Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review - Stargate Universe Season 2 Episode 10 Resurgence (Part 1)

Stargate Universe has been exceptionally good as of late, and I actually came into to the episode expecting a lot. Well, four good episodes in a row would have been pushing it. "Resurgence (Part 1)," the mid-season finale, brings up a few pertinent question and then is filled with a space battle which ends up going nowhere, not to mention the first half of the episode which moves slower than molasses.

That cliffhanger is pretty boring like the rest of the cliffhangers on the show. Chloe does something to the ship, drones are swarming around, and there's no way out for Destiny. The only problem is that everyone knows the ship and crew members will survive--mortal danger on a TV show isn't that exciting. I'm far more interested in what Chloe did than the drones still shooting, and we didn't even get a teaser for what she did.

Looking ahead, there's the Ursini who, according to Telford, are just out to save themselves. Are they good as Telford says, or not to be trusted, according to changed Chloe who seems too have crossed the line between humanity and alien.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - Glee Season 2 Episode 9 Special Education

While sectionals surely is important in the grand scheme of things, "Special Education" puts it on the backburner, putting more important issues before the event. Ostensibly, it is a Rachel episode, but not in the typical "Rachel gets the spotlight" way.

It's been coming for a long time, but Rachel gets put in her place. Her overzealous scheming and attitude finally reaches a point when Will, taking Emma's advice, decides to let others take the lead roles instead of Rachel and Finn. At the same time, she learns about Finn and Santana hooking up a year earlier. The glee club falls into near turmoil as the various couples, sans Quinn and Sam, threaten to destroy the group.

We see that glee club, arguably, has been a negative factor in Rachel's life, forcing her to be competitive, rude, and mean.With Kurt, her main competition, out of the club, it generated my favorite moment of the episode, Rachel in the crowd reminding Kurt to smile. But there was that same spiteful Rachel in the same episode, about to hookup with Puck as if it was equivalent to what Finn did with Santana when they weren't even together.

Sectionals itself goes as planned, the group managing to get through without any mishap. In a eye-rolling twist, New Directions ties with the Warblers, so both will go on to Regionals. Glee writers sure love their easy resolutions.

There's a tiny bit of Emma and Will drama in the episode, luckily nothing too intrusive. Emma misses Sections per Carl's request and they end of getting married. Of course Emma has to give Will a kiss on the cheek. It's the same damn song and dance, but at least Will doesn't do anything dumb this time around as he did in the Rocky Horror episode.

The final scene pretty much sums up Glee. It's a show which doesn't push the envelope, doesn't go for important, long-term developments. Everyone is happy, maybe with a few sore spots here and there, and that's exactly what it's intends to be.

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 11/29/10

CBS won with repeats of How I Met Your Mother (2.7), Rules of Engagement (2.4), Two and a Half Men (3.0), Mike & Molly (2.3), and Hawaii Five-0 (1.9).

Fox was second with House (1.6) and a new episode of Lie to Me (2.2). CBS in repeats helped Lie to Me more than huge House lead ins.

NBC was third with Chuck (2.0), The Event (1.9), and Chase (1.6). CBS repeats bolstering all of NBC.

ABC was last with Skating with the Stars (1.2) and CMA Country Christmas (1.4).

Review - In Treatment Season 3 Episode 21/22 Sunil/Frances Week 6


Sunil's tale took a pretty dark turn this week as we see not only him using dangerous rhetoric, but also acting upon certain impulses. While he may have simply been trying to get past Julia, he did hurt her--enough to require three stitches--and then express the desire to bash her with the cricket bat. What's more, Paul implies that Sunil may have had a greater hand in Malini's death than previously admitted. It's scary for Paul that Julia is ending Sunil's sessions, which means Sunil will be out of Paul's hands, despite Paul knowing what Sunil is capable of.


The episode begins oddly, focusing on Adele instead of Paul, as we see her slowly get up in the morning to call Paul, almost like she's curiously flirting with him. In Treatment rarely teases future episodes, but I'm certainly interested in what happens tonight.

It's hard not to feel bad for Frances. Her whole life, she's been unable to really be there for people, and suffered both internally, her inability to memorize lines, and externally, her daughter drifting away. However, when Tricia tells her she's dying, she jumps on the chance, tending to her sister and even quitting the play. And yet, she still can't get some good faith thrown in her way, her daughter convinced she is a narcissist.

Score: 9.3/10

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review - Lie to Me Season 3 Episode 8 Smoked

Lie to Me is in serious need of plot and reduction of filler. The fact is, every episode begins with a small number of suspects and the pool quickly dwindles until Cal berates the criminal into telling the truth. Cal's tired antics just aren't cutting it any more. He walks with a swagger, gets in people's faces, yells, plays trick--every episode. There's rarely any deviation and frankly, it's old.

"Smoked" has the same setup and goes as expected. Cal first suspects one of the sons and goes around in circles, finding out information about them that isn't pertinent in the end. Then Cal moves onto the real criminal exposes him and that's that. The other characters, Gillian, Loker, Torres, look at him curiously but he gets the job done.

There were two long-term plot developments in the episode which I don't care about right now. Torres recruits a guy of the street, much like she was recruited from the airport, so we'll be seeing the excellent Michael B. Jordan a lot more. And Wallowski is probably Cal's girlfriend, although there's no full confirmation.

Score: 7.7/10

Review - The Event Season 1 Episode 10 Everything Will Change

The Event is a show where stuff happens. I know, I know, that isn't saying much, but in reality that's all The Event is, a show filled with sequences of actions, tied together somehow through nebulous connections and interactions. The characters have no clue what's going on, the audience has no clue what's going on, and it seems like the writers don't either.

While the generalities of what's going on continue from episode to episode, the specifics have little to no relevance. Sean and Leila alone have traversed across half the country, leaving destruction in their wake and yet they keep plowing forward as if nothing that happened before has any relevance.

A good part of "Everything Will Change" is dedicated to this rocket about to launch. The president and his staff sit there, worried of that it has a nuclear warhead and will strike the United States, but the audience knows that it happen. The big "reveal" is that the rocket has a satellite that sends a signal out into space, presumably to the home planet. Big freaking whoop.

Meanwhile, the Sean and Leila show goes on as they find evidence that Leila's father was an alien, except they can't connect the dots (Leila's too dumb to realize her father never aged,). What appears to be happening is that the young children of the aliens are having their eternal youth harvested, and that the substance is in limited supply.

At this point, I don't really care what happens when the show returns in February. The characters are boring, the plot is senseless, and I'm not interested in any part of the show.

Score: 7.0/10

Review - Chuck Season 4 Episode 10 Chuck Versus the Leftovers

Chuck is one of the few shows on television that can equally balance comedy and drama in an episode and still be very funny and compelling. In the same episode, Chuck can be as funny as the funniest comedies or as intense as the best dramas. The other show that immediately comes to mind is Supernatural, although there are more than a few out there, but none as consistent as Chuck.

That doesn't always happen, however, and "Chuck Versus the Leftovers" is one of those instances, when an episode is funny but without the dramatic umph to back it up. Like several previous episodes, the entire episode stems from the CIA being the most incompetent group ever. The Buy More became a huge CIA base during season four, but when Volkoff takes over the store, the CIA is nowhere to be seen. There's no CIA night guard, no cameras linking back to headquarters, no warning system--only the main characters to fend for themselves.

Okay, it's a plot hole, and the writers certainly don't shy away from them or even attempt to avoid them. The rest of the episode, however, turns into a showcase for Timothy Dalton to be an evil genius who has more than a few screw looses. The plot doesn't really have a hook other than that the characters are in trouble and held captive, a situation we've seen plenty of times. Volkoff loves Frost and Mary uses that to her advantage, making sure he doesn't completely snap. The episode lulls around as Casey is held captive while the awkward dinner goes on. Unlike previous episodes in which the characters were held captive, "Leftovers" ends without a splash of excitement, as Mary forces Volkoff to let everyone go. The agents at the Buy More leave, letting Casey and Morgan go unharmed. And to wrap up the "Chuck without Intersect" arc, the computer which Ellie retrieved earlier returns Chuck's Intersect power.

It's disappointing to see what was an Ellie and Awesome endeavor, figuring out the computer, largely disappear and become a way to resolve Chuck's plot. Once again, Elli gets the short straw and isn't really needed.

Being the last episode until January 17, "Chuck Versus the Leftovers" was a definite disappointment, neither ending on a big cliffhanger nor resolving anything major. It moved the story along, giving us a bit more insight into Volkoff and moving Mary squarely onto the good guy side, but for the most part, it was one of the more dull episodes in a while.

Score: 8.1/10

Review - Dexter Season 5 Episode 10 In the Beginning

I've never really felt that Dexter was going anywhere. There's this serial killer who only kills the worst of the worst and comes into conflict with the numerous other serial killers in the Miami area. He evades capture despite all circumstances and hides his deeds by acting normally. All in all, there doesn't appear to be an end in sight.

But season 5 rolls around, and Dexter is changing. "In the Beginning" reinforces the fact that Dexter's destiny wasn't set in stone and Harry may have wrongly pegged him. We see Dexter and Lumen again on the hunt, taking down their last victim before Jordan Shaw and getting closer and closer until the final scene in which the relationship turns romantic. Clearly they aren't normal people but together they're good for each other in a disturbing sort of way.

No Batista and LaGuerta this week! It also looks like the Santa Muerte is gone for good, and the storyline as a whole was used to gin up some conflict between the characters. I would have preferred if the writers hadn't gone this route in the first place, but now that it happened, at least it's over with.

As we approach the season finale, there are limitless options. For instance, could Lumen remain a character next season as her relationship with Dexter grows? That would certainly be an interesting possibility. Or, will Lumen die, adding another mark to Dexter's soul? Another possibility is that with Liddy snooping around, Lumen might have to take the blame for the murders and head to prison. We'll find out soon enough.

Score: 8.9/10

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review - The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 5 Wildfire

Following the horrific events at the end of last week's episode, "Wildfire" deals with moving on in an intensely personal and moving way. The writers are unafraid to take the foot off the gas pedal and let scenes linger, giving us close looks of characters trying to cope and deal with their situations.

Andrea, reeling from the death of her sister, spends the first half of the episode mourning over her sister, refusing to let anyone near them. Jim, bitten by a zombie, struggles to keep sane despite the onset of fever. And the entire group, stricken by the loss of personnel and in need of a safer area, tries to keep their emotions in check in the worst of situations.

