Friday, July 31, 2009

Review - Burn Notice Season 3 Episode 8 Friends Like These

This season didn't start that great, especially with the very brief appearance of Detective Paxon which frankly was tacky and lame considering how short she lasted. If she doesn't come back, the purpose of her character will be minute. However, like how the season is shaping up. Strickler is bringing Mike into a grey area nobody other than himself really knows, Michael is just going along to get back into the spy world, and Fiona really isn't liking any of it. This episode was IMO the best this season, and really brought some depth to the characters, including one scene which I literally had to rewatch 5 times.

Strickler has a job for Michael and he complies pretty easily without considering what he will do after. He knows the exact place and time some thieves are going to steal weapons from the government. Michael is to take pictures and get info on the "cleaner," the guy who covers the tracks of the robbers. Since the cleaner is across from a bingo contest, Madeline takes some pictures and then Fi tails him to a park. Michael tells Strickler who doesn't really do anything about it. When Fi questions Mike about how Strickler knew exactly what was going to happen and didn't seem to want to stop it, he kind of ignores her.

Barry the money launderer needs serious, serious help. His ledger of clients is missing and he'll probably be killed if the list is leaked. They track down his girlfriend Amy who is supposedly out of town and find that she stole the list for some people. She tells them where she met the people and Mike and Fi capture a man and woman who enter. This begins a long process of interrogation. The woman appears to be a real estate agent coerced into helping when her son was kidnapped, and she had also given them the location to a house with a safe with information. The man is a former Serbian interrogation specialist, and is probably the head guy.

Their investigation leads them to a storefront where the cashier tells Mike and Sam that some crazy lady was the one in charge. Meanwhile, the woman is garnering a lot of empathy from Fi who is completely trusting of her now and is being especially nice. Mike and Sam rush back leading to the aforementioned scene which I watched multiple times. They act all mad, and then Mike slaps Fi across the face taking her totally by surprise. This was one of the few moments in the show where there was an actual emotional scene with Fi not knowing what to think and Mike trying to make things better. Mike and Sam leave, and Fi pretends to let the woman go, and they track her and take the ledger back. There is a scene in which Fi has a gun on her, but there is a crowd of children walking by and the woman tells her that she has no problems firing into a crowd of children while Fi does.

I think this might have prompted Fi to back out of helping Mike do recon on the park where the arms are shipped. She tells him that working with Strickler will make him change and she won't be in Miami to see it. The episode ends with Diego calling Mike. It looks like he's back in and Fi is way out.

With one episode left before a long hiatus, I'm excited to see what will happen since next week it looks like Fiona is in deep shit and Strickler doesn't want Michael to help. There was actually some pretty decent non-action acting in this episode and the emotions really came out.

Score: 9.7/10

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review - Leverage Season 2 Episode 3 The Order 23 Job

Armenian Bernie Madoff? Check. Empty hospital ward? Check. Realistic sound effects? Check. Leverage crew? Check.

This week's episode didn't really have a standout moment, and seemed kind of bland, but overall, the con was still good, and there were a few twists thrown in. After the guy who sounds almost exactly like an Armenian version of Bernie Madoff gets 18 months at a country club, the leverage team decides to send him to the real big house. Noticing that the hedge fund criminal is a germaphobe, Nate devises a plan to get him into a hospital using drugs and Parker's skills.

Once he's in the hospital, they give the slip to the U.S. Marshals, leaving a dummy in the MRI machine. They put something on his wheelchair to give him a rash and bring him into a room along with Sophie who acts as a crazy person scratching herself. Hardison starts pumping in noises including someone yelling order 23. Along with a new report about a breaking health report and sirens, the guy is freaking out, and then Sophie "dies."

The marshals find the dummy, but Hardison manages to stall them, so Nate moves up the time table. He goes into Bernie's room and pretends to be sick. Parker, dressed as the nurse, has to do order 23 and lock them in there. Bernie panics and promises $400k if she let him out, and she agrees. They run out, and Bernie grabs the taser of the security guy who had wandered to the floor earlier. He tasers Parker, and gets his money where Parker is waiting for him. The police arrive as he is running off and I'm sure he will get more jailtime.

There are 2 other storylines ongoing. One is that an Armenian hitman is trying to kill Bernie for stealing the money who catches the attention of Hardison who investigates and who Eliot stops by beating him up. Another is that Eliot sees a kid with a broken arm from his abusive dad, and Eliot sends the other U.S. Marshal to his house to talk to him.

We still haven't seen Sophie's new boyfriend, and I'm hoping to see him soon to see everyone's reactions. The Sophie and Nate thing is still unresolved as there is a very blatant attempt to remind us of that after Parker ponders whether Nate has become more sadistic after becoming sober and Sophie asks if that makes him more attractive.

There weren't that many funny moments, but I liked the con and how it progressed. The episode was well-made, but certainly nothing special.

Score: 8.5/10

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 4 Claudia

Before I review the episode, I have to express what may be a psychological problem of mine or an actual problem in the editing room. There have been a few instances in all the episodes where the sound effects or the music overpowered the voices and I had to rewatch the scene. I'm not entirely sure where the problem lies because the actors seem to be doing a good job projecting in other instances. The other thing I noticed is that there is occasionally a very shaky camera. I distinctly remember one scene in this episode when Pete and Myka are talking in Claudia's apartment and I really noticed the camera moving around like crazy. There was another scene in last weeks episode that seemed to have the same problem but I assumed it was just a fluke. Maybe it's in my mind, maybe it isn't. I don't look specifically for these kind of things, but I guess something caught my attention so I assume there is something.

I liked how the writers switched things up this episode and focused a lot on Artie instead of Myka and Pete finding an artifact. Claudia, the title character of this episode, is in fact the hacker and knew Artie from a long time ago. Her brother Joshua was being supervised by Artie had been in a lab accident and died when she was young. We see this in a series of vague flashbacks showing the events leading up to the accident.

Claudia is kind of crazy, kidnaps Artie and brings him to the same warehouse her brother's accident occurred. Apparently he is still alive, but stuck in another plane or something. We see him in intervals yelling from behind a cloudy thing. I'll admit the show does a poor job of explaining things, so stuff just happens, and Claudia is getting worse psychically from being there.

