Friday, April 30, 2010

Review - Party Down Season 2 Episode 2 Precious Lights Pre-School Auction

Are there really kindergartens out there that can fast track kids in the Ivy League? According to "Precious Lights Pre-School Auction," there are. Parents are willing to go to any length, including shelling out thousands of dollars.

It's funny to see Ron as the new underling, undermining the boss, Henry, at every turn, switching their roles last season. The difference is that Ron is making an intentional effort, and it makes him seem more like a buffoon. He still has the work spirit in him, but there's not much he can do other than get back at Henry. Pretending to have sex with Lydia like Henry did with Casey has the funny effect of getting Henry in hot water and letting his girlfriend run off with his sports car. There's really no break for him.

At the end of the episode, Henry and Casey are back to that rapport that made their relationship so great last season. If they can't be together, at least Casey won't be antagonizing Henry for the remainder of the season. It looks like Casey will touch stardom for a while with his casting in the Judd Apatow movie. It'll be interesting to see how that pans out and if it affects her relationships with her coworkers.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - The Mentalist Season 2 Episode 20 Red All Over

Last week, a commenter declared my review "the worst review ever" because I didn't like Jane's antics. Now I don't know how the mind of a delusion person works, but that's the conclusion this person came to. The basis argument for my argument is that Jane no longer has any visible inhibition. He chooses to do what he wants, in any situation, at any time. Law does not stop him, common morality does not stop him, threats do not stop him. He is a charismatic character, which is why viewers like him, but his actions should not be viewed under the singular lens of "fun," as if it is the only qualifier for a good show. Don't get me wrong, I like fun procedurals. Almost all procedurals I watch are skewed towards humor.

However, there are boundaries to how far someone can go. In Jane's case, he has gone way to far this season. Season 1 had a way of showing Jane's outwardly jubilant personality and tamping it down with the darkness of his past. Very successfully, the writers were able to show a flawed human being, capable of being perfectly normal, but losing his judgment after the Red John attack. Season 2 has had few of the those moments, choosing to cast Red John and those quiet reveals aside.

The crime and crime solving of "Red All Over" was average as have most episodes of the season, and had a perplexing ending out of nowhere. What it did do was to bring back Jane's pain in the form of a cult leader, poking at Jane in all the right places. As we head towards the season finale and another confrontation with Red John, the show needs those reminders that Jane isn't just someone who has fun and plays mind games.

Score: 8.6/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 04/29/10

CBS won with Survivor (4.1), CSI (3.0), and The Mentalist (3.2). The Mentalist did better than CSI again. CBS better have a plan for next year.

ABC was second with Flashforward (1.6), Grey's Anatomy (3.8), and Private Practice (2.9).

NBC was third with Community (1.9), Parks and Recreation (1.9), The Office (3.6), 30 Rock (3.7), and The Marriage Ref (1.9).

Fox was last with Bones (2.6) and Fringe (2.0). Fringe isn't looking good, but it's already been renewed. Big questions for next season though.

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 22 Body Language

Michael often toes the fine line between creepy stalker and naive guy looking for a girl. Depending on where you stand on this, the episode may have appeared very different. The A-plot was all about Michael and the office trying to interpret the body language of Donna, the woman Michael was flirting with at the bar. They mostly get it wrong, but Michael gets his kiss in the end.

The subplot was about Sabre's minority manager program and worked well to make the episode one of the better ones in recent memory. After Darrel picks softball over instruction at Yale, Kelly applies and gets the job. With Steve Carell saying that next season could be his last, could Kelly be groomed to become manager?

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 22 The Art of Discourse

I'm short on time, so I'll be brief.

A large portion of the episode, including the end, was taken up by the one-not story about Jeff and Britta being teased by teenagers. Community usually has a way of humanizing things like this in its own quirky way, and though Britta and Jeff did bond, the writers went over the top and had the characters simply bombard each other with nonsensical phrases and then have a food fight.

Because I don't like Pierce and don't find him funny, I liked seeing him get kicked out of the group for pantsing Shirley, an atrocious thing to do even by Pierce's standards. The group falls apart and eventually comes back together once Pierce and Shirley understand each other better. It didn't feel genuine to me, but that's mostly because my brain is telling me Pierce will always be a lout.

Even though Abed and Troy's story never really went anywhere, I liked seeing them try out so many different things in the end of the episode. It was like the stuff they usually do at the end of every episode packed into one.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 20 The Devil You Know

So where was Pestilence? After the awesome appearance at the end of last week's episode, the closest we got to Pestilence was through a bowl of blood. Instead the brothers were dealing with Pestilence's henchman, Sam's college buddy Brady, who introduced him to Jess. With only two episodes left in the season, there was barely any movement in the episode

I loved seeing Crowley for more than 2 minutes like we did last time. Mark Sheppard was great as usual. Still, he couldn't save an episode that went absolutely nowhere.

Score: 8.4/10

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review - Fringe Season 2 Episode 20 Brown Betty

Ever since Fringe has come back from the hiatus, I've been faced with a dilemma on Thursdays whether I should watch Fringe or Supernatural first. More often than not, I choose Fringe for the increased stakes a strong drive towards the end of the season. Supernatural, has been going through a rather listless Apocalypse this season, and while it has generally been stronger than Fringe, lacks the overall ambition and range of Fringe, often opting for those well-written but gimmicky episodes over episodes that really show how deadly the Apocalypse can be.

"Brown Betty" was, ostensibly, one of those episodes, almost filler-like in presenting an episode in story-form, somewhat relevant but not significant, revealing Walter's inner thoughts over the course of the episode. The story about a glass heart getting stolen was representative of Peter's heart getting broken and the reciprocal reaction from Walter. Personally, I liked seeing the outfits and the oft-kilter tone episode, but that was about it. The story didn't interest me nor did I care about the outcome. The good thing is that this is probably a one time deal.

The musical element of the episode was almost a side-thought with most of the characters getting about 30 seconds of singing. It was much more film noir than anything.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 18 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

There's 4 episodes left in the season and probably series, and I'm genuinely interested in the show again. With ABC first increasing the order to 24 and then decreasing it back to 22, I'm guessing the plotting of the season was thrown off, which might have actually helped the show. Instead of those all too familiar scenes of people yelling at each other for no apparent reason, we're finally learning more about the flashforwards and it's actually not bad. And since this is FlashForward it's not great either. I wonder how the show would have turned out if the first few episodes after the pilot were this interesting and focused.

There were lots of subplot in Afghanistan that didn't really go anything, but the center of the episode--Olivia, Gabriel, and Janis--worked quite well. There are lots of flashbacks of Janis going through Quantico and getting recruited by the "bad guys." Christine Woods does a nice job showing how conflict Janis is, and we never really understand why Janis became a mole since she wasn't that into the cause or money, until the bombshell flashback revealing her as a double agent for the CIA. The point was kind of lost because we don't see what she does for the CIA, but at least it cleared up her motivations.

Gabriel shows up all over the place and seems to have knowledge of the future. The small tease in last week's episode didn't work, because he was saying incoherent things. This week, we learn almost everything about him and the Raven River experiment. Vreede and Oliva visit the site of the experiments, and learn that Gabriel, a savant, was used by Dyson Frost to undergo flashforwards and recap the future. Inevitably, those being experimented on went nuts and were quickly discarded.

Now we're getting somewhere. Unfortunately, the ratings are in the toilet, so I doubt we'll get another season.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Bones Season 5 Episode 19 The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle

There have been some pretty good episodes since the show came back, but "The Rocker in the Rinse Cycle" definitely wasn't one of them. The episode seemed more like an opportunity to show Booth and Brennan as rockers than anything else. The case was shoved to the side and was incredibly boring, and despite the many fun scenes with the quirky people at the camp, this episode really was style over substance. The episode was one devoted to the characters with Cam going on a date and everyone learning about Arastoo's love of baseball and was way too heavy on that angle, leaving the story out to dry.

I'm so over the will-they won't-they thing I don't even want to mention it, especially since the amount of time devoted to the nonsense has been ratcheted up. This week, Brennan constantly references Catherine in conversation how Catherine has made a social contract with Booth. We get it. The anthropological speak is a veiled attempt to deflect from real issues. They'll get together eventually whether it be in the season finale or Season 6. I've been reading mostly unsubstantiated rumors and nothing has me remotely interested. If anything, the relationship between Booth and Brennan has become a detriment to the show and the other characters are now the strong points.

Score: 8.3/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 04/28/10

Fox won with a repeat of Lie to Me (1.6) and American Idol (6.7).

ABC was second with a repeat of The Middle (1.6), The Middle (2.4), Modern Family (4.2), Cougar Town (2.8), and Happy Town (1.7). Yeah, looks like Happy Town is a goner.

NBC was third with a repeat of Minute to Win It (1.6), Mercy (1.4), and Law & Order: SVU (2.9).

CBS was last with repeats of New Adventures of Old Christine (1.4), Two and a Half Men (1.7), Criminal Minds (2.2), and CSI: NY (1.6).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Review - Modern Family Season 1 Episode 21 Travels with Scout

With the season winding down, an episode like "Travels with Scout" worries me about whether the writers still have fresh ideas. Along with the episode a while back promoting the iPad to no end, there have been a few subpar episodes lately. Until now, there haven't been any episode which had no enjoyable subplots. I didn't laugh once at anything and was left unsatisfied in the end.

Usually, summarizing the plot of Modern Family takes several due to the various twists and developments. "Travels with Scout" hardly had anything going on, opting for funny scenes here and there. Jay takes Manny to a horror movie and Manny, very predictably, freaks out the entire episode. No consoling in the end, just freaking out from beginning to end. Phil's father, Frank (Fred Willard), comes to town, alone and with a dog for the Dunphys. Claire hears him crying, and at first suspects something about Phil's mother. She is also wary about having the dog around and grows to love the dog. Frank leaves, really without any development, with the dog, which was the reason why he was crying. Dylan's band loses its drummer, but Cam is a drummer, so he fills in like a pro until the original drummer comes back.

Just as a side note, why did Claire pronounce "route" as "root?"

