Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review - Southland Season 2 Episode 5 What Makes Sammy Run?

The decision to focus on Lydia and Ben this season made for tighter storytelling and more focus. Many of the character in the ensemble were mostly left alone, and I was fine with that since I didn't care about them in the first place. Lydia was absent in "What Makes Sammy Run?" and Ben was shown a few times doing patrol work.

The main character of the episode, as the title suggests, was Sammy, a good hearted guy with an freakishly annoying wife. In the episode we see his wife again act crazy, which I have no sympathy for since Sammy married her and puts up with her crap, and Casper. The troubled teen is very smart, but the culture he's in holds him down. Sammy tries to help him, they go to a movie, and eat lunch. But in the end, when Sammy's gone, there's nothing to protect Casper. He's beaten up while riding his bike and retaliates in the only way he knows how--with a gun. Sammy rushes to Casper in anguish, but it's too late. All Sammy can do is buy books for the now incarcerated Casper.

The Trinny Day wasn't a particularly big part of the show, so I didn't care much for the resolution. I loved seeing Wood Harris though.

I thought the cross promotion for Where the Wild Things Are was pretty funny, because it was about 6 months too late and airing on TNT, a subsidiary of Time Warner.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Human Target Season 1 Episode 10 Tanarak

Have the writers really run out of ideas? From the past couple episodes, I would have to say yes. The show is likely to be canceled anyways, but looking ahead, there is hardly a creative future for the show.

In many ways, Human Target is more formulaic than police procedurals. There's the hot girl Chance has to save, mysteries about his past, evil doers who outnumber Chance, Winston and Gurrero doing something illegal to back up Chance, and eventually, Chance beating the bad guys to the rousing score of Bear McCreary.

This week, the hot girl was played by Moon Bloodgood, another example of the formula at work. The guest stars need geek cred. And what's more, they come to the cliched jump-off-the-cliff-into-water-or-the-guys-will-kill-you moment, and that allows her to take off her clothes. Chance always gets to work with hot girls, and they are all enthralled by him in the end.

There's so much potential wasted in the leads and the premise of the show. With a cancelation looming, one could only wonder what the show have been if the writers were more creative.

Score: 8.5/10

Social media is free advertising

I got my second warning on Youtube for copyright infringement, both times by HBO for clips shorter than 3 minutes. One more warning and my account will be closed. If you've followed my videos, they are brief and exciting--content that will attract viewers. They are cool clips for people who don't watch the shows and let people rewatch scenes they like. The only result is increased interest in the shows. That means more viewers and more advertising revenue. I'm not posting entire episodes for people to watch nor am I showing enough for people to understand what happened. In fact, the only possible outcome is  more people wanting to watch the shows.

Somehow, HBO feels the need to taking down my clips and give me official warnings. Warner Bros on the other hand flags my videos, but keeps them up, because they know the clips help them gain and retain viewers. The details of the law are on HBO's side. However, in an attempt to enforce the law, HBO has limited itself in an access point to the public. With content on Youtube, HBO shows will get more exposure whether it be from related videos or people randomly looking around. The interconnectedness of Youtube has created stardom and fame, and can do the same for television shows.

Interestingly, the second offending clip, the opening credits to The Pacific, was flagged initially by Youtube's automated system and was allowed to stay up with advertisements to iTunes and Amazon for the music. In recent days, the video, for whatever reason, gained a substantial amount of views. Why they would go back and delete the video baffles me.

As the 21st century progresses, there will be more ways to share content and with millions of people using the internet, companies must adapt and allow user content to exist for the sake of staying competitive. The most effective users of social media are average people, and while corporations have tried to leverage social media, they still lag behind in implementation and reach. Clamping down on Youtube is a prime example.

I will continue to post clips, but I will avoid HBO. If they don't want more people to know about their shows, it's their choice. I'll be fine posting clips from shows like and letting people know about them.

Update on 3/31

Well, it happened sooner than I thought. Sony filed a complaint against a short Breaking Bad clip I posted, so I got my third strike and a bad. All my other videos were also removed which means no "island" clip, no pizza clip, or the cool Chuck clips. Sony doesn't want the clip on Youtube. Why? Where is the benefit in removing short clips?

Review - Parenthood Season 1 Episode 5 The Situation

I know the writers are going for realism, but they're pushing it too much. There's one large extended family and everyone has so many problems, it's inconceivable how many over-the-top things happen. But with the extreme abundance of problems also comes the easiest resolutions to all the problems. At the end of the episode, everyone is happy, and without going deeply into any one storyline because it is an ensemble cast, featuring all the characters each week, Parenthood seems very unrealistic.

I groaned at least 5 times during the episode from the sheer unbelievability of what's going on. There's like 50 ongoing plots and I don't care much for any of them. Lauren Graham is great, but that's about it. I think this will be my last review for the show.

Score: 8.3/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 03/30/10

Fox was first with American Idol (7.7).

ABC was second with Dancing with the Stars (3.0), Lost (4.1), and V (2.8). Despite claims of a poor return, V was only down .3 from the last time it aired. 2.8 is still probably good enough for a renewal on ABC.

NBC was third with The Biggest Loser (2.8) and Parenthood (2.5). Parenthood was down .2 from last week, but is still doing okay.

CBS was last with repeats of NCIS (2.1), NCIS: Los Angeles (1.9), and The Good Wife (1.4). I have no clue how NCIS: LA is repeating to close to NCIS. It's a disgrace really.

Review -Justified Season 1 Episode 3 Fixer

I'm not sold on the series as a whole yet as Raylan Givens is the primary draw of the show, and I found "Fixer" to be a better episode only because there was more focus on Givens. In the long run, there has to be more than Givens, who is played to near perfection by Timothy Olyphant.

This time around, Givens finds himself looking for Arnold Pinter, a kindred spirit who also wants to get out of town. The details weren't that important. There's two quirky criminal types that are as deadly as they are different. They kidnap Pinter to take his money. One bad guy shoots the other, and the remaining guy manages to shoot Givens before Givens puts him down.

Ava is the only reason why Givens likes the place, and he shows up at her house and they start kissing, violating the ethics rules. I'm not sure if the charm of the show can carry it to the point when it's a must watch. Other than Givens, there's nothing to look forward to.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - V (2009) Season 1 Episode 5 Welcome to the War

With only 4 episodes airing in November, it would be hard for most viewers to remember what was going on, so "Welcome to the War" reintroduced everything and set a few concrete storylines in motion. Looking back on my old scores, I may have rated the first four episodes higher than I should have. The show still feels aimless and without a clear purpose. We know what everyone wants, but there isn't much narrative drive--a necessary component if V is to survive.

Right off the bat, the episode begins with Erica being attacked in her home. From there, the episode branches out into several stories. Tyler is in the Visitor's spaceship while Anna and Lisa do something to him, because it involves Lisa's destiny. Erica frantically looks for her son only to find reassurances at every level. Erica is overjoyed when he comes back, but Tyler show her his camera-uniform with pride.

Now that the R6 in the flu vaccines are destroyed, the only distribution for the R6 is at the healing centers. Anna basically forces Chad to give a report on the healing center and has him undergo treatment for his brain aneurysm.

Valerie is only 6 weeks pregnant, but she is more hungry than she should be and the baby is already kicking. I'm guessing the alien-human hybrid will be much like the babies in the second V miniseries. At the end of the episode, she finds a mouse in a trap, and almost takes a bite before throwing it away. It seems like the lizard part is asserting power over her. Ryan goes to Dr. Leah Pearlman (Lexa Doig), a Visitor doctor who is also doing her own thing, for information about the R6. Human technology won't find anything different, but Visitor technology finds that it tags humans.

After being stabbed, Jack is taken to the V's healing center and is promptly saved. However, he dreams he has become a lizard which shows his worries and calls into question what really happened to him. We know he's been tagged, but what else was done to him?

Anna gets a boytoy to mate with, so she can create her own army. What's wrong with the aliens on the other ships?

The worst new development was the Visitor's pinning the warehouse bombing on a mercenary named Kyle Hobbes. The idea is that Anna is so afraid of him because he can create an armed force that she must remove him. What? That dingy apartment he has sure makes him seem dangerous. Erica and Ryan recruit him into their "army" using threats and telling him he can get revenge on the Visitor's for planting evidence against him. he cares what the Visitor's think of him.

I hope the following episodes have more focus, because each concurring storyline was given a cursory brush over without going in-depth. I'm guessing the episode was done in this manner to ease viewers back into the show by reminding them of all the characters.

Score: 9.0/10

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Review - Lost Season 6 Episode 10 The Package

After the stunning episode last week, Lost came back down to earth with "The Package," a run-of-the-mill episode that wasn't big on everything, but moved the story along enough to keep it from being a total disappointment.

The flash-sideways returned with Jin and Sun as the protagonists. I've never been a big fan of their flashbacks like I am for Locke's, Sayid's, and Ben's, so I came into the episode already inclined to not be a big fan of the episode. The slight deviations were again in play. Sun and Jin are still in love, but they aren't married yet and Jin is a thug for Mr. Paik. He's is more carefree and not weighed down by the dirty tasks Paik would have him do. The uptight Jin disappears as he and Sun have a playful love scene. From there, it all goes downhill. Keamy comes looking for the $25,000 which was confiscated at the airport. He invites his buddy in and gets Jin to come out. Since neither Jin nor Sun can speak English in the flash-sideways, they get Mikhail to translate.

We finally figure out how Jin ends up in the freezer. Keamy ties him up while Mikhail takes Sun to the bank. Sun has secret bank accounts with enough money to pay Keamy, but her powerful father has already reached the bank account and closed it, knowing she is with Jin. The $25,000 was for Keamy to kill Jin.  Then, Sayid comes in and the story picks up where Sayid's left off. Sayid is reluctant to free Jin, but hands him a knife. Jin gets out as Mikhail comes in. They fight, and Mikhail gets shot in the eye (I'm guessing he'll need more than an eyepatch for that.), and Sun is shot in the stomach. She reveals she is pregnant. The flash-sideways ends there without a conclusion. Obviously, the story will get picked up later which dampened the entire episode. Another ongoing flash-sideways plot makes the flash-sideways less like vignettes that compliment the island plot and more like a standalone story, one that I don't care much, because these aren't the same people we've been following for five seasons.

