Monday, May 31, 2010

Review - United States of Tara Season 2 Episode 11 To Have and to Hold

The season finale is next week! It's seems like just yesterday the season began, but all good things must come to an end. And on the bright side, the show was renewed for another season after one episode, although the ratings have taken a big decline since the season premiere.

We came awfully close to finding out what's behind Tara and as soon as that happens, another wrinkle is thrown in. Through the wonders of the internet, Tara and Charmaine visit Mimi and make a startling discovery that Mimi not only took care of them but was also their foster mother. Then, Mimi's husband, Duane, comes out and so does T for the first time this season. T spouts off about Duane doing inappropriate things until Mimi says that she didn't even meet Duane in 1976. Out comes Chicken, a very young alter of Tara, one blissfully unaware of the strife around her.

So what now? Mimi drops the line that her foster home was for those from especially abusive households, which would lead back to Tara and Charmaine's hateful mother, but what if Mimi was lying about when she met Duane? I guess we'll find out next week.

I'm not sure how to approach Zach. From my perspective, everything about him is creepy. Telling Kate she just has to be herself? He did leave once he saw Kate's teenager room last week. Inquiring about a restraining order against Tara? Weird. Buying Kate a condo? Totally weird.

Lionel, on the other hand, started the episode where Zach was, mysterious and doing things outside the norm. He connects with Marshall, and for the first time, we see another side of Zach. He creates the story of what happened after the park to compensate for his desire to have more, to be loved, and that's where Marshall comes in. If this is even possible, the identity crisis problem, which has plagued every character this season, seems to be done with Marshall for now--until, of course, something happens with/to Lionel.

Next week is Charmaine and Nick's wedding and something must happen. Neil realizes that Charmaine's daughter will be his daughter as well and begins to have second thoughts; however he's leaving town since Charmaine is the only reason for him staying around. As a lesson to everyone--don't fixate on one person. Before heading off with Tara, Charmaine expresses some of her feelings, but is still waffling between the two. That doesn't spell good news for Nick, who has been more than generous--almost perfect in the way the family was perfect last season in spite of the craziness--but I predict that Charmaine will go through with the wedding. Then we'll see Nick's cracks.

Score: 9.1/10

Plans for the summer

After a grueling year of television which had me reviewing over 500 episodes among other posts, summer is finally upon us and there just isn't that much watch. However, I don't want the blog to die down and there are some shows to watch, so I'll still be writing. First off, CSN Stores offered me an opportunity to review one of their products, a pair of noise canceling headphones. Be sure to check out their products from TV stands to sofas.

The next big project is to rewatch and review every episode and movie of The X-Files--all 202 episodes and two movies. To finish in time, I'm thinking about reviewing 2-3 episodes a day, which shouldn't be too bad considering that I was sometimes reviewing over 8 episodes a day.

As for the shows I'll be watching and reviewing over the summer, here's the list: Burn Notice, Royal Pains, Lie to Me, True Blood, Leverage, Warehouse 13, Mad Men, Dark Blue, Flashpoint, Psych, White Collar, Better Off Ted, Haven, Rubicon, Covert Affairs. Tentatively, I'm putting The Closer on the list and Royal Pains may come off.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 11 Abiquiu

Breaking Bad isn't a big picture show, focusing, instead, on the characters and their relationships to each other and their relationships to the drug trade. Rarely do we see the average drug user, those bystanders caught up in Walt's business who buy the drugs and don't sell. Occasionally there may be some like Spooge and his woman, but for the most part, there has been an isolation between the two worlds--and rightfully so. Gus runs his drug empire from the safety of his nice house and Walt and Jesse cooked in the RV and now in a fancy lab. They don't see the effects of their drugs so neither do the viewers.

"Abiquiu" bridged the gap and gave us another angle to look at, and true to the show, from the perspective of the characters. Jesse goes to rehab and finds out that Skinny Pete and Badger haven't sold any meth even though they planted the seeds a while back. They're not born drug dealers or hardened to the point where they don't care about people they see trying to get better. Jesse, however, is of another mindset and quickly turns himself towards Andrea, an innocent woman who looks to be easy prey.

And she is, Jesse kissing and ready to make the offer, but then her son, Brock, comes in and Jesse realizes that he may be ruining the kid's life if he sells Andrea the drugs. Certainly his experience with Jane would tell him that drugs do very bad things to people and that will be forever ingrained in his mind. To make matters worse, Andrea tells the story of her younger brother Tomas. As she recounted the story of her brother joining a crew, selling drugs, and eventually shooting someone, I started to put the pieces together and realized she was talking about Combo. The drugs Jesse peddles contributes the systemic decay of entire neighborhood's and Andrea's young brother was one of many victims. It's weird how these coincidences keep happening and they work well together.

At the end of the episode, Jesse returns to the scene of the crime, the corner where Combo was shot. Tomas is still there, circling on his bike. Jesse buys some drugs and walks away, clearly angry at something. But is he angry at himself or Tomas and the others?

It's hard to choose who is the most important character in each episode this season. More often than not, Walt doesn't play as big a role as he used and the other characters step up to the plate. Skyler's dramatic change puts her in running with Jesse. Her inner criminal comes out to play for a second time and again it was something to see. Last time, she spun a tale of Walt's gambling. This time, she dives into Saul's side of the business, telling him how to properly keep the money safe with a vigor that is would seem to come from someone like Saul, not a mother with a baby.

Skyler is reaching that turning point where she is about to break and something inside of Walt--an ultimately redeemable quality of his--recognizes that she is heading down the wrong pass and gives her ample opportunity to back out. But Skyler sees it in no other way. In an attempt to safeguard her family's financial future, much like Walt did, she turns to crime. Once she reaches that point where law no longer matters, she enters the realm Walt is currently in, a self-delusional state where she will believe that she is doing everything in the interests of others when in reality she is is filling a void inside herself.

The end of the episode has a curious scene in which Gus invites Walt over for dinner, offering simple advice, "Never make the same mistake twice." What is the mistake? Gus has his hands everywhere so he could know any number of things from Jesse's drug dealing on the side to Skyler's involvement.

This is far out there (and almost 99% wrong), but if Gus is viewed as a man with compassion (and that's a huge stretch), his warning could serve to stop Skyler from going down the same path Walt did, the first mistake being Walt breaking bad and the second mistake being Skyler breaking bad. All we've seen so far is a detached Gus, politicking for his own ends, and all evidence still points to him as one who makes moves carefully and for a purpose (handing the knife to Walt was kind of like a bitch slap) but what if the dinner was just him being friendly?

With a detour into a different area of Albuquerque, the plot was opened up to several more avenues involving Andrea and Tomas. There are two episodes left in the season, so something major will happen soon.

Score: 8.9/10

Preview of Week 05/30/10 - 06/05/10

Breaking Bad - AMC, Sunday, May 30, 10:00pm ET

After last week's freakishly smart/crazy episode, it looks like everything will be back on track which means anything can happen.

Justified - FX, Tuesday. June 1, 10:00pm ET

As the final two episodes of the season come around, the heat will be turning up. Boyd is out of control and Raylan will have to put a stop to him, but he may need his father's help.

Burn Notice - USA, Thursday, June 3, 9:00pm ET

The underlying mythology of Burn Notice has gotten kind of muddled and illogical with all the twists and turns that all go back to the simple fact that all the people who burned him want is his help. The beginning of Season 3 begins with another reset and Michael is quickly back into the spy game.

Royal Pains - USA, Thursday, June 3, 10:00pm ET

Royal Pains really began to wear on me in the later half of its first season and the second season begins much the same way. There's way too much interpersonal relationship problems, not enough comedy, and not enough medical stuff. That's where the difference between Royal Pains and Burn Notice is glaring. Burn Notice focuses on standalone stories much more and keeps away from soap opera-y arcs while Royal Pains embraces the soapy aspect to a point where everything feels labored.

Flashpoint - CBS, Friday, June 4, 9:00pm ET

Flashpoint would seem to be a normal procedural on the surface; it’s about an elite police team trained to talk down dangerous situations and if need be, take decisive action. Pretty simple, right? Well it is, and then you watch the show. Almost every episode immerses viewers into both sides of the equation—both the law enforcement angle and the mind of the criminal. It can get a little too sappy at times, but Flashpoint is one of the few procedurals that can bring out so much emotion.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Review - Party Down Season 2 Episode 6 Not On Your Wife Closing Night

"Not On Your Wife Closing Night" was a farce in its truest sense. After the community theater, Party Down does the catering and at the same time enters their own farce, thus the episode itself becomes a farce. The episode doesn't get moving until halfway through until all hell breaks loose for a wild ride until the end. There are mistaken people, kissing, lesbians, cheating, improbable coincidences, and it all comes flying together in the final scene.

On the character front, Casey and Henry are inching closer and closer together. Last week Casey stripped off her clothes before Henry stopped her, and this week they kiss twice before Henry breaks away. Based on the episode description, Kristen Bell is showing up next week. Naked mud wrestling, anyone? I haven't been a fan of Lydia going around an gossiping, but she actually tried to engage her coworkers this week, asking Casey for advice and doing to deed with Ron.

Score: 9.0/10

Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review - Supernatural: The Unholy Cause

I haven't read any of the previous Supernatural books so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but I was highly impressed by The Unholy Cause, an engrossing 300-page novel (paperback) penned by Joe Schreiber. The story follows Sam and Dean Winchester into the world of Civil War reenactments, a scene surely filled with kooks in their own right but nothing too violent and horrific.

The novel begins with a typical cold open of Supernatural--gory, disgusting and at the same time, mesmerizing for the monstrosity of events that just occurred. Soon the brothers go to the small town where they pretend to be feds, meet the local LEOs, and interview witnesses, slowly piecing everything together. It plays out much like an episode with all the twists and turns and ghoulish happenings.

Set somewhere in the middle of the fifth season, the novel is quite ambitious, tying in the Apocalypse in a way never portrayed on screen; it's epic in all regards. Near the end of the book, I was thinking to myself that the story would make for an awesome episode and then I remembered the budget constrictions. Writing allows scenes of greater numbers, greater destruction in true proportions of the Apocalyse never before seen.

