Sunday, February 28, 2010

Preview of Week 02/28/10 - 03/06/10

Chuck - NBC, Monday, March 1, 8:00pm ET

Last time it aired, it caused outrage among some fans. So will shippers be happy? From what I've read, they'll be angrier than ever. Let's hope the ratings hold up.

Southland - TNT, Tuesday, March 2, 10:00pm ET

In the vein of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, Southland was given a quick renewal by NBC. Ratings continued to plunge, and after pushing back the season premiere, NBC decided to cancel the show altogether. That can be blamed on Leno who took the 10 PM slot, which was perfectly suited for Southland. TNT bought all episodes, and will air the six episodes made. If--and I highly doubt this will happen--the ratings are high enough, the show will get picked up.

Parenthood, NBC, Tuesday, March 2, 10:00pm ET

If the show is anything like the movie, Parenthood is like Modern Family with real issues. There's no Steve Martin, but there's also no Keanu Reeves (who actually wasn't that terrible).

The Office, NBC, Thursday, March 4, 9:00pm ET

The baby is finally here. The season has been pretty boring, and Jim and Pam have been part of the problem. Will a baby help improve the season?

Burn Notice, USA, Thursday, March 4, 10:00pm ET

The third season finale is finally here. Who will the mysterious and deadly Simon be? Not that I care much, but the spy business subplot is always heavily pushed near the end of seasons, so it's worth watching. I'm expecting the third go-around to be similar to the first two, so I have a hard time anticipating anything.

Clip of the Week #1 - Chuck 1x09 - Chuck and Sarah's awkward kiss

This is a new things I'm doing. Every week, I'll upload a cool clip from a TV show. I may do a bonus clip in the middle of the week since it doesn't take much time to make and upload the videos.

Chuck comes back tomorrow, and shippers were irate last episode for Chuck and Sarah going with different people. Here's their kiss in the first season. Bryce is actually in the container, so that moment is ruined.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thoughts on The Ricky Gervais Show

I've watched the first two episodes on the show, and there's not much to say about it. The show is an animated version of podcasts of Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington. We all know Gervais and to a lesser degree Merchant from The Office and Extras. Their discussions revolve various topics (mostly crude ones) until Mr. Pilkington says something stupid. Gervais and Merchant jump all over him, and ridicule him for the dumbest ideas. It seems fake (someone actually thinks humans lived with dinosaurs?), but it's funny nonetheless.

The animation adds a visual cue to whatever ridiculous thing they are discussing. Other than that, it's plain talking. You could easily find something similar on the radio or online. There's really no need for TV show. Given that the show is very cheap to make, HBO will probably air it for years. Television is a visual medium where stories flow across the screen. A cheap amalgamation of clips doesn't cut it.

Review - Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Episode 13 Princess

The episode looked like lots of fun to write and act, so I'm sure the people working on the show loved the episode. I enjoyed the episode and smiled a few times, but the nature of the episode--forced humor--didn't work quite as well. The acting has always been weak on the show, but I had no problems with it this week. I don't know if the writers acknowledged that, but the script seemed to constrict any comedy that comes from acting. The over-the-top outfits, characters, and weird rules were intended to be funny based on the situation and not the acting.

The bulk of the episode was devoted to a scheme to save Kahlan from the Margrave of Rothenberg who wants to turn her over to Sister Nicci, so he and his court can avoid the Keeper's wrath. The Margrave wants a new wife, and has two in mind--one he knows and he's never seen. Already, the direction is clear. Cara is the princess, Richard is her brother, and Zedd is their aunt. Basically, it's awkward situation after awkward situation until Kahlan breaks out and the gang takes out the guards. First, there's the weird rhyming pattern the Margrave forces females to use, and then it's the Margrave's servant hitting on Zedd, Richard seducing the Margrave's obese sister to get a key to the dungeon, and finally a hunting trip culminating in a very unprincess-like performance from Cara.

Kahlan showed a few times in the dungeon, but played a crucial role in an otherwise silly episode. The Margrave's wife is locked up in the dungeon, ready to be executed. She goes along with everything because the Creator has a set up rules which she thinks she must follow to be reunited with her family. The theme this season has been going against rules and destiny, but ironically, it's more about selfishness. Kahlan tells her that if she dies, the Keeper will win. But the woman argues that the Creator has laws that can't be broken, so she must do nothing. Kahlan counters by saying that the Creator, who is supposed to be fair, would never make such laws. What about the prophecy?

Score: 8.8/10

I wanted to point out that there won't be a new episode until March 20. It's may seem far away, but it's only two weeks, and not the 7 weeks for Bones and Fringe.

Review - Caprica Season 1 Episode 5 There Is Another Sky

This review is also going up on InsidePulse, but I'm not sure when it's going to show up on the site since it's 1AM right now. I think I'm allowed to post the review here.

In a way, Caprica is much like a premium cable drama. The story unfolds slowly over the course of the season, episodes don't end with any resolution, giving the occasional appearance of aimlessness, and some scenes are incredibly captivating. Caprica is going over untrodden grounds on both Syfy and the sci-fi genre itself. The show has an unmistakable soap opera vibe to it, and combined with the hard sci-fi, transcends almost everything that has come before it.

"There Is Another Sky" was probably one of the weaker episodes of the series, wandering from scene to scene with zero tension or drama whatsoever, but the episode still had just enough to keep it good. The mark of a great show is the ability to find something amazing among a sea of average. An extreme example--one I can't seem to forget (or not write about)--is the latest Big Love episode. It flat out sucked, but there were scenes and themes that captured the full potential of the show.

Tamara has largely been ignored for the past few episodes, but she's still here, looking to get out of the V-world. She finds a woman named Vesta who will get her out. Vesta is playing V-world Roulette, an ultimate form of bloodsport that takes Russian Roulette to a completely different level. Her solution to fixing Tamara is quite simple; she shoots her. Normally, a person who is shot will deres, but since Tamara is only virtual, she survives and heals.

This intrigues Vesta and she has Tamara go with Heracles to New Cap City, a retro version of Caprica that gives a whole new meaning to the word gaming. The goal of New Cap City is unclear, but earning money is somehow tied to winning. Heracles and Tamara steal his money first by Tamara distracting him, so Heracles can take the code, and then Heracles impersonates him to steal money from the bank. A security system activates, but like Neo from the Matrix, Tamara gets rid of the security guards with a wave of her hands. She goes back to Vesta, and learns a shocking truth: she's dead. This revelation changes her dramatically, and she shots everyone other than Heracles who she commands to find her father. The closing shot is of Tamara walking down the streets of New Cap City, gun in hand and no fear at all.

For everyone else in New Cap City, there are no second changes. One death and they can't go back. For Tamara, she not only can't die, she has extraordinary powers to eliminate anyone with ease. Along with her realization that she is her life, she becomes immune to humanity. The freedom of the V-world has corrupted her and lets her take on new characteristics. (Of course this is accepting the ridiculous notion that a real person can be created in whole from computerized data. Her acceptance to violence could be because the date gathered on her isn't sufficient.) The path she's taken opens up many other questions. Is she the source of the rebellious Cylons?

The problem with the story up until the end was the lack of direction and the generic characters. Vesta was like a grungy Queen of Hearts, Heracles was the loser who is someone in the V-world, was the typical fat old guy in charge of everything. Other than the concept of New Cap City, nothing was stood out.

The second plot of the episode was continuing trouble between Willie and Joseph. Joseph finally figures out his son has been skipping school, but nothing really happens. Willie is insolent and Joseph is angry, but his response and attitude is clouded by everything else going on. He really has no idea what to do. He knows Sam is a bad influence, but with his wife and daughter recently killed, casting off another family member and possibility of pushing family and ethnic (planet?) tension further isn't the best idea.

While fishing, Willie gives a kid teasing him a good ol' Tauron beat down, stopped by Joseph after a couple brutal hits. At the end of the episode, there is a service held for Joseph's wife and daughter. He can finally come to peace with their deaths, but Heracles shows up, and finds out that Tamara's dead. He runs off and Joseph runs off after him, gasping as Heracles gets away.

The third and strongest plot was Daniel battling the board of directors. His call last week to make the holoband free surprised them, and certainly angered them. The holoband brings in 60% of the profit, so they couldn't afford to get rid of all the profit. As the board meets, the unmistakable clanking of a Cylon is heard. My immediate thought was a Zarek-like massacre of the board. But Daniel is just there to talk with the Cylon as a prop. He describes how Cylons are the future. They are sentient, but they feel no pain and listen to every command. It's going well as he orders the Cylon/Zoe to walk around. Zoe has a wry smile on her face as she see how unsettled the members are. Then, Daniel tells the Cylon to rip its arm off. I don't know if it was because Zoe was there a few seconds ago, but I got a very uneasy feeling. Although she has a look of confusion on her face, Zoe does so willingly, even flippantly tossing the arm onto the table. Alas, we couldn't see Zoe in human form after that. It surely would have garnered tons of attention.

The cinematography on Caprica really expands the world to give a sense of wonder and difference to our world. The dark tone of New Cap City contrasts so well with the light airiness of Graystone Industries. It sucks you into the show and doesn't let go.

Score: 8.8/10

Friday, February 26, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 02/25/10

NBC won with the Winter Olympics (6.1).

Fox was second with American Idol (6.5) and Kitchen Nightmares (3.4).

CBS was third with Survivor (3.7), and repeats of The Mentalist (2.2) and CSI (1.7).

ABC was last with The Deep End (1.1), and repeats of Grey's Anatomy (1.3) and Private Practice (1.0).

Review - Burn Notice Season 3 Episode 15 Good Intentions

Was Carlos Bernard is greatest guest casting ever? He brought all that anguish from 24 to Burn Notice, and completely changed the course of the episode in a few short minutes. It seemed like his character was written to reflect Tony Almeida of Season 7 where his righteous heroism is usurped by an overwhelming desire for revenge which can't be supplanted through peaceful means.