The biggest question (in my opinion) is whether Keamy said something about the island. Here's the clip and what I think I heard. Call me crazy, but there is no doubt in my mind he said island. Either that's the case or we can blame Kevin Durand and Paul Edwards. If the flash-sidways and the island are coming together, a slip of the tongue would be a good place to start. It doesn't make sense in context and I can see how "island" sounds like "to ya" the way it was said, so there's a decent chance I'm wrong.

Back at the island, Jin is captured by Zoe, the geologist with Widmore, and brought to a station to confirm pockets of electromagnetic anomalies which he signed off on back in his Dharma days. Widmore shows him a picture of Yi Jeon, and Jin breaks down, melting my heart in the process.

Flocke has an interesting talk with Claire. Claire asks Flocke about the names on the wall and learns she and Kate are not on it. Kate is only there to help get the three necessary people off the island. After that happens, Claire has to go ahead from Flocke to do whatever she wants.

At the other camp, Flocke shows up to draw Sun into her circle, but she runs off and crashes into a tree. When she wakes up, she can't speak English, but she knows what is going on and can understand English. Could this be the intersection between their world and the flash-sideways? Even if it's not, Jack has a touching scene on the beach where he tells her to write down what she has to say.

The big reveal of the episode--Desmond in the locked room--came at the end as Sayid approaches the sub by water. Why does Widmore need Desmond? Widmore knows more about Flocke than he's letting on, but how much does he know. It doesn't seem like he cares much about Jacob either.

Along with "What Kate Does," "The Package" was my least favorite episode of the season. Other than the brief action with Mikhail, there was no action and mostly non-twisty dialogue. We are now past the halfway point in the season, and half our questions have not been answered. Is time running out?

Score: 8.8/10

Lost 6x10 - Did Keamy reference the island?

He was mumbling, but I hear him say the word island. I swear I'm not deaf.

Here's what I heard: "I'm going to strap you in here...just in case you figure out what's about to happen at the island. I can't have you freaking out."

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 03/29/10

ABC won with Dancing With the Stars (6.0, 5.0) and Castle (3.7). On the heels of the series high ratings, Castle was predictably renewed for a third season.

CBS was second with repeats of How I Met Your Mother (2.2), a new episode of Rules of Engagement (2.9), and repeats of Two and a Half Men (3.7), The Big Bang Theory (3.5), and CSI: Miami (2.3).

Fox was third with a repeat of House (1.9) and 24 (2.6).

NBC was last with Chuck (2.1), Trauma (1.5), and Law & Order (1.8). Chuck was up from last week, but it was against repeats on Fox and CBS. We'll see how it fares next week.

Review - Damages Season 3 Episode 10 Tell Me I'm Not Racist

There's three episodes left in the season and likely the series--a highly disappointing fact that can be only be attributed to the ratings. The writers regained the creative magic of the first season, and created a great season that critics and fans love. "Tell Me I'm Not Racist" took another step toward the finale with more revelations and a new storyline for Ellen.

Patty isn't the only one with weird dreams. Ellen dreams about a woman she has no clue about. The surreal nature of the dream makes Ellen and us curious. Later, we learn she is named Annie and used to babysit Ellen. Could she be Ellen's mother?

If Ellen didn't already have enough on her plate, she still has to deal with her sister. As she learns from Malcolm, Carrie is deeper into the drug trade than she admitted. Ellen punishes her by not helping her. Haha.

Tom is getting desperate for money, and after the plaintiffs balk at Patty's appeasement, he takes matters into his own hands, going behind Patty's back and gets Ellen to tell Tessa what happened to her mother. Scared, Tessa turns to Patty, and the chips start falling in place. Unfortunately, Ellen's coworker at the DA snitches on her, and Tessa is arrested.

Marilyn wants to donate to charity and go on a trip to Africa, and Zedeck feigns helping her, in reality, to keep her away from the charity. It looks like that's how the Tobins funnel the money back into the United States.

Leonard's father shows up and he is sure Leonard is running a game. Leonard has access to the money and probably stole money in the past. Will he cave in?

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Castle Season 2 Episode 18 Boom!

If you haven't heard by now, Castle has been renewed for a third season with a 22-episode order. Hooray!

I'm not sure if Castle works that well in a fast paced environment chasing a serial killer through twists and turns, and the writers still have a long way to go before their crimes are refined to the point where the twists actually are unexpected. Nonetheless, "Boom!" had plenty of funny quips between Castle, Beckett, and Shaw, which served as a nice counterpoint to straight crime fighting of Criminal Minds. The best quip of the episode, coming after Castle shoots the serial in the hand, was also a Firefly reference. Kate says "Hell of a shot, Castle," and he responds "I was aiming for his head," echoing Jayne.

After figuring every out with who they thought was the serial killer, Beckett receives an phone call. The serial killer is mad now. There's the usual procedural elements, just with increased adrenaline pumping to go with the higher stakes. Shaw starts talking about her daughter and husband, and by then, I'm thinking she will die.

She does get kidnapped, but Castle and Beckett save the day under direct orders not to do anything. "Boom!" was an opportunity for someone to get hurt. Unlike The Mentalist episode "His Red Right Hand," no one died, so heightened stakes and pacing served only to get our blood running for one episode only.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 14 Day 8: 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m.

If you haven't heard yet, this will be the final season of 24. There have been a decline in ratings, and it can be attributed to the quality of the show. The viewers have seen everything already, and the writers don't have something new. "5:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m." was a great example of this, and sadly, this season doesn't seem to be going anywhere good.

The episode begins with Taylor and other important people around a table arguing over whether to bomb the IRK. What? They will do a retaliatory strike against another country while their president is in the U.S.? That would only serve to further destabilize the IRK and delegitimize Hassan in his own country. A military dictator will fill the void and there will be bigger terrorist problems. Rob Weiss and General Brucker keep pushing, but Ethan Kanin doesn't budge.

It turns into a full-blown government conspiracy when Weiss and Brucker don't help Ethan after a heat attack. They send in their attack dogs to capture Hassan and it turns into a long shootout. Amercian soldiers killing Secret Service? Really? Jack captures a soldier alive and learns what's happening. Either Jack turns Hassan over or New York will be irradiated in 20 minutes. Tick, tick tick...

Score: 8.5/10

Monday, March 29, 2010

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 12 Chuck Versus the American Hero

To get through "Chuck Versus the American Hero," I had to accept certain facts without understanding the reasoning. After that, the episode was a breeze to get through.

The most troublesome was Sarah distancing herself from Chuck and turning towards Shaw. She puts everything on Chuck's one act, killing the mole, to justify why she thinks he's changed. It's not that he's changed, but that he went as far as killing someone. After Casey tells her he killed the mole, it's as though a weight has been lifted like Chuck's entire character development hinged on the shooting of the mole. The problem is that she said Chuck has changed before she thought he shot the mole. From what we've seen, Chuck hasn't changed much, but evidently, Sarah saw something we didn't before the shooting, and forgot about it after the shooting.

And to top things off, many characters on the show have killed people and never did Sarah change her attitude about them. Certainly Shaw has killed people, Sarah has killed herself, and so has Casey. Is Chuck killing any worse than the other spies killing someone? In the mass of contradictions, Sarah comes out looking like a terrible person. At the very least, she's confused to the point when she is no longer making sense.

The shortened initial 13-episode order forced the producers to quicken the pace and push the arc ahead even though all the pieces weren't set. Shaw came in and somehow stole Sarah. How this happened is anyone's guess. I'm not blaming Brandon Routh, but what do we know about Shaw. He talks in a mannered tone, giving the impression there is something he's leaving out, and on occasion is nice to Sarah. He's a good agent as well. So what? He's not cool and suave like Bryce or Cole and he's not funny like Chuck.

Chuck not being able to tell Sarah that Casey shot the mole was another artificial roadblock. The assumption is that if Chuck tells Sarah, she'll have to tell Beckman. Why? Because she's never broken rules? She's expressed her loyalty to Casey, so wouldn't it be reasonable that Sarah wouldn't tell anyone to keep Casey out of prison?

The good thing was that the problems were only an issue in the first half the episode, and once I overcame my initial annoyance, the episode was very strong. Still, the episode was tethered by the inconceivabilities which are the main reason why the show doesn't all work for me.

The plot starts of simple with Chuck looking to win Sarah back. Beckman gives Chuck a week before he has to leave for Rome with his team. Chuck wants Sarah, Casey wants a spot, Morgan wants to go, and Devon wants Chuck settled so he can go to Africa with Ellie. It's the first time all the guys on the show have teamed up for the spy stuff, and it was a pleasure to watch. The outcome was expected, but seeing them interact was fun. Morgan leads Shaw off, pretending to be a dangerous terrorist, while Chuck swoops in to dazzle Sarah. Shaw tracks the call and sees Morgan. Before he gets back to the restaurant, he is waylaid by a Ring agent. Devon, aiming to stop Shaw from reaching Chuck, saves Shaw by crashing into him at full speed, sending both of them through the glass.

Now, Shaw knows the Ring wants him and plans to turn himself in after swallowing a tracker. He, the American hero, will gladly sacrifice himself to stop the Ring. Sarah tries to stop him, but she can't prevent a mad man from doing what he wants. Later, she'll learn how it feels to be on the receiving end.

Ellie confronts Chuck and tells him to start acting like a Bartowski (running off like their dad?). prompting him to go to the Castle, and lock Sarah inside so he can save Shaw himself. Earlier, Lester and Jeff were assigned by Morgan to track Shaw. They truly are the greatest stalkers, tailing the seasoned agents of the Ring without tipping their hand. Chuck calls them up and learns where Shaw has been taken.

This is where the episode gets awesome. Chuck uses his Intersect powers to go into the Ring base and takes out an agent. Of course, he isn't a killer, and uses a tranquilizer gun. More agents show up, and Chuck takes them down. Before Chuck arrives, the Ring director (the ubiquitous Mark Sheppard) shows Shaw a damning video. First, he shows Shaw's wife, happy as can be, and next, his wife Evelyn being shot by Sarah. Shaw's wife was the target of the Red Test. I was genuinely surprised, mostly because I was so confused about last week's episode I didn't think about the implications. Also, aren't there numerous timeline problems? This calls into question the motives of the CIA higher ups as well. Why did they have Sarah kill a fellow agent? Didn't she die getting the package to Shaw? Probably plot holes, but they sure make for interesting questions.

