Monday, November 30, 2009

Three Rivers canned

The poorly performing CBS drama was yanked from it's 9 PM Sunday timeslot. Cold Case will move from 10 PM to 9 PM which probably won't help the long running drama. CBS is struggling on Sundays and Cold Case looks like it will be the next victim.

I'm guessing CBS will burn off the remaining episodes at some time, but for now there will be repeats of NCIS: Los Angeles and Criminal Minds.

For the ten of you out there that watched Three Rivers for the medicine instead of Alex O'Loughlin, CBS is premiering another medical drama, Miami Trauma (no relation to NBC's failure Trauma), in 2010.

Review - Dexter Season 4 Episode 10 Lost Boys

I enjoyed this episode much more than the previous few episodes. The action was ramped up, and there was less of the other people I don't enjoy watching (Angel, LaGuerta). This season has been better than the previous two, but I find myself hard pressed to be amazed by the same antics every year.

Trinity kidnapping the boy added another twists to the craziness that is Arthur Mitchell. Starting the cycle by killing himself showed acknowledgement that when his sister was died, the previous Arthur died along with her. But he can still play with trains first. John Lithgow did an incredible job as he does every week and continues to be creepy and imposing. I think he has been the highlight of the season which is great since it seems everyone except for me is totally ecstatic about the show and the season.

The relationship between Trinity and Christine became more clear. She was never in league with him, but saw he in the bathtub as a child, and finally put together the pieces. Maybe being a serial killer is genetic, because she shot Lundy and Deb without consulting Trinity. It's possible that seeing her father kill someone at a young age was similar trauma to the one he suffered as a child leading to her being able to shoot someone cold blood. It will be interesting to see how far gone Christine is an whether the police will be able to extract information out of her.

Masuka is having a hard time deciding what to do. He knows what he saw was wrong and Dexter should know, but is having a hard time getting it out of his mouth. The preferable choice would be if the images were erased from his mind, but since that can't happen, he'll have to make a decision sooner or later.

Score: 9.2/10

Sunday, November 29, 2009

USA scheduling changes for White Collar, Burn Notice, Psych

USA made a very interesting move last week. All three of the shows moved to the 10 PM timeslot. Then they moved White Collar to Tuesdays with the show coming back on January 19, Burn Notice stayed on Thursday, coming back on January 21, and moved Psych to Wednesdays coming back at January 27.

Previously, USA had focused on  few days of the week, choosing to put their shows together. Now it looks like they are trying to expand their programming into the other weekdays. Given their recent successes, it isn't a bad idea if they continue to give us the same quality programming. The ratings the past few years and especially over this summer have proved that the network can hold up against broadcast programming.

The move of White Collar to its own separate day surprised me. It had previously been scheduled to go after Burn Notice on Thursdays which would have helped greatly since Burn Notice made Royal Pains an instant hit. Based on the current ratings, White Collar may not be able to survive on its own, so it will be interesting to see if the freshman show can survive on a new night with tougher competition.

Top 25 X-Files Episodes

Before reading the list, keep these facts in mind. This is my personal list, so there will be things you disagree about. I tried to have a combination of mytharc, standalone, funny, and serious episodes. It’s completely subjective, so the order or even the episodes on the list may not make sense for you.

25. Trust No 1 (Season 9)
I am hesitant to add any season 9 episodes to the list since the last two season were terrible. Instead of trying to tie up the various threads the previous seven seasons started, the writers created the super soldier arc which muddled the situation even more. ‘Trust  No 1” was an episode focusing on Scully which meant lots of great acting by Gillian Anderson – always a plus – and the story was decent, so I think it deserves a spot on the list.

24. Requiem (Season 7)
The X-Files went all the way back to the beginning with Mulder and Scully returning to Bellefleur, Oregon where they first investigated a case. Many characters were brought back which was nice. In some ways, it was as if The X-Files finally found its way back after wandering through the wilderness for 40 years. I thought this episode set up great potential for season 8 which didn’t work out in the end. Either ways, “Requeim” had fantastic acting and a decent story. This also marks the last time David Duchovny was a regular on the show which forces me to put it on the list.

23. Paper Hearts (Season 4)
When Samantha is involved, Mulder immediately changes. He can be easy going all the time, but once Samantha’s abduction comes into play, he is reckless and loses perspective. That’s exactly what happens in “Paper Hearts.” Mulder is manipulated into believing that a serial killer had abducted her instead of aliens. In the end, it wasn’t true and no new information was discovered, but it’s all about the process of getting to that conclusion, and the episode hit it out of the park.

22. Triangle (Season 6)
Mulder goes off to the Bermuda Triangle looking for a ship, and instead travels back to 1939 where Nazis have taken over. The catch is that some of the people he meets look exactly like people he knows back home. Maybe it was a hallucination and never really happened, but that’s not the point; the episode was a blast.

21. The Erlenmeyer Flask (Season 1)
“Trust No One.” This simple phrase became the mantra of our heroes with the death of Deep Throat. The episode marks a transition where many parts of the government conspiracy become known with the alien blood, fetuses, and of course the Purity Control. Maybe one could argue that this is the start of the confusing stuff, but self-contained, the episode added a lot to the show, and gave us plenty of great stories later on.

20. Humbug (Season 2)
Sideshow freaks, underdeveloped fetus, and a general humorous tone to the episode. There was plenty of horror with the Fiji Mermaid, and yet the whole situation was funny. The weird combination made the episode lots of fun.

19. Monday (Season 6)
The concept for this episode isn’t original as it has been done multiple times in various mediums; however, that does not mean the various incarnations of the concept are bad. The concept of timeloops itself allow for great creative freedom which usually ends up with a good episode. The X-Files did it very well with several ongoing gags such as the waterbed leaking.

18. Pusher (Season 3)
The idea behind the episode was so good that Fringe copied the concept, having someone be able to control the mind of others. What was unique about Modell was that he was able to affect human physiology.  He plays a cat and mouse game with Mulder, eventually baiting him into a sick game of Russian roulette with he, Mulder, and Scully.

17. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (Season 6)
Everyone always say they like the episode for Lily Tomlin, but there are so many other reasons to like the episode. There’s Ed Asner, and a clever script. An endearing part of the episode was the mere fact that on Christmas Eve, Mulder would go ghost hunting, and trick Scully into coming. The first act is delightful to watch, and probably one of my favorite interaction between Mulder and Scully.

16. Deep Throat (Season 1)
I find this episode vastly underrated which I suspect is because it comes right after the pilot, and the pilot gets a lot more attention. “Deep Throat” further pushed the concept of Scully the Skeptic and Mulder the Believer, introduced their season one ally, and of course featured Seth Green as a pothead.

15. Squeeze/Tooms (Season 1)
Eugene Victor Tooms is one of the best monsters in The X-Files with his special ability to stretch and appetite for human liver. The story went away from the alien storyline, focusing on a totally separate issue. Surprisingly, it was the first monster-of-the-week episode, and it was very good. Usually shows may take a while to gain a footing, but Squeeze and later on Tooms set the standard for MOTWs to come.

14. Nisei/ 731 (Season 3)
Out of the earlier mytharc episodes, I think these are the most underrated. I felt that they conveyed tension perhaps better than any other episode with the stuff on the train and the events leading up to it. X showed another side, risking his life to save Mulder which only made his death feel worse. Like most X-Files episodes, we didn’t really no what was real or not it the end. There was the alien autopsy, lepers, Japanese, and it didn’t all fit together nicely. Eventually this made the show hard to digest, but in the beginning, it created intrigue and mystery.

13. Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose (Season 3)
When The X-Files does comedy, it’s never overt jokes with rich punch lines. It was a terrific episode with the hilariously fraudulent Stupendous Yappi, and Clyde Bruckman, played by Peter Boyle. It was dark episode -- talking of death can never be considered light -- but there was a fun off-beat tone that made the episode really great.

12. The Post-Modern Prometheus (Season 5)
I don’t know where Chris Carter came up with this idea, but those that call him a hack should watch this episode many times. Featuring The Great Mutato, a play on Frankenstein, the episode is black and white, and is heartwarming in the end. I guess in a way the episode is nonsensical with a couple ridiculous stories, but that is part of what makes The X-Files fun.

11. Memento Mori (Season 4)
The diary entries read by Scully are so chilling. David Duchovny is the one who gets the recognition for The X-Files, but when I think of the emotional scenes, I always think of Gillian Anderson, and the writers gave her a great role to play in the cancer arc. In a very emotionally charged episode, Mulder also had many great moments. There was more infiltration of private institutions with the doctor and random clones.

10. Bad Blood (Season 5)
Like “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space,” this episode showed differing perspectives from different people. This time, it was Mulder and Scully and their experiences after killing a “vampire.” They actually remember quite similar events, but the subtle differences in their behavior and appearances make the episode one of the most fun.

9. The Host (Season 1)
In terms of weirdness, the Flukeman certainly ranks up there. The science in science fiction amounted to making the connection to Chernobyl which while ludicrous, actually brought up an interesting idea. The episode had an unclean feeling with Mulder crawling around the New Jersey sewer system that made it disturbing and fun to watch.

8. Pilot (Season 1)
No list would be complete without the episode that started it all. It introduced the greatest team in television history (I’m looking at you Moonlighting fans!), alien abductions, and the government conspiracy.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful initiation to the paranormal aura that is key to the show.

