All Along The Watchtower

films . videos . television

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And The Winner Is...

Well, that's how they used to say it before Hollywood egos were crushed by the implication that there is a such thing as losers. How did they ever regain their precious self-esteem? How did they sleep in their Bel-Air mansions, Montana ranches, Hamptons beach homes or Aspen chalets all the while crying on their 10,000 count Egyptian cotton sheets? Well, by not claiming anyone is a winner and by not calling it Best Actor, Best Picture, that's how. And apparently by now saying "The Oscar goes to...". Whatever keeps the shrink bills down. This has been going on for a few years now. Frankly, I'm tired of it.

So I'm going old school with my Oscar picks this year. Not only are we bringing back the old nomenclature, but I'm going to revive The Bill Murray method of picking the winners from Weekend Update.

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote"
Terrence Howard in "Hustle & Flow"
Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain"
Joaquin Phoenix in "Walk the Line"
David Strathairn in "Good Night, and Good Luck."

I didn't see any of those movies. But, I figure the gay vote will cancel each other out eliminating Hoffman and Ledger. The elderly and A&E Biography group of Oscar voters will cancel each other out on Strathairn and Phoenix for their portrayals of old, dead guys. That leaves the guilty white liberal bloc to insure victory for Terrence Howard. Good job, T.

Best Actress
Judi Dench in "Mrs. Henderson Presents"
Felicity Huffman in "Transamerica"
Keira Knightley in "Pride & Prejudice"
Charlize Theron in "North Country"
Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line"

I didn't see any of these movies, either. Dench is out because NO ONE has even heard of her picture. Keira Knightley in a Jane Austen snoozer, no thanks. Charlize Theron, you've already won one of these for putting on ugly make up. You aren't getting another one just for not wearing makeup. Reese Witherspoon isn't getting one because Sissy Spacek already got the Oscar for playing Loretta Lynn and the Academy really doesn't know the difference. So that's brings it to Huffman, who not only is apparently the only "Desperate Houswife" who can act, but went the extra mile by playing a tranny. Way to cover your bases, Flicka.

Best Supporting Actor
George Clooney in "Syriana"
Matt Dillon in "Crash"
Paul Giamatti in "Cinderella Man"
Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain"
William Hurt in "A History of Violence"

Nope, didn't see any of these either. Clooney and Dillon cancel each other out pretty-boy quickly. Young Gyllenhaal didn't quite look like he was acting. Bill Hurt, well, nobody likes you. Tough shit. Paul Giamatti got snubbed for Sideways. Look for the Academy to give him the Pity Oscar this year.

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams in "Junebug"
Catherine Keener in "Capote"
Frances McDormand in "North Country"
Rachel Weisz in "The Constant Gardener"
Michelle Williams in "Brokeback Mountain"

Again, haven't seen these movies. Waiting until cable or pay per view. Amy Adams. Never heard of you. Never heard of your movie. Sorry kid. Frances you already got one for playing a Minnesotan. You are just fucking greedy. Rachel, people still remember those Mummy pictures you did. Michelle, you married your leading man. Not a lot of acting there. Catherine Keener, now there's a fine actress. I've loved her since that one Seinfeld episode. Look for her to take it in a walk.

Best Director
"Brokeback Mountain" Ang Lee
"Capote" Bennett Miller
"Crash" Paul Haggis
"Good Night, and Good Luck" George Clooney
"Munich" Steven Spielberg

Look, it should be pretty clear that I don't go to the movies a lot anymore. Sure there are clearly some good movies out there, but I just can't stand sitting in the theaters with people who think they are at home watching it on TV. Too much talking and rudeness. So, of course, I didn't see these movies. But it should be obvious that Spielberg, Clooney, Miller and Haggis shouldn't even show up. This is Brokeback's year. Everybody is talking about this picture. You can't turn on the TV, or sit at the bar, or shoot the Vice-President's hunting buddy without someone making a Brokeback reference.

Best Picture
"Brokeback Mountain"
"Good Night, and Good Luck"

See above. Crash is just Grand Canyon without the laughs. Truman Capote has been dead for years and no one cares. Same goes double for Murrow and McCarthy. Stevie Spielberg is never going to have his Oscar thirst slaked. The ones he got for Schindler and Private Ryan should tell him something. Stick with WWII. It's your meal ticket, babe. It's gay cowboys eating pudding this year kids. Count on it.

Tune in March 5th to see just how right I am. I forget what channel. Probably ABC.

Get Sondra Locke on the phone...

There is something about this new movie that reminds me of this old movie.

Drunk cop--check.
Taking prisoner on an ostensibly routine trip from Point A to Point B--check.
Said prisoner has information that implicate other cops--check.
Gratuitious use of a bus--check check.

"On a scale of one to ten, I'd have to give her a two, and that's because I haven't seen a one before."

24 Review/Recap

Day Five, 4 - 5 p.m.
Anyone else catch the Buffy easter egg in the episode? The name of the woman in accounting that Peter Weller's secretary went to see so Jack could get in and threaten him--Jane Espenson. Jane Espenson was one of the writing staff over at both Buffy and Angel as well as the greatness that was Firefly.

OK, but before I turn this into a Joss Whedon fest, let's get back to 24.

Interesting to see that in a time of crisis when there are no good options that Logan completely shuts down. His pleading with Mike that there had to be a magical third option that would meet the conditions of the terrorist threat and save his wife showed that. I kept expecting Mike to go, "What did you think would happen when you cave to terrorist demands, sir?" or "Well, I guess you'd better hope Superman is real!" Logan had no good options, but he didn't really give himself any. And then for him to expect the terrorists to understand that it wasn't his fault...I had to roll my eyes. Charles, they're terrorists! They're not going to say--"Oh, well, it wasn't your fault our plan failed. Sorry to hear that, we'll just go use that nerve gas somewhere else. Have a nice day." They are terrorists on 24! They are evil and bad and will do whatever it takes. And I'm sure they've got some new plan now that will use the Centox gas in some new, lethal way.

Man, the amount of time and planning these terrorists put into these things...

Meanwhile, over at CTU, we have a scene taken right out of the classic Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine" In the episode, Kirk orders Spock to take command from Commodore Decker, who clearly is having some mental issues, on his own personal authority as captain of the Enterprise. This is after McCoy has tried to have Decker declare mentally unfit and Spock says he'll need the logs to prove it. Anyway, over at CTU, we see Curtis take command of things, relieving Lynn, who buckled under pressure. I wonder if we were seeing a bit of the bullied complex come out. We saw Lynn get bullied by his sister and her boyfriend. Was his overreaction and clamping down part of trying to feel like he had some power again? It seems that way becuase it's been all down hill for the hobbit turned CTU director since that attack. But now he's out of the way--or is he? I can't believe that Lynn is gone for good. I bet he'll find a way to redeem himself before day's end. Either that or we'll find out he's a bad guy and linked to the terrorists.

Because everyone is linked to those wacky terrorists! Even Peter Weller, who plays Jack's old mentor. I guess he was the one who taught Jack how to watch McGyver repeats to find ways to escape an exploding room when the bad guys lock you in and leave you for dead. (Good thing Weller watched Austin Powers and took the Dr Evil plans of eliminating your enemies as the best possible way to go).

While this episode did have some requisite tension, I had a feeling this was a transition episode--moving us between plotlines in the season. Yes, we had the terrorist threat and it's still very real, but I feel as if there are other plotlines moving into place now or that will be emerging in the next few hours that are being set-up here. It's not a bad episode, but just one that's a transition for the next segment of the suspense to come.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Spitting on Reality Television

Most of the bored and easily entertained viewers out there will be glued to watching the Bachelor finale tonight. As is evidently your right as Americans to do. But let me clue you into a show that strips away the artifice and contrived glamour of the crowning jewel in ABC's crown.

That show is Flavor of Love on VH1. Much like its "classier" counterpart, the show follows the heartache of contestants as they try to romance an eligible man for a whirlwind romance while being filmed and/or manipulated by the television cameras. In this case, the eligible bachelor is Flava Flav, best known for his work with Public Enemy, as well as other VH1 Celebreality shows Surreal Life and Strange Love.

Unlike the stunningly handsome Vanderbilt doctor on the Bachelor, Flav would be viewed as a repellant human being by not only the conventional standards of appearance, but by general good taste. Naturally, this makes great television.

The women also, are unlike their more well-known counterparts. These girls are pretty much skanks. Nasty skanks who would sell what little is left of their souls to get some face time on television. The girl who got the boot last night had appeared on six shows including Blind Date and Street Smarts before this train wreck.

Here is what makes this show so damn good. When this girl got the heave-ho (and I do mean "ho"), she spit in the face of one of the other girls after a prolonged Springer-esque trash talking dialogue. America loves a sore loser. Let's be honest here, knock-down, drag-out televised cat fights are one of the top three reasons to own a television.

Strip away all the pretensions of romance and delusions of sophistication of the big dating show on tonight and check out Flavor of Love for just how low people will stoop to get famous for ten minutes.

Check your local listings.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Restaurant Makeover

I have no idea why I'm so fascinated by Restaurant Makeover, an obscure, low-budget reality show. It's produced by Food Network Canada and is aired on the weekends, with very little fanfare, by the U.S. version of Food Network.

The basic premise is that a small, family-owned restaurant is made over. The restauranteurs must put up money (usually $15,000 Canadian, or about $13,000 U.S.) and the producers of the TV show match it dollar-for-dollar. A designer supervises the renovation of the dining room and kitchen, while a chef works with someone from the restaurant's kitchen staff on revamping the menu.