Schreiber clearly understands the show and his dialogue is as close to authentic as it gets. Dean's smarmy attitude, Sam's bookish seriousness, and Castiel's on-the-nose literalism come through fluidly. The mythology is surprisingly deep and dives into issues not addressed on the show. I'm a fan of the show and I felt the book really encompassed everything from the unique dynamic between the brothers to the foreboding nature of the fifth season.

I'm not sure how non-viewers would react to the book, especially when there are so many references to past events that will fly over their heads--and that may be for the better. Fans will revel in the characterization and the deep mythology which have their fingerprints all over the pages.

And since I've been overwhelming positive about the novel, I have to warn that the book still is pulp fiction. It's not intended to be the next Faust. The prose is rather simple and easy to read--perfect for those of us who sit on the couch all day and watch television!

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 05/27/10

Fox won with So You Think You Can Dance (3.0).

CBS was a distant second with repeats of How I Met Your Mother (1.1), Rules Of Engagement (1.3), CSI (1.5), and The Mentalist (1.9).

NBC was third with a repeat of Community (0.9), 100 Questions (0.8), and repeats of The Office (1.3), 30 Rock (1.2), The Office (1.2), and Parks & Recreation (1.1).

ABC was last with the series finale of FlashForward (1.4) and Hollywood Salutes Matt Damon (0.8).

Review - 100 Questions Season 1 Episode 1 What Brought You Here?

Dating shows are rarely funny. And 100 Questions is a dating show with a slight twist that doesn't help its chances. Instead of going through the dating scene at present time, the main character, Charlotte Payne (Sophie Winkleman) recounts her experiences to a dating service guy who asks her a series of questions. This week it’s “What Brought You Here?” She tells the story of spurning Rick, a guy she'd dated for only 3 months, who pops the big questions at a baseball game on the jumbotron.

The "100 questions" thing is is more of a gimmick for the title of concept than something that actually helps the narrative. In fact, it may even bottle her up by limiting her story to the exact question. In any case, the concept of the show doesn't help the stale jokes about the dating scene or the average interactions among her friends. The show isn't terrible per se--the cast is okay and the jokes aren't as clumsy as those on Romantically Challenged--but it's generic and the plot is almost nonexistent.

Score: 7.5/10

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 22 Future Shock

When FlashForward was picked up for a complete season, it was also given a 25-episode order, 3 more than the normal 22-episode pickup. Slowly but surely, the number was whittled back down to 22 as the ratings plummeted. It's hard to blame ABC for anything. FlashForward was given ample promotion but the ratings fell each week due to viewers thinking it was totally stupid (which it was, of course). Before someone starts yapping about the hiatus, take a look at the ratings. The hiatus had minimal effect on the ratings; the vast majority of the decline was before the hiatus, when there a continuous run of episodes.

Even with all the adjusted schedules, the producers (who were switched several times) went right on with their game plan, not really tightening the overall narrative, until we're left with the finale, an anti-climactic mess that ends on a bizarre cliffhanger. So basically, it was typical FlashForward.

I have no clue why I stuck around to watch. Maybe it's because I wanted to see the ending but if I didn't watch the series finale, I wouldn't be missing much. For the most part, the flashforwards turn out to be true except for minor changes. The biggest differences are Mark shooting up the invaders, Demetri still alive, and Nicole not killed.

And lastly, the second flashforward, a heavily stylized set of images amounting to nothing discernible other than Charlie saying "they found him," in the end. I assume she means Mark who is in the FBI building when it blows. *Yawn*

Score: 7.4/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 05/26/10

Fox won with American Idol (8.2).

CBS was second with a repeat of Undercover Boss (1.5), Criminal Minds (3.1), and CSI: NY (2.7).

ABC was third with Transformers (1.8).

NBC was last with repeats of Minute to Win It (0.9) and Law & Order: SVU (1.1).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Review - Criminal Minds Season 5 Episode 23 Our Darkest Hour

Tim Curry is really scary. That's pretty much the one high  point of the episode. The episode actually starts off great, following Curry's character around as he terrorized LA in the midst of blackouts, until the story dovetails directly into Detective Matt Spicer's life, becoming an episode focused on an idiot. Somehow, the unsub was targeting Spicer, who is somehow famous for his work, 26 years after killing his parents.

I had to rewatch the final scene to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. Spicer was really that moronic and as I coined in my Chuck review earlier this week, FlashForward dumb. First, with an injured Morgan lying on the ground, he puts his gun down and then he wants Morgan to promise to keep his daughter safe. You see that creepy rapist guy with the gun. Yeah, he's the bad guy. It was all contrived for the big "to be continued," but the writers should have come up with something better.

Normally, the stylized scenes of the show usual add to the general tone of the episodes, the the way the voices and images came in and out during the final scenes was really bothersome and showed the deep psychological problems of Spicer, which effectively destroyed him as a character. Everything he did in the end could be chalked up to his childhood problems even if he did do something heroic (which he didn't).

Robert Davi was grossly underused and should have gotten his own episode. Maybe we'll see more of him at the beginning of next season.

Score: 8.4/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 05/25/10

Fox won with American Idol (6.7) and Glee (4.8).

NBC was second with The Biggest Loser (3.9) and Parenthood (2.6).

ABC was third with a repeat of Dancing with the Stars (1.6) and Dancing with the Stars (3.9).

CBS was last with NCIS (3.3), NCIS: Los Angeles (2.7), The Good Wife (2.0). If TGW continues to pull ratings in the low 2's in the fall, it won't be long until CBS cans it.

Review - Justified Season 1 Episode 11 Veterans

With an unfocused episode like "Veterans," my mind kept drifting and I rewatched a large majority of the episode to make sure I could actually understand it (and unlike NCIS last night, I actually understood it after a rewatch). The episode dragged on and on, moseying about Boyd Crowder and his insanity and ended without much of a conclusion.

The episode was setup for the final two episodes of the season, so there are many pieces still floating around. The main thing we learned is that Boyd is fine with committing crime for "God" and loves quoting the Bible when it can be applied to other people. He's so unstable and/or stupid he doesn't realize he could apply negative Bible quotes to himself. He does, however, not shoot Dewey in the end, a sign that Boyd might actually follow some rules. But then again, he gets that rocket launcher and sure seems happy about that. Bo Crowder cleans up after his son, killing the meth cookers in a splatter of blood. Arlo was in charge of Bo's operations but failed miserably and owes lots of money. Boyd informs Raylan that Ava's ex-husband, Bowman, may have been helping Arlo, and Raylan finds Ava still in town. He gets the help of Winona to keep Ava at her place until everything boils over.

Score: 8.7/10

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 23 Running

Whereas the sci-fi shows, FlashForward and V, began the year as frontrunners, The Good Wife was well-received but covered far less. Now, at the end of the season, we've come full circle. No one, other than a few select sites, cares about FlashForward and V while The Good Wife gets as much or more coverage.

So too has Alicia. She began the season as the beleaguered "good wife," standing up on the podium, stone-faced as her husband admitted his wrongdoings. Now, she is back to support her husband's campaign and bold words, except she's more than just a "good wife."

She looks at Peter, clearly not happy, but before she moves, the show cuts to the credits. Drat!! I guess we'll have to wait until September to find out. Out of necessity and for practical reasons, I think she will choose Peter for the time being.

We got a taster this week, but next season will have more battles with Cary. The specter of Alicia's relationship or non-relationship with Will will continue to loom over everything regardless of who Alicia chooses. The possibilities are endless.

The case was, as usual, solid and I don't have much complaints about it other than the lesbo kiss we couldn't see. Since it was the season finale, many old characters were weaved into the case which was good for the dynamic. It was about a corrupt police taskforce, bringing in Kalinda's cop friend. In the end, there was no corruption other than from Arkin and his wife had gotten him killed. The resolution was muddled, so I'm not entirely sure how it went down.

I said this last week, but Jackie is horrid, absolutely horrid. There's no way to put it. She's an old lady and all but I want to smack her really bad, maybe more than I want to smack Giada.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 24 Rule Fifty-One

Well...that was confusing to say the least. I'll try to review the episode based on what I understood, but I don't think it's my fault. I understood the Lost finale without too much thinking and I understood most of The Wire. This is NCIS. It's not supposed to be confusing, and it wasn't even confusing in a smart, complex way.

Most of the dialogue was couched in "mystery," what Shane Brennan probably thinks is subtle and clever, but totally ambiguous and nonsensical to the viewers. With quick cuts from scene to scene after a piece of dialogue that is seemingly important but utterly confusing, I barely got what was going on. Even though the dialogue was hopeless, the episode could have been much better if the editing wasn't so damn confusing.

Here's the timeline of events from my limited understanding. Gibbs is in the clutches of the cartel and the woman in charge threatens his loved ones about something or another surrounding the shooting. (I have no clue what was going on with the package, so I won't even touch that.) The federales bust in save Gibbs, but Rivera is the cartel woman's brother. Huh? The most important thing from this (again, from what I understood) is that the report on Pedro Hernandez never arrived.

Moving on, Ziva and Tony are in Mexico to pick Gibbs and he's waiting at the airport. Ducky finds out that the bullet which killed Bell came from Gibbs's gun, leading them to Bell lieutenant, Dean. (How Dean got the gun flew over my head. Something about prying the gun out of cold, dead hands? Wasn't Bell dead before Gibbs got there?) Dean gets caught at the airport and that's pretty much the climax, a boring shootout on the tarmac barely halfway through the episode.

Ziva becomes a citizen and Tony heads down to Mexico to find Mike Franks, who is doing something I have no clue about. M. (Margaret as we learn) Allison Hart shows up at Gibbs's house with the Hernandez file, presumably taken in transit. She confronts Gibbs about it, leading to Gibbs admitting he has his own code, not based on law.

Mixed in with the confusing plot was a parallel between Gibbs and Vance to Rick and Renault in Casablanca. Vance gives his tacit approval in the end after wanting more information, following the realization that this Mexico stuff isn't his business.

What a way to end the season. I liked last season's finale far more because it was understandable and real tension. I couldn't enjoy this episode because I was constantly trying to put all the pieces in place.