Beckman's B-2 arrives on time, bombing the warehouse in plain daylight, but not before Chuck triumphantly walks out with Shaw on his back. Back at the Castle, Chuck makes one final plea, saying over and over again that he loves Sarah. He wants to be with her and doesn't want to be a spy, flipping their situations in Prague. Sarah is about to leave, but Shaw arrives and takes her into the desert to find the Ring director. Chuck is left at the train station and unlike last time, both are still willing to go. Unfortunately, there's this crazy guy named Shaw who is close to the revenge he's always wanted.

There's one episode, what was supposed to be the season finale, so we should expect a resolution--probably Shaw's death--and a happy ending for Chuck and Sarah. Ultimately, I think the condensed schedule made for many logistical problems in how to develop the characters in such a short amount of time and make it seem real. The failure is that there never was the slow evolution, but rather short bursts which didn't make complete sense. The producers took what NBC gave them and tried to make the best of it.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - United States of Tara Season 2 Episode 2 Trouble Junction

Buck is back! And in bed with the waitress Pammy. Buck runs off with his very manly stride, and stops midway, changing back into a confused Tara. Back home, Tara hides it as best she can from a jubilant Max. Tara has an awkward encounter with Pammy in the parking lot of a grocery store where Tara has no clue why Pammy wants to interact with her so much. At dinner, Buck shows up, almost like a ghost, to haunt Tara, and soon, she changes and ends up at Pammy's door. The next morning, it's Tara that wakes up, appalled at what happened.

Marshall clashes with Lionel over his more offensive stance towards everyone. Marshall thinks Lionel has stigmatized being gay by acting so brash, pushing people away from embracing them. Courtney, a girl that isn't gay but supports the cause, goes to the Gregson's house for dinner, and they later kiss. Is Marshall having an identity crisis because of Lionel? Maybe he's bi or straight.

Kate has to collect Lynda P. Frazier's debt, and it brings her into another world. While looking for Lynda, she finds paintings of a fantasy princess. Lynda tells her the painting is of "Princess Valhalla Hawkwind," an avatar she created in high school. Could Lynda be a role model for Kate?

"Trouble Junction" was mostly a transition episode to bring back Tara's alters and further expand the storylines for Marshall and Kate, both of which look promising. I've liked Tara more than Jackie, and this season there's no comparison.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Nurse Jackie Season 2 Episode 2 Twitter

I think this will be my last review for a while. Without pushing the envelope which it could easily do, Nurse Jackie ends up as a flat dramedy that doesn't stand out in the myriad of other shows on broadcast, cable, and premium cable networks. Edie Falco is one of the best actresses on television which is probably the main reason why people watch the show.

"Twitter" was a step up from the season premiere, but there wasn't much to see. Coop is tweeting about the hospital which is where the title of the episode comes from. He gets on Jackie's nerves, and their interaction is relatively light-hearted until Jackie discharges a patient who is actually has cystic fibrosis. The preliminary test was negative, but the final results were positive. Ouch...

Eddie talks to Kevin again and is extremely close to telling the truth. Eleanor is high, so she's blabbering on about being godmother to Jackie's kids. Clearly she's still reeling from the news her mother died. The crazy guy in the apartments falls out, and Zoe helps him regain his god complex in a funny way.

Score: 8.7/10

Breaking Bad 3x02 - Walt's perfect pizza toss

Great image. According to Vince Gilligan, no special effects were used, and it was done in one take.

10 Steps to Save Your Favorite Show

Your favorite show is struggling with ratings and on the verge of collapse. Look no further. Here's the only surefire solution to save your show. No more watching live (which doesn't work by the way unless you're in a Nielsen family), no more donating money to thieves, and no more buying subs.

1. Buy duct tape.
2. Buy gloves.
3. Buy a mask.
4. Look on the internet for Nielsen families and find their address.
5. Break into their house (not sure how to do this effectively, but make sure to wear the gloves and the mask)
6. Turn their television to the show you want to save.
7. If there are people home, tape them up.
8. Repeat 100 times.
9. Run like hell.
10. Enjoy the next season of your favorite show.

Review - The Pacific Part 3 Melbourne

In the midst of a raging war, there wasn't constant fighting, but the specter of war still hung over the soldiers regardless of where they were or who they were with. That's what "Part 3," my favorite part so far, effectively showed. There was almost no action or military business until the end when they march.

The characters haven't been that different in the first two parts, but with the focus on Leckie without the shooting, there was a differentiation in characters. He meets Stella whose parents came from Greece and the majority of the episode lingered on them to create a believable, heartfelt relationship that had to come to an end. After a childhood friend's name appears in the casualty list. She dumps him not because she doesn't like him, but because there is a possibility he will die. Having bonded with her parents, Leckie will be a loss to her and her parents.

I'm not sure Sid's romance was supposed to have the same effect. He had less screentime with Gwen, and a lot of it was also spent talking to her hilarious grandfather. In the end, the result is the same. They must part ways, though Gwen doesn't dump Sid.

Basilone, having receive the Medal of Honor, is sent off to acquire supplies for his fellow Marines. His best use is not fighting on the ground, but shaping the overall picture, using his image as a war hero. Not wanting to leave, it seemed like Basilone was acting out, so he wouldn't have to leave, but his friends reigned him in.

With the sedentary "Part 3," The Pacific feels a tad disjointed with pieces hanging out there. The connection from part to part isn't as tight as BoB. Whatever my gripes are, The Pacific has been excellent.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 2 Caballo Sin Nombre

There wasn't much not to like about "Caballo Sin Nombre," but I'll get my complaints out first. The episode had many old characters who ended up not having a tight connection. In that way, it felt like a mismatch of great scenes that didn't have much relevance to the overall picture. At times, the Walt-less scenes didn't have direction and could have gone into the following episodes without dampening the terrifying tone of the episode.

Now that Walt has broken bad, he seems on the path to breaking bad. He's becoming increasingly unstable as his actions have destroyed everything good in his life. In the beginning of the episode, he is pulled over and acts belligerent, thinking he can force his way out of the situation with pure arrogance. That's the first indication the normally rational Walt is going off the deep end. He is peppered sprayed and rescued by Hank. Walt still wants to mend his relationship with Skyler and when she turns him away, he throws the pizza onto the roof, so it lands squarely and in plain sight. (According to Vince Gilligan there were no special effects involved which is amazing.)

Meanwhile, Skyler is having difficulty of her own with lying and cheating, except it's about how to break the law without getting caught. For all the grief she's given Walt, she wants to make sure Ted stays safe. Ironically, Ted and Skyler are like an earlier version of Walt, breaking the law, but for a good cause. However, the line must be drawn somewhere, and Skyler doesn't think she's crossed it.

Flynn has taken to calling himself Walter Jr. again, angry at Skyler for separating with Walt. Skyler still isn't talking and Hank thinks he has figured it out. It's an affair and Walt probably confessed. Marie, knowing that her sister would tell her something like that, is skeptical.

The cousins continue to be utterly frightening and the biggest drug trade mystery thus far this season. They don't talk at all, they walk with an intimidating swagger, wear shiny suits, and they carry around shiny axes for fun! They go to a retirement home where Tio (Mark Margolis) is staying, confirming that these are the cousins Tuco was talking about. They cleverly use a Ouija board to obtain the name Walter White. While Tio can't talk or move, his intensity is evident. The timing is also amazing. Each ring is spaced perfectly to create an incredible amount of suspense from some guys sitting around.

The final scene is harrowing and one of many examples why Breaking Bad is the best drama on television. Mike, the cleaner, is sitting outside the White house after being told by Saul Goodman about the "wife problem," listening to the wire he has in the house. While installing the wire, Walt pulls up and sneaks into the house for no apparent reason. He takes a shower to clean himself after getting through the dirtiness under the house and to wash away his sins in the house he wants to live in. To make matters worse, the cousins pulls up, ready to do harm. Mike calls Gus and the cousins receive a text with the word"POLLO" and they leave. Can we assume it was Gus that texted them? If so, what's the connection between Gus and the cartel?

Saul makes his Season 3 debut scheming again. This time, he forces Jesse's parents to sell their remodeled house at a bargain price, knowing they didn't list their house as a former meth lab. Little do they know the buyer is Jesse, supposedly 45 days sober according to his chip.

The first two episodes of the season focused largely on Walt's personal life, and there hasn't been any drug cooking yet. I assume Gus's order is still on the table, but will Walt go back soon?

Score: 8.8/10

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Clip of the Week - V 1x01 - Visitors arrive

V is coming back this Tuesday. To remind you of how awesome the show is, here's he opening scene of the series.

Preview of Week 03/28/10 - 04/03/10

Castle - ABC, Monday, March 29, 10:00pm ET

The second part airs tomorrow. Obviously Kate isn't dead, but I have a feeling Jordan Shaw may meet her demise. I can't believe people were actually wondering if Kate was dead.

V - ABC, Tuesday, March 30, 10:00pm ET

After four good episodes, V went on hiatus for an insanely long time. It's finally back, and we'll finally learn the Visitors will do--and whether the show will be renewed. Shows airing after Lost have all be canceled, but I think V has a good chance to buck the trend.

Bones - Fox, Thursday, April 1, 8:00pm ET

The God-awful wait is over. Bones is back and the 100th episode is next week. This week Sweets gets PTSD and Brennan releases her book. The 100th episode can top that?

Fringe - Fox, Thursday, April 1, 9:00pm ET

Walter will finally come clean about Peter to Olivia. More information and more answers!

The Mentalist - CBS, Thursday, April 1, 9:00pm ET

It should be noted that CBS is flipping The Mentalist and CSI for one week. It's a good idea since CSI hasn't again dropped this season, and the content of the shows fit better in the switched timeslots. Minelli's replacement at the CBI isn't inviting to Jane which will cause trouble.

