All Along The Watchtower

films . videos . television

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lost Recap/Review

I've figured out the big secret of Lost! The castaways are...the lost 13th colony from Battlestar Galactica!

I had some flashbacks to the big Stonehenge scene with the symbols in the sky from earlier this year on "Home, Part 2" of Galactica. I honestly expected to see Six come out and start talking to Locke and only he could see her!

Or more likely, she'd be talking to Henry Gale.

Who we have now thankfully outed as an Other. I think we all knew it, but I will give the show credit. It sewed in just enough seeds of doubt that I wasn't really sure. I mean, sure he had to be an Other, but then that would be just too obvious. So maybe by making it too obvious, they were making us think it was too obvious and...well, I think that gives you a little glimpse inside the insanity that is my mind. Imagine swimming laps where your mind subconciously works over these things for hours on end....

Is it any wonder I am the way I am?

But back to Lost. This week, it's time to focus on Locke and his backstory. It's kind of a go-to-the-well type of week since just about anytime we go to Locke, it's going to be good. And not just because his story is so fascinating but because damn Terry O'Quinn is good. I think we can forget that sometimes when we see the same basic Jack vs Locke pissing contest replayed over and over again, week in and week out. But the way that O'Quinn brings Locke to life both on the island and in the life before the island is a thing of beauty.

This time around, Locke has issues of abandonment. Which you can kind of understand what with his dad showing up, pretended to love him and then stealing a kidney. Now Dad's faked his own death and needs Locke to go and pick up some cash he swindled from some retirees. To the tune of $700,000. Locke will get $200,000 if he helps Dad out. Meanwhile, Helen is still in his life and he's going to ask her to marry him since it seems he's finally worked past his father-issues. And then he has to lie and well, we can all see where it's going. About the only winner in this situation is the maid at the hotel who got one hell of a tip since we didn't see Locke go back for the huge pile of cash that was sitting around. You know, I've got to wonder how he's going to explain that sudden in-flux of cash to the IRS should he put it into his account. Of course, I guess with the death of his dad, he could say he was the beneficary of a large insurance policy, but that seems like it'd raise some red flags.

Meanwhile, Locke is trapped in the hatch, which has suddenly gone lockdown mode for some reason. What set it off? I'm not really sure on that. And Locke is forced to free Gail in order to help him punch the button. And there's a few minutes where Henry crawls through the duct work and we wonder if he's taken his chance to run out on Locke. Of course, Henry has helped his own cause by getting Locke to promise to protect him no matter what happens. I have a feeling this is going to come back to haunt Locke.

Outside the Hatch, Jack actually cracks a smile and stops being dour for a few minutes. He play a few hands of poker with Sawyer, winning first fruit and then medical supplies. I loved the scene where Sawyer asked Jack why Jack didn't gamble for the guns and Jack just calmly says--when I need the guns, I'll get them. Sewing seeds for the sesaon finale--you betcha! But you know what? I liked it.

As well as the last ten or so minutes when Sayid, Ana Lucia and Charlie show up and the big denouncement that Gale is an Other comes out.

Oh and where'd all that food come from? Was it a gift from the Cylons? Oh wait...I'm crossing shows again.

At least Lost is moving forward a bit. Sure it's that whole answer one question, bring up 12 more..but at least the feeling of treading water is gone.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Veronica Mars is not cancelled!

I just got an e-mail from the Veronica Mars PR agency, informing me that despire rumors to the contrary, Veronica Mars has not been cancelled.

It's just moving to Tuesdays in April.

A new episode of Veronica Mars airs tonight on UPN opposite that show about those island people and that one about the singers.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

24 Review/Recap

Day Five, 9 - 10 p.m.
Back in the 60's Doctor Who embarked on an ambitious, 12-part story featuring the Doctor doing battle with his greatest nemesis, the Daleks. The story was penned by two writers--Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner. The two writers would alternate episodes of the story. The classic Doctor Who series was built around having a cliffhanger in the action at the conclusion of every episode. According to reports, Nation and Spooner relished writing their contribution to the story and creating one outrageous cliffhanger after another just to see how the other would tap dance out of it.

So what does this have to do with 24? (I mean other than my obsessive need to bring Doctor Who into every conversation I have these days?) Well, in a lot of ways, 24 is built the same way as the classic Doctor Who--each episode builds up to a tension-filled moment that serves as a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger is designed to make us want to come back next week and see how it all gets resolved. Sometimes this is a bit more successful than others.

I'd have to say the cliffhanger to end last week was one of the less successful ones. From a shock value point and as a conversation starter around the watercooler, the idea that Audrey Raines would be a traitor is an interesting one. I know it was a theory I had last season that never came to fruition so to see it come up now was intersting. Especially in light of the fact that Jack and Audrey seem to be on the road to recovering what they lost when we all thought Jack was dead for a year or so. Now, all that has been thrown into chaos since I doubt Audrey is going to quickly forget that Jack was gripping her by the throat and shoving her up against the wall. Of course, the show could have at least brought up that Audrey was considered a suspect since her family had a history of being unwittingly manuevered by the bad guys as we saw last year. But, then again, we can't have too many call backs to previous days or else people will get confused. (Oh yeah, by the way, are the Chinese going to ever get a clue that Jack is still alive?)

Jack quickly figures out that Henderson is using Audrey's name to get at Jack. See, Audrey is a red herring, allowing the terrorists to get to a gas refinery and start pumping the Sentox into the system. Get the pressure low enough and the Sentox will be delivered to bunches of home in the area.

So wait....I'm confused here. And this may be me thinking too much again. I thought that Bierko was the head terrorist behind this elaborate plot but not it appears that we're shifting that focus to Henderson. How many masterminds does this plot actually have? It seems as if the head honcho bad guy shifts based on who is in custody. Oh Henderson is in custody, it must be Bierko. And now that Bierko is in custody, it will be Henderson. I bet we'll really find out in the end that the great criminal mastermind behind this is really....wait for it...wait for it..Nina Meyers. Seems that Nina is back from beyond the grave. She possessed Miss Cleo and is using her to mastermind this evil terrorist plot in some kind of insane revenge upon Jack, who she knew wasn't dead cause she never saw him hanging around the afterlife...

Speaking of the death of Jack--should Jack buy the farm come season's end, I think we have found our new hero for next year: Aaron Pierce. How much fun would it be for him to have his own show?

Meanwhile, back at CTU, Edgar's replacement arrives. And she happens to have been a chem major who can offer up a nugget of wisdom at exactly the right moment.

And she's accused one of the Homeland Security guys of sexual harrassment. At first, Chloe is sympathetic and then we see the woman in action. Seems that Bill patting her on the back and telling her good job is deemed inappropriate by her. This is why men live in fear of ever even smiling at a woman at the office because heaven forbid it be misconstrued as sexual harrassment. The thing is--should Bill be accused of it, he'll be seen as guilty no matter what. Even if he is exonerated of the charges, he'll still have that stigma attached to him. I hope he's saved up for retirement cause his career is pretty much over now.

I have to admit the actress who played Sherry looked familiar, but I can't place where I've seen here before. So, can anyone help me on that front? (Sure, I could look at IMDB, but I'm trolling for comments here!)

And finally, I have to wonder--if the lower PSI renders the Sentox inert, would raising the pressure back to a normal level make it go inert again? I mean, sure if it gets in the system, then having Jack blow up the place real good is far more visually interesting and we get to see Keifer Sutherland outrunning explosions. But surely it'd seem more cost effective in that whole not having to build a new gas plant mode of thinking to raise the pressure and nuetralize the Sentox that way.

Also, if they used all 17 canisters there, what is there left for Henderson to do to threaten CTU and the safety of our country?

Has the main plot of the season ended too soon? Or will there be another plot thread to chase after these last few hours of day five?

Monday, March 27, 2006

A show with heart (and liver, and other internal organs)

Sometimes I feel like my more off-beat viewing choices are, well, on a different wavelength from some of the other participants here, readers and fellow bloggers alike. So be it. But in this case, I really, really want you to check something out. I've already posted about it several months ago at my personal blog, and I realized tonight I needed to mention it here.

That something is "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations," on the Travel Channel.

Did you watch any of the Fox sitcom "Kitchen Confidential"? It was based on Bourdain's book of the same name. The sitcom character "Jack Bourdain" is really supposed to be Tony Bourdain, except that the real-life Chef Bourdain is much funnier than any sitcom character. I first found out about him on his Food Network show, "A Cook's Tour." "No Reservations" is basically the same show, only with an hour-long time slot and a little more non-food content (and a parental advisory!). Bourdain travels the world in search of exotic cuisines and delicacies, smoking like a chimney, mocking himself, mocking the process of making a TV show, and mocking everything else, and downing things like cobra hearts and duck feet without a second thought. Actually, he had second thoughts about the duck feet -- not because of the duck feet themselves but because he was a little too generous with the sinus-clearing Chinese mustard that came with them.

It's so droll and deadpan that you sometimes don't realize until later how much you've learned about another culture.

I noticed while writing this post that Food Network is still running reruns of "A Cook's Tour" in the wee hours of the morning, so those of you with TiVos should check it out as well.

The Meaning of Tony's Dreams

There's been a lot of interesting speculation on the meaning behind Tony Soprano's dream sequences the past two weeks on The Sopranos. Over at Dogmatic, the debate is pretty lively, entertaining and well worth considering.

The Simpsons

So that Ricky Gervasis guy wrote last night's episode of The Simpsons. Maybe you've heard of him...I heard he created some show called The Office that all the cool kids are talking about.