In the end, however, there comes a point where taking actions is a necessity. Andrea shoots Amy's zombie in the head, Dale decides to sit on the side of the road, leaving the group behind, and Shane goes with Rick's plan to go to the CDC. No one is sure what the right decision is, but decisions must be made regardless, and in times of uncertainty, every choice is that much more painful.

When the group does reach the CDC, it appears to be empty, but the audience knows there's a guy in there who's been working for a while to no avail. The guy has all but given up and isn't going to open the door until Rick pleads desperately. With the big door opening at the end of the episode, everything is thrown sideways. It's kind of early to tell, but it looks like the show is really deviating from the comics, and that may be a good thing in the long run.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Boardwalk Empire Season 1 Episode 11 Paris Green

As the Commodore dies, so does the empire he built along with the relationships built on it. Trouble has been brewing for a while as the characters have undergone dramatic changes throughout the course of the season, and "Paris Green" is the breaking point. Everything goes to hell and Nucky can do little more than visit the fortune teller.

At the heart of the episode is the conflict between Nucky and Margaret. It's a fascinating relationship. Nucky kills her abusive husband and brings her wealth and comfort, at the same time leveraging her to garner votes. Margaret grows increasingly uncomfortable as she sees who Nucky really is and the business he's in. The hammer finally drops once Margaret sees Nucky and Annabelle together. Their conversation is filled with contradictions as both try to justify their actions. When Margaret starts talking about Eli giving her money to stay quiet about her husband, Nucky asks her why she never spoke out against her husband but is willing to do so against Nucky. And while Nucky is fine about killing her husband, how about the rest of his law-breaking, murderous activity? The worst part is that Nucky essentially brought the whole situation upon himself by transforming Margaret. By the end of the episode, Margaret washes the guilt off herself, moving out. She won't do Nucky's dirty work in exchange for money, but she's still a character on the show, so we'll see how she figures into the season finale.

Nucky also gets rid of Eli after his brother goes too far in his criticism. Seeing that his brother's loyalty is quickly waning, Nucky cuts him loose, but not before a sharp rejoinder about Eli being like Hatdeen, useless without his brother.

We get confirmation that the Commodore is Jimmy's father, as well as the disturbing fact that he was 54 and Gillian was 13. Although it's not shocking, seeing as Gillian looks very young, the exact numbers are pretty scary. But the Commodore being Jimmy's father isn't a done deal. Intertwined in Gillian's past is Nucky and it's clear he was around a lot of the time, so I wouldn't rule him out just yet.

Angela is a sliver away from escaping to Paris, packing up, leaving a note for Jimmy, and even going to the store. Unfortunately, the store is empty as the Dittrichs split the night before. She returns home, understandably fearful of what Jimmy may do, but he's calm, morose instead of angry.

Agent Sebso comes to an unfortunate end this week, not to the hands of Nucky's guys but Van Alden, whose interrogation--and characterization--goes too far. Val Alden started off as a clownish character but showed signs of something more the past couple weeks; however, he turned back into a cartoon character this week. After drowning Sebso in front of a large crowd, he yells about the judgment of the wicked, proceeds to brandish his gun and badge, outstretch his arms, and march through everyone.We know he's very religious and that's fine, but his portrayal, more so than other characters, goes beyond reason. There's not much to say about him: he has certain motivations and then takes them to pure insanity.

While almost all the character relationships came to a boiling point, "Paris Green" is largely absent of any significant developments for the Italians. With the characters in turmoil, I'm guessing next week's episode will have a lot of business regarding alcohol, control of the Boardwalk, mob activity, and that thing. And because it is the first season finale in what looks like be a multi-season drama, it will define where things go. Will everyone band together and prevail, or will everything disintegrate?

Score: 9.0/10

Preview of Week 11/28/10 - 12/04/10

Sons of Anarchy - FX, Tuesday, November 30, 10:00pm ET

After last season's big cliffhanger, what will happen this season? The Sons may be headed to jail for a longer period than usual and there's still Jimmy to take care of, not to mention uber-bitch Stahl on the loose.

Terriers - FX,  Wednesday, December 1, 10:00pm ET

Sadly, the final episode of Terriers will probably air this Wednesday. Hopefully we can get a conclusion.

Psych - USA, Wednesday, December 1, 10:00pm ET

Twin Peaks is one of the most important shows in television history, and Psych is paying tribute to it.

Fringe - Fox, Thursday, December 2, 10:00pm ET

Last time Fringe aired, Peter learned that Olivia was a fraud. How does he proceed?

Sanctuary - Syfy, Friday, December 3, 10:00pm ET

Following the capture of Adam, this week's episode will dive into the Five, and it will feature the return of John Druitt.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review - Sanctuary Season 3 Episode 7 Breach

Sanctuary is shooting for a big, long-term arc this season, and "Breach" adds yet another layer to the story, bringing back one of Magnus's acquaintances--from over a century ago and whom she killed. While we don't get much answers and a load of new questions, this person, Adam, should shed light on Magnus's father and the tunnel system if Magnus can get him to talk and control his split personality.

The majority of "Breach" is Amanda Tapping on screen, being a total badass as she fights Adam, who's teleporting all over the place. The ambiance of the episode is really a marvel with only the dark, confined setting, knowing Magnus is trapped inside.

Score: 9.1/10

Friday, November 26, 2010

Review - In Treatment Season 3 Episode 17/18/19/20 Week Five


As each week goes by, we see Sunil's displeasure manifest itself in more and more disturbing fashion with his dream last week and his dream this week about yanking his son's arm off in order to defend the children against an unknown woman, possibly Malini or Julia. Paul doesn't know what to do. Sunil seems reasonable at times, talking about how different American culture is, without sounding too crazy, but then he lapses into talking about Julia with violent terms. Without knowing exactly what's going on inside Sunil's head, Paul doesn't want fully commit to the idea that Sunil may become violent, but the possibility exists.


Despite opening the letter and learning that she doesn't have to gene, Frances is still stuck, unable to move on and even talk to her sister. There is an underlying issue about her sister and Frances's inability to cope with her sister, regardless of medical condition.


Jesse is the most polarizing figure this season. He's infuriating 90% of the time, an utter train wreck who just spews out wretched lines. We're supposed to dislike him, but also consider what makes him the way he is. When he finally crumbles at the end of the episode, you can't help but feel bad for the kid who purposely makes his life miserable by sabotaging everything.

While Paul sessions are about him and we learn a lot about him, what I'm really interested in is Adele. We know Paul's far too interested in her, but how does she feel about the situation. Is her distance purely professional or is she making a concerted effort to keep him away? At the same time, she exposes Paul as a guy who never takes the initiative whether it is in relationship or work.

Score: 9.0/10

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review - Terriers Season 1 Episode 12 Quid Pro Quo

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'll keep this brief since no one will read this and I don't have time either.

In many ways, the characters of Terriers are like the show itself in the real world. The characters on the show precipitously hang onto their lives in the most dire of circumstances. Terriers, likewise, is clinging on to dear life as the ratings are still in the toilet. The difference, however, is that Hank and Britt have to stay alive for the show to keep going while FX certainly doesn't need Terriers.

"Quid Pro Quo" slings a whole bunch of plot developments, including a brilliant kicker in the end. Throughout the episode, there is a dark, foreboding tone, with the possibility of something bad happening at every turn. People are deceiving each other, placing trust in others, and you know something will go wrong. Hank and Laura discover that Zeitland is gobbling Ocean Beach for a new airport. Jason also gets caught up as he's the architect for a piece of land Zeitland wants. By the end of the episode, he's dead, as Councilman Albrecht  is in Zeitland's pocket.

So now what? Hank buys a bunch of guns and Britt still has the battery charges pending. And what about Gretchen and Katie? I hope we get a proper conclusion next week.

Score: 9.5/10

Review - Modern Family Season 2 Episode 9 Mother Tucker

It's Thanksgiving eve and no Thanksgiving episode? Too bad... it's a holiday perfectly suited to the theme of the show and would work well. It's especially weird since "Mother Tucker" keeps everyone apart into three distinct groups. Maybe the writers will do one next year.

Anyway, like I said, "Mother Tucker" has three distinct plots with the Dunphies taking the lead. Haley breaks up with Dylan after some encouragement from Claire and the fact that she makes out with her tutor for correct answers. While Phil usually acts as the immature guy, getting along with Luke for the most inane of things, Phil shows that he is also an adult, helping Dylan during the breakup. His execution may not be there, but his message of moving on is not a random trivial Phil-ism, but an actual lesson to take to heart.

Meanwhile, Cam's mom comes home and she really touchy with Mitchell, so Mitchell concocts a plan to let Cam get the idea by letting his mom get too far. Jay has a medical problem, but because of Gloria's insistence that it's not manly, he decides not to go to the doctor, instead relying on Manny who browses the web for medical answers. In the end, Jay actually needs surgery, but it's all fine since it's not serious.

"Mother Tucker" doesn't do too much, sticking with its tried and true formula of lots of comedy punctuated by a couple emotional hooks, and for me, that's enough to keep coming back.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Human Target Season 2 Episode 2 The Wife's Tale

Human Target could be a very fun show that doesn't requires much thinking. The action and stunts are some of the best on television, and the character quirks are good most of the time. However, Human Target makes you think--and not in a positive "let's analyze Mad Men" sort of way; it makes you think about exactly how blunt the writing is. Is it waffle iron blunt or baseball bat blunt?

From the first season to now, almost every episode has had one guideline: it has to be related to Chance's past. It's a message so blatantly obvious I was bored midway through the first season. While the second season premiere seemed to reset the table, "The Wife's Tale" proves otherwise. Human Target will continue down the tired path of showing just how dark Chance's past was in comparison to where it is now.

This week, Chance protects a woman who's husband was killed by Chance years ago. And look, Chance is putting himself at great personal risk to protect her. The dynamic between the characters is thrown for a loop once everyone learns of Chance's involvement. In the end, the woman is safe, although she hasn't forgiven Chance, and Ilsa is mostly fine with the situation.

I don't get why Ilsa was made into a full-time character. She has money, but no apparent skills, so is she just going to hang around every episode asking questions? I can already imagine her getting in the way before inadvertently beating the criminal. Ames, on the other hand, isn't connected monetarily to the group, but she can actually do something, so we probably learn why she's sticking around.

Score: 8.4/10

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Friday 11/23/10

ABC won with No Ordinary Family (1.8) and Dancing with the Stars (5.3). NOF still not performing as was expected of it.

CBS was second with NCIS (3.9), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.2), and The Good Wife (2.1). TGW not doing great, but it was against Dancing with the Stars.