The fun is the sometimes prickly relationship between the designer and chef and the local restaurant owner. The show has a small rotating pool of designers and chefs; one chef who turns up frequently bears an almost-eerie resemblance to Gary Busey. The designers -- and especially the chefs -- sometimes have frou-frou ideas that the restaurant owners can't quite wrap their brains around.

The show's chefs usually lean towards stripping down overloaded menus and concentrating on doing fewer dishes better.

"We've got to get rid of the deviled eggs," they say. "If people want deviled eggs they can make them at home."

"But our customers love the deviled eggs."

Then, the chef will show the restauranteur how to make some really nice gourmet dish, or perhaps a more upscale version of something that's already on the menu. Sometimes, the chefs seem to know what they're doing, but sometimes they seem more interested in their own egos than in really learning about the restaurant they're supposed to be helping.

Meanwhile, the designer is usually pulling his or her hair out because the new lighting fixtures haven't been delivered yet or because the construction crew isn't working fast enough.

Eventually, there's a big reveal where the restaranteurs get their first look at the newly-redesigned dining room and some of their friends or family members are treated to a taste of the new menu.

Not all of the renovations are well-received. Some of the restaurant owners are thrilled with the new look; others aren't, or at least don't think it was worth the money. There's usually a text-on-screen epilogue with details of how the new restaurant was received by critics and / or customers, and in one case we learn that the owner put black paint over the redesigned walls and badmouthed the program to the local press.

As I said, I don't know why I find this program so fascinating. It's not like it's the only redesign show on TV. But there's something romantic about the idea of the little family-owned restaurant, and something scary about the idea of putting the family business at risk in hopes of taking it to the next level. Will the customers hate the new restaurant, and stay away? Or will the new restaurant become the toast of the town?

Do any of you have an obscure little show like this to which you're attached?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Recap/Review

When the concepts for the final five or so episodes of season two were made known a few weeks ago, I have to admit I was most worried about this week's episode. A story that sought to give us the other side of the conflict, to show us things from the Cylon perspective. I began to get a bit worried, fearing we might try and soften the robotic killing machines too much.

I honestly began to fear that they'd pull a Borg on the Cylons. See, back in the early days of TNG, the Borg were the unstoppable, relentless machine foe. The Borg were determined to assimilate the Federation at all costs and they took no prisoners. They were terrifying and wonderful, but the writers made a mistake in their creation--they made them so powerful that there was virtually no way to defeat them without the fans crying "Sheeningans!" So, over the course of TNG, the Borg were slowly de-fanged a bit. In season five, we met Hugh who the Enterprise was able to separate from the collective and then send back in. Hugh "humanized" the Borg a bit, made them less malevolent, less feared and, quite frankly, less interesting. The Borg had lost their bite a bit and even though the big-screen First Contact brought some of that back, I'm not sure the Borg ever regained that "holy sh*t" factor they had back in "Q Who" or "Best of Both Worlds, Part 1."

I will give Ron Moore and company credit. Those who worked on Trek seemed to have learned from that mistake, at least so far. I will credit part of that to working on DS9. DS9 was a show built on the changing face of the villains and alliances growing and breaking down in a natural way. To see this, simply watch the progression of Gul Dukat or the Founders over the course of the show. At first, the Founders were seen as this unrelenting foe who had no interest in peaceful co-existence with the Fedearation. But as the story of DS9 went along, we slowly learne more about them, their society and saw them change, progess and adapt as adversaries. Same thing with Gul Dukat, who changes from antagonist to sympathetic outcast to out and out villian over the show's seven season. I think part of the success of having villians that change is that we, the audience, get to enjoy that journey. It's not like Hugh where he goes off and next time we see the Borg they're...well, not the Borg we once knew.

And that may be what is happening here with Galactica. I'll give Ron Moore and company a lot of credit. It looks like they're taking the Cylons from what appeared to be a unified and relentless foe with a single-minded task and throwing in some wrinkles. We have Six and Sharon who are heroes of the Cylon, both of whom have interacted with humans and understand the survivors. In fact, they've both loved human men and that has changed them as well. So much that the Cylons don't quite know how to deal with them, threatening to box them off from the rest of the collective group for fear of contamination. Six doesn't know that she is a target of being boxed out at first, but slowly comes to realize it over the course of the story. In the end, she and Sharon end up joining forces to try and make some changes to the Cylon masterplan and society in the 36 hours they have before their crimes are discovered when the Lucy Lawless Cylon downloads into a new body.

Since Galactica is clearly built on the concept of a religious struggle between Colonist and Cylons over the number of gods and how they should be worshipped, this development is especially interesting. It's easy for us as the audience to be against the faceless Cylons who are out for out destruction in the same way that it'd be easy to hate all followers of a religious group who have radical leaders who are out to destroy us. But now we've seen that not everyone falls into line and not everyone agrees that this is the best course of action. It's about examining predjuices and not drawing conclusions about an individual just because he or she is of one religious group or another. It's a lesson in understanding who the enemy really is and having tolerance.

Don't get me wrong--I do not want the Cylons entirely humanized. But I do think getting a bit of an understanding of their society worked well here. And I have a feeling that the changes that Six and Sharon are trying to implement may have far-reaching ramifications not only for the season finale but also the rest of the series. I suppose, in a way, it was inevitable that we had to have more depth to the Cylons--something that started in "Scar" and continues here.

I'm interested ot see where Ron Moore and company will continue to take it.

And let me just say this--for a bit, I thought that Baltar was a Cylon. When Six woke up and saw Baltar there, my jaw dropped. But the implication that Six can see a Baltar in her head, one who is every bit as manipulative as the Six in Batlar's head is was a nice twist. James Callis as Baltar does a super job here of creating a character that is similiar to the one we know but also very different enough to be cruel and manipulative. And the echo of the Baltar in Six's head applauding as she made a major step in bringing out a change in Cylon society just as Six applauded Baltar when he declared his intention to run for president last week was a nice, nice touch.

As for the baby plotline, I have a strange feeling this will come back to haunt everyone. I wonder when Helo finds out what was done to him and having his child taken from him if he will start to lose his faith in Adama, much as we saw happen to Starbuck last year when she found out there was no Earth.

All I know is--I think it's going to be one hell of a season finale....

Friday, February 24, 2006

Teaser Pic for Spidey 3

Here you go, BOM....courtesy of Superhero Hype.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Project Runway: Reunion

These reunion shows are just attempts to milk every last drop of viewership out of an otherwise interesting show. This one seems to be particularly anti-Santino, which I am ok with.

Santino, you said: I don't regret saying any of it, I only regret if anything hurt anyone's feelings...
umm, so, what is it that you regret? How do you not see that you are a mean, tiny-hearted man?

Guadalupe, are you high? Nobody knows what you are talking about. Tim just called it "the biggest bunch of bullsh*t". Good one, Tim. Guadalupe, you can't speak for the rest of the episode.

This whole model aspect of the show is boring. They shouldn't try and make it part of the competition. It did pay off for them for one episode this season though, with Nick's model being stolen. I still thought it was boring.

Santino said, Does this season really need another Wendy?

Daniel V. is my favorite. I hope he wins.

Stay tuned for "Tim visits the finalists' homes" next week. Yet another effort to drag the show out as many weeks as possible. But more interesting than "Sit in a room and review the season and pretend we didn't really mean all the bitchy things we said" week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

TCM meets IMDb

Turner Classic Movies has started its own classic movie database, similar to the Internet Movie Database. The URL is They have background information and links to clips from their own archives, as well as information from the American Film Institute. I don't have the press release in front of me here at home, but I think they actually licensed some information from IMDb just to flesh things out.

It probably won't replace IMDb as the ultimate resource, but may be especially appealing to classic movie fans like yours truly.

Women of TV in this month's Maxim

Congratulations, Kirsten Bell! You've arrived!

Bell, the star of UPN's only show worth watching, Veronica Mars, is on the cover of this month's Maxim. If you're interested in those kind of things, you can check out pictures from at Maxim On-Line. (I'm secretly hoping that we'll draw John H from Salem's Lots out of his exile by posting this link...John, we miss you!)

But it seems Bell isn't the only TV celebrity in this month's issue. Autumn Reeser who plays a character on The OC (is that still on?!?) is featured as well as Rebecca and Jessie, the twins from American Idol. (Apparently they were also on Fear Factor...)

It's just a plethora of female TV stars over at Maxim this month....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

24 Review/Recap

Day Five, 3 - 4 p.m.
Every season on 24, there's always an episode where the limitations of events unfolding under the normal laws of time and space are thrown out the window. I've gone on and on before about how everything in L.A. is as far apart by car, helecopter or transporter beam as is necessitated by the script. But there are times when I think the producers use the fact that we, the audience, are going to forget that only about six seconds have elapses in 24 time while we've had to wait a week to pick up the events. This week starts off that way with terrorist who used the centox gas on the mall being offed by head honch evil terrorist Julian Sands. The funny thing is--last week, we just saw flunky terrorist driving off with the canisters of gas and here we are two minutes later with him defending himself in the secret headquarters and getting killed.

Which I've got to think is going to frustrate Jack no end when he finds out--dang nabbit, the terrorist base was a minute from where I was and I could've ended the threat then!