Now, I enjoy The Simpsons a good deal and have since the beginning. It's wonderfully subversive and funny. And while I'm not one of those who jumps up and down going "It's not as good as it used to be", it's still not quite as good as it used to be. But then again, seasons 3-7 raised the bar so high that it was inevitable the show would sink back to Earth a bit. (That said, The Simpsons is still funnier than most stuff that passed for sit-coms on network TV these days. I'll take a bad Simpsons over the best According to Jim any day of the week).

I tuned in last night for two reasons. One was the Ricky Gervasis angle. The other was to see them use the live opening credits that were making their way across the Internet a few weeks ago. Apparently there was a guy in DesMoines who didn't have high speed access at home and actually worked all eight hours a day who hadn't seen it. Anyway, it was nice to see though I'm not sure it worked as well, freed from the three inch size you could view it as on-line. Somehow it just seemed more clever on-line.

But the episode itself was pretty amusing. I'll admit I laughed out loud at least three times in the course of the story and was extremely amused by most of it. The plot, such as it is, is that Lenny gets a new plasma screen TV and invites everyone over to watch it. Huge mistake since Homer falls in love with the TV and won't leave until Lenny throws him out. Homer goes home, upset that his old TV is like watching with dirt in his eyes. Marge enters a contest to win the new TV, but they don't. Instead, they're invited on a reality show about swapping wives for FOX where they could win..wait for it..the exact amount for a plasma screen TV.

Hilarity ensues as Ricky Gervasis is the other husband, whose wife is a bit frosty. Ricky's character falls for Marge while Homer and company are made to do reports on TV shows they watch. Hearing Homer's report on CSI: Miami was a riot.

Now, not to go all Simpsons snob on everyone, but this episode reminded me of the old days when the show was dense with jokes and just about all of them were funny. There were even quite a few shots at FOX, including the American Idol holding area that also had me laughing out loud. If you're a Simpsons fan, this episode was on par with the insanity that can come from the mind of John Schwartzwelder. It was funny, entertaining and the half hour breezed by quickly enough. In fact, I was enjoying it enough to want more and wished FOX had pulled an NBC and super sized the episode.

Doctor Who: The Unquiet Dead

One of the original tenants of Doctor Who was to be an eduational tool. Send the TARDIS crew back in time, have them interract with historical figures and witness historical events and hopefully, whet the interest of the intended audience to history. It was designed to make histroy less stuffy and boring and more relevant.

And, at first, these were successful. But unlike Quantum Leap where you never quite knew which major historical pop-culture figure Sam might interact with, Doctor Who, for the most part avoided meeting up with significant historical figures (well, outside of the superbly done "The Crusades" back in the mid-60's that is). Sure, the Doctor would refer to having met some significant historical person but it was rare that we saw them on screen. And while the TARDIS would travel back in time to various periods in history, the stories were less about the historial aspect and more about using history as a setting.

So, it's interesting that three episodes into the new season of Doctor Who not only do we travel backward in time, but we also meet up with a major historical figure. The Doctor takes Rose back in time to 1869, where they meet up with Charles Dickens. It's Christmas time and the TARDIS lands in Cardiff where Dickens has come to perform some of his work. Meanwhile, a local funeral home is having problems--seems the dead are getting up and walking around.

Turns out it's the Gelf, an alien race who are gaseous. When we did, there is enough gas in our bodies that they can take over and move about for a period of time. The Gelf were victims of the Time War and want the Doctor to help release them. Seems the funeral home is on the juncture of a space-time rift that the Gelf want opened. They'll only need the help of a local woman who has second sight to open the rift.

Playing on the Doctor's sense of guilt and isolation, the Gelf trick him into helping them open the rift. Then, as we all expected, we find they have another agenda besides being sweet and friendly. They've decided that Earth looks good, so they'll take it.

Of the first three episodes, I'll have to admit "The Unquiet Dead" is the strongest. It may even be the strongest of the first five or so stories from the new season. It's a quietier story and one that's fairly straightforward. Novelist and Doctor Who fan Mark Gattiss delivers a script that moves ably forward and while it has some character elements, it doesn't shift wildly in tone from moment to moment like "End of the World." Instead, what we get is a story that would have been right at home in the golden-era of Hinchliffe and Holmes. Indeed, there are a lot of scenes in this one that seem a direct home to the much-loved story of that era "The Talons of Weing-Chiang."

Even the direction seems more assured than in the first two stories. The effects are well done and less obvious and you can see Eccleston really starting to step up and take command as the ninth Doctor. His sense of isolation and being utterly alone in the universe increases. And there are some genuinely Doctor-like moments when he shows up and inserts himself into the events.

I'll admit over the past few weeks, I've been delving into the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Those first few episodes were, to be frank, pretty disappointing. After putting all the eggs in the launch of the show basket, you get the feeling the writing staff was still uncertain of where the show was going or what it would be (something that would plague the show really for its first two years...until the arrival of Michael Piller). But as I was watching those early episodes and then re-watching the early episodes of the new Doctor Who I was struck by home quickly the new Who hits the ground running. As critical as I may be of the early episodes, they're no where as wince inducing as "Code of Honor" from TNG, where it's like a two-by-four to the head with the subtelty about the issue of the Prime Directive. (It's not once but twice!) The new Doctor Who seems to have some direction and vision behind it early on and that seems to increase as the season goes along. It pays homage to the past, but it doesn't try to emulate the success of the original show to such an extend that it hampers the storytelling and character development. But then again, Doctor Who was a show built on change and evolving each time a new actor or producer came on the scene.

I know in the shuffle of how great "Dalek" was and how superlative that "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" were, "The Unquiet Dead" can get lost in the shuffle. And that's a shame really. It's a well-done, entertaining and fairly straight-forward story that pays homage to the rich past of Doctor Who while showing off the new bells and whistles of the modern era.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Little People, Big World

I have become hooked on this reality show. Of course I soothe myself by repeating the mantra "it's really more of a documentary". It's the story of a family with two dwarf parents, four children and the problems and joys of every other family. They are so like my own family in many ways--four kids, Christian school, large body of land on which they host many parties. Unlike the Roloffs, my parents were tall. They were also very overweight, so there's a big part of me that sympathises with the whole "we're outsiders" theme. 30 years ago parents the size of mine were much more uncommon. Or it seemed that way with the stares we got in public.

It's wierd watching it because in many ways it's like watching my own family, as they bicker about who gets what spot in the van, what to have for dinner and how one sibling's sports are creating havoc for the whole family. And they pray before meals and love each other and stick up for each other and care about one another's well-being.

I just love this show. If you get TLC, I'd encourage you to check it out. It's fantastic.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Veroncia Mars Moves to Tuesdays

I just got a press-release from UPN saying that Veronica Mars will be moving back to Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. CST starting April 11th. Here's the official word from UPN:

We wanted to let you know that UPN announced today that they are moving Veronica Mars back to her original time period on Tuesdays at 9 PM. Starting April 11, tune in to UPN on Tuesday nights to catch all new episodes of Veronica Mars through the season finale on May 9. Repeats will air on Wednesday nights at 9 pm ET/PT for the first couple of weeks.

The hope is that more people will be able to tune-in to Veronica on Tuesdays. So, tell all your friends that there are no excuses now not to watch Veronica Mars!

Guess the series was losing ground against the ratings juggernaut that is American Idol (come on, America, watch Veronica Mars! You can find the results out on the Internet later!). Also, it's not like this is a less competitive time slot between Scrubs and House being on at the same time and that new CBS show The Unit getting solid ratings. I am not sure this is a vote of confidence for Veronica Mars making it to a third season....

Wednesday Night Round-Up

Lost: The Whole Truth
I was really worried for a while last night that Lost was going to pull out a miracle baby plotline. Yeah, that plotline worked sooooooooo well on the last two seasons of The X-Files. That storyline in no way drug down and buried a once great show and no, I'm not still bitter about it.

I've never really been a huge fan of the Sun and Jin storyline. I don't find it quite as compelling or interesting as discovering more about Locke or Hurley or Kate (though part of the yearning to find out more about Kate is..well, we get more screen time with Kate. Always a good thing in my book). And the thing is, we didn't really learn anything new about the characters that we hadn't already known before. Pre-island life, Sun was going to leave Jin and her family and move to America. She was taking lessons in English with the guy whose father owned the hotel that Jin served as a doorman for. Jin was working hard in Sun's father business to be worthy of Jin, but in doing so, we was selling out his soul and losing Sun. He gained and lost everything in that one decision. Oh yeah--and he could kind of be a jackass, which we see in the scenes at the fertility doctor when Jin goes ballastic, saying Sun knew that she couldn't have children before they married and didn't tell him. Her response of--yeah, that was my plan to marry below my perceived social status really stung.

So, we didn't really learn much new here, except that we have to assume Sun is still lying on one small detail about who the real father of her child is. Jin chooses to jump to the conclusion that it's his by some kind of miracle and Sun lets him think that, not volunteering that she was still seeing the son of the hotel king behind his back. I wonder if this truth will ever come to light. I don't see a lot of DNA tests on the island to confirm or deny this. Though maybe Sawyer has one of those kits where you swab the inside of the mouth of the kid and alleged father to determine the biological father than I hear advertising on the radio from time to time. Heaven knows, they have everything else the plot needs when it's required.