7. Duane Barry/ Ascension/One Breath (Season 2)
These three episodes didn’t air in order, but the forgettable episode “3” I think can be cast aside. These episodes raised the stakes of the series, getting Scully permanently involved in the conspiracy. Steve Railsback as Duane Barry was great, but out of those three, “One Breath” is the most memorable episode, and I believe on a totally different level than the other two. There is no alien activity or the usual X-Files fare. Instead it is a very personal and human episode, focusing on Scully and her inner struggle.

6. X-Cops (Season 7)
I love this episode so much. It combines the Fox shows, Cops and The X-Files to create an odd mix. We got to see the usual nightly hijinks you’d see on Cops, and a paranormal story. It felt authentically Cops, but there was Mulder, Scully, and a mystery. It was fun to see how the characters would react to being on national television. I still remember the scene where Mulder is talking to the an officer, explaining all about werewolves. The camera pans over to Scully who promptly hides behind the ambulance door. How great is that?

5. Home (Season 4)
This episode has to be one of the scariest episodes on television ever. Not only was it visually disturbing, but also it had the most horrendous, disgusting story.  There were inbred things (they’re definitely not human) that impregnate their mother and go around killing people. Did I mention that the mother actually wanted to be impregnated? Glen Morgan and James Wong truly gave us a script riddled with everything wrong, and Kim Manners directed it perfectly. If there is one memorable X-Files episode that comes to the mind of everyone, it is always “Home.”

4. Gethsemane/ Redux/ Redux II (Season 5)
It’s interesting that the writers shaped the character of Mulder to be so dedicated to the pursuit of the truth of alien existence, that it is plausible that Mulder would kill himself over it. While that never happened, it makes you wonder if he would kill himself if that was 100% definitive proof that there wasn’t aliens. There was great acting by Gillian Anderson once again. I know it may seem redundant, but she’s amazing.

3. Beyond the Sea (Season 1)
Luther Lee Boggs is my personal favorite “monster.” He’s just a normal human who may or may not have psychic abilities, but his general creepiness and ability to mess with people’s minds without anything overtly supernatural makes him unique. Brad Dourif did a really terrific job in this episode, and his character is as memorable as any that have shown up on the show.

2. Anasazi/ The Blessing Way/Paper Clip (Season 2,3)
These episodes are probably my favorite set of mytharc episodes. Before the mythology got too complicated, we could actual understand something of what was going on. The breath and scope of the episode really impressed me. It had hacked classified information, Navajo code-talkers,  a black helicopter incursion, Mulder almost dying and coming back, a standoff with Skinner, weird midget aliens, Krycek, and a great ending that characterizes all X-Files episodes.

1. Jose Chung's From Outer Space (Season 3)
This is my all-time favorite episode. From beginning to end, it is a laugh out loud episode, cleverly written with no real distinct stories. We know Mulder and something alien related is in the episode, but the rest is all out to the imagination of the viewer, or the various characters’ Jose Chung interviews. Charles Nelson Reilly who plays Chung was simply brilliant, and the idea behind the episode that he was brought back for an episode of Millennium, Chris Carter’s short lived show, in an equally good episode. There was also Jesse Ventura and Alex Trebek which added to the surreal tone of the episode.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dark Blue Reviews on SpoilerTV

Here they are:

Review - Dark Blue Season 1 Episode 10 A Shot In The Dark 
Review - Dark Blue S01E09 Betsy 
Review - Dark Blue S01E08 Venice Kings
Review - Dark Blue S01E07 O.I.S.
Review - Dark Blue S01E06 Ice
Review - Dark Blue S01E05 August
Review - Dark Blue S01E04 K-Town
Review - Dark Blue S01E03 Purity 
Review- Dark Blue S01E02 Guns, Strippers and Wives 
Review - Dark Blue Pilot S01E01

Royal Pains Reviews on SpoilerTV

Here's the reviews:

Review - Royal Pains S01E12 Wonderland
Review - Royal Pains S01E11 Nobody's Perfect 
Review - Royal Pains S01E10 Am I Blue?
Review - Royal Pains S01E09 It's Like Jamais Vu All Over Again
Review - Royal Pains S01E08 The Honeymoon's Over
Review - Royal Pains S01E07 Crazy Love
Review - Royal Pains S01E06 Sick as a Dog 

Burn Notice Reviews on SpoilerTV

Here's my reviews of Burn Notice that are on SpoilerTV:

Review - Burn Notice S03E06 The Hunter

Ok...I thought I had more there.

The Big Bang Theory Reviews (Episode 9)

I think I made a post for his, but I am writing reviews of the show for SpoilerTV, so here is a list of all my reviews for the show.

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 9 The Vengeance Formulation
Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 8 The Adhesive Duck Deficiency 
Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 7 The Guitarist Amplification 
Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 6 The Cornhusker Vortex 
Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 5 The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary
Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 4 The Pirate Solution
Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 3 The Gothowitz Deviation
Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 2 The Jiminy Conjecture
Review - The Big Bang Theory S03E01 The Electric Can Opener Fluctuation 

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Friday 11/27/09 - Thanksgiving beats the ratings part 3

No one watched television again, so the ratings were way down for all shows.

Fox actually won the night with the movie Ice Age Two: The Meltdown (1.2) which did better than the House and Bones repeats last week and even higher than the new episodes of 'Til Death, Brothers, and Dollhouse Hmm....

CBS came in second with Ghost Whisperer (1.3), Medium (1.2), and Numb3rs (1.1) repeats.

ABC was third with Supernanny (0.9), Ugly Betty, and 20/20 (1.7). ABC was the only network to air new scripted programming, and gambled that people would tune in for the only new episode, but still no one cared about Ugly Betty.

NBC tied ABC with The 40-Year-Old Virgin (1.3). and a repeat of The Jay Leno Show (1.0). I don't know why someone would want to watch a repeat of a talk show, but the drop wasn't as steep as for other shows.

Review - White Collar Season 1 Episode 6 All In

White Collar is one of those shows there isn't much to talk about. I keep trying to think of my opinion on the episode, and to be honest, I don't have any strong feelings either way.

The story once again wasn't particularly groundbreaking or exciting. Compared to the other USA newcomer Royal Pains, White Collar has significantly worse stories.The quality of the stories will probably get better as the series progresses, but for now, there really isn't much to watch in regards to the crimes or criminals.

What works is the humor and the chemistry which is what sets apart White Collar from other shows. The scenes with the little girl and Peter were really funny, and the rest of the funny scenes worked well. Neal and Peter continue to have a father/son/brother relationship which makes their scenes fun. Peter still doesn't trust Neal as he shouldn't, but slowly that is changing.

I thought the twist at the end was great. Finally, Neal's hunt for Kate and his cooperation with the FBI will merge, and there is some connection between the two stories. He no longer can trust any of them if the FBI is involved, and even Peter may be involved. If it is an FBI sanctioned operation, having Neal around may hold another purpose. It also puts more doubt on Kate's genuineness since it is possible that the FBI is using her to get more dirt on Neal.

Score: 8.8/10

Friday, November 27, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 11/26/09 - Thanksgiving beats the ratings part 2

I guess some people enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey with a side of repeats. The numbers were actually pretty close to Wednesday.

CBS, the go-to network, won with a Survivor clip show (3.1), CSI (2.0), and The Mentalist (2.1). Once again The Mentalist did better than CSI in the 18-49 demo and total viewers.

Fox ran the movie A Night at the Museum (2.0) and got second for the night. Bones and Fringe weren't exactly turning heads anyways, so a movie was a good choice, and it paid off.

ABC, knowing that Grey's Anatomy repeats badly decided to air A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (2.0), some Beyonce thing (1.7), and a Paul McCartney thing (1.2). When Beyonce does worse than Beyonce, there's a problem...

NBC did horrible for the night with The Office (1.0), NBC's People of the Year (1.4), and The Jay Leno Show (1.5). Apparently Megan Fox was on Leno last night, so it may have much worse with another guest.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 11/25/09 - Thanksgiving beats the ratings

As expected, the day before Thanksgiving, no one watched television either because they had other plans, or were on the road. All shows were way down with some doing waaaay worse than the week before.

CBS won the pathetic night with the New Adventures of Old Christine (1.8), Garry Unmarried (1.9), Criminal Minds (3.2), and CSI: NY (2.8). The police procedurals held up the best from the previous week out of all shows. Criminal Minds had it's special 100th episode -- amazing I may add -- and promoted the hell out of it. If it was another week, I would expect numbers closer to 4.0.

NBC was second with The Biggest Loser: Where are they now? (2.8), and The Jay Leno Show (1.6) which beat Eastwick quite bad which is crazy.

ABC did terrible with with a repeat of Modern Family (1.6), The Middle (1.8), Modern Family (2.4), Cougar Town (1.9), and Eastwick (1.1). What was surprising is that The Middle was almost as good as Cougar Town with a much smaller lead-in. Without Hank dragging it down, The Middle has been impressive the past few weeks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

UPDATED - Next Week in Preview (The X-Files

Ok...I guess I didn't have as much time as I expected, so the X-Files list will be pushed back to the weekend. I'm hoping to get the Buffy stuff done by the middle of next week.