Score: 7.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 04/27/10

Fox won with American Idol (6.9) and Glee (5.2).

CBS was second with NCIS (3.5), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.2), and The Good Wife (2.2). CBS must be smarting from that sad 2.2 from TGW. TV By the Numbers brought up an interesting question: Did CBS renew The Good Wife too early? Looks like it, but the trigger has been pulled.

NBC was third with The Biggest Loser (2.8) and Parenthood (2.4).

ABC was last with Dancing with the Stars (2.4), a repeat of Lost (1.8), and a new episode of V (1.9). Now V is looking as sad as FlashForward. Let us count the new ABC dramas doomed to failure: FlashForward, V, Eastwick, The Deep End, The Forgotten, and most likely Happy Town. Bad year for them.

Review - Justified Season 1 Episode 7 Blind Spot

I thought my computer was all good again, but it started acting up again before I left the house and now it's almost unusable. I'm writing in Safe Mode again and it looks funky, so I'll be brief.

The "Blind Spot," referred to in the episode title, is Raylan's inability to deal with his own issues. That's mostly a result of Ava, who he thinks is being hunted down. After an attempt on her life, or what he thinks is an attempt on her life, he assumes the Crowders put a hit on her. Well, no, but the blind spot hides the truth from him until later in the episode when it is revealed the cartel put a hit on him.

There wasn't much plot this week which almost made the episode stronger. There's wasn't a case to work on and was very focused on Raylan and Ava.

Score: 9.1/10

Review - V (2009) Season 1 Episode 9 Heretic's Fork

Can you believe there are only three episodes left? Less than two months ago, only four episodes had aired and there was much promise in the show. Now, with 9 episodes total, V has become a formless drama with a banal mixture of events, no of which are drawing me into the show. TNT's untitled alien drama, detailed by NY Magazine, actually sounds promising but so too did V.

The Visitors know about the hybrid so they send a "soldier" after her. He's only slightly better than the average V and isn't as destructive as I imagined (Seriously, Anna thought he was soooooo insanely strong that he would attract attention from humans.). Hobbes sends an axe into his chest, but I'm pretty sure the soldier is still alive. At the end of the episode, Valerie leaves on a train without Ryan. It looks like Val will give birth in the season finale, so she'll have to come back. As much as the original V series sucked (not the 2 miniseries), I wouldn't even mind the Star Child plot right now.

It looks like the Fifth Column may gain two notable members. Chad, for no reason other than integrity, asks Jack how he can help actively oppose the Visitors. After hearing Erica's distress over losing Tyler, Lisa tells Tyler not to join the Live Aboard program. She's slowly becoming human like the other Visitors who had close interactions with humans. I don't really care about either character, so I could care less. In fact, I don't think I care about any character.

Score: 8.4/10

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review - The Good Wife Season 1 Episode 19 Boom

If there's one show that's being ignored by virtually everyone, it's The Good Wife. Hardly any critics talk about it and the viewers, which skew old, don't rave about it on the internet like fans of other shows. Quietly, The Good Wife has become one of the best shows on television and very few people seem to realize that. Sure, it's on CBS, a network not known for critical accolades, but people have a bad habit of counting out everything on the network. Given some of the rubbish the other networks spit out, we should be lucky there is CBS to count on for a solid procedural.

"Boom" was shrouded in ambiguity but also had moments of gleaming clarity, as quality that has made the show successful. There writers don't make everything mysterious or clear. Sometimes we don't know exactly what's going on and at other times we know, without a doubt, what someone's motivations are.

There are two distinct scenes, well-made but curiously distant from anything tangible and fully understandable. The first comes after Jackie shows up at the apartment asking who Eli Gold is. Alan Cumming continues to endear himself,  delivering the brilliant line,  "The plumber. Who are you?"with such alacrity I literally laughed out loud. Jackie finds Peter with Pastor Easton and is clearly disappointed. She later recommends Peter an Episcopalian priest. So what's her deal? Was she some kind of George Wallace supporter and dislikes blacks? She doesn't like religion, but thinks a white Episcopalian priest would be the best choice?

The second comes near the end of the episode at the church. Peter gets up and meets with Kozko and they have a confusing conversation about their past dealings. There is a push-pull thing going on between them, but never a clear indication of what they did. We do learn, however, it is a big setup to catch Peter, who rips of Kozkos shirt to find a wire.

The Good Wife has an uncanny ability to pinpoint certain issues with amazing foresight. Somehow, out of the blue, this very episode about Muhammad drawn in a cartoon ends up scheduled the week after the South Park controversy. The producers, while approaching the subject, did so gingerly, never showing the cartoon in it's entirety or showing the Muslim side of things other than the very brief scene at the house. Ultimately, the episode was still about white people, and as much as the writers wanted to bring in some cultural sensitivity, it doesn't help when they shy away from the issue and go with the easy out: Cary suggests that another reporter is the murderer and the law part of the episode is over.

The episode ends with Alicia making plans to have dinner with Will after seeing Peter with Kozko. She's had enough of him lying and taking advantage of the situation. Peter goes right up to the edge of the apartment, weighs his options, and takes a decisive step outside. Alarms blaring, he holds his ground, ready to save his marriage. Considering how poisonous Jackie is and his own behavior, I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - NCIS Season 7 Episode 20 Moonlighting

The black and white stills have become a staple of NCIS and are used quite effectively to build up suspense for what happens next. In "Moonlighting," Gibbs and Fornell are shown in the beginning of the episode with their guns out and flames behind them. I had nearly forgot about it until almost halfway into the episode when the Cooper offices were completely annihilated. My reaction probably would have been the same had I not seen the black and white stills, but the bigger issue, are the black and white stills necessary? Certainly, they portend what may happen, but they almost get forgotten sometimes.

The case this week was great as usual and foreshadowed a little of this season's endgame. A mobster turned informant named Stefano Delmar is found dead from a hit and a Marine passing by is also killed in the process. Fornell comes in as well as Susan, the polygraph technician who was all over McGee last time she was on the show. Susan is intended to be annoying, but I think Jackie Geary did a good enough job to make her somewhat likable. She was moonlighting for Cooper which was the common link. In the end, the judge was passing on information to the mob, so although she didn't directly kill anyone, she basically handed out death sentences to those informants who she believed got off easy.

At one point, Susan gives Gibbs a polygraph, and apparently no one has EVER given Gibbs a proper polygraph. She asks him if he ever committed a felony. He flashes back to his headshot of the cartel member and quickly stops the test. The issue isn't resolved which means later episodes will do that.

The episode did feel uneven at times with the disposal of Tony teasing McGee about the video games and Abby's animosity towards Susan in the second half the episode. The two weren't really revisited and didn't develop into anything. It's good for amusement, but the only other subplot was Susan finally recognizing that McGee isn't in to her, McGee's acceptance of her, and Susan spurning him in the end.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 1 Episode 20 Fame

This will probably be my last NCIS: Los Angeles review before the season finale and I may not even review the season finale. There's hardly anything I like about the show and I feel like I'm watching the show out of obligation, which is definitely not the purpose for watching television.

The part I hate most about Los Angeles is the constant playing up of the club/Hollywood scene. LA is a huge city and there's some places that are definitely not so nice. Apparently, the writers think LA means "hip" and "hot." Well, there's more to the city, but the writers are content to bring the fake, uppercrust of Los Angeles to the viewers.

"Fame" focused on a Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian celebrity, who is famous for no reason. To make a boring, tedious story short, the murderer turns out to be some Iraqi/Iranian. By the end of the episode, I was really paying attention to the case.

Score: 7.4/10

Review - Doctor Who 5.4 The Time Of Angels

Tom Wilson is having internet problems, so here are his thoughts on the episode.

I didn't like the episode first time around but the reaction i saw on Twitter was very positive so I decided to watch it again & sure enough & thankfully I really enjoyed it.

I wasn't really concentrating first time around to be honest because of the Arsenal Man City game so I missed the many wonderful moments I enjoyed while watching with 100% concentration.

The story was the best one this season, the dialogue was very well written. There was some great scenes & some really great lines. The angels were a lot more aggressive than they were in Blink, the scenes where they killed those two soldiers were great. I liked the noise of the necks breaking.

The moment of the ep was the scene where the dead scared soldier spoke to the doctor via the angels, it was also briliantly & extremely dark. It's as dark & as chilling as anything I've seen on Doctor Who before.

I also thought the music was very good, at certain points it reminded me of Lost.

There was a lot of lines I liked but 2 of my favourites where these:

"I don't need you to die for me, do you think I'm that clingy".

"I swear to whatever is left of you they will be sorrier".

Review - Happy Town Season 1 Episode 1 In This Home on Ice

The only reason why I noticed this show in the first place was ABC's reminder that they were the network that brought us Twin Peaks--still, 20 years after it first aired, the most innovative, intriguing, mind-boggling work of artistry on television ever bar none. ABC's reminder, however, overlooked the major fact that they ruined the show by revealing Laura Palmer's murderer which lead to a cancellation after only the second season.

And, well, Happy Town is hardly like Twin Peaks. I won't fault the writers for the ill conceived comparison, but some genius at ABC clearly was watching something else or was sleeping and decided to throw in the words "Twin Peaks" to get buzz. On paper, the valid comparisons--small town, grisly murder--are already few and far between. The differences, even in comparisons of the town and murder, are stark and numerous. Twin Peaks had a charm to it and with the arrival of Agent Dale Cooper in the pilot, it was established as a pretty cool place that had something else churning beneath the pristine veneer. Happy Town does not have the spunky dialogue, the cool attitude, or anything remotely close to what made Twin Peaks special.

From the get-go, the writing screams: "Come here for a mystery!! This is the darkest, scariest show you'll find!!" Twin Peaks slowly built up the mystery piece by piece, never tipping its hand. The quirky style of the show and complex characters, set in motion by the pilot, endeared it to the viewers. It was as organic as a show could get. The writers of Happy Town, in what I suspect is an attempt to lure in viewers, try much too hard to play up the mystery angle, leaving any other development behind. The result is a central mystery with no solid base.

