out. Maybe I do skimp a little on the compliments." Ok, maybe not the most cogent response, but you get my point.

Warehouse 13 has had the benefit of several high profile guest stars from other Syfy shows (Tricia Helfer, Joe Morton, Mark Shepard, etc), and so far has criminally misused them, giving them meager roles completely unnecessary to their caliber. Today's Syfy guest of the week was Michael Hogan who as we all know played Colonel Tigh on the BSG remake. He plays Myka's father who she has a troubled past with. This fact seemed to be lost on the writers who I thought would at least keep some semblance of the animosity between them even after she called him in an earlier episode, supposedly mending their relationship., He spent much of the episode confined to a chair moaning and groaning, and had a few good scenes out of the chair. In true Warehouse 13 fashion, his performance wasn't anything special, but it was still adequate.

The artifact was very cool, and the visual effects that went along with it were probably my favorite of the show. It was Edgar Allen Poe's pen and notebook which have a weird effect together and apart. The story about the stalker student was iffy, especially since we don't know what happened to him, but I liked seeing what his (or Edgar's) twisted mind came up with.

Claudia finally went out into the field and worked nicely with Pete and Myka. She always brings well-needed comedy into her scenes and so far, the fan reaction has overwhelmingly been positive. The acting on Warehouse 13 is average to above average, but one thing that bothers me is that at times Joanne Kelly overacts the dramatic parts, and this showed in the beginning of the episode.

Next week is the big showdown with MacPherson which I hope will have a real climax. Artie's desire to find him and Mrs. Frederick's cautiousness clashed this week, but they will probably mesh next week with good results. I had another thought that is a little weird. When Mrs. Frederick first shows out, Artie asks her "What did you do with Leena?" This got me thinking, have Leena and Mrs. Frederick ever been in the same scene? Is it possible they are the same person?

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 10 Breakdown

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 9 Regrets

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 8 Duped

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why fans of television should hope for a Jay Leno failure

Whether or not you think Leno is the funniest guy in the world or the most boring person in the world, there is a clear and present danger posed when NBC gives him the 10 o'clock slot 5 nights a week. Television has always been a 3 hour primetime event. The comedies are in the 8 o'clock hour, 9 has something more dramay (pronounced drama-ee), and 10 has the serious dramas. While there are deviations in the format, no network has ever embarked on something so radical as putting late-night talk instead a scripted show.

Echoing George Kennan, we must contain this invasion of late-night talk onto our sacred ground (I'm being facetious). If Leno succeeds, could we see Letterman or Kimmel at 10? ABC is struggling with their programming, and 5 hours a week they don't have to worry about sounds like a godsend. Could networks' really have 5 less shows a week because a late-night guy wants a piece of the action?

I expect the numbers for the first week to be great, probably over 3.5 in the 18-49 demo, but I don't think it'll last. That may just be my wishes projected onto my thoughts, but I am genuinely worried. The Jay Leno Show represents a danger to all television, scripted or unscripted, and I hope all those who share my view do not watch.

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 12 Beyond Here Lies Nothin

What the hell? To say I was disappointed is an understatement. After finishing the Maryann story about 25 minutes into the episode in a most anticlimactic fashion, we were treated to 30 minutes of an awkward amalgamation of essentially...nothing.

The Maryann story has by far been the weak link this season and it was glaring in the season finale. The writers could no longer play around with sex, so they did what they do best - play around. There was a random ostrich egg, more crazy people, and a manga-like conclusion ending with the visually engaging goring of Maryann. In the beginning of the season, Maryann was very interesting; we didn't know what she was or what she could do. People were doing weird things, but we didn't know why. We didn't learn anything new until past halfway and by then, her antics became boring. Hopefully next season gets better and doesn't try the 'Big Bad' thing a la Buffy. 

Eric was conspicuously absent other than the totally random scene where he played Yahtzee with the Queen of Louisiana. Jason blew out Egg's brains in disturbing fashion which should have an impact on next season. Sam is looking for his real parents, Jessica is now out killing people, and Hoyt grew some balls, and the people of Bon Temps are as stupid as ever. The only thing that piqued my interest was Bill being kidnapped at the end of the episode. Yes, I know he proposed to Sookie who almost said no, but it came across as so saccharine it reached a pathetic level.

The viewership has increased drastically this season, but I think season 1 was much better. I hope season 3 turns out better, and it seems Alan Ball is starting to deviate from the books significantly which I think is the best direction. Until next year...

Score: 8.0/10

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 11 Frenzy  

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

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

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 5 The Fog

It's the fifth episode and it's still not clear exactly where this season is heading. Yes, Betty had baby Eugene, Duck is back, and the British guys have their panties in a bunch, but there is no clear direction like in the previous seasons. I have some speculation that is probably way off the mark, but the thought popped into my head and won't leave.

With Betty not sleeping well, and Don still disconnected, I predict a huge change, either good or bad. This hinges on Sally's teacher Suzanne Farrell who is overtly attracted to Don who reciprocates. Whether they act or not will define where the season is going. If they do, Don's home life is going to hell, if they don't all will be good and even better. Unfortunately, there were clear signs a hook up will happen. When Suzanne called Don, we had a good idea what she wanted, so now it's up to Don to show some restraint, something he is not too great at.

Love him or hate him, Pete really stepped up with his creativity, trying to market to the black community. Too bad nobody but Pryce bought it. While Hollis may have viewed Pete's slightly insensitive (for today's standards) comments as racist, he actually respects blacks enough to think they could be targeted as a group. Luckily, Duck Phillips realizes his worth. I liked how he also sought out Peggy to work for Grey. The conversation she had with Don about her pay was almost painful to watch. She's probably not going anywhere, but you gotta feel for her.

The scenes at the hospital were a huge portion of the episode. I don't understand why so much of it was dedicated to the prison guard Dennis. I intensely disliked him from the beginning and didn't have anything good to say until his departure when he tells Don he's and honest guy. Right... Betty in her "fog" was having all sorts of visions. It started off fine with Pushing Daisies-esque scene with a caterpillar, but eventually she had a dream of her father calling her a housecat. Can anyone tell me where the music in the first scene with the caterpillar and the very end of the episode comes from? I swear I've heard it in a movie somewhere, but I don't remember what.

Edit: Someone asked about that very brief scene at the hospital in which the prison guard who befriended Don earlier seemingly shuns Don, so after rewatching it over 10 times, here's what I have. The prison guard's wife has a smile on her face, but her eyes are telling the real story, she's unhappy. I don't know where Dennis was taking her, but there was no baby in her hands, and I'm guessing she was clutching her hands because a baby belong in them. If I had to take a guess, I'd say the baby died after being born.

Score: 9.0/10


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