Since I have lots of time the next few days, I'll finally be working on some lists that I've wanted to get to for a while.

First is my list of top X-Files episodes. I was choosing episodes earlier, and there were way too many great episodes, so I'm going to do a top 25. I know that's more than a tenth of the entire series which kind of puts a damper on the significance of the list, but I'll be doing a write-up for each episode.

As a teaser, here's one episode from each season that will be on the list: Beyond the Sea (S1), One Breath (S2), Nisei/ 731 (S3), Momento Mori (S4), The Post-Modern Prometheus (S5), How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (S6), X-Cops (S7), Trust No 1 (S9). I know these are picks usually aren't on top lists for X-Files, especially top 5 and top 10, so I hope you're enthused for my explanations.

If you noticed, I didn't included any season 8 episodes, and the season 9 episode is the only of the season. I was hesitant to add anything from the last two seasons because quite frankly, they were terrible. Trust No 1 was unique in that is was Scully-centric, and Gillian Anderson gave a brilliant performance.

The other project I'm working on is ranking the seasons of Buffy. They each have standalone stories, so it's easy to separate them from each other to compare. I know there is lots of contention over the series with all sorts of reactions to seasons 4 through 7, so if you disagree, I understand; just don't hurl insults. I'll also be adding the notable episodes for each season.

Since I had a teaser for The X-Files, here's some of my thoughts which will indicate possibly what my list will look like. I do not like season 6. There are very good individual episodes, and a different and interesting initial concept, but the overall story for the season was average — in Buffy context, bad.

Review - Criminal Minds Season 5 Episode 9 100

I'll make an admission that I actually got teary when Haley was about to die. C. Thomas Howell, Thomas Gibson, and Meredith Monroe did a great job through the whole scene. We knew Haley was dying, and that final conversation between Hotch and her was beautiful, and heartfelt. The abrupt end of Haley with gunshots sounds shocked me since we didn't actually see Foyet pull the trigger, but we knew she was dead.

Hotch may haven gotten off due to some humanity of Strauss, but the fact is that he, and everyone else knows that Hotch beat a defenseless man to death. There is a question the writers want us to think about. While the BAU is supposed to hunt monsters, what if they become monsters themselves? Hotch will probably rebound, but the look on his face while beating Foyet to death is one we'd see on a serial killer's.

My biggest problem with the episode was the implausibility that Foyet would be able to trick Haley so easily. Haley could easily have checked to see if what he said was true, and it was kind of stupid that she would return to a house she had left because a serial killer knew who lived their. The best explanation for her illogical reaction is that she was so frazzled by Foyet's warning that she could not think straight. After learning the Marshall was dead, and her husband was dead, she probably was in shock.

I liked how Nicholas Brendon and Josh Stewart were brought back for the special episode. They didn't really do much, but it's always nice to see familiar faces.

Score: 9.8/10

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 9 Fizbo

EW.com added Modern Family to their list of best show of the decade which I thought was quite stupid. The show had only aired 8 episodes, so their judgment was premature. However, I think if we look back on the show in five years, it is probably that we come to the same conclusion. I've been immensely impressed by the consistency of the show in regards to writing and acting.

Throughout the episode, we got flashforwards of everyone at the hospital as the episode progressed. We knew someone was hurt, and that all the events leading up to the end would have an injury. That is really what made the episode work. The writers included many potential dangers that left us guessing exactly how the injury would occur. There was the zip line, rock wall, bugs and lizards, and the crossbow (I know, wtf).

But in the end, it was Claire's benign arts and crafts table that did in Luke. Ignored all day, the beads took vengeance on Luke, sending him to the ground with a broken arm. In the commotion of the crazy chain reaction set off by Phil (or I suppose Fizbo/Cam), the one thing no one expected to harm anyone was the culprit.

Phil's sarcastic attitude toward Claire was fun, and showed that he can be clueless and snarky at the same time. So far, Phil has been a total idiot, but making fun of Claire added another side to him.

Manny continues to be delightful with his mature attitude and adult ways. This week he tried to pick up a girl, but he couldn't be the funny guy, or just be himself. Instead, he was the hero saving the girl, the last thing you'd expect from Manny. I loved how he had to take off his shoes before entering the moon bounce.

I still haven't gotten to Fizbo, but this is Thanksgiving, and who the hell writes this much on Thanksgiving? Anyways, Fizbo was hilarious and Eric Stonestreet did a great job.

Score: 9.4/10

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 11/24/09 - V stabilizes

V stopped falling, landing at a very respectable 3.1. The problem is that there won't be any new episodes until March, so any gains they've made in the fall probably won't stick, especially with an episode that I didn't consider particularly amazing. I don't understand ABC's reasoning behind this long hiatus, but the creative process really must have been terrible for them to take such drastic action.

ABC finished the night strong with the two-hour season finale of Dancing with the Stars (4.3) which hit a season high.

CBS was way up from last week with NCIS (4.4), NCIS: Los Angeles (4.3), and The Good Wife (2.8). Despite the greatly improved lead-in, The Good Wife only managed to gain .2 from last week. NCIS: Los Angeles had a crossover episode with Pauley Perrette who plays Abby on NCIS.

NBC continued its strong Tuesdays with The Biggest Loser (3.5) and The Jay Leno Show (1.9) which seems to have stabilized.

Melrose Place had a repeat last night, but the numbers for it are scary. It only had 774 thousand viewers. It didn't even crack the million...

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 9 Threesome

I'm wondering if Julianna Margulies was get yet another Emmy nomination. She's been close to perfect so far, and is amazingly compelling whenever she is on screen. Most of the time her expression is closely guarded, but you can see the anguish behind it.

All the dirty, salacious details were about to come into the open, and as abruptly were stopped. Chelsea Handler made a great guest appearance, reveling in the joys of other's secrets. Amber Madison, the call girl, finally came out in the open, and has plans for a book and interviews. Alicia in her pain, asks Peter for help, who threatens Amber, ending the problem for now.

The grandmother,Jackie, seems to be the villain in the household. She snoops, she intrudes, and is an overall despicable person. When Alicia came home, and Jackie told her to bring the kids to church, and followed that up by saying that Zach was listening to Muslim music, I just shook my head. She also stole all the incriminating photos, shredding them. The writers have turned her into a completely despicable character which I hope was their intent.

The kiss in the end was unexpected, so this is what I think about it. Alicia could have been traumatized even further, and turned to her husband for help who did help her in the end. Daniel, Peter's attorney, had just told her Peter may stay in prison forever. By kissing Peter, she shows her appreciation for him, and if he never gets out -- well I guess she'll be content to kiss him.

Score: 9.4/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 9 Child's Play

There's not much to talk about this episode. It was mediocre and had problems with coherence. The connection to Thanksgiving was tenuous at best and compared to the Halloween episode a few weeks ago it was bad.

I thought it was completely outlandish that the military would house kids to help them with things. I get that super smart kids make for an interesting story, but as part of an official military program? And hasn't there been enough of those Gibbs and child episodes?

The whole episode could have been wrapped up in 10 minutes if Angela had just told Gibbs everything instead of dolling out cryptic hints. Every time Gibbs pressed her, and she refused to say more, I got annoyed. The entire story revolved around the girl e.g. Gibbs coddling her, bring her to a safe house. The ending was very anticlimactic since we'd seen the villain very few times.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - V (2009) Season 1 Episode 4 It's Only the Beginning

Maybe it was because my expectations were set too high, but at the end of the episode I was really underwhelmed. It was a solid episode, but nothing was mindblowing. Compared to the other three episodes, it didn't really stand out, so I'm am wary of how many people will actually stick around until March.

Starting an episode in media res can be effective, but only if it is done right. The opening scene needs to be completely unexpected and leaving the viewer wondering how it possibly could have gotten into that situation. V tried to do that with Ryan shooting at Erica, but immediately, I thought he was probably shooting past her at someone behind her. It was a simple logical explanation considering that neither one of them could be a bad guy. What would have been a real shocker is if one of them were to be revealed as a bad guy which in the fourth episode could be explained.

The story of the week felt very much like a FlashForward episode. The group gets a random lead, follow a lead, have a shootout, find a big discovery, and then accomplish something. There is sort of a crime fighting element to the show, almost like a police procedural against a backdrop of an alien invasion. What we are likely to see is the resistance getting bigger, and tackling the Vs head on instead of going on random hunts.

The characterization of the Visitors is what carries the show. They have these great vitamins that have no side effects, but then have these flu vaccine's that have been tainted. I was wondering how that would work since most people don't receive flu vaccines, and then Erica described the media and their stories of epidemics, much as the media in the real world made the H1N1 virus seem like the end of the world.

We got to see the Bliss which is a weird ritual that Anna performs that connects to Visitors all around the world, invigorating them with her words.I don't know how that fits in the the grand scheme of things, but it leaves many possibilities the writers can work with.

The Fifth Column is operating in full force on the ships, and when the traitor that killed Dale revealed himself, and Anna ordered him skinned, he seemed almost human with his emotions. In a very private moment with the other Fifth Columnist that was about to skin him, they acted much like a human would.

Tyler wasn't as bad this week, mostly because he did nothing, and will be a key figure in the future. For whatever reason, the Visitors have taken a keen interest in him, Anna even showing him the engine room. Erica having so little time on her hands has allowed Tyler to do whatever he wants. In some ways he acknowledges this, turning to the Visitors as his makeshift family. For him to eventually come to the right side, Erica also needs to be involved in his life.