An innocent woman named Henley (Lauren German), moves to Haplin, Minnesota, an idealized small town, to open up a candle shop. We meet this person and that person, and guess what? There's something wrong with them! The writers take no time letting us know these may be psycho automatons from space. Their demeanor, speech, attitude all point to them as a suspects. Thanks. Before diving in their dirty secrets, David Lynch actually created real characters instead of useless caricatures.

The mystery is still the main draw of the show and may be enough to sustain viewers. However, given the early departures of ABC's other hour-long programs, Eastwick and The Deep End, I wouldn't hold out luck for a renewal. Sheriff Tommy Conroy (Geoff Stults) and his wife, Rachel (Amy Acker), live happily in Haplin (great name) until the "Magic Man" strikes again. Cue spooky music. There were a number of kidnapping years earlier by this evil-doer and the townspeople are in a furor. First evidence of unrest! Tommy's father, Sheriff Griffin (M.C. Gainey), who brings the news of murder, is uttering words and names he has no recollection about later. More evidence! This town is in peril! Soon, he has a full on breakdown as we are clued in that Sam Neill's character, Merritt Grieves, is up to something.

Is Happy Town Twin Peaks? No. Is Happy Town a good show? No. That's about as much as you need to know.

Score: 6.0/10

Major computer issues

My computer is having major problems as I am typing this is in Safe Mode right now. Hopefully I'll fix it by the time new shows start airing. Thankfully, there's no Lost this week.

I got it fixed, so I'm set for the night.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 04/26/10

Fox won with House (4.2) and 24 (2.8). Is the increased interest in 24 because it is the final episodes or because people actually like the season?

ABC was second with Dancing with the Stars (4.4), Romantically Challenged (2.6), and a repeat of Castle (1.9). Romantically Challenged dropped .3 to begin is crawl towards cancellation.

CBS was third with a repeat of How I Met Your Mother (1.6), Rules of Engagement (2.5), and repeats of Two and a Half Men (3.1), The Big Bang Theory (3.6), and CSI: Miami (1.8).

Lowly NBC was last with Chuck (2.1), Trauma (1.5), and a repeat of Law & Order (1.4). That was the likely series finale of Trauma.

Review - United States of Tara Season 2 Episode 6 Torando!

If wish United States of Tara Season was on a night where there isn't as many shows, preferably Wednesday, Friday, or the weekend. There's so many good things about it and so little time to dedicate to it. "Torando!" was one of my favorite episodes of the series.

With the torando coming, Tara, Max, Kate in Valhalla Hawkwind outfit, Marshall, Charmaine, and the gays pack into the basement. I loved the character interaction and it only got better when Tara's alters--Buck, Alice, Shoshona, but no T--come out in quick succession. Shoshona, in the process of revaling that Charmaine's baby is actually Neil's, also lets slip that Tara and Charmaine have a pack (probably from their childhood).

Last season, the search for Tara's rapist was physical and turned into a rather average whodunit. Now, we have Tara and Shoshana also searching, but it's all inside Tara's mind. It's not what someone did to her, but what she is hiding. By focusing on Tara instead of someone else, getting to the bottom of Tara's illness has been much better.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - House Season 6 Episode 18 Open and Shut

The patients the past two weeks have been awfully gimmicky. Last week featured a moron Renaissance Fair devotee and this week featured a patient happy with an open marriage. The good thing was that it was somewhat related to Taub, so the comparison of relationships was interesting even if the dialogue  seemed like it was pulled from some relationship book at times.

So what's Taub's deal? He insists he loves Rachel, he hangs out with the nurse, insists he loves Rachel again and only wants her, then sets up a date with the nurse after Rachel gives him the greenlight, then cancels the date after finding Rachel beside his car crying, and finally kisses the nurse and hops in a car with her. Is it really that hard for him to make up his mind?

The patient and medicine were, as with the past few seasons, not very interesting, but I feel obligated to say that the patient was stung by a bee and survives.

Score: 8.5/10

Monday, April 26, 2010

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 19 Day 8: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

What's going on? Plot-wise, not much. On the character side, every inexplicable action imaginable. Somehow, Logan utterly bamboozles Taylor into buying into his wicked ways without providing a good reason other than peace can be achieved if Dana is taken care of. Easy, right? But Taylor thinks it's a good direction tactically and morally. Since when did Taylor think like this? She turned in her own daughter for crying out loud.

Jack is off trying to save Dana from her eventual waterboarding while Chloe tricks him to bring him back in. The eventual result is Jack gaining a helpful ally in Cole. More vigilantism in New York. Yay.

As we approach the end of the series, it almost feels like we are also approaching the end of an unfinished rollercoaster. Each move forward brings us closer and closer to the eventual implosion of Season 8, where everyone, including the actors and writers, acknowledges just how bad the show has become. The horizon has no viable story, no viable characters, and no viable drama. Hang on, because we are sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss.

Just wondering, is waterboarding now the kind of de facto torture on 24? We've seen dangerous chemicals pumped into people, body parts cut, people suffocated, people shocked, and waterboarding was the torture for Dana? I hope next week brings something else.

Score: 7.5/10

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 14 Chuck Versus the Honeymooners

"Chuck Versus the Honeymooners" was about as refreshing as Chuck can get. It's distinctively different tone and devotion to fun was a welcome change  from the first half of the season, which undoubtedly was dark and worked well for the most part, but got a little tedious near the end. If the first half of the season can be considered as having a negative attitude, than the second half of the season is positively radiant. In the end, Season 3 as a whole will be as balanced as the previous two seasons. The producers told us to wait until the end, and the majority of us who stuck around were gifted with the light at the end of the tunnel--a very bright one at that.

The constant, artificial roadblocks between Chuck and Sarah have been shattered and the floodgates were in "Honeymooners," perhaps the most welcome difference in the second half. No longer are we wondering why Chuck and Sarah aren't together--the questions, I might add, rarely had sufficient answers. Now, it is taken for granted they want to be together, both Chuck and Sarah can articulate their thoughts in real words (gasp!), and the CIA or Beckman at least doesn't care. They've already started to have their cute moments, which are true delights to watch.

The plot was pretty simple and centered around Chuck and Sarah catching as Basque terrorist. More importantly, Chuck and Sarah are in agreement that they should run off after their final mission which is not sanctioned by the CIA. There is some great spy work with wonderful teamwork between the two, a result of two seasons working together. They use Southern accent and nifty hands, eventually drugging the terrorists.

It's all fine and dandy until Casey shows up. He and Morgan had been tasked by the CIA to find Chuck and Sarah. I really liked how Morgan was more than the bumbling idiot and at least helped Casey by locating Chuck on the surveillance camera. Casey is also rather accepting of Morgan, more so than I had expected, and lets him tag along all the way to Europe.

The Basque terrorist turns out to be an informant and the others surrounding are Interpol agents. Oops. Another Interpol team is sent in, and everything looks like it'll turn out fine. Big problem: there's a third of the episode left. Part of the fun of Chuck is watching the clock and wondering how many more fun situations the writers can through into the episode. The Canadian girl with the broken leg who Morgan had been hitting on and Chuck had been flashing on (I still don't understand why the flashes weren't important.), is the real terrorist. She kills the Interpol agents off-screen and for no apparent reason, keeps Casey and Morgan alive. After the original Interpol team who they drugged earlier confronts them, Chuck and Sarah rush back into action, crashing the party with a scooter. With great precision, Sarah and Chuck take out the terrorists, handcuffed at the same time, and a tied up Casey and Morgan are able to help a bit.

The looming question was, do Chuck and Sarah want each other or the spy life? Both say they unquestionably want the other. But what about having it all? In real life, that rarely happens, but this is television and anything is possible. Of course Chuck and Sarah can be spies and of course they can be together. This isn't some dark HBO drama. Is anyone not excited for the rest of the season?

I haven't read much on the topic, but Ellie and Awesome look like they will be exiting sometime soon. Their drunken send-off party is serenaded by a love Jeffster, singing John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane." Ellie and Chuck have a hug at the end of the episode, but will this be the last one of the season? I hope not, but unless the writers can integrate them while they're are in Africa or somehow make them reconsider, the ship has already sailed.

I'm guessing there won't be the oodles of Chuck and Sarah in the next few episodes, but it signifies that the producers aren't afraid to move forward with the characters. They've stagnated the relationship for two seasons and it's time to put an end to the silliness. As Beckman puts it "But off the record, it's about damn time."

Score: 9.4/10

Legend of the Seeker canceled; Southland renewed

Legend of the Seeker 

It's a bittersweet day for me. I like both shows, but no one can have everything. Honestly, I would have preferred if Legend of the Seeker was renewed instead of the other way around.

The guy who runs the Syfy Twitter account tweeted the message "Legend of the Seeker fans, we considered LOTS seriously, but for a variety of reasons, we unfortunately had to pass on the show." My response: "LOTS is too fantasy-oriented for a network that loves wrestling?"



Some guy posted a comment saying it's not over. I'm guessing it's some TSCC-like gibberish. If more proof was needed, look at tweets from Bridget Regan and Mike Sussman.

Review - Treme Season 1 Episode 3 Right Place, Wrong Time

The final scene of the episode seems to be stirring up a small controversy. As Albert and the rest of them perform the ceremony, a tour bus drives by and from behind the tinted windows, we see flashes of light and clicks. Obviously, Albert and the rest of them don't want to be intruded upon and the fact dawns on the driver after a while. The intent would seem to be to disparage those who visit the city to see the wreckage. But wouldn't those, like the tourists looking at New Orleans from the outside, include the viewers? We're are exactly the same as the tourists. We're watching New Orleans from our living rooms, detached but caring nonetheless. How are we suppose to react? The show basically flipped off the tourists AKA us. Do we watch the show thinking that we have no clue what it's like? Is the purpose of Treme to show us a realistic situational and tell us we will never understand it even though it's staring us in the face?

Aside from that, the show still has not picked up plot-wise or done anything truly unpredictable. The characters are great, the setting is great, but I'm repeating myself each week. There are great individual moments and a sense of continuity, but the larger issue--one that doesn't seem like it'll resolve itself--is the lack of a driving force other than the main themes of the show.

