Saturday, July 31, 2010

Review - The Pillars of the Earth Part 3 Redemption

I'm not sure whether to review the rest of The Pillars of the Earth weekly. It's not bad--the production is immersive and the plot is decent--but that's all it is: nice looking sets and clothing and a fairly interesting plot about England in the 12th century. The miniseries lacks much of the nuance found in miniseries on HBO in that the characters are mostly one-dimensional, either good guys or bad guys. My interest in the miniseries lies in what happens. Everything else in between is currently forgettable, even Ian McShane who makes the most out of his role, flitting around in the background, maneuvering those in power.

The biggest developments this week were the arrival of Aliena and Richard in Kingsbridge and King Stephen arriving afterwards, only to go mad as his dream becomes true.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - The X-Files Season 2 Episode 25 Anasazi

Before The X-Files became impossibly complicated in senseless mythology which stretched on and on, there was an amazing three-episode arc nestled at the end of season two and beginning of season three, in my opinion, the best arc of the series. After, the ratings took off and the rest is history.

Written by Chris Carter, "Anasazi," the first of the three, unleashes of the creative potential of the story, flinging Mulder and Scully halfway across the country to New Mexico where they are trying to find answers, despite the government working against them, and increasing the stakes to unprecedented levels. The episode zooms forward at a breakneck pace with tons of stuff happening, and after it's all done and the epic cliffhanger comes around, there are still two more episodes left!

"Anasazi" begins with a large cache of government files, relating to aliens, stolen by Kenneth Soona, aka "the Thinker," as Mulder is told by the Lone Gunmen. Quickly, the files are in Mulder's hands in the form of a tape. All he has ever looked for, his life's ambitions, are at his fingertips, but--big but--they're unreadable, gibberish. Scully, however, recognizes it as Navajo, further involving herself in the situation.

At the same time, Mulder is acting strangely, erratic and irritable. When Skinner calls Mulder in to discuss the tape, Mulder denies everything, a reasonable course of action, and then attacks Skinner in the middle of the hallway in front of his fellow agents. Scully is also called in, and the hammer is perilously close to being dropped right on top of their heads: She and Mulder will be kicked out if they lied, which they clearly did.

The setup is there--the files and an oppressive bureaucracy. All that is need is a personal connection, and it comes in the form of Mulder's father, Bill Mulder, revealed to be deeply involved with CSM. He gives an urgent call to Mulder, who arrives shortly before Bill is murdered. That's right. Mulder's father is dead! Just like that! Unfortunately, he wasn't able to say much and Mulder is left hanging. Scully, too, is under imminent threat, having just been shot at in Mulder's apartment.

The middle part is a little messy with Scully testing Mulder's gun, Krycek showing up for Mulder, and Scully shooting Mulder, but it passes in a couple minutes as Mulder wakes up in an Indian reservation in New Mexico where Scully has found a Navajo code-talker to decipher the files. She also informs him that his change in behavior can be attributed to a dialysis bag found in the water system of the water system of his apartment complex. WTF!!

As the coder-talker, Albert Hosteen, translates the files, the teenage boy featured at the beginning of the episode shows Mulder the boxcar. Inside, Mulder finds a pile of bodies--humanoid and having signs of smallpox vaccines, but distinctly different from there large eye cavities. Soon after he informs Scully of this, CSM arrives with his black helicopter and death squad. Unable to do anything, Mulder is left in the boxcar which the commandos flame out. To be continued... Noooo!!!!!

I'll try to finish the arc this weekend and then move into the third season, which is one of the top three seasons of the entire series, so I should get through it relatively fast.

Score: 9.3/10

Friday, July 30, 2010

Review - Haven Season 1 Episode 4 Consumed

I'm still not buying the premise of Haven and the whole small town with big troubles thing; however, the atmosphere created at the beginning of each episode, as the sci-fi stuff happens, has improved each week. The visuals of food turning to black goo in "Consumed" was a sight to see, both disturbing and engaging. For that and the more fluid incorporation of the resolution, I'd say "Consumed" was one of the better episodes so far, not much but a start.

Currently, we know next to nothing about the troubles even though the name is dropped many times in each episode. And yet, everyone, including Nathan, refuses to give Audrey--or the viewer--any hint about what it may be other than that they're troubling and supernatural.

I just don't understand why Nathan can't be frank about what he does or does not know. Here's what I would do if I were a dutiful police officer. First, I would actually explain more about the troubles outside out the obvious. Then, I'd go through police reports, newspaper stories, and that sort of thing to find events possibly relating to the troubles. After that, I'd go through reports of recent troubles activity, and try to find out what's connecting everything.

From the first four episodes, wild, freaky occurrences have happened, all relating to certain people and their feelings on something. Why? I'm fine with writers dangling stuff out there, but we know NOTHING. It's incredibly irritating to have people going on about the troubles when we have no clue about it. And Audrey, the person who should care the most, doesn't seem to care either. Why won't she push Nathan, who keeps on saying "the troubles are back?"

Haven will continue to be a forgettable show until it injects intelligence into the main characters and gets them to tackle the central mystery head on. We're stuck in the rut of mystery of the week episodes when, clearly, there is an obvious solution: find out what the troubles are and stop it.

Score: 7.5/10

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review - Royal Pains Season 2 Episode 8 The Hankover

What I hate most about Royal Pains is everyone's personal lives, and "The Hankover" was laced full of it. To make matters worse, everyone was drunk and the subpar acting dragged the episode down even more.

Let's start with Evan. He wants to check out Raj and make sure he's good for Divya--or so he claims? But we know better. Why? Because he's been hitting on Divya for the past season and a half! The writers are pretty good at creating funny moments with Evan, but when it comes to the big picture--his flippant handling of money, his reactions to Divya and Raj--he's very unlikable.

Then there was Dr. Peck and Hank who sleep together after/during the bachelor party. Divya and Jill also get hammered, going around town with Bill Bellamy as their cabbie. There was a bit of mystery as to what really happened between the stripper Karma and Raj behind closed doors, but the tape shows that Raj is more than good, nullifying Evan's underhanded attempts to stop the marriage.

All in all, it was a bad episode, the worst of the season in my opinion. The medicine was almost nonexistent, and the total inebriation to advance the plot was just stupid. Unless it's a show where people get drunk all the time, what's the point of things happening because characters are drunk at a certain time?

Score: 7.0/10

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 8 Where There's Smoke

Now this is the Burn Notice we've come to expect. Two weeks in a row, we've gotten high quality episodes containing more than the usual hunt for who burned Jesse.

This week, a rich wife is kidnapped, but so too is Fiona, opting to go along, increasing the stakes for everyone. Alone and in a hostile environment, Fiona pulls trick after trick from her sleeves--a delightful reminder of how fun it can be to see the characters totally run circles around anyone. In the end, everyone is safe, despite the insistence of the woman's husband to go against the experts.

As we approach the end of the first half of this season, there is a conflict looming between Michael and Jesse. And, if experience from past seasons teaches us anything, something big will go down in the midseason finale. My guess is the defining split between Jesse and the rest of them.

Before, the conflict manifested in Michael keeping secrets from Jesse--exemplified again in "Where There's Smoke" with Michael playing dumb about Simon--but the episode introduced another component only slyly hinted at in previous episodes: Jesse's love for Fiona. Whether it is romantic or not, clearly there's something else that could play into their rivalry/opposition. I like the idea behind it, but at the same time, does Fiona have something for Jesse? From the kiss between Michael and Fi at the end of the episode, I doubt it. How far would Jesse go based solely on unrequited love?

I've stopped caring about the spy shenanigans--and apparently the writers have, too, completely forgetting about that Vaughn guy introduced in the season premiere. Nonetheless, Jesse's cypher Bible is kind of cool since Simon was a wasted character the first time around.

Score: 9.1/10

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review - Psych Season 5 Episode 3 Not Even Close... Encounters

Since all half-hour sitcoms are off for the summer, there haven't been many shows designed primarily to make the audience laugh. Even the first two episodes of this season on gave me a couple smiles. But "Not Even Close... Encounters," by far the best episode of the season, had me laughing right off the right and had an intriguing story about UFOs and a chemical dumping corporatist.

Like Shawn and Gus, it's hard for me to be impartial about this--I love aliens and conspiracies. Nevertheless those who aren't as interested in te subject-area probably still got a kick out of the reactions and nerdfest.

Last week's subplot featured the amusing yet nonsensical tap dancing which is just dumb. This week's subplot had Shawn and Gus's gradeschool friend, Dennis, played by Freddie Prinze Jr. Remembered as the alien expert, Dennis is their goto guy for alien advice--except he's now a jock--or so he would like his ultra-hot wife Molly to think. In the end, he comes clean, and what you know... Molly's a nerd too. Hugs and kisses all around. As unoriginal and cheesy as it is, there is a nod to Shawn's own false life as a psychic detective. Will this nudge to reveal himself lead to more this season?

Not to trample on anyone's toes, but, in my opinion, why would anyone watch the original Battlestar Galatica 50 times when there's the reimagining and a bunch of newer, better sci-fis? The show simply doesn't hold up well over time.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - White Collar Season 2 Episode 3 Copycat Caffrey

I was playing Starcraft 2 in my spare time and I couldn't pull myself away from the game, so I finally got around to White Collar and it was a great diversion from sitting in front of the computer. It's been a while since I was last fully involved in an episode of White Collar, but "Copycat Caffrey" held my attention more than any episode this season and most from the last.

A crime mirroring one of Neal's infamous past capers is committed, leading Neal and Peter to discover a crime ring college professor and his criminology students. There's something undeniably wonderful about USA's tactic to have their protagonists be the best of their respective fields. Neal cutting his way through arrogant students with style was awesome and the final hammer being dropped was equally good.

Neal's friend/flame/something, Alex, is in the episode and added another angle to Neal's machinations. In addition to taking down the criminals, he also gets her get out of a sticky situation relating to the music box. Given a ticket to leave the country, Alex hands Neal the final piece to the music box and tells him to let go of Kate--a reminder that fixations aren't permanent.