Score: 7.4/10

Review - United States of Tara Season 2 Episode 10 Open House

Last season when I watched the show, I always approached it from a distance, never sure exactly what it was suppose to be and never really embracing the characters. At that time, and before the current season started, my characterization of the show would have been, wacky. It's wacky because there's a woman who switches into crazy personalties All the while, she maintains a perfect family. Her husband is content even when she sleeps with other men albeit not consciously and puts up with her obnoxious alters. It's hard to take seriously a show that is so unrealistic it's laughable.

Season 2 began and maintained a completely new attitude. The characters were human, believable and not entirely outlandish. The show turned the corner in my mind and many others, becoming not so much a wacky dramedy, but a very human dramedy, balancing both the emotional aspects of the show and humor without reducing either.

"Open House" was another incredibly strong episode jammed with tons of stuff. Again, I'm wiped out from reviewing all the season finales the past few days, so I'll be short. I don't have much to watch next week, so I promise to have a longer review. Most notable to me outside of Tara and Charmaine's vile mother coming to town was Kate's continuing saga into adulthood which is isn't completed yet. After the Zach the Creeper spends some time with her, he realizes she's just a teen, not someone he can be with forever. And that's good for Kate. Zach probably has dead bodies buried in his backyard.

The ending of the episode was great example of what reality should look like, if not a little too obvious. It looks like a happy ending with Tara and Max falling asleep. Max wakes up to an angry Buck beating on him for sleeping with Pammy.

Score: 9.4/10

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 23 The Lunar Excitation

Read my review on SpoilerTV.

Score: 8.9/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 05/24/10

CBS won with How I Met Your Mother (3.5), Rules of Engagement (3.2), Two and a Half Men (5.0), The Big Bang Theory (5.3), and CSI: Miami (3.3).

ABC was second with Dancing with the Stars (4.0) and The Bachelorette (2.8).

Fox was third with the series finale 24 (2.8).

NBC was last with Chuck (1.8) and Law & Order (1.9). With a series low, I'm guessing Chuck will be over next season.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Sunday 05/23/10

ABC won with Lost: The Final Journey (4.1) and Lost: The End (5.8). I had expected higher ratings, but they were good nonetheless.

NBC was second with Dateline (1.2), Minute to Win It (1.7), and Celebrity Apprentice (3.4).

Fox was third with Til Death (0.8), a repeat of The Simpsons (1.2), The Simpsons (2.5), The Cleveland Show (2.4), and Family Guy (3.1).

CBS was last with Brooks & Dunn: The Last Rodeo (1.8) and a repeat of CSI (1.8).

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 18 Chuck Versus the Subway / 19 Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II

To continue watching you had to accept one slightly large and important fact: All spies--CIA, NSA, Ring, etc--are the dumbest people in the world. And by dumb, I'm talking stupid beyond belief, like FlashForward dumb. As we dive into the inner-workings of these so-called "intelligence agencies," the employees from the top all the way to the bottom, with exception of the main characters, are totally clueless.

I said this a while back and I think it's important to say again. If the writers ever hope to gain more viewers, they need to create more believable, coherent stories for new viewers. I, personally, pay close attention to plot when I'm watching a show for the first time, because the chemistry, jokes, and that sort of thing is tied directly into the intrinsic makeup of the show. There's no way to love a cast after one episode and catch all the dynamics going on. Plot is universal and the greatest weakness of Chuck. New viewers, who don't yet know the glory of the characters or the humor, surely would have been dismayed to see the contrived plot stemming from the idiocy of the intelligence community.

"Chuck Versus the Subway" and "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II" together were perhaps the most ambitious episodes of the series to date and were excellent for the most part. "Subway," the first episode of the night was wild, expansive, and the more fulfilling of the two while "Ring: Part II" was more of a traditional episode and resolved almost all plots and launching another storyline. Loaded in both episodes was a vast array of twists, turns, revelations, and death. I'm still not sure how all of it was packed into two hours.

The impetus for "Subway" is that Shaw is back--and in full confidence of the CIA. What?!?!?! OK...moving on, he manages to convince everyone Chuck is crazy, sending him on the run and Casey and Sarah into custody. Again, plot holes galore. In the middle of this, Ellie learns the truth about Chuck and they are a few needed candid discussions. At the end of the episode, Stephen and Chuck find a Ring base and the Intersect, but Shaw shows and kills Stephen and throws Chuck into the armored transport along with Sarah and Casey.

"Ring: Part II" was about the Ring's plan for world domination, headed by Shaw who is at a spy conference. The whole thing made no sense whatsoever and neither did the conclusion to the Ring. Chuck calls Shaw, who then sends a message to the "Five Elders" to get up and leave.

We're suppose to believe that the leaders of the Ring, under a single command from Shaw, would all get up together and with no security, go down an empty stairwell. That's how the great Ring ends, with a huge plot hole. Weren't these the guys who were on the verge of taking over the CIA and NSA?

The writers have never been great at actually making the mythology work, although they are great at hinting at a potentially great mythology (back of the Tron poster, Fulcrum being one part of the Ring). I've resigned myself not to expect more, but the show could be greatly improved by some coherence and an enemy that is both visible and viable as a threat.

Far more satisfying and slightly more plausible was Shaw coming back to the Buy More with revenge on his mind. He wires the store to blow and has a big Intersect fight with Chuck which Chuck wins. Morgan, in his thumb-broken state and general clumsiness, drops the detonator and the store blows up.

The Buy More story was really on the fringes of the episode and it never quite came together and still doesn't sit will with me. And now that the store is gone, what happens? Jeff and Lester are on the lam and Big Mike was in huge trouble with Moses.

There was some unnecessary rehashing of the fact that Chuck is special and retain images in his head. We'd already learned back in Season 1 that Chuck shows aptitude for remembering images, but the flashbacks did show that Stephen was fully aware of his son's ability.

I know the budget was cut for the show, but wow, those visual effects for the Buy More explosion looked like they belong in a Jeffster video.

It's been speculated since Papa Bartowski's arrival last season that Chuck's mother was once involved in the spy business and it is confirmed at the end of the episode. Everything Stephen did for the past 20 years was for Mary Elizabeth Bartowski. Will the writers take a page from Prison Break and make her a villain? From the tiny snippet we it, it sure looks like it.

We've reached the end of the third season and this time we know Chuck is coming back for a fourth season. I have high hopes for the new season and I'm sure everyone else does too.

Score: 9.5/10
Score: 8.9/10

Monday, May 24, 2010

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 23 / 24 Day 8: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Series Finale)

As expected there wasn't anything unexpected in the final two episodes of the series other than Chloe shooting Jack. Sadly the writers didn't have much left for the entire season, and I was never under any illusions that the ending of the season would have spectacular twists and turns in what would be a return to 24's classic form.

We got, instead, an entertaining, sometimes emotional, mostly predictable, two hours of television, a series finale that will, without a doubt, be forgotten by history, but provide a nice bookend to a revolutionary television series.

Jack fighting the man kind of runs its banal course into the ground and we see Jack's last ditch attempt to kill Subarov fails and Chloe is caught before the contents of the memory can be decimated. Obviously the information wouldn't get out there with almost an entire hour left. While the main plot dragged on, I loved the return of Jackula and it might have made the episode for me.

President Taylor has to be the dumbest 24 character since Kim circa S1/2. After a bit of inquiry from Dahlia about Meredith Reed. Taylor admits everything--the plot, the coverup. Now why would she do that? She backs up her statement with threat of attack if Dahlia tells anyone? If Taylor is content with lying and deceiving, how about continuing to lie so there's no chance Dahlia would tell anyone?

And in the end, Taylor comes to her senses after hearing a great speech for Jack about a lasting peace built upon trust and turns herself in. There's a big bloodbath in the end, Logan shooting Piller and himself. Taylor gets hold of the mercenaries before they can kill Jack and after a final conversation between Jack and Chloe over the phone--extremely fitting and moving--Jack, still injured, walks off into the great unknown.

Thankfully, the legacy of the show will not be determined by Season 8 or by the later seasons. Regardless of how the last few seasons turned out, and I enjoyed Season 7, 24 will largely be remember for the early seasons, when the stakes were large and the possibilities endless. Jack Bauer has been a cultural phenomenon grown out of badassery (that's a word!) and the writers' willingness to stretch what is acceptable on television with a blend of creative and political flourish. For all the wonderful memories

There is a movie on its way, so who knows, I could be writing about 24 again something soon.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 5 Episode 24 Doppelgangers

The fifth season of How I Met Your Mother ended with no new information about the Mother or anything on Ted's side. In fact, Ted was, again, put to the side for an episode to focus on Marshall, Lily, and a bit of Robin. And the new story arc for the next season already puts Ted lower on a totem pole. For a show with "I" in the title, the titular main character seems less and less important as the show goes on.

A few episodes back, Marshall and Lily agreed to have kids once they saw the final doppelganger. Marshall was onboard long before this while Lily was still hesitant. The idea basing decisions based on who she sees is kind of ridiculous and everyone realizes that in the end. Subconsciously, Barney sees the possibility of Robin leaving and wants to supplement the group with a baby, setting off a scheme to trip Marshall and Lily.

On Robin's front, she is offered the lead anchor job in a news station in Chicago, meaning she'll have to move away from the group and Don. She and Don have been getting along great and even are doing a wacky kids show where Robin can inform kids about using things that grow in nature (read: marijuana). Although she is ready to accept, she has to decline. However, Don comes in and tells her he was offered the job and accepted. Of course she makes her run off into Ted's arms and before they can kiss--what Ted calls something that would have been regrettable--Ted's ridiculous blond hair gets in the way.

The episode had funny scenes, emotional scenes, and as whole, worked even if nothing really stuck out.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Treme Season 1 Episode 7 Smoke My Peace Pipe

I'm really tired from getting 3 hours of sleep last night and I still have to review the two-hour season finales of 24 and Chuck, so this will be another short review. I promise to have more starting next week.

The political situation in the city appears to be reaching a breaking point with Albert and company standing their ground in the vacated projects. The police eventually come and beat Albert to a pulp, but not before he can make a firm, lasting statement to the rest of the city.

Davis comes off rather good in the episode with his record flying off the shelves and his treatment of Janette, but one thing really bothers me. After making a mockery of the corruption in the city, he too takes part, accepting a bribe so he doesn't take away previous percentage points. Really, Davis?