Detailing what the many characters do in the episode is rather tedious, so I think I'll focus on the character that sticks out the most. (Before someone comes here complaining about how short the review is, I don't get paid, so suck it.) Sonny and Annie weren't introduced in the pilot, but they came into their own in "Right Place, Wrong Time." Annie is moving on to better things while Sonny is left behind. He buys her wine and she likes it, but these small favors will do little once Annie is pulled away. In the end, Sonny is left by himself, unsure of himself and what to do.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 6 Sunset

Breaking Bad does a great job building the tension the entire episode, letting the hints fester, until finally, the climax comes after everything is in place and we are on the edge of our seats, waiting to see how Walt will get out of his next jam. "Sunset" was a perfect example of this, taking Hank sitting outside Jesse's house, waiting for the RV to show up, to Walt inadvertently bringing Hank to the RV by telling Badger that they need to destroy the it.

Hank shows up, ready to search the RV with Hank and Jesse still inside. In the back of my mind, there was no way Hank would catch them, but arrest seemed imminently possible. Hank tries prying the door open as Walt frantically tries keeping it closed. The junkyard owner buys them time by using his surprising knowledge of the law (probably because he's knee-deep in shady business) to get Hank to back off and get a warrant. This allows Walt to call Saul, who saves them by giving Hank an erroneous call about Marie in the hospital. The episode brought us back into the past as Walt examines a few items in the RV and when it is destroyed in the end, it's a bittersweet moment, the end of an era cooking meth in the RV, and also the point where they are moving on to bigger things.

The Cousins keep showing up at Cluck's, menacing customers and sitting there. If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time we've heard them speak and they still don't talk much, using brief phrases and sentences to get the finer details across. Their demeanor and expression is really what is important: they're angry and they want something. Gus talks to them at sunset and the Cousins now have another goal. Gus, proving once again how crafty and devious he is, convinces them to go after Hank, the actual killer of Tuco, getting rid of two problems at once.

Walt and his new assistant, Gale, are getting along very well. They both love chemistry, being in the lab, and they're both nerds. It's a match made in heaven! Damn you, Gus. Sooner or later, though, it'll break down just as every other relationship does.

There was a tiny bit of family drama with Skyler and Walt Jr. in there, but much less than in previous episodes. It many ways, it was like an episode of the first two seasons, where Walt and Jesse are at the center while the other characters didn't do much. "Sunset" didn't reach last week's character complexity, but had my heart pumping. I don't particularly like Hank, so the Cousins going after him came sort of as a relief, although I'll probably be squirming once the Cousins do track him down.

Score: 9.4/10

Review - The Pacific Part 7 Peleliu Hills

"Part 7" was the end of the Peleliu-arc, the longest the miniseries stays in a certain place, and it was also a devastating culmination of the intense fighting in the previous two parts. Sledge and his buddies were again the focus of the episode as they came up against Japanese forces at the most inopportune moments, each time struggling to hold onto their humanity. Joseph Mazzello does amazing work and his blank, unforgiving stare even during battle tells it all. He can hardly imagine what he is doing and yet here they are, killing people and getting killed.

The plot was fairly simple and consisted mostly of individuals scenes rather than some kind of final objective. There were a couple standouts. First, Sledge notices that there are Japanese in a bunker right beside where they are hanging out. The Japanese are no less than 20 feet away with guns and grenades. They manage to kill a few in very close-quarters combat and eventually the situation is resolved with flamethrowers, a horrifying sight which confirms why the Geneva Conventions bans them against civilians. The second came after the fighting was over. Snafu is nonchalantly tossing stones into the blown-off head of a Japanese soldier while Sledge watches. It's a gross sight and perhaps more difficult to comprehend.

Just like Sledge had few appearances here in there in the beginning episodes, Basilone is now showing up once per episode with a brief scene. This week, he's struggling to get over what happened on Guadalcanal. He stateside now and won't go back, but his mind is in a completely different place where the horrors of what happened is still raging. Because Basilone's scene added to the theme throughout the episode, it was a nice addition; however, in a different circumstance, when the themes don't match up like last week, it doesn't work as well.

Score: 9.5/10

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review - Foyle's War Season 7 Episode 3 The Hide

If that really was the final episode, it was a bit of a letdown. There was sort of a resolution with Foyle going to America, but nothing like the ending of "All Clear." Sam is  getting married to Andrew, but Milner isn't involved in the episode. It didn't feel like a culmination at all, which would be hard to do since the war is over.

The case this week had more pathos than last week's episode without all the blatant moralizing under a suspect pretense. Members of the British Free Corp come back to England. One is arrested and the other is welcomed as a hero after passing on information to the British. Foyle unravels the mystery and discovers that their roles were actually switched.

Score: 8.8/10

Preview of Week 04/25/10 - 05/01/10

Chuck - NBC, Monday, April 26, 8:00pm ET

The last time Chuck aired, it turned the corner completely, resolving the arc and getting Chuck and Sarah together. Now, Chuck and Sarah will pose as a married couple on a train.

Justified - FX, Tuesday, April 27,. 10:00pm ET

Justified is the strongest when Raylan's past is involved. This week's episode has Raylan's ex-wife, Winona, who last week had Raylan investigate 2 names, asking him to intervene.

Happy Town - ABC, Wednesday, April 28, 10:00pm ET

This definitely isn't anywhere near Twin Peaks, but it may be worth watching (really stretching it). I'll have a review of the pilot out tomorrow.

Fringe - Fox, Thursday, April 29, 9:00pm ET

This is the Fringe musical we've been dreading. And from the looks of it, it'll be a drastically different episode than we're used to seeing. After Peter learned of the big secret and ran off, this definitely isn't the right time for the episode.

Parry Down - Starz, Friday, April 30, 10:00pm ET

If you were a little disappointed in the season premiere as I was, the second episode of the season is funnier than the first. I'm already dreading the end of the season when the actors jump ship.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Review - Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Episode 18 Walter

There are four episodes left in the season and Richard and Co., thankfully, are no longer following the whims of the compass, which often leads them into standalone episodes. The task of closing the rift was only made more difficult all the random places visited through the course of the season. Now, with the scroll in his hands, Richard can move onto more pressing issues and will still have plenty of opposition to make it to the end of the season.

The writers tried something very different in "Walter" and it worked out great. The focus of the episode was on Walter, a Darken Rahl lookalike, while Richard and the rest of them were only tangentially connected, and yet, in the end, it all comes together to move along the Stone of Tears plot and creates a memorable character at the same time. Ironically, the one time I want to give a shoutout to a specific writer, there is no information anywhere on the internet about the episode.

After watching Craig Parker as the evil Darken Rahl for many episodes, it was delightful to see him as the lackadaisical, almost timid Walter. I couldn't believe how much he changed. Most of the episode is spent telling Walter's backstory of becoming Darken Rahl's double, pretending to be Darken Rahl after the real Darken Rahl dies, and gets caught. It was a nice blend of humor and drama, but not particularly original.

Beyond the nice backstory is a hastily plotted return of Darken Rahl to the realm of the living which was too rushed to care much about. Somehow, Sisters of the Dark have the ability to switch people into other bodies, and Walter ends up in the body of a D'Haran soldier and Darken Rahl takes Walter's body. The scroll, given to Richard by Darken Rahl in exchange for Walter's body reads "The instructions inscribed upon the scroll will only appear in the glow cast by a nightwisp." Yes, the ever so obvious hint that tells you exactly what to do, but takes more time to accomplish.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 14 Human

If there's one thing to take away from "Human," it's that Robert Carlyle and Louise Lombard did a fantastic job. Outside of that, the episode did not have a distinct direction, especially in the end where the episode turns towards Destiny and the Ancients, away from the character of Rush. "Human" was not a flashback episode revealing Rush's deep, dark past and how he came to be the person his is, but rather a look at Rush of the present, the one whose sole focus is to the Stargate, and in that way, the episode is problematic by presenting a flashback scenario which has little to do with Rush's past.

The episode begins with Rush's wife, Gloria, discovering she has cancer. Rush is detached, pouring, obsessively, over pages and pages of formulas and notes. It's a stunning sight to see Gloria in so much pain, and yet her husband all but ignores her. By now, I'm thinking Rush is a complete bastard, until Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) shows up, asking him about the power consumption of the 9th chevron. Rush knows exactly what happens next and the scene cuts to the Destiny where Rush is sitting in the Ancient chair to unlock the mysteries of the ship.

My big problem of the episode was the confusion over where Rush's memories begin and where his sub-conscious, the one solving the equations of the ship, ends. It was never clear exactly what happened in the past, so we have no clue exactly how Rush acted when his wife was dying. All we know for sure is that his wife died. Rush's subconscious kept injecting speech into Gloria and Daniel, projection for the conflict raging in his mind. Gloria and Daniel became stand-ins for parts of Rush's brain. Towards the end, Daniel became the rational part, giving Rush the clues, while Gloria became his conscious, asking him how far he would go to succeed.

The outcome is Rush's discovery that number 46 is significant. Because humans have 46 chromosomes and the Ancients love genes, the solution is short and elegant. Using the number 46, the scientists will, after many calculations, be able to unlock the ship.

The producers want Stargate Universe to be a darker show and they've had mixed results in doing so. Curiously, they also try to inject humor once in a while using flat actors, which fails each time. "Human" was perhaps the most egregious example of this. After everything bad that has happened over the first 13 episodes, Chloe and Eli still think they're out in space having fun. It's a great adventure! Let's go exploring! Sorry kids, people have died and both of you have come close to dying. Not that they really care.

When debating who should go to the planet, Eli and Chloe both want to tag along for no good reason. Eli is the more qualified out of the two since he's actually smart. Chloe, however, is as dumb as a doornail, but Eli wants her to come along, telling her "Say something archaeological." Chloe replies "Stratification." Cue laughter--except hours later, they are trapped in a tunnel. If they had any reason, they wouldn't be flippant about exploring the next time around, but these aren't people who learn from their mistakes.

