All Along The Watchtower

films . videos . television

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Spin-Off Announced

It seems as if every sci-fi franchise is getting its own spin-off show these days. Stargate has one and there's a rumor a third series could be in the works, Doctor Who is getting one in Torchwood later this year with a potential show featuring K-9 for the kids rumored to be coming.

Now comes the word that Battlestar Galactica will get a spin-off. The series is set to take place 50 years before the start of the current series according to a report at TV Guide On-Line.

As a fan of Galactica, I'm intrigued by this but also wary. I worry they'll dilute the brilliance that is BSG with Ron Moore and company having to split focus between two shows. Of course Joss "The Man" Whedon did it--and he even had three shows on the air at one time in the fall of '02. So it can be done....

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

24 Review/Recap

Day Five: 1 - 2 a.m.
How many conspirators does it take to have this plan come to fruition?

Last night, we meet the latest evil genius masterminds behind the plan (hopefully these will be the last ones since we're running out of hours in the day).

Let's review who has been behind this plan as the day as unfolded: Walt Cummings, Bierko, Christopher Henderson, President Logan and now this new group led by ER's Dr Romano. I'm a bit confused as to how the chain of command works here, but maybe that's the point. I'm also a bit confused as to why Logan would go along with this group led by Dr Romano (not really the character's name but Paul Crane is best known for that role). I hope that it doesn't turn out that Logan will try to spin it as--well, I was cooperating with them in order to expose the evils of terrorism within our own country.

I do begin to wonder if this group somehow manipulated Logan into power. Did they somehow pull strings to get him into Oval Office so they could pull his strings?

I also wonder if these are questions that will ever be addressed or answered. Maybe, maybe not. We'll have to see.

The most interesting scenes of the show were where Logan reveals his evil plan to Martha. Logan's attempt to try and gain her sympathy were nicely done, as was her reaction of horror, revulsion and then hatred. As much as you want to hate the guy, you do have to feel a bit of sympathy for him when Martha tells him she hates him now. The look on his face as she left the room, leaving him alone there was nicely done. And would it not be cool if somehow Martha had worked with Mike Novak to wear a wire and incriminate Logan now. Of course, if they'd done that, it would eliminate the need for Jack to jump on a plane and get the digital recording of Logan conspiring with Henderson back and we'd not have much to do the rest of the day.

Speaking of Jack--it's interesting that the past few episodes he's been not been in every single scene. Events have unfolded without him at the center of it all. I think we went a stretch of about 20 minutes last night without anything major happening around Jack. He was off to the side and letting the supporting cast shine. I think part of it is they have to find new allies for Jack if he's going to succeed in stopping the conspiracy--whatever it's morphed into for the last five or so hours of day five.

Also, how cool was it when Curtis suddenly shows up at the barn to save Audrey and capture Henderson. Just when you thought it was going to be another instance of bad guy escaping so we can chase him around for a few hours, 24 goes and toys wth that assumption. Great move by the show. And to see Curtis back on the scene was nice. Again, I loved the look on Henderson's face when his plan failed and he realized there was really no way out this time.

Oh yeah and while I applaud Heller for his noble sacrifice, I don't think he's really dead. If the storyline needs him next year, he'll be back. It was left open-ended enough that Heller can crop up next year should he be needed. But you've got to think that Audrey will need some serious therapy should that happen. Two men in her life stage their own death and then reappear. I hope CTU's insurance covers mental health cause Audrey is gonna need it.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Jim Henson's Trek Babies

J.J. Abrams of "Lost," "Alias" and "MI:III" has been hired to produce and direct a new Star Trek movie which would be about Kirk and Spock meeting as cadets at Starfleet Academy.

I like the idea of bringing in fresh blood, but I hate the premise. As has already been pointed out elsewhere, whomever is cast as Kirk and Spock, no one will be satisfied. Is this supposed to tie in with the existing Trek continuity? If so, it bleeds all the dramatic tension out of the movie. There's no possible way that the main characters can be killed, so what's the risk?