The Daymo story has been the most narrative thing and it came to an end as his body is found in a truck. Capturing the essence of the show, LaDonna comes back home, on the verge of breaking but always resolute, refusing to tell her mother as to not destroy the mood.

Score: 9.4/10

Review - Lost Season 6 Episode 17/18 The End

It's almost 2 in the morning, so my main excuse is that I can hardly think let alone write. For an expansion of my review, check back in 18 hours when I have time to think things over and get some sleep. For now, here's a gut reaction (and the series finale certainly deserves more than that).

I never had any illusions about the series finale. Due to the weight of 6 years of heavy mythology, a bunch of random twists and turns, there wouldn't be a real central tie to everything and many worthwhile aspects would never be fully explored. I pretty much resigned myself to not knowing answers or really understanding things in the end, and with that mindset, I was able to enjoy the series finale.

In a flurry of information in the last 10 minutes, we learn, through a dead Christian, that they are all dead, Jack and the rest of the flash-sideways people in the church. My first reaction was  a big "Huh?" Desmond gathers everyone, so they can move on from their purgatory. Basically, the flash-sideways had been their own construct, bridging time and space, where they remember the best part of their lives--when they were together--and allows them to enter Heaven. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this, and I don't think it's because I'm tired that it doesn't all fit together.

So the ending didn't make sense whatsoever and even in a rewatch of the season I doubt it will. My response is "Answers schmanswers!" The great thing about Lost is that even if the mythology doesn't quite fit together or make sense, there's far more. I watched the show, originally, more for the mystery and mythology, but as the series progressed the characters became just as central and that's really what separates Lost from the pack.

"The End" displayed the uncanny and truly amazing ability of the writers to combine a deep mythology with many compelling characters. And it's not just one or two characters, it's all of them. The episode is full of emotional, tear inducing character moments that made the episode work.

My philosophy about series finales is this: Series finales tend to disappoint and are only one episode out of the series. Therefore, the finale could be the shittiest episode ever and the series could still be excellent. In television, the journey is far more important than the destination and that holds true for Lost. In a week, a month, or a year, I'm not going to trouble myself over the finale just like I don't care about the Battlestar Galactica finale or the Sopranos finale. I'll always be impressed and mesmerized by Lost.

Does the the mythology hold together? No. Does it matter? No.

Anyway, those are some of my quick thoughts written in the dead of night. After writing a bit, my brain is warmed up and the ending still doesn't make sense to me. I guess we'll need Doc Jensen to clear things up.

Score: 8.9/10

  • I liked the open-ended ending with Hurley taking over and the plane just flying off while Jack lay there dying. There's something wonderful about the perpetual nature of the Island, constantly changing and moving on as the bond between the characters is so strong they must come together in purgatory. Really lovely stuff.
  • Rose and Bernard! They're awesome!
  • Sawyer and Juliet! They're awesome too.
  • Sayid and Shannon? It was so long ago I don't care anymore, and what about Nadya?
  • Boone? Come on... He's Hurley's little helper?
  • Michael? Nowhere to been seen. Haha.
  • I don't even want to go into the light/plug/Desmond business right now. Maybe later. Part of me sees the Smoke Monster, light, and all that stuff as superfluous.
  • Faraday and Charlotte? They were kind of shafted.
  • I'm rambling now. Time to get 3 hours of sleep...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 10 Fly

I wanted to get Breaking Bad out of the way before I dive, and "Fly" was probably the worst episode to watch before Lost. It was a brilliant episode--if not to say totally bizarre. Last week's episode was named "Kafkaesque" and this week's episode could have been called that as well.

The first half of the episode is a flat out weird sequence of events. After talking with Jesse about lower than expected yields, Walter spots a fly and this new obsession to get rid of the contaminant arises. I was ready to write off the episode and trash it, and rightfully so. Their antics going after fly kept dragging on and went nowhere other than a couple sight gags.

Then, the episode takes a huge turn and from there the episode becomes, inescapably, a tour de force, a riveting ride, exposing the inner layers of these characters, slowly shedding aside all inhibitions. The pieces come together and there is some reason for the insanity. Walter forcing Jesse to stay leads to Jesse's story about his aunt's obsession brought on my cancer and finally, Walter's monologue, a mindblowing discussion, brought on by a lack of sleep, of the perfect moment to die. He ponders when, the exact moment in the past, it would have been optimal to die. At first, he's the cold, calculating Walt, choosing based on money but soon settles on the night Jane died while Skyler was singing to the baby, before going to Jesse's house. Again, Bryan Cranston owned the episode and the directing by Rian Johnson was as good as it gets.

Later, as Jesse climbs the ladder to kill the fly, Walter comes perilously close to telling Jesse the truth about Jane's death. He leaves it as "I'm sorry," not elaborating on what he means. Jesse assumes it's the kind of sorry when one feels bad for another, not the I stood by and let your girlfriend die kind. Jesse eventually does kill the fly and Walt goes back to his room only to find another fly.

In terms of story advancement, the episode had none other than Walt telling Jesse that he can't protect him if he is skimming off the top. We know he is and will continue to do so. And if Walt can't protect him, what happens to Jesse?

Was it a normal episode of television? No. Was it an exciting episode of television? No, my heartbeat was constant throughout. Did the episode advance the plot? A tiny bit. Breaking Bad is a show that actively defies convention and "Fly" was a perfect example. Using two characters and a single setting, the bare simplicity was able to convey more than most shows do in a season.

Score: 9.9/10

Preview of Week 05/23/10 - 05/29/10

Lost - ABC, Sunday, May 23, 9:00pm ET

This is THE television event of the year. If you miss it, you're a loser. Nah...but in all seriousness, even those who don't watch the show should watch the series finale. The episode could suck and make no sense, and the show would still be remembered years from now not for the ending but the journey.

24 - Fox, Monday, May 24, 8:00pm ET

Lost (get it?) in all the frenzy about Lost is that 24 will end the very next day. While this season has been rather weak, 24 has had a long 8 season run and is a seminal show in its own right.

Chuck - NBC, Monday, May 24, 8:00pm ET

The third season finale is here and we don't have to worry about a fourth season; the shows already been renewed.  To be honest, part of me doesn't care much because the writers don't have a plan for the Ring, having spent most of the season with the Ring doing random things, but I've read about a mini-gamechanger at the end of the episode.

Law & Order - NBC, Monday, May 24, 10:00pm ET

Another show coming to an end! It doesn't look like the writers wrote the episode as a series finale, so it'll probably be average, but it wouldn't hurt to watch either.

NCIS - CBS, Tuesday, May 25, 8:00pm ET

At the end of last episode, Gibbs was in Mexico with a gun to his head. How will he get out of the shooting he did over 10 years ago and the current situation he is in?

The Good Wife - CBS, Tuesday, May 25, 10:00pm ET

I've said this many times already, but The Good Wife is the best new drama of the year and possibly the best new show of the year. The characters are compelling, the acting is top notch, and there is a perfect balance between the main story arcs and individual stories.

FlashForward - ABC, Thursday, May 27, 8:00pm ET

So the series kind of sucked after the pilot, but I kept watching. FlashForward was another one of those post-Lost shows whose sole intent was to have a big mystery and a large ensemble cast that flopped due to writer incompetency. This should be a cautionary tale to networks at writers that no matter the promotion or initial premise, the show has to work down the stretch and not just in the pilot to be successful.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Review - Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Episode 22 Tears

As expected the spell that created the AU universe last week was reversed quickly, Zedd using the spell on Dahlia and this time there wasn't any unexpected effects that we could see. Part of that bothered me because the spell did crazy things last episode because it was used on Cara, a main character, while Dahlia, a less essential character has virtually no impact on anything.

The majority of the episode is spent in a frantic chase with 3 distinct parties. There's Nikki and a confessed Kahlan who blind Richard who is traveling with a boy who is actually the Keeper, and Zedd, Cara, and Mord'Sith sent by Darken Rahl. Kahlan catches up to Richard who handed the Stone to the Keeper, and with the world is about to end, Kahlan stabs Richard before coming to her senses. Her tears create another Stone of Tears as Cara revives Richard and the world is saved.

If the show were to be picked up miraculously--about a 0.1% chance happening--the episode does leave the door open for the next season. Darken Rahl has his mojo back and is out for blood, and since he's most of a tangible enemy than the Keeper, who pretty much sent minions to do his bidding, Darken Rahl would probably be a better enemy for next season.

The episode and series ends with Richard and Kahlan kissing, because their love is more than magic. The show could go on, but if this is the way it ends, I'm happy.

A wave of nostalgia is going to hit TV watchers, me included, in the next few days where the end of the series transcends the actual episode and Legend of the Seeker belongs with them. Lost ends tomorrow and 24 ends the next day, and while LOTS doesn't have the storied history either of them have and will probably become a footnote in history, the improvements from the beginning of the series should be noted.

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 18 Subversion

For an episode with lots of plot movement compared to almost all episodes of the series, "Subversion" didn't make much sense and left me frustrated because the initial concept was executed poorly. Again, the stones were the driving force behind the narrative, first with the residual effect giving Rush insight into Telford's duplicity and next with a weird switched interrogation. The Lucian Alliance interrogates and tortures Rush who is in Telford's body while Young interrogates Telford who is in

Consciously, I know they are in different bodies, so I was mostly ambivalent about Rush being tortured. It's Telford's body after all and the stones could be deactivated at any time. Everything is up to the people on the Destiny and whether they want to bring Rush back now. And without a clearly defined rules about how the stones work, how do we know the extent that people can be hurt?

Young begins venting the atmosphere in Telford's room at the end of the episode and it's another one of those "cliffhangers" which will probably be resolved 10 minutes into the next episode. There's hardly anything to be excited about. Without knowing the physics behind the stones, and the writers love making stuff up about the stones on the fly, we don't know the implications of what could happen. If Telford suffocates, isn't it Rush's body and brain that will suffer?

I'm no doctor, but the whole thing about the stones doesn't make sense. How can you think exactly the same way with someone else's brain and chemicals? What if Rush was switched with someone who has brain damage? We simply don't know enough about how the stones work to formulate an opinion on how we feel.