Of course, this is one of those episodes where it's like a greatest hits of Jack's previous exploits. Jack has inspired the loyalty of those around him--to the point that they will erase phone records (how much you want to bet that's a plot point later?) and go to jail to shield him becuase--dammit, he's Jack Bauer. Now, I know that Audrey loves Jack and I do get that she may be conflicted about her feelings, but surely she and Buchanan must have some lingering doubt and resentment because Jack lied about his own death and only cropped back up becuase he needed something. I'm just saying the blind loyalty our heroes have to Jack might not play in as much. I mean if I'm Bill, I might say--you know, that guy did fake his own death and lie to me about it...I ain't going to jail for him.

But since Jack is the only man in the free world who can stop terrorists (and knock people out with his incredible arm pit of doom!), they let him get away with it. Everyone but Lynn McGill who's cracking under the pressure of being the whipping boy for Logan. Which in some ways it's good to know that the dookey runs downhill in CTU just like it does in any other job. Logan yells at McGill, McGill yells at everyone else and everyone passes the blame around. And woo-hoo, I knew it! The key card was important. I am telling you right now that sister's boyfriend is somehow in on the plot becuase that's how far-reaching this plan is by these terrorists. Either that or they buy the key card on E-Bay between 9 and 10 p.m. and use it to invade CTU later in the day. And you know if Jack's armpit of doom is really that pungent now that it can knock out Curtis in five seconds flat, imagine how it's going to be with him running around for the next few hours....yeah, those terrorists have no chance!

Meanwhile, back at the White House, Logan is put under pressure to give up the route of the Russian president's motorcade back to the airport. And the thing is--Logan does it. I realize that he's between a rock and a hard place, but damn in the man doesn't get more weasily by the minute. He's less concerned with keeping a treaty that he earlier in the day called a defining moment of his presidency than with the public opinion numbers should the gas be released on American soil. You almost get the feeling that Logan imagines scenarios in his head and figures out how long things should take and then expects everyone to meet those standards. And he seems to think putting pressure on those under you who are trying their best to stop this threat is the way to go. It's certainly lead to CTU being diminished because now Lynn is playing games with Audrey and Buchanan is in a holding cell when they could be do something significant like--oh, I don't know, finding the centox gas.

Of course, if the characters were to put aside all this petty bickering, there wouldn't be ways to ratchet up the tension.

And is it just me or is Martha Logan the Jack Bauer of the White House. Follow me here...she has a clearly defined set of what is right and what is wrong. She's also impulsive and she doesn't care about fall out so much as she cares about fighting the bad guys and the greater good. I kept expecting her to blurt out that the motorcade would be attacked in front of the press and with cameras rolling. Heaven help me, but I'd have loved to see Logan's reaction to that...

Instead, she jumps in the limo and tells Secret Service to inform her husband. She's raised the stakes and called Logan's bluff as it were. And heaven only knows where it will all go next...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Review/Recap

The Captain's Hand
I was looking forward to watching this week's Galactica. See, Friday evening I babysat my neice and nephew. My brother-in-law just got a brand new, 50 inch high def plasma TV and the thought of seeing BSG on a plasma set in high def just sent my inner geek into orbit. So, after a couple of hours of having fun playing with my neice and nephew and then wrangling them into bed, I sat down to watch BSG in what I hoped would be all of its HD glory. Alas, it seems that Sci-Fi doesn't have an HD signal or if they do, it's not available in Nashville (believe me, I spent 20 minutes surfing the HD menu looking for it). So, while I did get to see Galactica on the giant TV of doom, it was just the standard signal and not the HD that I'd hoped for all week.

But while the picture wasn't in HD, the story sure was.

The arcs are back boys and girls--and it's about time.

Let me echo Sarcastro's comment earlier about how it doesn't pay to be the commander of the Pegasus. First of all, it's a pretty thankless jobs and second of all, it seems as though everyone who takes command of the ship gets a complimentary red shirt. At least the latest commander got to run things for about a month before he went to the great Pegasus in the sky. Though I do wonder how the promotion of Lee from major to commander in a little over a month is going to sit with the fleet as a whole. Also the fact that he's Aadma's son and gets this huge promotion to command the Pegasus could lead to some questions being asked in the upcoming election. We also have to consider the fact that Tom Zerick knows some of Lee's struggles from "Black Market" a few weeks ago, which I think we can all agree he'll use against Lee. You know, they can redeem the suckitude of that episode by having Zerick use that against Lee or as a political stepping stone in the upcoming election. It would almost make that hour wasted worth it all if we get something like that.

All that said, I still am not sure Lee is exactly the best option for taking command of the Pegasus. He's less than six months removed from wanting to not be rescued and having a death wish. Seems to me that he's not exactly the most solid or stable commander for the ship--not that any of the other Pegasus commanders have been exactly model commanders either. I think Lee still has some issues and those could rear their ugly head when it comes to being in command of the ship.

I did find it interesting that being the commander of a ship gives you the right to be obsessive about getting your men back. I found it really compelling that the new Pegasus commander was doing nothing different than what Adama did last year in the search for Starbuck, but here we were seeing the other side of it. Last season, we all knew Adama was right becuase Starbuck can't die, dammit! This year, we're on the other side where it's a lot more people in danger but we don't know any of them. It's a lot easier as an audience to go--well, let's not fall into the trap or endanger the fleet. I found myself agreeing with Adama that the fleet's safety should be put first, whereas last year I wanted them to find Starbuck no matter what the cost or consequences. Good job to Ron Moore and the writing staff for that little twist.

Speaking of twists--anyone else's jaw drop at the end?

That thud you heard from Smyrna was my jaw hitting the floor. Baltar played Roslin like a violin. He sets her up to come out on against abortion, despite her own personal convictions and political history and then completely undermines her, coming out as a candidate in his own right. The best thing I can say about this moment is that I should have seen it coming a mile away, but when we got there, I was totally shocked by it. Roslin traded on her political clout and the thought that she was safe--aliennate one group but since there's not really another good choice, you're (for the most part) safe. Then, in comes Baltar, who's not had much to do these past few weeks. He sweeps in, undermines her in front of everyone and takes a stand to win power so he can gain favor with Six. That, my friends, is how you pull off a jaw dropper. I mean, that is seriously from the Joss Whedon school of unexpected twists that are completely set up and looking back there's no other way the events could have played out.

About the only part I didn't like was the Lee and Dualla scenes. Man, that Lee Adama, he's quite the male slut of the fleet. In the last couple of months, he's hooked up Dualla and the prostitute girl from "Black Market" and then there was the aborted hook-up with Starbuck. Man, I have no idea what this man has to be depressed about because apparently if you're exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide and are female in the fleet, you'll hook up with Lee Adama. You've got to think some of the other pilots are going to get a bit bitter since Lee is lowering the odds of them finding true lust since Lee is taking the hearts and beds of all these women....

So, I got an HD story. I'll take that any time over the cool bells and whistles of an HD picture with no story behind it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Homograph trouble

General Motors currently has an advertising campaign promoting the fact that some of its vehicles are able to use ethanol fuels. The campaign is called "Live Green, Go Yellow."

That first word is an imperative verb, pronounced with a short "I" -- "Live," rhyming with "give," as in "Live free or die." But GM apparently hasn't explained that as well as they could have. So far, I've heard a sponsor announce on the Winter Olympics and an underwriter acknowledgement on NPR where the word has been pronounced with a long "I," rhyming with "hive," as in "Saturday Night Live."

It makes no sense in that second pronounciation, of course. And both of the announcers I've heard pronounce it that way were people you might expect to know better.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Is This Trip Necessary?

Kudos to the geniuses at Industrial Light and Magic for being able to digitally shave twenty years off of Sharon Stone's grim visage.

Basic Instinct 2

Sadly, that may be the only memorable achievement in this wholly unecessary sequel.
New trailer for (shudder) Basic Instinct 2.
Watch it in all its makes-you-feel-dirty-without-arousing-you glory.

John K. enters the blogosphere

"Ren & Stimpy" creator John Kricfalusi now has a blog. (By the way, I found out about this, and about the Atlatna Journal-Constitution item I mentioned in an earlier post, at the TV Barn 2 message board.)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Goodbye Ted, hello Rupert, sorry about that Marvin

I always thought it was sort of ironic that Nashville seemed to be one of the last cities in the Turner South coverage area to get the channel on cable -- especially since "Live From The Bluebird Cafe" was one of the channel's signature shows.

(FORGOT TO ADD: We even got Turner South here in Shelbyville before you did in Nashville!)

Well, you may need to kiss that show goodbye. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there's a strong possibility that the channel will be sold by Time Warner to News Corp. (the parent company of FOX); renamed (Rupert would never want to own something named "Turner"); and converted into an all-sports channel, a companion to the existing FSN South.

If this does happen, and if Food Network has any sense whatsoever, they will snatch up Marvin Woods.

Tonight's Galactica Spoiler (sort of)

There are plenty o' pictures from the promo for tonight's Galactica circulating out there. Let me echo Michael's comments about the promos of late.

Let me also echo the comments of one of the talkbackers at AICN, "Pegasus Commander=Defense of the Dark Arts Teacher".

That is all.