Fox was third with Glee (4.0), Raising Hope (2.5), and a repeat of Raising Hope (1.9).

NBC was last with The Biggest Loser (2.3) and Parenthood (1.9).

Review - Glee Season 2 Episode 8 Furt

Glee can't tackle real issues like bullying with the kind of razor sharp edge The Wire has when it comes to inner-city problems. It's a show rooted in base simplicity which allows for lengthy songs and quick plot developments to exist, and not a show for social commentary. Still, "Furt" dips its toe into the bullying discussion and finally allows some pushback against the bullying. And there's a surprisingly emotional wedding for Burt and Carole with all the Glee members participating.

Sue's mother returning was fine for the most part, but what prompted her arrival, Sue getting married to herself, was completely bizarre. Yeah, I get that Sue's self-dependent and stuff, but she turned into a total cartoon character.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - The Good Wife Season 2 Episode 8 On Tap

The world of The Good Wife continues to expand and Alicia finds herself in a sea of corruption and immoral behavior. Wherever she looks, whether it's the client she represents, her husband's advisor, the law firm she works at, or the government, there is a certain degree of impropriety in the air, and it's very unsettling.

There's a lot going on in "On Tap" from a plot perspective. The case takes pretty wild twist when the client, also Will's friend, is not involved in terrorism, but actually helping a gang win turf. Unfortunately for the government, they don't know that and he gets off. At the same time, part of the case is based on wiretaps on Eli Gold, but Alicia isn't allowed to tell anyone. What's more, she hears Will talk to the client about Alicia. In a dizzied state, Alicia rushes over to talk to Will, but she girlfriend is there. Blake proves to be more devious each week, as Kalinda learns that Blake used Kalinda's baseball bat, which has her fingerprints, to take out the doctor. Luckily, Cary is able to save her this time around.

I've said this plenty of times before, but because nothing changes, I'll say it again: please don't make the kids into idiots. It's a tired cliche we've seen countless times. The teenage kid acts stupidly and causes trouble for the parents. What's worse is that we rarely, if ever, see another side to Zach. The fact is, Alicia's family life is as integral to the show as it was in the first season, and the presence of the kids is largely unnecessary. This time he and Becca create a dumb viral video about Glenn Childs Jr., and he later acts like Jr. was at fault when he confronted Becca. Note to Zach, you're the one being a lying idiot. At least he gets his just desserts in the form of a viral video about Grace.

The Good Wife is walking a tight rope in the second season with a these running plots. Most of it is working for now, but we'll see if everything can pull together in the end.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - No Ordinary Family Season 1 Episode 8 No Ordinary Accident

No Ordinary Family is the hardest show for me to watch each week. I find myself cringing, wringing my hands, getting frustrated every couple minutes, whether it's from plot holes or the characters being dumb. I'm scrounging for reasons why I continue to watch the show, and the end of the line might be here.

"No Ordinary Accident" once again tries to do too much, giving every character their own plot, without fully developing any. The writers have no clue what to do with the two kids. To start, they're both complete morons, unable to capitalize on their powers and do something useful. Instead, they get into every cliched situation imaginable. Daphne continues to lie to the idiot from last week before telling him the truth. JJ hacks the school computer to change a grade and gets caught. Come on...

There was some more crimefighting, this time with Jim's powers possibly not working. But obviously the powers work when he's shot, and Katie finds out there's a chemical that inhibits the powers. The best part of the episode is when JJ and Stephanie work together to perform a surgery on the creepy teacher.

No Ordinary Family needs focus. Every episode doesn't have to have every character, and the show has no depth. Would it be too hard to center on a character for an episode?

Score: 7.6/10

Review - Sons of Anarchy Season 3 Episode 12 June Wedding

After retrieving Abel last week, the Sons are back in America at the beginning of  "June Wedding," and from there, the episode goes through the necessary steps for the conclusion everyone was expecting: Tara is alive and Gemma won't be going to prison.

The details in between aren't really that important. Jax takes out Salazar, Tara's fetus is safe, Opie proposes to Lyla, and Jimmy gets enough money for a trip to South America. Gemma has a couple excellent scenes, but the main plot mostly is about resolving some latent problems which carried over from before the trip to Ireland.

I don't know exactly when Stahl went off the deep end, but she's definitely there now. Without hesitation, she shoots her partner and pins the earlier murders on her, absolving Gemma. There's no pause, no reflection, just straight coldness and deception. I mean, what her ultimate goal aside from being the bitchiest bitch ever?

We finally learn that Tig and Kozik's beef is over a female... dog. It'd be humorous on another show, but we saw the guys duking it out earlier and their visceral anger, so it's a "come on, really?" kind of moment.

With the season finale next week, there isn't a pressing problem in terms of people wanting to kill SAMCRO. Jimmy's still on the loose, though he'll be out of the control soon. Hale's probably going to become mayor and kick out Unser, but he still seems like a minor villain in comparison to the gun-toting gangsters we've seen. But at the same time, the small town isn't what it used to be and the law will come down hard on the club which, arguably, is worse than getting in a firefight.

Score: 8.7/10

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review - Stargate Universe Season 2 Episode 9 Visitation

This is unprecedented--three good episodes in a row! The biggest difference between the latest batch of episodes and the first season plus is that there are real consequences and not resets amidst dreary melodrama. Without any doubt, Chloe is turning into a blue alien and is locked up. What's more, Greer assures her he'll kill her when the time comes. Now I know Chloe won't be killed in the end, but still, this is the furthest we've seen a character biologically altered without turning back, so her farewell speeches to everyone ring true.

The main plot of "Visitation" continues down the path that there are mystic forces involved, somehow altering the fabric of the universe. When Kaine and the rest of the people miraculously return, it looks as though God's hand is at work. The crew, however, views the situation skeptically wondering whether this is a ploy by aliens. Soon, they learn the truth through hypnosis and various people dying. Everyone on the planet had died and are returned as mere reanimations of what they were, nothing more.

I like the focus on TJ who faces the harsh truth that her baby isn't on the planet or is dead. But Kaine's final words to her bears much significance. For the good of those that died, the survivors must push on and do what Destiny was meant to do.

"Visitation" brings up several interesting questions. If TJ's baby was not on the planet and on the ship, where is it? Could God have sent these imperfect people back to Destiny, or was it aliens? If it was aliens, for what purpose?

Score: 8.7/10

Review - NCIS Season 8 Episode 9 Enemies Domestic

Although the majority of the NCIS team is young, filled by Tony, Ziva, Abby, and McGee, there are a couple old farts with deep histories. "Enemies Domestic" brings everything full circle, largely ignoring the young characters, to tie up a bunch of loose threads, and makes for a very satisfying episode. showing how Vance was brought into NCIS, how he met Eli, and how he met Gibbs (on unfavorable terms, of course).

We see how Vance was brought into NCIS, his first mission in Amsterdam in which he crossed paths with Vance as they took out Russian hitmen, and with the revelation of Riley McAllister as the culprit, we also learn why Vance had a fake file. We get a brief flashback to Gibbs's time in Paris when they killed a Russian, and an explanation for the danish talk.

The younger characters stayed on the sidelines for most of the episode, but we did get an epic fight between Ziva and Liat which unfortunately ends in a draw when Eli intervenes. As far as Ziva and Eli go, they part on amicable terms as both acknowledge their duties and also that they share a special place in their hearts for each other.

Score: 9.0/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday 11/22/10

CBS won with How I Met Your Mother (3.5), Rules of Engagement (2.9), Two and a Half Men (4.5), Mike & Molly (4.0), Hawaii Five-0 (3.3). With a larger leadin and Castle not airing, Five-0 climbed well above 3.0.

ABC was second with Dancing with the Stars (4.9) and Skating with the Stars (2.4). Dancing --> skating, and most viewers bolt.

Fox was third with House (3.4) and Lie to Me (1.7). Lie to Me still in danger area.

NBC was last with Chuck (1.7), The Event (1.7), and Chase (1.4). Chuck slips, The Event maintains its lower ratings, and Chase maintains its even lower ratings. God, NBC is sad.

Review - Hawaii Five-0 Season 1 Episode 10 Hao Kanaka

This group of bank robbers seriously had too much time on their hands. They create a huge scheme, using triathlons as their alibi, and built-in mechanisms to through the police off track. The funny thing is, the initial theft of the van for the black box, which resulted in two deaths, was the only reason why they were caught. It was cool to see the characters dig deeper into the scheme as the episode went on, but let's be realistic--the bank robbers over-thought things way too much.

Windows 7 Phone really got a workout last night with numerous showoff scenes. I wonder if this will become a weekly thing. But this is the future of advertisement, semi-intrusive ads built into the content, whether it be television, movies, or video games.

Score: 8.4/10

Review - House Season 7 Episode 8 Small Sacrifices

"Small Sacrifices" can be divided completely in half. There's House vs. God, a battle we've seen many times before and know who'll come up on top. And there's everyone's relationship problems, which happens right in the middle of the episode.

The episode begins with a grisly scene of a guy getting crucified, before House dives in, bashing the guy's religious beliefs as he usual does. Fitting with this season's theme of lying and more lying, House lies to get the guy to accept treatment, and it works.

All the relationship is piled up into one episode with more lies. Wilson thinks Sam lied to get some patients treatment, but she insists she didn't and leaves. Chase is now a sex-fiend and he ditches Foreman. Taub's wife is emotionally cheating on Taub with a guy she met in a unfaithful spouse group, and refuses to stop, leverage Taub's previous indiscretions against him. House finally tells Cuddy he'll stop lying to her, but that's just another lie. Another episode of House, another set of relationship issues, and most the characters are as expendable as ever.

Score: 8.3/10

Review - Lie to Me Season 3 Episode 7 Veronica

Cal is a character who can get old after a while. It seems like he has to be confrontational in every episode and be mean to one person or another. "Veronica" didn't have the usual brash Cal Lightman who's not afraid of anyone and willing to be a jackass to get answers. Instead, we see the soft side of Cal, one which is caring and able to coax a memory out of someone without being rude. I could bring myself to like Cal at the end of the episode.

The case itself is nothing special, a doctor going around and doing mercy killings which Cal uncovers in the end. Everyone helps out in there own way, including Emily who originally found Veronica. Loker's admission to Cal that the tough love was actually good is kind of dumb, justifying the worst of Cal's behavior because the end result is good (though getting beaten isn't good either).

