Saturday, October 31, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Friday 10/30/09 - No Dollhouse, Fox still sucks

While House (1.2) did better than Dollhouse did all season, it still did pretty bad compared to the other shows. I know it's a rerun, but this is House, which gets enormous numbers for new episodes. Looking at the numbers, House did 1.5 times better than Dollhouse did last week, which is kind of deceiving since low numbers have huge percentages for small increases.

CBS won the night again with the impressive trifecta of Ghost Whisperer (2.0), Medium (1.8), and Numb3rs (1.8). It's possible House is the reason for the drop in GW and Medium.

ABC did around the same as last week with Supernanny (1.3), Ugly betty (1.2), and 20/20 (1.6).

NBC did slightly better than ABC with Law & Order (1.4), Dateline (1.7), and The Jay Leno Show (1.2) which hit another note.

As I said yesterday, I ignore CW normally, but the ratings for Smallville reached a season high with 1.2. Now if only Dollhouse could get those gains.

Review - White Collar Season 1 Episode 2 Threads

Every show has a drop in quality for the second episode, and in the case of White Collar, there was no exception. The dialogue was less spiffy and the episode was overall less snappy. Nevertheless, the episode was good and I was thoroughly enjoyed it. Our expectations for the show should not be shaped by the pilot, but if White Collar continues with episodes like this, it should become a solid show.

The team of Caffrey and Burke continues to be delightful and fun to watch. The crime wasn't particularly interesting, but Caffrey's inside knowledge proved helpful again. It's still a huge stretch to see so much lenience given to Caffrey and how much money the FBI let him spend. Basically to the FBI, white collar criminals can do whatever they want as long as they can be helpful.

I liked seeing Burke's wife Elizabeth more incorporated into the story. I'm still not sure how she fits into the show and this week, the scenes between her and Burke didn't quite work.

The story with Neal's ex-girlfriend is really interesting and I hope we get little tidbits every week. She may be an abstract concept that never gets resolved, but she provides a good reason for Neal to be cooperative.
Once slightly big change was the removal of the lesbian agent and replacement with Lauren (Natalie Morales), mostly likely for sexual tension. I hate casting changes, but since it's only the second episode, it's fine.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Sanctuary Season 2 Episode 4 Hero

Killing off Ashley was a horrible creative decision by the producers that they'll have to stick with. Ashley brought a certain dangerous quality to the show and brought out Magnus's other side. Ashley was one of the better characters in the show and it was inexplicable why the producers wanted to get rid of her. The explanation on ScifiWire is thin and probably a smokescreen for backroom dealings. Taking their word at face value clearly, they have no clue what they are doing. I love this idiotic quote from Damian Kindler.

We felt it was a very bold, kind of brave choice to make, and the more we looked at it, the more we felt it was a really strong choice, ... the strongest choice.

I guess he thinks death is the only way to perpetuate a story. Not only did he kill a character, but also a main character that was liked by the fans. Notice how he uses the word "bold" and "strong." Neither really mean anything, but I like how he used these ambiguous words that can be construed in any way.

As if that wasn't enough, they brought in Kate Freelander who is already despised and is quite annoying. In 'Hero' she lied some more and helped her loser brother. Wow, is that supposed to make us like her? I like how the writers tried to make her a less evil character, by not making her part of the Cabal. Instead, she's a heartless mercenary without scruples.

Another quote from Damian Kindler that proves he is clueless.

...we really felt it would have the deepest, most dramatic impact on the series and the characters.

And did we see any impact? Nope. 'Hero' was a silly episode with a geek enhanced by abnormal bugs. Sure it was a pretty good episode with the superhero and the giant bug, but the activity at the Sanctuary seemed normalized sans Ashley. She could have been in the episode and it would have been better.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 6 Water

First, I have to say that the suits used in this episode looked very similar to the suits worn by the Pegasus Asgard in the Stargate Atlantis episode 'The Lost Tribe.' I know props are reused a lot in Stargate, but I'm sure they could have come up with something different at least.

Once again, the story was generic and hackneyed. The water levels are going down, so Scott and Everett go to an ice planet to get water. Scott falls down a crevasse, everyone panics, Scott wants Everett to leave, but Everett stays and saves him. I find that Stargate Universe stories are aptly summarizes by a long sentence divided by commas. There's never any twists; what drives the stories is the imminent threat of death which as we know isn't a threat at all.

The sidestory involving the water drinking bugs was made slightly more interesting by the fact that they were the swirling thing Scott saw on the desert planet. The way they dealt with them was straightforward as well. They trap the bugs, put them in a container, and throw them into the ice planet. I was thinking, and is this was SG-1 or Atlantis, almost assuredly they would have tossed the container into the kawoosh of the Stargate.

Score: 8.5/10

Friday, October 30, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 10/29/09

Fox once again won with a whopping 5.8 which would explain for the drop for other shows. The series is now tied 1-1, so it could last for quite a bit longer.

ABC had interesting results with FlashForward (2.7), Grey's Anatomy (5.2), and Private Practice (3.6). That's a huge drop for FlashForward and it could be in trouble if it keeps falling.

CBS also had interesting results with Survivor (3.7), CSI (3.4), and The Mentalist (3.6). In a few quick weeks, The Mentalist has now topped CSI, while CSI continues to plummet. Next season, if CSI wants to hold on to Thursdays, they could consider moving NCIS to Thursday and CSI to another day.

For NBC, Community (2.1) was up while Parks & Recreation (2.o) , 30 Rock (3.1), The Office (4.2), and The Jay Leno Show (1.5) were down. With the strong episode last night, hopefully Community can improve for next week.

I normally ignore the CW for obvious reasons (crap ratings), but I have to note that The Vampire Diaries have a huge 2.0 which devastates everything else in CW's schedule.

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 8 Koi Pond

There was plenty of good stuff in the episode, though nothing as insane as in 'The Lover.' I thought the Halloween themed opening could have been the focus of the episode, and instead was cut far too short. Obviously lots of time was spent decorating the warehouse, and I would have liked to see how they finished with everything, knowing the fickle nature of some employees.

Pam and Andy doing cold calls was funny especially when someone thought they were a couple, but I was creeped out by Andy when he tried to be convincing. With Pam out of the office, we didn't see how she's still dealing with Michael dating her mother.

Michael falling into the koi pond was pretty funny and everyone at Dunder-Mifflin had to take a shot at him. Their attention quickly turned to Jim after seeing the video, but Michael still had his back in the end.

The best scene in the episode was Dwight trying to reconcile the fact that Jim is his own worst enemy which would make Jim Dwight's friend since Jim is also his enemy. If it doesn't make sense, ask Dwight. I'm sure he has a 30-page thesis on this.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - The Mentalist Season 2 Episode 5 Red Scare

The Mentalist never has amazing crimes or story arcs, but the acting headed by Simon Baker is what makes the show so good. If not for Simon Baker and his pure charisma, I'm not sure The Mentalist would have lasted this long.

'Red Scare' was fairly standard crime-wise with probably the most predictable culprit this season. The instant I saw the nephew, I knew it was going to be him. He didn't talk much and the other suspects were too obvious.

The Halloween theme fit well with the haunted house, secret passage, treasure, and ghosts as a backdrop for a heinous crime. Rigsby and Van Pelt finally got together which is a relief since Rigsby is kind of annoying at times.

Score: 9.2/10 

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 7 The Curious Case of Dean Winchester

All good things must come to an end, and for Supernatural season 5, it did. After being blessed with several excellent, excellent episodes, we've gotten several average ones. Not that, the past few episodes, have been horrible, but there has been a noticeable drop in quality.

'The Curious Case of Dean Winchester' did not advance the main story of the apocalypse. I think everyone is expecting the typical apocalypse with everything burning and people dying all over. Instead there are random interludes like this one that are unrelated. So far, the setting doesn't feel apocalypsy.

The story was straightforward and very simplistic, but it allowed us to see different sides of the characters. Bobby is basically a wreck without usage of his legs, and Sam is allowed to save the day for a change. The villain played by Hal Ozsan is oddly sympathetic, doing several nice things, and never showing true malice. He takes away years, but that's because he's good at playing cards.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 6 Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

The first 15 minutes of the episode, I was thinking "hey, this is pretty good." As I kept watching, I starting "oh no, oh no," and then "this is terrible."It was as if a train was going straight, and then started veering of course, and then just flying off the rails. In the end, another disappointment and sadly no improvement.

Mark chasing down the masked teenagers, then the stupid collision of Lloyd, Olivia, and Mark, and then the even worse argument between Olivia and Mark. I reached a point when Olivia came home and I was straining to continue watching. It was painful, but I made it through.

Janis having a small chance of conceiving throws a wrench into the flashforward being the future idea. Dimitri and Al go on a ridiculous search for some blue hand. Are the writers just throwing out very specific pieces of evidence and expecting them to fall into place in a later episode?

The major revelation of the episode was Lloyd telling Simon that their experiment killed 20 million people. So Lloyd at least thinks it was an experiment, and is for now a "bad guy."  Simon is definitely bad, as he reveals to a woman he just slept with that in his blackout, he saw himself killing someone. Great, now hurry it up.

Score: 8.1/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 7 Introduction to Statistics

It was nice to see Community rebound after several not so good episodes. Using the Halloween theme, the writers effectively incorporated the characters and holiday to create a hilarious episode.

Abed stole the show, taking the route of Christian's Bale's Batman, with the gravely, absurd voice. I loved the last few minutes when Abed saves Jeff and Pierce to a score complete with the overindulgent percussion in the vein of Hans Zimmer. Then he gives a monologue about saving parties. But wait, it's Abed! Abed has this weird perception of reality. He can be normal, and can be reined in if he goes to far, but often times, he doesn't know where the limit is, and goes to far. In this circumstance, he played his character to the fullest and it worked nicely.

Jeff chasing women is continuing to be confusing and stupid. Supposedly he can get lots of girls, but according to him, he hasn't in months. I don't get his fixation with Britta either, and I'm not sure there are any good ways to fix this problem. I did like his interplay with Senor Change as they simultaneously worked together and opposed each other.

There was lots of good stuff going on with Shirley, Annie, and even Pierce. I didn't spot any weak spots, and I hope this is the kind of episode we could get every week.

Score: 9.3/10

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 10/28/09

Fox destroyed the competition with the World Series Game 1 (6.3). If the series reaches game 7, Fox could get huge numbers and with the Phillies actually able to contain the Yankees hitting for one game, we could see that.