Fi gets a job from Gabriel (Bernard), and from the get-go, clearly he isn't typical client. He grills her over several topics, forcing Michael and Sam to alter her passport. The real meat of the episode starts when he ask her about her past, notably the death of her sister, Claire. Gabriel reveals how in Argentina, an American company, Apex Industries, dump chemicals into the water, causing the death of his daughter. He joined up with FARC, learning how to be a ruthless killer to exact revenge on any random Apex employee. Like Tony Almeida, Gabriel is loony with his logic. Eventually, Gabriel takes her to an employee to kill, but Fiona stops him by putting him in a cage. Gabriel sets the cage on fire, but Michael rushes in to save the day.

Michael steals a .50 caliber gun in the beginning of the episode for Gilroy, solidifying their partnership. Sam tries to get the FBI guys from Season 1 to help, but they don't care or don't have the power. Gilroy diverts the plane while Michael destroys the bridge, slowing the police from arriving. This allows Gilroy to get the hooded man named Simon safely off the plane. But Gilroy isn't as all-powerful as he seems. Simon leaves him dying with a bomb strapped to him. Gilroy was a pretty generic character, so I have no problems seeing him go so quickly. His accent was also annoying to boot.

So who is Simon? From the picture, it looks like he has gray hair, but the lighting is weird, so it may be another color. If his hair is gray, it has to be Michael's father. I think I said the reasons why in last week's review, so I won't repeat myself.

I'll see how the Simon story plays out next week, because Michael dealing with the spy world at the beginning and end of each episode is wearing thin. I would much rather have arcs involving real people and not the fantasy land spy stuff. The Detective Paxson arc could have been so much better, and was prematurely ended before anything really happened, but it showed that the show doesn't need a spy arc.

Score: 9.2/10

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 02/24/10

Fox won with American Idol (8.7).

NBC was second with the Winter Olympics (5.5).

CBS was a distant third with repeats of the New Adventures of Old Christine (1.1), Gary Unmarried (0.9), Criminal Minds (1.7), and CSI: NY (1.7).

ABC was last with repeats of Modern Family (1.2), The Middle (1.4), Modern Family (1.7), The Middle (1.4), and Cougar Town (1.4, 1.1).

Review - Psych Season 4 Episode 14 Think Tank

When Psych is stupid, watch out, because the writers love to run with whatever dumb idea they have. The episode was so surreal, silly, and unrealistic, it might even be worse than the last episode of Big Love. From the very beginning, there was zero sense for what's reasonable and it just went on and on. The result: an infuriating episode that perfectly exemplified why no major critic reviews the show anymore.

Shawn and Gus get hired to a think tank to save someone from an assassination. It's probably one of the stupidest ideas I've ever seen. They go into a room with three other people and brainstorm ideas about how to save Ashton Bonaventure (Chris Sarandon) a rich guy who has made lots of enemies. Shawn doesn't contribute any good ideas, and they leave without accomplishing anything.

The big twist is that Snowden, the guy who got the think tank together, isn't really associated with Bonaventure. He actually wants to kill Bonaventure and was using the think tank to get ideas. Right... Even if the twist was cool, the rest of the episode was still terrible. Shawn rushes to the hotel, and after avoiding the traps he heard from the real security consultants, he saves Bonaventure from his own idea--shooting from underneath.Then, Shawn goes out on stage before Bonaventure's speech and starts babbling while assessing the audience. Snowden and his former Secret Service partner get caught.

Gus touched briefly on the subject of Shawn getting shown not to be a psychic. Unfortunately, the writers also ignore Gus. Shawn uses his "psychic" powers for everything, but no one questions him. He's grasping at straws and being an idiot (he was worse in this episode than normal), and yet, everyone is content to follow him along blindly.

Now you could say that Chief Vick offering Henry a job shows that someone is concerned about Shawn's powers, but any reasonable person would have called him out years ago, and especially after last night's episode, everyone should have been all over him. Henry also declined the job, so nothing changed.

Score: 8.0/10

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 02/23/10

After the stunning silver last week, Fox stormed back to victory with American Idol (9.0).

NBC was second with the Vancouver Winter Olympics (5.5).

ABC was third with a repeat of Lost (1.7), Lost (4.6), and The Forgotten (1.7).

CBS was last with repeats of NCIS (2.3), NCIS: Los Angeles (1.9), and The Good Wife (1.4).

Ratings are so boring right now. How about Melrose Place with .461 million viewers...

Review - White Collar Season 1 Episode 12 Bottlenecked

I've been looking over my past reviews, and I realized I may have inflated all the scores by about .2. My scoring is relative to the kind of show it is, and my scores were too high, so I'll go back a adjust them.

Another old acquaintance of Neal's appears and we learned more about him this week. Neal's old enemy, Keller, has been the one sending the chess moves in the mail. A thief is hit by a car and killed on the street, and Neal says it is Keller. That point is ignored halfway into the episode, and isn't revisited again. Instead, a wine bottle competition is far more important than murder. Neal assumes Keller's bottle is fake, so he'll make a fake that's just as good, so the auction house will have to test both and find the truth about both bottles. Unfortunately, Keller is smarter than that and anticipated Neal's move. His bottle is real, and Neal's fake only brings more interest to the bottle. Moz poses as a fake buyer and wins the auction. He doesn't have one million dollars, so Keller can't pay back the Russians he owes. Checkmate.

For the second episode in a row, Elizabeth was nowhere in sight. Have the writers decided to phase her out? When the show started, I wondered why she was a main character that showed up every week. All she is is Peter's wife, and she helps his investigations with small suggestions. I wouldn't say she's pointless, but she definitely isn't necessary for each week.

There's finally movement on the music box, so may there'll be movement on the story before the season finale. I'm getting tired of all these hints about Neal's past. Why can't he just explain the deal with Kate?

Score: 8.8/10

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review - Lost Season 6 Episode 5 Lighthouse

There's still 13 episodes left. Don't worry, there will be good stories and answers eventually. That's my hope at least. "Lighthouse" was a great episode for penetrating the character of Jack in a new way, but aside than that, the episode was lacking in all other departments other than humor, which Hurley generously contributed to.

Jacob pops up, like Obi Wan as Hurley puts it, giving Hurley a list of instructions. There's a lot written down, but all we know is that he needs to take Jack to a lighthouse. Jacob tells Hurley that he needs to guide someone to the island. They leave through a secret exit, and make their way to the lighthouse. Hurley knows exactly what's on the mind of the audience and suggests that it is very old school. It's two guys wandering through the jungle, talking about anything. Reinforcing that, they even find their old caves. The bodies dubbed Adam and Eve by Locke make another appearance and Hurley makes a theory about whether it could have been them. Maybe we'll discover the real truth one day. They also see Christian's coffin and Jack explains the significance to Hurley.

At the top of the lighthouse is a mirror, but it isn't a normal mirror as Jack discovers. It's a mirror from hell! Well, not really, but it might as well be, because Jack destroys after seeing what the mirror does. The degrees on the compass correspond with the names in the cave. Like the names on the cave, there are a number of crossed out names. Hurley pulls the so the mirror lands on Jack's names. To Jack's shock, the mirror shows Jack's childhood house, albeit a bit distorted, but the fact remains the same. Jacob has been spying on them since their youth. From the screengrabs I have, I can't find find the name 'Kwon,' but it would stand to reason that Jin is the candidate. Sun's surname was Paik as a child, so if Jacob was spying on all of them as youths and not just Sawyer, Kwon would have to refer to Jin. You also have to wonder why there are two sets of the same numbers and names. The names on the compass are organized and orderly while the names in the cave were all over the place. Did Jacob brainstorm in the cave before writing names on the compass?

Outside, Jacob appears without rhyme or reason to talk to Hurley. Hurley is worried, because the plan failed, but Jacob always knows what to do, and isn't concerned at all. It was all part of his bigger plan. Even when Jack tries to circumvent the devilish plot of Jacob, it still works in Jacob's favor. Jack is more laid back and passive after his failure to save the world, but he quickly sets off with Hurley. He still wants purpose to his life, and take an opportunity, whatever it may be, to do something useful. Becoming the new Jacob would fulfill that. He would be able to fix anyone at anytime with new powers and responsibilities.

I had a weird thought just now that may pass muster. There were references to Alice in Wonderland with the actual book showing up, and the key under the rabbit, so I thought the mirror in a way acts as a looking glass, echoing Alice's sequel Through the Looking-Glass. I know the season 3 finale was already named that, but it wouldn't hurt to revisit that. The mirror acts a looking glass, reflecting images back, exposing what makes people who they are. A simple surveillance device for Jacob seems too simplistic, so maybe it shows what makes people who they are. For Jack, it shows his childhood home which is where he was terrorized by his father and where he developed the need to save people when he can't even save himself. Maybe it shows something different for everyone else. We'll never know. That's my two cents anyways.

Jacob is just doing things and we really don't know what he's doing. Jacob gives cryptic statement after cryptic statement, and he's not only stringing the islanders, but also the viewers. It may make sense later, but Jack and Hurley visiting a lighthouse is pretty weak. We already know about the numbers, and that Jacob was watching them, so what else did we learn? The mirror is shattered, so it's nothing major also. The episode is named "Lighthouse," but who cares about the lighthouse? Not me.

Jack has a son named David who looks like he's in his teens. It's unclear who the mother is, but I don't think Sarah (Julie Bowen's character) fits. She and Jack would have met much earlier, and since she was with someone else when they met, the timeline would be radically changed. I don't think she'll be a new character, so what other options are there? Juliet, Shannon, Libby, Ilanna, or any other female that is Kate, Rose, or Claire. What I don't want to see is constant hinting at the mother; we already have HIMYM.

Jack and David have the father-son problem that runs with the Shephards. They don't communicate, and despite the effort from Jack, David doesn't want anything to do with his father who he sees once a month. Unlike Christian and Jack whose relationship was built on fear, David and Jack don't talk because Jack isn't there. As the season goes on, we may see a closer similarity, but from the Jack we know, he doesn't intimidate kids. He makes a discovery that borders on the ridiculous. He's so disconnected with David's life he has no clue David is an amazing piano player. After David goes missing, he finds a voice message from a conservatory. He arrives and finds David playing beautifully. Jack gives a typical I'll always be proud of you speech and things seem to be good. Dogen shows up with his own son and talks about the pressures the children have.