Stargate Universe - Syfy, Friday, April 2, 9:00pm ET

The show has had numerous problems: bad characters, douchey producers, boring stories, stupid gimmicks (communication stones, Kino), and a very non-Stargate-ish feel. Brad Wright promises a better second half to the season, but no Teal'c in sight, I have my doubts. There's going to be actual humanoid aliens which is better than nothing.

Chloe Sevigny was right and shouldn't have to apologize

Daniel Fienberg wrote a great piece yesterday detailing the aspects of the situation and where it went wrong.

When actors are candid about their feelings on shows, it should be celebrated. Rarely do you see an actor honestly give an opinion of a show. Big Love is a decent show which has many problems, but also characters and ideas that outstrip almost all dramas. Season 4, without question, was garbage. It's a view held by most fans and Chloe Sevigny articulating the same thoughts shouldn't be a problem. The interviewer goes further with specifics, and she complies, explaining what didn't work for her.

Then she goes to Michael Ausiello, an unscrupulous, egomaniacal, self-promoter, to revise her comments, in the process, blaming the interviewer for her comments. In an unnecessary interview, there are also unnecessary targets, least of which should be the one who asks questions. She also goes on about out of context statements which is pretty stupid since the whole transcript was posted.

It's fine if she wants to apologize to showrunners privately--it's best not to have an awkward relationship with people she works closely with--but to come out an apologize publicly? What does the public gain from hearing her new comments? Does she save face? Do the executive producers save face?

One has to wonder what is going on behind the scenes. Readers have to assume Sevigny's first opinion, her real opinion, is the most genuine and unadorned. After, we don't know who was directing her or pushing her to make another statement. No one  (other than Ausiello who can toot his horn) has anything to gain. We all know her general opinion on Season 4.  Actors, like everyone else, should be allowed to state their opinions, especially if backed up with evidence.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Review - Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Episode 15 Creator

Wow...I'm not even sure this episode deserves a review. "Creator" was a clip show, and a terrible one at that. At least "Home" had an interesting frame surrounding the clips we've already seen. The producers should be ashamed of what they spat out onto the television screen. In light of talk that there won't be a third season, "Creator" gives the perfect ammo to those who don't want another season.

The episode begins with the arrival of the Creator (Keisha Castle-Hughes). She wants Richard dead because he is an agent of the Keeper. That's where all the clips start. She explains situation after situation when Richard helped the Keeper. We get it! Richard sometimes helps the Keeper when he doesn't intend to. It's almost like a trial with the villagers gasping at each revelation that Richard may have helped the Keeper.

Kahlan provides Richard's defense, laying out several instances when he stopped the Keeper creatures and saved Kahlan's life. Richard does good things also! But then, the Creator makes another scathing accusation. More gasps! He hasn't killed Kahlan yet to stop the prophecy, because he needs Kahlan to find the stone, so he can deliver it to the Keeper. Oh noes!! Pure speculation is fun.

Cara comes back with the Creator's husband, Jason. Throughout the episode, we learn how the Creator came to inhabit their world. She had been born as Maia, but wasn't the Creator until she grew old enough. The Sisters of the Light took her away, gave her their hahn, and watched over her husband. Before any development, Darken Rahl disrupts their stand off, opening a rift in the ground. Richard saves the Creator and instantly gains her trust. Predictable and stupid.

Score: 0/10 (I'm not joking; the episode was complete crap)

Review - Caprica Season 1 Episode 9 End of Line

For the first time this season, I have very little to say about an episode. Other than a few select scenes, "End of Line" was an episode devoted to building up to cliffhangers--ones that weren't even that interesting. Syfy's stupid scheduling ,as they've done for BSG and Eureka, leaves us with no new episodes until after summer, which means we'll be left waiting for months to find out what will happen. Quite frankly, the cliffhangers didn't leave me looking for more.

I had expected lots of plot movement this week since it was the midseason finale, but I had also expected the episode to retain those intriguing questions brought up in previous episodes. In a rush towards the end, the characters and ideas didn't stand out, leaving almost a shell, an episode hinging on action and suspense. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but Caprica isn't that kind of show, and for the writers to throw away 8 episodes for the pure action wasn't a particularly good idea.

The episode begins with the robot in a car barreling down the road with cool airships following. Immediately, we know Zoe will escape by the end of the episode, setting up the process by which she will get out. Interspersed in the episode are identical snippets of the car going down the road. Daniel needs to take drastic action when the government pushes up the deadline, giving him a week to churn out the Cylons. He wants to purge the chip and wipe everything from it. A big problem is that we don't know how much Daniel knows about Zoe, and he doesn't once consider if Zoe is in there before giving the order. Zoe is in a panic and urges Lacy, who can't do anything, to get the transport to Gemenon ready.

Philomon approaches Zoe, ready to carry out the order. Zoe reveals herself, telling him she is Rachel and Zoe, and doesn't want to be destroyed. He, too, panics and hits a button to set off the alarm. Zoe throws him, and not knowing her strength, kills him, committing the first of countless deaths at the hands of the Cylons. She gets in a car, and drives. There is a military roadblock up ahead and instead of bypassing it, she drives straight at it, flipping over the barrier and exploding. I didn't know cars were that fragile... I'm guessing Zoe is still alive.

The struggle between Clarice and Barnabus is ramped up about twenty-fold in the span of one episode. I would have preferred an actual build up before everything came to a head so quickly. Clarice confronts Barnabus after stealing his weapons shipment, affirming herself to be the head of the STO cell. She will go to the STO headquarters on Gemenon to turn him in. Lacy turns to Barnabus who first gives her box for transport and then gives her a job. He has her switch Clarice's keychain with one he provides. Later, Lacy returns and sees Barnabus tracking Clarice with the transmitter Lacy switched. She is appalled when she learns it is also a bomb. Barnabus goes further, forcing Lacy, at gunpoint, to detonate the Clarice's car herself. She complies, knowing Zoe's life is at stake, and breaks down in tears.

Luckily for Clarice, she's not in the car. She is outside watching Amanda jump off a bridge. Amanda spends the entire episode distraught, seeing her visions again, until she finally cracks. Daniel more or less confirms that he stole the MCP which pushes her over the edge.

Joseph is back in the V-world, hooked on amp, and still no closer to finding Tamara. He finally finds her in a room Emmanuelle prepared for her. To end Joseph's pain from searching for her, she shoots herself and then shoots Joseph, severing the last connecting they had. In New Cap City, Tamara walks off because she is after all, invincible. Emmanuelle is also there and turns out to be Evelyn, who has a crush on Joseph.

After a season of moseying around, the plot picked up this week and propelled the show forward with several not so big cliffhangers. Graystone Industries is on the verge of collapse, the Caprica Bucs are going to be sold to Vergis, Zoe's car exploded, and Lacy is now a fully fledged STO terrorist. It's better than nothing.

Score: 8.7/10

Friday, March 26, 2010

24 coming to an end

Press release from Fox:


Two-Hour Series Finale Airs Monday, May 24, on FOX

In a joint decision made by 24’s star and executive producer Kiefer Sutherland, executive producer and showrunner Howard Gordon, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Imagine Entertainment and Fox Broadcasting Company, it was determined that the acclaimed series will end its remarkable eight-season run. Jack Bauer’s last day on FOX will conclude when the final two hours of “Day Eight” air Monday, May 24 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). As the countdown to the series’ climactic conclusion races on, the final 11 hours will air uninterrupted Mondays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Multiple award-winning series star Kiefer Sutherland reflected on the show’s run: “This has been the role of a lifetime, and I will never be able to fully express my appreciation to everyone who made it possible. While the end of the series is bittersweet, we always wanted 24 to finish on a high note, so the decision to make the eighth season our last was one we all agreed upon. This feels like the culmination of all our efforts from the writers to the actors to our fantastic crew and everyone at Fox. Looking ahead to the future, Howard Gordon and I are excited about the opportunity to create the feature film version of 24. But when all is said and done, it is the loyal worldwide fan base that made it possible for me to have the experience of playing the role of Jack Bauer, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Executive producer and showrunner Howard Gordon said, “Kiefer and I have loved every minute of making 24, but we all believe that now is the right time to call it a day. I echo his sentiments of gratitude toward the show’s amazing creative team, as well as the studio and network who have always believed in us and shown us unbelievable support.”

“24 is so much more than just a TV show – it has redefined the drama genre and created one of the most admired action icons in television history,” said Peter Rice, Chairman, Entertainment, Fox Networks Group. Kevin Reilly, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company added, “We are extremely proud of this groundbreaking series and will be forever thankful to Kiefer, the producers, the cast and crew for everything they’ve put into 24 over the years. It’s truly been an amazing and unforgettable eight days.”

“We are so grateful to Kiefer and Howard who have really poured their hearts and souls into making this show over the past eight seasons,” commented Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Chairmen, Twentieth Century Fox Television. “To everyone who contributed to this iconic series over its amazing run, we want to extend our heartfelt appreciation for your incredible work.”

Added Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, “I’m so proud to have been a part of 24, which has become such a cultural phenomenon. And to Kiefer and Howard and everyone who has worked on the show, many thanks.”

Now in its eighth season with Kiefer Sutherland starring as the heroic Jack Bauer, the inventive and suspenseful 24 has been nominated for a total of 68 Emmy Awards, winning for Outstanding Drama Series in 2006. Over the course of seven seasons, Sutherland garnered seven Emmy nominations and one win for Outstanding Lead Actor – Drama Series. While the series gained global recognition, Sutherland’s portrayal of the legendary character penetrated the American psyche like no other dramatic television character to become part of the English lexicon.

Premiering November 6, 2001, 24 employed a pioneering split-screen, fast-paced format with complex interweaving storylines as viewers followed anti-terrorism agent Jack Bauer through 24 pulse-pounding episodes, each covering one hour and presented in real time. Subsequent seasons combined the show’s unique and trend-setting format while delivering compelling new elements and attracting talented actors and guest stars, including the Emmy Award-winning Cherry Jones (President Allison Taylor). The series also currently stars Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’Brian), Anil Kapoor (Omar Hassan), Annie Wersching (Renee Walker), Katee Sackhoff (Dana Walsh), Mykelti Williamson (Brian Hastings), Freddie Prinze Jr. (Cole Ortiz), Chris Diamantopoulos (Rob Weiss) and John Boyd (Arlo Glass).