Score: 8.7/10

Review - The Event Season 1 Episode 9 Your World to Take

The Event began by bringing up a bunch of questions and answering them to a degree, and it kept the show going even when the characters weren't interesting. However, nine episodes in and the show has fallen in a bunch of answered questioned about characters I don't care about.

The main plot follows Thomas and his alien GF Isabel trying to overthrow Sophia. Unfortunately, Thomas is turned in liquid (figuratively, of course) and Sophia forces Isabel to shoot herself in the leg to show loyalty. Is there a greater reason why Isabel didn't turn the gun on Sophia? She seemed hellbent on getting power, and she could have shot Sophia dead right there.

Sean and Leila spend another episode running around after finding a girl who'd been at the facility with Samantha before escaping. Some guy shows up and chases them into a field, presumably to get the girl, but he's actually after Leila.

What does this all mean? I have no fucking clue. Week after week there are new characters, new locations, new schemes, and the main characters are mixed around in there. In an episode which doesn't explicitly reveal anything, there's not much to consider on a large scale.

Score: 7.0/10

Monday, November 22, 2010

Buffy without Joss Whedon?!?!?! Put an end to this travesty!

Sorry, excuse my fake outrage.

I'm a Joss Whedon fan. I've watched every episode of all his shows and I've read a good deal of his comics. But let's face it, Joss not being involved in the new Buffy movie isn't the end of the world and shouldn't be garnering so much attention.

Yes, Joss had a grand vision. Yes, it was executed with utter brilliance for seven seasons. It does not, however, mean that Joss Whedon is the end-all for all things Hollywood. Would it be optimal if Joss were involved? Sure, but that's not happening.There are perfectly capable writers, producers, and directors who could do a great job on a Buffy movie. That doesn't mean the movie will be great or even watchable, just that there are talented people everywhere, even some more--*gasp*--talented than Joss, and the end product could be something good. Until the movie is actually created and we see actual content, don't go off bashing anyone. Don't hold a grudge just because Joss isn't involved.

Remember: a franchise is about the title and nothing more. Was the new Star Trek movie faithful to the original series? Not in the least bit. Was it a good sci-fi movie? Absolutely. Was the reimagined Battlestar Galactica anything like the original? Probably less so than the new Star Trek. Was it a good television series? Definitely--one of the best ever. Likewise, just because there's a new movie with the Buffy tag doesn't mean it'll usurp anything Joss did. Buffy the Vampire Slayer the television series will proudly stand on its own and Buffy the Vampire Slayer the rebooted movie will stand on its own, either as a piece of crap, a work of genuis, or something in between.

I'll probably be stepping on lots of toes and maybe get a few angry comments, but Joss Whedon fans are caught in a self-reinforcing cycle. In their circle, they talk about how much of a genius he is and then when news like a new Buffy movie arises, they tighten the circle and attack anyone who dares challenge the great Whedon.

Joss doesn't own the franchise and has no legal right to do anything about it. Let Warner Brothers go ahead with the movie and we'll see what comes out. Then cast judgment.

Review - Chuck Season 4 Episode 9 Chuck Versus Phase Three

"Chuck Versus Phase Three" is the first all-out awesome episode in a while. The writers know they have Yvonne Strahovski in their arsenal, and with Chuck on the sidelines, being interrogated, they decided to let Sarah kick all the ass imaginable. So many great scenes of Sarah tromping across Thailand, beating on whoever is in her way, gaining a reputation as a giant blond she-male. I'm not sure how anyone could object to that.

At the same time, Sarah the badass spy is balanced with Sarah the ultra-hot girlfriend. After she finds Chuck's marriage proposal plan, Morgan explains that Chuck is insecure, believing that he's not as appealing without the Intersect. But clearly that's not the case as anyone other than Chuck can see, and Chuck learns that in the end. Again, excellent work by Yvonne Strahovski in all areas, selling every scene perfectly. Now all Chuck has to do is remember that and not regress to the annoying guy we see occasionally.

Ellie is a character who's been ignored the past few years, and the only main character aside from the Buy More guys to get actively involved in the spy business. However, it looks like she may have something to do on her own this time around, finding her father's computer. Awesome gets the Buy More guys to fix the computer in exchange for medical services. When Ellie gets home, she instantly knows the password, the computer gives a whir, and... fade to black. Darn!

While Chuck is largely a non-factor in "Chuck Versus Phase Three," and his scenes largely have the same message, once Sarah goes to Thailand to do her thing, the episode kicked into high gear and there was no looking back.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - How I Met Your Mother Season 6 Episode 10 Blitzgiving

I haven't been a fan of Zoey thus far because she's show herself to be an irrational shrew who attacks only Ted but not GNB, while living with her rich husband and reaping all the benefits. Clearly her priorities aren't based on any kind of clear logic. And yet, the writers have made her a fixture on the show, an adversary of sorts to Ted, but also a potential love interest, which spells bad news.

"Blitzgiving" shows her in a new light--her step-daughter refuses to have Thanksgiving with her--and allows us--and Ted--to empathize with her. Zoey is a likable character when she's not spouting her nonsense about the building. The question now, going forward, is whether she'll continued to bother Ted even though they're friends. I hope this is the last time we'll have hypocritical Zoey around.

While Zoey provides the emotional backbone for the episode, the humor comes from the "Blitz," a role bestowed formerly on Hurley from Lost, transferred to Ted, then Barney, then back to Hurley. The Blitz is always in the wrong place at the wrong time, missing out on the most epic moments, so we see a bunch of cool things going on, a dog on a skateboard, the gentlemen, and one of them misses them.

Of course there had to be a couple Lost references in the episode, and they're written in rather naturally. Hurley blurts out the fabled numbers as a phone number for Marshall to send a picture of his junk to, and later he refers to being the Blitz as being on an island.

"Blitzgiving" isn't "Slapsgiving," and doesn't have a surprise slap at the end, but I liked it a lot nonetheless. Zoey wasn't a chore for a change and the humor was strong. Bravo for another great holiday episode.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Dexter Season 5 Episode 9 Teenage Wasteland

While "Teenage Wasteland" offers little storyline development and any excitement, it poses some interesting questions about Dexter and his entire existence. The usual tension on Dexter rarely gets to me because I know Dexter will get away scot-free, so I don't watch the show for the moments where Dexter may or may not get caught, knowing the momentum will be dissipated at the end of the season. Inevitably, the layers of problems pile up, but Dexter will always slip out.

On the other hand, Dexter's pathology is inescapable. It's been established that he's a sociopathic killer who managed to stay out of prison and mostly dishedout justice because Harry taught him how and who to kill. Other than that, Dexter doesn't really want anything and does stuff to either help his killings or keep up a believable facade.

When Astor shows up on Dexter's doorstep with a friend, however, everything we see about Dexter is turned on its head. Dexter really connects with Astor, forcing himself to listen to her, and at the same time, kicking the shit out of Astor's friend's mother's boyfriend (three possessives in a row ftw!) to protect Astor and her friend. Dexter hits a moment of clarity at the end of the episode: he wants to be a good father. We may have seen Dexter do things out of character in the past, but this is the first time he's internalized his behavior into a coherent though which can carry over to the future.

And Harry wonders, seeing Dexter care so deeply about Astor, whether he was correct in leading Dexter down this murderous path. What if he could have prevented Dexter from killing entirely? Although there's no going back, it raises the question whether it was, in fact, Harry who led Dexter down the wrong path.

After Dexter gets a blood sample from Jordan Shaw's necklace and runs the DNA, he gets a hit on a woman. Shaw, meanwhile, realizes something is amiss and calls Dexter's home. Lumen picks up, in a scene Julia Stiles does very well, and she nearly breaks down every time Shaw speaks. The final kicker is that Shaw knows Lumen's on the other end.

There was less of the subplots than usual and there's a good reason why. The couples are fighting and being boring.

I've never liked Dexter for the tension, possibility of people getting killed, or Dexter overcomming insurmountable odds, but for the character of Dexter, not that he kills people, but how he views himself and who he actually is. "Teenage Wasteland" adds yet another layer to his character as we see him care for Astor first and foremost, all the while tending to Lumen's needs.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 4 Vatos

The writers of The Walking Dead like split the characters up physically, and have two plots running side by side. So far, the results are mixed. With "Vatos," Rick's journey in the city, which began as a search for Merle, turns, oddly enough, into a moment of brevity, one which doesn't have much significance or real tension.On the other side of the spectrum, the business at the camp really carries the heavy emotional load and delivers in the end.

After discovering that Merle actually cauterized his stump, Rick and the others look around for him, but soon find themselves in a pickle. A bunch of Mexicans jump out, beat up Daryl, and nab Glenn. It looks like they are a bunch of Mexican gangbangers along the line of the angry racist or angry wife-beater, and they'd deserve a solid beating.

For a while, it's a tense situation with Rick and the others on one side and the gangsters on the others, both with their hostages. The biggest problem, however, is that we know the swap will eventually happen and no one will get hurt. With guns pointed at everyone, if someone shoots, everyone shoots and everyone dies. The characters there are important, therefore no one will shoot and no one will die. The only remaining option is to do the prisoner exchange peacefully.

Then something quite amazing happens. Guillermo's abuela comes out, and the vatos are actually a bunch of guys who take care of their relatives in a nursing home. The situation is quickly defused, the guns divided, and it's a pretty good comedic moment. The lesson is that despite the world still having nice, decent people, when it comes to basic survival, people can be pushed to do things that wouldn't otherwise do and obtain a responsibility they wouldn't otherwise get.

While that plot doesn't exactly do much, the camp plot is by far the stronger of the two. The episode begins with Andrea and Amy bonding, and we learn there is a 15 year age difference. Later, Jim is acting a little crazy, digging graves without stopping. There's another enjoyable scene where everyone is huddled around the fire talking and we get a bit of personality out of every character. However, this time it has to be ruined by zombies who bite Ed the wife-beater, Amy, and a couple randoms. Rick and the group manage to get back to save everyone else, but the final scene is directed extremely well as the focus is solely on Andrea, as we see only Andrea in her sorrow but hear the background sounds.

Even though it seems like it began only yesterday, the season comes to an end in two weeks and the second season won't start until around Halloween of next year.

Score: 8.7/10

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review - Boardwalk Empire Season 1 Episode 10 The Emerald City

Early on in "The Emerald City," Margaret reads Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz to her children, and a comparison is easily drawn from Atlantic City to the Emerald City. It's a city filled with grandeur, which is all but an illusion. Every character thinks they have a clear grasp on the situation, but in reality, there is a tenuous string keeping the city from blowing up.