Score: 9.1/10

Review - Covert Affairs Season 1 Episode 3 South Bound Suarez

"South Bound Suarez" was one of those "love blinds you" episodes, and it missed the mark. Annie's target is Julia, a woman connected to Victor, a government worker funneling money in Venezuela to bad organizations. Of course Julia is madly in love with him even though all signs point to him being a scumbag.

The writers were trying to make a comparison to Annie's own love life, but is there a comparison? Victor sends money to terrorists and tried to killed Annie. Annie's boyfriend left her without informing her. There's a big difference here. Julia still running to Victor in the end is plain stupidity; Annie holding on to a small memento is perfectly reasonable.

One thing I did like, however, was the shadow of Annie's ex, Ben. Yes, more praise for Piper Perabo. She pulls off the scenes well and was very sympathetic.

Score: 8.2/10

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 2 Episode 4 Age Before Beauty

Following many other shows attacking the fashion industry, Warehouse 13 dived in, highlighting the shady practices, bitchy women--and an artifact loosed on the beautiful models, stealing their beauty and eventually lives. The episode was what we'd usually see--humor, drama, a simple plot revolving around Man Ray's camera--and for all the male viewers, Myka in a dress!

Myka talking about how her sister was prettier than her and how she could never go out on the runway rang very hollow. Since these are actors, no one isn't stunning and well--Myka looked better than the models. How are we supposed to believe she has self-esteem issues about how she looks?

Not attempting any subtlety, the writers also had Artie step in as Claudia's father figure. After a first failed date with Todd, Claudia has no clue what to do until Artie finally sets her right--and brings her and Todd back together.

From what the interviews I've watched or read on Warehouse 13, everyone seems convinced Myka and Peter have a brother sister relationship. While that may be the case right now, there with awfully a lot of indications in the episode that something more could develop between them. Instead of teasing Myka for being in the dress, he comforts her in her time of need, telling her she is beautiful. Myka, in turn, is pleased with his words and rushes out to the runway. Because it's early in the season, we should definitely keep an eye on what happens between the two.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - The Closer Season 6 Episode 3 In Custody

Often times Fritz gets the short end of the bargain when it comes to Brenda and her job. He damages his professional career to help Brenda and she's not good at expressing thanks, although she probably expects that he is supposed to help her and she never is supposed to help him. In that way, she's pretty self-centered.

Last week, Fritz gave up an opportunity to move up the FBI ladder. With Brenda in consideration for Chief, she's surely thinking of moving up. However, she doesn't tell Fritz, despite having the application in hand, creating a huge problem. Eventually, she decides not to apply, not solely on Fritz, but on professional considerations--whether Major Crimes can operate fluidly in the event of her departure. Again, Fritz is given the short straw.

And there was a murder to solve. As usual, few suspects and very, very predictable outcome.

Score: 8.1/10

Review - Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 17 Bullet Bump

Politicians are bad people who cover up crimes and break the law, right? Not so fast, as "Bullet Bump" tells us. Following the standard bad politician plot, the episode is predictable, ending with his wife as the actual murderer. Wow, you mean the politician at the center of suspicion wasn't the murderer?

Clara, whose stay on the show hasn't been long, is incorporated into the story, covering up the crime as well, so in exchange for Lightman's silence, she turns the company back to him. I'd expected her to stay longer, but it looks like she's good for good.

I usually note how the supporting cast does literally nothing, not because I care either way, but because it's interesting how far they've fallen to the wayside. Well, something happened with Loker... and it was kind of weird and unexpected. After friending Loker on a social network, Emily starts chatting with him online and then shows up to talk to him before kissing him as a way to get rid of him. Really? Yeah, she kissed him. In the end, everything turns out fine since Loker wasn't being a pervert or anything, but that plot definitely didn't belong in the episode.

Score: 8.0/10

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review - Leverage Season 3 Episode 7 The Gone Fishin' Job

Sorry readers, but no more long reviews for Leverage. With Mad Men returning this next and Rubicon premiering next week, my plate is complete full. The food is practically on the ground...

I said last week how the jobs this season seemed simple compared to the previous seasons (although my memory of the first two seasons are hazy). "The Gone Fishin' Job" was simply, taking a few steps to finish. This week, the team went after a rich guy who funds a militia.

Dressing up as IRS agents, Hardison and Eliot are kidnapped by the government-hating militia and end up going through the woods handcuffed with a militia behind them was hilarious as the two are so diverse in their backgrounds, making the chatter very funny.

Overall, it was a standard episode--not bad, but not particularly good either. Parker provided the usual laughs, there was action, and a few dramatic moments. The Italian woman did not show up, making it, I believe, the third episode in a row without her. There are still 9 episodes left in the season, but I'd expected more movement this far into the season.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - True Blood Season 3 Episode 6 I Got a Right to Sing the Blues

Sorry for getting this out so late, but I had to review Mad Men first (based on sheer awesomeness).

Without question the strongest episode of the season, "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues" gets off to a quick start as Bill fights back, killing a guard before jumping on Russell and get his butt kicked. From there, the episode flies forward, breaking away from anything holding it back. True Blood works when things happen, and boy did they happen.

After being bound and stationary for the past couple episodes, Tara takes matters into her own hands, pummeling Franklin's head to a pulp and then rescues Sookie. After a evading a couple werewolves stoned on V, she meets a bare naked Alcide. Even though Franklin is a simplistic character in that he has a pure obsession with Tara, I'd love to see him still alive and his reaction to her. Will he still want her to be a vampire?

The relationship between Bill and Lorena is one of the more interesting elements on the show. Clearly, there is a bond between them, starting with the blood they share. However, there is a deeper connection in how Lorena treats Bill and how she shaped him to become who he is. When Russell orders her to kill Bill, she first objects, but caves since he is the king. Tied down for most of the episode, Bill pushes against her, saying that her maker made her cold and in turn, she made Bill that way. Enraged, Lorena slices Bill to shreds in a most gruesome fashion before letting werewolves feast on him. At the end of the episode, Sookie finds Bill on the ground nearly dead. But wait, that's not the end of it! Lorena is there to sink her fangs into Sookie's supple neck.

On the other side, there's Eric, biding his time to strike at Russell. He complies with Russell and plays along, even helping to corner the Queen of Louisiana. While Bill and Sookie may die, his eyes are trained on Russell and only him. What he has coveted for centuries--from his time as a human--is finally right in front of him and he won't let this opportunity pass.

Events are Bon Temps were slightly more interesting than before and took up less time, so I was pleased for the most part. Sam's wacky family--pushed by his father--is into dog fighting, not the Michael Vick kind, owning the dogs, but fighting themselves. WTF! I guess a human mind allows for smarter fighting versus normal dogs.

Jason as a clueless fool, bumbling around the place, is pretty damn funny; as a wannabe cop, pulling over the high school quarterback, he's despicable to the point where I want stop watching. And the Crystal storyline has mystery, but we know almost nothing, except something is holding her back, possibly because she's a creature of some kind

Lafayette and Jesus get friendly, but a couple of drug dealers show up to trash Lafayette's car. They are beaten off, but not before Jesus learns that Lafayette is a V dealer as well. Promptly, he goes home. What happens next? Do Lafayette's idols actually need offerings or are they just symbolic bad omens?

Sadly, Jessica still doesn't have anything good to do other than glamour a cranky lady and drink her blood before sending her packing. It's a real shame she rarely gets to do anything and by the way things are progressing, she won't be doing much for the rest of the season.

At the halfway point of the season, everything is finally picking up. Hopefully, this trend will continue into the second half and deliver on all the fragmented storylines in a satisfying conclusion.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - Mad Men Season 4 Episode 1 Public Relations

The fourth season of Mad Men begins with the line, "Who is Don Draper?" Unable to provide an adequate question, Don sidesteps the question. But, really, no one can say who Don Draper is, not even the man himself or more adequately, Dick Whitman. The layers continue to be peeled back in the season four premiere, "Public Relations," giving as a new vision in perhaps the most drastic change in the series thus far.

"Public Relations" begins in 1964, almost a year since the formation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. In many ways, the show is the same as ever, in others it's a reboot of sorts. It's like the flash-sideways from Lost. Now the top dog at SCDP, Don has nearly free reign, uninhibited by anyone. The problem is, the company needs money--desperately--and the stature of being small company isn't helping. Their office is larger than what we last saw them in the season three finale and as stylish as ever; however, compared to the rest of the ad agencies, they are next to nothing.

The article published in Advertising Age is Don's first step into the public spotlight, and it's not very flattering. With the public's eyes trained on him, Don comes off as mysterious and isolated, definitely not positive qualities of someone who wishes to connect with regular people. Most importantly, Don's name is tied to SCDP and what he does reflects directly on the company. The bad publicity and resulting loss of the jai alai account puts even more strain on Don as his colleges press him to make things right.

Don's first task of the season is to advertise a "two-piece swimsuit," not a bikini, but a two-piece. What's the difference? According to Don's stubborn clients, a bikini is underwear and a two-piece is somehow classy, not serving prurient interests, despite showing ample amount of skin. Of course it's silly to think that way, and Don unleashes an episode's worth of frustration on them, telling them they could either do it their way--"comfortable and dead," or his way--"risky and possibly rich." You tell 'em!

In his personal life, Don isn't faring well either. Sterling sets him up on a date with Jane's friend, and it's going great, until Don tries to seal to deal. His new status as a single man seems to be blocking what normally be a casual hookup for a married man. Women are expecting something more permanent, and Don isn't in that place right now. The walls are closing in from all sides, and Don's only escape--a kinky and startling new revelation--is BDSM with a prostitute.

Ever the woman-child, Betty is now living with Henry--in Don's house. She shirks all responsibility, managing her children with the distant coldness we've in the past and refusing to look for a new home, allowing Don to pay for everything. And this time, Don isn't there to be blamed. Betty is by herself with her new husband Henry, a perfectly fine man minus some of his creepier behavior last season.