ABC did well with the comedy lineup of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (2.0), The Middle (2.2), Modern Family (3.7), Cougar Town (3.7), and Eastwick (1.8). I'm surprised The Middle has hung on for so long. It might even get a renewal. Eastwick is certainly dead while Cougar Town and Modern Family are still doing great.

The CBS repeats did okay for repeats with Thew New Adventures of Old Christine (1.6), Gary Unmarried (1.6), Criminal Minds (2.5), and CSI: New York (2.2).

NBC ran a Monster vs Aliens special twice and got 2.2 and 1.8. I'd like to the a ratings breakdown for the second airing since it was the exact same thing. Law & Order: SVU had the same ratings as last week with a 2.8. The Jay Leno Show was the worst in the timeslot with 1.5.

Review - Cougar Town Season 1 Episode 6 A Woman in Love (It's Not Me)

I've been holding on through six episodes, and I think I've reached my breaking point. It's become too unrealistic and nobody is that likable. Over the top is fine, but it needs to be balanced with some humanity, which is clearly lacking.

The characters are their actions are outrageous and aren't tempered by anything. Jules totally overreacts to everything, breaking up with Josh instantly. Bobby seems a tad on the side of insanity, and Jules friends have nothing better to say than crazy thoughts. Sure it's funny, but has a very empty feeling. I would equate the show to watching a constant blooper reel. It's funny, but there's a point when it gets old.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 6 Run For Your Wife

I wish someone would tell the networks that airing episodes out of order doesn't help the ratings. Maybe ABC thought 'Run For Your Wife' was a weaker episode and pushed it back, but there was clear problems with the continuity that every fan spotted from a mile away. School started in episode 5, 'Coal Digger,' so school starting in this episode out of order.

Phil and Claire racing wasn't that funny, but the scenes with Haley driving were hilarious. I can still remember my parents teaching my brother to drive and how much they yelled at him. The good thing was they didn't really yell at me.

Mitchell and Cameron's story was boring until Lily got locked in the car. I was actually mortified that a baby got locked in a car, but when I saw Cameron running around with the trashcan, it was all good.

I liked how Manny is still pushing his heritage and how Gloria thought the pan flute was just too far. I would like to see how Manny is treated in school since Phil is certainly concerned how they treat him, while Manny seems unaffected either by his maturity, or the fact that the other kids don't care.

Score: 9.0/10

Major changes coming to the site

If you haven't noticed, the last show I review was Mad Men which aired on Sunday. With CBS and Fox not having any new episodes, I had lots of time to do other things, and it made me realize how much time I was spending reviewing episodes. I don't really want to get into specifics, but it takes me a long time, especially on Fridays when I have to review the loaded schedule on Thursday.

That got me thinking, and I've decided the change the purpose of this blog. Instead of reviewing certain shows with lots of recapping, I've decided to review all the shows I watch with much shorter reviews. No more recapping and almost all review. They'll be much shorter and faster to read.

In addition, I'll be making more random posts about television. I have a list of top 5s  that I've always wanted to get to. I'll be posting spoilers for shows along with commentary, and I'll make sure to hide the text for people who don't like to be spoiled.

I you have any suggestions, please post them, and vote in the poll.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chuck coming back in January -- with 6 more episodes?

Last month, I was wary of NBC's decision to bring Chuck back in October or November. There are reports that NBC is ordering 6 more episodes and bringing the show back in January.

I'm guessing their rationale is that Trauma will finish it's run in January even though NBC ordered 3 additional episodes, and Chuck can fill its spot. NBC will most likely move Heroes back to 8 and put Chuck at 9 which has tougher competition.

This may work since NBC will have more time to promote the show. They'll have at least 2 months to promote the show which is more than the month they would have had. The downside is that less people watch TV during the holiday season. Irregardless (I use that word), with enough promotion, Chuck can at least get its numbers from last season.

Another big problem are the breaks. Chuck picks up momentum and then bam, a preemption and the ratings fall back down. Even if Chuck had enough episodes, there would have to be a mandatory break during the Winter Olympics. NBC is just trying to bridge the end of Trauma to the start of Chuck in March with more episodes of Chuck.

NBC is clearly in big trouble and are trying to climb out of the hole. They may be a step away from truly innovative ideas (AKA wild, untested ideas). Maybe they'll air Chuck in March and extend the season into the summer. Maybe they'll ditch scripted programming completely.

I'm also curious why NBC ordered 6 episodes instead of 9. Three episodes isn't much difference, but 22 seems much more like a full season than 19.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 10/27/09 - NCIS repeat incredible

NCIS continues it's meteoric rise in it's seventh season no less. With 16.697 million viewers and a 3.3 18-49 rating, it was the most watched show of the night. NCIS: Los Angeles clearly did not hold up, only getting a measly 2.1, a huge drop from the new episode last week. The Good Wife (1.8) was also down, but  had a smaller percentage drop than NCIS: Los Angeles and maintained more of the lead-in than NCIS: Los Angeles.

NBC won the night (the first non Sunday win?) with The Biggest Loser (3.7), and The Jay Leno Show (1.8).

With less competition, ABC did well with It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (2.8), Dancing with the Stars (3.0), and an improved The Forgotten (2.0).

Fox had 2.5 with SYTYCD.

Yeah, yesterday was one of those days. With CBS and Fox running repeats most of this week, there's not much television to watch.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 10/26/09 - Where were the Browncoats?

For the supposedly amazing size of the Firefly fandom, you'd think they'd tune in one last time to see Mal on the small screen. The overnights would indicate that was the effect with a very impressive 2.8. But in the finals, Castle fell to 2.5, .1 better than last week, and with much worse competition. It was an improvement, but certainly not what lots of people expected.

Dancing With the Stars did well again with 3.6. While the numbers are down, ABC will have DWTS for many more years.

CBS repeats did fairly well with How I Met Your Mother (2.6), Accidently on Purpose (2.1), Two and a Half Men (3.5), The Big Bang Theory (3.8), and CSI: Miami. The Big Bang Theory continues their amazing numbers.

Heroes maintained a 2.5. Maybe there's a chance it could survive. Heroes will no longer pull the numbers it used to, but if it can stay at 2.5 and above, it has a good chance of survival. Trauma is most certainly dead getting 1.9. The Jay Leno Show was down again to 1.3. I guess going up against a CSI: Miami repeat didn't help.

Fox had interesting numbers with So You Think You Can Dance (2.6) and Lie to Me (2.4). Without the huge lead-in from House, Lie to Me was down, but maintained much of SYTYCD's audience.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Sunday 10/25/09 - All hail Yankee nation

With Game 6 of the ALCS and a little bit of football overrun, Fox claimed the crown for the night averaging 5.5 for the night.

NBC hasn't had much competition on Sundays this season, and competing with baseball, it only averaged 4.2 for the night.

With all the sports going on, CBS fell to a disappointing 2.2 for the night. Three Rivers had 1.8 and Cold Case even worse with 1.7. Ouch...

ABC scripted programs managed to hold on with Desperate Housewives (4.6) and Brothers & Sisters (3.3).

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 11 The Gypsy and the Hobo

Watching Don unravel was probably the highlight of the season. Season 3 put much less focus on the advertising, instead showing Don's evolving home life and the general breakdown of it. I've seen many complaints during the course of the season, but as we approach the final two episodes, there is a direction with an open-ended conclusion.

The most shocking part of the episode was Betty confronting Don and Don actually telling her everything. And it wasn't even at the end of the episode! This is season finale material, but the writers decided to have it in episode 11. Can they top this?

I don't really have to recap this portion of the episode (unless you haven't watched it). From John Hamm to the writing, it was truly an unforgettable scene. Don tells Betty every last detail (that's in the box) and starts crying. While there's still a lot to get through, Betty has come to a greater understanding of Don in those few minutes than she had through their entire marriage. By telling the truth without trying to elicit sympathy, Don is able to garner Betty's sympathy. This is probably the most genuine thing he's ever done, but the real test will be if he can repeat it.

As sad as it may sound, their marriage up until now was a sham with the skeletons Don had in his closet. With all the cards of the table (the affairs are unimportant), their marriage may have been saved by Betty's insistence for the truth, no matter what her motivations were.

The next day, Betty does not yell at Don, call the authorities, or The look on her face shows an uneasiness, but her actions show she is not ready to give up.

The funny thing was that all the while, Miss Farrell is sitting out in Don's car. She takes her bags and walks off, unsure of anything. Don calls her the next day and for now they won't see each other. Temporarily, Miss Farrell is out of the picture, but I feel her story is unresolved. She accepted the fact that whatever is currently going on with Don doesn't involve her, but there are plenty of ways the writers could bring to in to stir up trouble.

I also had an unintended laugh in my head when Betty asked Don if he saw his wife while in California. If only Betty knew what crazy things Don did. Don can explain away everything in the box -- they were never about infidelity -- but if Betty learned all that happened through these three seasons (I'm sure he did other things before the show started) she would be absolutely crushed and I'm not sure they would ever recover. There are just some things best kept secret and for Don, there's lots.

I love how the episode ended. The Drapers go trick-or-treating, and Carlton (Francine's husband) opens the door and says "Look at this, we got a gyspy and a hobo." Then he looks at Don and says "And who are you supposed to be?" Is he Dick Whitman, the guy who grew up poor? Is he Don Draper, the slick adman? Or is he someone else -- a murky, ambiguous man, neither Dick nor Don, ruled by incongruous external and internal forces.

Joan's douche husband Greg had a few more brilliant ideas. First he wants to become a psychiatrist which I fails at miserably, and then he came up with one last genius idea that made me double take. Greg's going to join the Army. Wow... When Joan smashed him in the head with the vase, I cheered. The only letdown was that she didn't beat him into a senseless pulp. Joan also calls Sterling for help getting a job and he makes some calls for her. Joan is such a great character and she better get back to Sterling-Cooper soon.

Roger had an interesting story as the dog food client, Anabelle, came in. They used to have a thing which she equated to Casablanca and they seem to still have an affinity for one another. Whether both really feel that way is another story.

Two episodes left. JFK's assassination, Sterling-Cooper battle, and probably a whole lot more. I'm really excited for the next two weeks.

Score: 9.8/10

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 5 Light

I thought 'Light' was an improvement over the previous episodes. There was still no story, but the episode seemed to do a better job with the characters. While I'm still not convince the series will be good, 'Light' was a tiny step in the right direction. Now if the writers can come up with a real story, then there'd be something to look for. For now, I'm holding on just for the Stargate label the fans have come to love.