The Second Chance

Of interest to our hometown Middle Tennessee readers and to others who might be fans of Michael W. Smith and/or Steve Taylor: here's a Christianity Today review of "The Second Chance," which was filmed in Nashville in 2004. I was a big fan of Steve Taylor's highly-satirical new wave-ish Christian music when I was in college. Later, he was part of a band called Chagall Guevara which pursued crossover success, then he became a record company executive and was largely responsible for promoting Sixpence None The Richer. "The Second Chance" is his debut as a feature film director; he directed numerous videos for himself, Sixpence and other artists. But Christianity Today -- while giving the movie a generally-favorable review -- says it isn't as quirky, avant-garde or satirical as Taylor's fans might expect.

Here is my account of being in the audience for some of the movie's church scenes, which were filmed at Brentwood Baptist Church.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Galactica finale expanded!

Looks like Ron Moore and SciFi have learned their lesson from the mid-season cliffhanger "Pegasus."

In his podcast, Moore talked about how "Pegasus" ran long and they debated a long time over having an extended episode or cutting it to the essentials for the plot. Eventually, the two decided to go for the 60 minute version with Moore promising the extended cut would be on the eventual DVD release (it was not, but is scheduled to be on the release of season 2.5 later this year. And yes, I'm still pissed about it).

Now Dark Horizons is reporting that the season finale of Battlestar Galactica will be expanded and run 90 minutes. (Warning: The article does contain spoilers for the season finale!)

All I can say is--more Battlestar Galactica is a good thing in my book.

Lost Recap/Review

One of Them
See, this is why I hate the promo departments at just about every network. If I enjoy a show, I'm always curious to know what's coming next and what I can look forward to the next week.

But just as we've seen in movie theaters, sometimes the trailers give away all the good stuff.

But on TV it's worse. It seems a lot of times these days, the scenes and snippets in a promo are taken from the last quarter of an episode or they misrepresent the episode they're previewing. Or in the worst case (such as we had for this week's Lost) both. See, I made the mistake of watching the preview last week and seeing the confrontation between Jack and Locke about letting the counter get down to zero to see what happens.

Part of it was my fault, really. I started imagining scenarios as to how and why this would or could happen. It's also bad because I start looking for that scene to show up, anticipating it and I may miss some good details of the overall rest of the plot unfolding on-screen. It's why I should really learn to skip the previews. (It's why I've given up watching the Stargate shows live....SciFi simply shows most of the episode of Battlestar Galactica in snippets during those shows and ruins some of the suprises. I know you want to get fans to tune in, but leave some things a mystery, please!)

But enough whining about the promos. I know it's not going to change.

So, this week's lost was really one for the ladies since it featured all of the men of Lost and none of the women. Looking back, the only female with any significant screen time was Rousseau. Oh and we got the soldier looking at a picture of Kate. Now, I hate to reveal my ignorance here, but I will. Was the soldier in the back of the truck the same man that Kate had to kill in one of her umpteen flashback stories we've seen until now? I'm sure there are eagle-eyed viewers out there who can tell me. (I guess I could just break out my DVDs of season one...)

It seems the theme of the last couple of episodes is that you can change the surroundings of the person, but you don't really fundamentally change who they are. Last week, we saw that no matter how it appeared that Sawyer had mellowed, he hadn't. And this week, we see that Sayid really hasn't changed that much. He still pretty much believes the ends justifies the means, as he proves here by torturing the alleged Other to get information from him. Part of me wonders if it was some kind of payback for the death of Shannon that made him do it. Sayid seems to want someone to feel his pain and understand it. He won't go and talk to anyone on the island about it, so he takes it out on this poor guy who may or may not be an Other.

I did get a bit of a chill when Sayid said he knew the guy was lying because he felt no remorse in what he'd done. So, does that mean he felt remorse for torturing Sawyer last season?

In the flashbacks, we learn how Sayid learned his trade. Seems the U.S. Army taught it to him. Or at least helped him to realize his full potential. Really puts that whole "be all you can be" slogan in a new light, doesn't it?

Also of interest is how Charlie, a perceived outsider now, has become the sounding board or almost father confessor to the island's people. Is it becuase they feel that Charlie is so on the outs with the community that he won't share these secrets with the others? And do you get the feeling that Charlie just might be collecting secrets and could use them later for his own advantage?

And is it just me or is Jack starting to lose it a bit? His ever-growing conflict with Locke seems to be unhinging him. I wonder if this is supposed to parallel the journey Jack took pre-island where he seemed to have it all only to slowly lose control of his life. Same thing seems to be happening here. To run the analogy into the ground, Locke is a father-figure to the island and we see that Jack doesn't get along well with father figures. Part of that may be that Jack has a more rigid code of right and's not quite as case by case basis as we see in others on the island and that is leading to some conflict. And we've got Locke who seems to see the greater good of the group taking precident over an individual's rights. I have to wonder if Locke is up to something more than he's telling...again, he faced down the island and lived. Also, he has a lot to lose should they be found or the secret of the island be revealed. So how far will he go to retain what he's gained?

We did actually see the timer get down to zero and it was replaced by--some symbols. I'm sure there are some who TiVOed the episode who can break down exactly what the symbols were and speculate on what they mean. If you want to see what flipped up, you can go here and see a screen capture. But I found it interesting to wonder--what happens if they all line up. And are the colors of black and red of significance?

And finally, we have the throw-away plotline of the week with Sawyer. Seems a tree frog is driving Sawyer nuts. And we see that everyone on the island is pretty pissed at him. The only help he can find is Hurley, who we find out has been hoarding food. They track down said frog and Hurley offers to take it somewhere else in the island, only to have Sawyer crush the frog in his fist. At first, I thought this lighter plot was there to off set how dark the Sayid plotline was, but then when Saywer crushed the frog, I think the point was to have the entire Sawyer arc recapped in a quick little burst. See, he seems like he's wacky and misunderstood, but in the end, he does whatever it takes to ensure his comfort and position.

Lesson learned. Again.

And now, we have a wait of a few weeks for new episodes....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

JMS' Fan Letter on The Death Of Andreas

Piggybacking on Michael's sad announcement.

From J. Michael Straczynski, posted in the B5 Newsgroup:

Just over a year ago, Andreas Katsulas -- who loved smoking with a
passion that cannot be described -- was diagnosed with lung cancer,
which by then had already spread to other areas. He quit smoking at
once and went on a healthy diet and vitamin program, but there was
little hope of a good resolution even though the new regimen was very
good for him. When we spoke about it, he laughed, and said, "Now that
I'm dying I've never felt better!"
His spirits were always up and positive, putting everyone at ease about
his condition, because...well, that's the kind of person he was.

A couple of months ago, he and his wife convened a dinner with me,
Doug, and Peter Jurasik, which was filled with laughter and stories and
good food. He wanted to know all the stories we never told him
because, as he said, "Who am I going to tell?" So we did. Because we
knew we were saying goodbye, and there would not be a second chance.

Last night, in the company of his wife and family, Andreas closed his
eyes and went away.

He lived an amazing life...full of travel and wonder and good
work...was part of the world renowned Peter Brook company...he saw the
planet, loved and was loved, ate at great restaurants, smoked too many
cigarettes...he lived a life some people would die for.

And, sadly, due to the last part of that equation...he did.

Memorial arrangements are still being worked out, but will doubtless be

Andreas is gone...and G'Kar with him, because no one else can ever play
that role, or ever will.

I will miss him terribly.

J. Michael Straczynski

Veronica Mars News

Well, those of us in Nashville who were rightfully pissed that UPN30 was pre-empting tonight's new Veronica Mars for a crappy basketball game (seriously: Kentucky vs Georgia...who the hell cares?!?) can put the torches and pitchforks away for the moment.

Seems that UPN has pulled all the remaining new Veronica Mars episodes for February and shuffled them off to March when America's Next Top Model returns as a better lead-in for the show. Apparently Veronica was getting pummelled in the ratings (probably not helped by the jerks at UPN stations across the country pre-empting the show for stupid basketball games...sorry, if it's not UT, I just don't care!) and UPN wanted to give the show a chance to show off its greatness with new episodes.

I'm going to take this as slightly good news that the network wants fans to see the new episodes and keep up on the continuing season-long mystery arc. I also take it as a bit of a bad sign that Veronica is not holding onto the solid ratings it had earlier this year. I hope it rebounds so we get season three....otherwise, I'm rioting in the streets.

Tonight's new episode has been replaced with a repeat of "Rat Saw God" which features a cameo by Buffy creator and Veronica fan, Joss Whedon.

Also in other CW/Joss Whedon news. The rumor flying around the Net that the CW was going to revive Firefly has been debunked for how. Joss Whedon himself says he's not been contacted about it, so any speculation that the series will return is just that--speculation.
No, there haven't been any overtures from the CW as regards a SereniFly spin-off. I haven't even heard the orchestra tuning up.
Should Firefly return, you can bet your bottom dollar I will be the first to celebrate and report it here...

In memory of Andreas Katsulas

Sad news for fans of Babylon Five. The man who brought Ambassador G'Kar to life has passed away. Andreas Katsulas passed away Monday at the age of 59.

Katsulas is also known for the role of Tomalak, a Romulan commander who faced off with Picard during seasons two through four of Next Generation. You can see Katsulas sans heavy make up as the one-armed man in the big screen adaptation of The Fugitive.