The story was more developed than usual, but in Stargate Universe fashion, barely went beyond the initial discovery, Rush going to the Lucian Alliance, getting capture, and Young confronting Telford. The interrogations themselves turned up almost nothing. Rush helps Kiva because she tortures him and Telford starts ranting and raving like a lunatic.

Beyond my numerous questions about the stones, what do the Lucian Alliance want with Destiny? I hope this is explained. Once they get on the ship, what can they do?

The strongest part of the episode was finally learning why Young has such a big problem with Telford. Telford had been undercover with the Lucian Alliance and allowed an outpost to be attacked, so his cover wouldn't be blown. Young shows extreme loyalty to his people and displays an open and slightly irrational hatred towards Telford for letting soldiers die.

I was originally intrigued by Greer, but he's such a one-dimensional characters there's nothing to expect from him anymore other than him wanting to hurt someone. He's jumps at the chance to torture or beat up Telford from the beginning of the episode and eventually gets few licks in. OK, anything else? Nope. Greer is the angry guy who hurts people and may be a little unstable mentally. Other than that, he displays few redeeming quality.

O'Neill was featured much more in this episode than before and some of the lines felt like they actually belonged to O'Neill. Unfortunately, and I really don't want to say this, Richard Dean Anderson doesn't seem to have quite as much charisma as he used to, but it was still funnier than everything else in the series so far (which isn't saying much).

The two-part season finale starts in two weeks (the week off is for Memorial Day) and it's hard for me to get excited. The writers' ambitions far outweigh their actual abilities and the episodes end up sloppy. I'd like to call the show a work-in-progress which may work in the future, but the creative spike after the hiatus has disappeared and we're back to those episodes which don't make sense.

Score: 8.4/10

Friday, May 21, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 05/20/10

ABC won with Flashforward (1.6) and Grey's Anatomy (5.4).

CBS was second with a repeat of The Mentalist (1.4), CSI (3.3), and The Mentalist (3.2).

NBC was third with Community (2.0), Parks and Recreation (2.2), The Office (3.4), 30 Rock (2.7), and The Marriage Ref (2.0).

Fox was last with Bones (2.8) and Fringe (2.0). Poor outing for Fringe to end the strong season.

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 25 Whistleblower

The hasn't been much to say about this season of The Office other than Jim and Pam getting married and the switch from Dunder-Mifflin to Sabre. The details of both also weren't funny and most episodes have largely been unfunny and uninteresting. "Whistleblower" was one of those episodes, a season finale that lacked any dramatic kick and had minimal humor.

The press gets hold of information implicating Sabre with faulty printers and the episode is spent searching for the leak. To make a long story short, everyone says it is Andy while Michael goes out and orders a recall for Jo. In return, Michael requests to bring Holly back.

Dwight with up to buying property and other than the shoutout to the UK version of the show, I hated it. I was more confused than amused.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Party Down Season 2 Episode 5 Steve Guttenberg's Birthday

Party Down is the strongest when the characters are integrated into whatever event they are catering. Last week's episode didn't have much of that which is why it wasn't that good. "Steve Guttenberg's Birthday" was all about the characters with only a few new people. Steve Guttenberg already had a surprise birthday party and forgot about asking Party Down, so he lets everyone invite friends.

Roman's dedication to hard sci-fi in his scripts has always baffled me since hard sci-fi does not translate well in a visual medium, which is why no mainstream movies or television shows could ever be considered hard sci-fi. Explaining real science behind the technology without going into pointless technobabble doesn't work when the audience is looking at the screen waiting for something to happen. We finally got a taste of his script which sounded more like soft sci-fi trying to be hard sci-fi than actual hard sci-fi.

Steve tells Roman and his writing partner to rewrite with more heart and whether it was Henry's great acting or an actual improvement in the script, people actually like it. In the end, Roman is still a terrible writer who writes bad scripts.

Casey realizes that Henry is a great actor that should be succeeding, and when they end up in the hot tub, they start kissing before Henry stops it. Kristen Bell is coming back later in the season and I can only imagine the sparks that will be flying.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 21 Countdown

Like the characters of FlashForward, the writers have pretty much given up. Everything they feel is embodied by Mark, who drinks and goes on rampage at the end of the episode. The writers don't care anymore and neither does he. The show has been canceled and the ratings continue to suck, so it's not like the best writing ever could save it.

Olivia randomly runs off despite Lloyd's pleas for her to come back, Tracy dies, and Zoey learns that Demetri slept with Janis and goes on the plane on her own. I don't really have any feelings about what happened other than it's pretty stupid.

Nicole tells Bryce about Keiko and he promptly runs off, leaving her to be killed as she saw in the flashforward. But who would want to kill her anyway? A random guy off the street? Keiko his bailed out of jail and is about to get on a plane. Will Bryce and Keiko meet?!?! I don't care at all.

Score: 7.9/10

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review - The Mentalist Season 2 Episode 23 Red Sky in the Morning

Is Kristina Red John? The more I think about it the more I think she is or at least is related to Red John in some fashion. My previous candidate was Minelli, but "Red Sky in the Morning" provided the most clues. We actually see Red John and hear him/her speak, and Red John is either a man with an effeminate voice or a woman with a deeper voice. There's tons of ambiguity at the end of the episode with Kristina mysteriously disappearing, his lines "Kristina would want me to send her love" and "roll tide," the line only heard by Jane, Kristina and the waiter, and the unresolved ending.

The Mentalist is far more compelling when Jane has a vested interest in what he's doing. What this season hasn't done well is to remind us that Jane is human, a wounded human searching for Red John. Instead, what we got for most of the season was an out of control caricature wreaking havoc on those around him. The vulnerable side of Jane came out in the episode and it paid off.

The case was about Red John, but I was never convinced the investigation would actually lead to Red John, so I didn't care much about it, although Red John does show up to kill the crazy film students.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Fringe Season 2 Episode 23 Over There: Part 2

Olivia vs. Olivialternate. The first meet-up between the same people had to end with an epic fight and our Olivia wins. That was pretty much all the episode needed to be good. Olivia saves Peter and the viewers get the kiss they've been waiting for. And the ending? I think it explains itself.

For the most part the escape from the alternate universe seemed way too convenient. Peter is left alone in the apartment with the machine, William Bell and Peter are able to make a device fairly easily. I never once doubted whether they'd get back, though I did predict that Olivia wouldn't be the one crossing over.

Olivialternate has successfully infiltrated the our world while Olivia is kept locked up in a dark room by the sinister Walternate. So now what? Will Olivialternate be able to pass herself off as Olivia long enough to complete her task? How will Olivia come back? There's endless possibilities and despite a somewhat lax path to the end, I've become really invested in the show, much more than I was at the end of the first season.

When William Bell held his hand up before crossing over, was anyone hoping for a Vulcan salute? I got really excited before I realized he wasn't doing anything special with his fingers. William Bell disappears into the void and that may be the last time we see Leonard Nimoy.

Score: 9.4/10

Review - Bones Season 5 Episode 22 The Beginning in the End

Huge changes are afoot and the writers expect us to gasp and wait, on the edge of our chairs, for the next season to start. Except I'm not. Brennan and Daisy are headed to the Maluku Islands, Sweets and Daisy split up, Booth joins the Army to train soldiers--all substantial changes I don't care about.

It's reached the point where nothing is surprising, because Hart Hanson has made the decision never to get them together until the very end. He's said the fans would be happy or satisfied, but it's more like we're bored, bored of his talk and bored of the relationship. There is one artificial roadblock after another. And it's not like I care that much about Booth and Brennan getting together, it's just that they come really close and get pulled back after some contrived twist. My opinion is to either leave the relationship alone or get them together. Waffling back and forth, especially in the fifth season, is old and unoriginal.

Read this interview with Hart Hanson. The natural course of events will change the dynamic when they get back. I'm not too excited and from the comments, other aren't either. The majority of Bones is still strong: the characters and dialogue are still crackling, the mysteries are usually good, emotion or comedy can be drawn out instantly. Hart feels the need to reinvent something every time he doesn't have an answer for where to bring Booth and Brennan and it's totally annoying. If someone had told me before the show started that Hart would constantly create excuses due to his insecurities about his writing abilities, I would definitely not have gotten so invested in the show. Since I have, I'll ride out the wave and avoid Hart the next time he does something.

With everything else going on, the case wasn't in the forefront nor was it very interesting. A hoarder turns up dead and the investigation leads to his coworker who was in love with him.

Does anyone care about Booth and Brennan anymore? It's pretty clear by now they aren't getting together until very, very late in the series and possibly only in the series finale. The will they won't they tension is all but gone.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 25 Pascal's Triangle Revisited

The wonderful first season of Community ended with more hijinks, a kind of predictable ending, and as Abed says, a finale vibe. It's the last day school and everybody is ready to part ways for the summer, setting up end of the season. The show is filled with meta references all over the place and they can be overused, but the writers know exactly where to put it. Right before Abed tells Troy he is creating a finale vibe, he turns off the lights to the study room and says "study over." At that moment, I thought it felt so much like a finale and was planning of writing that. Then Abed said his line.

Britta and Professor Slater fight over Jeff and each profess their love, publicly, for Jeff. Caught in a difficult situation, Jeff steps outside to find Annie who let Vaughn go alone and they kiss. Community spurns convention every chance it gets. With two women fighting over Jeff, the typical route would be for Jeff to choose one, but I don't think any viewer feels strongly one way or another. While Annie was preparing to leave, there were hints all over the place from Jeff walking with Annie in the beginning to the extra conversations Annie has with Jeff.

Troy is looking for a place to stay over the summer and after Abed gives him a cold shoulder, Troy wonders what happened, and through the guidance of the mystical cookie, learns that too much of a good thing can be bad. Troy ends up staying with Pierce which will be very awkward. I'm guessing the next season will start at the beginning of the school year, so we won't actually see them living together, but Troy better have stories.

John Oliver shows up quite a few times after being absent for a really long time. I'm trying to think of the last episode he was on and it may have been the psychological testing one where Abed sits for hours and hours.

I know everyone is looking forward to another season and possibly more, but CBS scheduled The Big Bang Theory in the same time slot as Community which is kind of startling. I don't want to be pessimistic, but the competition is steep and the show already isn't performing that well.