James's detonates some explosives to get them out and it looks like the resulting explosion would have been enough to level the entire tunnel complex. For all the explosive force, everyone is still trapped and the cave in is worse. Hopefully someone is reminded of this next time James is put in charge of a rescue operation.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Greer, Chloe, Scott, and Eli left behind on the planet. They weren't given the easy way out and will have to deal with the consequences. It looks like Greer's claustrophobia, which was briefly referenced, will be the focus of the next episode. I've always been intrigued by Greer, so I'm looking forward to that, and maybe this time, it'll be real flashbacks.

Score: 8.6/10

Friday, April 23, 2010

Review - Gravity Season 1 Episode 1 Suicide Dummies

 While watching Gravity, I kept wondering--"What is this?" The drama parts of the show actually work quite well and I wanted to keep watching. The comedy parts, or what assumed to be attempts at humor, weren't amusing the slightest bit. With an unclear focus, Gravity doesn't come together fully.

There are elements which could make the show workable in the future. The ensemble cast is decent, especially with Krysten Ritter as the lead. The characters are, for the most part, interesting enough and expandable enough to connect to, although the whole suicide concept is dry and needs some wringing out.

Since it's airing after Party Down, which by the way is much, much funnier, I'll probably watch a few more episodes to see how everything pans out.

Score: 7.8/10

Review - Party Down Season 2 Episode 1 Jackal Onassis Backstage Party

With many cast members departing, I'm worried Party Down won't be the same after this season. Before getting to that point, we can at least enjoy the second season which was made before everyone started going to other shows. And no one can fault the actors. They were given one year contracts for a show that proved to be the only critical success on Starz.

Season 2 begins 9 months after the season one finale. Henry is still team leader, Ron is nowhere to be seen, and Casey is off somewhere else. After Henry fires a midget, the replacement arrives. It turns out to be Casey, who was off to do comedy on a cruise ship last time we saw her. Henry is now with Uda (Kristen Bell's character) and Casey is with someone else. Their new coworker, Lydia (Megan Mullally) loves the gossip, so she churns the issue everywhere she goes. Ron comes back with a hot, young girlfriend, but also without Soup'r'Crackers which collapsed in the recession.

With the reintroduction of all the characters, Jackal Onassis (awesome name) and his party were mostly in the background. Jackal wishes to be regular, so he switches places with Roman. Even with all the perceive wealth and fame, Roman still can't get any girls, Kyle stealing them away midconversation. The episode didn't have that many laughs for me, but it did set up the conflicts for the rest of the season.

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 04/22/10

All shows were down across the board, so the lower ratings aren't that big a deal for most shows.

CBS was first with Survivor (3.6), CSI (2.8), The Mentalist (3.0).

Fox was second with Bones (2.5) and Fringe (2.1).

NBC was third with Community (1.6), 30 Rock (1.9), The Office (3.2), 30 Rock (2.5), and The Marriage Ref (1.9).

ABC was last with Flashforward (1.6), Private Practice (2.3), and a repeat of Grey's Anatomy (1.3).

Review - Community Season 1 Episode 21 Contemporary American Poultry

The two freshman comedy standouts have, without a doubt, been Modern Family and Community. Modern Family takes the usual sitcom family and spins it in a fresh and funny way. Community, however, takes the sitcom and turns it upside down and all around. "Contemporary American Poultry" was a play on Goodfellas, the entire episode voiced by the "gangster," Abed. The episode was streets ahead if you get my drift.

Basically, the plot revolved around chicken finger gangsters with Abed as the fry cook. He uses his power to gain influence and friends, alienating the egotistical Jeff in the process. The episode kind of dragged near the end, but the chicken finger mafia implodes on itself with everyone becoming unhappy.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - The Office Season 6 Episode 21 Secretary's Day

Did anyone feel like Kevin was getting just desserts for being a pest in the previous episode? Even though the episode was many weeks ago, I still remember hating him for making those baby noises for Pam's breasts. In part, that's what made me love the whole Gabe/Cookie Monster plot. Pam and Jim together still make for occasional comedic gold and it definitely happened when they walk out of the office. Gabe, trying to assert his power, suspends Pam, Jim, and Dwight. Pam learns that they can't be suspended without pay, so she and Jim walk out. Gabe ends up being the butt of the jokes instead. Sure, it's a little mean-spirited, but at least it's funny.

I've liked Erin up until now, but her total craziness really put me off. She takes the revelation that Andy was engaged to Angela, and doesn't just get angry. She's confused and does insane acts the entire episode. After that, I want her locked up somewhere.

Score: 8.9/10

Revew - The Mentalist Season 2 Episode 19 Blood Money

Could the writers have made Jane any more of an annoying, conceded prick? Jane has always been, let's just say, wild in his tactics. In "Blood Money," knowing that Hightower is watching, Jane decided to be the most childish in behavior to date. It also doesn't help that everyone on the team let him run off. I don't know what the writers are playing at, but acknowledging that there is a law and courts isn't doing the show any favors, mostly because they themselves have no concept of the law nor do their characters.

By the time Jane was in court masquerading as a clown, I was done with him--and there was still over 3/4 of the episode to go. Yes, he got the smugglers. Yes, he got the hitman. Yes, he got the ADA. Yes, Hightower let him and Lisbon off. And that's the sad part about this ordeal. No matter what Jane does, no matter how disrespecting he is, no matter how many laws he breaks, Jane, the glorious hero, will be safe and loved.

Score: 7.0/10

Review - Fringe Season 2 Episode 19 The Man from the Other Side

It's hard to believe how much Fringe has kicked its game up since the hiatus. For the most part, every episode has been on point with the arc of Walter hiding the big alternate universe from Peter driving the show forward. It culminated in "The Man from the Other Side," perhaps the second best to the brilliant "Peter." The overriding issue that has been haunting Walter is now out in the open and we can move onto the plan for the end of the season. which involves "the man from the other side," referred to by Newton only as "secretary." I think it's safe to assume it's Walternate, who must be angry and will have years and years of pent up rage to unleash.

The plot itself wasn't that spectacular, but the pacing along with the visuals really kept me in the episode. Mostly it was Newton and his shapeshifter minions systematically killing people and installing vibration devices around the city. The team does the usual slimy science thing, including an interrogation of a disgusting, yet-humanized shapeshifter. Using harmonic vibrations, Walter and Peter are able to prevent the bridge from fully materializing. However, the "secretary" had already crossed to the other side of the bridge, so the team ultimately failed.

Peter puts the clues together--the old photo Walter carries, his mother's suicide, him not disintegrating like the FBI agent--and confronts Walter about them. As expected, their relationship is no longer the same and Peter runs off at the end of the episode. I doubt they will ever fully mend their bond which is, to be fair, built entirely on a big lie and an abduction.

Score: 9.4/10

Review - Supernatural Season 5 Episode 19 Hammer of the Gods

There's three episodes left in the season and boy am I excited. There was a a unexpected Ghostfacers commercial, appearances by several gods, lots of killing by Lucifer, and, yes, the one thing everyone has been waiting for--angel porn.

The plot doesn't need much elaboration other than the acknowledgement of how many cool moments there were. On the grand scale, nothing much happened and the fights were a tad one-sided. The gods manipulate nature until Sam and Dean arrive at a hotel where they become bait for Lucifer. Gabriel, who in his last episode was revealed as a fraudulent trickster, shows up and tries to convince the gods to not fight. They don't listen and are slaughter along with Gabriel as Sam and Dean run off.

I liked how the gods (I refuse to use the word pagan since it is such a pejorative.) were introduced. Supernatural does a fantastic job at incorporating ancient myths into contemporary settings and succeeded again. Small problem: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Wouldn't that make angels older than Kali and the rest of them since the angels were there before the creation of Earth? Just saying...

The end of the episode easily sets up the next episode with Pestilence sneezing all over the place. Prepare to be creeped out.

Score: 9.3/10

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 17 The Garden of Forking Paths

The writers have reached the point where they are stringing together random words to make the characters sound smart or mysterious. Not that they haven't done this in the past, but there were two instances where both the director and the writing stuck out as incessantly frantic and confusing to make a big deal out of something that could be simply explained without a whole lot of hysteria. The first comes a few minutes into the episode. After Frost uses Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's Oedipus and the Sphinx, the characters go on wild speculation about Demetri getting himself in trouble because he tried to avoid getting shot in the first place. Vreede asks if the same thing will happen if they try to save Demetri, but Mark doesn't care. The second also comes near the beginning. Dyson Frost goes on a rant about experiments at Raven River and the future, trying to be as cryptic as possible.

It's not as complicated as it seems, though the writers through in all these analogies to muddle up the situation, which is actually pretty interesting. Essentially, Frost and other researchers, created many flashforwards to jump into the future, each time seeing something new, the different paths of the episode title, "The Garden of Forking Paths." Once the events foreseen start happening, the path is set in a certain direction and Frost intervenes with knowledge of the outcome to resolve the fork in the road to his benefit. In Demetri's case, Demetri kills him most of the time, but by kidnapping him, Frost attempts to alter the outcome.

In the end, Dyson Frost is dead and Demetri isn't. Wait a minute..the writers really decided to suck out all the dramatic weight from the characters of Dyson Frost and Demetri in the same episode? Dyson Frost is the really, really, really, evil, mean, insidious supervillain the show has been building since the appearance of the omnipresent D. Gibbons (cue dramatic music), but now he's a dead old guy lying in the desert. Demetri is the guy who was fated to die, but against all odds, struggled and overcame death. No twists and no consequences. Everything is turning out fine and dandy. This flashforward thing doesn't sound bad at all.

What's up with Baltar showing up in the end? Do we care? I know I don't.

Once again, I wrote way more on FlashForward than I should have. It'll be canceled, so the 2016 date holds little relevance.

Score: 7.6/10

Review - Bones Season 5 Episode 18 The Predator in the Pool

Body parts are found in various fishes in an aquarium, sending the Brennan and Hodgins into the aquarium filled with sharks. The case was kind of bland after that and didn't have any real twists other than the revelation of the lion fish as the murder weapon. In the end, the victim, Jazz Gunn, was found to be killed by a fourth-grade teacher who had been duped by him into thinking that being around fish could cure her fibromyalgia.