The first six seasons were set in Los Angeles, and following the strike-induced delay of Season Seven, “24: Redemption,” a two-hour film bridging Seasons Six and Seven, was set in Africa. Washington, D.C. was the setting for Season Seven, and the final season of 24 finds Jack Bauer thwarting a terrorist attack in New York.

At the conclusion of Season Eight, 24 will have a produced a total of 194 episodes (including “24: Redemption”), making it one of the longest-running action television shows in history.

Tune in Monday, March 29 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) for the next all-new installment of 24 and Monday, April 5 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) for a special two-hour episode.

Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, 24 is a production of 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television in association with Teakwood Lane Productions. Howard Gordon, Evan Katz, David Fury, Manny Coto, Brannon Braga, Brad Turner, Alex Gansa, Kiefer Sutherland and Brian Grazer are executive producers, while Chip Johannessen and Patrick Harbinson serve as co-executive producers. Brad Turner will direct the series finale.

24 will not go down in history as one of the greatest television shows ever nor will it be remembered for the flashy action sequences, but rather the ideas the show dealt with in regards to terrorism, law and the limits of protection the nation. The Bush administration has taken those ideas in stride, justifying "torture" in a similar manner. There have even been accusations of a 24 fetish among the administration.

Premiering a little over a month after 9/11, it struck a chord with the American people. The terrorists were brought into the living room and the defenders of freedom along with them. The unique format of ultra-serialization ushered in a era of serialized television on broadcast networks. The show will have 8 seasons and a total of 192 episodes, an impressive number that is rarely reached in the world of television where the business aspect dominates everything.

24 has had it's ups and downs, mostly downs the past few seasons, and the ratings have suffered as a result. I haven't liked this season, but knowing that Jack won't be back next year makes a little sad. My heart will always be yearning for Jack and low-pitched growl, signaling an impending doom. Still, there is lots of talk about a film, but the idea is still in it's inception. We can only hope for the best.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 03/25/10

CBS won with NCAA Basketball (3.7).

ABC was second with FlashForward (1.8), Grey’s Anatomy (3.7), and Private Practice (2.9). Predictably, FlashForward had low ratings and will likely be canceled.

NBC was third with Community (2.1), Parks and Recreation (2.0), The Office (3.5), 30 Rock (2.9), and The Marriage Ref (1.5).

Fox was last with repeats of Bones (1.6) and Fringe (1.1).

The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural came back with 1.6 and 1.2 respectively.

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 20 Happy Hour

The Office is starting to feel like it's treading on thin ice. I like when the characters go out of the office and do something together, and "Happy Hour" was a solid attempt, but when there are multiple pairings on characters in one episode, it's time to look for a real storyline. The humor was on point last night which greatly helped when the story wasn't there.

The premise of Oscar wanting to talk more with Matt sets off a chain of events where everyone ends up at the bar. Initially, the episode was going in the right direction, but as the formless plot started coming together, the episode seemed less and less appealing.

The pairings started with Michael and Pam's friend, Julie. Things are going good due to Michael's lack of social awareness to notice it is a date until Jim informs him what it is. From there, Michael turns into Date Mike, an annoying loser who turns Julie off.

Erin and Andy are now dating, but they want to keep their relationship secret, so they keep each other at arms length. Andy is so insistent on making them see apart that Erin is a bit worried. Eventually, after they pretend to be into random people, Andy announces that they've gone on a few dates.

Dwight and Angela are talking when Isabelle, the girl that keeps showing up everywhere, pops up behind them, immediately snatching Dwight from Angela. They start talking and Angela follows them around. They hardly even notice her. Dwight tells Angela it is fine to void their agreement since Isabelle seems to be okay with having his child, but Angela comes back, contract in hand, ready to get what she wants. Instead, she gets a whack from Isabelle.

Kevin was a total idiot in the episode. I was not amused one bit the entire episode by him.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 20 The Science of Illusion

I liked this episode a lot more than last week's with the exception of everything related to Pierce. The group decides to play a prank on Pierce by tricking him into dressing up as a wizard with a cookie wand. It was funny at first to see Pierce like that, but then Pierce opened his mouth. Big mistake. Out came the usual arrogant Pierce who puts so much conviction behind his own stupidity. I hate Pierce and everything he stands for. He's the one part of the show that doesn't click for me each episode. My feelings about him are probably outside the mainstream, but by the end of the episode, I was going crazy.

Due to the need for security to stop pranks, Annie and Shirley become security guards, in effect playing a mixed up version of buddy cop roles. With Abed tagging along to annotate their every move, there were plenty of laughs.

Britta, after being labeled a buzzkill by Jeff, decides to pull her own prank. She will borrow a frog, put a Senor Chang hat on it, and leave in on Chang's desk. Yeah, it's not original, but her plan goes drastically wrong as she accidentally pushes a cadaver out the window and kills the frog. Annie and Shirley investigate and all roads lead to Jeff who has been framed by Britta. There is a hilarious chase where Annie pepper sprays herself.

The final scene, as usual, is very funny with a touch of warm, fuzzy feelings. Britta consigns herself to being the buzzkill, Annie wants to be taken more seriously, Shirley wants to be younger like Annie, Pierce knows he's no magic, Troy doesn't understand the Cookie Crisp wizard reference, and they all come together in a big hug,

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 15 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Zombies, children eating parents, lots of headshots, blood everywhere. Yep, Supernatural is back. I know I say the same thing every episode, but it's probably the most important point. Where's the Apocalypse? The message from Death to Bobby that he went through the town and brought Karen back because Bobby was helping the Winchesters was a tie-in, and a weak one at that. In terms of effectiveness, it was a powerful message on a psychological level, but we know Bobby will go and continue helping the Winchesters. It's another instance when the villain refuses to take physical action to kill someone and pays for it later.

The episode had a predictable, inevitable outcome which made the situation even sadder. Everyone, including Bobby, seemed confined to the knowledge that these unnatural reanimations could only end one way. The foreboding presence of these dead people walking around and the uneasy tension in the town was incredible. Jim Beaver delivered in every way possible which

I'd like to see the Apocalypse story pick up, but "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" was a great MOW to tide us over until Lucifer and the angels come back.

Score: 9.2/10

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 13 Blowback

It doesn't seem like the producers changed anything from the time the show went on hiatus in early December to when it came back last week. Two changes in showrunners and statements of better things to come, and everything that was still annoying about the show remains.

Zoey played the role of the intrusive person who gets into arguments with everyone. First, she shows up at Mark's house to yell at him, because she has a predetermined notion that he will kill Demetri. Second, she shows up at the FBI office with a FOIA request for the Mosaic. This angers Wedeck and Demetri, but Wedeck has to comply or she will go to a judge, making the information open to the public, the last thing any of them want. Demetri loses face and as a result, is mad at Zoey, so they argue. Zoey makes the stupidest assumptions that contradict. She thinks if she does nothing, Demetri will be killed by Mark. Then, she blames Mark in advance for killing Demetri, but she still thinks she can change the future. Do the writers even care if their characters make sense?

There was plot movement with the investigation. Mark takes Lloyd to his house to go step by step through his flashforward, and finally Lloyd tells Mark who D. Gibbons is. He is named Dyson Frost, a physicist who stole Lloyd's work and supposedly died.

Aaron is very protective of Tracy as we see in the beginning of the episode as we see him in the past attack a jailer who had unclean thoughts about Tracy. Mike, Tracy's colleague in the military, finds out that Tracy is alive from Aaron. Predictably, this leads to Tracy being placed in a box and taken away. Aaron strikes at the heart of Jericho, going to the home of James Erskine, the head of Jericho, and declaring war. His first salvo is Aaron hanging upside down. Out of the three stories in "Blowback," I think this one has the most potential. That's not saying much in a sea of mediocrity though.

Additional plot points: Vogel hooks up the FBI with a free trip to Somalia for Demetri, Janis, and Simon. The deadline for conception is approaching and Janis still doesn't have a donor.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 18 Starry Night

Is there any combination of these characters that doesn't work? The question when discussing Modern Family is what doesn't work, not what does work, and there is very little to harp on. All three stories were winners which shouldn't be surprising by now.

Luke needs to get a project on Vincent Van Gogh finished, and his attention span should be a big problem. Haley needs to bake 40 cupcakes, but she's not good at anything. The Dunphies stayed isolated during the episode, but it didn't matter much. It turns out that while Phil stumbled around with a divided attention, Luke buckled down and finished the posterboard without help. Haley has no clue how to bake, but tries halfheartedly, so Claire has to step in. Claire knows Haley will have to learn eventually and throws the cupcakes in the trash. Bad idea. Haley's cupcakes are terrible.

Jay and Mitchell's usual astronomy outing now has Manny involved, and Mitchell feels out of place and awkward, almost like a sibling rivalry. Manny is cracking jokes at Mitchell with Jay pushing, and Mitchell doesn't have a good time. He learns that Manny wasn't invited to a party and was teased, so Jay brought him out. Relating to his own experiences, Mitchell bonds with Manny in brotherly fashion.

Cam and Gloria go out to eat after an unfortunate gaffe after the talks about Columbia and Brown people (the universities) with Gloria around. Instead of eating at a fancy restaurant, they go to a local place where Cam orders the same thing Gloria gets--the spiciest thing ever. Throughout the night, Cam misspeaks several times and apologizes profusely even though Gloria doesn't seem to care. They end up in Gloria's old neighborhood and Cam's tires get stolen. Cam and Gloria have great chemistry. More please.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - Justified Season 1 Episode 2 Riverbrook

I sure hope the rest of the episodes are more like the pilot than "Riverbrook." It was disappointing to see a second episode that didn't live up to the expectations set forth in the pilot. Timothy Olyphant is still captivating, but his lack of screen time, filled by three insignificant rednecks, kept the episode from reaching that other level. Givens is down pat and doesn't need any working on. The writing, however, needs to be improved if there are the same episode stories. If "Riverbrook" was any indication, Boyd will only serve as a background character to Givens doing his U.S. Marshall work.

The three miscreants, Dupree, Shirley, and Cooper, had plenty of funny lines--dildo talk, incest talk, etc--that were amusing. The more dramatic elements--Shirley and Cooper reconnecting, the money, the standoff--were pretty boring. It felt almost too slow, too lazy to be anything more than the good guys doing their job while the bad guys bumble around.