Also, I don't believe it's ever been stated or hinted at that Kirk and Spock were classmates -- unless it was in the books, which I don't follow. One of the reasons I don't watch "Smallville" is that I think it's ridiculous and contrived to suppose that every single character in Superman's adult life just happens to fall off the train in a small Kansas farming community. He won't have to meet anyone new when he reaches adulthood; he'll have met them all already. This smacks of that same type of contrivance.

If we ever get another "Trek" TV series, I'm hoping it will be a "Galactica"-style reboot (I don't mean it should be as dark as "Galactica," just that it should be a reimagining of the series rather than a sequel or prequel).

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

24 Review/Recap

Day Five: Midnight to 1 a.m.
I was right! I knew that Jack's coming into possession of the digital recording of Logan conspiring with Henderson was too easy and would somehow fall into the wrong hands so we'd spend at least one of the last few hours of day five chasing it around L.A.

I have to ask this--does it make sense of Henderson to keep in in tact? Surely it makes sense that he should destroy the recording somehow. As we saw in the last five or so minutes, without the proof that Logan is the mastermind of this plot, it's going to be hard to make a case against him or get him to step down. I wonder if this plot will have to be resolved with a second President buying the farm on day five of the show. Or perhaps Martha will serve as the conscience that Logan is so clearly in need of and force him to step aside.

Now, as cool as the idea of having Heller drive over to confront Logan was, I'm not sure how much sense it made. I get Heller's assertation that he didn't want to go public for fear of diminishing the presidency as an office and throwing the country into disarray. But wouldn't it make more sense to get the vice-president on your side as well so Logan can't pull the bait and switch he did in the episode's closing moments? If you are able to present the evidence to the vice president, then he might be able to better help you remove Logan from power. Also, Heller missed the chance to go, "Well, if I am such a crackpot as Logan says, why does he have a resignation letter drafted on his desk?"

I think Heller has overplayed his hand early. And it could end up costing him the life of his daughter. I had a feeling Audrey was in trouble yesterday when TV Guide On-Line posted a long interview with Kim Raver, talking about the show and being positive. Last time they had such a--golly, I sure love working on this show interview was with the actors who played Edgar and Tony..and we all see how that turned out. I am just not sure Jack's fragile grip on sanity can take losing Palmer, Tony, Michelle and Audrey all on the same day. If it does happen and I were Henderson, I'd find a way to leave the country immediately if not sooner as Jack is gonna be hella-pissed.

And after weeks of moaning about it, I was happy to hear the Chinese thread brought up. And it was brought up in a way that made sense! Man, I am telling you...I think the 24 writers are reading this blog and really listening to what I have to say. Of course, in my world the sky is also orange and UT wins the national title in every sport every year. So take that for what it's worth.

And wow, did we get a lot of cliffhangers to end this one. I am not sure we've ever had that many blocks within the scene, showing the number of cliffhanger moments we're going to have to pick up on next week. As I see it, they are: Audrey's injury that could leave her dead, Henderson has the evidence, Heller's been forced to resign, Chloe and company are on the run (though does it make sense to do all this covert stuff at Buchanan's house which might be the first place they'd look), Logan has almost absolute control of the situation and fan favorite agent Pierce might be dead. All I can say is I know a lot of us are gonna be pretty annoyed if Agent Pierce is gone.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Have you watched 'Robot Chicken' yet?

I hereby nominate "Robot Chicken" in the category of funniest show tonight to feature the voices of both Christian Slater and Phyllis Diller.

The Spoiler Warning

Like a kid who ransacks the house looking for Christmas presents in November, I love finding out spoilers about various movies and television programs that I'm interested in. Many of these shows, I just HAVE TO KNOW what's going to happen next. And like that kid on Christmas morning, I'm a little let down by the time the presents are unwrapped. It's a sickness. I need help. I need to stop.

Finding out the upcoming plot twists and such only undermines the storyteller's intent. Imagine during the children's portion an Easter service, when the preacher is telling the youngsters about the crucifixtion, some kid pipes up with "Yeah, but three days later he comes back!" I was that kid. Not only does it dull the impact of the story, it takes the wind out of the sails of the teller.