Katsulas was a great actor with a very distinctive voice. His work as Ambassador and then citizen G'Kar on Babylon Five was nothing short of extraordinary. In season four, executive producer and all-around creative genius J. Michael Stracysnki wrote an entire episode that featured nothing but pairings of people in a room, talking. One of those pairings was Katsula's G'Kar and Peter Jurassic's Ambassador Londo Mollari. Set in the midst of a huge story arc that had more than its fair share of great action, the scenes of Londo and G'Kar talking back and forth are among some of the most rivetting ever seen not only on B5 but on all of TV. A true showcase for two great actors.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this time of loss and mourning.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Because store-bought Gagh just doesn't cut it

Just the thing to enjoy while watching those "Star Trek" reruns: Klingon recipes. (Love the vegetarian lasagna.)

... and Comet the Wonder Horse

There's one thing about NBC's coverage of the last few Olympics that makes me sad, or at least nostalgic in a melancholy-longing sort of way. For some of their "coming up" bumpers and other spots, NBC, for some unknown reason, uses the theme from one of my favorite TV shows, the all-too-short-lived "Adventures of Brisco County, Jr."

This show lasted for one season, in 1993-94, but is still fondly remembered and was rerun for a while on TNT. It was a sort of cross between "The Wild Wild West" and "Indiana Jones" with B-movie cult favorite Bruce "Evil Dead" Campbell in the title role as a bounty hunter, strongly supported by Julius Carry and Christian Clemenson, and the occasional cameo by the wonderful John Astin.

And, yes, Comet the Wonder Horse.

24 Review/Recap

Day Five: 2 -3 p.m.
The theme of this week's episode is "acceptable losses." Everyone in the show has an idea of what an acceptable loss could be. For Bill Buchanan and Lynn McGill, they're prepared to sacrifice potentially close to 900 lives in a mall to save hundreds of thousands more by having the terrorists lead them to the other 19 canisters of nerve gas. Then there's Audrey Raines who feels that the lives in the mall shouldn't be put at risk because they can't be certain the terrorists will take them to the canisters and not just kill Jack one he's outlives his usefulness. And then there's President Logan, who the term acceptable loss seems to be whatever he thinks will play best to the press and the American public. Logan's definition changes on an almost minute by minute basis. It's interesting to consider Logan in comparison to David Palmer who agonized over decisions but still made the hard choices and was less concerned with political fall out than doing the right thing. Logan seems to alway be thinking of the polls and his standing in them, rather than doing what's right and taking the hit politically should it come to that.

It's also a good thing that the terrorists are complete idiots at times in this episode. They call up the dead bad guy and Jack basically says, "Yo!" and they give him a time and place to meet. I guess they had no idea that CTU had found their guy but you'd think terrorists hijacking nerve gas would have a few more security procedures in place. Of course, CTU doesn't run background checks so why should the terrorists?

And was it just me or when the terrorists are having long conversations between each other at the mall and the hideout, why didn't CTU do something simple like trace the call? From what I could see, this call was taking place in the more than six second window CTU needs to trace any other call on the show, so why not use that option? Or why not somehow get a fix on the tracking system inside head terrorists cell phone and trace him. If you can find the link in time, you have one unit move in and take the other 19 canisters while Jack kicks butt and takes names at the mall. To me it seems to be a win-win situation and it's not like we haven't seen CTU use that technology before.

I will say this--24 now has a prime way for the Chinese to find out Jack's alive. The video footage from the mall. You can bet it shows up on CNN and Fox News and if it does, surely the Chinese might find out. I do have a feeling that somehow Jack will end up saving China before the day is over and that may lead to them dropping the charges. I can see that logic--you know, he invaded our embassy and killed our diplomats, but he saved us from having Kim visit our country, so I'd say we're even.

And if you think Jack is going to face some kind of repurcussion for violating orders, yeah, you're not watching the same show I am. Don't get me wrong--I love that Jack can take the situation into his own hands and come out of it smelling like a rose, but at some point you wish that realistically it'd backfire on him big time. And that he'd have to deal with the consequences of that in a real way. But it won't happen becuase as we all know Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

Also along those lines, it's a good thing Jack is not a mere mortal and can shake off being clubbed in the head in two minutes or less. Of course, the man was dead and brought back to life with paddles and five minutes later was running around kicking butt and taking names I guess it's just to be expected.

And Lynn McGill....anyone else feel like he's got no real power or authority or control in any other area of his life, so he's taking it out on everyone under him at CTU. And he really doesn't have that great a grip on the CTU thing since Logan is threatening to pull his power should things not go Logan's way. I'm calling it now--Jack will be running CTU by day's end...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dave and Regis

There are few things on American television more entertaining than watching Dave Letterman and Regis Philbin pick at each other, except perhaps watching both of them throw snowballs at Letterman's announcer Alan Kalter.

Veronica Mars Review/Recap

Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough
First of all, my weekly rant at UPN30--your decision to wait and air Veronica Mars on Saturday instead of pre-empting a repeat of The Simpsons or Andy Griffith makes no sense. But then, to show how truely unimaginitive your programming people must be, the same episode of Veronica Mars airs back-to-back on Saturday evening. Someone down in the programming department must have been out to lunch or just not paying attention when that decision was made!

Thankfully, I won't have to gripe this week, since we're skipping the basketball coverage for new Veronica Mars goodness.

Can I get an "amen" from the crowd?

(Update: Looks like I spoke too soon...seems the idiots at UPN 30 are delaying Veronica Mars yet again this week. Guys--this s*** needs to stop. )

At least the episode this week proved to be worth the wait.

And it was a deceptive little episode. "Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough" was one of those episodes in which not a lot happened from the standpoint of moving the plot forward. Instead, it was an episode that was built on all the characters and what we've come to know and love or hate about all of them this year. It seemed like every supporting character outside of the Mayor, his daughter and Sheriff Lamb made an on-screen appearance in this one. Now, you'd think that in a show that hits as many characters as this one does, that it would seem a bit convoluted or even like the show was juggling too much.

But damn if Rob Thomas isn't good. I mean, we're talking Joss Whedon-type good in putting charaters in play and then sitting back and watching the reactions by all of them. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

In a lot of ways, this reminded me a bit of this week's Battlestar Galactica. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

The premise is simple one. It's winter carnival time and the seniors are raising money for the senior trip. Veronica is asked to watch the cash box with close to $12,000 in it. In the two minutes she watches it, it vanishes. Veronica is not a prime suspect but there are a ton of potential suspects out there. As it turns out, there were quite a few culprits with their hands in the cash drawer and all of them had a reason for doing what they did. And it all made sense. I love it when a good mystery comes together in such a satifsying way. Veronica Mars made all the tangents flow together effortlessly over the course of the hour. And for a show that set us up to not like Jackie to start with, it's creating some ambivilant feelings now. Suddenly Jackie's in the same boat Veronica was and seeing how she responds is interesting. Also, to see Veronica and Jackie form some kind of unusual bond was a nice touch. And let's give it up for Wallace for showing some class in the one scene he was in.

I loved seeing Veronica turn the tables on the snooty teacher who kept insulting she and Jackie. And then we come to see how Weevil uses the situation to his advantage as well, also putting his hand in the cookie jar as it were. Brilliant move. It's interesting to see Weevil now as a rogue player in the drama that is unfolding. He's been cast out by his group and can now go after both sides, which should be interesting.

And meanwhile, Terrance Cook hires Keith to help clear his name. Watching Keith slowly work the confession he wanted out of cook was nicely done. To hear that Terrance Cook threw a game of the ALCS was an interesting twist (and was anyone else reminded of the Pete Rose still used on Friday's Arrested Development when this came up?). Interesting to see how Cook is wiling to confess all of his sins but this is the one that he's most hesistant to bring up. He wants to protect his legacy and get into the Hall of Fame. But yet, he wouldn't kill a busload of students. I still say the new mayor is somehow behind it--his having Terrance there the day of the crash to be a patsy makes more and more sense. I'm willing to bet it has something to do with the plan to incorporate Neptune. How and why are still out there, but it feels like that's the direction the show is moving.

Battlestar Galactica Recap/Review

This is the episode that proves that whatever life was like on Caprica before the Cylons came to bomb it out of existence, it was nothing like what life here on our Earth today. Why do you ask?

Because I'm thinking if there were sci-fi programming on Caprica, Billy might have seen what was coming and decided that instead of asking Dualla to marry him, instead he might have stayed and worked on Roslin's upcoming speech about some issue instead. I could have saved the poor boy a lot of heartache and then death by pointing out that his name comes up in the "guest star" credits and isn't one of those names featured over them fancy credits with the nice theme music playing behind it, so you're pretty much doomed to either heartbreak or death. Or in Billy's case both.

Poor Billy...we hardly knew ye.

Though I do wonder something--would it not be cool if Billy turned out to be a Cylon agent? How cool would it be to suddenly have Billy wander back into the storyline in a couple of weeks?

OK, maybe not so much. But if it happens--you saw the prediction here first.

On to this week's storyline. It's interesting to see Galactica shift the perspective a bit this week. Heaven knows, it was far more successful than "Black Market" a few weeks ago. We get to hear a bit about how the regular Joe or Jane would expereince life in the fleet. There are rumors that swirl and we realize how little of the overall vital information the average citizen in the fleet is privy to. The average citizen has no idea that Adama and company have a Cylon prisoner on-board Galactica and that said prisoner is expecting a child. I can see why they'd keep the fleet in the dark on this one but on the other hand, that's a powder keg just waiting to go off. Kind of like we see here.