Score: 8.8/10

Title of Lost series finale

The title is finally out, and if you don't want to know, immediately stop reading and close the page. It's not a big deal since it's a generic, cookie cutter title anyways.

The title is..."The End." I'm sure there will be essays dedicated to the title, so have at it.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 03/24/10

Fox won with Human Target (2.0) and American Idol (7.2). It looks like Human Target is done.

CBS was second with Survivor (3.4) and repeats of Criminal Minds (2.0), and CSI: NY (1.7).

ABC was third with a repeat of Modern Family (1.8), The Middle (2.5), Modern Family (3.7), Cougar Town (2.6), and Ugly Betty (1.6).

NBC was last with Mercy (1.3), a repeat of Law & Order: SVU (1.5), and Law & Order: SVU (3.3).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review - Southland Season 2 Episode 4 The Runner

If the series doesn't get picked up, for more episodes, there's just two episodes left after this. I haven't had time to review Southland due to the 7+ other shows on the same night and it's only going to get worse when V returns. I've thoroughly enjoyed all four episodes this season, and while the series doesn't reinvent the police procedural as some would claim, it does provide a unique perspective that no other police procedural has.

Ben and John visit Dewey in rehab, and what they see isn't pretty. It's pretty much the same Dewey except he's sober. Instead of a drunk Dewey who's loud and obnoxious, there's a clean Dewey who's loud and obnoxious. I hated him drunk and I think I may hate him even more now. Later, they go to a funeral for John's friend. We meet his ex-wife and learn that his friend was also gay, but they ignored each other at the gay bar.

Lydia and her new partner, Ray Suarez (Clifton Collins, Jr), the replacement of Cordero, find an female body with a few bullet holes. Her ID indicates that she is named Nicole and a student at SULA, probably a combination of UCLA, USC, and CSU LA. She was a track star and her parents had high hopes for her to win in the Olympics. We see the dark side of school athletics programs. Her ex-boyfriend, a football player, is shielded from every angle and is allowed to get away with anything. As long as he performs on the field, the school administration gives him a free pass. Nicole was also into drugs, something her father adamantly denies. Ultimately, Lydia catches a drug dealer who Nicole had been stealing drugs from. He only wanted to shoot her legs to stop her from running but missed. After seeing what happened to this girl, Lydia calls her mother to thank her for all the things she did. There was a bigger issue: Regina King's arms. They're huge!!

Score: 9.3/10

Review - Human Target Season 1 Episode 9 Corner Man

Off the top of my head, over half the episode have stopped in media res. Please. Stop. It stopped being interesting a long time ago. The plane stuff in the second episode was cool, because it was different, but "Corner Man" starts with nothing unexpected. Chance is fighting some guy in the ring and gets smacked on top of his head. There is only one conclusion to draw. Chance has been hired again, it involves MMA, and he's not doing great.

The formulaic nature of the show is being clearer as the series progresses. The producers really don't have better ideas than the usual missions which relate to Chance's past. I don't know how that can sustain the show, because the only thing keeping the show afloat is the insanely awesome fight scenes. The inability of the writers to switch things up the slightest is dragging the show down.

In "Corner Man," Chance's former boss, the one who had him kill people, was haunting Chance as he saw Ava (Grace Park) under the control of Hugh Prentiss (Peter Wingfield). It's the usual fighting stuff. There's brutal fighters, brutal fights, backstabbing, drugging, and a victorious Chance. Ava turns on Prentiss after she learns he killed her father.

The plot was again thin as the original client, Edie, was left to be comedic relief. Unlike Burn Notice which actually keeps the client somewhat relevant, Human Target takes a myopic focus on Chance which often renders the plot senseless.

Score: 8.5/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 03/23/10

Fox won with American Idol (8.4).

NBC was second with The Biggest Loser (3.0) and Parenthood (2.7). Parenthood was up from last week against virtually no competition.

ABC was third with a repeat of Lost (1.5), Lost (4.0), and a V clip show (1.6). The V clip show was .1 better than the clip show for FlashForward, but it's probably not a good indicator since a new episode of V airs right after Lost next week.

CBS was last with repeats of NCIS (2.3), NCIS: Los Angeles (2.0), and The Good Wife (1.4).

Review - Parenthood Season 1 Episode 4 Whassup

There were many things that annoyed me about the episode, so I'll just start with Crosby. Jabbar sleeps over with him and right off bat Crosby makes a huge mistake. It's good that he's trying, but his immaturity shines through each time. He orders pizza and as we know, Jabbar is lactose intolerant which is why he vomited from the chocolate and he couldn't drink the milt. I'm not sure why the writers didn't follow up on this. Jabbar gets this thumb stuck in a soda can which causes him to freak out. Julia saves the day and shows how great of a mother she could be if she had time. She also asks Crosby if Jabbar is really his. It's been five years, a long

Julia and Joel go out on date night and have Amber babysit Sydney after Sarah tells them Amber got upset after she couldn't babysit Sydney earlier. Sarah had to get back at Julia somehow and chose to use Amber as a weapon. She is partially redeemed by the scenes with her and Amber. They bond over past experiences and I still like them a lot.

Adam and Kristina find out about Haddie's boyfriend, Steve,  and worry so much they lock her up. It falls into the grey are of parenting where the line is for electronic intrusion. Crosby helps them access her Facebook account and the result was both parties becoming upset.

Drew and Adam masturbation talk? Awkward...

The ending was very sappy as usual with a big family get-together. It's the same thing every week. I've been liking the series thus far, but if this episode will be the majority, I don't think I'll keep watching. The ratings have been dropping each week, so we'll see if the show will come back for another season.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - Damages Season 3 Episode 9 Drive It Through Hardcore

Damages is a show that makes a lot more sense later on People and events that are significant come into focus and those who aren't go to the wayside. That's the main problem with reviewing episodes week by week. We don't know where everything fits, and the puzzle looks kind of crooked right now. "Drive It Through Hardcore" didn't make much sense and was all over the place, but could it gain more significance when we look back on the episode. Or it might not.

Carol Tobin is beginning to crack as the weight of her murder of Danielle Marchetti comes down on her. Leonard Winstone is left to sequester her and keep an eye on her all the time, only letting her out of sight when he brings her to the psychiatrist. I got a weird vibe between Leonard and Carol, so there could be something going on between them. Patty, meanwhile, is on top of everything and is waiting for Carol at the psychiatrist's office one day. Carol spills everything and Patty learns that Tessa was there on Thanksgiving.

Patty has troubles of her own. Her son, Michael, comes clean and tells her what she already knows. Then, under the guise of looking for family health problems he asks irritating questions which upset Patty. She has no one in her life and he feels to reinforce that, sticking the knife in and turning it several times. Michael turned out to be a terrible person like his mother. Patty also deals with Julian Decker who wants to knock down her walls. She hits a hole in the wall on her own, and in one of her dream sequences, sees a horse. I have no clue what it means. Could the writers be any more vague?

Arthur Frobisher seems to be unrelated to the Tobins and will provide a separate plotline. Terry Brooke and his producer, Gail Sturmer, want to make a movie about Frobisher's redemption. Initially, they want to paint Patty as the bad guy, but Frobisher, surprisingly, pulls them back and offers to let them meet her. At the meeting, Frobisher wants Patty to say something good about him, but she repeats what she's been saying. Frobisher is a bad person who stole money from his employees and still hasn't paid them back. Outside, an incensed Frobisher tells his producers to finish her off.

Ellen's sister gets caught with meth and turns for Ellen for help. She is unwillingly to help at first and her colleagues tell her to stay as far away from the case as possible. As with Patty, Ellen has a soft spot for family, and asks Patty to help her with the situation.

The two flash forwards revealed almost nothing. Tom hands Patty his resignation letter, and she isn't completely surprised. The last flash forward is Tom calling someone, presumably his wife, to say that he loves her. Something falls off the bridge into the water. From the shape, it doesn't look like a human, but it's reasonable to think it was Tom who jumped or was pushed off. It makes the most sense.

Score: 8.5/10

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review - Lost Season 6 Episode 9 Ab Aeterno

For at least one week, there was no worrying about the flash-sideways, its implications, or any of the other characters. "Ab Aeterno" felt like a reprieve from everything going on, telling a straight story which revealed answers to many large questions and continued the mystery of Jacob and the Man in Black with minor clarifications. Structurally, it was the most different episode on the season and possibly the series. With only two flashes during the entire episode, a huge chunk of the episode was dedicated to telling the story of Richard, a character shrouded in mystery for most of the series, but as we saw in "Dr. Linus," also a character wallowing in past grief.

After a brief introduction by Ilana recounting Jacob telling her that Richard would know what to do and the revelation by Richard that they are in Hell, the story begins on Tenerife, Canary Islands (the place Walt mentioned during his disturbing speech in the Breaking Bad season premiere) in 1867. Richard is now Ricardo, a simple man with a very modest cottage. He returns home to his sick wife and vows to bring help. His wife, Isabella hands him her cross as payment to the doctor. Already, I'm way into the story. Nestor Carbonell was incredible in his authenticity and anguish.

Riding through the pouring rain, Richard arrives at the doctor's house at the dead of night. The doctor, unwilling to ride in the rain, offers to give him medicine--but for a price. Richard's meager living doesn't afford him much, and despite giving him the cross, the doctor tosses it to the ground. Needing the medicine, Richard struggles with the doctor, and in the process, kills him accidentally. He takes the medicine and rides off. Upon his return, Richard finds Isabella dead, and soon thereafter is brought to jail.

He asked the priest for absolution, but there is no redemption for him, or at least for someone with no stature. He is condemned to hanging the next day. An opportunity arises when an Englishman comes looking for an English speaker. Richard jumps on the chance and becomes the property of Magnus Hanso, interestingly, the great grandfather of Alvar Hanso, the founder of the Hanso Foundation.