Having said that, whatever you do, don't go to AICN and look at the spoiler for the Sopranos. Don't highlight the invisotext to see what is in store for Vito. I did it and now I feel cheated. Whatever happens in the next episode or two, I'm going to be fixated on that one plot point to the expense of the rest of the story. I won't feel the emotional impact that the cast and crew worked hard to produce, just because I had to sneak a peek.

I need my memory selectively erased. I need to wash my eyeballs out with soap. Preferably Lava or Irish Spring. I need to go back in time and undo the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. I'm afraid of being cast out of Paradise.

Oh, and by the way, the chick in the Crying Game is really a dude and Bruce Willis is a ghost.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Uncle Walt spins in his cryo-chamber

Well, I hope you saw the Robert Smigel cartoon "Journey to the Disney Vault" on SNL tonight, because something tells me the Disney lawyers may keep it from being rerun. Smigel has picked on Disney before, but the use of Mickey Mouse as a character and the redubbing of a clip from "Song of the South" may be more than the studio will let slide.

As you know, Disney does not have all its animation product in release at once, and it promotes its limited-time-only DVD releases by saying that after such-and-such a date, the movie will go "back into the Disney vault." The cartoon started as an ad for a variety of non-existent sequels which are headed "back into the vault," then shows a young boy and girl disappointed at this fact and wishing they could visit the Disney vault. Then we find out we're actually watching a promo for yet another animated film, "Journey to the Disney Vault."

Anyway, when the kids arrive they find Mickey Mouse, Uncle Walt's frozen head, and a clip from "Song of the South" in which Uncle Remus has been overdubbed with white-supremacist lyrics. (Mickey tells the kids that Walt only showed this version at parties.) Mickey also makes reference to Uncle Walt's cooperation with the House Un-American Activites Committee.

Funny stuff, but I wonder if we'll see it again.

Friday, April 14, 2006

An Honest Days Work For...?

Here's a fun little rundown of some randomly sampled movie star salaries. When I say "randomly sampled", that doesn't mean I cherry picked these for my own purposes, or anything.

Charlton Heston The Bucanneer $250,000
Steve McQueen The Thomas Crown Affair $700,000
Sigourney Weaver Aliens $1,000,000
Pierce Brosnan GoldenEye $4,000,000
Jack Nicholson A Few Good Men $5,000,000


Chris Farley Beverly Hills Ninja $6,000,000
Jennifer Lopez Gigli $12,000,000
Sharon Stone Basic Instinct 2 $13,600,000
Halle Berry Catwoman $14,000,000
Nicole Kidman The Stepford Wives $15,000,000

The evidence is clear, actresses are vastly overpaid.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lost Recap/Review

At long last, we get the backstory of two island dwellers who aren't part of the main cast--Bernard and Rose. From what I understand, there has been a pretty loud clamor in the fan community for this story. What interests me most about this is that we didn't really know much, if anything about Bernard (including if he's alive) until this season.

I will give them this--the reunion of Rose and Bernard was one of the most memorable and moving moments in the history of the show.

So, to have a backstory for them is not a bad thing.

Once again, we have a little Mutant Enemy reunion. I found it ironic that this time, Sam Anderson is trying to be a boss-figure to Daniel Dae-Kim and this time Dae-Kim can tell him to stick it and walk off. Try doing that at Wolfram and Hart and see how far it gets you.

Bernard and Rose are the manifestation of the two groups on the island-those who want to stay and those who would prefer to be rescued. Interesting to also see that Rose is all about enjoying the days she has left in this world, while Bernard can't accept her fate and wants to do something, anything about it. I love the give and take as Rose tries to convince Bernard she's made peace with her mortality and she just wants to enjoy the time she has with him. In some ways, it's like a compressed version of the character arc that is going on this season for Tony Soprano over on The Sopranos. Tony has decided every day is a gift, though in his world there are some days to dig around for the gift receipt and see if you can get a return.

My theory has been that the island is giving people what they need and/or want. It's interesting to see Rose visit the guru in the Australian outback and not be able to be healed, but she is healed on the island. Did it take nearly losing Bernard and missing him to make her want to be healed and to not be as resigned to her fate? Is that what helped her to find healing on the island? It's an interesting theory and one that could bear out as the story progresses.