We meet Dana Delaney's character who's pretty upset that her husband was killed and yet Adama and company are keeping a Cylon alive. I guess they want to go Pegasus crew on Sharon. I do wonder if not revealing who Cylon agents are is a tactic to keep the enemy faceless and easier to hate on the part of Adama and company. We see that Adama is a bit more conflicted about Sharon becuase it's a copy of Sharon--as are others in the command structure. I wonder if it were a Six model that showed up pregnant if Adama and company would be quite as forgiving of her sins or work as hard to keep her alive. Of course, if it was Six, would she have been as able to seduce Helo to become pregnant?

I do wish we'd had a scene or two with Helo as he found out why the group was being held hostage and what they wanted in return. Though I imagine his reaction would be the same as a few weeks ago when Roslin decided to terminate the pregnancy--no only no, but hell no.

All of these plotlines intersect on Cloud Nine, which is getting a lot of use these days storyline wise. I understand that part of the use of bottle shows like this one is to defray expense from a special-effects driven story like last week's "Scar." The thing with BSG is they're now one for two in this department. It works this time out because they bring in characters we have some investment in instead of making up new ones out of left field. As an audience, there is more tension and interest gained from it being Lee, Dualla, Billy and Ellen Tigh being held prisoner than some random woman we've never met before. And boy howdy, that Lee is becoming the male slut of the fleet, don't you think. Two weeks ago, he's with the prositute, last week he nearly hooks up with Starbuck and now he's romancing Dualla. The man is a player. And poor old Billy who loves Dualla gets shut out from Lee, the Galactica Casanova.

Dualla's reaction to Billy's death was interesting. Surely, they could have gone the standard TV romance way of Dualla telling Lee she loved Billy but didn't realize it until he was killed. But they didn't. Also, in looking at things, it does not pay to be romantically involved with Dualla. Lee is shot (by Starbuck no less) and Billy is killed. Yeah, if I were Lee I think I'd be reconsidering that decision. It's hard to buy her a nice Valentine's Day present when you're dead.

And this was another episode to serve as a break from the unrelenting arcs of the first half of season two. I understand why these episodes exist and I like them. I enjoy these characters and I enjoy finding out more about them. But I do hope that when the arc comes roaring back or the next one kicks-off, that the lesson we've learned in these character building stories will have a definite and legitimate impact.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Catching up with Desperate Housewives

So, I finally saw the most recent episode of Desperate Housewives, which admittedly was in January. I'm certainly enjoying the show much more now that the creepy pharmacist is no longer in the picture, but I have to say: "I want to have a baby... I want to have YOUR baby." umm, when did we go from whimsical nighttime drama to vaseline lens soap opera?

Assignment Torino Strikes Back

At the risk of repeating myself, here are some suggestions for new Winter Olympic sports.

Assignment Torino

Dave Barry has a pretty funny take on the Winter Olympics.

Friday, February 10, 2006


There just aren't words for how much I'm going to miss Arrested Development.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The real TV event tomorrow night

NBC would have you believe the biggest TV event of the week is the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

But there are some of us out there who know what the real big TV event is tomorrow evening. FOX will air the final four new episodes of Arrested Development from 7-9 p.m. central time. Then as soon as you're done laughing one last time with the Bluth family, you can flip on over and catch the new Battlestar Galactica on SciFi.

Hopefully this won't be the last we see of Arrested Development. If the TV fates smile upon us, the long-rumored jump to Showtime may be announced soon after the series ends its run on FOX.

Lost Recap

The Long Con
"A tiger can't change it's stripes."

After half a season of trying to soften Sawyer, Lost takes him back to his con-man roots and the series is the better for it. I liked seeing Sawyer's loyalty to Jin and Michael when he was with the Others, but to see him sitting around, making nice with everyone and making googly eyes at Kate was becoming a bit old. Where is the old Sawyer, I wondered. The self-serving, jerk that we all came to know and love during season one.

The answer: He never really left.

Seems that Sawyer has been playing everyone all this time.

Now, I love episodes like this where a character's true colors are revealed or some truth is learned but yet, when you think about in the context of the series, it make a whole lot of sense. One of the best examples of this is the revelation mid-way through DS9 that Doctor Bashir is a genetically enhanced's one of those revelations that explained a lot about the character and who he was in just about every epiosde up to that point and one that influenced the series and the character dynamics for the rest of the run.

The big difference is that here, we knew Sawyer was a con-man from the first time we saw his backstory. But deep down, it was easy to hope that behind that pain and gruff exterior there wa a heart of gold waiting to get out. And I'll give Lost credit--it played that like a fiddle with this character. But now, we find out that pretty much all of what Sawyer has done is, typically, self-serving. He's conned everyone yet again. It just took a bit longer to set up this time. You get the feeling that he was just bidding his time, setting things up so that he could spring this trap on everyone and put himself into a position of power. He played Locke and Jack against each other, he's manipulated Kate and he's used Charlie. (I have to admit, I never saw that Charlie was helping him coming...I assumed until the end that it was Ana Lucia since they worked so hard to point the finger at her and then exonerate her). Sawyer has burned a lot of bridges now and as Kate points out, he wants to be hated.

Must be good for Charlie. Cause let's face it--right now, Sawyer may be the most hated man on the island.

The thing is--he's so good at the manipulation. In his backstory, you really believed he loved Cassidy. And to see him betray both her and his partner was a heck of a twist on the con. He conned them both. I will have to say that I didn't necessarily find the flashbacks much to write home about since it only reiforced what we already know about Sawyer. But it did help set-up his double-crossing everyone on the island and how he manipulates all those around him. The line about the woman being hurt and disappointed in his actions pretty much covered Cassidy and Kate. Of course, with Cassidy, Sawyer could just vanish into the night. With Kate, he still has to face her on the island.

I know we've had some examination of Sawyer's story and what made him what he is. But I found myself wondering as the story ended--what makes Sawyer so self-loathing that he has to sabotage every relationship he has--not just romantic but any friendship. I'd love to see the flashbacks address this--not that I think there is one reason or event that caused this to happen, but maybe we could see some stories that look into this. Heaven knows if we can get 17 flashbacks of Jack a year, surely we can work in one or two more about Sawyer.

I've theorized before that the island seems to give people what they want or need. If that's so, then Sawyer has a long way to go. If the island is about giving people a chance at redemption or atoning for previous sins, then Sawyer hasn't really made any progress in that department. If anything, he's more selfish and self-loathing than ever.

And that's just the way we like the character...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Do the Hustle

You can count me as one of those people who've never forgiven AMC -- it used to stand for "American Movie Classics"; now it's an orphan acronym, like KFC -- for adding commercials and dropping its former emphasis on classic movies.

So it's a joke at my expense that one of my new favorite TV shows airs Saturday nights on AMC.

"Hustle" is a British import, although I understand that AMC became an investor as of the third six-episode series. It's not deep or gritty or brilliant, but it is a lot of fun. I posted about it at my own blog when it first aired; allow me to repeat myself here.

The show is the story of a team of five con artists led by "Mickey Bricks" Stone (Adrian Lester). We American viewers, of course, note the presence of Robert Vaughn, the Man from U.N.C.L.E. himself, as Albert Stroller, the team's elder statesman. The con artists take on a new victim each week. They do have a code of honor; their cons appeal to the mark's greed, and they excuse themselves by claiming that you can't cheat an honest man.

The producers sometimes lack the courage of this conviction, however, and seem to like to put the team in such a bind that they have to pull a job -- because they're being blackmailed, for example, or because one of the team has an ex-wife in need of an expensive medical procedure. It's like the current movie where Harrison Ford is forced to embezzle or else his family will be killed.

Anyway, this show isn't about logic. It's about fun and games. The show's pilot paid homage -- a little too much homage, as I noted in my blog -- to "The Sting," going so far as to steal some critical plot points. The appeal of this show is like the appeal of "The Sting" or "Ocean's Eleven" -- in seeing exactly how the con is going to be accomplished.

Lester (who was in "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Primary Colors") is an engaging lead, someone you just naturally want to root for. Jaime Murray, Robert Glenister and Marc Warren are all good as well. (Attention, writers and producers: we get that Warren's character is supposed to be young and inexperienced, and that the relationship between Lester and Warren mirrors the relationship between Vaughn and Lester. You can stop pointing this out now, OK?)

It won't change your life or win a mantel full of Emmy awards. But it's a fun watch. Even the animated opening credits are fun.

By the way, if you plan to tape or TiVo the show, be aware that, once you add commercials, it runs 75 minutes. Kudos to AMC for not trying to trim it down into a 60-minute time slot.


The season finale of Surface aired Monday night. Since this show was originally planned to end before the Olympics, that's not necessarily a bad sign. Even though I think I'm probably the only person in Nashville (except my husband) who watched it, I have to say that it deserves a second season.

It's been a long time since there's been seriously good cheesy sci-fi on television. We have earnest Sci-fi (BSG), wannabe Sci-fi (Lost) and Sci-Fi Lite (Invasion). All of those shows are good, but use their fantastical elements to underscore human drama.

Surface doesn't give a rat's butt. It's got lizards and gorillas and clones and the cheesy goodness that belongs at the heart of American Science Fiction.

I hope they bring it back.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Bachelor Commentary.

Everyone else is posting on television that is probably a lot more thought provoking, a lot more intelligent, a lot more...hmmm...classy, I guess, than the TV I like to waste my time with. The way I look at it, it's about the only time I really get to relax, so I might as well watch something that is total trash.