As much as I wasn't thrilled by the backstory of Sun and Jin on the island, the scenes on the island actually worked. Jin's admission that he's isolated with Sun and needs her to relate to everyone was great, as was the scene where we see his point of of view with Sawyer and Bernard talking. Also, Jin's attempts to keep Sun safe by destroying her garden and then later rebuilding it were nicely done. I wonder if now Jin will have Sun try to teach him to speak and understand English so he can relate to those on the island. It would be a terrible tragedy is Sun were to die (as we've heard another cast member may die by season's end) and Jin were left isolated, never really able to fully communicate with the rest of the island community.

Speaking of the island community, that's where all the action was taking place this week. Henry Gale continues to work his Cigarette Smoking Man mojo on everyone he comes in contact with. His whole--well, I am not playing games, but if I was, I'd do exactly what I've been doing what a nice moment. Really, the whole episode came down to the last five minutes when you suddenly felt things starting to move and shift in interesting ways--just in time for the credits to roll and us to groan that we have to wait until next week to find out where it all goes. The Henry is playing Locke and Jack is fascinating and to see him sit in front of both of them and basically admit it to them was a nice touch.

Also, I found it interesting that Sayid has moved beyond hating Anna Lucia and wants to transfer that hatred to the Others. He blames them for Shannon's death now and is hoping deep down Henry is an Other so he can extract a pound of flesh from Gale for the death of Shannon. And it's interesting to hear Anna Lucia apologize for the death of Shannon to to see Sayid's reaction. Meanwhile, Charlie is still a rogue figure, doing whatever it takes to win back into the good graces of the community. Or is he? Is it just a game he's playing to set up an elaborate revenge on Locke? Seems that Charlie's main motivation may be making Locke look foolish, as he stated a few episodes ago.

Finally, was I the only one who when they saw Daniel Dae Kim and Sam Anderson together on the beach, didn't have a quick flashback and wonder if they'd talk about ways Wolfram and Hart was using Darla to get at Angel? (If you don't get missed season two of Angel, where Dae Kim and Anderson played evil lawyers in Wolfram and Hart, the law firm that antagonized Angel).

Veronica Mars: The Quick and the Wed long was that recap? Did anyone else get the feeling this was an episode designed to come back after a long hiatus and not last week's?

I think we covered ever base and every on-going plotthread on the show with the recap. Not that I didn't appreicate the catch-up and I think UPN is smart to give new audience members as much of a catch-up as possible, but was long. I also have to wonder--did the producers pull a fast one and put a few red herrings into the recap just to throw us off the trail.

Interestingly enough, the real meat of this episode wasn't the case Veronica was investigating. Usually, these storylines tie into the central plots in some way, but this one felt like more a stretch than usual. Bride-to-be runs off to meet up with former boyfriend who needed a friend to talk to about a bad time in his life. Oh yeah, seems fiancee was partying a bit too hearty at his bachelor party and she's a bit miffed. She decides to go through with the wedding to make him break it off so she can keep the ring. She was ready to give it back had the groom broken it off but when he hired a P.I. to set her up, she decided to take the scorched earth policy. Yeah, it's interesting and it keeps Veronica busy, but it doesn't necessarily add much to the overall big picture.

Speaking of the big picture, the mayor is once again conspicious in his absence. We really, really need him to come back on screen at some point and I cannot believe for a second that Steve Guttenberg is TOO busy to squeeze in Veronica Mars between trying out for the Surreal Life and hoping for a guest spot on Hollywood Squares.

The more interesting plots were those surrounding the people who come into the Echols family sphere of influence. Aaron sits in prison, shouting his innocence and saying there are no tapes that show he was with Lilly. He throws suspicion back on Duncan and is saying he'll never get a fair trial. He's then approached by Kendall who teases him through the prison glass in an attempt to get to the Echols family fortune. Seems that Kendall has to only go to the one source she's already got wrapped around her finger--Logan.

Meanwhile, Logan is continuing to try and clear his name and keep from serving jail time. He's offered a plea bargain and refuses. His campaign to get rid of the one witness against him continues with Heidi. Logan plays the entire situation--sending e-mails from mom to dad that they found condoms in Heidi's room. Also, the entire dynamic of Logan and Heidi's discussion about having sex changes over the course of the story. From what started as kind of one of those jokes between a couple, suddenly becomes more when Heidi seems to decide to sleep with Logan as some weird way to prove her parents wrong about Logan. And we get the impression that Logan took advantage of Heidi. In the end, he comes to Veronica for help, saying he's done something he shouldn't have. I wonder if it's that he slept with Heidi or if it's that he actually developed real feelings for her and realizes now that he has to break her heart and his or go to jail. Interesting development, but I bet Veronica will have next to no sympathy for him either way.

And I will agree with what I read elsewhere--how did Terrance Cook get to San Fran so quickly and why was he breaking into a house?

South Park: Life Without Chef
"We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us. We should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains."

One of the great things about South Park is because of the animation process used to create the shows, episodes can be extremely topical. We had the whole satire of the Florida hanging chads a few years ago and last season we led off with a satire of the response to Hurricane Katrina. This year, we lead off with a skewering of the entire situation with Issac Hayes' abrupt departure from the show because South Park satirized Scientology. Matt Parker and Trey Stone quickly put togther an epiosde in which Chef returns to South Park, having been brain washed by the Super Adventure Club. In case you didn't figure it out, the Super Adventure Club is a thinly veiled parody of Scientology--even including a disclaimer at one point "No really...this is what these people believe."

I will admit this one made me laugh--a lot. Recyling and pasting together old dialogue from Chef was genius. And the entire plotline of taking Chef to a strip club to save him was a riot. And then the creation of Darth Chef at the end...classic.

The whole episode was great. But I have a feeling the Scientoligsts out there may take great offense to it since it's poking fun at them yet again. I've never seen a religion that can't take a bit of satire or criticism less than Scientology. But that's another post.

I am sure this episode will repeat (unless Tom Cruise finds out about it that is) during the week. If you missed it, I recommend it. One of the funnier things I've seen in a while and you have to respect the genius of Parker and Stone. They are able to consistently turn out episodes that are both funny and topical on short notice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Celebrity Poker returns

The buzz on a TV-related message board that I follow was that Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown" would not be coming back for a new season. Turns out that's not true. It will be coming back, but from Harrah's in New Orleans (!) and this time around Dave Foley will be paired with a different poker-playin' Phil: Phil Hellmuth, replacing Phil Gordon as expert commentator.

Here are further details.

Yes, I know Foley is employed beneath his skill level on this show, and I wish he were doing something else. But I still enjoy "Celebrity Poker Showdown."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sons And Daughters

Are they kidding? What is this? It's absolutely horrible. The characters lack any sort of charm, the interactions are excruciating and the plot exists to further excruciate. Look, I know that you want to recapture the magic of Arrested Development while still dumbing it down for your perceived target audience, ABC. Better luck next time.

24 Recap

Day Five, 8 - 9 p.m.
One of the things you have to accept when you watch 24 is that everything in L.A. is exactly as far apart as the writers need it to be for dramatic value. Sometimes it will take 20 minutes by helicopter, sometime it will take two minutes by SUV to get across all of L.A. It's just one of those things you go with, though there are times when it is a bit more obvious they're playing fast and loose with the laws of physics. For example, 8 to 9 p.m. of day five. Jack and company get from CTU to the hotel with German guy and the new hottie femme fatale in under two minutes. At least German guy got to get his swerve on with her in the last episode since it was mostly focused on the antics at CTU and killing off Tony.

Now, at first I thought that the guy in the hotel room (who played Desmond on Lost) was the one that Colette had stolen the data from. But oh that tricky 24 universe...they fooled me big time. Seems that Desmond (not his name here) is working for German intelligence and they don't want to play nice with the United States intelligence forces. So, he's willing to let a whole bunch of people die in order to preserve German national security--oh yeah, and his hook up with Colette, who is really has fallen for deep down. In the end, Jack is able to buy him off with a super top secret list of all known terrorists and their locations and they two are able to play in the same sandbox.

But Jack has tricks up his sleeve. Such as programming the memory card on which the super deluxe list will be stored and given to German intelligence guy to self-destruct. So Jack gets what he wants and gets to preserve American security all in one fell swoop. My question is--did he program the card to do this in the two minute drive over to the hotel or the two minute drive over to the airport? Or does Jack just carry around a self-destructing memory card for just such an occasion? (Possibly he has to get rid of all his downloaded adult content quickly and this is the best way....but surely Chloe could help him create a secret directory to hide these things...anyway, I digrees).

Meanwhile, President Logan who changes his opinion as quickly as the wind shifts, decides to ignore the advice of his wife and declare marshall law. Only it's not really called that. But it's the same thing. Which, ya know, the terrorists didn't look that upset about it. Seems to me that if their target is some kind of public building where there will be around 200,000 people that having marshall law declared might make that plan go awry. I probably don't understand enough about marshall law but wouldn't everyone have to go to their homes? Or would they be kept there? I have no idea. And I hope we never have to find out what would happen.

And the Vice President is up to something evil. Yeah, we all knew that. Anyone want to take bets he's somehow in on all of this? I can see him figuring that Logan is an idiot and playing him like a fiddle. Could the VP have orchestrated all of the day's events to make himself look good for a future election? And how deliciously ironic would it be to see Mrs. Logan come out of all of this looking like a rose and then be urged to run for office?