This was Betty's chance to be better, to show how Don was the reason for her problems, but the writers maintained her character, essentially affirming that she is, in fact, childish and silly. So what happens next? Already, Henry has second thoughts--as he should--having seen the mental side of Betty. Getting rid of her should be skirting the edges of his mind at least and unless Betty truly changes, it's doubtful anyone will actually like her for who she is.

At the end of the episode, we see Don giving an interview with the Wall Street Journal, except this time, unlike the interview with Advertising Age, Don doesn't put out his real self--a specter of a man--but an image, exactly as if he were a product to be advertised. In the world of public relations, what people see is rarely reality, and Don has adapted, through the course of one episode, to reinvent himself--and the company.

Because it was solidly a Don episode, "Public Relations" didn't feature much of the other characters, but Peggy was at the forefront. Brimming with confidence, Peggy is pretty much one of the guys, not holding back on anything. However, that backfires when the duo of Peggy and Pete try a small trick to generate publicity. They stage an incident, involving two women fighting over a ham, without telling Don, and when the situation gets out of control and one woman ends up in jail, Don becomes very angry. Peggy decides to push back, telling him, "You know something... we are all here because of you. All we want to do is please you."

In her personal life, Peggy is friendly with her assistant Joey, riffing on Stan Freberg's "John and Marsha" song. When she shows up at Don's door, there's a guy behind guy who she calls her fiance, probably actually her boyfriend, and the subordinate one in the relationship.

A couple months ago when Breaking Bad was still airing, I was saying that Breaking Bad was the best show on television. After watching the first episode of this season, I have to reconsider that. I probably shouldn't have made the statement in the first place since I'm not watching every show simultaneously, but as the familiar dialogue of Mad Men came, I was struck by just how great it was and how much I missed it. The plot of this season is the most enticing to me, placing Don and Betty on opposite sides physically, but close mentally. They're out of their comfort zones and need major fixing. Through it all, Don still needs to work against the tide and earn money. Welcome back, Mad Men!

Score: 9.7/10

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review - The Pillars of the Earth Part 1 Anarchy / 2 Master Builder

The Pillars of the Earth, based on Ken Follett's novel of the same name, isn't fun to watch. The setting is eternally dreary, the acting ranges from inspired to plain bad, and the plot trudges along slowly as characters are piled upon more characters.

However, the above-average production value and the unique time period are enough to make the miniseries perfectly watchable. Since it's on a Friday and it'll be ending in a few months, I won't be writing long reviews on The Pillars of the Earth, but I'll be watching with at least a passing interest.

Score: 8.4/10

Preview of Week 7/25/10 - 7/31/10

Mad Men - AMC, Sunday, July 25, 10:00pm ET

The time is here!! The most stylish drama on television returns and after season 3's dozy of a season finale, it looks like we're in for a reboot of sorts.

My Boys -TBS, Sunday, July 25, 10:00pm ET

PJ and her buddies are back for a fourth season. Since Jordan Spiro chose to stay on instead of Love Bites, My Boys probably has a few more years left in it.

Review - The X-Files Season 2 Episode 24 Our Town

As we approach the end of the second season, the writers are still trying to figure things out and the result isn't pretty. Still, this is the last episode before the season finale which leads into the third season, marked by a substantial improvement on all levels.

"Our Town" has solid ideas behind it--a town of cannibals eating outsiders and human flesh prolonging life--but the execution is average at best. Not much happens through the course of the episode, until the end, when all the pieces come together, ending in a very abrupt climax and conclusion.

Score: 8.0/10

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thoughts on Comic-Con + reviews of No Ordinary Family and Nikita

I live in San Diego, so I can buy a one-day pass and not feel bad about wasting my time (as opposed to people who come from far away). Anyway, I was planning on watching The Event premiere after the Chuck panel, but I got in line waaaaay too late... so I missed both. Still, things turned out all right as the Family Guy panel after Chuck was pretty awesome and I got to see a clip of the third Star Wars parody and Seth MacFarlane perform the down syndrome song.

I saw a bunch of stuff and I'll upload pictures, but more importantly, I saw the pilots of No Ordinary Family and Nikita.

Without giving away too much, No Ordinary Family is as ordinary as it gets: Generic powers, generic family, generic jokes. But hey, I got a free shirt.

On the other hand, Nikita was truly awesome. Despite missing the first couple minutes, which I presume was Nikita in a bikini (really disappointed in missing that), I had a blast the entire time. High octane action scenes, fast pacing, and jaw-dropping cinematography really blew my mind, far outstripping my expectations. The plot, too, was impressive, allowing for free range of creativity.

My feet hurt and I'm tired, so that's all I have for now, but if I have more, I'll post a later day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Review - Haven Season 1 Episode 3 Harmony

Very brief review since I'm going to Comic-Con tomorrow.

I'd say "Harmony" was the strongest episode so far, which isn't much, but better than nothing. The mental patients and the doctor freaking out and then turning normal was done well and conveyed the right sense of the confusion. The ending, however, was typical of what we've see--exceedingly cheesy and trite.

So what do we know about the "troubles?" Literally nothing, except that anything can happen for the writers' convenience. Here's a couple plots we may be seeing: monkeys running down the main street every time someone thinks about monkeys, the result of girl who loves monkeys too much; a tree comes to life and rampages around the town, the result of a potted plant watching Godzilla movies and wishing it could be outside doing the same; zombies rising out of the ground, because the undertaker sold a less-quality-than-advertised coffin.

The acting and directing still bothers me greatly. It's like there's no punch behind the delivery of the lines, taking a lot away from the urgency of the situation.

Score: 7.4/10

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 7 Past & Future Tense

I don't really keep up with Burn Notice news, so I was surprised to see Burt Reynolds pop up onto my screen. His appearance was all part of the fun package which made "Past & Future Tense," arguably, the best episode of the season. Along with Michael's folk hero status, this time among the Russians, and a good plot, I highly enjoyed the episode.

Underneath the plot were the not-too subtle, but well-hidden implications that Michael is heading down the wrong path. It's not unique to this episode or season, the idea of Michael quitting the spy world pushed by Fiona every so often, but it represents a real opportunity for character growth and possible ending to the series. Paul, having been a spy for many years, tells Michael he will be "collecting ghosts" and that rum helps a lot. At the end of the episode, Fiona slaps Michael, telling him she can't stand lying to Jesse and seeing Michael turn into someone who only cares about the idea of people (ghosts).

Michael tells her everything is fine--attempting to convince both Fiona and himself that there isn't a problem. But there is a problem and Michael must face it. Okay, so it's not Mad Men-level stuff (Mad Men, by the way, returns this Sunday!), but it's better than we're used to.

And on the Jesse-front, hardly anything to care about anymore,the bank robbers are pros, except they left a bit of evidence behind, allowing for the next excruciatingly slow step next week. Please, can something happen already?

Score: 9.2/10

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review - Psych Season 5 Episode 2 Feet Don't Kill Me Now

I kind of tired after writing a semi-rant about FlashForward, so I'll keep it short.

It felt like the writers were grasping for straws with "Feet Don't Kill Me Now." Gus tap dancing is both funny and slightly cool. Lassiter joining in is equally cool. However, what was the relevance to the case? Lassiter is able to state the obvious, because tap dancing clears his mind. Over 5 minutes of the episode was spent on near-pointless tap dancing. It's funny, but like many things about Psych, completely irrelevant.

Since most of the episode was spent squabbling, the case was absurdly easy. In total, three suspects were introduced and it was clear who the murderer was from the beginning.

Score: 7.9/10

ABC not at fault for FlashForward's collapse (semi-rant)

With rumors swirling that Starz wishes to pick up ABC's now-defunct FlashForward, there's been a common narrative bothering me: It's ABC's fault and if it had been on another network that "knows how to handle a show," it would have succeeded.

I've already covered this, but because people are bringing it up again, I'd like to address it.

First, the ratings. Look at the facts. The numbers are out there, published and ready to be read. And they're pretty clear. From September 24 to November 19, 2009--BEFORE any break whatsoever--the 18-49 demo dropped from 4.0 to 2.4. The next time the show aired--on December 3, only two days later--it went down to 2.1. On March 18, after the long hiatus, it was 1.9. Surely no one can point to the hiatus as the reason for the ratings drop.

Second. ABC promoted the hell out of the show. Don't give me any bullcrap about ABC giving up on the show. It was promoted to the limit--almost to annoyance--from the NBC finals all through summer and even after. This was ABC's next Lost. This was their next megahit, bringing in the millions. The cast was stacked, the writing team was stacked... okay, this is a bit of a stretch, but they do have nice pedigrees. ABC made sure everyone who touched their network knew what it was. Everyone blacked out, etc, etc. People tuned in, but they didn't come back.

Third, the show sucked. Let me spell it out. S-U-C-K-E-D. Honestly, when I see Lost fanboys giving love to FlashForward, it completely baffles me. Do they not understand what makes their favorite show so good? Apparently not... After the initial flashfoward, the writers ran out of ideas and their dialogue was beyond ludicrous. First and foremost, the quality of the show defines its success, with a couple anomalies, of course.

Fourth, Flashforward was given a chance. Name shows which had dismal ratings and came back to become a hit. Everyone points to Cheers and M*A*S*H. Now name a few more. Name shows which had great ratings from the beginning and continued for several years. Yeah, big difference. To their credit, ABC ran all FlashForward episodes. The only tampering was the reduction from 25 episodes, after the first boost, to the initial 22 episodes. If ratings keep dropping, there is one indication--the show isn't good and will never succeed (one reason why I think renewing V was as big mistake).

Sorry for the late night rants, but I was reading comments over the interwebs it was irritating.

Review - Covert Affairs Season 1 Episode 2 Walter's Walk

All the problems I had with the pilot remained in "Walter's Walk"--everything outside of Annie and Auggie isn't fully functional yet, unable to stand on its own. Joan and Arthur remain, essentially, as foils for Annie, showing the personal  lives of a CIA couple, without fully fleshing them out as real people first. In place of Conrad who hardly did anything in the pilot, Jai Wilcox (Sendhil Ramamurthy), who is ordered by Arthur to get "close" to Annie, so he can info from the elusive Ben Mercer. Why is Ben important? We still don't know, but considering this is a USA show, I'm guessing it's not very complicated.