Pete and Myka come back to the warehouse and discover using a cool artifact that Artie is kidnapped. Under orders of Mrs. Frederick and start investigating, leading them to Claudia's apartment (not her orders), and finding out that Joshua's experiment had been teleportation aided by Rheticus's compass.

I think I know why the procedural element of the show is so lacking. They go through very few steps, simplifying the whole thing, but at one point, someone takes a huge step forward in the case without any deduction or induction. Myka or Pete just comes up with something and then runs with it. There doesn't seem to be any build-up. In this episode, it was pretty clear. Pete randomly thinks Rheticus put puzzles in his artifacts so he thinks the compass has a hidden panel with other rules.

The team gets to Artie and Claudia and tell Artie their discovery. Artie and Claudia touch Joshua and get sucked into his realm. Artie grabs the compass, finds the panel, follows the instructions, and saves Joshua. Mrs. Frederick expresses deep concern over the information Claudia knows and has to deal with it.

I liked the characterization of Claudia. She wasn't too crazy, still wanted to get her brother back after so many years, and wasn't too stiff. One thing I like about the scifi-lite genre, even in the most dire situations, the dialogue can still be funny.

The shows needs some serious cleaning up to do, but I think the dynamic between Myka and Pete, the mysteriousness of Mrs. Frederick and Leena, and Artie and definitely the strong points of the show. Now only if they could make a coherent storyline...

Score: 8.7/10 (same as last week's)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 6 Hard-Hearted Hannah

Another great episode, and something actually happened this week. The stories have yet to converge so there are still very distinct storylines going on, though in a few weeks, Jason and Sookie are sure to cross paths.

Sookie goes with Isabel's human boyfriend Hugo to the Fellowship of the Sun church. They start talking to Steve and Sarah pretending to be vampire haters. While Sookie is reading thoughts, Steve thinks about the vampire they have in the basement which I assume is Godric. Later, Steve starts thinking about how Sookie is lying and he knows who she is. I guess Sookie's plan had one minor flaw. The Fellowship of the Sun already knows who Sookie is, that why they sent the guy to the airport to kidnap her. It ends with Steve forcing Sookie and Hugo into the basement.

Bill's maker Lorena shows up and we see some flashbacks of them in the 1920's killing people and doing some weird stuff. She talks a bit to Eric and then goes to Bills room and pins him to the bed right as Sookie gets in trouble. Hoyt also shows up to Jessica's hotel room having driven to Dallas all the way from Bon Temps.

Jason and Luke are ordered to build a crazy cross thing used to burn vampires in the sun in front of crowds. They talk and Jason decides to become abstinent (right...). Later, he sees Sarah who is upset with Steve and then breaks his earlier vow. Good job being strong there.

Back in Bon Temps, Andy is delusional again and wants to bring Lafayette to the station to answer questions about his disappearance. Lafayette has PTSD and huddles in the corner. The situation becomes worse when Pam shows up and gives him V to sell. Money troubles? While driving, Andy sees Sam and Daphne is a dog and pig respectively. He realizes that the pig is the one he saw with Maryann. This is the first sign of trouble. Then Daphne leads Sam to Maryann's orgy which is probably the most disturbing yet since everyone is naked and doing it.

There was also a story with Eggs and Tara that left me really confused. They go to get a water heater, but along the way, Eggs tells her to stop, and they start walking. He says he knows he's been there before even though he can't remember. There are clothes and blood on a rock. Could Mary Ann have brainwashed him? Anyways, they come back and join the fun at the orgy.

The episode was great again and kind of revealed a lot. Sam just can't get a break, and Maryann continues to get weirder. The tone of the show is perfect and the scene with Lorena and Bill having sex with blood all over was so disturbing, but so well made. The pace of this episode picked up and still left enough for slower scenes. I was hoping for more of a twist with the FotL, maybe more complexity, but I guess that are just bigots with guns and manpower. Earlier in the season, I think the Newlins did bring up legitimate points about the danger of vampires, but lately, they have become totally illogical.

Score: 9.5/10

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How does the BSG finale influence your perception of the series as a whole?

With the complete series boxset (way overpriced) and the season 4.5 DVD coming out next week I was thinking about the whole series and how I view the series after knowing what happens in the series finale. From an objective standpoint, the finale and the whole fourth season frankly does not make much sense. Everything the survivors have done are actually in the hands of a god that works in mysterious ways. There's random, benevolent angels that had previously seemed useless or just plain batty. In fact, they are the ones who saved humanity. Kara Thrace? She used to be the hotshot pilot, but now she's some kind of divine being sent down to guide humans to a home. I don't know what Ronald Moore was thinking, but it seemed like he wanted something grand, something out of control of the puny mortals, but it's clear from the miniseries and the first few seasons, that was never the intent of the show.

As much as I like shows with a solid, understandable plot, not once did I think the draw of BSG was just the storyline. When I think of shows, the first thing I think about are the characters, and BSG does not disappoint. There is a vast array of complex characters that continually develop and the acting is top-notch. From President Roslin, the Adamas, Starbuck, the Agathons, BSG is one of the few shows that has such a wide variety of cast that it explores with depth.

Now I'll admit that the fourth season does take the wild turn that people like, except this one was out of the blue, and didn't really fit with the whole theme of the story. Yes there are enough huge plotholes for the Galactica and all the Raptors and Vipers to fly through, but I never minded. As clear as day, The X-Files is my all-time favorite show, yet the whole alien storyline has no beginning, middle, or end. Instead it is piece of information pilled on top of more information. There is 9 seasons of build-up and no conclusion other than the rare resolution to some issue. I continue to watch Lost even though there are lots of things that won't be explained. 

Not everyone can be a J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), so I'm fine with whatever Ron Moore, Chris Carter, or J.J. Abrams throws at me. I don't expect a TV show with 22 episode seasons to have a perfect storyline or even a well-envisioned one. A few story arcs with continuity is fine with me. I won't fault BSG for a finale about divine intervention, but the rest of the show was amazing and much better than the original, and that's all I can ask for.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review - Burn Notice Season 3 Episode 7 Shot in the Dark

Fi got shot!! Actually she wasn't. The promo was so damn misleading, I really thought something bad would happen for once, but instead, it was just another part of the perfectly executed plan by Mikey and Co. After a couple lackluster episodes this season, the writers have hit their stride, and the main storyline has really picked up.