Meanwhile, Rose is the one person on the island who knows Locke's secret. And she also shares his faith in the island, which is sorely tested. If anything, Henry has managed to make Locke question his faith in himself and the island in this epiosde. Luckily, Rose came along at the right time to help Locke regain some of his faith, though how solid a ground that's on, we'll have to see. I have a feeling that Henry will throw a monkey wrench or two into that equation.

Which brings up an intersting idea to me. Follow me here. Assume that the island is giving people what they want and/or need. Is the real purpose of the Others to serve as some kind of distraction from that? Does the island require some kind of blind faith of those who follow it and to the Others need to disrupt that? Is there some battle going on there and the Others are a manifestation of one side? If you follow that reasoning, could having Walt be important to the Others as some kind of power source or bargaining chip or leader in their side of this, for lack of a better word, crusade? And will Aaron eventually become a target as well since from all we've seen the island seemed to want and need him born and living there.

It's an interesting idea. If we're having some kind of spiritual battle here with the souls of the inhabititants as the prize, then what has happened to Boone and Shannon? Which side did they end up on--heaven or hell? Or are they in some purgatory waiting the outcome of this battle?

OK, I've really wandered off on a huge tangent there this week...

Back to the episode as whole.

Now, I know that fellow bloggers have complained that the past few weeks has been 50 minutes of build-up and then 10 minutes of action and plot-twists. I can't argue that, but I do think this week gets the balance better. Jack decides it's time to face the Others on their terms and bargain to get Michael and Walt back. So he and Kate head out to the point where they weren't supposed to cross and wait. And there's tons of sexual tension along the way. Thankfully Michael has escaped from the Others just in time to come running out of the jungle before Jack busts a move on Kate by the fire and we get some Scantily Clad Kate time. The loud, "Dammit!!" you heard last night was me, teased by the thought of some Scantily Clad Kate scenes.

Meanwhile, Henry Gale is in full out manipulation mode. He has power over Locke by his silence. How cool was the scene with Henry smiling to himself in his cell as Locke begged for answers. He knows exactly what he's doing, though what his overall agenda is, I'm still not sure. I have to wonder if it's a divide and conquer thing. As much as Jack and Locke don't get along and disagree, they could be stronger together as leaders. Split the apparent leadership of the group and you could split the group. Also, I find it interesting that as the season goes along, the overall threat of the Others has become less and less worrisome to the castaways. As we saw on the season finale of Battlestar Galactica, an enemy can lull you into a false sense of security and comfort, coming in and lowering the hammer when you're getting comfortable and thinking your worries are long past. The Others have not come on the aggressive since taking Aaron and pursing the Tailies through the jungle. They say they will respect a boundry, but is all that a false sense of security?

And will we see the big bad that Henry referred to as the real power before season's end? Or will that be one of the many mysteries to contemplate, fret and worry over as we spend all summer dissected season two in anticipation of season three?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Don't forget!

Veronica Mars moves to her new timeslot tonight! Veronica returns to her original time-slot of Tuesdays at 8 p.m. CST for the remainder of the season.

It's a tough time-slot what with House, Scrubs and a bunch of other shows on. But I hope the show makes it to season three. If not, I shall riot in the streets....

24 Review/Recap

Day Five, 11 p.m - Midnight
Jack Bauer: Is there anything he can't do? He is a field doctor, he avoids military patrols! He can do it all! He can break into a house in the middle of the night, kidnap a man, break into a bank vault and escape from the forces of evil without breaking a sweat. I'm telling you--there is nothing this man can't do. I seriously think season five will end with Jack taking out Logan and setting himself up to be president when the voters of L.A. all vote him into power. Really at this point, the only thing Jack hasn't done is make jualine fries, but you never know when that might come in handy in the next seven hours.

Wayne: How are we going to tempt Logan out of his secure Presidential compound?

Martha: He sure does love jualine fries.

Jack: I'm on it!