There was a small hint at how the island and flash-sideways are related. Jack in the flash-sideways sees a scar from getting his appendix removed, and he asks his mother about it. She tells him he got it removed when he was 7, but Jack clearly isn't convinced. On the island, Jack had appendicitis and Juliet removed it. The connection is so direct there has to be significance. But I'm still expecting more. Dropping hints here and there doesn't cut it. It's the final season and with an entirely different story structure, I'd like to know what I'm watching before the end of the season. We knew for certain there were flashbacks, flashforwards, and time jumps, but this is completely different and from the look of things, a lot more complicated.

The best part of the episode was feral Claire and Jin trapped with her. She seems fine at first, taking the trap off Jin, and acting normally for the most part. Jin wakes up in her beaver den (seriously, check out the screengrab), and everything goes wrong. Claire brings in the black Other, ties him up, and demands to know where her baby is. This starts an awesome sequence where Jin is trying to figure out what's going on while Claire threatens to kill the Other. She has a menacing look on her face that changes in an instant when she's dressing Jin's wounds. She's riding on the edge of sanity that Jin saw before with the French, but doesn't realize. To save the Other, Jin blurts out that Kate raised Aaron for three years. Claire kills the Other anyways and moves on to Jin. She asks him why Jin said that about Kate, and Jin smartly says that he lied to save the Other. Kate shows up briefly, and says her goodbye to Jack as her sets off to find Claire. Could this be the last time Jack sees Kate alive? Their scene was awfully long for such a passing instance.

Throughout the episode, Claire references a "friend," and Flocke steps into the camp. Jin recognizes him as Locke, but he's just Claire's "friend." There's even more evidence of the close tie between the Smoke Monster and the disease. Jacob tells Hurley that he can't return to the temple because someone is going there. Presumably, it's Flocke with Sawyer and Claire in tow. Maybe we'll get a showdown next week...and answers too.

Score: 8.9/10

I decided to add pictures this week, so I threw a bunch out there. Here's one more of Hurley's arm with the instructions. Where did he get a pen?

Review - Damages Season 3 Episode 5 It's Not My Birthday

I know this is late, and Lost is coming up, so I'll be brief. Sorry if you wanted more.

Danielle is dead, but we know why there was the hubbub about her. She had Louis Tobin's daughter, and Marilyn says she was supposed to leave the country so the family wouldn't splinter. She can't be trusted, but Danielle is dead now.

Ellen hooked up with some random guy again. This season, it's Josh Reston, the reporter from season 2. It's definitely not anything new, but Josh may be integral to the story. What I'm more interested in is Wes. Ellen brought him up, so he is on her mind, but how much does she know about him?

Patty's dream sequences are back, and seemed to indicate something ominous on the horizon. Other than that, I really didn't get it. Horse + Blood + Uncle Pete + Ellen = ? Yeah, that's how far I am.

The flashforwards showed Tom dying in a grotesque fashion. It looks like Zedeck is involved since his assistant took Tom's body to the dumpster. Tom manages to call someone, and tell him/her he loves her. The most obvious choice is his wife, but it could be anyone.

Score: 8.8/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 02/22/10

NBC won with the Vancouver Winter Olympics (5.4).

ABC was second with The Bachelor (3.9) and a repeat of Castle (1.3).

CBS was third with repeats of How I Met Your Mother (2.2), Accidentally on Purpose (1.9), Two and a Half Men (3.3), The Big Bang Theory (3.3), and CSI: Miami (2.2).

Fox was third with a repeat of House (2.1) and 24 (2.8). 24 was up 0.1 from last week, but it's still way down without a new House lead in and against the Winter Olympics.

One Tree Hill squarely beat Life Unexpected in 18-49 adults and 18-34 women, which is bad news if it is a head to head.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 9 Day 8: 12:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.

After a chain of weak episodes, the show is back on track and zooming ahead in the right direction. This episode has given me confidence that the season will turn out fine. The main nuclear material story took a few turns, upping the ante, the Jenny/Dana debacle took an expected but necessary turn, and Jack is on top of his game and getting the girl at the same time. Not only were all the stories above average, the episode was as suspenseful as any episode. Before I get ahead of myself, this is only one episode in what I consider a sub-par season, but for one week, we can rejoice.

The turnover rate for the nuclear material erupted into fury within an hour, spanning the end of the last episode to about halfway through this episode. Josef has the nuclear material at the beginning of the episode, and is in contact with CTU, ready to cooperate. In an instant, he is killed by Samir, and the Russians have essentially become a moot point. 24 is so different than other shows, because it's a real time show, but in a day, the power transfers and threats, can switch between so many people, the perceived threat in the beginning never has any consequence in the end. Farhad has it, but who would listen to this short, greasy haired guy with a whiny voice? Nobody. Samir prepares to take him out, but Farhad escapes, hurt, and calls CTU who sends in backup. There's finally a real threat towards America, a clear enemy, and an objective. It's a good start, and one that should have occurred before the ninth episode, so we'll see what the writers do.

It's nearly impossible to create a real romantic relationship on 24, but the writers are trying this season. Fans of the show have made fun or hated Jack's past girls that weren't Teri or Nina Myers. They do have a point with the boring Kate, crying/turnip Audrey, and weird Marilyn. Renee may break the streak. She can be tough and smart, and there has been an indirect that Jack wants to be with her. Sounds good so far, but she's broken. I don't know how better to put it, but that's what she is. With what went on with Wilson and now Vladimir, Renee is struggling to keep everything together. The real relationship stuff will happen off screen, so the payoff of a happy Jack and Renee will never really happen.

White House aide Rob Weiss sees a coming disaster, and takes preemptive action by instructing Hastings to set Renee up for the fall. A DOJ lawyer is going to catch her on a murder charge. Hastings, who has no spine, crumbles like wet cookie and goes along with the plan. The lawyer, Kristin Smith, comes in and immediately puts Renee on the spot. Smith is an angry, spiteful bitch and tears down Renee's world. It's infuriating, it's exactly what the writers wanted, and it's good television.

Jack arrives to save the day, and doesn't think about anything other than saving Renee. He gets tasered, and is about to leave when he hears the attack plan from Agent Owens, who will lead the team to retrieve the nuclear material and save Farhad. Jack makes a passing comment while leaving that the plan isn't that simple. It catches Hastings's attention, and Hastings brings Jack back into the fold.

There could be a quick resolution to Dana's story sooner than expected. Cole shows up right before Dana makes her final approach with her silenced gun, and forces her to tell her everything. She tells him everything, and Cole decides to get out of his car and deal with Kevin and Shane. When he arrives, he gives them two options. Go to jail or get lost. CTU, the top anti-terrorist group in the United States, hires boneheads like Dana and Cole.

Even after hearing Dana tell him that Kevin went back on his word, Cole offers Kevin another out. Second time's is the charm, right? For Kevin it is, but Shane kills Kevin and goes out to kill Cole and Dana. At the last moment, Kevin yells out Jenny, alerting Cole and Dana fast enough so they can get out of the way. Cole kills Shane, so there's now two bodies and a future cover up. Remarkably, after all she been put through, Dana first runs over to Kevin and cradles him as he dies. Nice move in front of your fiancé. I know some will complain that Kevin and Shane was unnecessary, but it got rid of an annoying, extraneous factor, so the focus would be on two main characters that are involved in a heinous crime.

The episode was scant on action, but the writers proved they don't need nonstop action to create a great episode. I'm guessing there will be plenty of action next week with Jack in charge of the operation, so fans that watch for action will be satisfied.

Score: 9.2/10

Preview of Week 02/21/10 - 02/27/10

I know I'm a day late (I don't know how I forgot), but there was only Big Love last night and it was pretty bad.

Lost - ABC, Tuesday, February 23, 9:00pm ET

Hurley needs Jack on a mission to what I assume will be a lighthouse (the name of the episode). Other than that, anything can happen. Maybe we'll get answers and more questions, or we can just get more questions.

Burn Notice - USA, Thursday, February 25, 10:00pm ET

Carlos Bernard (Tony from 24) guest stars as a paranoid guy that puts a dent in Fiona's plan in the penultimate episode of the season. The Gilroy story also amps up with a big twist in the end (according to the previews).

Caprica - Syfy, Friday, February 26, 9:00pm ET

We finally get to see more of Tamara. She explores more of the v-world, so we may get a better idea the harms of the holoband, expanding on Sarno's interview with Daniel.

Caprica falls below a million viewers, 18-49 demo the same

It finally happened. The viewers dropped below a million which is simply terrible. The upside is that the demo stayed put at 0.4. Every episode has either been 0.4 or 0.5 while the total viewers have dropped. With viewers dropping like flies, it's a miracle the demo hasn't been much worse.

Review - Big Love Season 4 Episode 7 Blood Atonement

Big Love has always strayed around the edges of bizzaro world, but last night it jumped--feet first, with no trepidation, arms spread wide--into one of the weirdest episodes I've ever seen. I can take Sarah kidnapping a Native American baby, I might be able to understand Bill running for state senate (just barely), and I can also believe the Juniper Creek stories. The line must be drawn somewhere. and my limit was finally reached. There are only two episodes left, so the end is near. We just have to hope the next season is more plausible.

I have no clue where to start, so I'll begin with the Mexican rescue mission which took up the majority of the episode. The Greene's set up a trial, coming to the conclusion that everyone is guilty. Their punishment is execution. Bill, Joey, and Jodean travel to the compound after the Mexicans refuse to create a bloody slaughter over Bill's loud protest. In a ridiculous turn of events, Bill sneaks onto the compound under the cover of night and without alerting any guards, starts getting his family out safely. Joey shows up with a gun exact revenge for Kathy's death. Hollis, Selma, and a bunch of goons show up, guns in hand, to stop them. Bill offers himself instead to save his family, and the deal appears to be good. (Although the episode had lots of faults, I liked how Bill's character was there is save his family. He bucked campaign responsibility to protect his first priority.)