Cue The Bachelor. It's funny, people keep talking about Nashvillian Bachelor Travis Stork, saying how handsome he is, how charming, how wonderful he is. Eh...I'm not that impressed. He's cute-ish, he seems like a nice, genuine guy, but overall, I'm not terribly impressed. At least he's about 10 million times better than Bachelor Boob Bob was. AND he's a Nashvillian, which makes me happy.

Spoilery parts ahoy!!


So, we're down to the final four in this last episiode, which took 2 long hours. Unless, of course, you have a DVR, in which case, it took me only about an hour and a half to watch it.

Travis takes each of the 4 girls back to their hometowns to meet the 'rents.

First up, is Moana, who everybody on all the message boards I have read seems to hate, but I like her a lot. There's a lot about Moana that reminds me of, well... me, and her myspace is pretty cool, too. Her family asked a lot of tough questions, both of Moana and Travis. I would hope my family would be as picky, if had ever been nuts enough to go on a show like that.

Next, Travis headed up to Canada to see Sarah B. I dunno, the visit was kind of bland. He did find out that she was still living with her mommy, and I don't think he liked that very much!

Then he came back to good ol' Nashville to meet up with Sarah S. Now, even though I absolutely love Moana, I think the best match for Travis is Sarah S. She's a sweetheart and a half, a kindergarten teacher, and she's very pretty in a not-terribly-striking kind of way like Moana and Susan are. He had a good visit with her family, but they were dismayed to hear that Travis might not always want to live in Nashville. He'd like to go back home to Colorado. Whatever, fool!

Finally he went to see Susan, who I think was in the lead, until this family visit. Let me tell you, her family was totally dissing her! Susan is very beautiful and says all the right things, but I don't think her heart is in it, she actually admitted that she would use whatever vehicle it took to get her somewhere in LA. Rumor has it, that she got back with her ex-fiance right after the show, so my prediction is, she gets dumped on the next show. I hope so, she seems so fake!

So then they all go back to Paris, and he ends up dumping Sarah B. Good, I think she is too young for him, and while she seems very cool and nice, she just doesn't seem cut out for Travis.

The thing that kills me about the show is, they keep acting like it's going to be so wonderful to be the wife of a doctor. Man, I don't think so. They have to work all kinds of crazy hours, and they golf all the time, and they probably get really depressed when they accidentally kill their patients. That doesn't sound like a very good catch to me! Sure there's going to be some money floating around, but money isn't everything!

So, next week we get to see the fantasy dates. I seriously doubt Sarah S. is going to stay in the room *with* Travis. Then we get to see who the final two are. My prediction is Susan gets cut, and Sarah S. and Moana are the final 2. We'll see next week!

House recap

House is the only new show I watch right now, and I absolutely love it. Every episode is like a little mystery. And then there's Hugh Laurie, Jesse Spencer, and Robert Sean Leonard. *pauses for happy sigh*

A few observations [SPOILERS]:

- I'm glad they didn't gloss over the fact that House and Stacy are committing adultery. Do I like the idea of the two of them together? Yes, but it's still wrong. Didn't stop me from hyperventilating when House's phone rang and he was in bed with Stacy, though. Oh, and how weird was it for Wilson to be Mr. Conscience for both of them. He's one to talk, Mr. I've-had-three-wives-and-cheated-on-them-all.

- Speaking of Wilson, GREAT Wilson stuff this week. I really love all of the interconnected relationships on this show.

- Good duckling stuff this episode, especially Foreman. Loved the way he dealt with the Patient of the Week.

- Patient of the Week guest star. Man, I love Julie Warner. She was in one of my favorite movies, Indian Summer. She was really great here.

- This was kind of strange episode, in that there was much more personal stuff going on than patient stuff. It was all great, though, and I loved the betting on Cameron's AIDS test.

- So, okay, Cuddy was TOTALLY jealous that Stacy slept with House. Love that Stacy impression - "and though his cane makes me melt..."

- There was a Fanning in this episode. I tried to ignore it, since I make no secret of the fact that I can't stand her older sister, Dakota (I mean, are there no OTHER child actors out there?!). But she started talking to old for her age, and I couldn't help the hate.

- Yeah, it's mean of me, but as soon as I saw Mark wheeling toward House, I could only think of one thing - CRIPPLE FIGHT! Excuse me, I have to go tell some Helen Keller jokes now.

- Yeah, Hugh Laurie is always awesome, but particularly so this episode. PWNing Chase, crooning, telling Cameron he loves her so that he can get a sample for her AIDS test, and finally doing the noble thing with Stacy. And he referenced the "bring home the bacon" song! I love you, Greg House!!!!!

- And, as always, great funneh dialogue:

"Ooooh, snarky!"

"I know you're in there! I can hear you caring!"

"Hoo hoo" "He went to Hopkins."

"Harsh toke, dude!"

*sigh* I love this show to distraction.

How I Met Your Mother

Is anyone else out there watching How I Met Your Mother or am I the only one?

I ask this because I tuned in to last night's episode and found myself saying, "Your roots are showing."

I've heard this show referred to as the new Friends and it really showed with this week's episode. i think the borrowed about three plotlines from Friends. You had Marshall and Lilly worried they were running out of "firsts", people trapped in another room while others outside interact and don't want to be interrupted (on Friends it was fighting, here it's Ted and Victoria's first time) and you've got Robin jonsing for Ted now that he's got someone and seems to be happy. As if that borrowing weren't enough, they took the concept of new couple deciding to wait for the nookie straight from Two and A Half Men that airs right after it.

It's not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it just felt derivative. And I like this show.

About the only thing that rescued it from being recycled plots from other shows is the Barney and Robin go out plotline, which had me in stitches. But the again, Barney is generally the BEST thing about this show and should Neil Patrick Harris not get an Emmy nod, I will riot in the streets.

I will give the show credit--it was as good as the sum of its parts. Despite being derivative at times, it still was entertaining. I'm just not sure how long we can drag out the Robin and Ted dance since we know from the Pilot they don't end up together. I've heard that Ted has already met the Mother mentioned in the title--will it be Victoria? I certainly wouldn't mind seeing Ashley Williams more each week cause she's just adorable and cute as heck, but is she the one for Ted?

Do not take the name of Oprah in vain

The Frey treatment is America's number one fear, according to satirist Andy Borowitz.

24 Review/Recap

Day Five: 1 - 2 p.m.
If I can see it coming a mile away the Inessa, the sexual slave of Patrick Bucheau's character (whose name eludes me at the oment), is going to whip out a gun and shoot him after being left alone in the bedroom to change, then surely Jack Bauer could see it. I mean, the man is able to plan for every other event in his life, so why not foresee this one coming? I suppose we could chalk it up to Jack projecting a bit onto her. Here is a damsal in distress and one that Jack yearns to help. She's been taken from her family and kept against her will, becoming the plaything of this guy and Jack desparately wants to help her. Is it to somehow make ammends for perceived failures in his relationship with Kim (who we find out is being called to come on down to CTU)? Even if he does feel immense guilt about what's going to happen to her and making her a pawn in the game to uncover the nerve gas, Jack still should have seen this one coming.

I mean, I know I did.

But that may be because I'm aware of the "formula" that goes into an episode of 24. Just like episodes of classic Doctor Who, the action has to build to a cliffhanger. So, it just made sense that Inessa would somehow shoot and kill the guy that is the only link to the nerve gas. Once again, Jack is at a dead end, though he won't be that way for long.

Now, I read last week that executive producer Howard Gordon knows that the issue of China being a wee bit pissed at Jack is out there, but they haven't found a way to work that into the first half of season five. Now, I can see that and I understand it (well, not really), but they keep missing the boat on even referring to it. Here we see Jack talking to President Logan and both of them dancing around the issue. How hard would it be to insert a line or two of dialogue saying--"Gee, Mr. President, I want to help CTU and this country but damn if the Chinese aren't gonna be hella-pissed that I'm still around and kicking. I can't do that to you and this country, sir." Then you have Logan say, "Well, I'll deal with that after you save this country from the horrors of the nerve gas."

See, it isn't that hard! If I can do it, surely the writers of 24 can.

By the way--this is the second episode in a row penned by former Enterprise runner Manny Coto. Coto was, in my opinion, the man who saved Enterprise from itself in its final season and I appreciate the hard work he put in there. It was a thankless job and I'm glad to see he's getting work on a quality show this year. One good thing about Coto is that he seems to have a good mind and understanding for continuity--paying homage to it, working with it but not being ruled by it to the extent that his storytelling suffers. And that is evident here with some nice call backs to this season, some good character moments and just an over feeling that this is part of a bigger tapesty and not just one really intense hour.

I also have a feeling some things are being set-up for the next few hours. How long will Logan's peace treaty with Mrs. Logan run? I loved the scenes of Logan including her on decisions and the two of them overruling Mike Novak on going public about Cummings role in the conspiracy and manipulation of the White House. I love the fact that Logan is going to try and do what he thinks is the right thing, but I can only imagine this will backfire on him big time. And since we all know Logan only takes credit when things go well (typical politician), I can only imagine he'll blame Mrs. Logan for this.

Meanwhile, the soap opera world that is CTU continues to turn. It's good to know McGill isn't that different this his collegues and has a family that has issues. For McGill, it's a sister who's got money issues and we're lead to assume, drug issues. She calls him for help and he decides to try and be a good brother and help her out--only to have the crap beat out of him and his wallet taken. Also, it seemed to me that I saw his CTU access card taken--how much you want to bet that becomes a big deal later in the day? Also, his running out of the middle of the operation and disappearing in the midst of a crisis may raise a few eyebrows around the CTU offices.