The client of the week story starts when a kid tries to steal a gun from Fi's house (how did he know her house had guns?). It turns out that his stepfather Erik played by Jay Harrington (Ted from Better Off Ted)  is abusive and is preparing to take him away from his mother. He is highly connected to legitimate officials, oh, and his brother Quinn (Nicholas Lea AKA Alex Krycek from The X-Files) is a big time gangster.

Sam learns that Erik takes cars from the harbor and sells them. Michael plans to scare Erik when the custody hearing is taking place so the mother can have the kid, so he pretends that he bought a car only to have it stolen by some people who are sending a death squad for him and Erik. After a few tricks like breaking Erik's car and chasing him down the street, he is freaked.

Sam and Fi pose as people that can get rid of the problem and get $40k upfront. This is where the fake shooting occurs. They make it seem like the death squad kills Mike, Sam, and Fi with some fancy tricks. Erik decides to skip town, but is stopped by Quinn who wants to make sure his business is safe. Erik takes them back to the location, but Mike dresses as a priest, Sam as a street vendor, and Fi as a shopper. Acting all delusional, Erik is sent to a mental facility where he is so unstable he can't get custody.

There are a few brief scenes in which Mike talks to the abused kid and teaches him a few things. It may have been too little, but those kind of things usually bother me. Mike has also able to get some info in Strickler from Diego, the spy working at the airport and at the end of the episode, he takes Strickler's offer to do a job.

Score: 9.5/10

Review - Leverage Season 2 Episode 2 The Tap Out Job

This week, we got to see Eliot in action pummeling people left and right. I was surprised the second episode of the season already centered on a specific character, since I kind of wanted to learn more of what everyone was doing when they were away. The writers weren't really clear if Nate and the rest of them have a new business or if they actively look for people to help, so I don't know how they got involved, but their target is an unsanctioned MMA promoter named Rutger in Nebraska who bets against people and drug them.

I'm not going to go through the con since that's the whole fun of the show, but there's high tech golf, making Eliot seem like a popular fighter, stealing a huge production for a singer, and faking someone's death. Nate is an MMA promoter from South Dakota to make a TV deal with Sophie who is a producer. Rutger discovers that he is being conned and decides to bet against Eliot in a fight or terrorize their clients forever. After Eliot fakes killing someone, Rutger runs away and the police find guns and cash. Good luck!

I thought Christian Kane was amazing and really showed his acting ability, especially when he was explaining why MMA fighters do what they do. The episode had plenty of funny moments, my favorite being when Eliot got Parker to use some MMA moves on Hardison and she kept choking him while Nate was still talking. I found the plot much easier to understand this week, though I would have liked to see what kind of operation they are running now.

Score: 9.3/10

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 3 Magnetism

This episode was by far the best episode yet. The dialogue between Pete and Myka while they were squabbling. The storyline for the artifact was still a little shoddy, but it did improve over the previous episodes. I think the writers should put more effort into the procedural element of the show as it is so basic and predictable, but they are doing a good job for everyone else. That being said, I don't think the task of finding artifacts is the draw of the show. To me, the warehouse itself and the characters are what makes the show fun.

In a small Colorado town, people are going crazy. A teenager that plays Bazzini decently smashes his violin, a nun thinks she can fly, and an old lady smashes a guy into the counter at a store. Obviously something is up, so Myka and Pete run over there. As they investigate, Myka meets a paramedic who is married. Out of the blue, he grabs her breasts and it appears he has the condition as well. He does this several times, and as I was watching, I was thinking how Joanne Kelly was feeling since he did it so many times. I know they're professionals, but come on...

Eventually, Myka starts hitting Pete whenever he makes her mad, and they figure out that people are acting out their subconscious. They backtrack their steps and realize that the only place Myka has been that Pete has not is in the church. The chair in the priests office has some crazy built up energy and makes people act weird after sitting on it. The sheriff comes in with a gun wanting to kill Pete (I guess everyone hates him) and is strapped with explosives. Pete hacks the chair to pieces, grabs the bomb, and detonates it safely.

My problem with the artifact collecting is that it feels so impersonal and detached. There is something that I can't pinpoint that is missing from the show. It know that this can't be like the usual crime procedural with cell phone traces, license plates, and forensics, but I would like to see some complexity to the story, maybe a villain, or a very dangerous object.

The other storyline involved Artie trying to figure out what the hacker is doing with the electrical grid. Leena is giving him a hard time about it, and I thought the dialogue was great. Leena doesn't say much using cryptic sentences while Artie can talk to himself endlessly. The episode ends with the power going out and the words knock knock appearing on the circuit breaker (?).

Score: 8.8/10

Monday, July 20, 2009

ChuckMeMondays July 20, 2009

Last week, I made a post named Why ChuckMeMondays and Twitter are so important to Chuck. I would like to give some promotion to the event and clarify some details about Twitter.

This week, we are watching Chuck vs. The Truth with the truth serum and Sarah's ability to lie under it's influence. It's a great episode, and it's the first time we see Lou the sandwich maker.

Sometime between last week and now, people we trying to figure out why weren't trending, so they found out that having 2 tags in one post only counted one, so from now on, everyone is just putting #chuckmemondays in a tweet. Remember to tweet at 9:00 PM EST and watch Chuck on TheWB.

I hope all Chuck fans will join in, and if you're not, it's never too late to jump into a great show.

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 5 Never Let Me Go

If last week's episode was slightly filler, this episode certainly qualifies as filler. There were a few revelations, but overall, the story was absolutely nowhere. Nonetheless, the dialogue was priceless at times, and the tone was nice. I liked how the writers tried something new in this episode. The order of the plot doesn't really matter, so I'll just write up the things we learn and explain them.

No one else knows that Barry the bellhop can read minds, and he can't block out thoughts like Sookie can. She keeps trying to talk to him and he keeps running off. We learn that Daphne knows Sam is a shapeshifter is that she is one herself. She turns from a doe back to a human, so we know she's not lying, but I'm still thinking Mary Ann the crazy claw lady still has something to do with it since she's not dead after being mauled.