Destiny continues to barrel towards the star, so Colonel Young comes with a plan that will save some of them. There will be a random lottery to see who goes on the shuttle to one of the planets. The shuttle takes off, leaving everyone else to cook. When all is lost, the ship appears to be fine. Power turns back on and the ship actually goes inside the star. Destiny is solar powered. I was waiting for someone to yell psych as everyone realized they were saved.

That's the story. Straightforward and able to be summarized to great accuracy in a few sentences. While story is usually an importance of scifi shows, Stargate Universe focuses on the characters and has story as filler. This clearly won't work in the long run and I'm still waiting to see something develop unrelated to the characters.

A large part of the episode was dedicated to the characters waiting for themselves to die. Chloe sleeps with Scott in the beginning and Eli sees this. Scott is piloting the shuttle, so Elie and Chloe spends lots of time together. They hold hands and Chloe puts her head on his shoulder. When Scott gets back, she goes running off for him. And so the love triangle begins.

Rush declines to be in the lottery, knowing that the journey to the Destiny was his doing. Young speculates at the end of the episode that Rush may have known the Destiny would never have be burned which is why he refused to be in the lottery. While from the scenes of Rush alone in his room, we can see he is agitated and doesn't want to be in the situation, the crew, notably Young, clearly distrusts Rush. This superficial insertion of tension was patently artificial. Everyone saw how Rush reacted, so why would they distrust him on this point?

This was perhaps the closest everyone has come to dying, so the tone of the episode was good. We knew they wouldn't die, but the acting overall was better than the previous episodes. The ensemble cast is working nicely so far and hopefully, SGU will stray from the everyone's going to die episode. If it does, we may have a good show on our hands.

Score: 8.6/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Friday 10/23/09 - Dollhouse dead

After an amazing episode, the ratings for Dollhouse were extremely disappointing. Pulling a .8, down from two weeks ago, Dollhouse is surely dead. Brothers (.8) and Til Death (.7) continued to do badly. Maybe Dollhouse would do better with a House repeat as a lead-in, maybe not. I wish Fox would try to do something to save the show.

CBS won the night again with Ghost Whisperer (2.1), Medium (2.2), and Numb3rs (1.8).

ABC did fine with Supernanny (1.1), Ugly Betty (1.2), and 20/20 (1.6). Ugly Betty is doing terrible, though it was evident with the move to Friday that ABC doesn't care much about it anymore.

NBC did fairly well with Law & Order (1.5), Dateline (1.8), and The Jay Leno Show (1.4).

Review - Dollhouse Season 2 Episode 4 Belonging

Incredible, incredible, incredible episode. I loved the acting from everyone (minus Eliza Dushku) and especially loved the directing. Huge props to Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon for writing the episode and last but not least Jonathan Frakes for the directing.

The backstory on Sierra was sad and chilling. She was an artist from Los Angeles when possibly the worst person in the world, Nolan Kinnard (Vincent Ventresca), takes an interest into her. We discover that he drugged her and made her psychotic, so the Dollhouse would make her into a doll. Topher immediately has problems with what Nolandid as well as Adelle. It is essentially rape, as Nolan manipulated the Dollhouse into letting him have sex with an unwilling participant.

Adelle confronts Nolan who threatens retribution unless he gets Sierra permanently. Reluctantly, Adelle tells Topher to do it. This is where everything goes all wrong. Instead of doing as Adelle asks, Topher puts in Priya (the real Sierra) who kills Nolan. Topher arrives sees the mess. He and Boyd clean it up, leaving no evidence of wrongdoing.

This was the first time we got to see Topher in a role other than comedic relief. For the first time, he grasped the issue of morality and acted to preserve whatever Sierra had left. Great acting from Fran Kranz.

Dichen Lachman was simply amazing throughout the episode, portraying an artist, a psychotic, a terribly damaged active, and a blissfully unaware doll.

The connection between Sierra and Victor transcends everything. We see the attraction between them when Victor was an active and Sierra was not, even though Victor was not programmed to do so. The episode ends with Sierra and Victor happy and totally oblivious to the calamity that elapsed.

There was a minor story with Boyd discovering Echo's plotting. He discovers her journal, but doesn't take any drastic action. Unless he perceives Echo as a real threat, I doubt he will really care what she does. Ballard was conspicuously absent during the entire episode and I kept wondering where he was while all these events were going on.

Once again, an amazing episode and the ratings simply sucked. There is no chance for renewal, but Joss said the season finale would have some resolution. Maybe the Dollhouse will be brought down by then. 

Score: 10/10

USA has another hit in White Collar

When I first heard the premise of the show, I was confused. A criminal working with the FBI to catch other criminals? As long as you suspend your disbelief for this ludicrous idea, you should enjoy the series very much. It doesn't place much credence in realism as few USA show do, but it does put a bonus on smart dialogue and great cinematography.

Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) is a white collar criminal who escapes from prison. The man who caught him, Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) is sent to re-catch him and this is where the glorious partnership begins. The story isn't all too impressive. They catch some guy making counterfeit Spanish Victory bonds. There have been so many crime procedurals made, and so many currently on television, so the crime itself is hard to make into the keynote of the series which gladly it isn't in White Collar

The best parts of the episode are whenever Caffrey and Burke are interacting. Their wonderful chemistry translates into good TV. Sometimes Caffrey is like his father, then maybe his brother, Bomer still has all the charm from Chuck and really steals the screen. He's charming, fun, and all the other words associated with that.

On the other hand, Burke is hard-working and too dedicated at times. His wife Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen) is not at the top of priorities though she has plenty of patience for him. There were some heartwarming scenes between them which I liked.

There will be an ongoing story with Neal's ex-girlfriend Kate who is somewhere out there in the world. Neal has a weird fixation with her (or he's just a romantic) and broke out of prison for her, missing her by just two days. He gets his friend Mozzie  (Willie Garson) to look for her, but so far, there's been no luck other than a photo. In the photo, there's an hand touching her shoulder. Neal recognizes the ring on the hand and knows there's bad news.

Fitting in perfectly with Royal Pains, Burn Notice, Monk, and Psych, White Collar is sure to be a ratings hit. Whether it can keep the quality of the pilot over the course of the series is another question. I really like what I see so far and will keep watching.

Score: 9.5/10

Friday, October 23, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 10/22/09 - Community and Parks picked up

The big news of the day was pick up of Community, Parks and Recreation, and Mercy. They all have pathetic numbers, but for NBC they're fine. If NBC gets even worse, it could be treading in CW territory.

NBC did okay with Community (1.9), Parks and Recreation (2.1), The Office (4.4), 30 Rock (3.3), and The Jay Leno Show (1.6). Community was down and I doubt it will be renewed. Maybe NBC will give it another chance, but by the looks of it, they may me cleaning house.

The numbers for CBS were very surprising. Survivor stayed on par with 4.0, but CSI (2.2) and The Mentalist (2.8) showed stark difference. Both procedurals were repeats, so The Mentalist whooping CSI is pretty crazy considering how huge CSI used to be.

ABC dominated with Flashforward (3.1), Grey's Anatomy (5.3), and Private Practice (3.7). Flashforward is no Lost, but 3.1 is decent.

Fox did much better with the ALCS Game 5. There is no Bones or Fringe next week, so Fox should continue to do better.

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 5 Gimme Some Truth

After watching every episode of FlashForward, excluding the pilot, I have the same reaction -- What the hell? While this episode was better, I was still disappointed. FlashForward could be a great show, but right now it's average. Whether the departure of Marc Guggenheim will help shall be seen. David Goyer has a pretty bad television track record, so I doubt there will be very many changes.

Before I go into anything that happened in the episode, I don't understand why nobody thought of making a flowchart for the flashforward. Using some logic, the agents could come to some logical conclusion instead of randomly looking for clues. It seems so intuitive for me that the best way to deal with the situation would be to lay out the facts and hypothesize with a degree of understanding.

We saw the politics behind the flashforward which is a good direction to take. There is still much of the world we haven't seen since the blackout and I wonder why the writers haven't give us the bigger picture, instead focusing on an insulated group in Los Angeles which we could care less about.

Senator Clemente is critical of the Mosaic and destroys Mark who admits he was drinking. She is skeptical of the project, honing in on many assumptions Mark made. In the end, Wedeck gets the funding after blackmailing the president. The president then calls someone to do something which I suspect is why Mark gets attacked.

The main shocker of the episode was shown at the beginning with an attack on Mark and his friends. At the end, we see Janis being shot and laying in the middle of the street, and Mark an Co. killing the Asian attackers. All this is set to the music of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." The devilish irony was pleasantly surprising, but I don't understand the tone of the show. Sometimes it is too serious bordering on the absurd, and at other times, it is funny to the point of inanity.

Janis being a lesbian was stupid. In the flashforward, she's pregnant. Right there, all attempts at subtlety are lost. The question is sitting right in plain sight. If she doesn't sleep with men, how could she be pregnant? A) The flashforward isn't true, B) She'll sleep with a man, C) She will get artificially inseminated, D) Who cares.
The mystery behind the flashforward (Simon, Somalia, crows) is still compelling is the only reason I'm still watching. Satellite imagery revealed 100-foot pylons erected before the Somalia blackout.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 6 Football, Feminism and You

Clearly Community is still trying to find its footing. Last night was another weak episode that wasn't very funny. It seemed much too focused on the story which wasn't that great either than having a funny episode.

Annie has a huge crush on Troy, but Jeff ruins it all. He sees his face on a poster advertising for Greendale College, so he talks to Dean Pelton who tells him to get Troy on the football team and he'll take Jeff off the poster. He manipulates Troy to join the team, Annie gets mad at him, Annie realizes she's being selfish, and then everyone is happy. The big thing in the episode was a chance for a future relationship for Annie and Jeff. There was word today that they may be kissing, and while Britta is obviously Jeff's soulmate as sitcoms go, there is always roadblocks in the middle, and Annie could be one of them.

Jeff and Troy make a great combo and their conversation at the football field was the best part of the episode. 

Britta is trying to bond with Shirley over going to the bathroom and it doesn't work at first. Then Shirley teaches Britta what to do and Britta comforts Annie in the restroom. Yawn...

Pierce is designing the school mascot which is supposed to be non-ethnic. Dean Pelton joins in and lots of funny stuff going on. They eventually come up with a disturbing alien looking creature for the team, The Human Beings.