Chad has an interesting story brewing. He is trying to toe the line of real journalism and friend of the Visitors. If he is too critical, he will lose access. If seems like a shill for the Vs, people won't trust him. The Visitors are counting on the fact that he can lie or stretch the truth and still be trusted, but this troubles Chad. Now they tell Chad he will have a brain aneurysm. It seems far too convenient, but what if it is true?.

I was hoping the writers would switch the gender roles for the alien-human hybrid with the female being the Visitor, and I actually expected Lisa to be impregnated by Tyler as part of the Visitor's plan. While that may happen later on, Ryan's wife is pregnant right now which means we may be seeing a creepy alien birthing scene sooner rather than later.

The final twist was cool with hundreds of V ships going towards the solar system. This would indicate that whatever they have planned requires either lots of manpower, supplies, intimidation, or a combination of those. Their endgame can't be accomplished with the limited number of ships they have on Earth right now, which doesn't make sense considering that they are well on their way to domination already.

Score: 9.1/10

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 11/23/09 - Castle improving

With the much weaker lead-in of Find My Family (2.9), Castle improved .2 to reach 2.7 which is a season high. The only conclusion one can draw is that Castle does not need DWTS and the demographics aren't really that similar. Dancing with the Stars had 4.0 which is likely to go up today with the season finale.

Fox was down with House (4.6) and Lie to Me (2.7). Maybe it was Jennifer Morrison leaving the show, but the viewers left for whatever reason. The quality of the show has certainly been declining. What will be interesting is to see if House continues to gradually go down until one day it is no viable to keep on air anymore.

CBS won the night with How I Met Your Mother (3.7), Accidentally on Purpose (3.1), Two and a Half Men (4.7), The Big Bang Theory (5.2), and CSI: Miami (3.7). The Big Bang Theory hit a series high in total viewers. Maybe it was because it wasn't against DWTS and had Katee Sackoff, who knows...

NBC did the same as last week with Heroes (2.3), Trauma (1.7), and The Jay Leno Show (1.4). Heroes is still getting low ratings with little chance of recovery, but with all the extra revenue sources, we'll probably be laughing at the fans for another season for their choice of television. I have no clue why NBC is still holding on to Trauma. After canceling it a while back, there were reports they had resurrected it. The ratings are crap, the critics think it's crap, and regular viewers think it's crap. There is absolutely no reason why NBC should continue producing the show.

Interview with SciFi Surplus

I did an interview with SciFi Surplus over the weekend. You can here me talk about Chuck here either streaming or you can download the MP3. I'm mixed in among the other topics that are discussed on the podcast. I know I have lots of verbal filler, so there's no need to tease me. The rest of the podcast is very well-made and professional, so if you think my segment is terrible, there's plenty of good stuff to listen.

Review - Castle Season 2 Episode 10 One Man's Treasure

The show I am really impressed about this season is Castle. The crimes have become more sophisticated, Castle has been toned done, and the chemistry between he and Beckett is a good as ever.

The episode started with a simple bigamy case, but evolved into corporate espionage with all sorts of trickery. It was a really fun episode full of good twists. As always there was good humor mixed in with the nitty-gritty police work.

The past two episodes have had Alexis talking with Beckett for various reasons. Right now Beckett is probably just a role model to her, having never had a female in her life other than her overly eccentric grandmother, but as their relationship evolves, dare I say it may venture into the maternal realm?

I liked the guest casting in this episode. We got D.B. Woodside (Bufy, 24) as Lance Carlberg, the CEO of New York Recycle, and then we had Abigail Spencer who played Miss Farrell on Mad Men as the fiance.

I was very ambivalent on Castle through the first season and for the first couple episodes of this season, but slowly and surely, the writers have written excellent scripts, and the acting continues to be great. Out of the current police procedurals I currently watch, Castle is only a small step below NCIS

Score: 9.3/10

Review - House Season 6 Episode 9 Ignorance Is Bliss

Can someone please tell me what happened to the show? It's gone from cool medicine and degenerated in random quibbling among the team members, and an awkward sideshow of Cuddy and House. I'm starting to see less worth in sticking around for the rest of the series. The writing has been all over the place the past few seasons, and it's feeling more and more like a chore to watch the show.

Cuddy tricking House came out of the blue and was uncharacteristic. I thought it seemed more malicious than was intended by the writers or Cuddy. Leading him on and then shooting him down was a way to get House to back down, but it didn't seem like a Cuddy thing to do.

Lucas has become The Boyfriend. He no longer has any of those qualities that made he so likable in season 5. Now he is just a fixture to Cuddy without personality or purpose other than to keep House away from Cuddy. This all relates to the fact that writers, David Shore, Katie Jacobs have no new ideas.

Are we supposed to feel sorry for Chase? This idiot was given the easiest way out. All he had to do was quit his job along with his wife, and everything would be perfectly fine. Instead he stays, having never shown a certain affinity to diagnostic medicine like House has, forcing his wife to leave.

The writers should probably work on there math a bit. They said the James Sidas's  IQ was 178 while his wife's IQ was 91 points lower which makes her IQ 87. That would make her exceedingly stupid and kind of close to where she is mentally deficient. There is already a huge disparity between James and a normal person, so why did the writers have to make her extra stupid?

I was relieved to see someone acknowledge that Omar Epps (Foreman) looks awfully similar to the Pittsubrgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. Every time I see the Steelers play I think of Omar Epps, so I loved House's reference.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 5 Episode 9 Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap

Originals aren't always better than the sequel, and in the case of HIMYM, the sequel certainly stood up to the original. It may not have had an ingenious original concept, but the execution was done well with a great story in between.

After Ted and Robin save Marshall's turkey from the DMV, he decides to give the fourth slap to them. This was all a ploy to lull Barney into a sense of easy. The slap is passed around from person to person, and while any one of them could easily have slapped Barney, they just couldn't take the slap for themselves. Right when Barney is saved, Marshall slaps him to the ground. I suppose it was expected since it was Marshall's slap and he gets so much pleasure in delivering it.

The other story involving Lily and her father played by Chris Elliott had a great blend of comedy and emotion that went nicely with the backdrop of the slap bet. Her father is the typical deadbeat loser who makes hilariously stupid board games that has to move in with his parents. Marshall invites him over for Thanksgiving, but Lily, still traumatized from her childhood has had enough of him. Eventually Lily realizes how important people are and everyone is happy.

I loved the Lily "you're dead to me" scenes since they were funny and a great callback to Alyson Hannigan's days on Buffy when she went berserk in season 6. Ted exclaiming that he still loved Robin had me laughing hard, because we've gone down the road so many times it only could have been a ploy to get the slap.

Score: 9.5/10

Monday, November 23, 2009

Will FlashForward be saved?

FlashForward has been undoubtedly the disappointment of the season, having been promoted as the next Lost. The ratings started off great, and the reviews were mostly positive, but as the season progressed, the ratings dipped, and the complaints started flowing. I've been one continually harping on the show, rarely giving it any positive comments, so clearly a huge change will be welcome

Michael Ausiello just reported that FlashForward would be taking a six day break in production. This comes after the replacement of showrunner, Marc Guggenheim, with David Goyer. Neither of them have much experience running a show, but nor did Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse of Lost.

The midseason finale airs on December 3, but as the ABC people said, production started early, so my theory is that the midseason finale is the last Marc Guggenheim produced episode. I have no clue whether that is true or not, but the past few episodes seem similar to the ones in the beginning, so suspect Guggenheim was still involved in the making of them. The six day hiatus is intended to smooth the transition of David Goyer, so he can further change the direction of the show.

Further expanding on this idea, David Goyer was deeply involved in the production of the first few episodes, and while not having total over every part of the show, certainly he had some input into the many unlikable elements of the show. If he really was that great, the six day break would be unnecessary. The scripts would be much better than before, and the writers would have a clue what's going on. Since these are the exact same people who previously worked on the show, unless Marc Guggenheim somehow did everything by himself, there is no reason to believe that they will make the show better.

FlashForward needs to make a huge turnaround, courting the critics and keeping the fans. As it stands right now, there is little doubt in my mind that the show will continue down the path of mediocre television. Unless David Goyer makes a fundamental change, making the show almost unrecognizable (in a good way), there is almost no chance for a second season.

Review - Dexter Season 4 Episode 9 Hungry Man

We learned all whole lot about the Trinity Killer last night, but I still come to the same conclusion: he's batshit crazy. Now we know that he abuses his son, locks his daughter in her room, and completely terrorizes his family into submission. Dexter intervenes to save the family, and then just as abruptly leaves after pulling the knife. Will they all be stuffed in the coffin when he comes back? Usually when kids are abused by one parent, people ask why the other never stepped in. Sally is probably moire

Christine being Trinity Killer was a good twist if not a predictable one. I wasn't totally blown away as some may have been. She really stuck out as a sore thumb being a new character and having ulterior motives. Her height would match up with Deb's gunshot. What is confusing is why she continues to dig for stories when she has a goldmine of information already.