Lafayette comes back to the bar dejected and empty of swear-infused retorts. He doesn't tell Sam anything and just works. Godric is Eric's maker. It turns out that Eric was a Viking (how awesome is that?) and before dying, Godric turned him. I think it might be at this time that Eric went gay.

Mary Ann actually doesn't that big house she lives in and now wants to crash with Tara in Sookie house. Tara tells her she can't do that, but then Maryann shows up outside the bar and does some crazy tricks so that everyone gets mad and eventually yells at Tara. Tara is all messed up and lets Mary Ann stay.

Eric, Bill, and Sookie meet with Godric's lieutenants and has one the stupidest conversations ever. Stan wants to kill the Fellowship of the Light and Isabel wants to wait. Eric is having a temper tantrum and Sookie is interjecting with stupid comments until she suggest she infiltrate the Fellowship of the Light to find the truth. They kind of agree on it, so now they have a plan relying solely on Sookie (good idea...).

The Light of Day silliness continues with Jason outperforming the other losers. Steve shows him a little storeroom of all these weapons used to potentially kill vampires. When Jason is in the tub, Sarah Newlin comes in and puts her hands under the water. Well you get the idea... The episode ends with Bill's maker showing up in front of his hotel room.

Score: 9/10

Friday, July 17, 2009

Where are the children in True Blood?

I was thinking yesterday, and realized that there haven't been any schools shown at all, but then I also realized that the only children we have seen so far are Arlene's kids. I'm guessing there are children in Bon Temps, and I know they wouldn't jive with the whole theme of the show, but I find it eery that there are kids or even teenagers anywhere.

Bon Temps seems to truly be a sick place devoid of innocence, it's citizens going crazy without any restraint. They have loud parties, have sex in the public, but are there no parents? Where is the responsibility? No one seems to have a higher education or any calling for something more than living in a backwater Louisiana as a nobody.

While True Blood is set in a postmodern world where everyone's beliefs are turned upside down, vampires out-shadowing anything a human can do, sad as it may sound, the Fellowship of the Sun seems to be the only people who have goals in their lives. We don't know the kind of students are produced, but from Sookie's intelligence, I'm guessing they teach squat.

I know children wouldn't fit into the story, but it's hard for me to wrap my head around the whole concept, but I guess you have to take my speculation with a grain of salt. And I won't read the books even if they do reveal this information so I won't spoil the plot to myself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reviews are now on Spoiler TV

You can find my reviews here:

I'm hoping I have distinctive style so readers can recognize my writings. If someone else on the site is doing reviews of the same shows I do, I will continue to post the reviews here. In the meantime, I will have more blog posts here instead of reviews.

Why the Emmy Awards are lame

This morning I awoke to the random musings of a some old guys that think they understand television. While I don't claim to be an expert, there are obvious misgivings that I simply can't ignore.

I first want to go into the mindset of the Emmy voter. If it stinks of scifi or is beyond the realm of possibly, cross it off. Battlestar Galactica can't possibly be good drama. After all, look at Star Trek, what a joke? True Blood? Just a bunch of horny vampires and humans fornicating in a southern town. Instead, polygamous Mormons is high-brow and deserving of a nomination.

Season 5 of House was the weakest yet, but it was still nominated. They're telling me Foreman and Thirteen is good drama? The Chase, Cameron cliche was good drama? Cuddy and her baby? Maybe the revelation in the end was a good shock, but who cares?

Entourage? I didn't know people were still watching that. The show became boring a long time ago. The biggest gripe I have is with the nomination of Family Guy for outstanding comedy. The show is far, far past it's prime, and viewers are fairly critical of the declining quality. Yet these brilliant people on their high horses think that this is the year it finally should be recognized. should be recognized when the season deserves recognition.

That's the majority of my complaints, so I want to get into some more subjective topics. I thought the Boston Legal nominations were kind of stupid. I thought Elizabeth Mitchell should definitely have gotten recognition for lead actress in a drama. If I had a choice of Losties, I would pick her over Michael Emerson for a nomination. I think a number of people on BSG, especially Mary McDonnell and Eddie Olmos could have been on the lists. When I saw the nominations for supporting actress in a drama, I immediately spotted Cherry Jones for 24 since it got almost nothing for the major categories. IMO, Annie Wersching did a much better job than Cherry who I found grating at times. Both Kiefer Sutherland and Carlos Bernard were amazing this season, but whatever... Another omission was Chuck which was passed over. Yes it's funny, yes Zach Levi is brilliant, but do they care? No

The one bright spot that I saw was Simon Baker in The Mentalist. Like I said in an earlier post, I think Patrick Jane is my new favorite character, on par with Shawn Spencer played by James Roday on Psych. They nominated Monk, why not Psych?

Review - Leverage Season 2 Episode 1 The Beantown Bailout Job

Everyone's favorite crime solving  committing team is back in action. After way too long, Leverage is finally back, and the crew is reunited. I'm not going into detail of the con they do, because it's kind of complex and I don't fully understand or remember each part, but I will give the gist of what goes on.

The episode starts with Nate completely sober (yay!!!!) He sees a car crash (horrible visual and special effects) and saves a man and his daughter. We get a vague idea of what is going on with the man. He uncovered a dirty secret about a bank and is now targeted, as the brakes weren't working.

Nate goes to some theater where he sees Parker, Parker sees Hardison, Hardison sees Eliot and Eliot sees Nate. It's reunion hosted by Sophie who now has a singing job (cover your ears!). They want to know what he's been up to, and apparently they are bored of what they were doing, so they try to persuade Nate into another job. Someone attacks Nate, but luckily Sophie saves him, but then bashes him in the face with a pan.

Nate wakes up to hear someone chewing very loudly. We instinctively think Parker and it is in fact her (who else would chew like that?). Oh yeah, she's also wearing a nun's outfit. The team sans Nate decides to do something and try to proceed, but Nate just can't stand to see them making so many mistakes without him so he joins in.

The next part is the con which I am not going to go in depth. A bank had being giving loans to a number of shell companies run by the mob for 30 years and just recently, they've been giving bad loans and other bad decisions, knowing the government will bail them out. The team reveals the banker as the mastermind and not the mob which are just the muscle. The banker ends up revealing himself to the state police.