Lois miraculously comes up behind Hollis with a machete and chops his right arm! This isn't anime, is it? If the stupidity wasn't brimming at the top already, Bill and company escape under the most ridiculous of premises. Bill says there are two choices: save Hollis and let them go, or let Hollis die and capture them. Um...not really. A couple guys shoot the Hendricksons and the rest save Hollis. It's not that complicated. Anyways, Selma takes the first choice and lets Bill leave.

Back at home, there is a big mess brewing. Ana, pregnant with Bill's baby, is about to leave the country with Goran who had a problem with his visa. There is, however, a perfectly viable solution presenting itself. Marry him!! And that's exactly what Margene does. There isn't much more to say.

Now the episode wasn't devoid of positive factors--there's always a gem in the rough with this show--so I wanted to point out a few things that I liked. This season, Barb has been handling the casino, and Margene has been handling her own business, but Nicki, still treading on thin ice with the family, really hasn't done anything other than be Bill spy for the campaign. She takes it upon herself to conceive a baby, and it this episode, we see the anguish that she can't do it as if there's something wrong with her. The news that her mother is pregnant--as implausible as it was--came like a kick in the gut and rattles her to no end. The scenes between Margie and Barb were wonderful and touched on the core concept of the show briefly enough for me to be happy for those few minutes.

Score: N/A (was it even the same show?!?!?)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Review - Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Episode 12 Hunger

When I first read the description of the episode, I thought there was no way the episode couldn't be good. Cara making a deal with Darken Rahl has to make an exciting story. I was wrong. The episode wasn't at all bad, but my expectations were raised too high, and it rekindled my dislike of fantasy.

Cara is killed randomly by a soldier and becomes a bainling. She has to kill one person a day to stay alive. She also can kill multiple people or bainlings, so the restrictive rules leave her with no other option that to kill real people. She struggles to hide her state from the group, and her thirst for killing becomes more and more powerful as she fails to kill a real person.

Meanwhile, Zedd's brother Thaddicus and Sebastian (Ted Raimi) are peddling shadow water to bainling. It completely cures them of their condition, but it's in limited supply and Sebastian waters down the stock. The cure-all is limited. Who couldn't see that one coming? The group arrives in the shop to save them from angry bainlings only to find a few drops left. But fear not, magic has no limits. Zedd fixes Sebastian's magical map making apparatus and creates a map to the spring where the shadow water is limitless.

Problem solved, right? Of course not. Cara needs to kill again after killing a D'haran a day early. The only choice is Thaddicus who is useless anyways. She stops herself at the last moment and decides to die, but Thaddicus impales himself on her dagger. Cara and Richard rush to the spring while Darken Rahl tortures the location out of Thaddicus. Just before Darken Rahl drains the spring, Richard gets a few drops to return Cara to normal. Cara uses the breath of life and saves Thaddicus. Everyone is all right except for the other bainlings who would have been saved. Like that trope hasn't been used before.

The writers turned to dangling the godly magic before taking it away at the last second. It's stupid and annoying beyond belief, but everywhere you turn, it happens all the time. Cara dying is a big deal, but everything reset to the beginning leaves no lasting result other than the insight we see into her character. The rest of the stuff is all superficial. It was interesting to see the depravity of people selling humans to bainlings, but when magic was at the forefront of the episode, it gets pushed to the background.

Score: 8.5/10

Revisiting NCIS: Los Angeles

I felt guilty about quitting NCIS: LA after 7 episodes, because I've watched all episodes of JAG and NCIS, so I've been considering watching the show for a while, but with a packed schedule on Tuesday, there was no time. Since there were virtually no new shows this week, I watched the remaining episodes I hadn't watched.

I'm surprised at the gap between Los Angeles and the original. Without NCIS, LA would surely be canceled by now. Shane Brennan can make NCIS work based on the framework set by Donald Bellisario, but the low quality of Los Angeles is a testament to Donald Bellisario and his amazing ability . He has the x-factor to make a show work. Shanne Brennan doesn't have it.

The concept of LA is the same with a slight deviation towards undercover work, but the comedy is a few steps below. The chemistry between the characters is uneven and the comedy is very forced, so they are just awkward moments. Hetty serves for no purpose other than mediocre comic relief, and the occasional expansion of backstory. The departure of Macy (Louise Lombard) after the backdoor pilot gives the rest of the team greater autonomy than the team on NCIS. The lack of a clear, strong leader makes the investigation unorganized.

It would be wrong for me to completely dismiss the show, so I do have a few positive comments. Dom getting kidnapped was a bold move so early in the series although it did come out of the blue. Daniela Ruah is the most consistent in both the dramatic and lighter scenes. She's a pretty face, but she can act as well.

Going forward, I'll probably keep watching when I have time, but I won't be reviewing any episodes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review - Caprica Season 1 Episode 4 Gravedancing

There are so many plot threads in Caprica it's hard to pinpoint exactly what the series is and how to approach it from a critical standpoint. Since the pilot, the only unifying factor has been the train bombing. It starts a deadly chain of events with the inevitable outcome of sentient Cylons warring against the Colonies. The great thing about the show is the intricate world created along the way. The post-apocalyptic doldrums of the Galactica was a fine showcase for what was intended, but a world at the height of technology and culture is a different animal with as much potential for brilliant television. It's fascinating how the writers can create a separate world that seems to similar to Earth and yet so different at the same time.

This week, with huge developments in the previous episode two weeks ago, I was expecting at least a continuation of the major storylines. Instead, the big problems were almost reset to where they were three weeks ago. As much as I marvel at the world the writers created, plot always comes first. There's really no excuse four episodes into a show to put the breaks on everything and start over.

Daniel prepares to go on Sarno's show, but everyone is telling him something different. With all the different voices telling him how to salvage the situations, it's no wonder that he gets into hot water during the interview. The one big twist of the episode was Amanda walking out onto the stage, completely changing the course of the episode and interview. They manage to get the public on their side by deciding to give all holoband profits to charity. Without a profit margin, like drug legalization, the holoband will become more responsible than the current filth. The interview is illuminating and parallels the debate over the internet with brilliant dialogue as Sarno and Daniel spar.

Joseph Adama's grandmother doesn't seem right in the head, but the attitude towards her by the family reflects the genuine Tauron culture. They are a vengeful people and get even without regard to human life. Sam is ready to make his move, but is called off by Joseph. Amanda would never have been killed this early, but the scene dragged on long enough to get me wondering, and it highlighted a major point going ahead. Sam is willing to go ahead, but he says that Joseph is a Caprican in a Tauron body.

The police move in on the STO, and raid the school and the Graystone's house. They don't find anything, but the absence of anything at the school leads Agent Duram to be even more convinced something is going on. Lacy helps Keon fix a motorcycle, and he agrees to get her in contact with people who can get her to Gemenon.

Zoe did nothing in the episode other than dance with the tech guy who I finally figured out is named Philomon and played by Alex Arsenault. Don't ask... His diagnostic is dancing, so Zoe gets to smile and have fun. I have no clue about what the scene was supposed to mean. It was awkward and silly, but allowed Zoebot to relax without worrying about anything for a brief moment. After the diagnostic, she has to be still, but it's only time before she moves in front of someone.

I'm not getting that there is a clear direction to the show. Lacy has the package she needs to bring to Gemenon, but it could be episodes until that happens if ever. The police are closing in on Sister Clarice, but she's ahead of them so far. The Graystones are doing their PR campaign and the Adamas are grappling over who to knock off next. Zoe is in a robot's body and venturing into the holoband. There are varying degrees of time dedicated to each story which makes things even more confusing as to where everything is going.

Score: 9.0/10

Is the original BSG theme/Bear McCreary's "Colonial Anthem" playing considered breaking the fourth wall? It was a nice touch, but a bit unsettling even though the scene was completely silly.

New Commenting System

The default Blogger commenting system is very basic and doesn't have many options, so I switched to Disqus which is more customizable and easier to use.

The downside is that I had to install the code manually, so no one can comment on old posts. If you have something to say on an old post, send me an email and I'll make another post with comments. Test comments below.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 02/18/10

NBC won with the Vancouver Winter Olympics (7.0).

ABC was second with The Deep End (1.1), Grey's Anatomy (3.7), and Private Practice (2.8).

CBS was third with Survivor (3.9) and repeat of The Mentalist (1.9) and CSI (1.7).

Fox was last with a repeat of Bones (1.6) and Past Life (1.1). Three episodes in, Past Life has had terrible ratings and was canceled earlier today. It will be replaced by Kitchen Nightmares until March 18.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review - Burn Notice Season 3 Episode 14 Partners in Crime

The season finale is in two weeks, and the show is moving closer and closer to a big reveal. Like the other seasons, Michael  thinks he's onto something big that will illuminate his situation. In both seasons, there really was no result and everything was reset with different characters. It's not terrible since it's just a backdrop to the fun stories about helping people, but it certainly isn't as compelling as a spy show could be.

Michael knows Gilroy is up to know good, so he sets his sights on a Polish guy named Conrad. His plan fails when Conrad won't accept a bribe, so Fiona goes in posing as a CIA agent. She plays on his duty and wallet, and gets the file from him. It has instructions on how to transport a prisoner. Gilroy wants the flight manifest to a flight transporting a person, not a thing. The possibilities are endless, but it has to be a real shocker which may not be too difficult to predict. All the major players are dead, so it I'm guessing the prisoner is Michael or his father. Michael's father is presumed dead, but it's too important to let go. Michael being transported would be a great twist since it throws him back into the thick of things.

Sam's client is Isabella, a fashionista who unexpectedly dies in the beginning of the episode. Because she dies so early and was the client, there was lots of weird references to her as if people actually cared about her. The new client is a guy named Tim who is framed for Isabella's murder by Damon and Ric. Michael gets the police to catch them in the act, and they destroy each other. There was the usual action scenes with a small explosion, but nothing stuck out and the story was standard to say the least.