Angel and LaGuerta continue to be a total drag on the show. I don't care much for either of them and they barely interact with Dexter anymore. With a greater focus on Dexter and the family, I suspect the writers really want those two to maintain the same screen time, so they decided to get them a separate story. Unfortunately they had to be in love, deceiving the higher ups which inevitably will lead to a reprimand.

Dexter is a show about a serial killer, but this season there has been a lack of killing or even those urges that he had in the first few seasons. He seems much more cuddly with his family and other obligations, targeting Trinity only, and still not taking the initiative to kill him. Then he acts like he really cares about Trinity's children. He can't genuinely care for them, so why can't he just kill Trinity and just get over with it. It's clear Trinity is not a proper model for future Dexter, and it makes no sense why Dexter would continue the charade.

What I'm looking forward most is to how Masuka will keep Elliot and Rita's kiss secret. This opens up a whole can of worms he's probably never had to deal with. C.S. Lee is a great actor, and now has a chance to venture in the territory of not just comic relief.

Score: 8.7/10

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Friday 11/20/09

ABC actually tied with CBS for the night with Shrek the Third (2.0) and 20/20 (1.8). Did anyone know there was a third Shrek movie made? Apparently there is even a fifth movie in the works.

CBS is having a hard time holding the lead with its usual shows of Ghost Whisperer (2.0), Medium (1.9), and Numb3rs (1.7). Numb3rs is slightly lagging behind the other too which is most likely why CBS cut it's order.

NBC did decently with Law & Order (1.5), Dateline NBC (1.5), and The Jay Leno Show (1.3). I think 21 season for L&O is a good possibility. It's doing very well for a Friday show, and would probably thrive on another night.

Fox did terribly again with House (1.0) and Bones (1.0) repeats. After Bones was up .2 over House last week, it came down, but still had higher total viewers. I would like to see Fox try Fringe in one of those timeslots just to see how another scifi show would do. Remember, Dollhouse is coming back on December 4. If it miraculously gets a 2.0, we'll probably be getting a third season!

Smallville is still hanging in there with a 1.1, down from last week, but still hanging in with the CW crowd.

Review - Sanctuary Season 2 Episode 7 Veritas

After we learned Bigfoot was killed I was once again confused as I was with Ashley's death which still makes no sense. Luckily it was all a farce and not another step towards a total change in the show.

The story itself was quite interesting, but the outcome was predictable. Everything in Sanctuary is related to abnormals, so the easy cop out in the end didn't come as a surprise. Obviously there is a beetle the renders the recipient into oblivions, obviously Bigfoot has skin that blocks bullets, obviously there is a substance that makes creatures seem close to death, and obviously Big Bertha was never a danger. (I'm being facetious)

Magnus would have been showing more signs of dementia This is the first time there has been talk of politics in the Sanctuary network, a interesting development belied by the fact that Magnus started the Sanctuary network. Why would Magnus hire people and keep them there if they weren't completely loyal to her? Is she that clueless?

Another week, and it seems the producers have a new idea for the split screen. This week it was doing close ups on everyone's faces to gauge their reactions. I still don't understand why they added that this season; it's out of place and unnecessary

Score: 8.7/10

Review - White Collar Season 1 Episode 5 The Portrait

I'm not sure there's much to say about White Collar. It's a fun show with fun characters. The plots are fairly simple and wrap up conveniently. There really isn't anything that catches my eye about the show. Overall everything is solid and there really isn't a weak part of the show which is why the scores of the show remain pretty high. If there is something that is done exceptionally well, the show could easily reach the upper echelon of scores each week.

The story for this particular episode was enjoyable but not mindblowing. I liked how Neal is a nice guy and gave the painting back to the original owner. It was interesting to see Deanna Russo who isn't a particularly talented actress which is probably why she was only in the first half of the episode. Her character was referenced, but never showed up again which is sad since her eyes are so stunning.

I was surprised how fast Neal and Kate reconnected. After instantly finding the note (at Grand Central Station no less!), he cracks the code, picks up the phone, looks over, and actually sees Kate. Right now, we know that Kate still loves, but needs Neal's secret stash, so the man with the ring will stay away from her. Neal doesn't give it to her since it's all he has, and maybe because he's still not completely trusting of her. After seeing Kate run off, surely there's some doubt in his mind to her motivations.

Peter's wife Elizabeth continues to make many appearances in the show, and I'm still not sure how she fits in. She serves as foil to Peter to show that he's not devoid of emotional connection to anyone, but she barely has any relevance. Work and home life usually has a huge detachment, but Peter tries to talk about his cases with Elizabeth, and more often than not, the scenes don't work. I don't think it's Tiffani Thiessen fault; her character is just misplaced.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 9 Life

I'm very slowly warming to Stargate Universe. and maybe a long ways down the road, I might actually say I'm a fan of the show. I'm not constantly complaining about everything (only half the time) and I enjoy more scenes. If someone were to ask me to compare FlashForward to Stargate Universe, I would actually say that SGU is a better show which isn't exactly saying much.

The writers are trying character development, but apparently they think it revolves around sex. Last night, we got to see a random scientist have sex with a mustached guy and later Greer as a way of coping with the stress. Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis had too little character development or character focus, but if SGU is going to have bad character development, I think I would prefer none at all.

Then there's the Young/Telford/Emily (Young's wife) insanity which is looking like a typical soap opera story. We still don't Telford's motivation for cozying up with Emily, but I'm sure it isn't just to be nice or friendly. He may want sex or something, but I'm guessing he's doing it to gain leverage over Young. I think the episode also kind of explained why Emily would sleep with something who doesn't look anything like her husband. She has some attraction to Telford and might have been thinking of Telford instead of Young while sleep with "Telford's body."

There was a bit of girl on girl action with Camile Wray and Sharon hooking up on Earth. Once again, I don't how Sharon could be intimate with someone that looks nothing like Camile even if she knew the mind was there. Anyways, their relationship is probably the strongest on the show. It seems as if the writers may be pandering to GLAAD, but that's probably my cynicism.

The Scott story was again cliché and difficult to watch. He uses the stones and discovers the girl he got pregnant all those years ago wants to talk to him. He shows up under the name of Colonel Telford and discovers an eight-year old. Yep, it's his. He talks to the mother and she "dances" to support herself.

I was totally confused by the scenes with everything exercising. I don't see why Young wants everyone to be healthy since most look in shape (they're all actors after all). Also, wouldn't exercising use up more water and food? And where the hell did they get all those gym clothes?

The best part of the show (and maybe the only part I truly like) is Rush. He's the character you want to like, but have to hate. After all the deception and wimping out with the chair, Rush really has no likable qualities other than his cool accent, and total lack of care for others.

Once again there was no coherent story. The communication stones scenes could easily have been spread across the other episodes with little trouble. Rush made a huge discovery with the chair, but there was pitifully few minutes dedicated to it. I still don't see where the series is going. There's no enemies or anything. Is everyone going to fight each other for the duration of the series?

Score: 8.5/10

Friday, November 20, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 11/19/09 - Say goodbye to FlashForward, Fringe?

FlashForward took another drop to 2.4 which is a very steep drop from the premiere of 2.4. It continues to tumble as the weeks pass, and it's only the ninth episode. After shows get bad press and bad comments from normal viewers, it's hard to recover. Maybe it can make a creative comeback with David Goyer replacing Marc Guggenheim, but it'll be hard to lure viewers who've already been disappointed.

In other news, ABC actually did worse than CBS for the night with Grey's Anatomy (5.1), and Private Practice (3.1) along with Flashforward which I've already discussed.

Fox was down from last week with Bones (2.7) and Fringe (2.0). Fringe continues to fluctuate in the 1.9-2.2 range which is NBC Terrible (new phrase). I think the best choice for Fox would be to move Fringe after House on Mondays, and move Lie to Me after Bones. I know changing things up on a Monday that is currently working is risky, but Fox needs to do something about Fringe's lagging numbers.

CBS was also down from last week with Survivor (3.8), CSI (3.5), and The Mentalist (3.7) which was up. It continues to be very consistent while CSI has been changing week to week.

NBC was down from last week with Community (2.0), Parks and Recreation (2.0), The Office (3.7), 30 Rock (2.8), and The Jay Leno Show (1.6).

CW has a good combo of The Vampire Diaries (1.6) and Supernatural (1.2) which are holding up against stiff competition.

Pretty much everything was down today which if you're inclined to think this way can be attributable to New Moon. There can't be any statistical data to prove this, but it is an odd coincidence.

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 10 Abandon All Hope...

After a couple funny episodes, Supernatural was finally brought back to the apocalypse and boy did it not disappoint. The only probably is that there won't be any new episodes until January 21. We got a few advances for mythology, but really, the episode was all about Ellen and Jo.

I thought they were misused in season 2, so when I heard the duo was coming back in season 5 I was excited. I was once again disappointed by how little screen time they got in "Good God, Y'All!" especially Jo. The writers finally decided to included them much more in "Abandon All Hope..." but alas, they also had to die.

The scenes with Ellen and Jo, and Dean and Jo really set the tone for the episode. It was sad, horrific, and bittersweet. Samantha Ferris and Alona Tal did superb jobs, and I'll be sad to see them go. Maybe the writers can try to bring them back in some incarnation or another.

The relationship between Jo and Dean has been interesting. Obviously they love each other, but never acted on it. Whether romantic or not, there is a special connection between them that is now lost. The last scene with the burning picture, no dialogue, was at the same time full of sadness, and love. Dean lost Jo and was sad for her, but at the same time, he showed his love for her.