Meanwhile, hell hath no fury like Chloe scorned. Even though Spencer thought he was doing the right thing, he's done in Chloe's eyes. She uses him to help when needed and then tosses him aside when she's done. You almost have to feel sorry for Spencer--you can tell he felt something for Chloe, but no matter what he does it's tainted now. Which is a shame really. Those two kids might have had something special. I guess we'll never know.

And the real winner here: Edgar, who gets to keep his dream of a little Chloe lovin' alive for another hour or so...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Best Film of 2005

What movie do you all think was the best film of 2005? For me, nothing compared to Cinderella Man, a movie that was not nominated for Best Picture.

Battlestar Galactica Recap/Review

I accept your apology, Ron Moore, for last week's installment of Battlestar Galactica. You had my questioning my undying loyalty to this show and my decision to give up my Friday evenings to stay in for each new episode (OK, who are we kidding's not like my Friday evenings are jam-packed full of social obligations....but it'd be nice to think they could be), but after this week's episode, all is forgiven.

If "Black Market" was a textbook in how to drop the ball in just about every aspect of a Battlestar Galactica episode, "Scar" was a textbook example of how to do everything right--even down to the let's start the story and flash back and forth within the timeline to reveal the context and create some nuance and emotional resonance to the story. (Good grief, did I just use the phrase "emotional resonance"? I have got to think about getting out more).

Last week, we had a focus on Apollo, complete with a hastily created backstory that was supposed to flesh out the character for us, but instead ended up with us scratching our heads and going, "Well, okay then..." This week, we turn the focus on Starbuck and look at where she is character wise and man, does it work. Why? Well, because all of the beats and points we get to on our journey of Starbuck discovery have been set-up by things we've seen previously in the show, not just something the writers pulled out of left field to give us a reason as to why Lee is tortured and angst-ridden. Becuase we know that Kara had to leave Anders behind and why she made that decision, her actions, her questioning and her slow desent into bitchiness made a lot more sense. We're at a crossroads for Kara--on Caprica, she pointed out to Helo that she was fighting simply because she didn't know any other life. Now, she's got a reason to live, something worth fighting for and it's killing her that she can't get back to it. She wants to go back to Anders because she made him a promise and she's a woman of her word. Also, she loves the guy and is hung up on him.

So much so that it's affecting her work, her relationships and everything around her. Scarily enough, her love of Anders is turning her into a bit of a mirror of Tigh--she is a hard-ass who is resting on her laurels and wants her orders followed unquestioningly. She has become a bit of a joke to those below her in the command (there's an interesting vibe to the relationship of Kara and Kat that echoes the Kara and Tigh dynamic we saw early on) and she's hitting the bottle--hard. Just as Tigh has Ellen who pushes his buttons, so we see that Kara has Anders who pushes her buttons. It's not quite the same Lady McBeth thing that Ellen Tigh has going on, but it's just as destructive. It's also interesting to see the woman who once seemed to not equate much connection between love and sex with now seeing that connection. She tries to seduce Lee and fails when Lee seems to want it to be more than just a rough, rocking time. Interesting that a few months ago, she's sleeping with Baltar, but calling out Lee's name. To Kara, men are interchangeable--at least until she meets Anders, falls in love and wants something more than just a roll in the hay. She wants the whole relationship thing.

But yet, she's not going to sit around and watch old repeats of Sex in the Caprica or whatever they have out in the fleet for entertainment.

Kara is going to take our her frustration on a Cylon raider that's tormenting the fleet. Now, it's interesting that here in this episode, they'd casually slip in a huge plot development and act like it's just another day at the office. Seems that the raiders are alive too and regenerate like the human looking Cylons. Seems that death is painful but a learning experience for the Cylons. Hence why this raider, nicknamed Scar is pretty pissed at Kara and seems to have a vendetta against her. Kara realizes that Scar has learned enough about her and the fleet to prey upon their weaknesses, their tactics and their patterns. In some ways, it reminded of the Riker plan in TNG's "Best of Both Worlds, Part 2" when Riker had to use Picard's knowledge against him and the Borg to rescue Picard. Same thing here--Kara puts her ego aside to allow Kat to get the kill so both can live, thus defeating Scar. Kat takes the glory but it's really Kara's who figured out how to defeat this raider. Also, I get the implication that Scar is a descendent or regeneration of the raider Kara found and hijacked last year. So, these two have a connection of some kind and I wonder if this will be explored more in future episodes.

Whatever the case, all I can say is--hallelujah, Battlestar is back to form. I can forgive a minor hiccup like last week when you follow it up with an episode like this one. I'm officially excited about Galactica again...

The Bob and Molly Show

Previous seasons of Turner Classic Movies' "The Essentials," a weekly showcase for all-time classics, have been hosted by directors Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack and (the current season) Peter Bogdanovich. I think I enjoyed Pollack the best, but all three have been OK.

Anyway, we just got a press release at the newspaper announcing that the new season, beginning March 11, will be co-hosted by TCM's normal prime-time host, Robert Osborne, and film critic Molly Haskell.

The press release mentions only three of the upcoming titles: "The Hustler," "The Manchurian Candidate" and "From Here To Eternity."

As much as I like Osborne, having him co-host takes away some of the show's "event" status, since we can hear Osborne's take on the movie any other time it airs on TCM.

Veronica Mars Recap/Review

Rashard And Wallace Go To White Castle
You know what the best part of UPN and the WB joining forces next season is? That we loyal Veronica Mars fans won't have to wait around three days to see a new epiosde becuase it gets pre-empted by a lame basketball game.

Seriously--UPN 30, we do not need the umpeenth repeat of The Andy Griffith Show at 10 p.m. and you could have aired Veronica Mars there on a tape delay Wednesday night. It would have made my life a lot easier trying to avoid pretty much all of the Internet for the past couple of days so I wouldn't be spoiled since the rest of the country got to see the episode.

OK, I think I've ranted about that enough for now, but expect pretty much the same rant to start every recap until the end of basketball season.

Dammit--I want my new Veronica Mars!

OK, I'm done....really, I'm done now.

This episode demonstrates why I get so upset at potentially missing an episode. In the wonderful world that is Veronica Mars, things never stay static. If you thought we'd see a lot of Veronica sitting around mooning that Duncan was gone or dwelling on her part in the plan to get Duncan and baby Lily out of Neptune, then you're sadly mistaken. Instead, this revs into high gear from the teaser and never looks back. There were at least three plots touched on in this one.

The first, and the one that got the most screen time, was Wallace's struggle to prove that he wasn't the driver implicated in the hit and run of the homeless man in Chicago. I love Wallace's niave belief that just by talking to the reporter and telling his side of the story that it's all going to go away. The thing is that Wallace believes that every one else operates by the same sense of right and wrong he does. Sure, it takes him a bit to get on the uptake here and have his conscience sparred onward by Veronica, but the thing is, he does try and do the right thing. And gets pretty much slammed because of it. Seems that being the next LeBron James and having a surrounding cast of people who will watch out for you and make sure you stay out of trouble so they can get their payday is quite a mountain to overcome. But yet, Wallace does it with Veronica's help--and even enlisting the aid of Jackie. Yeah, I have to admit I saw that one coming a mile away simply becuase Veronica Mars used the same trick last week. As soon as I saw Jackie at the party, I knew she was in on it. But what I didn't see coming was how Wallace played her. The scene at the end where Jackie asks Wallace out and Wallace has apparently made other plans with a new girl was priceless. I have to admit this plotline had me wondering--will Wallace get out of this mess or will this be what dooms him to having stay near Neptune so he can be with Veronica next year? I have a feeling this plotline will come back into play.

Next up, we've got the wacky Odd Couple that is Logan and Weevil. Weevil finally finds out how's been lying to him in his gang--everyone. Seems that the gang has no problem taking the money of the PCHers for drugs. In fact, they seem to think that Weevil working with Logan is far greater a crime than selling drugs to rich kids. So, they beat the crap out of Weevil and ditch his motorcycle in the ocean. You know, I have a feeling a bit of retalliation is in store for this group and turning on Weevil this way is not going to be a good idea long term.

Having Logan ask Veronica to bug the confessional at church was priceless, as was Veronica's internal debate about the morality of doing so.

Finally, we have the bus crash plotline. Just when you thought they'd forgotten about it, it rears it's ugly head again. Keith steals into the Neptune evidence room and removes key pieces of evidence in the bus crash. Maybe the target wasn't Veronica. I say maybe here and it seems to me they wouldn't introduce this as just a red herring this late in the season. Besides, having the target be just Veronica seems a bit too mundane a solution to the problem. Having it possibly be connected to the new mayor--now that's interesting stuff. I wonder if it's going to turn out to be a two birds with one stone thing. Aaron Echols wanted to get rid of Veronica and Mayor Goodman wanting to...well, what? We're not sure what his motive is just yet but I have a feeling it's about to come out. And it's interesting that as laid back and out of the loop as Lamb is, that he keeps making arrests or finding solutions just as Keith does? Is Lamb actually ahead of Keith and--gasp!--compitent? Or will his string of good luck run out soon? Or is Lamb somehow in on it and is playing his part in the game?

I love it when Veronica Mars gives us these questions. But you know what I love more? That I know they'll give us answers....