"The Emerald City" takes these characters and slowly pulls back the curtain, allowing certain characters to see that things just aren't what they appear to be. Nucky believes himself only as a benevolent facilitator who gets things moving, and drags Margaret into his scheming, while she sees exactly how Nucky and the city operate. Van Alden, as crazy as ever, looks at Margaret's Ellis Island pictures and marches right up to her in an attempt to convert her, failing however. After seeing Jimmy pummel Mary's husband, Angela realizes Jimmy isn't the safest guy to be around. But at the same time, Mary has an even bigger plan, believing that she and Angela can get away and raise Tommy in Paris.

By the end of the episode, some of the delusion is broken. Capone stops acting like a child and realizes he could become a man and get serious. Van Alden forgoes his crusade, falling onto liquor and having rather ungainly sex with Lucy. And lastly, Margaret, like Richard, stares at the mirror, seeing who she's become.

Still, there's Chalky, Nucky, and the rest of his guys who still think they can minimize the situation and keep things under control. Will they succeed? There are only two episodes left this season, so something has to happen.

In the lead up to the season finale, "The Emerald City" is mostly exposition, expanding everything a bit, before moving to what looks to be a huge confrontation. It's another strong episode, but certainly not the most exciting episode.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Luther Season 1 Episode Six

OK, so here's Luther's big plan: 1) Somehow get Alice and Mark to help. 2) With Alice, steal a gun which has his fingerprints. 3) Set up a meet with Ian, knowing full well police sharpshooters are there. 4) Have Mark steal the diamonds from the locker room to lure Ian away. 5) Get a recording of Ian admitting to shooting Zoe.

Really, Luther? At least on Prison Break there was discussion before embarking on such an unwieldy and convoluted plan. There are so many places the plan could go wrong that it would seem much easier for Luther to turn himself in, tell the truth, and let everyone else sort things out. There has to be another link between Ian and the kidnappings beyond the diamonds.

"Episode Six" was no less illogical than "Episode Five," with just total ridiculousness going on. And as we see the character of Ian continued to be defined, he's not an average guy who got sucked into a scheme and could do nothing when everything spiraled out of control, he's just a cold-hearted bastard. There's no two ways around it. In the span of two episodes, Ian went from Luther's regular buddy, to a sicko who's one or two steps below Alice.

It seems like the writers bit off more than they could chew. They wanted an exciting and intelligent show, but ended up with an exciting and extremely stupid show. I guess it's entertaining, but nothing more.

Score: 8.0/10

Review - In Treatment Season 3 Episode 13-16 Week Four

While a couple of the patients have their problems semi-transparent at this point, Sunil remains a total mystery, not for a lacking of trying though.With Sunil's revelation that Malini killed herself soon after she broke things off, it opened yet another avenue to go down. Correspondingly, Sunil's disturbing dream about a goat or dog is rather frightening, not to mention to continuing irrational fixation on Julia.


Paul is finally breaking down Frances's walls and gets to tell him much more than she previously did. Frances opens up and tells a story about how her mother was in the hospital and Frances couldn't be there and was unable to say goodbye. Paul tries to convince Frances that her disappointment is self-generated, but she doesn't seem entirely convinced.


Maybe this is a teenager problem, but Jesse overreacts to everything. When he came in, he bashed his parents all the time. But after revealing that his birth mother contacted him, it swings the other way. His father seems to care about him again, helping him study, while his mother has detached herself from the world. Jesse says how great his parents are and pushes his birth parents away, seeing that his father cares about him and that his mother was deeply hurt by his birth parents contacting him.


Adele states that Paul's numerous external problems are actually excuses unto which Paul uses to keep him bottled up. Paul admits held himself back with Wendy, but then admits that it's because he was thinking of Adele. After the debacle with Laura, you'd think Paul would've learned his lesson, but Adele seems to be the only one who understands him.

Score: 9.2/10

Preview of Week 11/21/10 - 11/27/10

Chuck - NBC, Monday, November 22, 8:00pm ET

With Chuck kidnapped at the end of the last episode and without use of the Intersect, his friends with have to save him. And even if he is, it doesn't mean he'll get the Intersect to work again.

NCIS - CBS, Tuesday, November 23, 8:00pm ET

In a continuation from last week's episode, the team will have to unravel exactly what's going on.

Sons of Anarchy - FX, Tuesday, November 23, 10:00pm ET

Only two episodes left this season! What was the content of the phone call that left Jax reeling? Will dumb Tara stay safe?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fox midseason schedule and thoughts

Monday, Jan. 10:
8PM-10PM: LIE TO ME (Two-Hour Episode)

Mondays, beginning Jan. 17:
8PM: HOUSE (All-New Episodes)
9PM: LIE TO ME (All-New Episodes)

Mondays, beginning Feb. 7
8PM: HOUSE (All-New Episodes)
9PM: THE CHICAGO CODE (Series Premiere)

It looks like Lie to Me won't be getting a back 9 unless its ratings miraculously jump. And still, Chicago Code will have to go somewhere.

Tuesdays, beginning Jan. 4:
8PM: GLEE (Encore Episodes)

Tuesdays, beginning Feb. 8:
8PM: GLEE (All-New Episodes)
9PM: RAISING HOPE (All-New Episodes)
9:30PM: MIXED SIGNALS (Series Premiere)

Wednesday, Jan. 5 and 12:
8PM-10PM: HUMAN TARGET (All-New, Two-Hour Episodes)

Wednesday, Jan. 19:
8PM: AMERICAN IDOL (Two-Hour Season Premiere, Part One)

Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 26:
9PM: HUMAN TARGET (All-New Episodes)

Wednesdays, beginning Feb. 16:
8PM-10PM: AMERICAN IDOL (Two-Hour Episodes)

Wednesdays, beginning April 6:
8PM-9:30PM: AMERICAN IDOL (90-Minute Episodes)
9:30PM: BREAKING IN (Series Premiere)

Fox still wants Human Target to succeed, putting Idol before it. I doubt it will help though. Breaking In is Fox's other big hope.

Thursdays, beginning Jan. 6:
9PM: BONES (Encore Episodes)

Thursdays, beginning Jan. 20:
8:PM: AMERICAN IDOL (Season Premiere, Part Two)
9PM: BONES (Time Period Premiere)

I wonder how Bones will affect CSI. Even in a more competitive timeslot, I doubt Bones will be hurt because Idol will definitely help.

Friday, Jan. 7:

Friday, Jan. 21:

Fridays, beginning Jan. 28:
9PM: FRINGE (Time Period Premiere)

Fringe exiled to Friday--definitely not good, but Fox has been struggling greatly on Friday and if Fringe can maintain its current ratings, it may be enough to survive.

Saturday, Jan. 15:

Saturdays, beginning Jan. 22 (no change to lineup):
8PM: COPS (All-New Episodes)
8:30PM: COPS (Encore Episodes)

Sunday, Jan. 9:
8PM: THE SIMPSONS (All-New Episode)
8:30PM: BOB'S BURGERS (Series Premiere)
9PM: FAMILY GUY (All-New Episode)
9:30PM: THE CLEVELAND SHOW (Time Period Premiere/All-New Episode)

Sunday, Jan. 16 and 23:
7PM: THE SIMPSONS (Encore Episodes)
7:30PM: AMERICAN DAD (Time Period Premiere)
8PM: THE SIMPSONS (All-New Episodes)
8:30PM: BOB'S BURGERS (All-New Episodes)
9PM: FAMILY GUY (All-New Episodes)
9:30PM: THE CLEVELAND SHOW (All-New Episodes)

Sunday, Jan. 30:

Sunday, Feb. 6:
10:30PM: GLEE (All-New Special Episode; Approximate Start Time)

Sundays, beginning Feb. 13 (no change to lineup):
7:30PM: AMERICAN DAD (Time Period Premiere)
8PM: THE SIMPSONS (All-New Episodes)
8:30PM: BOB'S BURGERS (All-New Episodes)
9PM: FAMILY GUY (All-New Episodes)
9:30PM: THE CLEVELAND SHOW (All-New Episodes)

NBC midseason schedule and thoughts


8-9 p.m. – “Chuck”
9-10 p.m. – “THE CAPE” will premiere with a two-hour episode on Sunday, January 9 (9-11 p.m.). New episodes start in its regular time period on January 17 (9-10 p.m.)
10-11 p.m. – “HARRY’S LAW’ (beginning January 17)
9-10 p.m. – “The Event” (returns on February 28, 9-11 p.m.; resumes in its regular time slot March 7)
10-11 p.m. — “Parenthood” (debuts in this slot March 7 with all originals)

Parenthood moving nights doesn't bode well since The Event won't work well as a lead in and it was doing fine on Tuesday (relative to the rest of NBC). On the other hand, Parenthood won't be going up against The Good Wife now.

8-10 p.m. — “The Biggest Loser: Couples” (beginning January 4)
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” (beginning January 4 for four episodes)
10-11 p.m. — “Law & Order: Los Angeles” (beginning February 8 )

With American Idol moving nights, The Biggest Loser should have an easier time. We'll see if that carries over to LOLA.

8-9 p.m. — “Minute to Win It” (beginning January 5)
9-10 p.m. –“Chase” (beginning January 12)
10-11 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (originals beginning January 5 with two-hour episode, 9-11 p.m. ET)
9-10 p.m. – “AMERICA’S NEXT GREAT RESTAURANT” (beginning March 16)

Chase is going right up against Criminal Minds, so it won't do better than it already is. Law and Order: SVU takes back the 10 o'clock hour, so its ratings should go up.

THURSDAYS (all beginning January 20)
8-8:30 p.m. – “Community”
8:30-9 p.m. – “PERFECT COUPLES”
9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”
9:30-10 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation”
10-10:30 p.m. – “30 Rock”
10:30-11 p.m. – “Outsourced”

NBC adds the 10 PM hour to its comedy block, replacing The Apprentice. NBC's hope is that The Office will bolster Parks and Rec. while 30 Rock will keep Outsourced from falling too much. Will is work?

8-9 p.m. — “Who Do You Think You Are?” (beginning January 21)
9-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC” (beginning January 7)

7-8 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
8-9 p.m. – “The Marriage Ref” (beginning March 6)
9-11 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice” (beginning March 6)

Review - Blue Bloods Season 1 Episode 9 Re-Do

Blue Bloods is a black and white show. The Reagans and police officers are the good guys, and the criminals are the bad guys. There's no way around it. "Re-Do" is the starkest example of this, an episode pitting the heroes against pure evil. It makes for a creepy and compelling plot, as we see everyone scramble to get the rapist murderer off the street, but doesn't leave much room to think afterwards. Everyone's actions were justified and that's that.