As for the burgeoning romances between Booth and Dr. Bryar and Brennan and Andrew, I could care less. The romantic side of relationships are always done in the more transparent way. Hart Hanson has an idea of what he's doing, but it's so obvious it's hard not to laugh. Clearly, the only reason for Bryar and Andrew is for Brennan to realize she has feelings for Booth. There is no other way to go.

I have to say, Dr. Bryar, played by Rena Sofer, is much more pleasant than M. Allison Hart, Sofer's character on NCIS, also a romantic interest for the male lead, Gibbs.

Score: 8.7/10

Free download of Planet Earth

I got an email about a free episode of Planet Earth on iTunes. It's the first episode "From Pole to Pole." If anyone's interested, click here. The offer ends on Monday, April 26.

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 04/21/10

Fox won with American Idol (5.9).

NBC was a distant second with Mercy (1.2), a repeat of Law & Order: SVU (1.4), and a new episode of Law & Order: SVU (2.8).

ABC was third with repeats of The Middle (1.4, 1.6), Modern Family (2.2, 2.0), and Cougar Town (1.3, 1.2).

CBS was last with The New Adventures of Old Christine (1.5), Accidentally on Purpose (1.5), and repeats of Criminal Minds (1.8) and CSI: NY (1.4).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 04/20/10

Fox won with American Idol (6.9) and Glee (5.3).

NBC was second with The Biggest Loser (3.4) and Parenthood (2.9). Unlike the rest of NBC's scripted programming, Parenthood is actually going up.

ABC was third with Dancing with the Stars (2.4), Lost (3.7), and V (2.2). V held steady, but DWTS dropped a lot.

CBS was last with repeats of NCIS (1.8), NCIS: Los Angeles (2.0), and The Good Wife (1.3). It's an utter disgrace that Los Angeles repeated more than NCIS.

Review - V (2009) Season 1 Episode 8 We Can't Win

Either I'm going crazy or this was by far the worst episode of the series. Other than certain parts with the Visitors, I was completely uninterested with the entire episode. With the ratings still falling, the series was probably not going to get renewed already and an episode like this will only continue the drop.

Erica and the gang try to catch a Visitor, using a teacher turned frightened Fifth Column resistance member, Alex Caruso, as bait. Caruso is killed and the sniper is actually a human. Yes, the plot was that simple and boring.

Anna invites herself to a U.N. conference, but the Secretary General doesn't want her there. He makes a good point when he says that many jobs will be lost due to the Visitors. Blue energy, a seemingly renewable, clean, and efficient, power source would displace all other forms of energy. Not only would it affect the energy industry, it would also completely disrupt natural market forces and throw the world economy into disarray. However, following the Visitor's amazing save of Timbal's infrastructure, the UN votes to let Anna speak. She brings in the blue energy which everyone loves. The Secretary General is further convinced Anna is up to something. If they are just visitors, they shouldn't be playing politics by saving people and use the advantage to speak to the UN.

The two Fifth Column members that have been running the empathy tests find that Lisa fails the test. They debate what they should do next. Having her killed under Anna's instructions to kill all who fail who be a blow to the Visitors. Lisa could also be a helpful ally if she fully comes around to their side. In the end, they let her live and one of them tells Lisa that she owes him a favor in the future.

The parts I focused on were the ones that I liked. The majority of the episode was stupid.

Score: 7.0/10

Review - Justified Season 1 Episode 6 The Collection

Raylan didn't shoot anyone this week! But the criminals did, so I guess it makes up for that. The case of the week--yes, I'll call it that because Justified is a procedural--was standard stuff. There's art forgery, backstabbing wife, trainer in cahoots with the wife, and a fake suicide.

More importantly, there were some important conversations about Raylan's past and about his father that elevated the episode beyond a typical episode. Raylan's ex-wife, Winona, comes by his office and asks for information on two names. Her husband, Gary, is apparently in sketchy business dealings, but the two people don't have anything outstanding. When Winona drops by Raylan's place, he asks her about their marriage, and for the first time, tells her that it's been eating at him.

AUSA David Vasquez shows up at the crime scene poking around into Raylan, and there is much to look into. Although he is investigating Raylan's stuff in Miami, digging could turn up Raylan's involvement with Ava, derailing the prosecution of Boyd, who is now "reformed."

The scenes between Raylan and Winona really made the episode. It would be criminal of me not to point out the funniest exchange of the episode.

Raylan: "Was he funnier than me? Smarter? Does he have more money? Bigger house? Bigger dick?"
Winona: "Yes, no, no,, I didn't measure."

Score: 8.9/10

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review - Lost Season 6 Episode 13 The Last Recruit

As we approach the series finale, there was large movement in "The Last Recruit" towards a resolution for the island plot. The writers have been holding back for a while and finally unleashed the narrative potential of the show, driving forward with many decisive decisions from everyone. The episode itself didn't have much mystery or revelations, but it did set the scene for the final 4 episodes. Looking ahead, The flash-sideways still remains rather shapeless, but the coincidental meetings of the characters does lend itself to some nice moments.

The two camps come together for the first time since the Temple and the plot kicks off. Jack talks to Flocke who gives him the usual spiel about getting off the island together and lets talks to Claire who also knows they are siblings. Jack asks her about Flocke and her one and only definitive answer is that Locke has already spoken. There is no other truth. If she wasn't crazy, I'd be more likely to believe her.

Did anyone else think Flocke would think smarter? To begin the invasion of Hydra Island, he sends Sawyer and Kate, alone, to take the boat and meet them on the other side of the Island. Is Flocke arrogant enough to think he has everything under control or is he just dumb in this situation? Of course Sawyer is scheming. His plan is to get him, Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sun, and Lapidus over to Hydra, leaving the rest of them behind. Yeah, forget the rest of them, even if some are 815 survivors that aren't zombies or nuts.

Flocke again is off twiddling his fingers while Jack leads the group away. They reach the boat and Claire pops out to stop them. Kate manages to talk her down and even convince her to come along. On the boat, Flocke's words are still resonating with Jack. He questions what he's doing and remembers what happened last time he left the Island. Not wanting the same thing to happen, he talks to Sawyer who offers him two choices: jump or stay. Jack chooses the former, jumping in the ocean to Kate's dismay. He swims back to shore where Flocke and a bunch of Others with guns are waiting for him. Jack originally started off as the man of science, the one who bucked Locke's fanciful ideas of the Island, but now, he too is the man of faith, believing that the Island holds something for him and everyone else.

The boat lands on Hydra where Zoe and a bunch of henchman with guns are waiting for Sawyer and the rest of them. Sun and Jin see each other and have their belated reunion. For a second, I was worried the sonic fence would still be on and they would crumple to the ground inches away from each other. Good thing it didn't happen, because there reunion was quite nice. Zoe stops them after about a minute--far too short for all the time they've been apart--putting everyone at gunpoint, and from Widmore's orders, shoots a missile towards Flocke and Jack.

Sayid is given a side task to kill Desmond who is still sitting there at the bottom of a well. Apparently, Desmond has been doing lots of thinking down there about his own situation and sees how it could apply to Sayid's life. He asks Sayid what he had to do to get his woman back, and goes further, asking Sayid what he would tell her after she did come back. Sayid realizes that getting Nadia back at all costs wouldn't be the right thing to do if his souls is already lost. He returns to the camp, and assuming he didn't kill Desmond (not that big a leap), lies to Flocke about killing Desmond. I haven't touched on this for a while, but I was kind of right about The Last Supper cast photo. Flocke, in the Jesus position, will be betrayed by Sayid who is Judas.

The flash-sidways was mostly a disjointed hodgepodge of situations tied together by the common thread of familiar faces. I have no clue where anything in the flash-sideways is going nor do I much care.  The main narrative remains on the Island. The novelty of seeing the characters in different roles is enough so I don't dislike it, but my opinion, 13 episodes into the final season, is mostly of indifference.

Sawyer has Kate back at the police station where they engage in a flirty conversation sort of like the ones from the earlier seasons. Miles soon breaks in with information on a shooting; he has surveillance footage of Sayid exiting the restaurant. Just as quickly as she enters the episode, flash-sideways Kate is gone and isn't seen for the remainder of the episode. At the same time, Sayid returns to tell Nadia he is leaving, but before he can do so, Miles and Sawyer show up. On the Island, Desmond's poignant question strikes him and he decides not to follow Flocke. In the flashsideways, without Desmond's sage words, Sayid has already gone as a far as humanly possible, killing many men to protect Nadia. The end result, however, is just as lonely and separated from Nadia as Sayid is arrested.

The main feature of the flashsideways this week was the interplay between Desmond, Claire, and Jack. Having knocked over poor Locke, Desmond is going about his business as if nothing happened. He goes into creep mode (he seemed a little too suave and pushy), guiding Claire towards his own lawyer for adoption advice. His lawyer is Ilana! At least she's not exploded in a messy pulp in this world. And to make his huge coincidence (or shall we say "fate") bigger, Ilana has been looking for the very same Claire Littleton. Hmm... It's like everyone else in the world doesn't matter.

Later, Jack and David come by to have Christian's will read. The lawyer in charge of the estate is...also Ilana! Everyone's converging on her. Is this some kind of recompense from the universe for exploding her so abruptly? Ilana introduces Jack to his sister, Claire and like the reunion between Jin and Sun on the Island, it's cut short by a call from the hospital. Jack comes in to operate and it's Locke. Jack is far more surprised than the viewers.

Locke and Sun are both taken to the hospital and as they are taken in, Sun is scared Locke, showing the blending of the Island and flash-sideways. It wasn't love that set it off, but rather an accident that somehow jarred her brain into thinking that Flocke is evil.

I'm looking forward to what happens on the Island after all the the developments on the Island. The flash-sideways, not so much. The writers are in a difficult place with the flash-sideways. On one hand, the Island is te center of the show and needs enough screen time; on the other, the flash-sideways hasn't been developed to the point where it is compelling, at least to me.