Score: 9.1/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 05/19/10

Fox won with The Good Guys (1.5) and American Idol (6.1). The Good Guys debuted poorly, but it's airing during the summer, so Fox didn't have high hopes for it anyways.

CBS was second with I Get That a Lot (2.0), Criminal Minds (3.3), and CSI: NY (2.5).

ABC was third with a repeat of The Middle (1.4), The Middle (2.5), Modern Family (4.2), Cougar Town (2.8), and Primetime: What Would You Do? (2.0).

NBC was last with a repeat of Minute to Win It (1.5), a repeat of Law & Order: SVU (1.1), and Law & Order: SVU (2.7).

CW 2010-2011 Schedule and Thoughts

8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL

8:00-9:00 PM ONE TREE HILL (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM LIFE UNEXPECTED (New Night)

The two dramas which narrowly missed cancellation will be paired together.

9:00-10:00 PM HELLCATS (New Series)

American's Next Top Model hasn't been a good lead-in for new shows the past few years, but Hellcats may do better.

9:00-10:00 PM NIKITA (New Series)

CW seems to be pinning its hopes on Nikita which gets the coveted slot after The Vampire Diaries.

9:00-10:00 PM SUPERNATURAL (New Night)

The combo is back together on another night.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review - Criminal Minds Season 5 Episode 22 The Internet Is Forever

"What is this internet they speak of? I've heard mysterious things about it. You can put information on it and people hundreds of miles away will see it instantly!"

"Really? How does that work? It sounds dangerous, like anything can happen. Is this the end of civilization?"

Maybe it's because I grew up with technology, but that's the kind of conversation I imagine the writers had while writing the script. Like the vampire episode earlier this season, "The Internet Is Forever" tried to be cool and incorporate a trend, in this case, social networks.

Part of why an episode like this doesn't work is because Criminal Minds is set in a world flowing with serial killers and wackos. Connecting it to real life and social media doesn't resonate because things like this don't happen. There's an occasional theft related to social networks, but never a full blown scheme to kill people.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 24 Family Portrait

At the end of the episode, two houses have significant damage, their clothes are all dirty, but everyone is happy. They can take the picture knowing all they need is family--and an ample bank account. Part of me cringed each time someone was destroyed, but do you see how rich these people are? Apparently the "modern family" has a huge disposable income and can afford reckless behavior. I guess I'm not "modern."

But back to the episode. It was a fitting end to an exceptional season. The main plot revolved around Phil and Gloria taking Manny and Alex to a basketball game. When the kiss cam focuses on them, Gloria kisses Phil. Then, Alex gets two text messages. One about Claire being mad at Phil and one about Jay wanting to fight Phil. Of course Phil thinks they're related to the kiss, and the situation is smoothed over after a throwaway line in the end.

Mitchell going crazy in the house, trying to hit the pigeon while Cam was singing seemed almost identical to those wacky Community scenes which pop up every few episodes. The plot was stupider than usual, but built up to that one funny scene, so it wasn't all a waste.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - The Good Guys Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot

Matt Nix knows fun--proven time and time again on Burn Notice. However, being so intimate with a set formula that has worked in the past runs the risk of being overdone, and that's the main problem with The Good Guys. It's fun all right, the characters are likable, and the plot isn't bad, but there are far too many moments that induce groans simply from the constant redux of old stereotypes. There's the Mexican assassins, who are the "best in the world," the washed up old cop who doesn't understand technology, the young cop who wants to advance, his ex-girlfriend who grudgingly helps him because she still has feelings for him, the boss who is stern but not overly mean, and the wacky criminals they chase after.

The pacing is fast and there are scenes playing up everyone's attributes once per minute. I loved it 10 minutes in, but quickly it seemed more and more of the same stuff in a different setting, circumstance, or set of characters.

Since the show doesn't come back until June 7, I'll probably be watching just because there isn't much else on television. We'll see if the show is dialed back one notch.

Score: 7.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 05/18/10

Fox won with American Idol (6.6) and Glee (4.8).

ABC was second with Dancing with the Stars (2.5), Lost (4.3), and V (2.1). V ended the season down which doesn't bode well for next season.

NBC was third with The Biggest Loser (3.1) and Parenthood (2.7).

CBS was last (!!!) with NCIS (3.3), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.1), and The Good Wife (2.2). The Good Wife is getting hammered in the time slot. I'm surprised it's staying there next season.

Review - Justified Season 1 Episode 10 The Hammer

The judge, nicknamed The Hammer and played by Stephen Root, was like the prick who is annoying but totally mesmerizing. He's a judge and acts confident, but underneath it all, he's a total mess. He hands out punishment without regard, causing people to try to kill him, is fine with sex acts in public, and has a weird attitude towards guns and shooting people on the spot. But that fact that the judge loves Raylan so much is rather disturbing to him. Raylan obviously sees that the judge is a bad guy, but if the bad guy likes Raylan, what does that make him?

Boyd had to be up to something and it does seemed like he's changed in his goals, except that killing or hurting people is all fair game. He brings a militant edge to God's word, choosing to go after drug dealers instead of minorities. Maybe he has good intentions compared to what he did before, but Boyd is still breaking laws and Raylan has to grab him.

Ava realizes the contradiction of Raylan going after Boyd but wanting her away, which is practical, but looks like Raylan wants to catch Boyd more than being with Ava. She walks out and Raylan is left there alone.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - V (2009) Season 1 Episode 12 Red Sky

Miraculously, ABC decided to renew V despite flagging ratings and boring episodes. My guess is that the slight improvements in two consecutive weeks was able to push the ABC executives to keep the show. Realistically there's not much hope for the show in the ratings or creatively next season. The ratings again dropped this week, and without Lost as a lead-in, it's sure to do worse.

"Red Sky" was a drawn out slog finally leading to Erica destroying most of the eggs. In the ensuing aftermath, Anna goes crazy, showing real emotional--raw anger--for perhaps the first time in the series. There's been a mystique about Anna almost holding her at a distance from the viewers, making her into something completely inhuman, because she is so cold and calculating, and she finally shows more than the planning or cold-hearted execution. She releases the "red sky" upon the world.

Ooooohhh!! Pretty colors. Other than that, lame.

Val dies after giving birth to the baby, who we still haven't seen. A death would usually mean something, but Val was such a non-factor that I didn't even blink me eye. Anna uses that to draw Ryan back into her sphere. It's kind of ridiculous how little the Visitors know about everything, even things that occur on their own ship. Erica and Hobbes regularly does Fifth Column things under their nose, and the Visitors are totally clueless. People can go on a rampage in the ship and run off without being caught. Can't technologically advanced aliens

The season finale did provide some interesting movements that may or may not pay off. Considering what happened in the second half of this season, I'm leaning heavily towards the will not pay off category. The writers have yet to prove themselves, but I'll give them another chance.

Score: 7.5/10

Final Renewals/Cancelations - Updated 5/19

Updated 5/19. I think these are all the shows.

Already Canceled: Hank, Ugly Betty, Lost (planned series finale), The Deep End, Scrubs, Happy Town, Better Off Ted, FlashForward, Romantically Challenged
Already Renewed: Cougar Town, Modern Family, The Middle, Brothers & Sisters, Castle, The Forgotten, V, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice

Already Canceled: Three Rivers, Ghost Whisperer, Garry Unmarried, Cold Case, New Adventures of Old Christine, Numb3rs, Accidentally on Purpose, Miami Medical
Already Renewed: How I Met Your Mother, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, Two and a Half Men, Criminal Minds, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Medium, Rules Of Engagement, The Mentalist, NCIS

Already Canceled: Dollhouse, Past Life, 24, Brothers, ‘Til Death, Sons of Tuscon
Already Renewed: Bones, Glee, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, Fringe, Human Target, Lie to Me, Family Guy, House, The Simpsons

Already Canceled: Law & Order, Trauma, Mercy, Heroes
Already Renewed: Parks and Recreation, Friday Night Lights (fifth season will be last), Community, The Office, 30 Rock, Parenthood, Chuck, Law & Order: SVU

Dawn Ostroff is crazy for her reliance on the 18-34 women demographic, so I don't really know what to say.
Already Canceled: The Beautiful Life, Melrose Place
Already Renewed: Gossip Girl, 90210, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, Smallville, Life Unexpected

I wanted to point out a couple cable shows that could be in trouble.
Greek - Renewed on February 19
Archer - Renewed on February 22 for a 13 episode season.
Caprica - A Syfy executuve said they are in for the long haul with the show, but the ratings would say otherwise.
Southland - Renewed

If you find any mistakes, please tell me. With the sheer number of shows and my tendency for mistakes, there could be several inaccuracies.

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 22 Hybristophilia

The last time  Colin Sweeney (Dylan Baker) was on the show, Alicia successfully defended him for the murder of his wife even though she personally believed he was guilty. This week, she finds him in a robe with a dead, bloody woman handcuffed to his ankle. Yeah...not a good second impression. To complicate the matter, Sweeney is in the process of a merger, so it would be to the company's advantage if he goes away quietly. Not one to admit defeat, Alicia presses on. She manages to get the plea deal down and Sweeney takes it, admitting to his wife's murder at the same time. So the universe is fine in the end. He's going prison and Peter is exonerated as well.

There is a weird throwaway line about Daniel Golden working for Obama, and with that, Elsbeth Tascioni (Carrie Preston) takes over Peter's defense. She finds evidence that Kozko is still alive and spending money. All the evidence the prosecution has is gone, but Childs still has one play left. He hires Cary to help bring down Alicia and Peter.

At the end of the episode, Peter is officially out of house arrest. He introduces Alicia to someone from the AFL-CIO who is looking for a lawyer. They shake hands and Alicia has sided with the large powers, proving Cary's point. Her connections allow her to get far ahead without do much. Now, Alicia is sacrificing hard work for clients handed to her, but what will she do later on?

I gotta say, every scene Jackie is in is infuriating beyond belief. She has a self-serving look on her face and the words coming out of her mouth are like poison.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 23 Patriot Down

I can't say I liked or disliked Macy in the two episodes she was in, but did she deserve such an unceremonious death? And, honesty, I would have preferred her over Hetty on NCIS: Los Angeles. There's no going back since she's discovered dead at the beginning of the episode. After going through several suspects and uncovering a rape, it all leads back to Gibbs.