On the positive side, Annie and Auggie remain as awesome as ever and their training session was positively delectable. Faced with Danielle asking her if she'd take care of her daughter if something happened to her and her husband, Annie faces a "life issue," whether see will be able to balance her spy life and family life. Needless to say, Annie isn't a horrible person who would let her niece out into the cold and signs the paper; however, the warning signs are out there and will forever loom over her.

There wasn't much to see with the plot, a pretty basic spy story. A young genius discovers some numbers being broadcasted, indicating IRA involvement. Annie meets an MI6 agent who turns out to be a double agent and saves the day.

While the rest of the show hasn't convinced me yet, Piper Perabo is a pure gem and is just as good in the second episode as she was in the first. For that reason, I don't think I could stop watching the show, even if the rest of it continues to lag behind.

Score: 8.4/10

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 2 Episode 3 Beyond Our Control

We've seen some insane artifacts on this show, but the ones featured in "Beyond Our Control" may have taken the cake. And somehow, everyone ties together nicely.

The episode begins with Claudia fiddling with the Farnsworth and Pete and Myka at the post office. All the parts come together once the town appears to be under the influence of an artifact. Historical figures are showing up and can affect the real world before disappearing. Pete's invaluable knowledge of movies is the key, the people proved to be characters of one Raymond St. James. The artifact is able to project images, except they are real, and  everyone is saved and happy in the end as usual

Completely unattached was a much more serious purging of MacPherson from Leena. Apparently, the pearl leaves behind residue and MacPherson is able to transmit information through Leena still. Sorely underused yet again was Mark Sheppard as Valda, who pretty much stood around menacingly and said a few lines. He needs his own show! Mrs. Federick pops up at the end of the episode with a drawing as Valda's voice ominously portends something bad.

There seems to be a pattern this season that the credits comes really late in the episode like many Alias ones. Normally, they come much earlier, indicating a natural hook which dovetails into the credits, which should introduce new viewers to the show. I'm not sure what the thinking is behind this, but I'll take a shot.

According to research, long, extended credits, featured prominently until this decade, actually detract new viewers from hopping on, because they take a while to finish and don't advance the episode. That's why, unfortunately, Stargate Universe, among many others, gets the stunted opening. By pushing the opening credits far back into the episode and continuing the narrative past what could be adequate (the arrival of the WWII soldiers would have been my choice), the viewers get enough story--beyond a simple teaser--and are willing to watch through the credits (which aren't bad, by the way).

Unlike last week's episode which went too far, "Beyond Our Control" struck the right balance of serious--Mrs. Frederick and Valda, the town almost blowing up--and light-hearted humor--Claudia in general, Pete and the vet.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - White Collar Season 2 Episode 2 Need to Know

Other than the spicy interplay between Marsha Thomason and Matt Bomer, "Need to Know" lacked a lot of what a good White Collar episode usually has. There wasn't much tension in the episode and the plot was paper thin, involving a scheme to bring down a politician.

As usual, there was more Fowler business handled, leaving us virtually in the same place. The guy at the meet runs off and facial recognition comes up empty. How much does this matter? Well, the only significance is that Neal is still left in the dark, although Peter being photographed with Diana tips him off that they are up to something. Whether that cuts into their partnership is another story. Clearly, they've gone through a lot and there must be some mutual trust.

I particularly enjoyed the use of Elizabeth, as Tiffani Thiessen was pregnant at the time of filming. Having to research escort services, Peter visits a site right as Elizabeth calls. Everything's fine, right? Well, it's a site with sound, and Elizabeth hears every word of it. Of course, their relationship is rock solid and Peter's explanation is enough. Peter's mustache was alsto hilarious, but I was disappointed we couldn't find out Elizabeth's take.

By now, the plots should have advanced to matched the dialogue and the characters, but they aren't, and if that continues to be the case, White Collar will stay in a rut marred by great potential and no actualization.

Score: 8.2/10

Review - The Closer Season 6 Episode 2 Help Wanted

"Help Wanted" was rolling along with an average story about women getting raped without anything really standing out, and then reached a shattering point with an exhilarating standoff, ending with the ICE agent being shot in the head by Fritz.

I already dislike Pope, but he was more of a tool in "Help Wanted" than usual. This time, he has Brenda take a missing person case only because the mayor is involved. Once again, the only thing he cares about is his image--in this case, what the mayor thinks.

The final shocker was not unexpected, though it opens the rest of the season for big changes. Brenda as chief? That would be pretty awesome, but the other characters would be obsolete and she'd be doing administrative stuff.

Score: 8.7/10

Monday, July 19, 2010

Review - Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 16 Delinquent

Torres and Loker have all but become useless, so it was cool seeing "Delinquent" right into Torres's backstory, revealing her troubled past and her sister's. We learned some facts, nothing that would blow the door wide open, which was all fine. However, the story devolved into a feel good story about the big bad woman in charge of the facility who terrorized the innocent delinquents. And, of course, there must be a rousing cheer from everyone as she is led away.

Despite it being a Torres episode, Foster has the most intense moments of the episode, livening an otherwise bland episode. In the end, though, Monica Raymund couldn't really pull her weight on the level of Tim Roth and Kelli Williams.

Score: 8.1/10

Review - Leverage Season 3 Episode 6 The Studio Job

The characters on Leverage all have special talents which let them get by, but singing? Using Christian Kane's existing musical abilities, the writers spun a great story surrounding Eliot and the country music world. The episode where a character is clearly in the center work well, because it allows the audience to connect more readily with the character and the subject area, while the other characters still function in their usual roles.

Guest stars, John Schneider and Alona Tal), both delivered some of the best guest performances of the season, Schneider as the slimy music magnate Mike Kirkwood and Tal as the adorable yet alluring Kaye Lynn. Kirkwood is scum of the lowest order, brutally beating his way to the top by stealing music as his own. Kaye and her brother, up-and-coming musicians, get caught up in his machinations, and the Leverage team is there to help.

Eliot is inserted as a singer, who is an instant hit. Without any electronic help, he belts out a soulful song, which catches Kirkwood's attention. Knowing that Kirkwood wants to steal the song and even Eliot's voice, Nate manipulates him into revealing he killed the original singer who brought him to fame and that he steals songs.

A usual, the other characters provided the comic relief in their own ways. Parker can usually get away with being a little weird, as she does have real mental problems, but dressing up as a duck and squeaking seemed too over the top and unbelievable. Hardison dresses in a ridiculous white fur coat, pretending to be a rap producer, allowing him free reign to order people around. For the most part, Nate and Sophie didn't go much again, acting as the people who legitimized Eliot. I'm waiting for them to work out whatever tension is between them, but it's not going anywhere. They say words in tandem--clearly they're on the same page--but nothing's being done about it.

It might be my short term memory, but do the jobs this season seem less on the complex side than the previous two seasons? I don't mind, but it's an observation I had while watching the episode.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - True Blood Season 3 Episode 5 Trouble

If I could have one thing for this season of True Blood, it would be an entire episode focused on vampires and werewolves--no Bon Temps, no side characters. The scenes in Mississippi are pushing forward, building up towards an eventual confrontation. Then, we're back in lazy ol' Bon Temps, and everything slows to a halt, perhaps the most undesirable outcome with a show like True Blood which feasts on drama and tension.

One of my favorite parts of the show is when it dives into the past or the hierarchy of supernatural beings. In "Trouble," we were treated to both. Like the vampires, there's a main werewolf in charge of a large group, called the packmaster. However, when Sookie and Alcide meet him, he's clearly not in control. He tells them to do nothing and let them pass, but Sookie hears his thoughts and he's scared as hell. Through another amazing flashback, we see Eric's family, specifically his father, a king, slaughtered by werewolves a memory brought on by one of Russell's crown.

We see more of what Russell is up to as he tries to find out more about Sookie and her lineage. Bill doesn't reveal much, but it's hard to deny anything when there are circled names on a paper from his house. After being absent for most of the second half of the episode, Bill shows up for a reunion with Sookie, a brief hug, before Russell's guys comes in.

Proving there is reality behind the interest in her powers, Sookie shoots a bright blue light to throw off her attacker. In turn, Russell exclaims in delight, "Fantastic!" And indeed it is fantastic. This is one cliffhanger that will have to stick.

Franklin's psycho-act with Tara is amusing, and I laughed out loud at him texting Lafayette, but it goes on and on without end. Franklin is quite literally out of his mind and his actions consists of him declaring his devotion to Tara and declaring Tara's devotion to him while Tara stares on, confused and on edge. It is revealed that wants to make Tara a vampire and should be enough to break out of the cycle. Either she becomes a vampire and is eternally sucked into the world or his doesn't become a vampire, in which case, she's still stuck with them, but Franklin will be very unhappy and dangerous.

Back at Bon Temps, more languid, uninspired plots. By now, something should happen, but nope--it's business as usual. And as a town running smoothly isn't exciting, neither are the numerous scenes in Bon Temps. I hope something to bind Bon Temps to the vampires and werewolves eventually comes up, or else we are in for a long ride.

Jason's interspersed idiocy has a great cathartic effect, but it's hard to take Jason seriously in scenes with Crystal. We're reminded, once again, that Jason is too stupid to pass the police test which would allow him to patrol out on the streets. You'd think that he'd have to sense to stay low, especially after shooting a mostly innocent Eggs, but he's practically worthless. He has nothing to offer. What would Crystal see in Jason? OK, he's pretty and that's about it.

I'm trying to see the positives in Sam's storyline, but really, are there? His brother is working in the bar and wants to stay with him, the first time we've seen him not off the rails. His father acts like a typical drunk (again), ranting and raving about how he owns Sam's brother. Is there any point to this madness?

While Sam's family gets a couple scenes, Jessica gets one. One scene! Sadly, all she does is show how immature she is by glamouring a couple, so they won't give Arlene tips and pining over Hoyt as he's with another girl. Luckily for us, however, we can see Jessica's and Deborah Ann Woll's charm on Jessica's blog.