Kelly Davidson, the blond reporter Frank was seeing, shows up once again to ask some tough questions. Fitting in with last week's theme of detaching work from personal life, she asks Frank a question about his daughter, and instead of referring to her as his daughter, Frank refers to her as assistant district attorney Erin Reagan Boyle

The Blue Templar stuff has to be given a major revision. It's given a scene or two at most in every episode, with Jaime finding small clues here or there. However, there's no consequences. Jaime acts normally around his family and on his job. He's not contacting the FBI continuously to get more information, he's not asking his family, and he's not in the least bit suspicious of those around him. It's like the Blue Templar business is cordoned off in another universe. For a plot which is of major importance--a conspiracy to kill a fellow police officer--the writers, Jaime, and the FBI don't seem to care.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Sanctuary Season 3 Episode 6 Animus

With the introduction of Kali, the guys beside her, and the hologram city, Sanctuary is really stepping up in the form on a large scale mystery, involving the entire Earth and the secrets that lie within it. At the forefront is Magnus, Tesla, and the Sanctuary network.

"Animus" further extends things with two separate yet concurrent plots which never cross. At the Sanctuary is Magnus and Tesla who attempt crack open the secrets of the city. Of course the fun banter between them doesn't stop, but they also make a huge discovery: there appears to be a series of tunnels accessed only through three calderas. Pack your bags!

The other plot is purely a Henry-centric, with Will hanging around the background not really doing anything. Like the episode which expanded Bigfoot's backstory, "Animus" has Henry finding a group of lycans who seem to be drugged and trapped in a facility. He shows the facility owner's niece that being a werewolf is not a immovable curse, but a trait that can be harnessed as the user chooses.

Score: 8.9/10

  • I gotta admit, those CGI werewolves looked terrible. I did like the transition between human and werewolf, however.
  • No Kate--a definite plus in my book

Review - Supernatural Season 6 Episode 9 Clap Your Hands If You Believe...

Supernatural has been increasingly effective at putting funny episodes in the midst of all the darkness the past few seasons. Season five had several of them, notably "Changing Channels." Right off the bat, "Clap Your Hands If You Believe..." is poised to join them, with the alien abduction and X-Files-style opening credits. Unfortunately, though, the episode isn't that funny, exciting, or deep. It's a "blah" episode--with its moments, as expected, but nothing that lives up to what we've seen.

The plot takes a predictable turn when the alien abductions turn out to be faeries, seeing as the only person to stand out in the opening montage was the fairy lady. The rest of the episode is a bunch of half-amusing gags and jokes. Sam doesn't give a damn and is unintentionally doing funny, uncharacteristic things. Dean gets into midget trouble, so there are the usual midget jokes. Likewise, the episode comes to a predictable end. Fairies can be stopped dead in their tracks because they have to stop and count every grain of salt or sugar. Stupid plot device, anyone? All Sam had to do was throw salt/sugar everywhere to begin with and he wouldn't have to fight or shoot the leprechaun.

Looking ahead (since I'm put this episode in the rear view mirror already), the leprechaun escapes and there are a bunch of unresolved issues, so I assume we'll be seeing more of Robert Picardo. What were the fairies doing with the first-born sons? Can the leprechaun really retrieve Sam's soul? Sam's unwillingness to even entertain the soul offer indicates he might not even want his soul back? And why would he? What are the upsides other than that it would make Dean feel better?

Score: 8.3/10

Friday, November 19, 2010

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Thursday11/18/10

CBS won with The Big Bang Theory (4.3), $#*! My Dad Says (3.0), CSI (3.1), and The Mentalist (3.0).

ABC was second with Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (2.2), Grey’s Anatomy (4.3), and Private Practice (2.9). Charlie Brown defeats repeats of GA.

Fox was third with Bones (2.7) and Fringe (1.9). Fringe not looking good.

NBC was last with Community (1.9), 30 Rock (2.2), The Office (3.8), Outsourced (2.6), and The Apprentice (1.2).

Review - The Mentalist Season 3 Episode 9 Red Moon

Wow, the writers are really stepping up the Red John connections after the second season largely avoided the issue. "Red Moon" proceeds with a pretty decent case with a fake psychic, possible werewolves, cops getting shot, before the final twist--the suspect who was lit on fire, saying "tiger, tiger," from the poem Red John recited to Jane at the end of last season--spooky, horrifying, and immensely satisfying.

At the same time, we see Jane's continued pursuit for revenge, explicitly saying to Lisbon that he'll kill Red John if he has the chance. Lisbon, however, thinks she can contain Jane when the time arises. Seeing as all these Red John related things are moving forward, could we see Red John caught soon?

Score: 8.8/10

Review - Bones Season 6 Episode 7 The Babe in the Bar

I may have said this before, but I'll say it again: Vincent Nigel-Murray is my favorite intern. His unyielding enthusiasm is fun and more tempered than Daisy's, and his wealth of knowledge about every subject is truly impressive. What's not to like about him?

On my Castle review earlier this week, I talked about how some people say that Castle is the Bones of ABC. Clearly, that's not the case. Bones has a massively more diverse and interesting cast, not to mention wacky cases which Castle never comes close to. "The Babe in the Bar" effectively juggles the main plot about a woman found dead inside a giant chocolate bar, as well as two subplots for Cam, and Angela and Hodgins.

Did anyone see anything really wrong with what Cam did? Not only did she subvert Michelle by going behind her back, she also was doing something which is probably illegal, writing Michelle's Georgetown essay herself.

Score: 8.8/10

Review - The Office Season 7 Episode 9 WUPHF.com

Ryan hasn't been a major player for so long that I've written him off in the back of my mind. You can pretty much expect what he does every week. He'll say a few douchebag comments and go off to the corner. He doesn't contribute to the plot and is, in my opinion, a completely useless character.

"WUPHF.com", however, shows that Ryan douchebagginess can be turned into a fully functioning plot. This time, he solicits funding from the company but quickly runs the site into the ground (because who would want to use it?). An opening arises when Washington University wants to buy the domain name, but Ryan still has delusions of the site succeeding. In the end, when everyone goes to Michael, he makes a fateful decision, leaving it up to Ryan, knowing that Ryan is a scummy person. And his trust well-placed as Ryan sells his site, and will probably fade back to the background.

As far as the subplots go, they weren't that funny. Jim, after reaching the commission cap, decides to goof off which didn't garner as many laughs from me as I expected. Likewise, Angela's continued antics, with Jack Coleman, was only a slight shift from what she usually does with Dwight and was flat as well.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Burn Notice Season 4 Episode 14 Hot Property

I wonder how I would feel if I watched Burn Notice for the first time tonight. Would I be on the edge of my seat? Excited? After nearly four seasons of watching the team pull of scheme after scheme, I've become rather jaded about the show. I watch passively--follow the story, get the gist of the burn notice progression, but mostly I don't really care. I can't remember specifics, but everything feels likes it's been done before, even if it is cool.

"Hot Property" features the return of Natlie who, if I remember correctly, pretended to be a kidnapped woman and Fi bought her story completely, so their relationship is strained to say the least. She has the team steal a dangerous gas before double crossing them. The gas is recovered in the end and Natalie is turned over to the feds. Along the way, Michael and Jesse come to an understanding after Madeline's urging. And the search for Walsh leads to an auction which Jesse procures enough money for. Overall, "Hot Property" is a good episode with plenty of confrontations, and stays largely in familiar territory.

Score: 8.7/10

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review - Fringe Season 3 Episode 7 The Abducted

Only seven episodes into the new seasons, and the writers have proven they won't drag their heels with the whole alternate universe Olivia thing. In the hands of less bold writers, we probably wouldn't have so much progression in such a short time. And it may as well be now since the ratings continue to suck, and I'm afraid there won't be a resolution.

Frankly, I don't look forward to the monster of the week stuff. They're pretty good, in their own right, but can't hold a candle to the ongoing arc of Olivia in the parallel universe and her counterpart. But I feel obligated to put in a few words about the case. "The Abducted" features the Candy Man (great name, by the way), a kidnapper who leaves his victims changed in one way or another. Quickly, Olivia is able to deduce his goal, that he's extracting from the pituitary gland to become younger, drawing on her experience in the other world from the season one episode "The Same Old Story." To spice things up, Broyle's son was one of the kidnapped. Eventually, Olivia takes out the Candy Man and the reverend who taught him about the extractor.

Beyond that is where the real excitement lies. Olivia calls on Henry, the taxi driver from earlier in the season, who procures a boat. She swims to Liberty Island, breaches the lab, and gets into the tank. However, before she is able to cross over permanently, Walternate pulls her out. The writers wisely increased the stakes instead of allowing the ordeal to end so soon. In another great twist, it turns out that Olivia manages to tell a woman in her universe to call Peter Bishop and tell him that the real Olivia is on the other side. And the fake Olivia is right in bed beside him! Damn this is good stuff.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Community Season 2 Episode 9 Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design

Week after week, Community stretches the possibilities of what can happen on the show that's still within the realm of a community college. This week, it tackled a conspiracy with "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design," an episode about as odd as the Abed as Jesus episode but a funny one nonetheless.

After Jeff creates a fake class and fake professor, the fake professor shows up to confirm Jeff's story to the dean. Jeff and Annie, obviously confused, dig deeper and  come across the fake professor, only a drama professor, and the night school which never existed. In a truly bizarre conspiracy scene, everyone shoots each other with prop guns before No one's entire sure what's going on, but apparently it's all a big scene shot by the drama professor.

The episode focuses on Jeff and Annie for the purposes of creating an eerie conspiracy feel with the other characters out of the loop, so the other characters aside from Abed and Troy don't really do much. The conspiracy itself is done very well with each twist and turn punctuated by humor. I don't know how Community keeps doing it every week, but bravo.

Score: 9.0/10

  • Whoever came up with the giant blanket fort is brilliant. It became more of a blanket city than fort with all the things going on in there. I would have loved to be there, crawling along the hallway inside the fort with all these different compartments.
  • The Mentalist is always attacked by Psych and now Community. Haha 

Review - The Big Bang Theory Season 4 Episode 9 The Boyfriend Complexity

After Penny's realization last week that Leonard is perfectly suitable as a boyfriend and that they broke up for no good reason, "The Boyfriend Complexity" heads towards Leonard taking initiative of his own to get back together with Penny. That's the writers' intent, for what its worth.