Meanwhile, Jack faces a dilemma. Seems that women he becomes romantically involved with either a)betray him or this country b)die or c)both. Seems Audrey has been giving information to the terrorists, though I wonder if it was an unsuspecting kind of thing. And if you think about it, her family ain't the best when it comes to national security. Her brother was helping out the terrorists last year and now we've found out Audrey is helping them out. That should make their father really proud....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Footballer's Wives

Is anyone watching this over at BBCAmerica? I saw ads for it during Conviction. Is it any good or is it just Knot's Desperate Housewives British Style?

The Sopranos

There are times when shows like The Sopranos are very fortunate to be where they are. I'm not referring to being on pay cable and, thus, being able to show nudity, have more cussin' and to show acts of extreme violence (though certainly the show does all three). What I'm referring to is the creative freedom to stretch the wings a bit, knowing the network won't yank the show if the ratings sag a bit and that you've got a guaranteed set of episodes in which to tell the story the creators have in mind.

It allows for some freedom and flexibility in the storytelling style. It allows for some contrast between episodes.

Such as we saw between last week and this week. Last week was, in a lot of ways, a reintroduction to Tony's world and the people coming into his orbit. It was all about reminded us of who is who, where loyalties lie and what card are the on the table as the new season begins. Then, with one shot, the entire structure shatters as Uncle Junior shoots Tony.

This week, I got the feeling that some of the storylines for the season are coming into view. From the family's reaction to Tony's being shot and lying in a coma to the power vaccum that Tony's being on the sidelines will create. We're already seeing hints of it as various players see it as their chance to move in on and take over some of Tony's territory. Interesting to see that in the first season, Tony stepped into a power vaccum and took over being the boss. Now, in season six, there's a new vaccum being created. The question is--who will step in and if they do, will they willingly give up that power to Tony? I'm betting probably not, since we've seen Tony facing issues related to the clash of his two worlds, but never once has he felt like he should step away from his health or the good of his family.

Will that change now? It could if the dream sequences are anything to go by. Tony dreams of another life in which he's a salesman who loses his identity when his briefcase and wallet are switched with another man's. It's fascinating to watch James Gandolfini play dream world Tony, who is recongizable as Tony Soprano, but slightly different. For example, can you see the Tony we know taking the news that he can't attend the seminar he specifically came to the conference for so calmly and without a few explatives? Me either.

Meanwhile, we get some hints of things to come. It appears that the Meadow and Finn engagement has hit the rocks a bit. How much of that is Meadow stressing out about her father and how much of that is actual tension remains to be seen. And A.J. has flunked out of school, possibly for partying too much. And he's promised to take care of Uncle Junior for doing this to Tony. These two things lead me to believe that the series could be setting up A.J. to embrace the life that Tony has worked so hard to have his children esacpe. A.J.'s flunking out of school will only push him toward the family business and if Tony is in a coma for any extended period of time, it could allow A.J. to start learning the business and rising among the ranks.

One question that crossed my mind in last night's episode. The prognosis for Tony is grim--not only the coma, but the dream-world diaganosis of Alzheimer's. (Though I wonder if that is a deep rooted fear for Tony, seeing Uncle Junior slowly lose control of his faculties so and not wanting that to happen to him. Will Tony get tested should he wake up? Or was this his mind's way of dealing with the news he heard about the potential brain damage as a side-affect of the coma?) So, the question is--would The Sopranos have the guts to kill off Tony in the first few episodes of the season? Would his shadow loom large enough that even with James Gandolfini not there that Tony would still be there? And would we tune in for a Tony-less Sopranos?

Also, let me just say this--all of you other ladies who thought you'd get that leading actress Emmy this year might as well give it up. Start engraving the name Edie Falco on the Emmy because her performance last night probably wrapped that one up early.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dropping it down a notch

I understand that when a cable TV network does hour-long biographies of four of its biggest stars, those biographies are going to be glowing, complimentary puff pieces. But how can you claim to do a biography of Emeril Lagasse and not even mention -- not once -- his disastrous sitcom? I mean, I didn't expect "Chefography" to dwell on it, or assign blame for it, but for the show to completely ignore it is a little silly.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Kirk, Adama and the Doctor

What is the point of fiction?

Some types of fiction depict what is -- humanity with its flaws and failings, and the reality of life with hurt and hardship. Some types of fiction depict what might be -- the larger-than-life, mythological, what we might aspire to. Don't let anyone tell you that one or the other of these is the be-all and end-all of fiction. I happen to believe that both are important. It is, however, important to understand what your intent is as an artist or a consumer.

The documentary "How William Shatner Changed The World," which aired last Sunday on The History Channel, made an argument that Star Trek's strength was in the larger-than-life depiction of a humanity that had overcome petty differences and was ready to face new challenges. As Rick Berman regime took that vision darker -- introducing elements of conflict and frustration that Gene Roddenberry would never have countenanced -- it became less successful. At least, that was the documentary's interpretation of events. Oversimplified, perhaps, but not completely dismissible either. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with darker and more complex storytelling; quite the opposite. But Star Trek had a special heritage; people expected a particular type of storytelling from it, and (as the special documented, most entertainingly) its first two incarnations inspired many to dream of infinite possibilities.

There could not be a greater contrast between the two different types of storytelling than the TV show which ended its season last Friday night on SciFi and the TV show which began its season this Friday night. Both are remarkable efforts, but one deals with a grimy reality of genocide and war and slavery and betrayal while the other is fun, larger-than-life and mythic.

I actually think we don't give larger-than-life storytelling the credit it deserves. I think sometimes we learn more about ourselves from Superman than Sipowicz.

There's not a whole lot I can say about Doctor Who that others here haven't already said much better. I'm not through with the second hour yet, but the first hour exceeded my already-high expectations. I think I was afraid that the new version was going to lose some of the fun, some of the joy and whimsy of the orginal. I needn't have worried. I have to say I'm already dreading Christopher Eccleston's departure at the end of this season; I think he's great.

Doctor Who Returns!

The greatest television series in the history of the world returns to American television tonight as Sci-Fi debuts the first two episodes of the continuation of Doctor Who. The pilot episode, "Rose" airs at 8 p.m. CST and is followed by the next episode "The End of the World" at 9 p.m.

If you're a Doctor Who fan, this is complete nirvana (and I shouldn't have to do anything to convince you watch this evening....even if you've already seen the episodes!) If you're not a fan yet, this is your chance to step into the world that is Doctor Who. These episodes are completely accessible to new fans.

If your memories of Doctor Who are of the guy with the scarf, the flimsy sets and the low budget effects, you may be in for a pleasant surprise tuning in this evening. I'm not saying these are Star Wars type of effects, but they do make good use of CGI and they do get better as the season goes along.

Please, please, please, please, please watch this show. Trust me, it's good. I will admit that tonight's first two episodes are good ground-work for the series and a nice way to discover the universe that is Doctor Who. And next week's episode is better and in just about a month comes the absolute best episode of the new series, Dalek, that features a return of the Doctor's greatest enemies. Come on--it's only 12 weeks of your life to commit to one of the greatest shows ever made.

Join the obsession! You'll be glad you did!

Here's a bit of a Doctor Who primer for everyone.

The hero of the show is the Doctor. He's a Time Lord who has the ability to travel in space and time. He does this in a time machine called the TARDIS. The TARDIS is larger on the inside than the outside and theoretically has the ability to change its exterior to blend in with whatever time period it's arrived in. The Doctor's does not...the ability to do this broke down in the first episode aired back in 1963, where it was disguised as a police telephone box. The Doctor travels in space and time, fighting evil and injustice.

And that should be enough to get you started...

Also, some shameless self-promotion. If you want to read my original thoughts on Rose and End of the World you can at those links. And my good friend, Sarah and I, recorded a commentary for Rose, which you can listen to after the episode. I will warn you that the audio quality is not the best (cursed filters!) and I think we give away SPOILER for the rest of the season....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Get ready to match the stars!

As much as I loathe Ricki Lake, this sounds like a lot of fun: "Game Show Marathon," which has been picked up by CBS. A regular core of celebrities (Leslie Nielsen, Tim Meadows, Lance Bass, Kathy Najimy, Paige Davis and Adrienne Curry) appears each week in a recreation of a different classic game show. The first season will include "The Price is Right," "Let's Make a Deal," "Match Game," "Card Sharks," "Press Your Luck," "Beat the Clock" and "Family Feud." Ricki Lake will host each show.

The production design will strive for period authenticity -- shag carpet on the "Match Game" set, for example, and those skinny microphones that Gene Rayburn and his contemporaries used to use. For "Match Game," Betty White and George Foreman will join the six regulars. The current-era TPiR models will appear, not only on the TPiR episode, but any other episodes where products need to be pointed at lovingly or oversize playing cards need to be flipped.

I am enough of a game show geek to think this is a truly fantastic idea.

Hat tip: Mark J. at the TV Barn 2 message board.

Veronica Mars Review/Recap

Versatile Toppings
Oh Veronica, how I've missed you.

I know it wasn't your choice to stand me up a few weeks ago. I've forgiven you and to some extent UPN for this move. If it helps the show get a season three on the CW network, then I'm all for the move. However, it does remind me a lot of season two of Buffy when the WB went top-heavy on episodes, leaving us only four new episodes from the middle of February to the start of May and we had a loooooong hiatus. Same thing with Veronica Mars in a way, though the long mid-season hiatus means we should get an interrupted run of stories to the finish line.

Which is a good thing since the mysteries seem to be getting more complex.