Meanwhile, Jesus shows up and hangs out with Lafayette for a while. Someone's got a new boyfriend... Lafayette has been incredibly isolated this season, so it's good to him with someone who can interact full-time. However, there's not much else going on with him

In a world filled with all sorts of mystical creatures, regular people aren't interesting and there are so many characters, they all get lost in the shuffle. As we near the halfway point of the season, I'd like to see some of the loose ends come together

Score: 8.8/10

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Review - The Closer Season 6 Episode 1 The Big Bang

I have an OCD policy about not reviewing shows unless I've watched all the episodes, so I've been catching up on the last two season of The Closer the past month. Anyway, quick review of the season premiere before the second episode of the season tomorrow night.

"The Big Bang" was plain for the most part, taking on an average case of infidelity and murder. The biggest change was the new police headquarters, which Brenda and the others don't take to kindly. Pope, however, defends the building to no end. The reason, shown in the end, is that the police chief is retiring, and if the pompous look on Pope's face is any indication, he's taking the job--and in turn, the building.

Score: 8.5/10

Preview of Week 7/18/10 - 7/24/10

True Blood - HBO, Sunday, July 18, 9:00pm ET
Is this the episode when things finally get going? It better.

Leverage - TNT, Sunday, July 18, 10:00pm ET

We know Christian Kane has , but this time he gets to apply his skills on the show. Eliot as a legit country singer should be fun.

Covert Affairs - USA, Tuesday, July 20, 10:00pm ET

I'm curious as to how much mythology will be packed into every episode, so the second idea should provide us a good idea of that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review - The Bridge Season 1 Episode 3 Fat Lady Sings the Blues

After the pilot which featured a large time skip, essentially telling us the show would not proceed with the awesomeness of the first hour and a half, The Bridge settled into more or less what it will be like--never too exciting or intense, but solid enough keep me interested.

This week, Frank dealt with a cop acting as a hitman, a cop in prison after killing his wife, and got really close to cheating on Abby with Jill. I'm curious to see how many threads continue on, and it seems like all could. Canadian television is iffy to say the least, but I like the ambition.

What sets The Bridge apart from the cookie cutter police procedurals rolled out this summer (Rookie Blue, The Good Guys, Memphis Beat, Rizzoli & Isles, The Glades, etc, etc...) is the moral ambiguity. Frank Leo is no Vic Mackey--yet--but it's hard not to see a resemblance. Already, Frank is cutting deals, not necessarily to uphold the law, as he is no longer as cop, but to help officers. His role as head of the union is to help cops--which means the city is not his first interest.

My huge complaint, which took up the majority of my review last week, that Frank no longer is the underdog and in any danger is an even bigger problem in the third episode. While the random characters are at risk a few times, the main characters are never at risk, going about their business with relative ease.

I'm not sold on the series yet, but the start has been promising and I'll be watching a few more episodes.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - Haven Season 1 Episode 2 Butterfly

I'm a sucker for sci-fi, but Haven is so far from meeting the mark that I'm ready to stop watching. This week's episode featured another weak case--even worse than the pilot's ridiculousness--and the rest of the pieces remain as nebulous as ever.

The adopted son of a woman Nathan used to be friendly with has nightmares which become real. The case is over in a jiffy as the kid is prescribed medicine to end night terrors. Um... OK?

A big problem with the show is that clearly, something is direly wrong with the town, but everyone's attitude doesn't reflect that. From Nathan to the townsfolk, they go about business as usual. Even Audrey, an outsider, doesn't act too surprised about the events. I'd be freaking out if a blanket wrapped me in a cocoon, but Audrey is calm and collected other than a small expression of shock at first which quickly dissipates.

The explanation for their behavior is that similar events happened in 1983--around the time the photo was taken. So Nathan knows more than he let on, but other than a few worthless hints, we know next to nothing. Why doesn't Nathan tell Audrey everything?

As if Audrey's declaration to stay in Haven at the end of last week's episode wasn't enough, a subplot of "Butterfly" is her decision to actually stay, seemingly a rehash of what we already know--she wants to stay to figure out the deal with the picture and the town.

Score: 6.5/10

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 6 Entry Point

Usually, Michael has a clear idea of who he's going after--not just guesswork based off evidence, but solid visual confirmation of the target in the process of criminal activity. That's why this episode was different. Stumbling around an antique thief who isn't afraid of hurting people, Michael and Fi first pick, incorrectly, who the main thief is, positioning themselves in a sticky situation as a result. But, as always, they figure it out in the end and that part of the episode is wrapped up in a nice bow.

On the other side of things, Kendra proves herself to be a little on the crazy side, showing that she can bash her head to the point of bleeding without any reaction. Still, Michael is the master of everything, so he has a failsafe plan up his sleeve which works perfectly. Jesse pretends to be the weak link in order to trick Kendra into revealing information. Barry spoofs her bank account papers to show zero balance, her employer siphoning her money, and she takes revenge by telling Jesse that Cassar was one of three who botched a bank robbery. Sam has Kendra sent to the FBI, but I wonder how long can they hold her. Hopefully forever, because Navi Rawat really doesn't have what it takes to be convincing.

We're moving exceedingly slow until we can find out whoever is behind everything, and the overarching story is boring me to death even if I did like Jesse interrogating Kendra. And whatever happened to Michael's new handler, Vaughn?

Score: 8.9/10

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review - Rookie Blue Season 1 Episode 4 Signals Crossed

Yeah... I think this is my last review for this show. Admittedly, Missy Peregrym looked great, but the episode was one of the stupidest things I've watched this year, along with the absurd Big Love Mexican standoff episode. Dressing the rookies as hookers? Really?

Score: 1.0/10

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review - Psych Season 5 Episode 1 Romeo and Juliet and Juliet

The title of the episode, "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet" lays out exactly what the episode is about. There's a Chinese Triad version of Romeo and Juliet and the other featured character is Juliet. In between were some cool action scenes and not much else.

In its fifth season, Psych is a show we've come not to expect much from. The characters have the subtlety of bricks and the jokes are reused over and over again. And still, the actors manage to make me laugh. Shawn and Gus bicker for most of the episode, leaving a very simplistic case to solve, Shawn's fake psychic abilities notwithstanding. Hopefully, Shawn's dad joining the police department will spur the writers into putting Shawn's secret actually at risk, though that's doubtful.

Like everything else on the show, Juliet's return was very simplistic and beaten over the head relentless. In essence, everyone bothers her about coming back until she saves Shawn in the end and decides to come back.

Honestly, I'll probably be doing very brief reviews (less than 5 sentences) of Psych from now on if I do a review at all. The show simply doesn't have enough meat to say much about.

Score: 8.2/10

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 2 Episode 2 Mild Mannered

Most people who watched the episode were probably awaiting the return of Simon and Kaylee of Firefly, and would be pleased by anything as long as the two showed up. If the episode had a good plot, it would be a bonus. Unfortunately, it wasn't.

There's a fine line between playfulness and immaturity that Warehouse 13 straddles to obtain humor. We can always expect light teasing between the characters, but "Mild Mannered" went a little too far. Encapsulating the episode was Pete's line, "Can I feel your boobies?" in reference to Myka's middle name, Ophelia.

The main plot seemed pulled from a kids' cartoon, ludicrous music cuing Myka's entrance in a skintight superhero outfit to combat an outlandish looking superhero named the Iron Shadow. Then there was Claudia's exceedingly childish reaction to Leena. Obviously, Leena had nothing to do with the placement of the pearl, but Claudia standoffish attitude was too immature for me to swallow.

Myka's transformation since the pilot has been stark and I'm wondering if it's been too much .In an almost uncharacteristic scene at the start, Myka dances around her room after receiving some personal items. Sure she's happy, but wasn't she originally the uptight character, contrasting with Peter's outgoing personality? By design, Myka and Peter have pretty much become identical twins, with gender as the biggest difference. No longer is there any genuine tension between the two. Whatever barbs they trade is purely for their own entertainment and it's hard to see them as anything other than the main sources of comedy.

On the positive side, "Mild Mannered" worked well as a bridge between the season premiere from the rest of the season. Still reeling from the events of the last episode, Artie, Claudia, and Leena must deal with their feelings. (Pete and Myka stand out as they were largely unaffected by MacPherson.) Artie is trailed by a "ghost" of MacPherson, eventually finding some closure through a watch and a note. Claudia, too, finds some sense after seeing Sheldon let go since the artifact took control of him. She finally realizes that Leena wasn't at fault. However, there is something going on with Leena, possibly a residual effect of the pearl, and she calls Mrs. Frederick.

For my tastes, "Mild Mannered" was far too hokey to fully enjoy, but I'm sure plenty of people liked all the wackiness. I liked the Firefly reunion, though, and the sweet moments between Loretta and Sheldon were heartwarming.

Score: 7.8/10

Review - Covert Affairs Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot

Inevitably, there will be comparisons of Covert Affairs to Alias--mostly from people who make dumb gut reactions, many prominent critics included. Yes they're both spy shows about a young woman joining the CIA, but there have been plenty of spy shows created--and besides, La Femme Nikita, also a USA show, debuted years before Alias. While all these people continually chant Alias, it's hard to ignore their ignorance.

Covert Affairs strikes a unique tone. It's breezy, bright in tone and lighting. There's nothing remotely close to Nikita caught with a knife in a dark alley or Sydney finding her fiance dead. So let's stop the comparisons. Frankly, it's annoying seeing ________ compared to Alias as if its the Holy Grail of television.

Piper Perabo--who hasn't done anything notable since Coyote Ugly--is the real surprise. Starring a CIA trainee, Annie Walker, she doesn't just exceed expectations; she blows them away, completely. She's earnest, warm, fun, innocent, and wildly entertaining to watch. I have no idea why Perabo hasn't been a bigger star, but she's here now and I predict the series will go on for years.