If this is the first time hearing about the show, and are not interested by my summary, the con is where the magic happens. They steal, dress up, fight, impersonate, and do a bunch of fun stuff before totally screwing the offender.

In the final scene, I was reminded why I love this show so much. Nate comes to his loft and sees Hardison installing TVs. He then sees Parker with the infamous Leverage painting and asks for an explanation. Hardison is now his landlord having bought the whole building and can do whatever he wants to it. Eliot slices through a wall and kicks in down. Pure awesomeness.

The ongoing story will probably derive from the revelation that Sophie now has a boyfriend, so I'm guessing there will be lots of tension between her and Nate. Now that Nate's sober, who knows what he'll do.

Score: 9/10 (I took off a little since I didn't fully understand the plot)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 2 Resonance

The second episode of SyFy's new series was better than the last though it certainly could have been improved. I think the producers are still trying to flesh out the concept of the show, but from the improvement, I'm sure it will get better.

The artifact Myka and Pete find this episode is a recording of something that messes with people's brains. Robbers use it to hit 3 separate Chicago banks without any resistance. Our team shows up at the bank where an FBI agent played by Tricia Helfer arrives. She seems to know a lot about them and they are not welcomed. Myka sees a man on the phone in the bank while the robbery occured and Artie gets a recording of it. They play it back to a woman in the bank and she goes into a daze. Pete recognizes the music playing and they find the old guy that made it. It turns out that he is useless to rob banks.

He also owns no more records having sold it. Pete and Myka visit the guy who owns records and apparently the old guy had some unreleased New Age crap that he made with a sound engineer. Tricia Helfer is staking out a bank and Pete decides to go with her (who wouldn't?). Myka stays behind and then realizes that maybe it's the acoustics of the banks along with the binaural beats recording to cause the effect. She rushes over to one of the banks with the features and finds some people in black running off. She takes chase and for some reason does not draw her gun. Instead she tackles and tries to fight them, only capturing one (smart move).

They are escorting the sound engineer that they captured when Pete gets one of those "vibes." He tells Myka to put in the earplugs just as the robbery crew busts in an incapacitates everyone other than Myka who has one earplug in. She manages to slip a cellphone in one of the robbers which they use to track. They end up at the old guy's house and find all his records. Apparently, the receptionist of the guy would owned the records was also the old guy's daughter and she along with the old guy's caretaker had stolen the money to buy the records. Pete and Myka take the recording and just leave, not arresting anyone (really?).

The other storyline will be ongoing and will probably last for a few more episodes. Someone tries to hack into Warehouse 13, and Artie tracks the intrusion to Myka and Pete's Secret Service boss Dickinson. Artie goes to his office where he freezes him with a cool camera and uses his computer. Artie unfreezes Dickinson and they start cooperating a little, resulting in the discovery that the hack did not originate from Dickinson's computer. From what I've seen of promos, someone will break into the warehouse.

There is backstory of Myka revealed. Her father is having a retirement party and she doesn't want to be there because he was a total douchebag. After seeing seeing what the old artist guy's daughter did for him, she wants to see him (wow, that was fast). We also find out that the partner she was having an affair with was married, but separated (cliche?).

I thought the plot was a little too simple, and Tricia Helfer wasn't used enough, but overall the episode was good, and there were some funny moments.

Score: 8.35/10

Next Episode: No promos on youtube, but the description says that the will be energy pulses at the warehouse and a mind-altering artifact.

Review - Better Off Ted Season 1 Episode 10 Trust and Consequence

Out of all the returning shows this week, I think Better Off Ted did the best. This episode had a better plot that Bioshuffle (ep. 9) and was funnier.

One of Veridian Dynamic's perfumes causes hornets to attack some women, so the company is being sued. Ted's team and Veronica have to give depositions. This leads to a hilarious exchange between a lawyer and Veronica who of course tries to say nothing. Lawyer- "Can you describe your job?" Veronica - "Yes." Lawyer - "How would you describe your job?" Veronica - "Cleverly."

Once they get around to asking whether anyone had knowledge the hornets could attack, everyone denies it except Linda. Apparently she knew and even sent an email to the CEO and Ted. Ouch! (it's funny if you watched Veronica's deposition)

Phil also reveals that he never attended MIT and actually went to the University of Aruba which causes lots of tension between him and Lem, but is later resolved rather easily.

Ted swears that he never got an email, but Linda also insists she sent him one. They both claim to remember it clearly as it was Linda's first project and it was the day Ted had sex with Veronica. Veronica offers to make Linda a scapegoat for a large sum of money and she accepts. Someone slides a CD under Ted's door and it is actually a video of Ted and Veronica having sex showing that Veronica had in fact deleted the email with her shoe. Dr. Bomba takes the fall as a druggie and everyone is happy.

Score: 9.5/10

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why ChuckMeMondays and Twitter are so important to Chuck

Another Monday has passed and for another week in a row, we didn't do so well. I talked about ChuckMeMondays a couple weeks ago, and I'm guessing very few people read it, but I would like to bring it up again and possibly add some reasoning why Chuck fans should participate.

The first week we did ChuckMeMondays, if I remember correctly, we tweeted fairly high on trending topics list(possibly 5th or 6th). Since then, we were able to maintain a spot on the trending topics list at least for a few minutes. Yesterday was different. We did not manage to get on the list at all. While I don't know the number of tweets week to week (you can look yourself in the Chucktv forum), we could have had more tweets than the first week, I don't know. What I do know is that in competition with other topics ChuckMeMondays simply did not do well.

From the falling position on the trending topics, I will make an assumption that the number of people tweeting is falling. On the other hand, Twitter continues to grow more popular, especially by the heavy coverage of Twitter during the Iran election fallout. To combat the growth, all Chuck fans must pitch in to help, join Twitter, invite others to join, and publicize the event as much as possible.

Now you may ask me, what exactly makes ChuckMeMondays so important to the show? I have the answer for you. Internet buzz is fairly important to the networks. Chuck was saved due to a large part of this. The Subway 5-dollar footlong campaign was crucial considering that Subway and Chuck now have a product placement deal. Dollhouse was renewed not only because Fox didn't want another Firefly disaster, but by the legions of Whedonites on the internet doing their crazy things. I know not all internet campaigns work, but being persistent is much more helpful than giving up.