Mischa Collins continues to be delightful. His deadpan delivery while drinking and the thing with the door handle made me crack a huge smile. Equally good is his stoic look and how he stood up and talked to Lucifer and Meg.

Mark Sheppard needs to get his own show. He's guest starred on all sorts of shows, and I think it's time he gets starring role. As Crowley he was devilish (demonish?) as usual, bringing that charm we've come to love. The downside was that he only had a few minutes of screen time which only made us want him more. He also had a very interesting idea about Lucifer that no demon has brought up. Lucifer is an angel, and has as much hate for demons as humans. After taking out the humans, he'll go after the demons.

My problem with the episode was that it revealed little about Lucifer's plan. We did see him summon Death using a bunch of reapers, but what was the point of summoning Death? A "gotcha" scene would have been nice, so we could anticipate a little of what is ahead. I'm not sure of it's significance, but when Lucifer saw that Dean and Sam were taken away by Castiel, he gave a little smirk which indicates his confidence or that he has a master plan that also involves Dean.

Score: 9.7/10

Is Minelli Red John? (The Mentalist)

Red John will eventually be caught and we'll eventually be able to see his face. The questions is whether we've already seen him. There's been theories thrown around, so I'll throw my hat into the ring. Minelli is Red John. I know that's been said many times, so here's my reasoning based solely on last night's episode.

I found a striking parallel between Minelli and Red John. Red John had screwed up, possibly leaving DNA evidence. He saved himself in essence by cutting off his right hand (Rebecca). He threw her to the wolves with no intention of saving her.

Minelli on the other hand quit, because he hadn't lost any agents in 8 years until now. He finally had enough and could retire without any more pain.

But what if quitting was just a smokescreen for his inadequacies as Red John. He saw how close he was to being caught and now wants out. Red John may not have a pathological need for murder which is why he is able to leave everything behind.

You might ask why Rebecca told Jane that Red John killed Bosco and his team, because Jane wanted it. Going along with the rest of my theory, if Red John was quitting, the implication that Jane killed Bosco could be his last attack against Jane. We see how Jane reacts afterward. He's just sitting there silent; her words had a profound effect on him, and if it really was Red John's last attack, it was effective.

I remember Bruno Heller saying something along the lines that Red John may never be caught. I don't like this idea at all, and would like to see further progress in the Red John story. It is the one thing compelling Jane, but at the same time, he has to get on with his life.

Review - The Mentalist Season 2 Episode 8 His Red Right Hand

This is the review I've wanted to get to all day. I said I loved the latest episode of Fringe, but The Mentalist last night blew my mind. Absolutely riveting from the first minute to the last. The Mentalist is generally a light show, but if you don't watch The Mentalist for that reason, you must watch this episode. If you don't, I'm likely to burst into your house and jam your face against a television (joking of course).

Minelli's telling off of the reporter was such an amazing scene. It's a shame Gregory Itzin probably won't be on very many episodes since Minelli quit. His delivery during that scene was as close to perfect as it gets. I can't put into words how I felt while watching. It literally gave me chills.

Bosco dying? Did anyone see that coming? Rebecca couldn't kill him the first time, and couldn't kill him the second time, but he died anyways. That's harsh. I saw Bruno Heller's quote in TV Guide Magazine that an agent would die. I started thinking, and I couldn't figure out how the writers would kill off a character in such a light-hearted show. Well I got my answer. They threw out everything light and just pounded us over and over again with emotional scenes.

Simon Baker as always was at the top of his game, bring out Jane's single-mindedness when it comes to Red John. There is almost a switch that is turned whenever Red John comes into the picture. Jane can be fun, easy going, and rather carefree during normal murder investigations, even if they involve the most heinous crime, but the personal element Red John brings is quite profound.

I don't know if this episode signals a turning point where The Mentalist becomes more serious (the opening credits were quite awkward), but this episode proved the writers and actors can deliver an episode of pure emotional if they want. A fun Mentalist is great, and a dramatic Mentalist is just as good. It'll be interesting to see how the writers deal with their ability.

Score: 10/10

I know you want to know who I think Red John is, but wait a while, and I'll have a totally separate post for that.

Review - Fringe Season 2 Episode 8 August

For a lot of people, this episode was hit or miss. Personally, I loved it. The pacing was amazing, the story was good (though a tad sappy), there were great emotional scenes, and we learned more about the Observers.

Granted the inhuman creature loving a human has been done in a variety of ways that Fringe pretty much copied, I still find it interesting each time. Love is an abstract concept that can't be defined by the strict logical reasoning the Observers employ. So how does an Observer come to love a human he has only watched? For whatever reason, this Observer, August, was compelled to save this woman, risking everything and going against his brothers (?) in the process.

Peter finally did something badass which should have come much earlier since badassery is NOT reserved solely to Olivia. We got to see him kick down a door, and then punch the assassin with a gun at his head. Then we got to see him shoot the assassin with the crazy Observer gun. Maybe in the future we can see Peter carry a gun all the time. It would make him far more useful than he currently is.

I was confused why the Observers would get a human hitman to do their dirty work. From what we've seen, Observers can do the job themselves quite effectively. By confronting August with another Observer, there was also a greater chance the meeting wouldn't end in bloodshed.

There are lots of theories out there, but at least I think we can infer that the car crash where Walter and Peter were saved by the Observer is somehow related to Peter being kidnapped by Walter. The Observers maintain some kind of equilibrium in the universe which is why Christine had to die. Maybe Peter had to live so an Observer helped Walter cross over to bring another Peter back. As with the other Abrams shows, I'm already feeling the weight of the mythology build to an unexplainable point.

Score: 9.5/10

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 11 Shareholder Meeting

The Office is very effective at having different kinds of episodes. It can have episodes with the jokes coming in rapid succession, or it can have a long drawn out story that is funny because of the situation and how the characters deal with it.

Michael should go into showbiz. He's electrifying, and enthusiastic about being in front of the crowd. I know his comedy content is usually terrible, but all he has to do is hire a writer, and people would love him. Since we won't be seeing that ever, we'll be seeing Michael working his magic in the office for more years to come.

In the recession, the corporate suits at Dunder Mifflin have absolutely no clue what to do, which leads to the shareholders yelling at them. Michael trying to save the day was funny, but he didn't in the end which kind of put a damper on things. I really wanted Michael to do something helpful and save the day for once on a large scale, but even Oscar couldn't help. The result was a funny scene where Michael, Andy, Dwight, and Oscar run off.

Jim finally put Ryan in his place, kicking him to the closet. It was interesting to see Jim get pushed until he actually reacted and did something. He didn't scream as others would have (though Pam claims he never has), instead choosing to deal with Ryan quietly.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 10 Environmental Science

I'm really liking these surreal scenes near the end of each episode. As with "Spanish 101," and " Introduction to Statistics," "Environmental Science" had that brilliant scene where Shirley solved her speaking problem with Pierce's help, Señor Chang and his wife dancing awkwardly, and Abed and Troy finding the mouse. All this was set to "Somewhere Out There" sung by Troy and Abed. Donald Glover and Danny Pudi did a surprising wonderful job and after rewatching it several times, it was still heartwarming.

I don't know if the sheen has worn of  Ken Jeong, but I liked how the writers added an extra angle to his character. Instead of continuing his craziness, we learn the reason for his malfeasance, and we had several dramatic scenes.

Jeff was selfish and is still selfish. I'm not sure if the writers are trying to gradually have him change, but so far, I'm really not seeing it. Everything worked out in the end, but let's be frank; the circumstances allowed Jeff to salvage the situation. He would have been content to let his friends turn in the 20-page paper, and took full advantage of Señor Change. He could have pushed Chang more Since this won't change for all while, but took his benefits and didn't try very hard to extend it to his friends.

There were a couple random things that I liked: Annie's choo choo, Pierce using the Chair, Troy being scared of rodents, Annie overextending the time limit and Chang dealing with her. Community has been inconsistent and at times I've been disappointed by it, but the past few episodes have really been good.

Score: 9.2/10

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 11/18/09

CBS won the night with The New Adventures of Old Christine (2.2), Garry Unmarried (2.4),Criminal Minds (3.7), and CSI: NY (3.2) which took a  fall from the crossover last week. Criminals Minds increased .3 from last week.

Fox came was very close to ABC with the strong combination of SYTYCD (2.1), and Glee (3.3).

ABC recovered from last time it had new comedy episodes with a Modern Family repeat (1.9), The Middle (2.4), Modern Family (3.7), Cougar Town (3.2), and In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts: Janet Jackson (2.3). The Modern Family repeat gave a huge boost to The Middle which was struggling with Hank giving it a bad lead-in. This is good news for the show since it proved it can survive if it has a better lead-in. Modern Family is now consistently outperforming Cougar Town which shouldn't come as a surprise.

NBC lagged behind with Mercy (2.0), Law & Order: SVU (2.6), and The Jay Leno Show (1.4). Mercy improved .3 from last week, but its numbers are still fluctuating, so I really don't know what to say. One week it's way down and looks to be dead, and the next week it is way up.