Madeline is worked into every episode, and sometimes her scenes seem out of place and only serve to have that emotional connection between her and Michael. That was the case this week. Fi gets old photos of Michael for a dossier, and reminds Madeline of old Michael, so they bond in usual fashion--loving, but not completely trusting.

The best part of the episode was the Horatio Caine impressions by Sam. It's Miami and when pretending to be a crime scene investigator, how could he not pass up the chance? I was hoping for a threepeat, but two of them were good enough. It wasn't like the Supernatural episode "Changing Channels" where it was deliberate and overblown to be a funny caricature. It came out naturally both times and like in CSI: Miami, no one thought it was odd.

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 02/17/10

How the mighty have fallen in the ratings. The beast American Idol was topped by the Winter Olympics. Ok, American Idol still destroyed the competition, but it's been years--six to be precise--since Idol was second.

NBC was first with the Vancouver Winter Olympics (9.0).

Fox was second with Human Target (2.1) and American Idol (7.0). Human Target was against the Winter Olympics, but there was also no new scripted programs. It's definitely a bad sign.

CBS was third with repeats of the New Adventures of Old Christine (1.3), Gary Unmarried (1.4), Criminal Minds (1.9), and CSI: NY (2.0).

ABC was last with repeats of Modern Family (1.8), The Middle (1.7), Modern Family (1.7), The Middle (1.2), and Cougar Town (1.3, 1.1). Cougar Town is really struggling even if it is a repeat. Instead of going against Idol and the Olympics, it was just against the Olympics and still struggled.

Review - Leverage Season 2 Episode 15 The Maltese Falcon Job

Nate is handcuffed to a rail, bleeding from a gunshot wound, the FBI are all around him, and the rest of the team is flying off in a helicopter. If you didn't see that coming, I didn't either. I'd read that they would be a major event, but I thought it was the return of Sophie. Instead, there was an even bigger twist that set up the beginning of season 3. The team will break Nate out of prison in the first couple episodes, and maybe, just maybe, there'll be a lasting effect.

Continuing from last week's to be continued, the team unraveled the what was really going on and started on a new plan which unfortunately came undone quickly. The guy behind everything is Tony Kadjic (Paul Blackthorne). Nate and Elliot meet with him to continue the deal, but Kadjic decides to kill them after the mayor calls. Elliot pummels his way out and Sophie arrives as back up after giving instructions for Tara to call if Nate becomes too unstable. It's too late, because the police are there already. Nate had Tara and Parker destroy all the evidence on Kadjic, so if Sterling wants to capture the real criminals, he needs Nate to testify.

Lots of tension in the episode, unexpected twists, and hilarious moments. Within the usual action sequences that you'd see on a normal show, the characters really set themselves apart, and Dean Devlin has done an amazing job with each aspect of the show. It's filled with action and character development which puts the show above many mindless action shows.

Score: 9.4/10

Was Gina Bellman still pregnant? From her costume to everyone's positioning, she was covered up a lot.

Was Tara exit enough? She bonded with the team and viewers in a short amount of time, but her exit was as unceremonious as her entrance half a season ago.

Sophie and Nate kissing. Does it mean something for the future?

Review - Psych Season 4 Episode 13 Death Is In The Air

Behind the great virus story and funny lines was big development between Shawn and Juliet that went nowhere. The show has always been about Shawn and Gus with almost nothing about the other characters, and Gus is relegated to the sidekick role.

There is a difficulty in having UST, because it requires a delicate balance almost no show has. Too much time spent and the viewers get exasperated. Too little time and it doesn't seem realistic. Psych is a silly show with no realism, so real relationships are out of the picture already. With Juliet seemingly infected, Shawn is about to spill his heart out, but chokes and doesn't do anything. Jules doesn't pick up on the obvious signs, so nothing really happens. They are progressing at an awkward pace to get together which should be coming soon. I can't say I care much, but it's happening.

The story was still far more prominent in the episode and featured a not so frantic race to stop the release of the virus. There were some interesting characters and twists along the way that made the episode fun. The story itself was very unoriginal, but I distinctly remember an episode of another show with the exact same plot. Someone doesn't get funding from the government, so he creates the problem to show the government that he needs funding.

Score: 9.0/10

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review - Human Target Season 1 Episode 6 Lockdown

Adding to the list of prominent guest stars, Kevin Weisman, Mitch Pileggi, and Autumn Reeser all had fairly big parts in the episode. With a cast of only three characters, there must be a pretty big budgets for guests which is why the producers can get the cream of the crop. I don't know about you, but I'm already waiting for Robert Patrick.

Martin (Weisman) is a genius trapped in an evil corporation bent on using his mind for evil. Chance comes down from the sky to enter the building and saves Martin. To facilitate a safe exit, Winston and Guerrero involve the feds by Guerrero pretending to be an informant with information. The feds arrive and take everyone into custody to sort things about. Another generic story and another awesome episode. The pacing and action is carrying the show right now, and that's all it really needs.

Again, there was the usual hints and insinuations about Chance's past in relation to whoever Chance is protecting. Winston interprets something Chance says about the protectee as projection. It's been done in every episode. Why can't the writers change it up? It was interesting the first couple times, but by the sixth episode, I expect some changes. Not everything hinges on the big mystery about Chance. A standalone is a standalone. There's absolutely no reason not to touch on his past, especially when it adds so little to the show in the first place.

Score: 9.0/10

What was up with those lens flares? They were really annoying in the end.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 02/16/10

Same deal as yesterday with the final numbers, but there's not much to see anyways.

Fox won with American Idol (9.1).

NBC was second with Vancouver Winter Olympics (5.4).

ABC was third with a repeat of Lost (1.5), Lost (4.5), and The Forgotten (1.7).

CBS was last with repeats of NCIS (2.3), NCIS: Los Angeles (1.8), and The Good Wife (1.4).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review - Lost Season 6 Episode 4 The Substitute

Is that it? One of the big questions of the show was the persistence of Hurley's lottery numbers. We've seen them everywhere, and at long last, we have an answer--or so Fake Locke says. Fake Locke finds Sawyer drinking with music blaring in the barracks and invites Sawyer along to find answers. Locke takes Sawyer to a cliff and after avoiding a disaster, brings him into a cave. Inside is a wall filled with numbers and names. Each number corresponds to a different person: 4 (Locke), 8 (Hurley), 15 (Sawyer), 16 (Sayid), 23 (Jack), 42 (Kwon). Most conspicuous is the absence of Kate, and Kwon which could mean either Jin or Sun. There are other crossed out names on the wall, so there may be an explanation for Kate. (As far as I can tell, the rest are scribbles, so there's no way to discern other names and numbers.) And what does it mean for everyone else on the island? Why are they on the island?

Locke tells Sawyer that Jacob chose them to protect the island, and there are three choices. Sawyer can take up the mantle as the new Jacob, do nothing, or leave the island with him. Before telling Sawyer what to do, Locke manipulates Sawyer by telling him that Jacob has been manipulating him his whole life, to position him to be in this very place and situation. It's the one thing Sawyer doesn't like--people telling him what to do. Sawyer chooses to go with Locke, cementing Smokey's hold on him. It looks like Locke has a willing ally who doesn't care anymore, and Sawyer could be very dangerous to oppose when there's nothing at stake.

In the jungle, Fake Locke sees a blond haired boy who is clearly out of the place. The first time, Richard doesn't see him, but the second time, Sawyer can see him. Could it be because Sawyer was chosen by Jacob? Fake Locke runs after the boy, and in of his few moments of vulnerability, trips and falls in front of the boy. The boy tells him that Fake Locke can't kill him. Is that young Jacob? An island defense mechanism? Fake Locke still doesn't have free reign over the island, so he's recruiting people for a mini-army against Jacob's followers. We still don't have a clear picture of the scale or position of Jacob vs. MiB, but the struggle is definitely not over. Jacob's body burning into ashes could mean anything. Ilana gathers the ashes into a pouch, so a return of Jacob is foreseeable.

While I was watching, I kept thinking whether Smoke had taken on some Locke characteristics as the took over his body. His body is a shell with the real body sitting on the beach, but his "don't tell me what I can't do," sounded awfully like the Locke we know who would go against all odds on blind faith along. Fake Locke does the same thing, defying the rules of the island to kill Jacob. The boy is an indication he hasn't really succeeded, but he's still trying. Fake Locke also has the tactics of Locke is use and manipulate other people. Locke wasn't malicious, but he did string people along so they'd help him.

A big problem with the first three episodes was the disconnect between the island and the flash-sideways (or whatever you want to call it). There is no indication of the relationship between the two, so it's hard to be interested in a new world when we've been following the island for five seasons. The alternate world puts a new spin on everything that's mildly interesting, but unless there is a real connection not held together by theory or speculation, there is a degree of pointlessness that would certainly put damper on the final season of one of the greatest television shows of all time.

The Kate-centric episode wasn't received well mostly because it was a Kate-centric episode. It's understandable, but I don't hate Kate as much as some people, so it was fine for me. This episode was Locke-centric, and if there's one character with the most intrigue and gravitas, it's Locke. There is power and helplessness in him that Terry O'Quinn captures perfectly.

Locke is doing way better than expected, but his struggles still persist. Helen is back and she's as supportive as ever. There's no word on how he dealt with his father (apparently they are on good terms since Helen wanted to go to Vegas with her parents and his dad), but she stayed regardless of what happened. Maybe he lost the use of his legs another way. Locke is working at the box company, and is fired by the same douche Randy, but meets Hurley outside. Hurley owns the company and gives Locke the number of someone at the temp agency. He meets Rose there and gets a job as a substitute teacher. One of the teachers is none other than Benjamin Linus. Now there's Ethan and Ben out in the real world. Are they Others? The island is underwater in their world, so are they normal people?

Coming back from his walkabout, Locke is still frustrated with his life. Although his life is marginally better, there is a void in him that can't be filled. He turns to Jack's card and calls him, but hangs up. Helen reaffirms her love for him, and all is well, but this is Locke we're talking about. There are no happy endings.