Something is missing from Community. There's jokes, there's story, but there's no cohesion. Things happen, but in the end, it never comes together. The stories don't intersect or relate to each other in anyway. There are such distinct stories in each episode that we could jumble them up and still come up with something watchable but not great.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 7 The Lover

The Office delivered with a terrific episode last night. There was too much funny going on, so I'll try to cover the important things.

The main story was Pam finding out that Michael is dating her mother. She freaks out as expected which leads to tension between her and Michael. Eventually Michael has one of those meetings to discuss it. It was a great story with plenty of funny moments Michael's awkward comments to Pam confronting everyone about what they thought.

The other story was Dwight putting a wooden mallard on Jim's desk with a listening device on the bottom. Usually, Jim would be able to exploit this and make Dwight go insane. He only does this once, and when Jim tells Dwight he knows about the listening device, Dwight takes the punishment without another word. The issue seems resolved until the ending. Dwight reveals that his plan involved Jim finding the listening device from the beginning, and the real listening device was inside a pen. I just have to say that Dwight is awesome.

Stanley didn't really have any lines, but his reactions to whatever ridiculous things Michael said was priceless. One of my favorite moments was when Michael first told Jim he is dating Pam's mom. Toby walks in an Jim yells at him. Then Michael yells "Get the hell out of here, idiot." The way Steve Carell says it still makes me laugh every time I watch the scene.

Erin and Pam have some issues between them. Even though Erin has a smile on her face all the time, there are issues that need to be resolved. Pam tries to put candy on the front desk and Erin makes her get permission. While Pam knows something is wrong, she doesn't confront until she really needs to, and when that happens, it isn't pretty.

Score: 9.7/10

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 10/21/09

Interesting results again. ABC was down with Hank (1.5), The Middle (2.0), Modern Family (3.4), Cougar Town (3.1), and Eastwick (1.6). Eastwick, Hank and The Middle look like their dead. The Middle might have a chance depending on how Better Off Ted and Scrubs do at midseason. Modern Family and Cougar look like their set even though their numbers have fluctuated a lot. 

CBS won again with Old Christin (2.0), Gary Unmarried (2.2), Criminal Minds (3.8), and CSI: NY (3.0). I think CBS will ditch their Wednesday comedies since they're not doing well at all compared to the other CBS comedies.

NBC did okay with Mercy (1.9), Law and Order: SVU (2.8), and The Jay Leno Show (1.5). SVU is finally picking up numbers and might reach last year's levels by the end of the year.

Fox continues to do well with the combo or So You Think You Can Dance (2.6) and Glee (3.3).

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 5 Run For Your Wife

I can't get enough of this show. I wish there were 10 seasons of this I could watch on DVD, but there isn't, so we'll have to wait patiently every week.

Luke and Manny get in a fight at school after Manny calls Luke his nephew, so Claire and Gloria private air their feelings to their spouses. Claire finally reveals her true feelings about Gloria and isn't pretty. Everyone goes to Jay's house and Gloria tells her that she never felt welcome in the family. I guess it's expected if your dad marries someone as old as you, you'd be weirded out. Claire apologizes, but then Luke ruins everything by calling Gloria a gold digger.

Here's where everything goes wrong. Gloria immediately gets up and goes to her room. Phil follows and tries to talk to her. The whole episode he is trying to make everything right, but he only made the situation worse. Then Claire comes in talks to Gloria. Gloria won't accept Claire's apology until she jumps into the pool with her clothes on. Claire does, and then everyone else jumps in.

There was plenty of other stuff going on as well. There was some football talk between Mitchell and Jay, and Mitchell telling Jay he's hot. There's a hilarious moment when Claire walks into Gloria's room and sees her underwear all over Phil.

Phil is my favorite character in terms of funniness. I love that each week we can see him be the "cool dad" and then do ridiculous things he's completely oblivious to. He has an unnatural fixation on Gloria e.g. touching her dress, yelling I've got Gloria, wanting to get another hug. Claire puts up with him and realizes he may be a little mentally deficient.

So far, Modern Family hasn't had a bad episode yet which is quite surprising considering it is a new show. Community which is the second funniest new comedy this season has had a couple below-average episodes. Cougar Town has had a few bad episodes and is never really that funny.

Score: 9.3/10

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 10/20/09

CBS blew away the competition with NCIS (4.7), NCIS: LA (3.9), and The Good Wife (2.8). While The Good Wife beat the competition at 10, it still is on the low end of CBS dramas which spells trouble. CBS likes canceling shows that don't do insanely well like the rest of its shows.

NBC did very well with The Biggest Loser (3.9). With the large lead-in, The Jay Leno Show stayed steady at 1.8.

ABC did marginally better with Shark Tank (1.8), Dancing with the Stars (3.4), and The Forgotten (1.9). The Forgotten was down from last week and looks like it's dead.

Fox did well with the ALCS Game 4 with 3.4.

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 5 Crash

Another wonderful episode from the best new drama of the season. I can say that definitively (until midseason...). Every episode has had high quality acting and writing. Sure there are things I dislike, but so far, the good has been way, way more than the bad.

Alicia fell into a moral quandary with a train crash case. There are three wives that desperately need their dead husbands' pensions. With little time on her hands, Alicia catches a break when Sarah, one of the train company's employees comes forward with a cryptic line. Alicia finds her again and pushes her, finding out that Sarah is married and was having an affair with an employee that told her the trains had a problem.

If Sarah testifies, her life with be ruined and Alicia knows exactly how that feels. If she doesn't testify, the three widows will be screwed. The decision is in Alicia's hands who eventually decides to make her testify. The widows get their money and Sarah is left with only trouble. Alicia was only doing her job -- winning for her clients -- but now Alicia knows how it feels to be the person on both sides.

Jackie (her mother-in-law) is giving Alicia lots of trouble. After Alicia tells her specifically to take the children to the prison, Jackie takes them anyways and Alicia blows up. I guess being a manipulator runs in the family; it's clear Peter is a lot like her.

As I speculated a few weeks ago, Will and Alicia have something. There wasn't outward flirting, but they were alone an awful lot. Jackie makes sure to bring this up to Peter who isn't happy. Later when Alicia visits him, he tells her Will isn't who he seems. Coming from a felon and adulterer, isn't quite ironic.

Kalinda is sent by Diane is investigate a potential partner, Marcus Overby and can't tell anyone about it. Further investigation reveals that he's actually Diane's boyfriend. *cue ominous music* He comes on to Kalinda who tells Diane he isn't exclusive. Then Kalinda does something a little unexpected. She basically asks for a raise without second though. She speaks frankly and doesn't bat an eye.

I like everything going on a the law firm with Diane, Kalinda, Cary, and Will. I'm still waiting for Peter's trial to start heating up. I know there's 22 episodes this season and we're only 5 episodes in, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how it'll shape up.

Score: 9.5/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 5 Code Of Conduct

This is the first episode of the season I disliked. The crime jumped from place to place like always and then ended quite awkwardly. The show went back to the normal formula without anything Ziva related, but the crime could have been much better, especially since it was a Halloween episode.

A Marine, Korby, is found by some pranksters dead and frozen. Apparently, Korby is also an obnoxious loser (yes, that's my opinion) and pissed lots of people off. One of them was a neighbor called Mr. Rodgers who hates Halloween and everything related to it. Tony immediately suspects his wife who is the obvious choice. She's been previously married to other enlisted men who died in duty. Tony continually suspects her even though nobody else really cared, but I guess that's just Tony's thing for the episode.

Ducky finds out that Korby had drank paint thinner 2 months ago, so the team investigates his unit. They discover some of them hated them. Nothing pans about except discovering another Marine named Singer was having an affair with his wife.

It turns out that the daughter killed Korby and tried to pin it on her mother. She wanted inheritance right now instead of 5 years later. Ok...

There were some fun Halloween moments involving Gibbs and Abby, and a devastating revelation that Vance banned Halloween costumes. I love that everyone is calling Ziva probie, and so far, she's taking it nicely. Tony won some bet involving the number of crimes on Halloween and he gave it to charity.

For the shippers, there was some Tony and Ziva stuff in the waning seconds of the episode and inevitably, Ziva pulls a prank on Tony.

Score: 8.5/10

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 10/19/09 - Castle picked up for full season

First, the big news of the day. Castle will have a full season. This is great news and a step towards a second season. After it stayed steady at 2.4, the bigwigs at ABC decided to give it a chance. Castle has only grown since the season premiere, so I expect a slow climb, but it has a good shot at a renewal. Dancing with the Stars had 3.6.

CBS did extremely well with How I Met Your Mother (3.4), Accidentally on Purpose (3.3), Two and a Half Men (4.8), and The Big Bang Theory (5.3). That's a series high for TBBT. If it keeps climbing like this, it could potentially hit 6.0 by the end of the season. CSI: Miami continues to do well with 3.9.

NBC is still doing horribly, but Heroes is showing signs of life. It was up from last week to 2.5. If you want to know my thoughts on the show, I tweeted this last night "I don't watch Heroes, but I get a kick out of seeing how terrible the promos are." Trauma is still stable at 1.8 which is not enough for a back 9 or renewal. It's currently just occupying space. The Jay Leno Show is still falling and hit 1.4.

We baseball screwing with the schedule, Fox had some weird numbers: ALCS Game 3 (2.2), House (4.4), and Lie to Me (2.9). 

Review - House Season 6 Episode 5 Brave Heart

Can we just say that medical stories are no longer interesting? Sure, the police officer convince he would die was a step up, but ultimately, after 5 season, we've seen it all.

The use of parkour in the opening was unintentionally funny since The Office used it in an opening earlier this season, so it brought back great memories. Donny, the police officer, chases the suspect and then jumps after him, plummeting 30 feet to the ground. At the hospital, he is fine, but Cameron takes special interest in him, since he's convinced he'll die at 40 like his father and grandfather. It was like the situation with Banks in The Unusuals. It was probably a coincidence, but seeing two very similar situations with other shows is unusual.

A woman comes in with his son who he's never met. Lots of medical stuff goes on and then Donny dies. But then he wakes up in the morgue which is what the big deal on the promo was all about. It was shocking, but not mindblowing. More medical stuff, and then House comes up with the solution while talking to Wilson.