There are times when I feel I need a flow chart to keep track of things. Again, the whole long gap between new episodes hasn't helped. Also, I have a feeling the writers and producers wrote this block of epiosdes to be seen in a chunk. You know show runners have to be aware of how episodes will break down and where breaks will be and build the show based on that. This one just felt like that.

It brings up a lot of a questions. Has Terrance hired Keith to provide him an air-tight alibi but he really was involved in the bus crash? Or is he being set up by the mayor, who if you recall there was a line of dialogue that it was his hanger that the cars were parked in. It's not a huge stretch to think the mayor could place the explosives in the locker in question since it's where his plane is. Also, I still think this whole bus crash thing is tied to the mayor's desire to see Neptune incorporated. Or it could be that I've seized upon one line of dialogue and want to make it more significant than it really is or should be. (And on a side note, when will we see the mayor on screen again? We seem to hear a lot about him..but where exactly has he vanished to? I can't imagine Steve Guttenberg is that busy filming Police Acadamy 75: No, Seriously We're Still Making These Things)

Meanwhile, Logan's agenda for dating Heidi may not be all it seems. He seems to be sewing seeds in the family. He points Heidi in the right direction to find out her father uses drugs and is in to the Fitzpatricks. Seems as if we're hearing a lot about the Fitzpatricks of late. Are they behind all the corruption in Neptune? It sure seems that way.

And then we have the A story that was OK, but not great. There's a web site for gay students at Neptune to post and talk. But someone's found their way in and is blackmailing the off or you'll be outed. Really, a lot of this was kind of predictable. I called that the guy who got beat up and had his rims stolen was lying to cover his tracks. I figured he was behind the blackmail at first, but then it seemed too obvious. Also, having Mac set up the site seemed like a repeat of other Mac plots. Don't get me wrong--I like having Mac on the show, but it just felt like a bit of a greatest hit here. And then, we find out that one of the board members is behind it--she wanted to out her girlfriend so they could be out and not have to worry about the stigma. Sure, OK, that sort of makes sense.

Really, it felt like the A story was there to not have it be all about the more interesting sub plots.It wasn't a bad episode, but it wasn't just a great one. And I think after making us wait so long, we expected greatness.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Woo-hoo! Veronica Mars is back!

Only four new episodes of one of TV's best shows, Veronica Mars have aired since December. UPN abruptly pulled two new episodes during sweeps to keep the show from getting clobbered by the one-two punch of Lost and the Olympics.

The good news for Veronica Mars fans is that the show (finally) returns to the airwaves tonight. And the delay means it's nothing but new episodes until the season finale in May.

TV Guide On-Line has a couple of Veronica Mars related Insider pages. One is an interview with Charisma Carpenter in which she drops hints of what Kendall's role in the final run of episodes is and one is a chat with producer and creator Rob Thomas. And if you really have no will power, Ain't It Cool News has a spoiler-filled post about what will happen tonight. (Speaking for myself, I have waited this long, a few more hours won't kill me).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

24 Review/Recap

Day Five, 7 - 8 p.m.
Ironically, this is an episode designed to help us catch our breath, as it were. I say ironically since the entire plot hinges on not being able to breath in the deadly gas and how that affects our heroes and their situations.

From a plot standpoint, things don't move forward that much. Instead, we get one of those classic various people locked in a room where every one has an issue with each other and let's see how they deal with the paranoia.

Jack's still trying to save the world and reconnect with Kim. Well, at least one of those two is going well. Kim states she loves Jack, is glad he's alive but she doesn't want anything to do with him. Every time he comes into her life, people die. Yeah, well, Kim, he's a spy. It's part of his job as uber-spy that sometimes people have to die. It's a harsh reality, but one that we've all got to deal with. I understand Kim's feelings, but she really does seem to play the victim card well here. I wonder how much of that is facilitated by her therapist/boyfriend, who you can tell Jack would love to verbally smackdown. Or maybe drop the medical bay for a few injections of sodium penathol to find out his real designs on Kim.

How much you wanna bet therapist man is somehow tied to all of this?

I'll say this--if we only get two hours of Kim on the show, I'll be stunned. I have a feeling they will somehow work out a way that she can't or doesn't leave Jack's sphere of influence. I'd almost bet the office of homeland security will lock down everyone who was at CTU and not allow Kim to leave, thus really annoying her and Barry.

Meanwhile, Jack is coming up with new ways to save the collective hides of everyone at CTU. Seems the terrorists anticipated every possible way our heroes could escape and added a corrosive agent to the seals. Now we've got to vent the gas, but the computer that can do it is running a de-frag or something and has to be overriden manually. Only problem--it's in an area that is full of gas. Jack could get to it were it not for some convienient new security bars that were installed, thus keeping him from busting through to save CTU as we know it. (Ironic since that cliffhanger was the exact thing that Prison Break left on....) So, in comes Lynn McGill who is given a last chance to go out a hero and he does. Farewell, Lynn, we hardly knew you.

You know, it's not been a good day for the McGill mother. I have to feel for her--she's lost a daughter and a son to this terrorist plot.

But it's not just all about the action on 24. We get some connection emotionally to the characters. Chloe isn't like Jack and can't go immediately back to work, putting aside that she's really upset about losing Edgar, whom she calls her best friend. And then we have random red-shirt who has to give up his life so that Lynn can run out and save the day. The scene where he took his breath after holding it for so long and went "Hey, it's OK...I can breath" right as the gas hit, that was powerful. And it all felt authentic. The euphoria that turns to horror. And the scene where he had to call his daughter to say goodbye. Lump in the thoat big time there.

And man, the body count of regulars is getting high this year. We had Edgar and now possibly Tony is dead. I will believe it when we see it. I have a feeling this will be a cliffhanger that's resolved with Tony miraculously pulling through. If not and I were Henderson, I'd bend over and kiss my keister goodbye. Jack is going to be really, really pissed when he catches up to you...

Another thought strikes my mind. So, they vented this gas to...where? I'm assuming outside, so is this a danger or is it only a danger because the gas is so concentrated in CTU headquarters? What's to say that venting it isn't a danger to the community where let's say I'm out jogging, run into some gas and then proceed to die from exposure. I'm just wondering how that would work...

Meanwhile, outside of CTU, while Jack is working to save he and the staff who are still alive, the powers that be are making move. The vice president has Logan ready to declare marshall law while the office of homeland security is taking over for CTU. Yeah, that is going to go over really well. And my question is--do they know Jack is alive? Boy, that should be some fun explaining going on there. And anyone else with me that this development is how we'll get the secretary of defense back into the plotlines?

And the terrorists have decided to not go for 17 targets but for one huge target of doom. Which makes it easier to film that and have Jack stop them all instead of tearing around L.A. like a mad man.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Say Uncle

No, not this blog. But Uncle Junior Fucking Soprano, baby. I am still digesting last night's season premiere of The Sopranos.

Given the strong season closer of Galactica, this show's return made my channel surfin' weekend.

MSNBC has a recap and analysis complete with spoilers.

Ron Moore talks season three

Ron Moore talks about where season three of Battlestar Galactica will go. Nothing specific, but some huge hints about where we go from here.

If you've not seen season two, the article spoils it big time.

You have been warned.

Battlestar Galactica Recap/Review

Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2
If you've not seen the second season finale of Battlestar Galactica, I strongly advise you turn back now. It's got a lot of twists, turns and plot developments that are, quite frankly, better left unspoiled. You have been warned...

OK, still here?

In no way what I expected. After hearing the Ron Moore podcast in which is wife stated the last half hour of the season finale was totally unexpected and would have some fans scratching their heads, I had to wonder--what has Ron Moore got up his sleeve? I'd heard the phrase "series alterting" thrown around for the last segement of the episode, but I had absolutely no clue just how fundamentally series altering this move would be.

Last week, I wondered if Ron Moore would have the gumption to hand Baltar the election and should Baltar win, would they allow him to remain in power. The answer is not only yes but hell yes. To the point that Baltar has lead humanity down the primrose path to occuption and potential destruction. Baltar has been played like a fiddle by the Cylons. It was interesting to see how this episode called back to the miniseries with Baltar. In both cases, Baltar is seduced literally and figuratively by a copy of Six. And in both cases, it's led to the potential destruction of humanity. Before it was the Cylons wiping out Caprica and now, Baltar has led humanity to being the slaves of the machines. Every copy of Six has found Baltar's weaknesses and played them like an aboslute fiddle, manipulating and manuevering him into the position they needed. The thing that works here is Baltar doesn't see himself as a bad guy, but he's do blinded by his own ambition, ego and sense of self-importance that he fails to see when he's being played. Also, it's interesting that this time the Cylons had a more long-term goal. Humanity finds a homeworld, has a year or so to start feeling safe and to let the fleet go into disarray and then they come in force. It's the stagnation of humanity that dooms them to becoming slaves. Without a common, unifying enemy, we see how things descend into squabbles such as Tyrol's organizing the union and Lee hoarding the antibiotics up on Pegasus for what's left of the fighter pilots. Defense has become less of an issue since humanity think they're safe from the Cylons inside the cloud. And then, the Cylons come in scenes that were eery, scary and absorbing. The sense of unrelenting doom and dread that pervaded those scenes was extremely well done.