It looks like Bell's goons were behind the attack, but once Gibbs travels to Mexico to find Mike Franks, he doesn't find Franks's body but Merton Bell's body and a gun to his head. Is the Ranger working for someone else or is there another player/?

Gibbs tells Abby to send the whole report without changing anything. Is he willing to bite the bullet? He can't be innocent can he? It looks like the writers will have to do something big to keep Gibbs out of prison.

Ziva's reaction to the rape was slight but possibly indicated to something larger. Did more happen in Somalia or is it her natural reaction?

I still don't like M. Allison Hart and I doubt I ever will. However, she does seem to realize that the people she works for may be putting Gibbs in danger and that doesn't sit well with her.

Score: 9.1/10

CBS 2010-2011 Schedule and Thoughts

9:30-10:00 PM MIKE & MOLLY (N)
10:00-11:00 PM HAWAII FIVE-0 (N)

Mike & Molly replaces TBBT and the Hawaii Five-O remake takes the successful slot previously held by CSI: Miami.

8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
10:00-11:00 PM THE GOOD WIFE

Surprisingly, CBS kept Tuesday intact even thought The Good Wife ratings have suffered from Parenthood.

8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM THE DEFENDERS (N)

Again, I find it interesting that Survivor, which thrived on Thursday, the day for high ad prices, was moved to Wednesday. The Thursday line-up gives a clearer picture. The Defenders is a new comedy-drama. Will it work with Criminal Minds?

8:30-9:00 PM $#*! MY DAD SAYS (N)
10:00-11:00 PM THE MENTALIST

CBS is going for NBC's throat by targeting Community and 30 Rock with The Big Bang Theory and William Shatner's new comedy Shit My Dad Says.

8:00-9:00 PM MEDIUM (NT)
9:00-10:00 PM CSI: NY (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM BLUE BLOODS (N)

After some low ratings, CSI: NY was moved to Friday. Blue Blood is another cop drama, starring Tom Sellec.

10:00-11:00 PM 48 HOURS MYSTERY

7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI (NT)

CSI: Miami, which has been the strongest CSI, will get the Sunday slot which hasn't fared well for Cold Case.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review - Lost Season 6 Episode 16 What They Died For

The series finale is in 5 days! Wait, what? Yes, the time is upon us and it'll all be wrapped up in less than a week. "What They Died For" provided huge plot movement, setting everything up for the finale with a flurry of events.

Jack, who has insisted the entire season that he and everyone else is there for a reason, sees this as the exact reason, the reason for him being there and now, the reason for his existence. He takes Jacob's mantle, drinks the imbued water, and heads of for the light in hopes of stopping Flocke and saving the world.

There were a bunch of quick deaths in the episode similar to the demises of Ilana and Lapidus. Richard gets thrown to kingdom come by the Smoke and I'm pretty sure he doesn't survive, Zoe gets her throat slit when Flocke realizes she is a nobody, and Widmore is shot to death by Ben after telling Smokey what he knew. Just like that, two integral characters and a nobody are gone.

I haven't really taken to the flash-sideways storylines not offering some kind of skewed parallel to the real world, because there hasn't been a real solid plot threading continuously throughout the flash-sideways stories. In setting up for the finale, "What They Died For" offered the concert as the focal point of the flash-sideways, where all the characters will merge as the people on the Island battle Flocke.

Desmond goes back to the school and after Ben confronts him, he quite literally beats Ben's head back to the Island, forcing him to remember beating Desmond on the dock. It's all part of Desmond's grand plan, which is rather hazy right now.

He turns himself in to the police and ends up with Sayid and Kate. On the way to county lockup, Desmond offers to get them out as long as they go along with his plan. Ana Lucia (!), still a cop, lets them out for a hefty sum. Hurley pulls up driving a Hummer and they're set to go.

Also in the flash-sideways, Locke meets with Jack and after hearing that Desmond wanted to set him free, he realizes there are forces are work greater than his self-hatred. Fate is an odd beast, once again bringing to believer in Locke out and pushing him towards walking again.

The episode ends with Flocke telling Ben that he'll use Desmond to destroy the Island. And it's fitting, isn't it? The Island can been the center of the Lost universe for six years, through invaders and time, always there and never vulnerable. It was the wild expanse that allowed imagination to run free and the most incredible events happen. Now Flocke is out to destroy the Island--in my mind, the essence of Lost itself.

I know there are spoilers floating around on the internet and I'm usually one to look voraciously for spoilers, but this is the one time I refuse to spoil myself. The ending of Lost probably won't satisfy everyone nor will answer everyone's burning questions. Speculation isn't worth much at this point, but if I can to guess, I'll predict that the Island will survive, but something else catastrophic will happen, merging the flash-sideways and the Island.

As usual, I'll post my review after the episode airs of Sunday night. I'm pretty busy next week, but if I have additional thoughts about the episode or show, I'll try to make another post by Thursday, Friday at the latest.

Score: 9.2/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 05/17/10

Fox won with House (4.3) and 24 (2.9).

CBS was second with How I Met Your Mother (3.1), Rules of Engagement (2.9), Two and a Half Men (4.4), The Big Bang Theory (5.5), and CSI: Miami (2.9).

ABC was third with Dancing with the Stars (4.1), Romantically Challenged (1.9), and Castle (2.4). Disappointing end to the Castle season hampered by the ROM crap.

NBC was last with Chuck (1.9) and Law & Order (1.7).

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 22 The Staircase Implementation

Read my review on SpoilerTV.


Review - United States of Tara Season 2 Episode 9 The Family Portrait

This season is all about things spiraling out of control and the show continues moving forward in that direction. In terms of plot, "The Family Portrait" didn't really go anywhere, but presented some increasingly difficult relationships between characters. Max sleeps with Pammy first, then sleeps with Shoshana with Tara's permission, and admits sleeping with Pammy. Yeah, this isn't turning out good.

After the drug adventure last week, Marshall's neighbor is mad at him and Lionel for making the other gay neighbor run off. Apparently drugs do weird things to him.

Kate meets up with a rich guy who wants to talk to her about things. I don't see why other than that he's crazy, but he owns some yogurt stores, so how crazy can he be? At the end of the episode, Kate returns the getup and gets in a big fight with Lydia, who is upset both Kate and Tara came to her to resolve their problems and then left.

Nick has been holding back and holding back, but it looks like he'll react much like Max did. Womenfolk on USOT aren't putting up a good show and the men have largely been sitting back, waiting for something to happen. Charmaine puts Neil in a tough spot, using his recommendation of abortion to have him sign over custody.

Score: 8.7/10

ABC 2010-2011 Schedule and Thoughts

MONDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”

10:00 p.m. “Castle”

No changes here.

TUESDAY: 8:00 p.m. “No Ordinary Family”

9:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”

10:00 p.m. “Detroit 1-8-7”

ABC is trying to launch 2 new shows around DWTS, but with the declining ratings of the results show and heavy competition, they could be in trouble.

WEDNESDAY: 8:00 p.m. “The Middle”

8:30 p.m. “Better Together”

9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”

9:30 p.m. “Cougar Town”

10:00 p.m. “The Whole Truth”

The Middle moves to 8 for Better Together and The Whole Truth gets the 10pm slot which did horribly for ABC this year.

THURSDAY: 8:00 p.m. “My Generation”

9:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”

10:00 p.m. “Private Practice”

FlashForward and The Deep End didn't work out in the slot, so ABC is trying about with My Generation.

FRIDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Secret Millionaire”

9:00 p.m. “Body of Proof”

10:00 p.m. “20/20”

SATURDAY: 8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night College Football”

SUNDAY: 7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”

8:00 p.m. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

9:00 p.m. “Desperate Housewives”

10:00 p.m. “Brothers & Sisters”

Review - Castle Season 2 Episode 24 A Deadly Game

I was hoping the writers wouldn't go down the typical route, but they did. The big decision the last 4 episodes have been coming to arrives and Beckett chooses Castle, breaking up with Demming. BUT--before she can fully express her feelings to Castle, and I think we all know where she was going, Castle's ex-wife/publisher, Gina, shows up. Apparently she and Castle talked for hours the previous night and will spend the summer in the Hamptons. After all those crestfallen looks Castle has given the past few episodes, it's Beckett's turn to be disappointed. Well, should have acted faster.

And as these artificial roadblocks go, this one wasn't very original. All Beckett had to do was finish the sentence and Castle could make a decision, but Beckett was about a minute late. It's only the second season, so there's still time before the show becomes Bones where the relationship has become insipid and trite.

The case was the usual stuff revolving around the cool idea of a spycation. At first, the people in charge of the spycation, so they follow up on leads that end up nowhere until they focus on the victim and discover 2 affairs. The woman's husband who the victim was having an affair with killed him.

Score: 8.9/10

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 22

Jack Bauer versus everyone. That's essentially how the writers are playing it and they are sapping every bit of life out of the story literally and figuratively. Having wasted all the plot twists (or having none in the first place), the writers have turned towards a one-dimensional type of storytelling which would be good if we haven't seen it 50 times in the past. Jack takes out the Secret Service, snatches Logan, interrogates Logan, and proceeds to slaughter the Russians. Damn, that's all in one hour.

Taylor continues to bury herself and I'm guessing she'll be exiting with even more disgrace than Logan. This time, she clamps down on the press, so Meredith Reed can't get her information out. Chloe and Arlo track down Jack's buddy and get Cole out of jail to help.

The series finale is next week and I don't really care. Jack will go on revenging and the world goes on.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 17 Chuck Versus the Living Dead

"Chuck Versus the Living Dead" really didn't click for me until well into the episode, and even then the episode only presented a mashup events intended to lead into the two-hour season finale next week. The first half of the episode is spent setting everything up and felt very disjointed. Chuck's father, Stephen Bartowski, shows up and unravels what Chuck has been up to, Sarah finds out about Chuck's dreams, Justin continues to lead Ellie on, and Chuck has Casey tail Ellie. Unlike last season's penultimate episode, "Chuck Versus the Colonel," "Living Dead" wasn't as tightly knit, primarily because the scope is larger and the writers are more ambitious, and the episode lost that intimacy that made "Colonel" so good.