The offerings both on the island and the other world were much stronger this week than last week. Locke's story had me somewhat invested in what he was doing and was about 100 times better than the Kate mess last week. Smokey is making his moves with Sawyer in tow. We know what the numbers are and why certain people are on the island (as long as we trust Smokey which is a dubious subject). There's plenty of time to go, so maybe all our questions will be answered eventually (yeah right).

Score: 9.4/10

Random thoughts/observations:

At the mouth of the cave, there is a scale with balancing white and black rocks. Locke takes the white rock, throwing in out and tipping the scale in favor of the black stone. It's symbolic of the triumph of evil over good (though I doubt it's that simple). With Jacob in ashes, it would seems appropriate for the white stone to be tossed out, but what about the boy? Is Locke tossing the stone out reality or just wishful thinking?

What happened to Desmond?

Did the breaking ladder do anything for you? Sawyer couldn't have been killed and the situation was resolved pretty quick.

After burying Locke, the remaining people on the beach, including Sun are heading to the temple. Jin is at gunpoint by Claire, and is right there in the jungle. A reunion seems so close, but will it happen?

Sawyer talks with Fake Locke about Of Mice and Men, but Fake Locke says it was after his time. Sawyer pulls a gun on Fake Locke and Flocke explains that he was once a normal man and is trapped. Is he trapped on the island? Or is he just manipulating Sawyer? A combination of truth and manipulation?

Will the sixth season of Supernatural be a letdown?

There was a flurry of Supernatural news today. First, the show was renewed for a sixth season, and then Eric Kripke announced he was stepping down as showrunner. We've heard over and over again that the show was only planned for five seasons, so the whole Lucifer thing should be wrapped up by the end of the season.

While Kripke will be involved, he won't be doing the daily hands on duties. He can't be attributed to the success of the show, but his extraordinary vision made the show as great as it is. The end of the arc means the start of a new one. From there, anything can happen. Shows have both succeeded and failed past their expiration date though I would say failure is the more common outcome.

There's still plenty of time before a new season--the apocalypse story hasn't even taken off--so don't worry yet. It's just something to think about among the hundreds of other television stories that will happen between now and September.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 02/15/10

Monday was a holiday, so the final numbers will come tomorrow. These are just the fast nationals which should be close enough.

NBC won with Vancouver Winter Olympics (7.2).

ABC was second with The Bachelor: On The Wings of Love (4.1) and a repeat of Castle (1.5).

CBS was third with repeats of How I Met Your Mother (2.2), Accidentally on Purpose (2.0), Two and a Half Men (3.3), The Big Bang Theory (2.6), and CSI: Miami (2.3).

Fox was last with a repeat of House (2.2) and 24 (2.7). Without the big lead-in from House, 24 took a huge hit even against no scripted competition other than Life Unexpected which has a much different demographic.

Life Unexpected had the same 18-49 demo as last week (0.9), but was down about 200k total viewers.

Review - Damages Season 3 Episode 4 Don't Throw That at the Chicken

After a week without any flashbacks, they were back in full force, and we got a revelation in the end that was not at all unexpected, but set the course for the rest of the season. Patty gets called in and she's devastated by the news, so we immediately don't think she's involved. The problem is that she's Patty Hewes. While leaving the station, she frantically calls someone telling them not to go through with it. Well Patty, it's too late. It may be another misdirect, but it looks like Patty put a hit out on Tom and couldn't rescind the order in time. Right now, Tom hasn't done anything too bad, and it's hard to imagine what Tom could do that would force Patty to get rid of him.

The other big revelation was the death of Louis Tobin. We all thought he was a major player, but he's dead four episodes in. He's just small fish compared to the other powers. Patty and everyone else knew he was lying, so they knew they knew they would get to Louis eventually and find the truth. Joe finds an envelope addressed to Patty. Was it the location of the money?

Before dying, Louis presumably gave an order to his goons to kill Joe if he drinks again. Showing great restraint, Joe only drinks after entering the city and leaving his family. He gets a bottle but dumps it out, preventing his own death. It seems like a situation that could happen to Tom. Signals get crossed and Tom gets killed.

Patty's son Michael makes an appearance and has a lame story about getting a job. Patty either can't see through his lies or doesn't care anymore, because it really he's still with Jill, without a job, painting, and has a baby on the way.

The story is moving along with all the random scenes that may or may not matter in the end. They're still fascinating which is why Damages is so great. The insignificant scenes carry weight because the acting is so great and the writers are so clever in the way they position everything.

Ellen is basically back in Patty's camp, so hopefully she'll have more to do. I know lots of people have problems with Rose Byrne, but she does a great job when she's allowed to show her range.

Score: 8.8/10

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 8 Day 8: 11:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

I can't say I like this season so far, and this week's episode did little to change that, but the episode was enjoyable for what it is--Jack being Jack. We've seen him do everything before, so it's not like anything was that surprising. When Jack is kidnapped, he gets tortured, then escapes by an act of awesomeness. The Jack Bauer legend is carried on the fact that he does incredible things all the time with ease, and watching the feats over an over again doesn't get old. I was watching Count Jackula in season 6 the other day and it was still cool. He has an aura around him that makes non-fans laugh (in derision) and fans cheer.

Sergei takes Jack to the back and has his torture specialist, Dimitri go to work on him. He starts shocking Jack and messing around with the stab wound. Like any villain who is going to be killed, Dimitri is all alone and doesn't know the power of Jack. Jack makes great use of his legs and shocks Dimitri unconscious. Then he uses his legs to break the pipe and again uses his legs to choke Dimitri to death. He still has a gang of Russians to take on, and he dispatches them, leaving Sergei to be interrogated.

Family is still most important to Sergei who snaps up a plea deal after talking to President Taylor. Jack doesn't want to go the interrogation route because Sergei has been hardened already. (But when did that stop him before?) Sergei readily spills all the information, but when Cole and his team arrive at the way station, there's a few dead Russians, and a necklace of Oleg that Josef had taken. Josef is now the one with the nuclear fuel rods. There's no way Sergei can be a threat anymore, so Josef looks like he'll be the big bad for a few episodes until another player rises to the top.

It was a twist I didn't see coming, mostly because Josef seemed the sentimental type after making a big deal of his brother's death. I guess he's no different than his father; they would kill countless people as long as their family is safe. The weird world of family bonds can be taken to the extreme on 24 and still be completely normal.

The focus on Jack left little time to the subplots which have been very weak. Kevin and Nick want more money and they push Dana to continue giving them information. She's an idiot for not expecting that, but she decides to deal with them herself. She packs a gun and head off to the strip club they're at. Arlo has photos on her and Kevin, and after talking to Cole, he's on her trail and talking to Arlo, so it's crashing down on her quickly. Hopefully, the story resolves itself quickly, because it's unoriginal and makes us dislike the characters involved. Arlo, Dana, Cole, Kevin, and Nick are just annoyances with no relevance to the main story. I thought the writers would tie in Kevin and the Russians, but there's eight episodes and no indication of that.

Hassan is getting crazier and crazier by the second and appears to be more Kim Jong Il than Robert Mugabe. Kayla tries to talk reason into him, but gives him more evidence, by his twisted logic, to become more paranoid. She tells him she has been in love with Tarin for a year. Hassan thinks that Tarin wooed his daughter to get closer to him. What a genius.

Renee takes it upon herself to make sure Jack is safe. She is the reason why he was captured (though the situation could have been avoided entirely), and it's hitting her hard. The one person who cared about her might be dead, and it completely crushes her. She's sent for a psych evaluation, but she doesn't appear for the last fourth of the episode.

We're a third of the way through the season there hasn't been much to look forward to. Hassan's story is going slowly with a big showdown looming. Dana's sticky situation is only sticky. The main nuclear material story is pretty weak. Even a mole who be a welcome change to these stories. The only thing going for this season is the developing relationship between Renee and Jack. I hate to be down on the show, especially if it is going to be the final season, but it's looking more and more like the show has run it's course.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Big Love Season 4 Episode 6 Under One Roof

Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, a couple old faces show up and make a bad situation even worse. That's the way the season is progressing; Bill is campaigning and random things start happening. It's not great, but it lets us see the characters in different ways because they are being pushed by all sorts of forces not under their control.

Ana shows up pregnant with Bill's baby. I wasn't a fan of her story last season, and her return muddles an already messy show, but on it's own, the story has tons of potential. The wives want to help, Bill wants to help, and Ana wants none of them. The idea that she would go back to them is silly to her since the whole polygamy thing was so foreign to her in the first place. The wives and Bill think it is only natural for them to take care of the baby. Ana finally agrees to let Bill have some parental rights, but she also wants a lawyer involved. Barb shows up at Ana's apartment and makes two big discoveries. Ana is engaged and the baby was conceived before she was married to Bill.

All the cards are out on the table, and Barb is figuring out something we knew a long time ago: Bill is a self-serving jackass. The throws around religion, family, and politics to benefit himself. He's a lying loser who thinks he is amazing. In reality, he's just lowlife scum who is worthy of anyone's respect. He's really no different than Alby, Roman Grant, or JJ. Given the right circumstances, he would act just like them.

There was about 50 other stories going on. Ben and his grandparents are down in Mexico to get the birds, and none other than the Greenes show up. Creepy Hollis and Selma are back and have them at gunpoint.

If that wasn't enough, Marilyn, the lobbyist is now a partner in the casino. Dale absolves himself of all obligations by hanging himself. Alby is crying, but he'll probably go back to psycho creep next week instead of conflicted in love creep. Nicki saves Cara Lynn, but her mother still gets sealed. The writers feel this is the right thing to do, we'll have to tolerate all the irrelevant, stupid stories for three more episodes. There is good stuff in between everything that doesn't matter. Once you parse through the minutiae, there are some wonderful scenes that are worth watching.

Score: 9.0/10

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Preview of Week 02/14/10 - 02/20/10

24 - Fox, Monday, February 15, 9:00pm ET

Jack Bauer is tortured for the umpteenth time. We'll see if it's any different than before. Other than that, the promos haven't revealed much, so there may be a few unexpected twists.