It's interesting to see Ron Moore take every element and plot thread from this season and tie it all together. And masterfully so. The election, the nuke, Gina, all of them played a role in the first 45 or so minutes (which were no slouch either). I had called last week that Dean Stockwell would turn out to be a Cylon, but how interesting is it that the Cylons would place a religious leader as one of their moles. A leader who is supposed to provide spiritual guidane and comfort to the people and he's a traitor. The scene were Stockwell is brought in to meet himself and realize he's a Cylon was incredibly well done. To see the programming come on-line and then the character to subtlely change...brilliant work. Of course, part of that is Dean Stockwell is a great actor and the other part is you give the man a good role and he's going to really run with it.

A whole lot happened in this one to set things up for the flash forward. The Cylons decide they've hijacked the destiny of humanity and decide to go off and find their own path. As we find out, this path pretty much includes being the masters to the slaves of humanity, but at least it's there own destiny. Love is no longer all they need, I guess, though Six's reaction to Baltar was telling. Will there be cracks within the Cylon community that will be exploited to help humanity escape the oppressive thumb of the Cylons. And do the Cylons now have a new plan--since as we all know every episode starts out telling us "And they have a plan..." It should be interesting to see how the pre-title sequence changes next year to recap and review the basic premise of the show.

Then, we had the election itself. For a few minutes, I really hoped that Roslin wasn't in on the conspiracy to steal the election. I hoped that even though we knew the thought had crossed her mind and she'd planned something, that she wouldn't be in on this conspiracy to put her into power. And to be caught by Gaeta (who I am guessing was rewarded by Baltar with his new high position a year later....either that or no one else can work for Baltar since he seems only interested in the trappings of power--esp. the women. I think Baltar won and had no idea what to do once he won since I get the impression that Six inside his head vanished from speaking to him for that year) was a nice twist. I also found it fascinating that Roslin would hope that Adama would realize what needed to be done and go along in the cover-up. But despite his personal feelings about Baltar, Adama respects the process and he respects democracy. So he calls Roslin on it and forces her to admit her error. And that leads them down a primrose path to... year later.

I find it intersting to skip a year. I'm a huge fan of Peter David's New Frontier Trek novels. And after 18 books, last year David took the series forward three years with no explanation. Which leaves the wonderful fun of his slowly filling in pieces and revealing how characters moved into new situations. It's a big risk, but in the hands of the right writer, it can work. And I think it did here. It allowed us to move the storyline forward and not be there for the nitty-gritty. I am fascinated to know how some of the characters got where they are now and why and I have a feeling Ron Moore will fill in these details. Also, I have to wonder--where is Sharon in this? Is she still a prisoner up on Galactica. And did she know the Cylons were coming? Did she betray humanity over the pain of losing her baby? And will the Cylons figure out that the baby is still alive and that will play a role in things to come?

I also find it interesting that note that Ron Moore worked heavily on DS9. DS9 was a show that in the early stages, showed the aftermath of one people being subjigated by the other. Now with the new direction of Battlestar, I feel like we might get the story of the group being conquered and forced to overthrow their oppressors and just how could that work.

It's a new direction for the show and I can see why they may need a longer break to map out where it's all going to go. I will admit I'm a bit wary--this could be the turning point where Galactica goes from brilliant to merely good. Or it could achieve new heights of greatness. Either way, all I know is when it comes back in October, I'm there.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Go, Team Venture!

My first temptation is to opine, somewhat pompously, that Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" programming block has been a victim of its own success, because I don't enjoy many of its recent additions nearly as much as I enjoyed its original lineup. Adult Swim started attracting attention when ratings revealed that it was attracting more of a certain desirable young-male demographic than the late-night talk and comedy shows on the broadcast networks. The network jumped on that success, going so far as to break Adult Swim away from Cartoon Network as a separate entity for ratings purposes.

At 43, I'm far out of that demographic, and so the fact of the matter is that if any of Adult Swim appeals to me, it's a happy accident.

I am, let it be said, thrilled that one of my favorite Adult Swim shows will have its long-awaited second season starting this summer. Now would be a perfect time for those of you who haven't discovered it to catch up.

I'm talking about "The Venture Bros.", a parody of Jonny Quest, the Hardy Boys and comic book superheroes in general. It manages to be both smart and goofy, often simultaneously.

Clueless, painfully naive Dean and Hank Venture are being raised by their widowed father, Dr. "Rusty" Venture, a scientist who can never quite escape his own famous father's shadow, and by Brock Samson, the he man's he man's he man, with security clearance and a license to kill. (Race Bannon, Brock's obvious inspiration, makes a very funny cameo in one episode.) Helper, the family's wordless robot, tends to get bent or broken on a regular basis.

The Monarch, a butterfly-themed supervillian, and his gravel-voiced paramour, Dr. Girlfriend, pop up frequently. The show's treatment of its supervillians is quite similar to the animated version of "The Tick," which can now be seen in reruns on Toon Disney. One of the best episodes had Dr. Venture taking a research job with a team of scientists who were thinly-veiled (very thinly-veiled) parodies of the Fantastic Four.

Right now, Adult Swim is airing "The Venture Bros." Saturday nights at 10 p.m. Central time. Check it out.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Top Ten Ways to misspell "Gaius"

From the home office in Wahoo, Neb. ....

10) Guyess

9) Geyeuss

8) Gasteyer

7) Pat Buchanan (Palm Beach, Fla., ballots only)

6) Gross

5) Guy+Six

4) Guess

3) Guinness? Brilliant!

2) Goofy


1) Jar-Jar

Nightmare Galactica

I'm sure that Big Orange Michael will be over shortly to post his official recap. Those recaps top anything I could ever do in terms of letting an audience know the intricacies of what happened in a show.

This post is solely about my reactions to the show. So expect SPOILERS throughout.

This Battlestar Galactica season finale episode has stayed with me for 12 hours now. I'm sure I'll be thinking about it a lot over the next few days, and I know I'll be watching it at least one more time this weekend to allow me to process it all.

The first major change is that instead of being a microtime episode, where they deal with a few hours or days this was a hugely macrotime episode, covering more than a year's worth of events. Major revelations that would, on any other show, take weeks to play out were tossed off in a matter of minutes. I was envisioning an entire hour of Kara's team pinned down on Caprica. Instead, they were back within 20 minutes. The Dean Stockwell Stowaway was identified as a Cylon instantly and put out the airlock after he delivered his "don't bug us, and we won't bug you" message.

The election was a tour de force of principles and how the morality of a few characters shapes the outcome of the entire fleet. And this outcome was not good. They decide to permanently settle in the parking lot of a Dead show outside of Seattle. Rain, mud and tacky-ass tents are everywhere. Baltar, our fearless leader, is a modern-day Nero. He's replaced the Dry Erase Board Of Life with a picture of himself (no, he still hasn't cut his hair....) and spends all day popping pills and whores. So, basically, it's the Kennedy era in space. (Oh come on, it's a joke. No, Kennedy was not a traitor like Baltar...) And of course we have the saddest thing. What happens to an army when there is no enemy? They become fat , pregnant, nagging and, in the case of Adama Sr., Juan Valdez. Seriously, did they put all the barbers out the airlock when they settled "New Caprica"?

All that is beside the point, because in a 10-minute tour de force we see the fleet desert the settlers, Baltar surrender to the occupying Cylon force and a phalanx of toasters marching past the Vegan Puppeteers stalls on the main mudway. It freaked me out. To put it mildly.

Random thoughts:

--I hope Gaeta's happy with himself. He did get out of uniform and into the new Prince 2006 designer wear. It's flattering but he looks pompous.

--How exactly did they misspell Baltar's first name? I can see some prankster printing up ballots that read "Gayest" Baltar. Those punks on the Zephyr....

--Seriously. I mean, SERIOUSLY. If they start off the new season in October with some "Eight Months Earlier" crap, I'm gonna be majorly pissed. I know we still have to find out what happened between Kara & Lee, but I don't wanna see it, I don't think.

--I'm looking forward to the overlay text "Cylon-Occupied New Caprica. Karl C. Agathon. Call Sign Helo." I miss that.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A SciFi Rumor

We found out yesterday that season three of Battlestar won't hit the airwaves until October.

Rumors have surfaced of the Net that SciFi may be delaying the new season of Battlestar to see how the new series of Doctor Who does in the ratings. Should the new Doctor Who be a success, we'd get the second series starting right after the first.

This rumor could have some credence since it's about a 14 week delay and with the Christmas special, the new season of Doctor Who would run 14 weeks.

This is all speculation, of course.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Galactica season three...

From TV Guide On-Lines comes this report...
THIS 'N' THAT: Battlestar Galactica, which will air its sophomore-season finale on Friday, has announced an April start for production on Season 3, to premiere in October....
October?!? You've got to be frakkin' kidding me!

It's Mutant Enemy reunion night

Former Angel stars Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof have signed on for guest roles in the season finale of How I Met Your Mother. As most of you know, the series stars former Mutant Enemy star Allyson Hannigan.

Acker will play a love interest for Barney who is aware of native American rituals. That should be interesting.

And as most of you know, Denisof is officially one of the luckiest men alive since he's married to Allyson Hannigan.

I wonder if they could find a way to get Nicholas Brendan to guest star as well..that would be awesome!

An end and a beginning

As I've stated at least 1700 times this week, Battlestar Galactica wraps up the second season tomorrow night at 9 p.m. CST with the big 90-minute season finale.

But as one show ends, two other favorites begin.

I'd be a bad TV fan if I didn't point out that I'm pretty jazzed for the return of The Sopranoes Sunday evening. It's been far too long since we checked in with Tony and the gang. I hope I can remember all the plot threads that are running....