There's no new episode next week and "Ab Aeterno" will air instead.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Foyle's War Season 7 Episode 2 Killing Time

Yes, racism is bad. Yes, segregation is bad. Is it particularly relevant in the realm of Foyle's War? Not really. There was a whole lot of moralizing in "Killing Time," and it really bogged down the episode for the first half. Like all countries with large minority populations, the United States had plenty of racial tension and de facto racism in large parts of the country. There were no British blacks in the episode to contrast, so I didn't see the relevance at all.

The murder investigation didn't even get started until two-thirds through the episode, because that's when the murder happened, it was wrapped up rather quickly in the final act. Next week's episode will probably be the final episode of the show, so I hope it's better.

Score: 8.6/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 04/19/10

ABC won with Dancing with the Stars (4.8), Romantically Challenged (2.9), Castle (2.6). Romantically Challenged didn't do too bad, except that the episode was so terrible that many people will stop watching. At the same time, Castle was hurt without the huge lead-in. Good move ABC!!

CBS was second with How I Met Your Mother (3.2), Rules of Engagement (3.0), repeats of Two and a Half Men (3.8), The Big Bang Theory (4.1), and a new episode of CSI: Miami (3.2).

Fox was third with House (4.1) and 24 (2.8).

NBC was a distant last with a repeat of Chuck (0.9), Trauma (1.3), and a repeat of Law & Order (1.2).

Review - United States of Tara Season 2 Episode 5 Doin' Time

United States of Tara has become a show about the entire family and not just Tara. While Tara's problems are probably the most severe, because there is something wrong in her brain, everyone else in the family is struggling to find their identity and decide who they want to be. Tara's new alter, Shoshana, offers everyone an outlet to state their feelings, and so far, Max has taken up the offer. He can't deal with Tara anymore, and after venting his anger on Sully, ends up in jail. When Tara doesn't even show up to bail him out, having hit hit a sign, he can't be feeling better about the situation. Kate is amused at their family's situation until reality hits her. They're in deep shit.

I hate Neil, so I see no appeal from him. Charmaine, however, loves Neil and after discovering that her baby is actually Neil's, admits that she wants Nick for wedding photos and Neil for wedding night. Good luck!

The Valhalla Hawkwind  video is actually on Youtube and it's a hilarious mixture surrealism and pure pleasure.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Castle Season 2 Episode 21 Den of Thieves

The supporting characters on Castle are used almost primarily for comedic relief to the point where Ryan and Esposito are mere pastiches sometimes. "Den of Thieves" revolved around Esposito past at the 54th Precinct. After a thief is found tortured to death, fingerprints on his eyes belong to Ike Thorton, Esposito's former and purportedly dead partner. There were many great moments and the episode ended happily with the crime boss, Racine, getting arrested, validating Thorton's quest.

Detective Tom Demming is brought in the help and immediately clicks with Beckett to Castle's dismay. He loses to Alexis at poker and after showing displeasure, tells her that he doesn't like to lose. The bigger issue is that he doesn't like to lose to Demming. The season finale is in two weeks, so Demming could show up again to perpetuate the love triangle.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Romantically Challenged Season 1 Episode 1 Don't Be Yourself

Nestled between Dancing With the Stars and Castle is, Romantically Challenged, a comedy so terrible that ABC has already positioned it for death. Instead of placing it in the Wednesday comedy block where it could easily occupy the 8 PM slot currently occupied by repeats of Modern Family, ABC put it on a Monday after a old-skewing reality show. To make matters worse, on the day of the premiere, ABC actually switched the episode airing. Apparently "Rebecca’s One Night Stand" was even worse than "Don't Be Yourself."

The premise is simply and stupid. Rebecca, a recent divorcee, navigates the romantic world, being a lawyer and a parent. In "Don't Be Yourself," Rebecca finally goes on a date 5 months after her divorce, following news of her ex-husband's wedding. She lies to make herself seem more attractive and gets caught in them in the end. Alyssa Milano was above average, but I found myself smiling once the entire episode. The subplot was exceedingly creepily and not funny. One of Rebecca's friends goes on a date with a girl who wants to be spanked. I'm definitely not touching this show again.

Score: 5.0/10

Review - Damages Season 3 Episode 13 The Next One's Gonna Go In Your Throat

"The Next One's Gonna Go In Your Throat" was probably the series finale and it did it's part, wrapping up the major storylines of the season. There were still a few hanging out there, but the resolutions for the main characters was adequate. If there is a fourth season, there are some existing plots to go with along with a new case. A debriefing period on the Tobin case would have been nice, but there was a limited timeframe.

We see Tom getting stabbed, and he wanders around New York for a while, making a phone call before Joe catches up to him and drowns him in a toilet. Hey Tom, every heard of a hospital? Leonard Winstone makes his escape with the money after turning over the evidence and a lot of blank paper. Joe is caught and Marilyn takes the plunge off the bridge. All in all, it was fairly standard stuff with nothing that unexpected.

If there needed to be more indication that the reemergence of Frobisher was a mistake, Wes enters the episode fairly early and exits, along with Frobisher, less than halfway through the episode, both being led away in handcuffs. We never see Ellen's reaction to this turn of events nor do we get any follow-up.

Patty took a backseat, letting Tom and Ellen do everything else as she remembered the time when she was pregnant herself and how she deliberately went against the doctor's orders and got a still-born baby, so she could advance her career at a large New York law firm. It comes after she gets Jill on statutory rape. The car crash, the event speculated to have been done by Tom, was actually done by Michael. There was again no follow-up which made the situation very incomplete.

So who exactly is Julian Decker? In the flashback 30 years ago, he look identical to the way he looks now. Was he just Patty's past haunting her all along? Everything with Patty this season has been confusing and ambiguous from the dreams to Decker to the horses. Did the finale do enough to reveal the significance?

The episode ends with Patty standing on a pier and Ellen walking away. After contemplating where they are and what they've become, neither of them truly knows what to do next, ending the season and probably series on an uncertain but fitting note.

Score: 8.7/10

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review - 24 Season 8 Episode 18 Day 8: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Whenever Charles Logan is involved in something, automatically it is dirty. He has incriminating evidence on Novakovich and threatens to reveal it unless the Russians sign the treaty. I thought he would look for some quid pro quo from the Russians, but apparently he's actually looking for peace by any means necessary. That means shutting down Jack before he can extract all the information from Dana. Somehow, he is able to influence Taylor to join the dark side which isn't particularly a bad move. The writers paint the opaque situation in a transparent matter. Either Taylor preserves the peace or she upholds justice. There's no other option. The hard choice is made and Jack is the loser.

Jack stealing the helicopter...yeah, everyone saw it coming. Even Chloe was expecting it. The writers are going on the usual rogue --> hero path. It's yawn-worthy by now, but it occupied a small portion of the episode, so it wasn't enough to take away from the overall strength of the episode.

With the show turning to Jack flying around, I'm afraid this hour may be the last good episode before lots of inane yelling and moralizing which doesn't solve anything. Gregory Itzin brings it every time and had great chemistry with Cherry Jones, making for lots of solid scenes and a good episode.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - House Season 6 Episode 17 Knight's Fall

Wow, what a stupid episode. The writers didn't even attempt to make the patient and the whole Renaissance Festival believable. Not one bit. There have been several 24 episodes this season that were more believable, and maybe even a FlashForward episode or two. Somehow, the patient has been out there pretending to be a knight for 3 weeks straight and clings to chivalry like a real knight. Now give us a real man, please.

I liked the addition of Wilson's ex-wife/current girlfriend Sam, played by Cynthia Watros who was on Lost last week. The scene where Sam confronts House in his office was the best part of the episode and gave House something to do.

House is running on fumes right now and has been for a while. A gimmicky episode like "Knight's Fall" certainly won't help.

Score: 7.7/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 5 Episode 20 Home Wreckers

Does anyone really care how Ted bought the house? It's near the end of the fifth season and we've gotten a clue here and a clue there, but nothing direct. "Home Wreckers" was a Ted episode unrelated the Mother or any romantic endeavors, using Ted's mother's new romance as a catalyst for Ted to do something drastic. The episode did very little for the overall plot, so I was disappointed. Along with a lack of laughs, this was the second time in two weeks that I didn't care about.

Ted's ultimate goal has three parts: wife, house, and kids. After his mother gets married to the overly affectionate Clint, Ted runs off and buys possibly the most dilapidated house on the market. The inspector comes and finds too many problems, but Ted has already bought the house and there's not much else to do, but resell it or fix it up. Amid the various characters laughing at Ted or laughing at one another for different reasons, Ted's despair really comes through which is why the episode wasn't all that bad. Marshall stays at the house and encourages Ted not to give up his dream. The wall they had bashed earlier transforms into the wall the kids are sitting in front of. It's the same house!!

Can Ted please find the Mother? He is still the focus of the show and all the possible iterations have been done. Unless the house plays a role in finding the Mother--unlikely since old Ted would have brought it up--there's not much relevance to anything.

Score: 8.5/10

Why Syfy shouldn't move its dramas to Tuesdays

There was startling news coming out of Syfy last week. The network is picking up Friday Night Smackdown and moving original dramas to Tuesdays. Everyone's gut reaction was, Hell NO!! And for good reason. Syfy logic is a bit shoddy. Using the example of Warehouse 13, the executives seem enthusiastic about the prospects of the move. Small problem: Warehouse 13 aired during the summer. Somehow this simple fact slipped their mind. If you look at the season finale ratings for Warehouse 13, when it actually went up against usual broadcast competition, it got absolutely crushed.

The competition won't be as stiff next year with Lost out of the way, but Tuesdays were highly competitive even before Lost came back. NCIS is a ratings beast, The Biggest Loser is beast, American Idol is out of this world, and Glee is also a beast. Currently, Syfy dramas are competing against light reality shows and CBS's female oriented dramas on Friday nights. How could they stand to compete against some of the most popular shows?