Leverage, TNT, Wednesday, February 17, 10:pm ET

The season finale is finally here, and the second episode of the two-parter features the return of Mark Shepard as Sterling, the newly minted Interpol agent who is out for blood.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Review - Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Episode 11 Torn

If you are a Richard/Kahlan shipper, you probably loved the episode, and if you aren't you probably didn't care much for it. The episode was geared towards shippers as much as possible and didn't waste one chance for Kahlan or Richard to express their love for the other. Although the ending resulted in no real changes, the middle section did rehash what we already knew about their relationship and added a new twist that was obvious from the beginning.

Kahlan has to go back to Aydindril after a Wizard of the Second Order shows up dead with an amulet that teleports a wizard to the Mother Confessor and brings both of them back to Aydindril (It's funny how specific it is). Something goes wrong and Kahlan stays behind, except Kahlan is also in Aydindril with Zedd. Kahlan with Richard find out she has lost her powers, but she seems normal. Kalahn with Zedd also seems normal, kicks out Prince Fyren who has been acting as High Lord Regent of Aydindril, and restores the correct law.

As expected, everything soon goes south. Kahlan sleeps with Richard, but after seeing Cara with Richard, goes ballistic for no good reason. Kahlan in Aydindril upholds the most arcane of law and hands out crazy punishments. It's painfully clear what happened; Kahlan was split into two parts. The writers needed to make this abundantly clear, so there is fair amount of Zedd explaining things to Richard in the enviable redundancy of television. One part of Kahlan is pure reason with no compassion, and the other has compassion but no reason. After a short standoff, Zedd puts the two Kahlans back together into one Kahlan who doesn't remember anything.

I've always thought Bridget Regan had the most talent of a show with horrendous acting occasionally, and she fit that billing in the episode. Kahlan in both places was ever so slightly different than normal whether it be inflection or demeanor that completely tipped of that they weren't right.

Score: 8.7/10

Friday, February 12, 2010

Review - The Mentalist Season 2 Episode 14 Blood in, Blood Out

We've know Cho had a sketchy past, but there's never been more than the occasional hint. We knew he was in juvenile hall, he'd done some crime, and wasn't a boyscout. Last night's episode gave us the definitive answer to his past. Cho was part of a gang called the Avon Park Playboys, shot the gang leader, KS, left the gang, and joined the Army, which put his life on the right path.

Not all are as lucky, and some simply get left behind. His former best friend, David Sung, is found dead. The first half of the episode is spent with Cho and Jane revisiting Cho's former stomping grounds. It's obviously a misdirect, and the gang wasn't involved at all even though they pull guns several times. The real killer isn't David's boss who was used to catch the real killer, a cleaning guy.

The episode was nothing special except it allowed us to see into Cho's life and focus on a character that rarely reveals anything about himself. He has a girlfriend who I assume is the daughter of the woman in one of the season 1 Red John episodes. It was nice to see Cho more often, and I would like to explore more into his character. Jane played a minor role and the rest of the team did even less which was a good change.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Burn Notice Season 3 Episode 13 Enemies Closer

Larry being back added an extra spark to an episode that didn't have much in terms of story. Larry's causes trouble for Michael and a guy named Jack Yablonski after pissing of the cartel. Michael saves Jack and himself with the usual means, and everyone is safe again.

The relationship between Michael, Fi, and Sam is strained after Larry and Gilroy push Michael to do things he may not want to do. With powerful forces tugging on him, Michael needs his friends the most, but they are also hesitant to help him in any way. Fi doesn't like that Michael can stand to work with Larry and Sam doesn't want to give Gilroy all the requested files. In the end, it all works out, though Fi is reaching hat point again where she can't tolerate Michael's work.

Nate comes into town with his wife, Ruth, who he had met a few months ago. They invite Madeline to live in Las Vegas, and she doesn't budge because she's Madeline. Nate does serve an important role in the episode as he reminds Michael that he has friends. This leads Michael to find the trick Larry is doing, so Michael couldn't get in touch with his friends.

Score: 8.9/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 02/11/10

CBS won with Survivor (4.5) and The Mentalist (3.7).

ABC was second with The Deep End (1.5), Grey's Anatomy (4.4), and Private Practice (3.1).

NBC was third with Community (2.3), Parks and Recreation (2.3), The Office (3.7), 30 Rock (2.8), and repeats of The Office (1.7, 1.4).

Fox was last with a repeat of Bones (2.1) and Past Life (1.4). Past Life is pretty much dead.


Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 14 My Bloody Valentine

No new episodes until March 24, but after that, there should a clear shot to the finish and the apocalypse (or non-apocalypse) business will get wrapped up. I can't say that I've been pleased with how the apocalypse has gone down, but it's not bad either. I guess my expectations were just too high.

It's even Valentine's Day in Supernaturaland, and people are doing all sorts of crazy times. At first, Cupid seems to be the problem. Cas tracks it down, but it turns out to be a naked fat guy who is a lowly angel. He's just following orders which casts a negative light on whoever is handing down orders. That was some sick stuff going on.

There are more murders and the real culprit is Famine, another Horseman of the Apocalypse. He sends people into a feeding frenzy, and even Cas is eating the entire episode. Sam wants demon blood, so he gets chained up. His bloodlust comes in handy when he uses it to kill Famine by dragging out all the demons and making Famine literally pop.

Dean is reaching a breaking point, and he could turn to Michael sooner than later. He doesn't seem to want anything anymore, and even Famine doesn't make him do the crazy things everyone else is doing.

Score: 9.0/10

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 16 Manager and Salesman

Just when you thought the show was completely going to change, the show was reset back to where it was. Kathy Bates who plays Sabre CEO Jo Bennett shows up at the office and doesn't like the co-manager situation, so she decides to pick one of them. They both want the position until Pam figures out that salespeople can earn a lot more money from commission. Jim tries to become a salesperson, but Michael also finds out, and wins out over Jim, becoming a salesperson. Jim is manager, but Michael has completely forgotten the way the office works day to day. He may know what's going on from inside his secluded office and when he steps outside to do a group activity, but he doesn't know the first thing about working as a salesperson on a consistent basis. At the end of the episode, Michael is back to being manger, and Jim is back to sales.

So far, the unholy union of Dwight and Ryan hasn't done much other than plot behind Jim's back, but they force an IT guy to give them Jim's password. The two of them are the greatest thinkers, but they're not completely clueless like Andy. If they want to do something malicious, they can, and I have no doubt they want to.

Andy and Erin are still doing their funny dance, and are just circling each other. They're so close to seeing the truth, but they're so inept that they have no clue about anything. Erin wishes Andy likes her and Andy wishes Erin likes him, but they can get in sync. This week, Andy wants to give Erin a valentine, but not to tip his hand, he gives everyone a valentine, including a well-written poem to Kelly randomly. Kelly is enamored with Andy, but later he sends a mass email to everyone telling the office to ignore their valentine message. Andy does reveal that the message was real for one person. It should be clear to everyone who is is, but Erin is still clueless.

It seems like equilibrium has been restored. Everything set in motion by the financial crisis has finally slowed down, and everyone is in their positions. Other than a switch in the product they are selling, the office is in order and running smoothly.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 16 Communication Studies

It's the last episode until March, but I think the writers have found where they want the show to go. Initially, didn't quite have a clear footing, but with each subsequent episode, they've used the strength of the cast effectively and the writing has gotten more varied.

Britta drunk dials Jeff, leaving very awkward situation. The remedy, as Abed has learned from watching sitcoms, is to reciprocate the action. That makes the situation even worse after Jeff calls both Britta and Michelle (the statistics professor he is dating) without any knowledge of what happened. At the Valentine's dance, Jeff has no clue what to expect, and it's clear things aren't going well. Michelle is mad at him because he wanted to find Britta, and still doesn't care after he explains the situation to her. Britta shows up with a tight dress to play one last trick on Jeff. She claims he asked her to the dance, but he really didn't. That blows over quickly, and Britta bails Jeff out be playing the good portion of a 40 minute call to her. Jeff is back on Michelle's good side.

Jeff initially started off as the guy who chased Britta who was seemingly uninterested. That in itself isn't original, and was probably the weakest part of the show. Jeff asking Britta out every episode has no potential room for growth. Ever so slightly, the writers started adding different layers to Jeff, and even have him a girlfriend. Britta is Jeff's friend, and Jeff knows well enough to not be a douche to Michelle and continuing pursuing Britta. At the same time, Britta is fine with what Jeff does, but knows there's part of him that still likes her.

As far as plot goes, the episode wasn't that strong, and the subplot was pretty hokey. Pierce and Troy buy themselves Valentine's gifts, and Change jumps all over them in class, humiliating them. Annie and Shirley vow to get back at them, and create a fake letter from Princeton which Chang sees through instantly. He assumes the letter was from Pierce and Troy, so he forces them to go with him to the dance in ridiculous outfits. They go, and Annie and Shirley reveal the truth to them, but they do what Chang asks of them.

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 02/10/10

Fox won with Human Target (2.5) and American Idol (9.5). Human Target was up .1 from last night which hopefully means the show has stopped dropping. Even then, I don't think a 2.5 will be enough to survive on Fox.

CBS was second with The New Adventures of Old Christine (2.3), Gary Unmarried (2.4), Criminal Minds (3.6), and CSI: NY (3.3).

ABC was third with A Charlie Brown Valentine (2.4), The Middle (2.9), Modern Family (4.1), Cougar Town (2.7), and Ugly Betty (1.6). Cougar Town was bested by The Middle for once which is pretty surprising. The 1.4 drop from Modern Family should also be a concern for next season.

NBC was last with Mercy (1.8) and two repeats of Law & Order: SVU (1.2, 1.6).

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 15 My Funky Valentine

Modern Family is perfectly suited for Valentine's Day, and the writers switched up the characters and gave us a fulfilling episode that fit the occasion. Like most shows on the broadcast networks, there's no new episodes until March.