The main side story was Chase's inability to enter the room Dibala died in. Maybe it was too artificial, but when Chase asks Donny about cops who've killed, he says that there's two types: those who brush it off and those who go off the deep end (paraphrasing). Later, Chase talks to a priest who tells him to tell the police. Instead, Chase goes out drinking. It looks like he'll be doing off the deep end. All the while, Cameron is getting more worried and is even seen calling the police before Chase comes back from the bar.

House is hearing voices and quits the team once again. It turns out to be Wilson talking to Amber. It's sad and a tad creepy. Cuddy was in the episode a lot more than she was, and has a few scenes with House just to remind us where all this is going.

A big plus for the episode was no 13. I will repeat that. No Thirteen/13/Remy Hadley or another incarnation of the worst character on the show. After the pathetic attempt last week to inject her into the show for no apparent reason, the writers thankfully kept her out. Now only if they could do it for the rest of the series.

Score: 8.7/10

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 10 The Color Blue

Don is once again falling into old habits except this time it's with Miss Farrell. She brings up something one of her students asks her when they are in bed, and that is the theme of the episode. The student wanted to no whether everyone saw the same color. What if his blue was everyone else's yellow. Don responds by saying "The truth is, people may see things differently, but they don't really want to."

There are a number of times in the episode that people's perspectives are different than other people. Miss Farrell seems to have a different idea of her relationship with Don than Don does. Betty thinks the phone call Sally picked up was from Henry Francis while Don thinks it was Miss Farrell. I suspect it was Miss Farrell since Sally could probably recognize her voice while Betty could have lied if Francis called. There are many other instances, but the biggest was at the end when Sterling is giving the toast to Don. Everyone thinks the Drapers are just fine, but just look at Betty's face. They are far from perfect, and yet the perception is that they are perfect. On the outside, they do look perfect. Don has three kids, a great job, and a beautiful wife.

The British invasion story never fully developed this season and in the coming weeks, it looks like it'll come to an end. They are trying to sell Sterling-Cooper and using the 40th anniversary party to gain publicity. I hope the writers come up with something creative since the activities in the office have been lacking this season.

Sterling and Cooper are reminiscing over so old photos and clearly want to be back in control. Maybe they could normalize everything by buying back their company.

The big shocker was when Betty comes across a key that opens Don's drawer. She finds the jackpot of all things incriminating. A box of Dick Whitman photos, two dog tags, and most importantly a decree of divorce between Anna N. Draper and Don F. Draper. Betty is destroyed by this, and it looks like she is going to confront Don about it, staying up until 1 A.M. When Don doesn't come back home, she gives up and goes to sleep. Betty is about to shout out all she knows over the phone, but the reconsiders. By the end of the episode, Betty has no fight left and has conceded. She's realized the futility of fighting back and she may even be scared of what she'll learn if she confronts Don.

The sad part about all this is that Betty only knows the tip of the iceberg. Seeing the contents of the drawer is a start, but there is so much Don has done in the past three seasons and before the series that who amaze her beyond belief.

Kinsey and Peggy have a mini-clash over an account which is very one-sided. Kinsey stays in the office later trying to come up with an idea, drinking all the while no less. Then again, this is Sterling-Cooper where anything goes. He eventually comes up with a brilliant idea which we unfortunately never find out about. The next morning, Kinsey wakes out and can't remember the idea. Peggy's pitch is no good either, but then she remembers a Chinese proverb Kinsey had told her minutes earlier, and it works perfectly with the product. All Kinsey can do is stare at her. Peggy is a natural without higher education and succeeds through sheer ability.

Other thoughts: Did Don help Miss Farrell's brother because of what happened to his own brother? Is it me or does Miss Farrell seem a little clingy? How far will Don's descent go? With Hilton and Betty, the only direction for now is down. The more I think about it, the more I want to watch the next episode. Betty finding all the stuff opens so many doors that could irrevocably change the Draper dynamic.

My thoughts on the relationship between Miss Farrell and Don that I posted on Maureen Ryan's review on the Chicago Tribune website.

Miss Farrell has been perplexing to me. I get the feeling that maybe she wants to be more than Don's usual girl. She wants Don to meet her brother, she calls him (I thought she was the one who hung up), and shows up on the train just to talk to him. I don't think she knows exactly what she wants, but she's pushing Don who is reciprocating.

Don is taking plenty of risk, but he looks around on the train the make sure no one recognizes. After being with all these other women that have not been that attentive to him, maybe Don is willing to take chances and step outside his comfort level. And with everything going on at work, it's possible is reaching the point where he doesn't care anymore and with Betty's revelation looming, there is bound to be lots of bad things happening. 

Score: 9.6/10

Review - Battlestar Galactica: The Plan [Spoilers]

'The Plan' serves not as a standalone movie as 'Razor' was, but as half retcon and half detail filler. Before people start going crazy and saying how it's not a retcon since it was "planned" from the beginning, just rewatch the series. The producers obviously made stuff up as they went along which actually worked quite well in the end. The movie jumps around from scenario to scenario never really pushing a narrative and instead illuminating certain events of the series with information on what the Cylons were doing.

My expectations were not high when I heard the idea for the movie, but when I saw the trailers and read quotes from Edward James Olmos, I began to warm to the idea, though I was never ecastatic about it. Unless there was something truly revolutionary about the movie, there was no way a retelling of the the miniseries and first 2 seasons could be better than an original story.

In a sense I was right. There were no major revelations, no event that made me want to watch the entire series again (more than I normally would), and certainly wasn't the Battlestar Galactica we've learned to be amazed by, but it was interesting to see everything from the perspectives of the Cylons.

Interspersed through the movie are old scenes from the miniseries and the first two seasons. I'm not sure how much new footage was shoot, but there was an awful lots of old footage. It was a little funny seeing how people became much older instantly though the problem could not be avoided. The quality of the the old footage, especially from the miniseries is noticeably  different than the rest of the movie, but since I'm not an expert on editing, I have no clue what they could have done.

Cavil is the main character of 'The Plan' as he inserts himself, much like Jacob did in the season 5 finale of Lost, into everyone's lives. He becomes essential the main villain of Battlestar Galactica, and not Cylons. We get a very sympathetic views of the other models, while Cavil is portrayed as even more of a bastard. Dean Stockwell does a wonderful job as a deceitful manipulator, constantly up to tricks and no good.

We got to see more of Number Four (Simon) possibly than the in whole series. On one of the ships, he has a wife and daughter, and is reluctant to embrace his Cylon side. Cavil pushes him to destroy the ship they are on and Simon clearly does not want to do anything. He loves his wife and even asks Cavil to save his wife. Cavil tells him that if they survive, it would be worse since they would know Simon was a Cylon. Eventually, Simon airlocks himself, and is discovered to be a Cylon anyways. Who would have known? Even life as a Cylon sucked.

We see Cavil manipulate Five into putting on the suicide vest and see him actually detonate it. Leoben develops his Kara obsession while listening to communications in the fleet. It's really creepy as he sits there with this radio thing just listening to her talk.

The story of Anders is probably the biggest change. When the attack happens, he is scared and isn't seen as the leader yet. He even admits later to Cavil that he wanted to run away. He and is group attack the Cylons and we see him take charge. The writers could have spent much more time developing Anders's story which I thought could have been made into an entire movie.

There are a couple scenes in the beginning with Ellen Tigh sitting with Cavil in a bar in Picon. After the attack, Cavil takes her onto a medical ship where she is brought into the fleet. Totally random, but Kate Vernon did a good job.

Boomer gets quite a bit of attention as Cavil manipulates her into sabotaging the ship and ultimately shooting Adama. Cavil is able to control her with an wooden elephant which turns on her innate Cylon. When he takes it away, Boomer turns back into a human and remembers nothing of what transpired.

Cavil has a small story of his own unrelated to the other characters. There is a boy hanging around where he lives. To show the cruelty of Cavil, he stabs the boy in cold blood. There's a Six we've never really seen before that mocks how everyone is failing, and is in bed with Cavil most of the time.

For parental warning, there is nudity and a sex scene in the movie. That's probably going to be cut out on TV or censored in some way. Like the nudity in Caprica and the excessive drinking in the series finale, it was unnecessary, other than to show how degenerate the colonies are.

The final 30 minutes was where things get interesting and felt like Battlestar Galactica. There is a sharp divide between the Cavil that was with Anders and the one on the Galactica. The Anders Cavil has a change of heart after seeing Kara interact with Anders after her return. He has a rifle trained perfectly on her head, and yet there is some part of humanity that exists in the deepest recesses in this otherwise horrible machine that made him hold back. When he comes back to the Galactica and is caught as a Cylon, he tells the Galactica Cavil that they should not have annihilated the humans. Galactica Cavil tells him he's crazy and even threatens to have him boxed. As the two Cavils are sent flying into the vacuum of space, the Galactica Cavil gives one last incredible monologue explaining why Cylons are better than humans.

Overall, I wasn't impressed or disappointed. The acting was great and the tone was great. The pacing was good, expect it was very choppy. With so many different storylines going on, I was able to keep track of what was going on, but with so much going on, everything felt like it could have been more. I really liked seeing the other colonies and their destruction which are most of the pictures I've included. The architecture of each are different and I would love to get an interactive look at each planet.

Score: 8.7/10

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekly Television Roundup 10/11/09-10/16/09

Dexter Season 4 Episode 3 - 9.0/10 - Lundy and the Trinity Killer are very interesting, but Dexter and the neighborhood watch was kind of boring. Seeing Dexter deal with Astor was great.

Castle Season 2 Episode 4 - 9.1/10 - The crime was good this week, and Beckett playing around with Castle was a nice change.

NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 Episode 4 - 8.6/10 - The crime was solid again and we got to see more of G. It was better than the previous episodes in terms of character development. I'd like to see that more often.

Criminal Minds Season 5- 8.7/10 - The episode started off really great with the crazy pack of killers, but slowed down and eventually ended blandly.

Bones Season 5 Episode 5- 8.5/10 - Enough of the Bones-Booth madness already. We've seen it all before, so another rehash was stupid. I actually don't hate Daisy so it was fun to see her back.

The Mentalist Season 2 Episode 4- 8.7/10 - Average episodes with a couple confrontations with the bikers. More Red John please...

Psych Season 4 Episode 9 - 8.7/10 - Cool episode overall. Not that many funny moments, but far more compelling than most episodes.