Once again, this is one of those episodes that if you stop and think about it, the little details start to unravel. For example, how did Evelyn find time during the day to record the conversation between Henderson and Logan, leave the Presidential estate with it and open a safety deposit box to put the digital recording in? I mean, sure if she'd had the evidence on her person or hidden somewhere at the compound than Logan could easily get hold of it or Henderson could drop by for pizza and to pick it up. Then we'd have Jack and company chasing Henderson around, trying to retrieve the evidence (something we've seen before many times). Also, it brings in to question that whole timeline of things for setting the events of this day in motion--when did Logan hatch this plot? When did he contact and recruit Henderson? And just how long has he known that Jack is alive? And really, if he knew Jack was alive all this time and wanted to frame him for the murder of Palmer, why would he not have the back-up plan of turnig him over to the Chinese? That more than anything else that Logan has--fake evidence of Jack's involvement in the murder of Plamer aside--is the best bargaining chip and weapon that Logan could have. And they had a perfect way to work that in. Instead of Logan wandering about, blustering that he's got new evidence and everyone should just shup up and accept it because, by jimminy, he's president, if he says--"oh yeah, the Chinese called and they want Bauer. For the safety and security of America, I've got to let them take him in", then you'd get a lot fewer questions of whether or not this order is right, wrong or indifferent.

But that didn't happen. Namely because I think the writing staff has forgotten about this little plot thread. I guess I should just give it up and let it go as well.

Anyway, moving on.

So, Jack's new partner of the moment is Wayne Palmer. Has Wayne checked the track record of Jack's previous partners becuase it's not so good. Anyone want to bet that Wayne is either killed or seriously wounded by day's end?

Meanwhile, over at CTU no one trusts anyone esle. It's like an entire office full of clones of the Cigarette Smoking Man. Seriously, if CTU put half as much effort into finding terrorists as they did into policing themselves, the world would be a much safer place. Chloe is keeping an eye on things for Audrey and the head honchos are watching Chloe and Audrey because they want to get to Jack. And my goodness, my head is starting to hurt as I try to figure out who is on what side of this equation. And the thing is--with 24 it could change from episode to episode. Such as we saw here. Last week, the people from Homeland Security were hell-bent on the "we are sure right in closing y'all down" and then this week they're questioning if they did the right thing. I could see that maybe after a few hours, but 10 minutes later? Again, I sometimes think that 24 forgets that only a few minutes have passed between episodes and not a huge chunk of time like 20 to 30 minutes.

As we often see in the pick-up to the cliffhangers. How they got from last week with Jack and company outside the vehicle with a wounded Evelyn to being inside the car, tearing down the streets of L.A. in two minutes is beyond me. I'm just saying--if I'm shot in the leg like Evelyn was, I'd not be moving so quickly no matter how much Jack yelled at me.

Now, last week I said that it was going to take a lot of work by the episode this week to convince me that having Logan as the chief mastermind of this horrible plot was a good idea. I can't honestly say I'm there yet. The thing is I'm not sure why Logan came up with this elaborate plan or what his motivation was. Yes, he spouted off that he wanted to make America more secure for the future but what led to this mis-guided patriotism of his? What motivated him other than having him as the mastermind behind the entire plot would be a really, really cool cliffhanger? And who approached who is this elaborate plot--was it Logan approaching Henderson or the other way around? Early in the day, we had Logan worried about establishing a legacy for his time in office and this treaty being the best way to do it. So did he create this series of events to help cement his legacy? Is he really so driven and blinded by his own ambition and desire to be part of history that he'd willingly kill thousands of his fellow Americans? And could he get away with setting all this up, considering how closely monitored the President of the United States is? (Not from a Big Brother standpoint, but from the security issues). Did no one go--gee, Logan sure is spending a lot of time off alone and talking on his cell phone....I wonder if he's up to something? And how does the President of the United States find time to get a cell phone that no one else knows about?

So many questions and I bet we only get answers to about one of them. Again, I may be thinking too much, but these seem to me to be pretty obvious questions.

Though I will admit, his scene with Martha was pretty good. Boy is Martha going to be pissed when she finds out she nearly had make-up sex with a man who orchestrated the entire day for his own gain. I am telling you, next season could be all about her righteous fury at Charles for his part in this plot and that would make for one hell of an interesting day.

Monday, April 10, 2006

24's Evil President: Planned from the start?

Tonight at 8 p.m. CST we get the first new episode of 24 after finding out President Logan is the mastermind of this season's conspiracy.