Claire and Phil decide to spice up their relationship and meet at a hotel. Claire wants to do some role-playing, and Phil agrees, but his mind runs wild at times, and he starts acting too wacky for Claire's taste. He introduces himself as Clive Bixby, a guy who definitely isn't normal. Claire starts asking why Clive isn't with his wife, and from there, Phil insinuates things about his wife without mentioning Claire. This forces Claire to push back which was completely hilarious. They're role-playing and fighting each other at the same time.

Eventually, they get over that, and Claire decides to come back with a coat and nothing underneath. As they go up an escalator, Claire's coat gets caught. Phil stops the escalator, but now Claire is stuck there with no clothes except the coat which is stuck. Some of their friends come over and try helping only to find out what's under the coat. It's embarrassing for everyone, and then Jay and Gloria show up. Gloria has a solution and Claire is saved from even more embarrassment.

Cam and Mitchell help Manny get the date he deserves. Rico Rodriguez is hilarious, especially when it comes to girls, so the story was already hilarious. Throw in Cam and Mitchell facing off against Durkiss, and it was even better.

Jay and Gloria go to a David Brenner show which lets David make fun of Jay and his age difference with Gloria. Jay is upset, but Gloria makes him feel better. The story didn't go anywhere, but the other two stories were so good that it didn't matter.

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Leverage Season 2 Episode 14 The Three Strikes Job

Since the episode served as a set up to next week's season finale, there were many confusing loose ends that should be resolved next week. The episode was going fine with the team about to catch the corrupt Mayor Culpepper played by Richard Kind. The table completely turns as Culpepper turns out to be an FBI informant, so Nate has to scramble, and the team barely makes it out safely. Sterling, who is an Interpol agent now, shows up at the very end of the episode. To be continued...

Along the way, Elliot becomes a AAA baseball star even though he hates the game. Maybe he hates watching it, but the stardom that comes with being good at the game makes him feel good. Nate is still drinking, and he can't find Sophie after calling her many times. Ironically, he tells her she can't make everything better by running away while he's drinking. Now that his drinking problem is back, how will he deal with it? Will his alcoholism be a persistent thing? I thought his problem was gone, and a fair amount of the first season was dedicated to him dealing with that, so I'm not sure if going through the steps again would matter. There's no question the alcohol is making him a bit crazy. He's angry, he's illogical, and he's yelling like a fool.

Score: 8.7/10

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review - Psych Season 4 Episode 12 A Very Juliet Episode

For the most part, Shawn consistently dominates the show and the other characters are rarely given a chance to do much other than be supporting characters. In an episode aptly titled "A Very Juliet Episode," there had to be lots of Juliet, and we got it. It showcased all the characters and we got a bit of everything.

The beginning flashback was of Juliet in 2003 parting ways with her boyfriend, Scott Seaver, at a train station. They agree to meet in the same place exactly seven years later, and in the present, Juliet is there, but Scott doesn't show. Juliet can't find anything about Scott in the police database, so she employees Gus. Inevitably, Shawn finds out, and discovers that Scott is dead and his death was covered up. Further investigation, and they find Scott alive and well. Juliet gets her reunion with Scott, but he's in witness protection, so people are after him. The Federal Marshall turns out to be the real murderer who accidentally shot his partner and covered it up.

Shawn and Juliet will probably get together next season, but I thought this episode was an indication how not far along they are. The writers never really knew where to go, and while they have great chemistry together, the things that have gone on aren't very significant. Shawn throws around his usual complaints and snide remarks about guys Juliet is with, but other than that, there wasn't much. Juliet opens up to Shawn in the beginning of the episode and that's as much as we get. Even Lassiter talks to her in his sweet yet creepy way that was more significant than anything Shawn did.

There were tons of fun physical scenes like always. Shawn got to ride a motorcycle again and conveniently not tell anyone who the real murderer was so he got into another fight, and climb up a tree.

Maggie Lawson was great in the episode. On a show where there are so many distinct personalities, she does a great job setting herself apart in the few moments she can.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Criminal Minds Season 5 Episode 15 Public Enemy

I'm glad Criminal Minds had a good episode before going on a long break, because the past two episodes were sub-par. The episode had good twists that didn't complete turn the episode around and didn't give away too many clues, so it kept me anticipating what would happen next.

There are a string of murders in prominent Providence locations, so the BAU is called in. He continues killing people in very public places. He's like an arsonist, but slits throats to draw attention instead of setting fires. Eventually, the team thinks the the unsub gets gratification from hearing what the police say. Garcia finds the perfect match, a guy named Connor who works at a diner, and the killer is caught. The end was a tad disappointing, because it became personal matter against his father and not a better reason. And how does a father and son end up in the same prison?

J.J. had a small subplot of her own that was so much better than the sister suicide thing a few episodes ago. We see her maternal nature kick in when she wants to protect the wife and daughter of a military captain (was it ever specified which branch?). That conflicts with her job when Hotch forces her to ask the wife to give a speech. The wife played by Sprague Grayden gives the speech later, but J.J. is troubled by what happens. To make matters better, the team sends the daughter a signed card and a $500 check from Rossi.

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Human Target Season 1 Episode 5 Run

Well, it's that point again where I don't have much to say about the show. The action scenes are amazing, the music is great, and the story doesn't really matter. This week, Chance protects a DA named Allyson whose father, Whitey Doyle, is a crime lord ready to turn himself in along with associates within the government. There are so many people on the ledger that virtually every cop is after them. Chance protects her until he gets her to a non-corrupt judge who can solve everything. Already there is Whitey Doyle who is played by William B. Davis. It was such an awesome moment for me, because CSM was the coolest enemy on The X-Files, and because Davis needs to be on television more.

The episode added another hint to Chance's character in relation to Whitey. It is implied that Chance walked away from family because of the job he was in. Each week the clues keep piling up with no resolution in sight. It's not character development. It's tiny pieces of information used for solely intrigue. We really haven't learned anything about his motivations or background that would make us see him differently. He shows up at one of the crooked cop's apartment at the end of the episode to tie up loose ends, and that's fine, but is it suppose to reveal something about Chance?

Score: 9.0/10

Review - White Collar Season 1 Episode 11 Home Invasion

We learned more about Neal's previous life last night, and it brought up more questions. In his search for the music box, he solicits the help of Alex, a well-connected thief who may or not have had something with Neal in the past. She doesn't talk about Kate, but you have to wonder where everyone fits into the puzzle.

Jones and Lauren had much more to do in the episode, and got to help Peter while Neal was off being kidnapped by Pierce (another female thief with an androgynous name). There was no Moz or Elizabeth in the episode, so the episode felt much more centered on the case than before.

Peter investigates Alex which causes more tension between he and Neal. They aren't best buddies yet, and Neal still has a long way to go before he can be trusted. He still does things under Peter's back, and associating with criminals isn't the best way to get Peter's complete cooperation.

The biggest question of the episode was why the Japanese had a a right to the jade elephants. Whoever wrote the dialogue wasn't being very careful, especially since the words could easily be construed to mean something else. Peter states that the Chinese emperor gave each ambassador a treasure, but he doesn't say anything else beyond that. Right after that, the Japanese come in, and everyone assumes the Japanese own the jade elephants. The stupid thing is that the writers specifically mention the name of the Chinese emperor, the Chinese Forbidden City, and then make a passing remark about the treasures given to ambassadors without any mention of Japan. My interpretation--it was never made clear--is that the entire set of jade elephants were given to the Japanese ambassador, and were stolen.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 14 Hi

No more new episodes until March 2, but we got a cliffhanger that should keep everyone interested. After dragging Peter's trial the entire season with every sort of obstacle thrown in the way, but he's finally back home. Many awkward family moments await. Alicia doesn't know what to do, and her kids aren't sure either

The appeal proceedings were just as good as the result. Kalinda is put on the stand by Childs, but has a secret weapon in her back pocket to solve everything. She has considerable dirt on the judge and his creepy sexual predilections, so the only thing the judge can do is give Peter a new trial, or risk having his life ruined by Kalinda.

The case of the week wasn't that interesting, but Alicia got into a sticky situation with the police coming and came out fine. Cary was tripping from mushrooms in the beginning of the episode so that got a few well-deserved laughs.

I would love to write more about the episode, but I'm swamped right now.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - Past Life Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot

I have to give credit to Fox for at least taking a chance on a show with such a hokey premise. Beyond that, there's little to look forward to. It's a procedural with the supernatural element of past lives, and the main characters don't even have special powers like in Ghost Whisperer, Medium, or The Listener. Basically, everyone has the ability to see glimpses of their previous life, and sometimes they are murdered. Using this, Dr. Kate McGinn (Kelli Giddish) and Price Whatley (Nicholas Bishop) solve crimes that can only be solved by the past lives. The images of a past life show up when something isn't right, so something in the universe must be fixed. It's stupid, but as long as you can accept that in an otherwise normal crime procedural, you should be fine.

There is the classic female and male leads opposing each other, except there is really not much for them to oppose. Kate is the believer in these past lives while Price is the skeptic, but Price sees how the past lives work, and the viewer does also. In order for the audience to buy the premise, the writers made the past lives a fact. Therein lies the big problem. Price has to buy into the idea, or he'll be going against empirical evidence along with the wacky idea of his colleagues. There is no other reason for them to have tension. He's just a normal ex-cop who is incredibly boring, so there is no where to go ahead. In Bones, Booth believes in religion while Brennan does not. What makes the relationship work is that there is nothing definite about religion, and they can speculate as much as they want without a finite consensus. Booth can attribute something to God, Brennan can refer to science, and in the end, everyone's right. Eventually, the audience will be screaming for Price to shut up. They know past lives are real, and if the audience knows, so should Price.

The procedural element is what you'd expect. There's a guy experiencing these flashes, so the team steps in. They try stimulating him, running around, finally catch the killer, and free a kidnapped girl. The dialogue is bland, and almost nothing stuck out. Giddish has a charm that brings her to the top of a show that doesn't offer much in the first place.

Score: 8.1/10
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