I have to admit, Tony Soprano ranks right up there with Vic Mackey as the two best anti-heroes on television. The Sopranoes starts up Sunday at 8 p.m. CST. (And if re-aired 17 times during the week..but seriously, skip that Wisteria Lane show. The Sopranoes is better!)

And in just over a week, the greatest television show to EVER grace the airwaves makes its American debut. Yes, Doctor Who returns with a 2-hour kick off, featuring the first two episodes of the new series. I have to admit, I was pretty excited to browse the TV Guide On-Line listings and find Doctor Who listed again. I can't tell you how cool that is.

I know it's St Patrick's Day, but I beg you to give the new Doctor Who a chance. I only ask for 11 weeks of your life to watch the greatest show to EVER exist. I've seen the episodes but I'll be watching again. Tune in with me!

Doctor Who airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on SciFi starting March 17th.

Cinderella Man & DaVinci Code

Glen Dean spoke highly of this, so I topped off my Netflix queue with a copy and finally sat down to watch it tonight. It was pretty good, insofar as it was nice to see someone have their life turn out okay.

I really liked the end, but I realized part way through that it reminded me of the end of Apollo 13. That's not a bad thing, given that Ron Howard's space epic is one of my top 10 favourite films. The way they intercut the final match with the reaction shots of the community was eerily similar. I kept waiting to see Ed Harris in the white vest chewing his knuckles and waiting for the four-minute Loss Of Signal to be over with.

I also realised that I have absolutely no understanding of boxing. I've seen a ton of boxing movies, but I literally have no idea what they're doing. I also realised that I have no idea why boxing is called "the sweet science".

I admit to being curious about Da Vinci Code. I read and enjoyed the book, despite it's questionability. Watching Cinderella Man reminded me of how much I appreciate Ron Howard's directing style, and I'd really like to see what he does with Code. It's a very visual story, and I'd like to see how that's depicted on screen. There's a part of me, though, that does have a wee bit of a problem with certain aspects of the story. I also admit that I'm openly rooting for the Holy Blood, Holy Grail guys in their ongoing plaigarism lawsuit . Sure, their book was a crappier version of the same story, but they did publish it first. I guess I'll take a wait and see on it. If worse comes to worse I can get it from Netflix next March.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Season Finale Hints

In his latest podcast/commentary on "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1," series producer Ron Moore dropped some hints about this week's 90-minute season finale of Battlestar Galactica.

Moore was joined on the podcast by his wife, who stated she hated the story for about two weeks after she saw it and that it does change things significantly for sesaon three. (She admits that the more she thought about it, the more she liked it and is now on the side of being positive about where the storylines are going)

I have to admit, this has me curious and anticipating the season finale that much more. There was nothing specific given away or clues dropped as Moore has done in previous podcast (such as giving away that Lee would be promoted to Major about three weeks before it happened on screen).

But it does fuel the intense speculation and debate about where Galactica could be headed. And it makes me wonder even more--does Ron Moore have the guts to have Baltar will the election and retain the presidency beyond an episode or two?

In related news: Peter David has just completed a Battlestar novel that will be published this summer. Let me just say--yay!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Scrubs podcast/commentary

I love Scrubs. It's one of the funnier shows on TV and I can usually count on there being at least one great Dr Cox line per show.

For the next three weeks, NBC will be airing some of the cast and crew's favorite episodes of the show in the 8:30 p.m. time slot (new episodes of season five continue at 8 p.m.) In addition, NBC is offering podcast commentaries on the favorite episodes on their web site.

The first one for tonight's episode "My Last Chance" is available at NBC's web site. The episode is series star Zach Braff's favorite episode and comes from season four. Braff directed the episode and it features guest star Heather Graham. Watch, listen, enjoy!

24 Review/Recap

Day Five, 5 - 7 p.m.
Well, we're at the halfway mark of day five and I'll give 24 this--it's been one heck of a rollercoaster ride. So far we've had two regular characters shuffle off this mortal coil and at least three shifts of who the main bad guy could possibly be. Not bad for 24, where the plots to overthrow civilization as we know it seem to change almost hour by hour.

As I was watching this episode, I had to wonder some things. First of all, the terrorists only seem to have a limited quantity of the centox nerve gas. They started with 20 canisters and are now down to 17 becuase they seem willing to use the gas anytime, anywhere for just about anything. We used one at a mall to test the arming chip, we used one at the hospital as a distraction and then we used one in CTU headquarters. Logistically, I'm still coming up with why the hospital was a destraction ploy to cover that one authentic target is CTU HQ. I mean, if your goal is to kill off a bunch of CTU agents and throw that branch of the law enforcement into total chaos, why give the good guys a chance to be off-site? I'm referring, of course, to having Jack off-site since we all know that had a large number of CTU regular staffers died (such as Buchanan, Chloe, Edgar, Audrey) Jack would have been hella-pissed and gone nuts. At this point the terrorists could have just bent over and kissed their posteriors goodbye because Jack Buaer is coming and he's really upset.

In a way it's better for Logan since the more gas the terrorists use in random places, the less targets he has to come up with a way to logistically defend. Speaking of Logan, was there ever a politician who went with the breeze more than Logan? (Please, no political commentary...we're dealing with the fictional 24 universe here). This guy changes his mind more often than some people change pants. Well, I think we should take a hard stance with these terrorists, no let's give them the motorcade route, no let's declare marshal law. It seems as if Logan is the ultimate "whatever the current idea is, that's what I'm going with" guy. Seriously, telemarketers must have this guy on speed dial because all it takes is a pretty good sales pitch and this guy will buy whatever you're selling. It makes me wonder how he listened to David Palmer for two consecutive hours last year without deciding that David was full of it. Oh wait...

And to watch Logan try to backtrack to cover up what he's done. "Oh, Mr. Subarov, I think we should enforce our treaty." Never mind that I sold you out to the terrorists to protect the United States. "Oh honey, I didn't know what to do but I had to weigh your one life vs the thousands who could die if the nerve gas were deployed." Seems to me that there is a power struggle being set-up at the top. And give Mike Novak some credit, he is playing the game well. His realization that having Martha Logan on his side to convince Logan to back off the aggressive marshal law stance was a nice move. And having watched 24 for more than three episodes, I'm immediately suspicious of the new vice president who wants to circumvent the rules of declaring marshal law. Yeah, I have a sneaking suspicion that he's in on the plot and that may have been what David Palmer wanted to warn Martha about.

Meanwhile, Jack displays his prowess at really not getting through to people at all. He tries to get information out of Henderson using the patented Jack Bauer interrogation techniques that he learned from the guy. Which Jack has learned to think of the fly as he shoots the guy's wife in the leg to see if it will make him talk. Yeah, I can't say that one I didn't see coming a mile away.

I will also go out on a limb and predict that Tony will somehow beat up or inflict harm on Henderson. It seemed as if the story was trying very hard to put these two in a room together.

Meanwhile, I've just got to say it--how bad is security over at CTU? Also, how much trouble is Lynn in since his key card was used to infilitrate the building. Good thing L.A.P.D. happened to rush over to find his sister's body less than half an hour after her death and warn CTU or else we'd have a lot higher body count and not just poor Edgar and the new girl who Lynn fired last week. Of course, we're assuming Lynn made it out alive and wasn't a victim of the attack... poor Edgar. Now, on several sites yesterday such as USA Today, I heard that there was a huge shocker to the episode last night. And so, I kept expecting to find out the identity of someone as a bad guy or Jack to dress up in drag and do the hula or Kim to actually add something to the plotline. I never really saw Edgar dying until about two minutes before it happened when Edgar found the canister and it started to release the gas. I figured he'd either die in the ventallation room with Carrie or he'd somehow die in the attack. That said, his death was pretty stunning and moving, watching as he succumbed to the gas and Chloe's reaction.

I'd be careful if I were Henderson now. Chloe is pisssed and we all saw what happened last year when Chloe got pissed.

We're halfway home and the day is still going strong. Let's see where the next 12 hours take us.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Recap/Review

Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1
So, Friday night I actually had plans to hang with some friends and I missed seeing Battlestar "live". (No worries to all of my single female readers/ wasn't a date. I'm still single!) Anyway, because of that I had to record Galactica and wait until Saturday afternoon to catch-up on the events in the Colonial fleet. (In a sad, side-note, I did make sure I got home before the midnight showing in case there were a VCR snafu)

Anyway, I bring that becasue watching the show on videotape, I felt like I was just barely getting settled in when, suddenly, it was over. I found myself hitting the rewind, seeing the words "To Be Continued" flash on screen and going--no, wait, surely there must be more! Maybe both week were extended to 90 minutes because damn, Battlestar was going really, really well. All I know is--it's going to be a long couple of days to wait for the next part and I have a strange feeling we're in for a heck of a long wait for the new episodes to return this summer.

One of the things about a great TV show (and Battlestar is a great TV show) is how it can explore new directions for characters which on other shows might seem to come out of left field but instead feel authentic and while they weren't directly hinted at on screen, looking back you can see how it was developed. Babylon Five was really good at this--I specifically refer to the plotline of Nadira, who was a throw-away conquest of the week for Londo in season one and in season three turns out to be the lynchpin of the entire series.