Review - Treme Season 1 Episode 2 Meet De Boys on the Battlefront

I'm not sure if I said this in a post or a comment or it was just a thought in my head, so this may seem redundant. Despite the obvious lack of a central narrative, people seem to be in love with the show because it is David Simon running things. After The Wire and Generation Kill, it's hard not to think that way. It seems like the Davids--David Simon, David Milch, and David Chase--have a mystical aura about them for their creative genius. However, we must take a step back and wait to see how the plot lines turn out and if anything really comes together. Having multiple separated stories later on in the series won't work well if there isn't a degree of interconnectedness and narrative push. Setting, authenticity, and characters alone cannot carry a show for several seasons.
There is a starling moment near the end of the episode where Albert finds the thief who stole his tools. A day of pent up anger is released as Albert beats him savagely to a pulp. He washes his hands off and the next day, goes back to playing music. It's scary how he can do this and there's plenty of directions his character can go.

Toni and LaDonna find Daymo, but after visiting him in prison, he's actually Slim Charles (actually another Daymo). I guess they'll have to wait longer if they ever find Daymo.

Davis is an enigmatic character that gets on my nerves, but serves a crucial role in the show. He's ready to burst at the tourists and pull an Albert, but pulls himself back, deciding to be helpful and send them to the real New Orleans, not the tourist New Orleans of Bourbon Street. There is a degree of animosity in the city towards the touristy attitude, shown by Davis and Sonny. Grudgingly, they both deal with it in different ways. Davis shows the tourists what they should be seeing while Sonny caves and plays “When The Saints Go Marching In,” the generic song all tourists request.

There is a bit of family drama between LaDonna and Batiste shaping up, though I'm not invested in them right now.

Does anyone see Creighton as a little hypocritical? In the pilot, he's leaving in a perfectly intact house, at the same time complaining about the U.S. government and the bad state New Orleans is in. Further, he does some wasting of his own, throwing the reporters microphone into the river. In "Meet De Boys on the Battlefront," he's all complaining about how the engineering programs are cut and the cultural studies stayed. His own English department, however, is fine. Through all of this, he's been in a much better place than everyone else, and yet he sermonizes about all the problems. Does this make him any different than the tourists who've never heard of the 9th Ward before Katrina?

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Breaking Bad Season 3 Episode 5 Mas

As we approach the halfway point of the season, "Mas" took a huge turn, dramatically altering the status quo and setting the course for the rest of the season. There were no heart-pounding moments, no real sense of excitement, but instead, many slow, wonderful character moments, molded carefully over the entire episode, gently moving everyone in their own directions.

Season 1 was focused almost solely on Walt and Bryan Cranston carried the show. Going into Season 2 and now Season 3, the other characters have been integral to the show's success as they become compelling characters themselves. Season 2 greatly enhanced Jesse's character, making him the good guy (comparably) who loses it all.

Hank and Skyler were always on the outside edges, tangentially relating to Walt and his drug trade, but their own struggles this season have popped out to become key to the past few episodes. Hank continues to question his manliness, especially after Gomez is sent to El Paso instead. To compensate, Hank dives into his work, showing that he is doing important work which requires him to stay behind. While his investigation may prove fruitful and he is on the right track, his primary motive--avoiding El Paso--clouds his ability to think clearly. Marie can't get to him and the logical part of his brain can't either. Every thought is overridden by a sense of inferiority like he can no longer be useful.

Skyler, on the other hand, acknowledges that there is a problem between how she feels and how she must act, a point that Hank has not yet reached. She enjoys being with Ted and the feeling of belonging he provides her that she can receive nowhere else. At the same time, she knows the relationship isn't going anywhere. She loves the nice things he can provide, but what about Walt's cash in a duffel bag she finds? Her frantic therapy session with her divorce attorney was a little too on the nose, but it did its job, illustrating all the contradictions and fears she has. Back at home, several problems are seemingly resolved with signed divorce papers lying there.

Breaking Bad is such a terrific show that I haven't even said anything about Walt and Jesse yet. The supporting characters alone would be enough to carry their own shows. In combination with the arguably better stories of Walt and Jesse, Breaking Bad is mindblowingly good.

Gus finally tips his hand, showing just how cunning he can be. He knows Walt to his core and exploits that to his every advantage, first bringing Walt to a state of the art meth facility, playing to his chemistry pride and then driving the final nail in the coffin, playing Walt's desire for that normal family, where he is the man, which he can never have. At the end of the episode, Walt is back cooking meth with Saul Goodman in tow.

There is a flashback in the beginning of the episode of Combo, Skinny Pete, and Jesse at a strip club, spending Walt's RV money. The RV wasn't obtained legally, but was actually stolen. We later learn through Hank's investigation that Combo stole the RV from his mother. It was a rather easy way for Hank to find the RV and then find the picture of Jesse and seemed too convenient. The flashback also displays Jesse in a different setting when he was outgoing, social, and not in the downtrodden state he currently finds himself. The compound his problems, Gus was using him all along to get to Walt, and once Walt is back to cooking he has no use for anyone, including Saul. With his back up against the wall, Jesse decides to fight back, choosing to make the Heisenberg formula himself.

I seriously loved this episode, and the Cousins weren't even in it. Now that Walt is back to being useful to Gus, will the cartel break ties with Gus and go after him?

Score: 9.7/10

Review - The Pacific Part 6 Peleliu Airfield

The last half of "Part 5" was all action and the first half of "Part 6" was all action, and going into the second half, there will be lots of fighting ahead. With exception of Sid visiting Sledge's parents at the beginning of the episode and Leckie leaving on the ship, the Marines are front and center in an inhospitable environment, fighting an unrelenting enemy which is well-positioned.

Once Leckie is out of the picture, Sledge takes center-stage, and while he was behind originally, having been in boot camp for most of the episodes, he really comes into his own. He takes the nickname Sledgehammer gladly and earns everyone's respect.

We've the Japanese charge forwards against innumerable odds before, but never the Americans. They finally did, and were bombarded and shot, trying to get across the airfield. The high budget is evident as we see scores and scores of men running amidst amazing special and visual effects. And once they get across, it's still not over. At night, under the cover of darkness, a Marine starts freaking out, and so he doesn't give away their position, someone strikes him in the head, killing him. It was the right thing to do as everyone says, and I suppose it was necessary to save their lives. Still, though, it's frightening to think of it.

The episode was held up by the intense action which may or may not suit everyone's tastes. The more human moments were there, but were often weaved inside the fighting rather than in separate scenes. With all the seemingly unrelated characters floating around, each part focuses on one person, ignoring the others, largely because many of them never knew each other. There is a forced isolation that is a major theme of the miniseries, but it's hard for the audience to connect on an emotional level because of it.

Score: 9.4/10

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Merlin Season 1 DVD Giveaway

The first season of Merlin is released on DVD Tuesday, April 20. I have two brand new DVD boxsets from Warner Bros to give away.

In a new retelling of the Arthur legend, Merlin sets the scene before The Knights of the Round Table and before Arthur is even king. As if to fit with the changing attitudes of the 21st century, there is easing of distinct barriers of class and race, a change from the normally monochromatic rendition of the lore. Merlin is now Arthur's servant and odd look at their stations. Both are quite young and still unsure about their futures, so there's plenty of story to tell. We all know where they are headed, but in uncertainty, the two mesh well in their eventual quest to greatness.

The stories themselves are fairly generic and usually end expectedly. There's nothing groundbreaking, instead offering up a solid episode each time with a degree of wry charm and good-natured fun that allows for hours of enjoyable television.

Link to buy


How to enter
(Only for those in United States/Canada)

1. Join Twitter.
2. Follow @TheTVObsessed
3. Tweet the following message without the quotation marks: "Merlin Season 1 DVD Giveaway | Follow @TheTVObsessed and tweet this message to enter | Details"
4. Hope a random number generator likes you

The deadline to enter is April 30.
You can enter a maximum of 4 times.
If you win, I'll contact you over Twitter, so you'll have to actually use it to receive the DVD.


Review - Riverworld (2010)

Originally, Syfy planned Riverworld as a two-part miniseries airing over two days. When they scheduled it, however, they shoved it into a four-hour block on Sunday night. Relatively few people will stick around for the entire four hours and the ratings will be low. There was not much else Syfy could do. Riverworld is an aimless miniseries wandering from situation to situation in a mystical world, unsure of direction, tone, or pacing.

Based very loosely on Philip Jose Farmer's series of novels, the miniseries begins with Matt Ellman (Tahmoh Penikett) and his fiance, Jessie, getting blown up by a suicide bomber. Hundreds of bodies are in rectangular tanks, but Ellman is set free. He ends up on the banks of a river, entering Riverworld, a land where time has no relevance. There is an eclectic group of historical figures that takes a certain stretch of the imagination to accept. He meets a samurai woman, Francisco Pizzaro, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), and Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor). Blue aliens, who we never truly learn about, show up periodically to guide Ellman or warn him. In order to find Jessie, he must kill Burton.

The message of the miniseries isn't bad and is something to think about--not something typical of the Syfy Original Movies. That can be attributed to Philip José Farmer and the clumsy writing doesn't help to expound on the complex themes of rebirth and redemption. The ending opens doors to many other possibilities and could have been expanded much more.

Core to Riverworld is the action and the visual effects, heavy but not spectacular. We are inundated with killing and cool shots of alien technology to the point where there is no relevance in the end. The second half slows to a crawl after the initial mystery is resolved, becoming a straight journey that's entirely boring. The most intriguing elements of the miniseries, the existence of the world and the aliens, are pushed to the side for a laborious ride on an airship.

The dialogue is as stilted as that of a Syfy Original Movie and the characters other than Mark Twain don't come out. I've never thought of Tahmoh Penikett as a particularly good actor, and it definitely shows at many points. His delivery is very awkward, especially when he was those offhand John Crichton-like humorous lines.

I wouldn't recommend this disaster to anyone, but if, as I stated in my preview of the week, you have absolutely nothing else to watch on Sunday night, meaning you don't want to watch Breaking Bad, Treme, The Pacific, Brothers and Sister, Desperate Housewives, Cold Case, Army Wives, The Tudors, Til Death, Sonny with a Chance, or an ant walking around, there's Riverworld on Syfy, possibly the worst thing I've seen this year.

Score: 6.0/10
Related Posts with Thumbnails