Weekly Television Roundup 10/04/09-10/09/09

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 4 Darkness

There appears to be a competition between Greer and Rush over who can be more crazy. Rush took this episode with useless insanity that served no purpose other than angst and anger. Stargate Universe in 4 episodes has accomplished absolutely nothing in terms of story. 'Darkness' had the least story out of the 4 episodes which is amazing considering how nothing happened in the other episodes either.

Power is running out on the Rush and he goes crazy yelling and being a general jackass. He eventually collapses and finally stops being so unpleasant. The ship finally loses so much power it stops traveling are the speed they were going at. They see a gas giant and slingshot around it to reach a solar system, but now they're going towards a star.

That's the extent of what happened. The peripheral stories were slightly more interesting, but I couldn't care less. Eli shows Chloe the shower and she gets really scared when the lights go out and wants Eli to stay. The crew confronts Eli about what he knows since he is highly valued by the people at the top. Colonel Young's wife is mad at him. Yep, that's what it all boils down to.

I'll admit I am slightly warming to some characters, but there must be a balance between story and characters. Having people worry about power is not a story. Stargate Universe can be an effective character driven show, but that means having the characters reacting to something external. The Stargate franchise has always created vast worlds with cool mythology that the characters can explore. So far we have gotten lots of interaction between the character with essentially nothing else.

Score: 8.2/10


Friday, October 16, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 10/15/09

ABC blew away the competition with FlashForward (3.1), Grey's Anatomy (5.0), Private Practice (3.8). The schedule seems set and ABC will be winning Thursdays for the rest of the year. FlashForward seems to have stopped dropping, so it should be safe for now.

CBS can't even compete anymore with Survivor (3.5), CSI (3.6), and The Mentalist (3.5). There seems to be a good chance The Mentalist will overtake CSI this year. CSI may have a few years left in it, but it seems to be falling quickly. Maybe CBS will consider placing NCIS in this highly competitive slot next year. Who knows...

NBC is continuing to struggle with Community (2.0), Parks and Recreation (2.0), The Office (4.1), and 30 Rock (3.0). Community was up from last week which is a good sign, but is in big trouble along with Parks and Recreation. The Jay Leno Show had a respectable 1.8 against stiff competition.

Fox is doing even worse with Bones (2.8) and Fringe (2.2). Bones is doing as well as ever, but Fringe just can't keep up. Fox threw it to the wolves in its sophomore season which has turned ou to be a mistake.

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 5 Mafia

Watching Michael, Dwight, and Andy deal with the "mob" was one of the funniest things that happened this season. Without Pam or Jim to reign them in, the trio wrecked havoc with their total ridiculousness. Other than that, the episode was fairly boring.

An Italian insurance agent comes in with a slightly pushy sales pitch and they immediately jump to the conclusion that the mafia here to collect money. Oscar disagrees, but as he puts it, "Pam and Jim are on their honeymoon, so there's not the usual balance between sane and others...The coalition for reason is extremely weak." They meet for lunch which leads to hilarious scenes with Andy as a mechanic. Michael signs the deal and immediately regret it. Dwight and Andy devise a plan to make Michael deal with the problem. They convince him the salesman isn't actually a mafia member, so Michael calls and cancels the agreement without trouble.

Kevin invaded Jim's office and acted stupidly again. He gets a call from the credit car company and cancels Jim's credit card. I didn't like to story since Kevin was mean and stupid in the end. There wasn't much point to the story other than a way to hear Jim and Pam over the phone.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Fringe Season 2 Episode 5 Dream Logic

There are no more episodes until November, so we'll have to wait until then to see how the new revelations are dealt with. I've seen some complaints about the episode, but I liked it. It was a solid, straightforward standalone that had almost no mythology. This allows for time to develop the story and the weird science.

Olivia, Peter, and Walter go to Seattle where people are seeing demons and attacking people. Walter flies back with Keith from Scrubs which is trouble by itself. Peter and Olivia discover that the victims (or killers) had chips in their heads initially designed to help with sleep. They've been turned around to steal dreams as Walter discovers. The doctor is stealing the dreams and seems to be addicted to them. The episode wasn't as much as a whodunit than an episode that showcased science in the Fringe world.

There were several other things going on. Olivia is collecting business cards under order of her new guru Sam Weiss. He tells her to pick random letters and rearrange the letters like an anagram. She forms the message "You're gonna be fine." Before thinking how sweet and touching it is, we must remember that Weiss is affiliated with Massive Dynamic which has its own agenda. I have a feeling he is a means to control Olivia.

Peter tells Olivia that under Walter's guidance, he didn't dream from 8 to 19. 8 is about the age on Peter's headstone and at the end of the episode, we see Peter have a nightmare about getting snatched as a child with Walter in the mirror. Did Walter prevent Peter from dreaming so he wouldn't remember the kidnapping? Did Walter use technology to prevent Peter from dreaming?

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 5 Advanced Criminal Law

Community seems to be focusing less on the community as a whole and instead on individual pairings of characters. This is fine, but eventually we'll need an episode where everyone is interacting together for the whole episode. Mixing and matching can be funny, but throwing everyone together can be even funnier.

Ken Jeong once again stole the show in his first scene, revealing that there was a cheater in their midst. He threatens to fail the class unless the charter comes forward. The next day, Britta takes the blame, and is quickly scorned out of the class.

She is put in front of a tribunal comprised of Professor Duncan, the dean, and Senor Chang with Jeff defending her. We get to see a little of Jeff's amazing abilities including his infamous September 11 defense which no one buys. Britta tells Jeff she may have dropped the crib sheet to sabotage herself, so Jeff argues that she is insane which actually works.

Annie and Pierce try to make the school song. He doesn't actually know how to make music without stealing it, and Annie is pressuring him. Eventually Annie becomes supportive of him, and he Bruce Hornsby's The Way It Is and plays it for the school.

Abed and Troy had a drawn up story about joking. Troy messes with Abed in the beginning who decides to do something of his own. He creates a elaborate setup to make Troy think he's a alien which crumbles.

There were funny moments as always, but all 3 storylines were pretty bad. Britta and Jeff are boring. Abed is just plain weird. He really doesn't do anything other than be weird. While that may pass as comedy sometimes, I has to do something else.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 6 I Believe the Children Are Our Future

With the apocalypse going on, I find it odd that the world is still seemingly normal. Dean and Sam head to a town where people are dying from unnatural reasons. They visit the house at the center of events and find a boy named Jesse. He seems to be able to make untrue ideas become true. Further investigation reveals he was adopted, so they visit his birth mother who tells them a chilling story about being possessed by a demon who impregnated her. Demons can reproduce asexually I guess.

Castiel pops up and tells them the half-demon, half-human boy is the Antichrist and must be killed. Castiel is about to kill the boy when the Winchesters bust in and find a Castiel action figure. They try talking to th boy telling him he is a superhero and needs to go to a school for superheroes. Then the boy's mother re-demonized comes in and tries bringing him to the dark side. Jesse eventually drags the demon out of her, goes upstairs and disappears. A little convenient, but he is the Antichrist and will be important later on.

I find it interesting that Supernatural uses the word Antichrist in a seemingly unrelated fashion with Christianity. Without a firm basis of the true nature of the Antichrist in the Supernatural universe, Jesse is a wildcard. He has displayed the most power out of anyone including Lucifer which is a scary thought considering he has the mind of a child. Jesse had the innocence of a boy and amazing powers. With the knowledge he is half-demon, he can embrace the demon or human.

The introduction of Jesse also opened up a lot of questions and plotholes that made the episode seem a little sloppy. As in all genre shows, I will suspend me disbelief and take everything at face value. Nothing makes sense, but it'll all work out in the end - even if it doesn't (wait wut?).

From this episode, it would appear that Sam and Dean have no more issues between them which I thought would still persist. I really though there would be lingering issues and maybe the writers didn't want to push it after their "resolution" in the last episode, but there has to be some kind of tension between them that was nonexistent. 

Score: 8.7/10

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 4 Black Swan

After the pilot, FlashForward has been unbelievably disappointing. I'm not going to bail yet - the mystery is still intriguing - but the writers are going about it all wrong. Last night there was more playing around with characters and no advancements other than the big shocker in the end: Lloyd Simcoe is in league with Simon (Dominic Monaghan) and has knowledge about the flashforward.

Mark and Demetri come to blows over where their investigation should go. Mark wants to go to Somalia while Demetri wants to follow up on the nuclear material case they were on right before the blackout. The CIA won't give them satellite imagery of Somalia when the event happened, so they go chasing a lead from the blonde terrorist they caught in the pilot. Nothing happens except Demetri tells Mark he'll be shot and killed. Later, Mark commissions the hacker named Cheeto Dust to get the satellite photos by hacking into the CIA.

Olivia and Bryce disagree about the flashforward and they argue over Ken who is black in his flashforward while he is white right now. Bryce figures out that he has Addison's Disease and Olivia doesn't agree until it is almost too late. By doing so, Olivia has put at least some credence into the vision which is the last thing she wants.

There were several throwaway scenes between Zoey and Demetri, the Simcoes, and several other characters. Nicole was back and told Mark she gets drowned in the future, and deserved it. The writers are trying to make us connect with them so we can comprehend how they feel in the aftermath of such an event. So far, they are not doing a good job. I don't care about the characters, and I don't understand their thinking.

FlashForward is a show suited perfectly for real philosophical issues. Dollhouse has managed to transform itself from a creepy sex show to an interesting show that looks at technology, the soul, and other metaphysical ideas. Flashforward tries, but fails miserably.

There is a huge point the writers are trying to drive home. Not how or who, but why the flashforward happened. The writers completely ignore that it is impossible to find out why without getting to the bottom of other questions. Are the flashforwards an exact look at the future? Was actual brain chemistry changed by the flashforward (it appears so)? How is the financial sector reacting to the flashforward (money makes the world go round)? By ignoring these fundamental questions, the condensed world of the FBI and a hospital begins to look quite stupid.

Those are some of the more pertinent questions, but my brother brought up something extremely interesting last week.

Mark is basing his actions on what he sees on the Mosaic 6 months later. Assuming the flashforward and future are constant, in the world of the flashforward, Mark was also led to that moment by the flashforward. Is the flashforward an external, artificial event that changes the future by creating a false image that becomes reality?

FlashForward can be a great show. There are many avenues to take it, but right now, it is barreling down the wrong path, and the producers are lucky have made such a great pilot. 