I'm still not quite sure if I'm sold on this being a great plot twist or a potential jump the shark moment for the show. Tonight's episode will pivotal in that regard.

Today's USA Today has an article about the latest plot twist and talks to the man behind President Logan, Gregory Itzin. Also, we find out that the producers and writers intended for Logan to be the man behind the conspiracy when they were mapping out day five back in October, but they didn't let Itzin know early in the season.

Good move? Bad move? One plot twist too many? We'll find out tonight...

Dave's Not Here, Man

Flak Magazine has a review of last week's Lost. It expounds on a few of the things that BOM brought up in his review/recap.

I especially liked the idea of a Unified Theory, as well as the obligatory invoking of Newhart, St. Elsewhere, Homicide, X-Files, Law & Order and of course, Arrested Development.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

SNL recap / review

This week's "Saturday Night Live," with Antonio Banderas as guest host, was somehow more than the sum of its parts. Several skits were lame, but Banderas was an eager and funny guest host and redeemed the episode overall, at least in my opinion. The show is always better when the host is willing to laugh at himself.

The cold open was "Anderson Cooper 360," with Banderas showing up early as Mexican president Vincente Fox and Jason Sudeikis (I think) as Rep. Ton Tancredo. Kenan was funny as a crazed-looking Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. I have to say, Seth Myers does a nice Anderson Cooper.

The opening monologue was wonderfully brief and hilarious, with Banderas ripping off his clothes to reveal a shimmering dress and an ample bosom as he announced that he is, in fact, a woman.

"Basic Instinct 2" is a pretty easy target for a fake ad, but at least they hit it.

The "Deal or No Deal" parody didn't do much for me.

The skit with Rache Dratch as a woman who works as the voice of one of those infuriating interactive telephone systems was a funny idea, but the execution seemed a little bit lame. It got better as it went along, but never really redeemed itself. At least it wasn't a "Debbie Downer" skit, which is what I first thought when I saw Dratch at a party.

"Besos y Lagrimas" -- they had done this skit, a parody of telenovelas, once before, and it only made sense to try it again with Banderas. The little visual gag of having the baby's shirt blow open, indicating it was Banderas' illegitimate child, was a hoot.

I had to laugh at the idea of "Kotex Light Days Stadium" as the setting for the Women's Basketball Coaches' Fashion Awards. (Yes, it reminded me of Larry The Cable Guy's prediction that feminine hygiene products would start sponsoring NASCAR events.)

Weekend Update: I thought it would have been a funny idea to have had Katie Couric (or, failing that, Meredith Viera) sitting at the anchor desk, but no dice. Darrell Hammond did show up as Dan Rather to comment on Couric's hiring. It's one of Hammond's best impressions. Will Forte also did an impression of a narcissistic Chad Michael Murray from "One Tree Hill," poking fun at the fact that he's been engaged to two of his co-stars at different points in time.

I had been hoping that maybe Chris Kattan would turn up for an episode of "The Antonio Banderas, How You say? Ah Yes, Show." I sort of got my wish; Kattan popped up during Update to castigate Amy and Tina for not having invited him onto that week's show, claiming that Banderas was his most popular character. This gave him an excuse to do just a sentence or two as Banderas. It would have been even funnier if he'd gotten a chance to do the full skit and interact somehow with the real Banderas, but it was still a nice moment. I'm also disappointed that Prince backed out of a similar situation a few weeks ago, leaving Fred Armisen to do "The Prince Show" by himself even though everyone knew that Prince, as that week's musical guest, was somewhere in the building.

You did, of course, get to see Banderas and Kattan standing together in the goodbyes.

Filming of Zorro: based on the idea that Banderas might refuse to kiss Catherine Zeta-Jones because of fear of bird flu, and that Horatio Sanz might therefore be hired as his stand-in. 'Nuff said.

The karaoke sketch was sort of pointless, but it was at least short.

Backstage skit: "I am tired of these Mexicans coming into our country and doing our jobs ... If NBC had its way, this whole cast would be border-jumping Mexicans." This turns into a pseudo-PSA with Armisen, Sanz and Banderas. "Many of us are criminals, and we intend to cut you with knives." Pretty funny.