The episode picks up about midway through when Ellie, under Justin's orders, plants a tracker on Stephen, leading to an awesome Bartowski family (plus Sarah, though she may become one soon *wink*) fight. They work together to take down some incompetent Ring goons, who have no backup. Stephen shows Chuck the Governor, a new device that can regulate the Intersect.

In some ways, the darker first half of the season has had an impact of the second half which, albeit is substantially lighter, but still maintains the habitual lying Chuck does with ease and in this episode, the element of death was introduced with the spy will. After reading Shaw's will, Sarah gives hers to Chuck and at the end of the episode, Chuck begins to write his own. While Chuck the show is all about fun and games, to the characters there is a real possibility of death, something we haven't seen until now.

All the problems arising from Ellie's dealings with the CIA comes at the risk of her seeming stupid or gullible. Watching her being led around was unsettling because the viewers know she's doing almost everything wrong and helping the enemy. The upside is that there's no turning back now. She's deep into Chuck's world and will finally learn the truth--hopefully leading to more of those Chuck and Ellie moments are awesome.

Shaw, presumably, is alive (unless he has clones and that would be awesome) and downloads the Intersect into his brain. Huge Intersect throwdown next week? Hell yeah! It wasn't a particularly surprising twist that Shaw was alive because his body was never recovered and because dead people are often still alive on Chuck.

Jeffster goes through its troubles with Jeff going "corporate" with Big Mike as manager, but Big Mike calls Jeffster in, revealing himself as a member of Earth, Wind, and Fire and Rain (Mike being Rain). This brings Lester back and the ster to Jeffster.

Chuck has been renewed for a fourth season, so we don't have to worry if next week will be the last time we see our favorite spies. We can sit back, relax, and enjoy the show properly.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - House Season 6 Episode 21 Help Me

After a disappointing season, the season finale was a refreshing change of pace akin to the season premiere. Hugh Laurie, again, had a winning performance and in certain points the episode felt as heartfelt as The Pacific did last night.

House finds a woman, Hanna, trapped under the rubble. Her leg, unfortunately, is pinned and she is unable to be pulled out. That leaves few options, one of which is amputation. The parallel between her and House is stark and whether it is because she likes jerks or House was instilling confidence in her, she wants him to stay. The writing was a little too obvious but I didn't detract from the episode overall.

House insists against amputation despite Cuddy and others' warning. Much like his decision all the way back, House has a stubbornness against taking away of limbs and Cuddy blows up at him, telling him everything he has lost because he kept his leg. This shakes him back into reality and he informs Hannah that he'll have to amputate. The amputation goes fine until they start traveling in the ambulance. Due to something House couldn't have prevent, she dies, leaving her husband and House sitting there, stunned and crushed by what happened.

And the ending everyone will be talking about. House goes to his bathroom, totally wrecked by the events of the day. He smashes the mirror to reveal Vicodin, takes two pills, and before swallowing any, Cuddy shows up. Like in a fanfic, Cuddy expresses her love for House and kisses him. Yeah, so maybe it's on the indulgent shipper side, but it had to happen eventually.

I would have preferred (and I did think this would happen) that House take the Vicodin and descend into the furthest depths in the seventh season. Hugh Laurie does those scenes perfectly and it would be interesting to see exactly how far the show could go (On premium cable there's no doubt the show would go this way.). It's not my show and the ending wasn't too terrible, so I'll live. The rest of the episode certainly made up for any misgivings at the end.

The medical case was largely a distraction and by the end, I stopped paying attention to it. I can't think of a good reason why there had to be a case other than that the producers didn't want to have the supporting cast excluded out of both the season premiere and season finale. There was, however, a small hint at Thirteen's Huntington's disease which was probably play a large role in the next season.

The Huddy angle for next season isn't that appealing to me, but if the writers can get the medical mysteries in order as they once were, we can expect good episodes to come. If not, it'll be another drag until the end.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 5 Episode 23 The Wedding Bride

We originally saw the poster for The Wedding Bride all the way back in Season 4, and nothing was made of it until now. The movie is out and Ted is made the be the biggest loser ever. "The Wedding Bride" goes through various parts of the movie and everyone's reaction. Even though the movie is terrible and overly cheesy from our perspective, everyone other than Ted in the HIMYM world loves it--even Kim Jong Il! The episode was good surrealist fun and had me laughing much more than the past few episodes did.

One thing I don't understand is how Stella could have allowed the movie to be made in the end. If she wasn't a bad person before this and I was ambivalent about her, how could she have allowed this movie to completely malign Ted and take advantage of the nice things he did. Now I hate her and I'm guessing everyone else does also.

As I was getting really, really hopeful that Judy Greer would be the Mother, it was dissipated in less than 30 seconds. She's a gambling addict and the final kicker, sharing a bed with her brother, ends it. Ted kicks her out and I'm pretty sure that's the last we'll see of Royce.

More frustration and waiting, but what can you do...

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Treme Season 1 Episode 6 Shallow Water, Oh Mama

Another busy Monday, so I'll have to keep things short.

I'm still looking for a story to tie everything together, but given that David Simon isn't pushing for a story, I won't harp on that too much. If a showrunner has good intentions that go contrary to my personal tastes, I'll give him/her a pass. (In writing him/her, I just realized how scare female showrunners are. Shonda Rhimes, Tina Fey...anyone else?)

Janette has been struggling the entire season and she's probably been my favorite character thus far. She has a wonderful determination in everything she does, but also has the tiniest thread of insecurity due to the mounting conditions against her. Six episodes in and this was the last straw. After working everyone hard and considering a pay suspension, she just had to close down. I'm sure she'll do everything to come back, but is it possible even if everything went as planned?

Score: 8.8/10

Fox 2010-2011 Schedule and Thoughts

8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LONESTAR (new)

House is a great lead-in for any new drama.

8:00-9:00 PM GLEE
9:00-9:30 PM RAISING HOPE (new)
9:30-10:00 PM RUNNING WILDE (new)

After several comedic failures this season, Fox will try to launch 2 new series with Glee.

8:00-9:00 PM LIE TO ME
9:00-10:00 PM HELL’S KITCHEN

Lie to Me gets a slot without much competition other than NBC's Undercovers which may prove to be more than a challenge.

8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE

Fox is sticking with this combo, but the ratings have been on the low end.

9:00-10:00 PM THE GOOD GUYS

I guess Fox is trying to make some noise on Friday (again) with Human Target and the new drama The Good Guys from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix. Will it work?

8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS

7:00-8:00 PM THE OT (NFL post-game)
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD


(All Times ET/PT)

8:00-9:00 PM HOUSE
9:00-10:00 PM LONESTAR (new) / RIDE-ALONG (new)

Ride-Along is The Shield creator Shawn Ryan's new project, so it's bound to be good.

8:00-9:30 PM AMERICAN IDOL Performance Show
9:30-10:00 PM RUNNING WILDE (new) / MIXED SIGNALS (new; spring)

Fox using Idol to launch a new comedy.

8:00-8:30 PM RAISING HOPE (new)
8:30-9:00 PM AMERICAN IDOL Results Show
9:00-10:00 PM GLEE

8:00-9:00 PM BONES
9:00-10:00 PM FRINGE


8:00-8:30 PM COPS
8:30-9:00 PM COPS

7:00-7:30 PM THE SIMPSONS (encores)
8:30-9:00 PM BOB’S BURGERS (new)
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 9 Kafkaesque

Last week's slow episode was centered around the hospital and the characters dealing with what happened. "Kafkaesque" was another slow episode with characters scheming and looking for an advantage. It was slow, but the kind of tasty slow where you can suck up every line of dialogue and relish the implications.

Once Walter starts connecting the dots, he realizes Gus is not any regular chicken man. Gus is crafty. very dangerous, and the only one who could have diverted the Cousins toward Hank and call Hank. There's not much Walt can do either. Jesse describes the box that he created for himself, symbolically the drugs he started uses. Walt, however, has been placed in a box by his dealing with a previously unknown entity, Gus, who turned out to be more than he bargained for. Not one to be scared by a schoolteacher, Gus offers him $15 million for a year. What can Walt do? The only solution, which he comes close to doing, is committing suicide, driving into the opposing lane before swerving away.

Jesse is getting himself right back into trouble. First, he crunches the numbers and realizes that Gus will make a whopping $96 million for the 3 months of work, and Gus doesn't do much. OK, he supplies the raw material and distributes the meth, but Walter and Jesse are doing the technical work that allows the operation to succeed. Later, Saul calls Jesse over to a nail salon so Jesse can buy it. He wants Jesse to launder the money and become legit.

But this is Jesse "Hell no, bitch" Pinkman. He's a criminal and that's exactly what he sets off to do. He uses the 12-step group, Badger, and Skinny Pete to lure people back to using this great new product that has come back. Jesse's plan is capped off by skimming a bit of meth off the top. Jesse has escaped death more than once, but when Gus finds out, is there any way Jesse can stay alive?

Marie has trouble dealing with the insurance companies and the possibility that Hank will never walk again. She needs tens of thousands dollars that she doesn't have. Of course, Walt has bundles of money he doesn't use and Skyler knows that.

Skyler pulls out a miraculous story on the spot, describing Walt's gambling problem in detail to Marie. With stunning frankness only matched by Walt, she is able to lie for a whole 5 minutes a the while freeing herself from the constant speculation from Marie for the time being. Part of me doubts that Marie will buy the story forever unless she's really not that bright. If a impenetrable system could be made simply by reading books, there would be a lot more people out there doing it. Skyler seemed convincing, but her story was spotty in some places. In the end, Skyler confronts Walt, telling him she knows he is intertwined with Hank's shooting and she won't forget it.

In the same episode, she tells Ted to leave her house. Ted wants something more, but what about Skyler? We know she hasn't met him in days because of Hank's shooting, but would she want more? I doubt it.

After this episode, there are 4 episodes left! It really feels like the season can go on forever. The pieces are slowly falling in place for the final act of the season and this season is turning out to the best of the series.

Score: 9.2/10
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