However, Leonard comes off a creep, taking advantage of Penny's situation to get all over her, even though she tells him specifically not to. Sure, Penny used Leonard to make her father feel better, but if Leonard were a good friend, he'd play along without trying to touch her constantly and make her feel uncomfortable. The fact is, Leonard jumps over women regardless of their non-physical qualities and his behavior in the episode seems to only entail carnal lust for Penny, and not Leonard liking her other qualities.

Speaking of touching... Howard and Raj kiss inadvertently after Raj tries to kiss Bernadette, and over 100 slash fics will pop up over web tommorrow. No one else knows at the end of the episode, so the revelation is hanging over the rest of the episodes like an anvil.

From a comedy standpoint, the whole ruse was pretty funny with Keith Carradine as Penny's father, drinking up Leonard as if he were the greatest guy in the world (and compared to Penny's previous boyfriends, he kind of is). His final reaction, after Penny tells him the truth, is both unexpected, since he appears to be lunging to destroy Leonard, and serves an important plot purpose, to tell Leonard not to give up on his daughter.

One thing the writers haven't been able to get over is how sad Raj is, and "The Boyfriend Complexity" is no exception. After all this time, Raj still is kept in his shell unless he's drunk. Because Bernadette is around in the episode, the writers have to make him drunk to interact. When will the writers get rid of the on-off switch and turn him into a normal person?

Score: 8.5/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Wednesday 11/17/10

CBS won with Survivor (3.5), Survivor (3.8), and The Defenders (1.9). Still looking shaky for The Defenders.

ABC was second with The Middle (2.8), Better With You (2.3), Modern Family (4.8), Cougar Town (3.0), and 25 Years of Sexy (1.5).

Fox was third with Human Target (1.8) and Hell’s Kitchen (2.6). Human Target returned with a squeak, as most people could have guessed.

NBC was last with Dateline (1.6), Law & Order: SVU (2.1), and Law & Order: Los Angeles (1.9). Terrible numbers for the crime dramas again. We'll see if the midseason shakeup lifts their fortunes.

Review - Friday Night Lights Season 5 Episode 4 Keep Looking

Four episodes into the final season, and it's largely been hit or miss for me, and "Keep Looking" is no different. On one hand, I'm really liking the struggle from Tami, Buddy, Mindy, and Eric to help Epyck, Buddy Jr, Becky, and Vince, respectively. Largely, the older, non-high school characters interacting with high school kids works the best.

On the other hand, the plots with just the high school characters aren't doing much, mostly being they're not developed enough. Becky and Luke are skirting around each other with little development, and the fight between Jess and Vince doesn't make much sense to me. Why didn't Coach come out and tell all the players the stop messing with Jess? It would stop the inherent problem of people messing with Jess and in turn it would at least alleviate some of the misgivings Vince has about Jess in her new role. But it looks like the situation has turned a corner as Coach comes down hard on Vince. Jess, meanwhile, is ever more encouraged because Billy respects her opinion enough to express it to the other coaches, even if he does claim it as his own thought.

At the end of the episode, we see Vince invited into the head coach's office which has a lot of other important looking figures. Was Luke used as a tool to recruit Vince? And if so, what is Vince being drawn into?

While enjoy most of what's going on and neither like nor dislike the other parts, there's one small subplot which bothers me: more Julie and TA scenes. Please end it. Julie isn't given anything to do other than sleep with her TA. There's no reflection, no separate plot, just meeting up and hooking up.

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Terriers Season 1 Episode 11 Sins of the Past

Damn, only two episodes left before the inevitable cancellation. As much as fans want to believe their show can come back for another season, don't waste time; the ratings for Terriers are pathetic, a mere 0.2 adults 18-49 for most of the season, and it's on FX, a thriving network which doesn't need the show.

"Sins of the Past" sets up the backstory for Britt and Hank, and half the episode or possibly more is dedicated to a case three years ago in which Hank crossed paths with Britt. At the same time, we see the breakdown in Hank's marriage.

Terriers is a show that is largely based on coincidences--Hank and Britt stumble upon cases at random times during the day--so it's fitting that there is a parallel drawn between the case three years ago and the continuation in the present. The case three years ago, in which Hank tried to bring down a rich guy for rape, appears be the beginning of the end, when he loses both his job and wife. In the process, he meets Britt who's a good guy overall. In the present, Gustafson and Hank catch the real rapist, a fellow detective, with the help of the rich guy. While that's going on Britt tracks down Katie's friend from class--not the professor who slept with Katie--and beats him to a pulp. In both Hank's case three years ago and Britt's beating in the present, they're blinded by rage and alcohol and miss the real culprit.

At the end of the episode, Hank tells Britt that Katie told him about the incident and expectedly, Britt blows up. There isn't a right or wrong person in this situation. We can point fingers at Hank, Britt, Katie, but in the end, everyone's at fault in some way. It's hard not to feel bad for them. Things just can't fall in their direction.

Score: 9.2/10

Review - Psych Season 5 Episode 11 In Plain Fright

I guess no one consulted USA when making the episode, because it's been over half a month since Halloween and the show returned only last week. Still, the episode is perfectly fine even if it isn't in season and doesn't solely rely on Halloween.

Coming off of Shawn and Juliet hooking up at the end of last episode, "In Plain Fright" deals with their progressing relationship while delivering a spooky case. It's an average episode with the usual investigations and jokes at spooky Halloween set. Along the way, Shawn tells Gus about his relationship with Juliet and he's fine with it. On the other hand, no one else in the department knows yet, which should cause troubles later on. By finally pulling the trigger on the relationship, the writers finally gave themselves a chance to push the boundaries beyond the creative stagnation that's been going on for years.

Score: 8.6/10

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review - Criminal Minds Season 6 Episode 9 Into the Woods

God, I felt awful watching the episode. It was one of those episodes where the writers didn't have enough ideas beyond the initial premise and stretched it out for an hour, so we had to endure all the scenes of the pedophile being a creep. There's not much else to say about the episode. The unsub hides in the woods and gets away in the end. Everyone on the team plays their roles and no one really stands out.

Score: 8.2/10

Review - Modern Family Season 2 Episode 8 Manny Get Your Gun

"Manny Get Your Gun" is all about growing up. Everyone stays in the separate groups, although the episode begins and ends with the family together. It's Manny birthday, but he's not the only one considering his age in relation to maturity. The circumstances allows everyone to realize certain facts that weren't apparent before. After realizing that Haley and Alex don't like family camp, Phil breaks down and in turn, they do so as well. While racing against Phil with Luke in tow, Claire realizes that she never does anything fun. Manny, as mature as ever, realizes that while he may not be acting like a normal kid right now, there's still plenty time ahead of him.

On a humor scale, "Manny Get Your Gun," probably fell somewhere in the middle with the crying in the car and the old people adulterers. What keeps the episode together is the tying theme which was

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Human Target Season 2 Episode 1 Ilsa Pucci

Despite having American Idol as a lead in a few times last season, Human Target simply couldn't keep its audience as the ratings dropped each week. I would attribute that to the general repetitiveness and predictability of the plots. Still, Fox gave the go-ahead for a second season, one retooled so much it's barely recognizable beyond the three core characters.

The biggest difference is the change from Bear McCreary to Tim Jones as composer. McCreary brought a grand sense of epicness to the show and was often the only reason to watch the show. Jones, however, who also composes for Chuck, has a much different vision of the show. Instead of a symphonic score which isn't afraid to show some muscle, he opts for the playful plucked strings, and the result is a show that seems more like Leverage than the pure action drama it was last season.

Let's talk about the other big changes this season. First of all, the cliffhanger at the end of last season is resolved almost instantly. Forget the bible and the Old Man--the first season seems to have been whitewashed. Second the cast has two new women, Ilsa Pucci (Indira Varma) and Ames (Janet Montgomery), whom I assume are there to draw in a bigger female audience.

From a plot standpoint, the episode is standard. Chance, Winston, and Guerrero protect Ilsa, who decides to fund the operation at the end of the episode. Ames is a thief who is caught but is grudgingly let onto the team. While most of the changes can't draw an immediate opinion, I do like how the plot doesn't have some relation to Chance's past, a tired plot device which, if I remember correctly, annoyed me to hell last season.

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Tuesday 11/16/10

Fox won with Glee (5.0), Raising Hope (2.7), and a repeat of Raising Hope (1.7).

CBS was second with NCIS (3.9), NCIS: Los Angeles (3.3), and The Good Wife (2.2).

NBC was third with The Biggest Loser (2.5) and Parenthood (1.8). Parenthood hurting, but in the middle of the sad NBC pack.

ABC was last with No Ordinary Family (1.7) and Dancing with the Star (3.4). NOF in real trouble.

Review - No Ordinary Family Season 1 Episode 7 No Ordinary Mobster

Looking over the scores for No Ordinary Family, I'm really surprised by the oscillation of the numbers, considering that the vast majority of my scores fall into a fairly narrow range.

The main problem is that the writers don't have a clear grasp of what they want. There are two versions of No Ordinary Family. Most commonly, there are the episodes where the family takes precedent over the superpower, and those episodes are highly annoying. On occasion, there are good episodes where the superpowers and mystery are central.

"No Ordinary Mobster," thankfully, is the latter, but still has major problems with the kids. After George's ADA friend, played by the lovely Amy Acker, is shot. Jim has to get involved and is seen by the gangster who's later killed by the Watcher. Stephanie's plot, in particular, was the strong point of the episode, as we see how far her boss's reach is. But at the same time, the Watcher seems to have his own agenda, not telling the CEO about Jim.

And the kids, still mismanaged into groan-inducing tools. JJ making a fake profile for Katie.. why oh why...The Watcher shows up at the date in lieu of JJ's fake guy. How did he know? There better be an explanation next week. Daphne extorts JJ into helping her impress a boy who spurns her in the end. The main problem is that no one plot for the kids is given enough time to grow. Underdeveloped high school drama + superpowers =/= interesting.

Seven episodes into the season and No Ordinary Family has major kinks to work out. However, "No Ordinary Mobster" can count as one of the better episodes, if that means anything to anyone.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - The Good Wife Season 2 Episode 7 Bad Girls

There comes a point when these "ripped from the headline" plots cease to be innovative and become more gimmicks than anything else. The main plot revolves around a Lindsay Lohan (with a splash of Miley Cyrus) clone named Sloan who is accused of ramming her car into someone else's car after a nightclub fight. But that's only the start of numerous real-world references which have little point. There's talk of Rahm Emanuel's run for Chicago mayor, those quirky Taiwanese cartoons, illustrating news in a unique way, Howard Dean being shuffled away to be head of the DNC, and of course the use of Twitter as a plot device to get Sloane in jail. All of it may have worked if spread out, but contained in one episode, it seems way too much.