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 9 Believe

I'm not going to spend much time on this review for several reasons. One, because the episode hasn't aired yet, and two, because I spent way too much time lambasting the show last week. If you haven't watched the episode, and don't want to be spoiled, don't read ahead.

I finally have a theory on all the yelling and unlikable characters. It's intentional. This week, there were several scenes in which certain characters are screaming at each other. Something I've noticed is that people scream on FlashForward a lot more than on other shows. What the intent is that whenever there are two characters alone, there is increased tension just because you expect them to be angry at each other. Maybe you think I'm being satirical, but considering the terrible writing, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch.

"Believe" was far more character-based than any other episode, and to an extent, it actually worked. We learn that Bryce was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma which he kept hidden. He then travels to Japan after Olivia finds out, and begins his search, ending in disappointment.

The episode also focused on the girl he saw, Keiko. She had a generic story with getting a job, feeling crushed by the insular Japanese culture, and finally going to Los Angeles with her guitar. The Japanese actress Yuko Takeuchi did a good job with both the emotional scenes and

I loved the irony in the end that the restaurant was actually in LA and that Bryce had gone to Japan, almost missed her, and now is close to her again. How great is that?

I still have no idea why Genevieve Cortese was cast. First of all, she's a terrible actress. After watching her for a season on Supernatural, I was practically begging to bring Katie Cassidy. And then there's the fact that she doesn't look the part. We're supposed to believe she was in the military? Her story with the PMCs may be interesting, but her character is dragging it down.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Criminal Minds Season 5 Episode 8 Outfoxed

Wow, very interesting episode, and it set up the 100th episode which looks to be very emotional and explosive episode. Criminal Minds is one of those shows that there really isn't much to talk about; you really have to watch the show to get the essence of it.

Hotch and Emily spent the majority at the prison with a serial killer from season 1 episode 7. I was confused why the people in charge decided to bring back a character from so long ago. The episode aired in 2005, so who actually remembered him? Anyways, we got a little bit of recap as they tried to discover his secret. It was a tad disturbing seeing Emily flirt with the Fox, and Paget Brewster did a great job, but that's part of Criminal Minds - creepiness.

The rest of the case was pretty good with multiple roadblocks until Reid broke it open, remembering.a fact about brains. The killer turned out to be a woman who had experienced trauma as a child. This episode balanced the scenes of rest of the team with the scenes of the prison well so we had great slow paced scenes mixed in with faster paced scenes.

Score: 9.1/10

A good day for television - Lost, Chuck

I'm sure you've heard by now (who hasn't?!?!?), but to those who haven't (are you living under a rock??), here's the deal.

Chuck is returning on Sunday, January 10 2010 at 9 PM with back-to-back episodes, and then moving back to it's regular timeslot at 8 PM on Monday, January 11. Yes that's right, we get 3 (THREE!!) episodes in 2 days.

Equally exciting is the news that Lost is returning on Tuesday, February 2 2010 at 9 PM. It is expected that V will take the 10 PM slot which may or may not be a good thing.

Yes I know my excitement was probably too much, but just think of this, in less than 2 months, Chuck will be back!! To put that into perspective, remember the season premieres? It's about that long until then. I know, it's actually pretty short!!

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 8 Great Expectations

Modern Family is really clicking, especially for a first year show. I have yet to see any serious weakness with the show. The writing and acting work very well together, and each episode continues to have plenty of laugh out loud moments along with decent drama.

Elizabeth Banks stole the show last night as Sal the excitable party girl. I absolutely loved her performance and how she interacted with Cameron and Mitchell. The story was surprisingly heartfelt as Cameron and Mitchell confronted her about her dislike of Lily. Apparently Lily has displaced Sal as their go to girl, but it all ended happily.

Edward Norton on the other hand didn't quite do it for me. He played Izzy LaFontaine, a musician way past his prime. It was funny that Claire hired him even though Phil hated the band, but the performance of the musician itself was weak. Maybe it was the writing, but I found it mildly amusing at most. I think Phil and Claire made the story better, but I was disappointed throughout the scenes with all three of them.

Jay's night was the best storyline. It had all the kids, Gloria, and Jay all working together to make us laugh. Manny was pining over Haley who was trying to escape the house to attend a party. Jay was there is step in, hilariously teleporting (?) outside to change the light bulb just as she was about to run off. Alex is continuing to trick her significantly stupider siblings which is a lot of fun.

My favorite running gag was Luke thinking that Jay would die. The writers didn't overplay their hand and have those situations too often which made Luke's hugs or cries of love so much better.

Score: 9.2/10

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 11/17/09 - Eek! V drops again

For a second week V dropped, this week to 3.1. Dancing with the Stars had a very low 3.2, and The Forgotten had a low 1.8. I expect V to level off eventually, but it's  disappointing it is reaching FlashForward levels. The good news (or bad news) is that V will go on a very long hiatus until March which means that if the ratings drop even more next week, ABC has a chance to salvage the show with promotion.

CBS won the night with NCIS (4.1), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.4), and The Good Wife (2.6). I'm starting to really get worried about The Good Wife. As stated earlier, it is the best new drama of the season, and probably is near the top of my priorities for Tuesdays. The ratings are continuing to slide which is not a good sign considering how CBS has a trigger finger for shows that perform worse than their "gold standard."

NBC did well with Merry Madagascar (2.9), The Biggest Loser (3.7), and The Jay Leno Show (1.9).

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 11/16/09

ABC did well with Dancing with the Stars (3.9), and Castle (2.5) which was was up .1 from last week. Castle has been fluctuating around this level so at least it won't drop significantly from here.

CBS did about as well as Fox with How I Met Your Mother (3.4), Accidentally on Purpose (2.8), Two and a Half Men (4.7), The Big Bang Theory (5.0), and CSI: Miami. After the crossover last week, CSI: Miami fell past the ratings for 2 weeks ago. I still can't understand how Two and a Half Men does so much better than How I Met Your Mother. There's also lots of hot women on HIMYM, and the writing is so much better.

Fox did great again with the combo of House (5.0) and Lie to Me (2.7). I've been hearing a lot of good things about Lie to Me this season, especially with the addition of Shawn Ryan as showrunner, and I heard lots of positive comments about the last episode. The ratings are still way down from House, but still decent which is why Fox probably doesn't want to mess with it.

NBC again sucked with Heroes (2.2) and Trauma (1.8). Heroes fell to another low which isn't surprising. From the first 4 volumes, the writing has gotten progressively worse as the parts continue.

Review - The Prisoner (2009) Part 5 Schizoid and Part 6 Checkmate

Now I can see why the critics disliked The Prisoner. As a whole, the miniseries is pretty bad, but individually the parts aren't that bad. There are some very complex themes that I would like to do more investigation of, but the story is so hard to follow, I think it would be too much of a hassle.

It's so confusing and byzantine that you can't just focus on one thing at a time. Elements and characters are introduced at the blink of an eye, and just taken away at the same rate. I couldn't understand the significance of the doppelgänger, or even how it got there. I couldn't understand 1112 and why we should care about him. I couldn't understand what most of the things have to do with anything.

The essential plot point is that Two's comatose wife is the source of the Village. It's all in her head, but when she dies, she needs a replacement. That's where Six and 313 come in. They're the new Two and dreaming wife that create the Village. Interesting, but it would have been better if the rest of the miniseries went in this direction from the beginning instead of wasting time going around one random thing to another.

Television is made for watching one time, but Bill Gallagher made it so that only the most astute viewer would be able to truly appreciate what he made. The average viewer would have only a notion of what was going on, and certainly would not grasp the full extent of the Village and the interactions of the characters. There is simply too much emphasis on weird storytelling using awkward (innovative?) techniques that leave much to be desired.

Score: 8.6/10

Total Score: 8.0/10

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 8 Unprepared

I'm sure I've said this before, but The Good Wife is the best new drama of the season. It may even be the best new show of the season, rivaling Modern Family. I'll be doing a separate ratings post, but it looks like The Good Wife won't be getting a second season. I know it's early, but don't get your hopes up.

The plots of each episode are simple. There are rarely any moments relating to the case that make you gasp or really hang on the edge of your seat. This week I saw the real villain the first time he showed up on screen. It was predictable, but fun to see Diane catch him.

Far more compelling is Alicia and her continuing problems with her husband. We see she is hurting and trying to deal with the situation as best she can. But with the hot “reputation manager" and testifying on the stand, she is really having a hard time.

And that's not even considering her son Zach. I am rarely a fan of teenagers on television for good reason, and Zach is proving not to be an exception. I thought he was fine the first few episodes, but as the season progressed, there were more and more moments that I groaned at the writing for him. There was a scene in the beginning where Alicia talked with her children about Peter  home. Grace asks where he's going to stay , and then Zach comes in and in the most condescending voice, says "In mom's room. Where do you think?" I literally said out loud "what a douche."

I'll acknowledge that the teenage years are usually turbulent, but this doesn't mean every teenager on TV has to be a loser. Last night after getting a double dose of teenage dreck from Tyler on V, and Zach on The Good Wife, I was wondering why writers have such a hard time writing for teenagers. They can write well for small children, old people, middle-aged people, but when it comes to teenagers, there's a good chance they are annoying and really unlikable.