Almost equally awesome is Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham). He's blind, having been hurt in the field, but that doesn't keep him down. Guiding Annie around the CIA facility, Auggie is helpful and maintains a positive outlook on life, definitely not hampered by the attraction of women to him.

There's a decent spy work in the pilot, containing plenty of action and thrills, and an average story about a Russian spy. If it's indicative of what we'll see in later weeks, I'm definitely up for more.

The rest of the pieces, however, are not on par, and it's a shame really. Kari Matchett and Peter Gallagher play Joan and Arthur Campell, a married CIA couple with marital problems. They aren't particularly interesting, but at Annie's superiors, so we'll have to see them often. For no good reason, there's this other CIA guy called Conrad Sheehan (Eric Lively). He does absolutely nothing in the pilot, except exchange a few lines with various characters.

Setting up the double life drama is Annie's sister Danielle (Anne Dudek) and Danielle's young daughter. They have no clue what Annie is up to and Danielle has the obligatory line how Annie could never be a spy. And the audience snickers in the back of their mind, not at Danielle but at the writers.

The central mystery to the show is Annie's ex-boyfriend, who mysteriously dumped her only weeks after they met. Apparently, the CIA wants him and Annie's joining the CIA is a ploy to get him into the open. The plan seems to have worked, her ex saving her at the end of the episode.

Like pretty much every other summer show, with few exceptions (Mad Men, Rescue Me, Friday Night Lights), Covert Affairs isn't deep or hard hitting. People can enjoy it for what it is--a fun spy show.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - White Collar Season 2 Episode 1 Withdrawal

White Collar follows the familiar USA Network pattern. 1) Fun characters with good chemistry. 2) Standalone crime solving with some mythology/character development in each episode. 3) Intense season finale. 4) A resetting season premiere.

And like clockwork, White Collar picks up the pieces 2 months after the explosive end to the first season finale as if nothing happened, reverting back to the usual FBI cases with Neal tagging along to help. This week, they take down a brazen bank robber, self-nicknamed The Architect. The only differences are that Neal is slightly off his game and they're going for Fowler instead of Kate.

A huge problem with the overarching mythology is that it is so shrouded in mystery and innuendo that it's already as convoluted as Burn Notice's, which has dragged on far too long already in its fourth season.  But White Collar, only in its second season, has cracks all over the Fowler/Operation Mentor story to the point where I don't care much for it.

Conspicuously absent was Lauren Cruz, played by Natalie Morales, who didn't do much anyway and is now on Park and Recreation. As we saw on The Middleman, she definitely has the spunk for the show, but the writers focused on Neal and Peter. Cruz is written off in a throwaway sentence about keeping her safe.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Rizzoli & Isles Season 1 Episode 1 See One, Do One, Teach One

For a show called Rizzoli & Isles, I was expecting some light, buddy-cop action with the two female leads fluidly bantering all the way through. Instead, Rizzoli and Isles--or more aptly, Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander--don't have any chemistry, not that the writing ever tries to alleviate the problem.

The case was actually decent, something I'd expect on Criminal Minds, but fitting with the title of the show and intent? Certainly not.

And that pretty much sums up Rizzoli & Isles, a tonally dissonant show, going back and forth between disturbing and chirpy without much success on either end or in the middle.

Score: 7.3/10

Review - The X-Files Season 2 Episode 23 Soft Light

I have a soft spot for "Soft Light." (No pun intended.) It's not a well-written episode, but the scenes of people sucked into nothing from the shadow gets me every time. The old school visual effects are fun to watch in a Tron-ish way.

The concept behind the science is cool--living dark matter after an accident--but the episode is amazingly devoid of any emotion whatsoever. Many bodies drop and yet, no one seems to care. Even when Scully's former student bites the dust, there isn't a second thought other than a funeral in which Scully looks sadly at her name.

Once again, we see X cleaning up the mess, bypassing Mulder for his own ends. The revelation in the end is that the guy with the death shadows may not have been the one in the chamber after all, but another scientist. Mulder, who was forceful with Deep Throat, can't change what X does, but X helps sometimes, putting Mulder in a precarious position.

Score: 8.2/10

Monday, July 12, 2010

Review - Lie to Me Season 2 Episode 15 Teacher and Pupils

The influence of Shawn Ryan's The Shield was heavy on "Teacher and Pupils" with the vigilante cops and intimidation of Lightman. Unfortunately, the episode remained rather tame and wasn't pushed nearly enough to have me worried about the outcome. Lightman came out on top yet again, cutting through the lies and reading people left and right.

All the way back in November, before Lie to Me was shafted to the summer, Melissa George was announced as a recurring character. She appeared 2 episodes ago as a widow of a deceased rich guy and was not guilty. She returned this week and ended up shadowing Lightman for part of the episode to learn how he does what he does, and by the end of the episode, she is the majority investor in equity firm that gave Lightman a loan, meaning she'll be sticking around longer--and possibly making some changes.

Could that mean the side characters will get the axe? I think Torres had 2 lines total. Did Loker even have any? By now, nothing is going for them in any respect.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - The Glades Season 1 Episode 1 Pilot

The Glades doesn't do anything to break the formula, but it doesn't disappoint either. Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) plays a Florida cop who was booted out of the Chicago police force. He's pretty typical as TV cops come. He's talented, snarky, and largely uninterested in his job. He is, however, interested in Callie (Kiele Sanchez) a nurse in medical school who warms up to him quickly.

The case was weird, though not all bad. Too few suspects were introduced for the mystery to be complicated, but the story took a wild turn out of the blue when Jim's partner turns out to be the murderer. It was startling, but not played up. In fact, nothing really caught my attention, which isn't all too bad for a summer show.

Score: 8.2/10

Review - Leverage Season 3 Episode 5 The Double-Blind Job

I usually don't watch the opening credits simply because I've seen it many times before, but last night, I watch it, and for whatever reason, it didn't sit right with me this time. It starts off with Nate saying, "The rich and the powerful take what they want. We steal it back for you..." Now I've never had a problem with the concept of the show, mostly because it doesn't quite follow the language of the opening credits. However, taking the language by itself reveals something troubling.

It starts off directly accusing all rich and powerful of all being terrible people who steal. It's a direct sentence, a statement of fact. After painting every rich and powerful person in the world in a very negative light, he proceeds to declare that he and the team steal it back for "you," the audience. This line of thinking propels class warfare and is an extreme hyperbole.

What should be said in the beginning--far more fitting with the theme of the show--should be an emphasis on those who need help, not those doing the hurting. I don't feel satisfaction because a rich person gets taken down in the end, but because the client gets something back, emotional resolution and/or money. The second sentence, "We steal it back for you," doesn't do justice to what actually happens during the show.

And "The Double Blind Job" does a great job with that angle. There's an average job about a pharmaceutical company releasing a dangerous drug to the public, but more importantly, the client is involved the whole way--or at least she's clinging on to Hardison. Occasionally, the person who puts the team in the right direction disappears until the very end, negating the importance of the job, so her continued presence was welcome.

Along the way, Parker is jealous of the client's connection with Hardison--though she won't admit it is jealousy. Like the episode a few weeks back when Parker was trapped in the building, she had to blend in and act normal, failing badly before doing her usual thieving.

Sophie and Nate were kind of in their own world. Since his return, Nate has been different and it showed this week as he puts himself directly in harms way where he may be killed. In fact, he is a hairbreadth away from being injected. Nate's justification is that he has to be willing to put himself in danger before putting others in danger.

The Italian woman didn't show up, and based on the number of appearances, I'm guessing she'll be in and out for the entire season, possibly every other episode. In any case, there are still 11 episodes left in the season before the team moves on Moreau.

Score: 8.5/10

Review - True Blood Season 3 Episode 4 9 Crimes

Without a doubt, if Sookie and Bill had been at the center of "9 Crimes," it would have been a great episode. But, unfortunately, they were relegated to the beginning and end of the episode while the others characters stomped around Bon Temps in various uninteresting subplots.

After last episode's wild sex antics, Bill continued down the road, further drawing himself into darkness. In four episodes, Bill has completely switched, both in allegiance and personality--perhaps a product of his lack of proximity to Sookie. When Bill and Sookie reunite, it'll be interesting to see what happens.

For now, they are apart, and the circumstances created are currently keeping True Blood afloat. Along with Bill calling to tell Sookie everything is over, complete with the line, "We fucked like only two vampires can," he tells Russell about Eric selling V on orders from Sophie-Anne. In turn, the Magister raids Fantasia for V, but Pam blames it on Bill to save her clean. Clearly, Russell has everything mapped out.

At the end of the episode, Bill collects a stripper to drink. When he glamours her to make sure no one cares about her, she tells him it is pointless to love, reinforcing his actions--all to the haunting tune of "Paradise Circus." As Sookie gets in trouble, he feels her in danger and even stops, before joining Russell and Lorena in their feast.

Sookie, after the devastating phone call from Bill, finds a kindred spirit in Alcide, who, as we learn, is very warm, definitely a plus. Like Alcide, she's recently been scorned, though she's still in the grieving process. Despite telling Sookie she'll should get over Bill, Alcide, too, has issues getting over his ex. Together, he and Sookie, dressed as a badass werewolf, visit a werewolf club where they find his ex. However, Russell shows up and shows why he has control over the pack. He doles out a small amount of V and leaves, forcing them to work for him if they want more. The cliffhanger at the end of the episode could potentially propel the story forward. Everyone is turning into wolves, except Sookie who will stick out like a tender, little human.

The Bon Temps stuff was mostly filler setup for the next episode, and nothing left me looking for more. Epitomizing the problem--Jessica's brief appearance. In need of help at the Bar, Sam hires Jessica, a good choice under the circumstances. A guy from her hometown recognizes her and she glamours him outside as Hoyt watches from a distance, clearly dissatisfied. So? What are supposed to take from that? There's no indication--not even an inkling--of what could happen next.

Likewise, Sam finds his brother, finally talking some sense into him, and the rest of his family, who are camping outside, because they've fallen behind on house payments. They agree to behave and don't show up for the rest of the episode. Why should we care what happens next with them?