They set sail, and in a huge storm, Richard peers out into the ocean only to see the Devil, the stature of Tawaret. The Black Rock slams into it, destroying the top portion and answering the question of what happened to it. Richard awakes only to find himself chained to the ship. An officer arrives and starts stabbing people because they'll die anyways. He doesn't make much sense which makes me wonder if he had the disease? Probably not, since the Smoke Monster swoops down and kills everyone, leaving Richard alone and still chained. Isabella shows up to save him from the Devil. They hear sounds of the approaching Smoke Monster and Isabella runs off. Presumably she is killed or taken somewhere.

A man enters the ship and it's none other than the Man in Black played by Titus Welliver. That's where the episode starts becoming interesting. MiB conveniently has a key, and the manipulation begins. He tells Richard he must kill the Devil by stabbing him in the chest, echoing Dogen's words in "Sundown." MiB paints Jacob as the bad guy, and Richard, having being saved by this seemingly nice man who wants to be free, goes along. Richard approaches the foot of the statue, knife drawn, and is immediately taken down by Jacob who isn't Zen-like as we've previously seen him. To show Richard they are not in Hell, he dunks Richard into the ocean several times. I wonder if the writers decided to make Jacob seem like the Devil because he is Lucifer on Supernatural. It seemed like a big coincidence.

Finally, Jacob tells Richard what everything is about. It's his version of the truth, but I'll take it. Using a bottle of wine as an example, Jacob flips it over to show the cork keeping the wine from exiting the bottle. The island severs a similar purpose, keeping Hell/win/MiB from reaching the rest of the world. MiB thinks everyone is corruptible because it is their nature to sin, and Jacob brings people to the island to prove him wrong. The answer doesn't seem complete, but it scratches the surface of whatever battle has been waging between Jacob and MiB. We learn how Richard became immortal and ageless. Jacob offers him a job as an intermediary, and in return, Richard asks for his wife back and then for his sins to be absolves so he won't go to Hell, both tasks that Jacob cannot grant. His last request, the power to never die, is granted. Richard goes back into the jungle with Richard's white rock to MiB who leaves the door open for Richard to return to him. He also has Isabella's cross which Richard buries.

We go back to the present where Richard is digging up the cross and saying out loud that he changes his mind. Hurley arrives to Richard's dismay with a message from Isabella. They have a final, beautiful scene together where they reaffirm their love for each other. Hurley has one final message: Richard must prevent MiB from leaving the island or they all go to Hell. We know Hurley can see dead people, but could Jacob be playing a trick on both Hurley and Richard by pretending to be Isabella?

The episode ends on a slightly tacky note. Jacob comes to MiB and they talk for a while. It appears that this was the start of the 120+ year battle which ended with MiB killing Jacob. Jacob gives the bottle of wine to MiB who flips it over and smashes it. Along with the slow down and the obvious reference to him escaping the island, the ending wasn't strong at all.

I have an idea about MiB and the Swan. It's random, but hear me out. The Swan was designed to discharge excess electromagnetic thingies and keep it from exploding. In a way, it is similar to the island and MiB. It keeps MiB from leaving. Is there a relationship like the electromagnetism as a physical manifestation of MiB's darkness?

The episode makes you wonder what the series would be like if there were no flashing of any sort. The episode worked brilliantly to spin a tale of love and redemption that spanned across time. "Ab Aeterno" will be a Lost episode that will be remembered. The writers proved themselves to be capable of writing an interesting plot without too many fantasy elements, so I think a similar show without the flashes could have worked almost as well. Enough with the speculation. "Ab Aeterno" was amazing and my favorite episode of the season.

Score: 9.8/10

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 3 Episode 18 The Pants Alternative

Read my review on SpoilerTV.

Score: 9.0/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 03/22/10 - Chuck ratings remain low

ABC easily won with Dancing with the Stars (6.4) and Castle (3.3). The preliminary numbers for Castle were even higher, 3.6, but it came down a few notches. It still beat CSI: Miami for the first time ever.

CBS was second with How I Met Your Mother (3.5), Rules of Engagement (3.3), Two and a Half Men (5.1), The Big Bang Theory (5.2), and CSI: Miami (3.2).

Fox was third with a repeat of House (1.7) and 24 (2.7).

NBC was last with Chuck (1.9), Trauma (1.4), and Law & Order (1.8). Start panicking. Whether it was DST last week or DWTS this week, there's no denying how low the ratings are.

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 5 Episode 18 Say Cheese

Lily has her birthday and all the pictures have to be just right. It's going great until Ted arrives--with a girl. This random "skank" as Lily calls her will forever be etched into the photo of friends and a girl no one remembers. The story didn't really go anywhere, but it did resolve some issues between Ted and Lily which came to a very satisfying conclusion when Lily realizes that Ted included her in a past picture.

The rest of the episode was spent going through memory lane. In all these photos, there's random skank after random skank. Ted can hardly even remember the names. It was fun to see Laura Prepon and Anne Dudek, and the laughs were numerous. But for all the time dedicated to the past, the story didn't move one bit. There were also a few gags with Barney and Marshall. Barney can't take a bad picture and Marshall can't take a picture without looking dead, stoned, and cold. Again, really funny stuff that didn't matter much in the end.

The one-year flashforward may have shed some light on what will happen. Don isn't there and neither is anyone Ted is seeing. Can we expect Don out of the picture and still no Mother in a year? I'm kind of disappointed in that, but the writers could easily come up with an excuse.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Castle Season 2 Episode 17 Tick, Tick, Tick…

There's a serial killer out there, and he's hooked to Nikki Heat. This spells bad news for Castle and Beckett, but FBI agent Jordan Shaw (Dana Delany) comes to help them. She has an impressive resume and lots of fancy equipment. Shaw is dedicated to her job, but has time to have kids and isn't too imposing. I hope nothing bad happens to her, but the promos for next week's episode would indicate otherwise.

The serial killer is smarter than the average criminal. He leads them around by planting false evidence all around, including buying a pinkie. It seems over as a deranged dog owner commits suicide, but Castle realizes the serial killer is left handed, not right handed. The serial killer had already killed the dog owner and pretended to commit suicide. I think that's what happened. It wasn't too clear what happened. By the time Castle figures it out, it's too late. Beckett's apartment blows up in a large ball of flames. She's not dead for obvious reason, but maybe it'll be interesting to see how she got out alive.

As far as serial killers go, the episode was fairly standard and with exception of the ending (which wasn't that surprising either). Jordan Shaw brought a different dynamic where Beckett is feeling a bit territorial and wants Castle on her side. As usual the banter was fun. I wish there could have been more discussion of what actors should play them.

The other big part of the episode was the UST between Beckett and Castle. Now, the "U" could be in questions. They spend the night together, but if they are telling the truth, Castle stayed on the couch. I'd be inclined to believe them because it is the second season. If this were past the fourth season, maybe not.

Score: 9.2/10

Chuck 3x11 - Eastern Promises

At least Zach Levi was covered up.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 13 Day 8: 4:00 a.m. – 5:00 a.m.

"CTU is blind, deaf, and dumb." That's definitely a quote for the ages.

Speaking as a huge 24 fan, this episode was awesome. It was action from start to finish, Rambo Chloe showed up, and Renee came back with a bang. I couldn't care less how many stupid NSA or CTU agents there are, how terrible the dialogue was at times, how The main characters were bad ass, and that's all that mattered.

I know most people will be ragging on the episode for the "twist" at the end. Dana kills Bill Prady and calls Omar. Cue ominous music. Yeah, whatever... It's past halfway into the season and after an idiotic storyline about her past, she randomly calls the terrorist. Sure moles are old, but look at the bright side. At least it's better than anything Kevin/Bill could have been.

The story was almost nonexistent, except the terrorists got away with the fuel rods. CTU is partially functioning due to the daring (insanity?) of Chloe, and did I mention the return of Renee?? She arrives in literally a split second to save Jack and Cole, and cradle Jack in her arms.

It seems like the writers are trying to recreate the Palmers with the Hassans, but it's not working. They're boring me to death and they have a knack for being really obnoxious at the wrong times.

Score: 9.5/10

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 11 Chuck Versus the Final Exam

Where has the logic gone? The plot, the characters, everything was completely lacking of basic reason. That's not to say the episode wasn't fun, and "Chuck Versus the Final Exam" had awesome action scenes and decent humor. As the writers push towards the end of the initial 13-episode run, they seem have ignored all plotholes for the sake of creating tension and raising the stakes. There's a breaking point for this kind of silliness and it was reached tonight.

The episode begins in media res--a device that only gets good results if the viewer has no clue what's going on or what will happen. Chuck chases a man down who begs him not to shoot. We hear a gunshot, and the scene cuts away to three days earlier at the Buy More. Obviously, he wouldn't kill anyone this early in the series, and I doubt he ever will. Chuck's reaction to Sarah shooting the Fulcrum agent in "Chuck vs. Santa Claus" was enough to indicate that killing is serious business on the show. The show has become darker this season, but to the point of killing? No way. If Chuck wouldn't be killing anyone, there would only be two other options. Either the gun has blanks or someone else took the shot. Neither of the options seem too compelling, though, admittedly, the final result was better than I expected.

Chuck's final mission before becoming a full-fledged spy and is based on a foundation of absurdity. The CIA would let Chuck go away just because he fails one test? What about the Intersect? Again, the writers had to put something on the line, and didn't or couldn't think of something better. By concretely putting down the only two solutions available to Chuck, the writers forced the drama and ignored all the other avenues.

The mission, a simple stakeout, provided the opportunity for Chuck and Sarah to talk and express their feelings freely. Chuck turns his charm on with a little drink, and right before they kiss, Shaw calls. Their target, Anatoli Zevlovski, is already on the move and they missed him. Chuck goes into a steam room, and has an Eastern Promises-like fight scene minus the nakedness as Chuck takes out the muscle. Chuck deftly climbs over to find Anatolini, codenamed Ivan Drago, talking to a CIA agent named Hunter Perry.

Chuck is a spy now or that's what he thinks. His mission isn't over yet. Shaw tells Sarah to tell Chuck to kill Perry. Sarah is disturbed an refuses to go along with the plan., but Chuck's success depends on her, so she grudging agrees only because he could be in greater danger without her. Chuck, who is expecting a normal date, is very excited at the prospects of being a spy and being with Sarah again. Their new/old roadblock is Chuck not being a spy. How many times can they come back to this? Sarah tells Chuck it's up to him, and by doing so, puts all the pressure on Chuck and absolves herself of any blame. I know she's conflicted, but I hated how she acted in the second half of the episode.