I liked the mystery surrounding Peter and the politics behind everything. I wish the cases would get more interesting -- at least an occasional loss -- and I'm at a loss to why the writers can be so effective writing for Alicia and Peter while writing the same legal stuff every week.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 8 Power Down

Is this the first time the opening credits were changed? I'm wondering because I almost squealed with delight when at the end of the credits, the lights at the capital all went out. It set up an episode entire in the dark and without power.

Gibbs the dinosaur of course knew exactly what to do. He busted out the old school copying machine, and Polaroids. It's not that Gibbs learned to work without electricity, he's just more prepared. He's Gibbs after all!

The crime solving went exceedingly slow without AFIS and other computer run system, everything had to be done by hand. That set up many great scenes with Abby, McGee, and all the other characters. Did I mention that Abby was homebrewing Caf Pow? How awesome is that?!?!?

The crime itself was above average and had a fair share of cool twists. I usually don't like to comment on the procedural elements, because the team dynamic is about 5 times more important, so I won't...

I loved it when McGee mentioned Doctor Who and the TARDIS. Tony had no clue, but why would he? He's American. I have nothing against Americans since I am one myself, but our understanding of other cultures is quite limited. Maybe we don't have to accept what others do, but at least we have to know what others do first.

Score: 9.6/10

Review - V (2009) Season 1 Episode 3 A Bright New Day

After a lackluster second episode, V delivered with an episode full of twisty goodness. If the series continues like this, I think the audience will enjoy all the campy fun.

Now the beginning of the episode was rather dull with a weird search for an assassin, but it was made infinitely more interesting because the assassin turned out to be a Visitor. Those damn reptiles sure are crafty! There was also the revelation in the end that Lisa was Anna's daughter and she is using Tyler. It wasn't a total bombshell, but the scene was made in a way that it really did seem more startling than it actually was.

I thought Erica's exploration into the Visitor's HQ was wasted. While we did learn the Visitor's uniforms have hidden cameras, there wasn't a confrontation with the Visitors. What would have made the episode much better was less daddling in the beginning, and some scenes where there is real tension between the Visitors and humans. The only opposition we've seen so far are the protesters who aren't given much focus. I wish there were some signs that those not in full opposition to the Visitors are still uneasy about them.

On a sad note, we probably won't be seeing Alan Tudyk again at least for a while, but the way he died fully propelled the story ahead which is what FlashForward isn't doing. We learn about the Fifth Column and how they are resisting the Visitors. Their "hero" is someone named John May. I know things like this are cheesy, but that's part of V. The reimagining is keeping it's roots closer to the original than BSG which isn't necessarily bad.

Morena Baccarin continues to impress with Anna who is shaping up to be as good as Diana from the original. That scene where she is standing there practicing her lines for the widow over and over again really caught my attention. I love how after a quick discussion, the widow instantly forgave the Visitors. Maybe it was technological coercion, or genuine emotion; we can't be certain. What we do know is that Anna is smart...and she has a plan.

The end of the episode brought together Erica, Jack, Ryan, and Georgie, setting up the group that will lead the resistance. There is one episode to go before the very long hiatus. I'm guessing that the next episode will build up the resistance, and when the show comes back in March, they'll be in a full force war.

Right now, the Visitors are far more interesting than the humans which was probably expected since aliens are always more interesting than humans. Only time will time of the writers can bring that same kind of intrigue to the humans that the Visitors have.

Score: 9.3/10

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nielsen fail for Monday 11/16/09 - no ratings

Just a small note, Nielsen had a power outage so they don't have the results for Monday night. If you check their website, it's also down, so they probably aren't lying.

Most people don't really care, but if Trauma somehow got a 3.0, maybe it could have been saved...

Review - The Prisoner (2009) Part 3 Anvil and Part 4 Darling

To be honest, I don't care much for The Prisoner, so I was eating and browsing the internet while watching Part 3 on my MP3 player, and as expected I didn't follow the story to the best of my ability. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking that if I watch the miniseries very closely, I might like it better. If I have time, I might do that over the weekend and report my new thoughts.

There are some really excellent scenes with great acting, directing, and soundtrack, but there just isn't enough cohesion to tie together all these great scenes. The relevance is often lost as Six wakes up in his bed after something exciting happens. It makes you wonder what is real and what isn't real, but then why should I care?

It liked seeing the rest of the Village and some of it's covert operations. I know because it's a miniseries, but I would like to see an entire episode where Six just explores the place. From the inherent surrealism of the Village, I'm sure viewers could be thoroughly entertained for the entire episode.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - Castle Season 2 Episode 9 Love Me Dead

I must admit that the twist in the end that the hooker was the bad guy caught me by surprise. It seemed like the episode was done with the criminal caught and everything seemingly resolved, but there was also 4 minutes left. The writers did a great job making a sob story for the call job and Michaela McManus also did a great job with her portrayal.

J.B. Smoove played Norman Jessup who was probably one of my favorite guests. He had little to do with the case other then pointing them in the right direction, but was really funny in every scene. It really was a no brainer to insert him into scenes after his character couldn't provide anymore help.

I was rather unimpressed by the outcome of the Alexis story which could potentially have added more drama in the next few episodes. Instead, the issue was resolved with Alexis explaining how it was only some exchange program and she wasn't planning on going anyways. Lame...

Score: 9.2/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 5 Episode 8 The Playbook

I guess the writers are going to route of making Barney's character development punctuated, if indeed they are even planning on having him change. One episode after his breakup with Robin, Barney is back to his old tricks which are all documented in his ingenious playbook. I'm not going to fault the writers for doing this -- The Playbook was totally hilarious from beginning to end. What I'm worried about, and cautiously optimistic about is how they are going to deal with Barney in the long run which may or may not included Robin. I thought the two could have good dramatic and funny moments, but since they are broken up, we'll see.

Barney's playbook went from the simple " The Don't Drink That" which involves telling a girl not to drink a poisoned drink, to the more elaborate "The Mrs. Stinsfire" which involves dressing up as a house mom. The list goes on and on, and if you haven't watched the episode, or don't watch the show, you have to at least watch the tricks on Youtube...including "The Cheap Trick."

The most complex was of course "The Lorenzo Von Matterhorn" which is the most amazingly elaborate plan ever. To recap, Barney makes a bunch of fake webpages, walks up to a girl, and announces himself as Lorenzo Von Matterhorn whom everyone should know. Of course she doesn't, but then Googles him, and finds the webpages. Stories of glory and honor pop up, and she's instantly interested. It's legen...wait for it...dary.

The episode revolves around "The Scuba Diver" which is about as ingenious as "The Lorenzo Von Matterhorn." Basically Barney cons everyone into helping him get a girl. Once the plan is set in motion, all he has to do is wear a scuba outfit.

I'm a stickler for continuity and cohesiveness across the episode, and while "The Playbook" didn't feel quite right after the breakup, there was so much good content that I have to give a high score. Looking ahead, the writers hinted that Barney may not be over Robin, but since that was part of "The Scuba Diver" there's a chance Barney wasn't being forthright about his trickery.

Score: 9.7/10

Review - House Season 6 Episode 8 Teamwork

Everyone is clamoring over Jennifer Morrison leaving the show at least temporarily, so here's my take.

Our journey begins in season 3. Chase and Cameron start sleeping together, but Cameron ends it after Chase wants it to be a real relationship. The season finale ends with Chase getting fired, and Cameron and Foreman quitting. Cameron shows up at Chase's door and thus their relationship begins.

Season 4 started with a whole new cast of characters with Chase and Cameron on the periphery occasionally popping in to do something unimportant. Their relationship continued until season 5 and they finally married in the season finale.

Cut to season 6. The new team is split, so Cameron and Chase fill the void. The short story is that Chase kills sometime, and later Cameron finds out. They decide to leave the hospital together, but then Chase decides to stay, so Cameron apparently leaves him.

WTF?

Let's face it. Chase and Cameron weren't given enough screen time in the two previous seasons to make their relationship believable. The writers spent more time with Foreteen than them which is a shame. Now we're supposed to believe that somehow the allure of diagnostics and House made Chase willing to destroy his marriage. Without any pretext, he just decides and Cameron exits. And this is also disregarding all the episodes where Cameron was totally fixated on House. The final word on that is that she's over him, and he's responsible for what Chase did, which essentially makes him a terrible person in her eyes.

Perhaps the blow was softened by the last scene which was quite excellent, but I was left with the thought "that's it?" Five years at on House, and Jennifer Morrison has to leave due to... Not only did it not make sense for her to leave, but also the manner in which she left was pathetic. The writers couldn't think of anything better, so they sent her out uncharacteristically

I suppose Cuddy and Lucas fit in the pattern of things randomly popping up. After Lucas was absent for an entire season, he shows up and has a few snuggly scenes with Cuddy. Huh? We've rarely seen Cuddy with another guy, and then Lucas who showed only a physical interest a year ago is now fully embedded in her life.

The porn star medical story fit nicely with all the Cameron Chase drama going on, but it really wasn't the focus of the episode.

Once again, the redeeming factor of the episode was House who went around pestering Taub and Thirteen in funny ways. Eventually they caved and joined back in which by itself is a snore.

Episodes like "Teamwork" make me wonder how the writers ever made it to a sixth season. Then I remember that Hugh Laurie carries the show and without him, the show would be dead. The writing is already dead, but as long as Hugh Laurie stays, the show is safe.

Score: 8.1/10
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