The rest of the episode has fairly average case--Sloan was covering for her sister who eventually comes clean--and a uncharacteristic subpar political plot. Wendy Scott Carr asks Eli to be campaign manager, but he refuses after Pastor Isaiah gives Peter the endorsement.

At the law firm, things are heating up as Diane is pushed out once more. Bond wants Will on board for something bigger between DC and Chicago, and getting rid of Diane may be the first step.

Score: 8.7/10

Review - Sons of Anarchy Season 3 Episode 11 Bainne

With the Sons loading up the plane, it seems like the journey to Ireland, taking up a good part of the season, was only to pull back the curtain on the early days of the Sons and John Teller, allowing for Jax to examine his role, than anything else. As far as genuine excitement and unpredictability, Ireland never really grabbed me and I wasn't that interested seeing the Sons go about their business.

But, going back to the point of early days of the Sons, John Teller, and how it affects Jax, "Bainne" is a significant episode. After Father Ashby's words last week, Jax decides, for the time being, to let Abel go with his new family. JT didn't want to change the club, JT wanted to leave the club, and that's not lost on Jax who decides to break the cycle. However, Jax is pretty much forced to take Abel once Jimmy kills the family.

Where does he stand? He can't be one foot in, one foot out or he turn out like JT? With his faith in the club shattered, what can he do to protect his son?

Tara should be smarter. She had a gun on Salazar and then put it down to help save his bitch girlfriend. Shoot them both! Multiple times! For God's sake, they had you chained up for days and kicked you around! But now she gets the shit beat out of her.

Score: 9.1/10

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review - NCIS Season 8 Episode 8 Enemies Foreign

The big problem when NCIS goes for story arcs, whether they are long or short, is that too much is shrouded in mystery. The dialogue is crafted so the audience doesn't know what's going on, but it's also frustrating because it's unrealistic to think that people would be talking about something without direct stating what they're talking about.

Behind the episode is this big meeting between the top NCIS people. We don't get even a whiff of what may have happened, but here's are the shreds of information we know. It's about Vance and his early days in Amsterdam and it's so important that Eli had to be there. I'm guessing it was something to do with the file Gibbs had on Vance.

Aside from the general ambiguity of things, the episode has lots of memorable moments. The relationship between Ziva and her father is strained, as are all the parental relationships on the show. In the end, it's Abby who sets Ziva straight and pushes her to talk to her father. Ziva's discussion with Eli is frank and very emotional. Eli, the head of Mossad, has greater responsibilities than caring about Ziva. He has a country to protect and millions of people who rely on him. The sad thing is, he's not wrong. Lives are at risk and he must execute his job to fullest capacity, and if that entails cutting out Ziva, then so be it.

The plot is rather lean because we don't really know exactly what's going on. The team protects Eli from three terrorists. There's a big attack in the end that the team manages to handle. However, the final teaser of Hadar blown up on the ground leads right into next week's episode.

I like the idea of Ziva's replacement who's younger and just as qualified, and it made for some good introspective for Ziva with someone to compare to. Does she like where she is in her life now, seeing her mirror in front of her?

Score: 8.9/10

Review - Stargate Universe Season 2 Episode 8 Malice

Where is my Stargate Universe and what have you done with it? Two legitimately good episodes in a row!?! This must be one of those parallel universe where Stargate Universe is somehow good. Real stakes, real consequences, real action, real emotion, no reset!

As mindboggling as this sounds, Stargate Universe may have turned a corner. Simeon kills both Ginn and Amanda. Yeah, people who actually matter a lot to two main characters died! And Simeon has information about the attack on Earth!

The two characters in question, Rush and Eli, are the focus of the episode and both have no time to grieve. Rush chases Simeon to a desert planet while Eli tries to figure out how to stall the FTL. Rush's feelings, though, extend beyond Eli's, which is why Eli is shoved off to the side. Rush knows he's personally responsible for Amanda's death since she wouldn't have been in that position without Rush, and being crazy already, he goes after Simeon with a vengeance, refusing to let anyone stop him from getting revenge. In the end, he kills Simeon in cold blood without anyone else knowing and allows the information about the Earth attack to fade away. Eli acts very touchy the entire episode, diverting pain into anger. To top the episode off, Chloe's transformation has a direct effect as she diverts the ship to come back for Rush and the others.

Because we've been burned before by cool episodes followed by more duds, here's where things could go wrong. Since Rush killed Simeon, there isn't really a central villain to fight with anymore and the show could go back to the manufactured threats which are easily dissipated. I wouldn't be surprised if that happens, but the past two episodes caught me off guard. Maybe things have changed for the better.

Score: 9.0/10

Review - Glee Season 2 Episode 7 The Substitute

"The Substitute" is a weird episode. While the emphasis is on Holly Holiday, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, for good reason, it seemed like every other character was up to something or another, making the episode like a very loose collection of half-developed plots. The episode rolls along quickly and is actually quite good despite the numerous potential pitfalls.

The danger is that "The Substitute" becomes a personal showcase for Paltrow where the writers pile on an go overboard as they've done before. But although Paltrow shines spectacularly in both the songs, comedy, and drama, she doesn't overwhelm the episode, due to Will balancing against her. They're on opposite ends of the spectrum--Holly as the teacher who's too fun and Will as the teacher who's too strict. Both have their merits, but as teachers, not substitutes, a firm hand is needed sometimes. Will, who gets his job back in the end, balances their personality, asking for Holly's help to make "Singin' in the Rain" hip.

The aforementioned half-developed plots could actually work if they were the centerpiece of an episode. Unfortunately, they aren't and the plots jump around without much development. There's Rachel vs. Holly for a while before Holly teaches Rachel an important lesson, Sue being principal and getting rid of Will before hiring him back, Kurt and Blaine hanging up while Mercedes gets shafted, eventually realizing she needs to find someone of her own, the bully at it again. And lastly there's the return of Terri who randomly shows up to take care of Will. I have no clue why, because by the end of the episode she's gone, hopefully written off forever by both Will and the writers.

Score: 8.7/10

Numbers of Interest - Television Ratings for Monday 11/15/10

CBS won with How I Met Your Mother (3.6), Rules of Engagement (2.9), Two and a Half Men (4.5), Mike & Molly (3.7), and Hawaii Five-0 (2.8).

ABC was second with Dancing with the Stars (4.0), a repeat of The Middle (2.2), and Castle (2.5). Looks like Castle is hanging around the mid 2s.

Fox was third with House (4.0) and Lie to Me (1.9). Lie to Me still isn't looking good.

NBC was last with Chuck (1.8), The Event (1.7), and Chase (1.2). After two more episodes, The Event is on leave until February. Chase will also be moved to Wednesday for midseason. NBC is in trouble and changing things up.

Review - Weeds Season 6 Episode 13 Theoretical Love Is Not Dead / The Big C Season 1 Episode 13 Taking The Plunge

I haven't covered Weeds or The Big C since the first few episodes of the season, but the season finales are here, so here are my thoughts of the finales and seasons.

As a whole, Weeds has been a disaster this season, breaking out of the mold set the past few seasons--and also losing any sense of reason. Every week it was crazy shit followed by more crazy shit without rhyme or reason, with unrealistic, extravagant people showing up everywhere. It's been a chore to watch the family escape from place to place. At the same time, Nancy is probably the most unlikable as she's ever been, and as her past is explored, we learn that she may been a terrible person her whole life. Nancy is almost redeemed in "Theoretical Love Is Not Dead," when she makes the choice to turn herself into the FBI while the rest of the family flies off. "Theoretical Love Is Not Dead" is great because there isn't room to run anymore (thankfully) and every character must make definite choices.

Structurally, season six represents Weeds as a whole. Characters are introduced only to be tossed away, new locations are introduced only to be left. There's lots of new things in season six, as there used to be with each new season. However, by the end of the season, they are mere afterthoughts.

For the majority of its inaugural season, The Big C floundered around without doing much. Cathy kept her cancer a secret while acting wacko, and his family did understand her. These past couple episodes leading up to the season finale, however, after Cathy finally came clean, actually have a purpose. With Marlene's suicide last week, there was no turning back. Ultimately, every character must face the harsh reality of the truth. For Cathy, it's finally going into treatment. For Sean, it's giving up his delusinal dreams to become a father.

I have to admit, that final scene with Adam was a little disingenuous for me. After acting like a douchebag for the season and episode, he comes upon a key to a storage locker containing birthday, Christmas, and other occasion presents. He breaks down and cries, and it's an emotional moment. However, it's superficial that he had to see physical presents and notes before realizing how much his mother cares for him.

The writers missed the mark for the first half of the season, trying to make more of a comedy than drama; cancer is not a funny topic, but it can generate funny moments between the poignancy and that's what the season finale gets at. Maybe when The Big C returns, the tone will stay consistent.

Weeds Score: 8.7/10
The Big C Score: 9.1/10

Review - Castle Season 3 Episode 9 Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind

Two and a half seasons into Castle and a couple facts have become clear. The writers can't consistently writer twisty episodes with compelling hooks. People like to say that Castle is ABC's Bones, but Bones, especially in the early seasons, brought something special every episode.

And in the third seasons, the writers seem to have shifted gears into doing "theme episodes," episodes revolving around various pop culture interests. This week in was alien abductions with a huge slant towards The X-Files. As a big X-Files fan, I loved the references and enjoyed the episode. However, if viewers aren't into that kind of stuff, how did they feel?

The case is a good mix of government paranoia and spying from the Chinese, on par for the show. The Alexis subplots have gotten very predictable. They start with a problem and resolve beautifully. Yawn... This week it's Castle and Ashley's parents. Predictably, Castle thinks they hate him, but they actually love him.

Great Firefly reference with Castle speaking Chinese and talking about a TV he used to love.

Score: 8.6/10

Review - Hawaii Five-0 Season 1 Episode 9 Po'ipu

I'm confused as to the message of "Po'ipu." There's this evil general who visits Hawaii and the team has to protect him. At this point, the message is that cops have to do their job no matter the circumstances. But then, the writers humanize the murderous general--so the point is that sometimes not all scumbags are that bad? It seems like the message is completely muddled just so McGarrett could get in a huge fight with his former SEAL buddy. Admittedly, the fight scenes in "Po'ipu" almost matched those of the pilot, but there is no intrinsic value to the plot.

Score: 8.0/10
Related Posts with Thumbnails