Chuck takes down Perry in a weird, slowed down fight scene in the bathroom, and proceeds to take Perry outside to be executed before Perry runs off. Everyone is running around the train tracks, and Chuck has Perry on the ground, begging for mercy. As Perry pulls his own gun, a shot rings out, but it's not from Chuck. He turns around, and it's Casey! Sarah turns the corner and sees Chuck holding the gun and Perry dead. Nevermind that a simple ballistics or forensics test would show that Chuck never fired the bullet, Chuck has to be the one who fired the shot according to Sarah.

Back in her hotel room, Sarah is torn up, and Shaw is right there for her. He asks her if she loves Chuck and she denies it (seriously?), explaining that Chuck will never be the same person, recounting her first "Red Test" and how it was the worst day of her life. To recap, Chuck only "killed" the agent because Sarah told him to, and now she's in whatever state of mind, so she talks it out with Shaw.

And the final implausibility. Because Chuck has become such a terrible person, Sarah is now with Shaw. Let's get this straight. Sarah disapproves of Chuck killing people and lying, but she's fine being with Shaw who has killed more people and lied to more people than Chuck has. And who was the one who ordered Sarah to order Chuck to kill Perry? What are some positive qualities of Shaw? Nothing. Other than give orders and stand around, Shaw has done nothing. We can understand why Sarah would like Chuck, Bryce, or Cole, or anyone else who remotely has a personality. Is Sarah just turning to the closest guy?

When all else fails, there's still the Buy More to turn to. Casey has relegated himself to working at the Buy More, and conks Lester and Jeff together. They've become awfully hostile this season, and threaten to sue. Big Mike resolves to fix Casey, first by sending him to the tailor, and second, by sending him to Subway. This was the biggest promotion for Subway to date. They enter the store with the sign looming large, happy customers inside, "A" from the health department conspicuous on the window, and an eager Jeff and Lester. They goad, poke, and prod at Casey, but he doesn't budge. He apologizes and takes the hits without complaining. Eventually, they come to a mutual agreement not to pursue further action, but only if Casey takes a bite out of the sub Jeff has been eating.

There's been all this talk about Chuck being a loser for working at the Buy More with all his skills. What about Casey? Surely, he could join the police or become a shooting instructor or something. He has all these crazy spy skills that could be applied in other areas of work.

I'm probably in the minority for not loving this episode. I understand why many would like the episode, and if I wasn't so annoyed with the plotholes and Sarah being all over the place, I would have loved the episode as well. The references to "Sizzling Shrimp" were great and the character development for Chuck continues to set itself apart from the previous seasons. With two episodes left in the initial arc, there's sure to be lots more action and a resolution to Chuck/Sarah/Shaw. Hallelujah!

Score: 8.7/10

Review - United States of Tara Season 2 Episode 1 Yes

Airing after Nurse Jackie is United States of Tara, a superior show in almost all respects. The new season also begins with a sense of normalcy, but that doesn't dull the drama or comedy one bit. Yes, Tara's alters are interesting to watch, and it's a perfect showcase for Toni Collette. They also threatened to overwhelm the show at times, and I liked seeing how everyone went about their business without the presence of an alter hanging over them.

One of the Gregsons' neighbors commits suicide, starting a chain of events. They meet their gay neighbors, and after Tara visits the house of the suicide, she reverts into the always hilarious Buck. Max is glad that Tara is fine, and has big plans for their future. Buck's reappearance has a good chance of derailing that.

Kate gets a job as a debt collector and Marshall is hanging out with the gayble. Both stories have great potential, and the second episode expands on them greatly, not to mention the impressive acting by Brie Larson and Keir Gilchrist.

The first episode feels more natural with all the pieces in the right place. There are laughs here and there, and Toni Collette can deliver the drama as well as the comedy.

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Nurse Jackie Season 2 Episode 1 Comfort Food

From the beginning, Nurse Jackie had no real direction, and it seemed like a show about a drug addict nurse and her quirky coworkers. Towards the end of the season, the world crashed down on her as her boyfriend  pharmacist, Eddie, discovered she was married, her daughter was still stressing over everything, and she had just overdosed at the hospital.

Season 2 begins with a sense of normalcy, one that easily could have been avoided if the writers were more courageous. They could have taken Jackie's descent further, and delved in to an even darker area. Instead, we are treated to a normal episode. Momo has been replaced by the druggie from the first season, Sam. Newly clean, Sam decides to interpret everything as drug related. In Jackie's case, he's spot on. Coop goes to Mrs. Akalitus to file a complaint against Jackie. Things don't get remotely interesting until Eddie comes into the hospital with an overdose.

For all her follies, Jackie remains a relatively likable character, and Edie Falco should take all the credit. The show is still style over substance, and one which could be much better

Score: 8.6/10

Caprica ratings remain the same, total viewers go up

Once again, Caprica hit that boring 0.4 which we've seen about 5 other times in the short time the show has been on. The better news is that the total viewers--1.229 million--is the highest since the second episode. Love it or hate it, the ratings don't seem to be changing much. All Syfy has to decide is if they like 0.4.

Review - The Pacific Part 2 Guadalcanal/Basilone

"Part 2" took a direct route to the action. For the first half of the episode, there was relative calm punctuated by the occasional shelling from the sea. Among the death of war were a few lighter moments: Marines stealing the Army supplies, Leckie being nicknamed "Peaches."

That all goes away halfway into the episode. With thin lines and few supplies, the Marines hunker down as the Japanese start attacking. Basilone performs a feat of legends in an incredible 7-minute scene of heart-pounding action. He gets his arms burned, does some hand to hand combat, and mows down waves of Japanese, all done almost single-handedly. Afterwards, Chesty tells Basilone he is putting him in for a medal.

When the Marines get back onto the ship, the cook tells them they are on the front page of newspapers. Everyone is a bit shocked. They had landed in a place they have no idea about, looks insignificant from the outside, and it turned into a living nightmare. Somehow, recognition for their actions never seemed possible.

Eugene Sledge has a random scene with his father which and could have gone into the last episode or the next episode. His heart problem is gone and he's off to sign off.

I still have no clue who anyone is other than their names and faces, and even then, everyone looks very similar. I'm sure I'll know the characters intimately eventually, but it's frustrating to not know everything on the first watch.

Score: 8.9/10

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Breaking Bad 3x01 - Huge explosion

Breaking Bad 3x01 - Walt's disturbing speech

Breaking Bad 3x01 - "You're a drug dealer"

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 1 No Mas

The new season begins with a haunting image. There's a group of Mexicans crawling on the ground in one direction as everyone else sits by an watches. Later, two spiffy looking get out of a car and join them, crawling and crawling towards a small building. It's a completely bizarre scene--one of the weirdest I've ever seen. The good thing is that unlike the opening scene from Season 2, we found out quickly what was going on. They go up to a Santa Muerte shrine where the two characters, who according to IMDB are cousins, put up a sketch of Heisenberg.

Walt, still reeling from the events from last season, sets his cash on fire (over my strenuous objections) and soon comes to the same conclusion I did. It's a terrible thing to burn money! As much as he would like to ditch the symbol of everything wrong about him, he can't see the tangible result of his accomplishment go up in flames.

At school, there's an assembly where students can tell their innermost feelings to hundreds of other students (like students would actually do that...). A few kids say the usual sentences, and it hits Walter particularly hard as he continues to see the consequences of his actions. The principal gives him the mike after he makes a little too much noise. His words were downright disturbing. I can't remember a time I've been so agitated by television, and it wasn't even an action scene. Walt makes excuse after excuse, trying to convince himself and everyone else it's not a big deal. He deals with the cold facts, statistics, and other niceties no one cares about. His reassurances--and this is a testament to the incredible ability of both Bryan Cranston and Vince Gilligan--turn into a sickening blend of self-delusion and complete detachment pushed by Walt's increasing arrogance. If that wasn't enough, he later tells Jesse to blame the government which may have had a role in the planes not detecting each other. The details, however valid they may be, get lost in Walt's disgusting way of thinking.

On the homefront, tensions boil over and Flynn (if Walt Jr wants to be called that, I'll go along) erupts, understandably, over the situation. Skyler refuses to tell anyone anything, including her sister. Skyler shows up at Walt's house, and in perhaps the most revealing scene of series, confronts Walt about drug dealing. She's figured it out, only she thinks he's dealing marijuana. Walt decides to come clean, but that doesn't work, and Skyler is even angrier than before an leaves.

Jesse is at a wacky New Age drug rehabs center where the counselor, a man with an equally trouble past, tells him to accept who he is and be content. Jesse knows he is a bad guy. Can he live with that? Probably not.

Awesome season premiere of what I consider the best drama on television. The Mexican guys seem really badass, and according to Vince Gilligan, the final scene with the explosion was all real and the actors were there. Holy sh*t!!

Score: 9.6/10

Preview of Week 03/21/10 - 03/27/10

Breaking Bad - AMC, Sunday, March 21, 10:00pm ET

The best drama on television returns. When last we saw them, Walk was filthy rich, Skyler left Walt for his habitual lying, and Jesse was overwhelmed by guilt. Walt had also indirectly caused a plane crash whose wreckage came down on his house.

Nurse Jackie/United States of Tara - Showtime, Monday, March 22, 10:00/30pm ET

Both are mediocre shows with great leads in Edie Falco and Toni Collette. Nurse Jackie has very dark humor and an attitude that unfairly maligns medical practitioners everywhere. United States of Tara is too quirky to be a drama and not funny enough to be a comedy, so it's stuck in limbo. I watched the first two episodes of the new seasons and I'd probably take United States of Tara first.

Castle - ABC, Monday, March 22, 10:00pm ET

The first of the two-part episode features a serial killer, and from the looks of the promo, Kate gets in a considerable amount of trouble. Dana Delany guest stars as FBI Special Agent Jordan Shaw.

Supernatural - CW, Thursday, March 25, 9:00pm ET

After a long break, the show is back with a Bobby-centric episode. Looks good!

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

The midseason finale is sure to bring some surprises. This is the last new episode before October so you better watch.
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