I would like to tell some patterns that I've been observing on Twitter for TV shows that trend. This Sunday, True Blood, Entourage, and Hung all trended. There are not particularly large viewerships for these shows as they are on premium cable, yet they trended. True Blood especially has trended in the #1 every Sunday since the season premiere. While True Blood is a great show and deserves that spot, Entourage (people still watch that?) and Hung (gigolo? wtf?) still trended high still they follow True Blood. Once a topic stays on the list, more people see it and start tweeting about it. It is almost exponential how it works, more and more people tweet about a topic, so it gets more exposure to more people and the cycle continues.

There seems to almost be a direct connection to viewership and tweets on Twitter. True Blood is getting massive numbers (for premium cable) and corresponds to the position of trending topics. Burn Notice and Royal Pains both regularly get pretty high on the trending lists, especially since I never see any TNT show trend. Their numbers are also very high. If people see a TV show trending, there is a possibly that they will turn on their TV and find the show since others like it and it should be a good show.

If ChuckMeMondays trends high every Monday, people will see it and find out what it is, introducing more people to the amazing world of Chuck (if NBC refuses to do it, we'll have to pick up the slack). If we can keep trending high until the Chuck season 3 premiere, I am positive the Nielson numbers will be good. If not, I'm not really sure what will happen. NBC claims to have some viral marketing plan, but with those fools, who knows.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Review - True Blood Season 2 Episode 4 Shake and Fingerpop

Seriously, what's up with all these shows after a 2 week break. They're just not as good as I remembered. Even so, this episode of True Blood was still great, but didn't have the zing of the last episode.

It picks up where episode 3 left off with Bill yelling at Hoyt. The issue is resolved quickly as Bill says he is scared for Hoyt, not Jessica. Thankfully Sookie cuts Bill off before he delivers another ridiculous "She is vampire." Later, they show up in Dallas with 2 coffins for Bill and Jessica. The person waiting for them tries to kidnap Sookie, but Bill of course stops him (the promo really overplayed this). They glamor him and find out that he was ordered by the Fellowship of the Sun to do it. I think it was kind of expected considering how much they played up the rhetoric against vampires.

Eric also gets to Dallas on the same night after letting Lafayette feed on him. We learn that Eric is one-thousand years old and Godric, the missing vampire is twice as old. He is the most powerful vampire in the New World, so one can only imagine what the vampires are like in Europe.

Jason is back at the Light of Day conference being the golden boy. Steve Newlin takes him out shooting paintball guns on an ATV like madmen (which they really are). Jason is so good at shooting at targets that he is now part of the elite Soldiers of the Sun. There are only 14 beds in the Soldiers of the Sun dormitory so Jason gets to stay at the Newlin's house. Jason seems to be developing a crush or something on Sarah Newlin so trouble will be coming his way.

Tara has a birthday party thrown in surprise by Maryann at Sookie's house (she's going to be pissed when she gets back). As always, the party turns into a total orgy. If even possible, this party appears to get more out of control than the previous ones with cakes smearing, and dirt eating (let them eat dirt?). After more shaking and black eyed crazy business, Maryann grows claws. I guess she is the weird creature that attacked Sookie and killed Miss Jeanette.

Daphne also reveals to Sam that she knows his little dog-sized secret. So this is what we know so far. Daphne and Maryann both arrived at around the same time. Daphne was clawed by Maryann, but didn't die and Maryann knows what Sam is. Who knows what will happen?

In the very last scene, the bellhop (Barry) brings up a guy for Jessica (lol) and when Sookie reads his mind, she discovers Barry can also read her mind. He takes off running and she runs right after him. Face palm...

IMO, the episode seemed kind of like filler, but it did connect some dots and has put the season in a certain direction. That being said, the dialogue had many good moments.

Score: 9/10

Next Episode: I swear I've seen the promo before, but it kind of looks like another filler.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Review - Royal Pains Season 1 Episode 5 No Man is an Island

This episode was interesting not because of the main plot, but from the background information we learn and the progression of the characters. Jill ask Hank whether he would consider a job in the ER as there is an opening. Later, Evan walks in on them and it gets kind of awkward. He has a big job for HankMed. They can go into an island owned by some rich family. Evan comes along as the "manny" and Divya stays on the mainland. Somehow, Hank who has a date with Jill the next night doesn't tell her, and Evan fails to mention that there is no cellphone reception (it's nice to know facts before going to a deserted island).

The main medical story revolves around the old guy that lives on the island getting hurt when Evan lets a 12 year-old drive a truck and it crashes. The dumb, old guy takes some blood thinners because his head hurt and makes the problem worse (I guess he didn't know a doctor was in the next room). There's a bunch of boring, tedious stuff that happens, the old guy needs a transfusion and the kid provides the blood since everyone else in the family has too many antigens (am I weird to think inbreeding?). Yay...the kid does something useful and everyone is happy.

Jill tries to find Hank and instead finds Divya who is very defensive after learning Jill offered Hank a job. We later learn that she has been part of 2 previously failed concierge services and doesn't want that happened again. We also learn that Jill also used to be involved with an emergency room doctor and it didn't turn out well. The episode ends with Hank turning down the ER job and moving forward with Jill.

Score: 8.3/10

Next Episode: It looks like a highly contagious disease of some sort

Review - Burn Notice Season 3 Episode 5 Signals and Codes

After 2 long weeks without Burn Notice, the show is finally back. Michael starts off by finding a black plane that spy agency uses. He finds one and gets Barry to find the shell company (why is he doing this now?). At the shooting range, this crazy guy called Spencer confronts him and starts babbling. TBH, I wasn't too keen on this character. At times, his fast talk babble seemed natural and at other times it was just tedious and annoying.

Not only can he not put together a complete thought it a few sentences, I also gets confused between Earth and space. He supposedly uncovered a plot that aliens were killing guardians. Replace aliens with evil corporate execs and guardians with spies and I guess he's fine. Eventually they check his evidence and he might actually be on to something. They find out that an executive for a defense firm does have unauthorized codes for embassy transmissions that they use to communicate. No, she isn't actually an alien.