And the rest of Bon Temps follows a similar pattern. Jason corners Andy, requesting to be made a deputy after showing up the local high school football star. Lafayette is saved by Eric from some unfriendly drug dealers. Franklin pumps Tara for more information on Bill before tying her up and taking her to Russell.

I'm worried about how this season is shaping up, especially in comparison to the second season, which I thought started well and ended blandly. Four episodes in, the third season is humming along at an adequate pace, far less than True Blood is capable of. We can only hope that's because more gas is left in the tank.

Score: 8.7/10

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Preview of Week 7/11/10 - 7/17/10

The Closer - TNT, Monday, July 11, 9:00pm ET

Entering its sixth season, The Closer still has white hot ratings and shows no signs of slowing down. The theme of Season 6 is attraction. Pope and Brenda? Ugh...

Rizzoli & Isles - TNT, Monday, July 11, 10:00pm ET

Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander team up as detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. It's cool to see TNT at least attempt several shows with female leads, even if Saving Grace never quite succeeded.

White Collar - USA, Tuesday, July 13, 9:00pm ET

While Peter and Neal still have near perfect chemistry, the writing remains rather bland.

Covert Affairs - USA, Tuesday, July 13, 10:00pm ET

This awesome new spy show from USA has action, humor, mythology, and a terrific Piper Perabo--the complete package for the next big USA hit.

Psych - USA, Wednesday, July 14, 9:00pm ET

I'm not sure why I still watch the show, but the cast is insanely funny even if the lines are absurdly stupid.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Review - The Bridge Season 1 Episode 1/2 Red Door/Paint it Black

The first hour and a half, I was thinking The Bridge was The Wire-lite--a Canadian counterpart with worse acting, worse dialogue, worse directing, but with a somewhat similar premise of corruption infesting the body politic, sans the criminal drug side. I was liking it a lot more than the other new shows the broadcast networks were putting out.

Then, the show went back to the present, when Frank Leo (Aaron Douglas) is already union boss and has tons of support. Just like that, a mountain of potential is sucked out and we're left with a less compelling show.

In my mind, the way the pilot was being paced, I thought Frank would make the decision to run for union president at the end of the episode, and the entire first season would chronicle the election as he battles adversaries from every corner. Instead, that is resolved instantly.

Far too quickly, Frank rises to the top, overcoming every obstacle in a few brief scenes. The struggles he faces--whether from Internal Affairs, the top brass, or even those close to him--are touched on one or two times before he is unanimously elected. Now, he is in a far more advantageous position than before.

What I enjoyed most about the middle section was how enemies were around him, and wasn't much he could do. As soon as the other cops rally around him, he was an aura of invulnerability. When the police, en masse, huddles around an individual, it's hard to feel anything about this guy.

Aaron Douglas, as he did in Battlestar Galactica, portrays the everyday working man who wants to make a difference with believability and passion. The other characters, however, aren't developed and are basically props for Frank to use--clearly not the intent, since Frank is working to help them.

Mostly, this review dealt with my disappointment in how far the show could have gone versus where the writers took it. Clearly, they weren't as ambitious or skilled as I hoped. Aside from that, the episode had plenty of great scenes and a uneasy tension riding behind it, dispelled only by the final act of the episode.

Score: 8.7/10

Friday, July 9, 2010

Review - Haven Season 1 Episode 1 Welcome to Haven

Haven feels like a typical Syfy drama pilot outside of the Ronald D. Moore stock. There is too much exposition, an unspectacular plot, a charming, quaint script, passable but not great acting, solid but unambitious premise--all the usual non-intrusive elements that make the show watchable, but certainly not a must-watch.

We are introduced to dour FBI agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose), who comes to Haven, Maine to track down an escaped convict. "Welcome to Haven" proceeds like a third-tier cop show. Characters and suspects are introduced, she bickers with them, and collects evidence. Mind you, this is all the first half of the episode and nothing supernatural has happened yet other than some weather effects.

Then, the episode takes a distinct turn--not enough to salvage the episode--but enough to keep me interested in the series. Audrey finds an old photo with a woman who looks almost exactly like her, tethering her to the very town she's in. By the end of the episode--after an absurdly dumb case of a woman's emotions causing the weather phenomena and her needing to have true love to be happy and not cause disturbances--Audrey decides to cash in her vacation days and stay. Predictably, her boss is positioned as the mysterious guy pulling the strings and calls someone about her helping something.

Among the characters are Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour on yet another new show), resident bad boy, and Nathan Wournos (Lucas Bryant), local policeman who can't feel pain. Neither are compelling and don't contribute to anything.

I'll watch a couple more episodes because I am a sucker for science fiction, but until there is more development in the mythology, I won't feel the need to watch more. The standalone parts of the episode, which consumed the majority of the hour, was both mindnumbing and gloriously saccharine like a Lifetime movie.

Score: 7.1/10

The first thing I noticed was how the episode title was similar to the pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, titled "Welcome to the Hellmouth." Any relevance? Other than the supernatural premise, not much.

Review - Flashpoint Season 3 Episode 6 The Farm

OK, I just found out that CBS aired "The Farm" as episode 3 and "Behind the Blue Line" as episode 6. It was aired in a different order in Canada and pretty much throws off my numbering. Since that's the case, if you want to read my reviews for Flashpoint, look at the episode titles.

In the order aired in Canada, today's episode would be "The Farm" and I've already reviewed "Just a Man," the second episode of the double-feature tonight, so I'll review "The Farm" right now and try to finish reviewing the rest of the episodes this week or the next for whoever wants to read them. Sorry about the inconvenience.

After a woman attempts to rob a gas station, the investigation leads a "the farm," a compound where she went to get clean. The name clearly denotes something weird, and yep, there's something off with the place and residents. Ed and Jules visit the compound and the situation quickly disintegrates into a standoff. Ed is captured and disarmed, putting everyone in a precarious position.

It turns out that Charles, the guy in charge, once genuinely wanted to help people but now wants to kill everyone, a point that isn't explained until the very end when it is revealed that he has cancer and he shoots himself. Ed, who talks about not letting his son go to an unsupervised party at the beginning of the episode, comes to a similar revelation that he has to let his son find his own path.

"The Farm" wasn't revolutionary in any respect, but it was a high quality episode we've come to except. The plot was tightly knit, the acting was good, and there was a real connection between the SRU and Charles.

Score: 8.9/10

Castle T-Shirt Giveaway

From the wonderful people at CafePress, I have a great giveaway for readers. It's a t-shirt specifically for Castle, in my opinion, one of the best procedurals on television.

Small Size, Pacific Color

How to Enter: (Remember to use your real email so I can contact you, and sorry, only residents of the US or Canada)
Leave comment on what your favorite part about Castle is OR what your favorite episode is. It's that simple!

Friday, July 22

And the winner is......
Rebecca Castillo

Congratulations!!! If you want to know how I chose the winner, only 5 people entered (step it up, people), so I went to a random number generator and got 4. Counting from the top, the fourth comment is Rebecca's. I also want to note that comments are currently from newest at the top to oldest at the bottom, a system I'm considering changing. For the future, it might be different in case I'm accused of impropriety of some kind.

Review - The X-Files Season 2 Episode 22 F. Emasculata

YUCK!!!!!!! Seriously, next time I see a cyst, I'm going to freak out. The episode starts off with the utterly grotesque opening scene with the huge pustule, filling the screen and bursting. Scully spends most of the episode in a dark room beside a furnace, trapped with bodies and bugs, and Mulder deals with the government black-ops, swooping in an keeping everything under wraps.

Again, the government is up to no good, covering up evidence as soon as it arrives, incinerating all infected bodies. However, the motives of the government seems to be based on reason rather than an insidious plot of some kind. Containment of information--in this case, through the use of fire--may be helpful. By maintaining control of the situation by tracking those infected while keeping the public calm, the government is able to minimize losses.

So is the truth the best option in this situation? Mulder, who is prepared to let everyone know, never gets the chance to cross the line of revealing the truth to the public. Instead the government takes out the prisoner before he can speak. Effectively, Pink Pharmaceuticals used prisoners as lab rats without repercussions as the government either enable it for a short while or hid the facts.

Looking back at the episode, CSM's appearance makes no sense. At that time, he was just the face of whatever covert activity the government was conducting, but as his role was defined, he became the face of the Syndicate. Since there's no evidence of aliens, "F. Emasculata" is not a mythology episode.

Just a side note, Janet Reno look hideous. I mean damn... Well, at least her appearance sums up how gross the episodes is. Skinner has to replace that picture.

Score: 9.2/10

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Revew - Rookie Blue Season 1 Episode 3 Fite Nite

Rookie Blue is a happy show; bad things may happen during the course of the episode, people may get hurt, both physically and mentally, but in the end, everything ends all right. Everyone has a buddy to hang out with and through the tears, there's someone else there for them. Realistically, though, real life doesn't end like that.

Unlike last week's sad outing, "Fite Nite" wasn't terrible. The writing wasn't bad and the acting wasn't bad. All in all, it was a cookie-cutter episode. The characters again took a precedent to the crimes, negating any serious implications the show could have on any deeper thought. Right now, the balance is off. These are police officers and their lives are important, but the criminals hardly get a second glance and are written off instantly.

I didn't expect anything major to happen, but I wanted to see more consequences of the woman who consistently let her husband abuse her. Maybe it will happen in a later episode, but instead of the cheesy ending with Andy meeting Detective Callaghan at a bar for a drink, it would have been much better if Andy received a call telling her that the woman was found dead. And I know it's wishful thinking on my part. Rookie Blue isn't supposed to be hard hitting or dark, and certainly not realistic.

Score: 7.5/10

Quick thoughts on Emmy nominations

Lists of all categories and major categories

I think the Emmy Awards are BS, but I have a few things to say (about the major categories).

No Entourage! Finally, finally, finally.

No Community... Lame as hell.

Eternal 30 Rock/The Office love. They could churn out crap and still be nominated.

Lots of Modern Family. Kind of overrepresented when Community got nothing.

As expected, Glee picks up a couple nominations.