Score: 8.4/10

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 10/14/09

There's a pretty clear picture of how ABC Wednesdays are going to be. Modern Family (3,6) and Cougar Town (3.3) are doing great while Hank (1.6), The Middle (2.1), and Eastwick (1.7) aren't. The Middle got what in my opinion was a premature pick up. Hank and Eastwick are doomed, and The Middle probably is too.

CBS continues to do well with Old Christine (2.1), Gary Unmarried (2.3), Criminal Minds (3.8), and CSI: NY (3.2). The comedies are still lagging behind, and CBS will probably take a close look at them when it's time for renewal.

NBC has low numbers, but in comparison with the other networks, it isn't too terrible. Mercy (1.9), Law & Order: SVU (2.6), and The Jay Leno Show (1.8) are fairly steady, and Mercy is currently in better standing than the other NBC medical drama, Trauma.

I am amazed Glee continues to do so well. It  gained on SYTYCD from 2.8 to 3.4.

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 4 The Incident

Modern Family is a great show that so far is the best new comedy this season. With the ratings still very high, it is a sure lock for renewal, so we should be glad to be able to see more of this dysfunctional family.

'The Incident' showcased more of the family in their attempts to be normal. Jay's ex-wife Dede comes to Mitchell's house and wants to make up for the incident. At Jay and Gloria's wedding, she gives a passive-aggressive (mostly aggressive) toast before going crazy. Mitchell wants to take her to Sunday dinner with the rest of the family and she can come if everyone else agrees. He tells Claire who knows it's a bad idea. Everyone knows it's a bad idea except Mitchell, who brings Dede to dinner without anyone's knowledge or approval. Gloria is about to leave but Dede starts apologizing before going berserk.

Haley's boyfriend Dylan is there after Claire wants to see if he's safe. I had expected him to give some amazing monologue that would teach everyone a lesson. He talks a little about how much the family cares for each other that they would be this crazy together. Then he starts seeing his song "In the Moonlight (Do me)" which basically announced how he wanted to do Haley. If you haven't watched the episode yet, it's on the ABC website. It's hilarious just be itself, but even better in the context of the episode.

Like always, there were tons of funny moments packed into the episode unrelated with the main story: Phil's talk with Haley, Manny shaking hands with Phil, Cameron's unheard comments about Dede, Manny's revenge, etc. Shelley Long was really good and I hope she'll be back.

Score: 9.4/10

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 10/13/09

CBS once again dominated the night with NCIS (4.5), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.5), and The Good Wife (2.8). NCIS and NCIS: LA are sure locks for renewals, but I'm worrying about The Good Wife. While the retention is pretty good, and it's still beating the competition badly, but 2.8 isn't great by CBS standards. The Good Wife definitely will be on the bubble come spring.

The Hell's Kitchen finale (3.8) did extremely well, averaging higher than CBS for the night. Next week is baseball, so Fox should continue to do well on Tuesday.

Tuesday is NBC's saving grace with The Biggest Loser average 3.5 over 2 hours. It's pretty much the only show other than The Office that is doing remotely well this year. The Jay Leno Show was down from last week, but is still doing okay with 1.8.

ABC is still struggling with Shark Tank (1.6), DWTS (2.9), and The Forgotten (2.1). The Forgotten seems to have stabilized, but is still lower than Castle which should have an advantage over it. The Forgotten is pretty much gone, but who watches anyways?

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 4 Fixed

The Good Wife is the best new drama this season hands down. I thought FlashForward's pilot was amazing, but after the last two episodes, it's clear The Good Wife is a cut above the rest. Julianna Margulies does a great job every week with Alicia's home life, husband's case, and work. Fixed was no exception with great legal story and progression in the ongoing investigation into Peter's corruption.

There were ethical and legal issues abound as Alicia discovers a potential jury bribing. The case is of utmost importance to the firm as it is precursor to a class action. She isn't quite sure which juror it is or even if there was bribing. Kalinda certainly breaks a few laws as she investigates, but that's television. Nothing legal is ever as exciting as something illegal. The trial ends with Diane winning and the clients receiving a nice chunk of change, but bribery issue is still unresolved as it will be. There is a big shocker which I had no expected. Kalinda had spotted someone in a green SVU giving a juror an envelope. She only gets a partial plate, so there is no way in knowing who it was. When Alicia talks to the clients after the trial, she spots their car, and sure enough, it's a green SVU with the corresponding partial plate. Sure it's illegal, but could it have been right? Either way, Alicia tells Diane who couldn't care less.

Equally interesting was Peter's lawyer hounding for Alicia to get information. He asks for her to get correspondence between Peter and a real estate developer named Gerald Koztco. Alicia is reluctant to help and the lawyer evens goes as far as to bribe her. With the ongoing investigation into the jury tampering, Alicia is obviously disgusted. The lawyer later ask if she could find a receipt for a bracelet. She goes to the jewelry store with the bracelet and ask if someone named Florrick had bought it. When told he didn't buy it, she asks if Koztko had bought it, but the store couldn't reveal any more information.

While being interviewed, the lawyers seem supremely confident that Peter is innocent, as Peter also is, but Alicia sits there expressionless. She has reservations about Peter and wouldn't care if he gets out of prison or not. With all that is happening, the possibility that Peter was corrupt is great, and Alicia realizes that. She didn't know he was cheating, so she couldn't know if he did any dirty dealings.

Seeing the improprieties at the law firm and her with her husbands conduct, Alicia is facing a harsh reality she didn't have to face before. So far she's been able to cope with her situation, but we'll see if she can keep it up.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 4 Good Cop, Bad Cop

The episode started with a very interesting idea. It would reveal exactly what happened to Ziva and resolve her NCIS/Mossad issues. The end result was a fairly average episode that could have been so much more.

A marine, Daniel Cryer, is found and it turns out he was on the Damacles, the ship on which Ziva had boarded. The wreckage of the Damacles is found, and a bunch of other bodies are found with bullet holes. Vance proceeds to interrogate Ziva and we see what happened in a series of flashbacks.  She and her fellow Mossad agents board a ship headed for Somalia. That's where she met Cryer who claimed to be a private contractor and they talk several times, though he's up to something. People on the ship get cabin fever and turn violent. The Mossad solution? Kill them all. Ziva ends of pointing her gun at Cryer and neither on them wants to shoot. Another agent kills Cryer, so Ziva is innocent.

Ziva being innocent was a foregone conclusion and there was almost no uncertainty. The big shootout on the ship was completely senseless and unnecessary though I suppose the action loving fans had to get something in this episode. Ben Guidon introduces the slightest bit of doubt, telling everyone that Ziva killed Cryer. It turns out he was the one who shot Cryer and he leaves. He also came under the order of Ziva's father to throw her to the wolves.

There are significant moments between Ziva and Gibbs which reaffirmed the fact that Gibbs is more of a father to Ziva than Eli. Gibbs is wonderful and Eli is terrible. NCIS and other Bellisario shows most of the time operate under the presumptions that everything is absolute and there is only black or white. This is probably one of the reasons critics never seem to care about the show. For the fans, it allows them to cheer for someone, and hate others. I wish there would have been more doubt introduced about Ziva even if it was for one episode where the team had second thoughts about her loyalty. Ziva will probably have to prove herself, but not as Mossad Liaison Officer Ziva David, but NCIS Special Agent Ziva David, which makes that much of a difference.

Gibbs playing nice with Vance was very refreshing, and calling Ziva probie was priceless. Tony and McGee had to have something to do in the episode, but I really didn't care whatever games they were playing this time.

Score: 8.7/10

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 10/12/09

The more I've watched of Castle this season, the more I want to see it get renewed. Unfortunately, the ratings aren't great with a measly 2.3 last night. DWTS is still lower than last year with 3.6. Castle is up from last week, and if it continues on the current trend, Castle could be renewed. As it stands now, I am cautiously optimistic. It is outperforming The Forgotten and Eastwick, the new hour long shows on ABC.

CBS is doing incredibly well with How I Met Your Mother (3.6), Accidentally On Purpose (3.0), Two and a Half Men (4.8), and The Big Bang Theory (5.0).

NBC's Monday lineup seems to have stabilized to a pretty low number with Heroes (2.4), Trauma (1.8), and The Jay Leno Show (1.6). Heroes is probably safe if it stays are those numbers, with NBC will have to take a closer look at it next year. Clearly the ratings in the United States are problematic.

Fox is doing fairly well, but the numbers must be troubling to the execs. House received 5.2, and Lie to Me only 2.8 which is a huge drop. That's about a 46% drop off. Fox doesn't want to mess with a show that is doing pretty good in the timeslot, but I wonder if even Dollhouse could get those numbers after House. That would be an insane risk to take, but I would love to see what would happen.

Review - House Season 6 Episode 4 Instant Karma

Can we get rid of 13? The writers had an easy opening. Instead of playing stupid games with 13 getting a plane ticket, having it canceled, and then investigating, I could have imagined this godsend: Cuddy walks in and announces that 13 died in a plane crash. Simple, easy, and perfectly logical. It was out of her hands, wasn't a random suicide, and the fans would have loved it. But alas, the pretty face and body of Olivia Wilde continues to make appearances and she'll probably be back in full capacity one of these days. Until then, we can rejoice the team of House, Cameron, Chase, and a thankfully diminished Foreman. For another hypothetical, how much better would the show be if it was a team of House, Wilson, and Cuddy?

The medical story was slightly above average. A rich guy, Roy, has a son, Jack with a disease no one knows how to treat. After yelling "Where's House?" annoyingly several times, House finally meets him halfway into the episode and tells him what the disease is and how it's untreatable. Roy proceeds to give away all his money thinking that his abilities to obtain money were so great that his son suffered because of that, and giving away his money would make his son live. Right... This is television of course, and House comes up a brilliant idea when talking to Wilson. He saves the kid, and Roy's theory is correct. Bankrupting yourself makes people live. I'm being facetious about this because it was extremely stupid, and House didn't have that much to say about it. Sure he told Roy it was a bad idea, but if this was season 1-5, House would surely have said much meaner things.

The most interesting part of the episode was the ongoing story stemming from Chase's killing of Dibala last week.  Foreman has to present at a Morbidity and Morality conference and he discovers a problem with the blood. They panic and have no where to turn. Foreman tries to weasel out of presenting, but Cuddy refuses. Chase is about to spill the beans, but Cuddy has to leave. With no options left, House gives them a way out, providing evidence that would backup the blood results. All the while, Cameron knows something is going on, and Chase refuses to tell her anything.