I didn't quite understand the process in which they got her caught since a few schemes didn't work (I wasn't too tired as I watched 2 more hours of TV after, so I'm not sure what to make of it) In the process, Spencer tries to hack her computer and she tries to kill him. Michael and Fi save him and lose their chance to catch her in the act of deleting incriminating evidence. They then trick her and catch her once and for all.

Michael finds the spy agency and talks to a guy named Diego. I learned that spy agencies are allowed to steal and smuggle native artifacts back to the U.S. as funding for operations (sure...). The higher ups are willing to review Michael's file so I guess we'll see what happens (I don't think there will be a follow-up).

Fi seems to be reaching a breaking point, especially after Michael literally blackmails her by saying that if she cared about him, she'd let him get what he wants. And if he cared about her?

Score: 8/10

Next Episode: Michael gets kidnapped by a bunch of people with guns

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot

It's certainly not an epic space opera, but who cares? The freshly rebranded SyFy Channel has a new show: Warehouse 13. I was looking forward to this show, and I was not disappointed. Based upon the scifi-light model like Eureka, Warehouse 13 has lots of comedy and not too thick of a mythology which is certainly not crucial for every show.

Basically, 2 Service Agents, Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), and Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) save the president (the point isn't really shown that well as the president never really seemed in too much danger since Myka already had a gun drawn). Myka stops some guy who was influenced by some crazy Aztec blood mask, and Pete grabs the masks where Artie (the fat vagabond) neutralizes it.

Pete goes back home and Mrs. Frederick (CCH Pounder) tells him he has a new assignment in South Dakota. He gets there, and then Myka shows up. They are now part of a team with Artie to find artifacts and retrieve them. Their first mission is to find out why a college student hit his girlfriend. It turns out to be an old Renaissance artifact. This story seemed kind of bland, but that may be because I was half asleep.

That's the basic plot summary, and I know the show doesn't seem too great, but I'm sure actually watching it will be much more enjoyable than just reading about it. Myka and Pete start bickering right from the beginning and eventually get along as they learn more about each other. The dialogue isn't sparkling and not that witty, but is decent enough to pass.

My favorite part of the show was the warehouse and the gadgets Artie has. The warehouse is enormous and contains shelves abd shelves of items. In probably the funniest scenes, Artie has to get to some place in the warehouse, so he gets onto a zip line and flies down into the warehouse, letting go and crashing once his destination is reached. The steampunk elements are kind of unnecessary, but adds a nice feel to the show.

For those looking for some kind of mystery thing, Myka is hearing the voice of her former partner/lover saying "Hey bunny (or Hey Buddy, I swear the heard bunny the 3rd time it was said)." Who knows what it could mean.

The pilot should have been condensed to an hour thirty, but the episode started moving along once it neared the halfway mark. Overall, the show was good and I will continuing watching and giving reviews.

Score: 8/10

Next Episode: I think someone breaks into the warehouse. In the trailer, there is BSG hottie Tricia Helfer and a glimpse of SGA star Joe Flanigan.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

5 Best New Shows of 2008/2009 TV Season

5. Dollhouse (Fox)

The tone of the show is great, and for the most part the acting is strong (Eliza Dushku isn't that great). Some of the episodes weren't that good, but the last few episodes were riveting. The show has lots of potential for backstory and crazy things happening to the Dollhouse. At first, the concept seems a little bizarre, but it grows on you after a while.

4. Better Off Ted (ABC)

BOT is a different kind of comedy to the run of the mill ones on CBS. Set in an office with high-tech things everywhere, the show is wacky and fun. There is lots of potential with new gadgets and weird technology that can wreak havoc each weak. The characters are all quirky in their own way, and there is definitely lots of potential for the show. Like Scrubs, there is lots of unrealistic, physical humor, so I'm afraid it won't really catch on. 

3. The Mentalist (CBS)

Former fake psychic (they actually aren't real) Patrick Jane is a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation and helps solve crime with his observation skills and intuition. Basic, right? Yes, actually, but that's what makes the show so fun. There's crimes and the team solves them. The best part of the show is Simon Baker who plays Jane. Jane is a great character with witty, funny comments, but when push comes to shove, can become as serious as anyone. I know people won't like to hear this, but I may actually like him better than House. Robin Tunney plays Teresa Lisbon, the head of the team, and even thuogh lots of people don't really like her in the role, I think this does a great job playing off Jane.

2. Fringe (Fox)

I'll admit the first couple episodes were shaky at best, but J.J. Abrams has done it again with a scifi show. The premise is that there are weird events happening called The Pattern and the FBI investigates them. It's similar to The X-Files, except the FBI agents have much more resources are more mainstream. There are some awesome twists and a cool main storyline which I have to admit is more interesting than that of The X-Files (please don't hate me). None of the characters are very interesting other than Walter Bishop played by John Noble, but I'm sure later seasons with go more in depth with that as there are many possibilities.

1. Leverage (TNT)

Imagine a Ocean's 11 with a philanthropic heart. That's Leverage. A group of master criminals get together to help people in need. The show is solid throughout. The pacing is near perfect, the characters are funny, and the jobs are highly intelligent. The world of high-tech thievery meets a helping hand and we get a great show. Helping the underdog is lame at times, but it is rarely the focus, and most of the focus is on the actual crime. While other cable shows like Burn Notice get more recognition, Leverage is a show that is truly a cut above the rest.


5 Best Renewals of 2008/2009 TV Season

5 Worst Cancellations of 2008/2009 TV Season

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Review - Stargate Atlantis Complete Series

Since the season 5 DVD came out this Tuesday, I'd like to give a review of the whole series for any prospective buyers or people who want more information on the show. I'll also be giving a review of Battlestar Galactica a few days before the season 4.5 DVD is released which off the top of my head is July 29, but that might be the soundtrack.

Stargate Atlantis is a spin-off of Stargate SG-1 which I think is a magnificent show (review later). The concept is that people on Earth have found the gate coordinates to the lost city of Atlantis which is in the Pegasus Galaxy. As such, great power is required to traverse between galaxies, and a return trip will not be possible. A multinational group is sent to Atlantis where they find a deadly enemy, the Wraith.