Lost's final season garnered a couple big ones, though no women were nominated.

Friday Night Lights!?!?! Are my eyes deceiving me?

24 used to be an Emmys beast and the final season gets no recognition. Why don't the voters have the same mindset when it comes to 24 as it does with 30 Rock?

No Sons of Anarchy. Oh well...

The Good Wife got a bunch of nominations!

House was (thankfully) left out of the Outstanding Drama category. Hugh Laurie was nominated again, and he better win this year.

Unsurprisingly, Fringe was shut out despite John Noble's mindblowing work in the later half of the season.

On the other hand, True Blood was nominated for Outstanding Drama. Weird, huh?

Did Charlie Sheen's behavior hurt his chances for a nomination? Wait... wouldn't that increase his chances?

The Pacific doesn't get recognized for acting. More BS.

Law & Order didn't get jack for the final season, not that it should have.

No Big Love. At least the disaster of a fourth season wasn't recognized for anything major.

No Treme. Another collective middle finger to David Simon.

Nothing for Grey's Anatomy, even for acting.

I hope these one-liners weren't too annoying on the eyes. As always, these are my opinions, just as the nominations are others' opinions. I wouldn't put much credence into these awards or even reviewers (ironic that I'm saying that). Watch lots of television and make your own opinions.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Review - The X-Files Season 2 Episode 21 The Calusari

I've actually watched "The Calusari" a couple times, but the only thing I ever remember from it is the opening. In fact, you could probably ask me what happens in the episode a week from now and I wouldn't remember much. The episodes starts of promising with a pink balloon seemingly leading a baby to his death as his brother looks on.

The rest, however, is aimless and forgettable, blending the integration of Romanians with the clear fact that something paranormal is going on. It's scary, but after a while, the episode gets bogged down in a slow, jumbled plot and some of the worst guest acting of the entire season.

Score: 8.1/10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Review - Warehouse 13 Season 2 Episode 1 Time Will Tell

Warehouse 13 was on and off for me for the duration of the first season, starting with the pilot. The plot holes were big enough to drive a bus through, the stories very tame, and the pacing was bothersome. Still, the cast had good chemistry which only increased as the show progressed, making Warehouse a fun, likable show fit for the summer. Towards the end of the season, and especially with the season finale, it felt like everything had come together to the point where the show was well-rounded in all areas. The second season, beginning with "Time Will Tell," starts off more or less in the same place--solid plot, chemistry, and faster pacing.

After MacPherson's destructive exit at the end of last season, Artie was presumed to be incinerated in the fire, though, no one--literally--would presume that Artie was actually dead. Of course the phoenix charm, introduced in the season finale, saves Artie. However, the side effect, causing someone nearby to combust, strikes Mrs. Frederick's driver. And, of course, she's still alive after the explosion. The writers seemed intent on playing up the drama when we knew there was no way any main character would die, and it clearly didn't work.

Artie travels to Geneva, Switzerland to find Claudia, who is contacting her brother, while Pete and Myka investigate at the warehouse. Their investigation brings them to H.G. Wells's house in London where, shockingly, H.G. Wells is a woman!! Okay, okay, just chalk it up to science fiction and we'll go with it... Anyway, she makes off with the Imperceptor, a vest that allows the wearer to move extra fast.

Meanwhile, MacPherson fools Joshua and steals some anti-matter which powers the Imperceptor. Together, MacPherson and H.G. go back to the warehouse. Their target is the Escher Vault, the storage place for the effects of those bronzed. Before H.G. returns, Myka pretends to be her, using Harriet Tubman's thimble and nabs MacPherson. H.G., however, shows how devious she is and cuts off the diamonds which allowed MacPherson to be inside the warehouse. He dies, but not before telling Artie that he put the phoenix charm in his pocket, leaving a somber tone in an otherwise happy moment.

They enter the Escher Vault, which looks incredibly cheesy with the low, low, low grade visual effects, and find that H.G stole her ring, locket, and compact. Oh goodie, we get a new enemy! The idea of a female (and hot) H.G. Wells seems gimmicky, so I won't put much importance on her, but the team is running with a full head of steam which is all good news.

Score: 8.8/10

Monday, July 5, 2010

Preview of Week 07/04/10 - 07/10/10

Sorry for posting this late; I was doing July 4 stuff yesterday, so I didn't have any time.

Warehouse 13 - Syfy, Tuesday, July 6, 9:00pm ET

The overuse of deus ex machina really bothered me last season, especially at the beginning of the season, but the show found its way towards the end of the season and ended on a very strong cliffhanger.

Eureka - Syfy, Friday, July 9, 9:00pm ET

Belatedly, I'm putting this here, because I think the show is way too wacky for its own good. Still, the show can be fun and there'll be a crossover with Warehouse 13 later this year.

Haven - Syfy, Friday, July 9, 10:00pm ET

After reading the description of the show, I was struck by how similar the premise was to Eureka. The differences only seem to lie in the tone of the show and the use of the paranormal instead of science. I guess we'll see exactly how similar is on Friday.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Review - The X-Files Season 2 Episode 20 Humbug

The first couple seasons are dead serious. The episodes are bleak, scary, dark, and the only humor is contained in a line here or there. Entire episodes never even have a straight undertone of humor throughout the episode.

Written by flukeman actor, Darin Morgan, brother of Glen Morgan, "Humbug" is the first truly irreverent episode of the series, and certainly not the last. As the show progresses, more and more episodes are slanted in the funny direction, a product of the writers finding comfort with the characters and producers willing to take chances.

Mulder and Scully visit a sideshow town where a brutal murder has occurred. They meet an array of characters--characters in the purest sense. These are performers, each with special abilities or traits. However, some refuse to perform, instead making a living as a normal person would, running a motel, etc. This creates a great atmosphere for the episode and the script is as sharp as it gets, blending both the indignation of some of the residents and the cold reality that they are just different.

Mulder and Scully approach the case, looking at one of the "freaks," but Mulder points out that they may be discriminating by starting with this attitude. In the end, the Fiji Mermaid is none other than the twin fetus of Lanny, who is suggested to have been eaten by Conundrum. And there are still plenty of scary horror stuff alongside the overly funny scenes, making it a very well-rounded episode.

Score: 9.3/10

Review - Flashpoint Season 3 Episode 5 Coming to You Live

Politicians are all scumbags who have terrible things in the past, right? That's what a radio host thinks when he kidnaps a councilman on air. It all revolves around a car crash year ago which led to the death of the councilman's friend. The host believes the councilman was behind the wheel, not his friend. The SRU mobilizes, finding the parties involved, eventually uncovering the truth.

Several facts come out. First, the host is revealed to be the friend's biological father, which was one of the triggers, though it seemed kind of unrealistic since he's never met his son. Second, the councilman's assistant was actually the driver. She was his friend's girlfriend and they covered up the accident to keep her out of trouble. In they end, both the councilman and his assistant are arrested. (And oddly enough, Ted Kennedy is seen as a national hero despite killing a woman in his past.)

"Coming to You Live" was a solid episode with the stuff you'd usually expect. I'm trying to wrack my brain for more to say on the episode, but it was pretty cut and dry. The connections between the SRU and the criminal was almost nonexistent this week other than Sam telling Jules that he would have covered up the crash for a friend, eliciting a smile from her.

Score: 8.7/10

T-Shirt Giveaway from CafePress

As soon as get the shirts in the mail, I announce the details for the next giveaway, a Castle shirt provided by CafePress. Big shout out to CafePress for being so generous.

They have clothing, drinkware, home stuff, and accessories for pretty much any topic out there from politics to movies and everything in between. Basically, if you want a shirt to express something, it's at CafePress. You can also find Alan Wake t-shirts at CafePress!

Review - Rookie Blue Season 1 Episode 2 Mercury Retrograde

No ifs, ands, or buys... "Mercury Retrograde" was bad, really bad. After the not-so-good-but-not-terrible pilot, I was planning on watching the show during the summer. Now, I'm reconsidering that decision. The dialogue is exceedingly cheesy and it seemed like every cop trope was thrown in the episodes.

There was the typical police car ending with the criminal flipping over the police car, banging the shoulder into the solid door, renegade cop, trusting the drunk guy who happens to have gone to his wife's funeral that morning, and last but not least, the almost kiss.

Score: 4.5/10

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 5 Neighborhood Watch

While no where near the awesomeness of last week's hostage episode, "Neighborhood Watch" reached the level we've come to expect--fun, informative (about how to be a spy in Burn Notice world), and an unspectacular but decent story.

Lots of the episode seemed very familiar to me, but there are so many episodes I have no clue whether any specific plots were reused in the episode. Drug dealers--very familiar. Unwilling client--again, very familiar. Michael making the client seem scarier than he really is--very familiar. The plot wasn't original at all, but I liked the interplay between Michael and David (the client), and the slow breakdown from David not wanting any help to Michael letting David take some control.

Sam has been the good guy lately, and proves himself again, allowing Michael ex-neighbor, the drug dealer Sugar, to stay alive by taking a beating from the drug dealer.

Each episode is dependent on the client stuff and I don't bother about the burn notice business, unless it really bothers me as it did this week. I thought Navi Rawat was fine last week, maybe because she was only on screen for a few minutes, but she had a lot more lines in this episode and she was flat out terrible. She tried to do the charming flirty voice and it came out highly annoying and unrealistic. Now, Kendra sounds like an airhead assassin, an unlikely combination created from bad acting. Kendra better be gone so on. And I'm guessing she will, because Michael pulls through in the end, knocking her out for interrogation.

I know this will never happen, but I wish Burn Notice went away from the burn notice (yes, it is the conceit for the entire show) and the rather pointless spy world and focused on the characters instead. Case in point: Fiona acted jealously over Michael "flirting" (using the word liberally since the conversations were so bland) with Kendra. Will anything come of it? Probably not, but on another network, HBO perhaps, her actions would be interpreted to no end. And I'm not saying Burn Notice has to be The Sopranos, but it would be nice to see something other than the stagnant spy games.

Score: 8.5/10
Related Posts with Thumbnails