I've had enough of Foreman, Thirteen, and everything in between, but House changing, and Chase in trouble make for great TV. After shaky ground last season, House is back at the top and has me hooked again.

Score: 9.3/10

Monday, October 12, 2009

Review - Mad Men Season 3 Episode 9 Wee Small Hours

Don did it again. He caved to lust and slept with Miss Farrell. It falls in line with his pattern of behavior though I would have liked to see Don control himself for once. Maybe that will 5 seasons.

Good ol' Connie can shoulder some of the blame having pushed Don too far. We see Hilton call Don in the dead of the night for meetings. The conversations between them are quite humorous. Hilton is a megalomaniac with lofty words and a complete detachment from reality. Don sits there listening most of the time not knowing exactly what to do. Hilton is like a father figure to him and while the father might be a tad crazy, all the attention Don's getting not related to business must feel pretty good to someone who hasn't had a father for much of his life. I'm not entirely sure what the writer's intent was with Hilton. To me, Hilton seemed more crazy than simply eccentric.

Don struggles to come up with a pitch, striking down several ideas including Peggy's who clearly does not want to get on his bad side. Don ends up with a plan in true Don Draper fashion. Simply, everything in the world is one word: Hilton. Hilton strikes it down for the ludicrous reason that the moon wasn't Hilton. Yes, Hilton actually wanted an ad that was about Hiltons on the moon. Not figuratively, literally. Maybe he expected Don to join NASA? Whatever the reasoning, he leaves Don off balance and clearly confused.

Betty's story ends much differently that Don though both could have ended the same. She calls Henry Francis, and he shows up at her door unannounced, and she has to explain to Carla about some "fund raiser." To fit the excuse, she does hold a fund raiser for Rockefeller's presidential campaign which as we know ends with a loss. Francis does not show up and Betty is mad. She shows up at his office and confronts him. Francis locks the door and is expecting to get in on, but Betty says no. Out of all the guys forcing themselves onto women in the past few weeks, Francis is not able to seal to deal. This is a testament to Betty, because while she may not know what she's doing all the time, she puts her foot down and realizes she has power over Francis. She's not Gudrun, Peggy, or Miss Farrell, and knows she will get what she wants. If she doesn't want to have sex on the table, she can wait to have sex on a bed if she wants.

Sal is another character cornered in quite a difficult position. The Lucky Strike client Lee Garner Jr. touches him and indicates they should do something. Sal is shocked and refuses, but Jr. calls Henry Crane to have Sal fired. Henry Crane doesn't and Lee Jr. is angry. Henry and Sal tries to smooth things over, but Don fires Sal anyways. If Hilton hadn't been hanging over him, maybe he would have saved Sal, but either way, it was a cold business decision and now Sal is out of luck.

Score: 9.6/10

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The double-edged sword of an October Chuck return

When Ausiello first reported that NBC was considering moving Chuck's premiere date from March to October, many people were ecstatic, and rightfully so. Chuck is a great show that is highly entertaining to watch; watching it now is surely better than watching it in 5 months. There are many problems with Chuck's early return that people need to consider. The ultimate goal of course is a fourth season, but a return in October may pose a threat to that goal.

NBC was hoping to advertise Chuck during the Winter Olympics and build the hype. There certainly is a lot to look forward to. Chuck is at the top of its game in terms of creativity and acting, and with good advertising, could have returned in March with relatively big numbers, assuring success. If NBC wants to start airing Chuck by the end of October, they need to start promoting the show now.

As it stands now, NBC is doing horribly. Other than The Office, Law & Order: SVU, and unscripted shows people aren't tuning in to NBC. They've heard how bad NBC is. They've seen how bad some NBC shows are. What would make them tune into NBC for a random program they've never seen before?

There is also a problem with scheduling. With Jay Leno eating up the 10 PM slot every night of the week, Chuck has almost no slot to be in. Assuming NBC doesn't want Chuck on Fridays which would be certain death, there is only Monday and Wednesday.

Trauma on Mondays will most likely be the first to go. Each episode is very expensive to produce and the ratings are lower than that of Chuck's last season. Once again, the Monday slot at 9 PM has heavy competition with DWTS, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Lie to Me - all shows that do much better than Chuck did last year.

Wednesday would be the preferable spot for Chuck, replacing Mercy at 8 PM. As of last week, the other shows in the timeslot are doing about as well as Chuck did last season. Mercy is still hanging in with the other shows in the timeslot, so NBC probably won't cancel it too soon. If I had to guess, Mercy would be moved to Friday to accomodate Chuck if NBC wants it on Wednesdays.

I do not think Chuck would succeed on Mondays. It would probably do marginally better than Trauma, and with NBC currently with its finger on the trigger, we should be worried if Chuck does end up on Mondays. Wednesday would provide Chuck with the best chance to succeed. The competition is very weak, and Chuck could easily destroy them. If it does, NBC will probably give it a back 9 with just a 2.2-2.5 which should be doable.

I know this is all hypothetical, as shown by the number of times I used 'if,' but if Ausiello's sources at NBC are correct, there are realistic problems we must acknowledge. The situation at NBC is not good and they are going down the path to eliminating all scripted programming. Chuck is certainly not untouchable and after the surprising and abrupt cancellation of Southland, anything can happen.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Friday 10/09/09

Things are looking up for Dollhouse or so it would seem. Fox did terrible again with Brothers (.8), Til Death (.8), and Dollhouse (1.0). Dollhouse did .2 better than last week, and didn't decrease so much during the half hour. With the Summer Glau episode coming in 3 weeks, hopefully Dollhouse can ride a wave to not getting canceled and then renewal (I know that's just hope talking).

ABC repeats did okay with FlashForward (.8), Modern Family (.9), and The Middle (.9). 20/20 got 1.5 which brought its average above that of Fox. Ouch... Repeats and an unscripted beating all original scripted programming.

NBC did better with Law & Order (1.5), Dateline (1.5), and The Jay Leno Show (1.4) which is showing tenacity. It's still holding up against shows in its timeslot. In a few months, I suspect that will be different, but the show is dirt cheap, so NBC must be happy.

CBS won the night with Ghost Whisperer (2.1), Medium (1.9), and Numb3rs (1.6).

Weekly Television Roundup 10/04/09-10/09/09

I watch a few more shows than I review, so I'm going to say one or two lines about the episode along with an score (scoring may be off since I watched the episodes days ago).

Dexter - 9.5/10 - Very interesting episode with Dexter trying to cope with memory loss. The Trinity Killer continues to be a creep. This season looks like it's shaping up to be very good.

Castle - 9.2/10 - Once again a weak crime, but Castle made up for it. His treatment of the model who was once Alexis'x babysitter was so heartwarming, and his mother continues to be a hoot.

NCIS: Los Angeles - 8.4/10 - While the crime was cool albeit unbelievable, I found myself disliking a lot of the funny things. It was all very unnatural and painful to watch.

Criminal Minds - 8.8/10 - Reed + Garcia = FUN. I wish there could have been more scenes with them and I think Matthew Gray Gubler was on crutches for a while so hopefully we get to see more of them. I really disliked Rossi in this episode who is normally fine.

Bones - 8.4/10 - The stuff with Booth needing a girlfriend was fun for about 10 minutes, and then it got lame. The part about Arastoo's accent was absurd an continued down the path of unreality that Bones should be staying away from.

The Mentalist - 9.0/10 - I was expecting a crazy, epic episode from the promo, but instead I was handed a decent episode that ended a little too conveniently. I liked how Rigsby, Van Pelt, and Cho all stuck up for Lisbon. I am hoping that the Red John is advanced soon. The show needs some kind of arc which is currently nonexistent.

Psych - 8.3/10 - I continue to watch Psych for the cast. The writing has gotten stale and the crimes much the same. James Roday continues to be funny no matter what he does. My brother seems to hate him, but whenever he opens his mouth, it tickles me.

Flashpoint - 9.2/10 - I'm not really sure if i should be reviewing this since it hasn't aired in the United States, but if anyone stumbles upon this, this episode is season 3 episode 3. Great scenes between Greg and Ed and a really good plot.

Review - Dollhouse Season 2 Episode 3 Belle Chose

Another intriguing episode with somewhat of a tie-in with Epitaph One. When Dollhouse got renewed earlier this year, I didn't care much. I wouldn't have been broken up if it was canceled. I watched it and liked it, but it wasn't terribly special. After Epitaph One and the first 3 episodes of season 2, I will be very disappointed if Dollhouse is canceled.

A serial killer who is in a coma has his entire mind dumped into Victor, so Ballard can interrogate him. He had just kidnapped 3 women before getting hit by a car, so he is a danger. Michael Hogan guest stars as his shareholder uncle who thinks he can connect with Victor. After Ballard fails to get substantial information other than a confirmation he just killed someone, the uncle breaks Victor out who of course turns on him the first chance he gets.

While this is happening, Echo is off on a romantic engagement as a college student with a creepy college professor. Topher decides to do a remote wipe which will take the whole system offline. Something happens, but its not exactly a wipe. The minds of Victor and Echo switch, so its half fun and half terrifying.

Echo was about to get in on with the professor, but with the serial killer mind, kills him and goes back to the 2 women still alive. Victor had entered a nightclub to look for a replacement for the woman he killed, but as the college student starts dancing suggestively. Props to Enver Gjokaj for doing such a great job. Eventually, Ballard takes him back to the Dollhouse with Victor clinging to his arm. Echo as the serial killer is about to kill the women before she glitches and reverts to what I assume is Caroline. She wants them to kill her before the killer comes back. They are about to before the Dollhouse guys and Ballard come in.

For the first time, Topher attempted to do a remote wipe and used a biolink feed. It did not work, switching the minds of 2 actives, but shows the possibility that a progression can happen leading to the apocalypse of Epitaph One. First it's the biolink, then phone, and soon the world is doomed.

I liked the references to Dr. Saunders so we could know that at least they haven't caught her yet and the ethical qualms of Topher and Adelle. I guess they draw their lines at serial killers. When the serial killer playing with his victims, they looked very much like dolls and when Ballard interrogates him, Adelle seems to realize that what she does may not be so much different.

A review for this episode wouldn't be complete without mention of the promo. If you haven't seen it, Youtube it. Before anything, the promo made sure we knew Summer Glau will be here in 3 weeks. Then it went in the more awesomeness with clips of the next episode dedicated to Sierra with a shocking look at Topher. That's in 2 weeks though. Damn baseball...

Score: 9.3/10

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