I'll give you that the Tyrol guilt and death-wish weren't quite as series-changing but it was still something that was absolutely right and worked for the character. It makes sense that he's wonder if he was a Cylon and beat himself up for the fact that he could be. And that he wants to die rather than bring more harm to the Fleet. Or, more likely, that he wants to die to get rid of the feelings of guilt and self-loathing he feels. He loved Boomer and she turned out to betray everyone and everything in the fleet...I can bet that'd be pretty hard to take, made worse by the fact that Helo returns from Caprica with the same woman (at least externally) who has chosen your buddy over you. It must be hard to stand by and watch the woman you love have some kind of life and potential future with another guy...and the thing is, the only thing Tyrol did "wrong" was to love the other Sharon and want to build a life with her. But despite all his bravado and swaggering that he's OK, he's not. And it shows up here in a compelling way that makes the character that much more interesting.

Of course, it only helps that he gets to play scenes off Dean Stockwell. Man, I knew Stockwell was good--just see any episode of Quantum Leap that focuses on Al, but he just took it up a notch here. I have to wonder--did Ron Moore write this part specifically for Stockwell? I guess I'll give the podcast a listen and find out. But all I can say is--Stockwell was great as a very unorthodox religious man. (On a side note, what is it with Galatica's figures who should offer comfort but really don't. We've got Doc Codell who is a great doctor but his bed side manner sucks and we've got Stockwell's priest who has next to no patience and comfort for Tyrol. Interesting that two professions we generally associate with providing comfort (well, unlesss you're House) and they offer the stark reality that the world is a hard place, so just deal with it and move on. I have to admit, I like that).

And yet, this was not the only thing going on. There's a lot going on here and the thing is--it all flows together seamlessly. I never felt as if one plotline of the other was getting the short end of the stick nor did I feel impatient to get back to one storyline from another. Instead, I found them all compelling, interesting and rivetting. I will admit the political side of things was of great note as we see Baltar's campaign get the boost it needs to possibly win. I've got to give Battlestar Galactica huge props I watched the episode, I found myself wondering, does the show have the guts to have Laura Roslin lose and make Gaius Baltar the leader of the colonies? Not to run down Star Trek, but any time you saw another captain come on board and seize command, you knew that by the end of the story Kirk or Picard would be back in the big chair and all would be right with the chain of command. But here we have the potential that Roslin could lose and it seems as if Ron Moore would actually write that to happen and then explore it. And there'd be no magic reset button at the end, I don't think. It makes me wonder if Baltar should win, would he then be exposed as a Cylon traitor?

At first, it seems laughable that Roslin would lose. But now, it seems less so. It seems as if Baltar could win and it seems as if Battlestar has the courage to allow that to happen. (And if you watched the previews and it shows you who win the election, don't tell me! I delibarately skip previews!)

Meanwhile, Kara heads out to keep her promise to Anders. Along the way, one Raptor crew discovers a planet that could be a suitable home for the fleet. As I watched this, I found myself reminded of an early episode of Voyager where the crew finds a suitable planet and must decide--do we keep on going or settle here? Of course, Janeway wants to keep on trekkin' for home, but there is some question of why not settle here? The problem there was I never felt as if the crew would decide not to stay. There was little dissension in the ranks and in the end, Janeway asks anyone who wants to stay to hurry on down to a shuttlebay and, golly, no one shows up. I found that a bit hard to believe that the entire crew would be of one mind in that way, especially since Voyager was built on the premise that you two crews with different world-views shoved together and having to find ways to work together. For no one to say--well, maybe it might be a good idea to get off here and take our chances rang false and was one of the reasons I found Voyager a less than satisfying Trek show.

All that said, I found that Galactica's fleet actually having some dissension and debate over it was nice. And it's nice that Roslin says--nah, we're not staying and people go--but wait a minute, shouldn't we think about it. I know--it's different things comparing the philosophies of Trek and Galactica...but humans are humans, I think. And I find the portrayal of the reaction from finding a potentially suitable home for the fleet more believable here. Again, I think Ron Moore has learned lessons from the storytelling confines of Star Trek and is using them here to make the Galactica experience as rich as it is. And please, don't take this as endorsing one show over the other--I love both. But I watch both and the comparisons come up in my mind..and Ron Moore has worked in both shows. So, there's another frame of reference.

And then, we've got resucing Anders on from Caprica. Now, there was some sadistic part of me that thought we'd get to Caprica to find he'd died that day or something--just to send Kara completely off the deep end. I still have a feeling that not every character is going to survive this season finale and right now, my money is on Anders and Tyrol to shuffle off this mortal coil. But as I've learned from watching Galactica, nothing is certain and that could change from minute to minute as we head into the 9o-minute season finale this week.

I have a feeling, this is going to be good...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

"That's all," states Stan.

Tonight's Robert Smigel cartoon on SNL was a real hoot. Introduced in live action by Dennis Haysbert, it was actually three little snippets, a supposed history of black characters in Saturday morning animation:

  • "The Token Gang," a superhero group composed of the token black characters from "Peanuts," "Josie and the Pussycats" and "Ghostbusters";

  • "The Hoke and Daisy Show," a Saturday morning adaptation of "Driving Miss Daisy" featuring a flying car; and

  • "Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Space," which speaks for itself.

The only real hitch was that Haysbert stumbled over the cue cards and started to crack a smile. And he wasn't the first person to do so during the show. Seth Myers started to break up for no reason during a forgettable sketch about a smoothie bar, and it didn't help that he was standing next to Horatio Sanz, who is sloppy about breaking character to the point of being unprofessional.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Tonight

Dean Stockwell, best known as Al from Quantum Leap, will be making a guest appearance on the first part of the season finale of Battlestar Galactica.

As I thought about it, I wondered how cool would it be to have Scott Bakula cameo as someone that only Dean Stockwell's character could see?!?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Nashville Schedule Change

I know we've got quite a few fans of the NBC show The Office out there and I figure y'all might find this information helpful.

Seems that channel 4 will show the American Baby Casting Call this evening at 8:30 instead of the new episode of The Office. Said episode will air at 1:35 a.m.

Set your VCRs and TiVOs accordingly.

Lost Recap/Review

Maternity Leave
For the second time this season, we have an episode that doesn't flashback to a castaway's time before the island, but to events that took place on the island. In this case, we finally get some clues as to what happened to Claire when Ethan came and took her off into the jungle back in season one.

It's easy to forget sometimes that in time on the show, it's only been about a month or so since that happened while in the real world that we all live in, it's been over a year since those events unfolded.

I'll say this--I'm glad they decided to deal with the issue of what happened to Claire. But in looking at the episode, I'm not sure we got any more answers than when we started. We knew the Others had some interest in Aaron but we weren't sure why. Now, we know that had an interest in him and wanted to take him from Claire once he was born. But why? And what exactly were they injecting him with? And was it necessary to keep him from being infected? No real answer on that front because Aaron gets over the ailment that sends Claire off the maternal deep end (can't blame her really) and out into the jungle looking for the bunker she was held in. So was it just a normal sickness associated with kids that age or was it something more sinister? I guess we'll have to wait and find out. And I've got to admit, that is kind of frustrating because on the surface it feels like we've learned something, but deep down we've not covered much new ground. In a lot of ways, we're treading water.

We did get some other revelations that could feel important. I didn't go back and freeze frame the tape, but was one of the symbols we saw with the counter got down to zero on the walls of the bunker in Claire's flashbacks with Ethan? And could that be important in the long run or are they just teasing us?

Also, we see Zeke without his beard. And it appears this is a disguise used for--well, I'm not sure why. Is there some connection between Zeke and one of the castaways from before they were trapped on the island?

We also find out that Danielle helped to save Claire when she was under the Jedi mind trick power of Ethan by knocking her out and dragging her off into the jungle. We also find out that Alex is a daughter and it's pretty strongly implied that it was Alex who rescued Claire before the Others could perform a c section to get Aaron and probably kill Claire. How this will play out--I'm not sure. Does it mean the group will trust Danielle more now? Or does it just show that while Danielle is interested in getting Alex back, she does have some limits. She wouldn't let them take and kill Claire, but she will take Aaron to get Alex back.

Also, while I can get Claire's obssesion with wanting to do what is right for Aaron, did she really expect to the Others to leave vials of this alleged cure around sitting around after they abandonded the bunker?

Elsewhere, the power struggle between Locke and Jack continues. Which it'd be a bit more compelling if this went somewhere rather than being the equivalent of two boys on the playground arguing who was better. "No I am!" "No I AM!" NO! I AM!" You get the point. And could we have a bit more obvious foreshadowing than Locke bringing up the Hemingway story? Oh he was in the shadow of a genius and yada, yada, yada. Anyone who didn't see the revelation that Locke may consider himself the Hemingway to Jack's Dostoevsky coming a mile away take a step back.

I'm interested to see that Gale has found this weakness in the fabric of the group and is ready to exploit it. I am hoping this might push things forward a bit and make this power struggle actaually take on some momentum other than two people arguing about it every week. It could be interesting given that Jack is a reluctant leader and we've seen from Locke's flashbacks that he does not deal well with not being in control of certain aspects of his life. He wants to be the leader but the group hasn't given him that place as they have Jack. So this could lead to a power struggle that could play into exactly what the Others want.

And Eko plays a part this week, figuring out that we've got a potential Other and going to him to confess his sins. I guess I'm too into Battlestar Galactica right now but I fully expected Eko to say--oh I killed you and now you're back. But the confession of killing two of them--yeah, it was OK. But I really wanted him to say--"I saw you there" to Gale.

Anyway, I guess you could say that while this was a good episode of Lost, it wasn't great. It felt more momentous maybe than it really was. It's not time to hit the panic button yet but this is two episodes in a row that have covered the same basic ground as what we already knew about the characters. It's time to push those plots and characters forward.