Apparently they feed off of human life-force and Earth is just the planet with billions of people they are looking for. Along with the stand-alone episodes, there are episodes that involve Wraiths. Later there are a group of enemies called the Asurans which are the Pegasus version of the Milky Way replicators. The enemies of SGA are decent: the Wraith are strong, smart, have weird voices, and live forever. They don't however have the presence or what I like to call the aura the Goa'uld of Stargate SG-1 had which was grand, arrogant, and highly imposing. The Asurans are totally random and aren't nearly as scary as SG1 replicators which have a clicking sound whereever they walk. Nonetheless, the writers were able to make a decent story with them.

The characters are where the show really takes a hit. What made Stargate SG-1 so enthralling was the core group of characters which stayed for 7 seasons. In SGA, there are so many casting changes that it gets kind of tedious. When I said the Farscape had bad acting in my previous post (I'm comparing the show to all shows, not just scifi), SGA may be worse. Out of the original cast David Hewlett is the one bright spot and Joe Flanigan and Torri Higginson are decent. Rachel Luttrell is awful and Rainbow Sun Francks barely gets to do any "acting." Later on Jason Momoa joins as the typical strongman and isn't that great either.

The visual effects in the show are great as it has some of the coolest TV space battles (comparable to BSG). Compared to SG-1, there are many more times in space and uses of laser beams. Now this doesn't necessarily make the show better, but the show uses space and visual effects effectively (lol).

The show provides some unexplained backstory for SG-1 and overall is a decent scifi experience. I think some of the storylines ended too quick even though they could have been extended. The finale ended pretty disappointingly with minor conclusion, but it opened up another storyline the show could have taken. I do like however that in the end, the writers went back to the original reason for opposing the Wraith. A direct to DVD movie to coming some time at the end of the year called Stargate: Extinctions, so don't forget to buy it (or do whatever semi-illegal thing to watch it).

Score: 7.5/10

Happy Independence Day!

Just a little footnote, I will be giving a review of the newest episode of Mental tomorrow. I watched it last night, but I still don't know what to make of the whole show, so I want to make some sense when talking about the show.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Can a one season TV show be considered great? (Firefly)

I was reading some blogs the other day, and I don't know what to make of Firefly when comparing it with other shows. My brother tells me that it's his favorite show (he has really watched that much tv), but I keep thinking how a 14-episode show could be that good. I want to go into my psychology and see if I make any sense.

Every show has good episodes and bad episodes. The good shows will usually have more good than bad, and the bad shows will usually have more bad than good. Most good shows will continue for several season assuming that the ratings are reasonable. As the show progresses, the viewers are able to see character development, and story development which is part of what makes a show overall, great (serialized drama).

For me, Firefly is an enigma I can’t really wrap my head around it. There are some episodes that are absolutely amazing (Out of Gas, Objects in Space) while others (The Train Job) weren’t so great. Almost all the episodes were of high quality and the cast is wonderful. I thought whoever did the casting did an awesome job especially without any big names. The characters had personalities and the dialogue was always spot-on. The over-arching mythology was intriguing though it was not delved into that much. The stand-alone episodes had that western feel along with scifi elements that made the show so fun to watch.

That being said, it was only a half-season. There were many unresolved storylines and lots of missing background for Shepard and Inara. There was only some character development surrounding Mal, Simon, and River. No one is at fault other than Fox which refused to renew a show with such a rabid fanbase.

So now I’m totally confused. The concept of the show is great, the characters are great, the music is great, the visual effects are great, but with only 14 episodes, where do I place this show among my favorites? This also relates to another show that is one of my favorites: Alias. I consider the first two seasons of Alias the best consecutive seasons of any show. While the later seasons tanked, season one and two are still unbelievably good enough to raise the stock of the entire show.

I certainly enjoy watching the single season of Firefly, but it doesn’t contain number of good episodes that The X-Files has even though the one season of Firefly is comparable to any season of XF. When I compare the show to Farscape, I immediately think Firefly is better. I consider Farscape overrated with the bad acting and soap-opera moments. However, Farscape does have a fairly fleshed out (and compelling) storyline though it only has 4 seasons and IMO better wrap-up with the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries than the Serenity movie.

I’m in deep water now. Based on the later comparison, do shows with big story arcs really matter than much to me? I wouldn’t stop watching NCIS just to watch a serialized show. I’m quite fine with crime procedurals or any procedural for that matter with all or most standalone episodes, so what is my deal with Firefly. Do I need more episodes for a show to be considered great? Is it just my disappointment there were no more seasons?

I’ll assume no one will really read my entire ramblings, but I think I may be closer to why I don’t put Firefly near the top of my favorite/best shows. It is my underlying frustration that there are no more episodes of the show than the spare number we have. The show could have been so much greater. Please comment and slap me back into the realm of logic.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review - Better Off Ted Season 1 Episode 9 Bioshuffle

Everything at Veridian Dynamics is running smoothly until Dr. Bomba's biocomputer (Farscape?) starts leaking and sets Linda's workspace on fire. A cleanup crew comes and Veronica's whole floor is turned into a mess since half the cubicles are unworkable.

Linda is moved to the basement with a creepy food tester and then pretty much shames Ted into moving into his office. This is disastrous for Ted as he can't stop staring at her, and she has some peculiar habits like not doing work and talking with her fish. Eventually he gets fed up and moves in with Veronica. They both will stay quiet and mind their own business right? Of course not, Veronica is getting lots of pressure form upstairs and finally resorts to shooting a chair.

A beautiful scientist moves into the lab with Phil and Lem. Lem gets the courage to ask her out, but before kissing her, he sneezes, and then she head-butts him, knocking him out. Another guy moves in with her and appears to be making a move on her. Lem decides to take matters into his own hand and use the hypersonic sound machine to make her vomit. Unfortunately, this allows for the new guy to take care of her even though he first seemed like a jerk to her.

Ted talks to Linda and they start yelling at each other, ultimately deciding to be professional. I guess this puts a hold on Ted and Linda for a while. The episode ends with Ted looking at Linda's butt which has tape with the words "If you're reading this you're NOT being professional."

The episode had plenty of funny moments, but not as many as last week. Nonetheless, the episode was still good.

Score: 8/10

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