The wine snob sketch was quite funny; they should have had it on earlier.

I know the episode doesn't sound very good, but somehow I liked it anyway.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Live, from the multiplex ....

I don't agree with some of the choices, but this list of the 20 best and worst movies by SNL cast members is certainly a good basis for discussion.

I haven't seen "Superstar," but I got tired of Molly Shannon's Mary Catherine Gallagher character -- and pretty much all of Molly Shannon's other characters -- long before this movie was made, so I know I would not have enjoyed it.

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

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lost Recap/Review

Maybe I just watch too much TV, but the twist of Dave being Hurley's version of Harvey was a bit obvious from the beginning. Sure, we knew Hurley was only seeing Dave on the island, but the elaborate lengths the show went to to show Dave seeming to interact with people (most noticeably the basketball game) but yet not really interacting with them worked. Just as we saw in The Sixth Sense, Dave never interacted with anything directly or influenced anything directly beyond Hurley.

So, I'm glad that wasn't the only central twist of the episode or else I'd have been disappointed big time.

And let's face it--Hurley is among the more interesting of the survivors on the island. So an episode focusing on his back story is probably going to be, at the least, entertaining. And this one was, for the most part. Sure the whole Dave thing was an obvious call (I think the writers made it so blatantly obvious to throw us off the scent of the big reveal that Libby was also in the mental institution with Hurley), but the rest of it worked fairly well. Interesting to see that Hurley punishes himself with food. His guilt causes him to eat, thus throwing up a protective shield around himself. He figures no one wants to get close to the overweight guy and creates his own self-fulfilling prophecies. Even to the point that while Lilly is obviously attracted to him, he has to talk himself out of it by having Dave convince him she's not real.

Which Lilly doesn't take all that well. But at least she takes it in stride enough to kiss him a couple of times.

The back story does bring up some questions. How did Hurley get released from the mental institution? Are we to infer that his locking Dave outside was his breaking from the non-reality that is Dave? And was Hurley still on his medication at the time and should be taking it now? Also, how dangerous to the rest of the group is Hurley is the barrier between reality and the world he's created starts to break down?

I did like the possible explanation that Dave offered to why everything is happening on the island. It's all a fantasy that Hurley has created in his mind. When he locked Dave out, his mind had a collapse and couldn't handle the information. So now Hurley is catatonic and in the pysch ward. It reminds me a bit of a Buffy episode "Normal Again" where its supposed that what if Buffy wasn't really the Slayer but was instead in a psych ward and hallucinating the whole experience so as to not deal with reality. It's an interesting idea, esp. the way Dave brings up the fact that everything could be way too coincidental to be believed. That said, I hope we don't find out the end game of the show is that this is all Libby's big fantasy.

Interesting also that on the island, every time Hurley ate, that triggered Dave's arrival. Whereas it seemed before that Dave's arrival was triggered by Hurley not eating. Could it be that Dave was there now to help Hurley get better and over his self-loathing and drowing that by eating?

And while I can see the theraputic value of destroying all the food, does it really make sense? I mean, here we are on an island with limited resources and Hurley destroys a good amount of food. Yeah, you know, just because you don't want to eat it, doesn't mean that maybe others don't. And if you want to be rid of it, I could see symbolically pouring out the ranch dressing and the returning the rest of the food to the group. Can you imagine how you'd feel as a fellow island dweller to be wandering in the woods and find all this perfectly good food just thrown away?

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the island, the interrogation of Henry Gale begins. Henry reveals that Zeke may not be the real genius behind all of the issues our heroes are having with the Others (what is this, 24?) and that our heroes haven't even met the real big bad yet. (Again, what is this, 24?) But you can bet that come season finale time, we'll either meet said head honcho big bad or we'll be coming to meeting him or her.

Henry continues his campaign of divide and conquer. He continues to work on Locke, saying that God is not watching the island and that the inhabitants there are outside His purvue. Interesting to try and rattle Locke's faith that way, esp. since his faith is being shaken in a lot of ways. Locke believes there is some grand masterplan to everything, which Henry is slowly eroding that by revealing--hey didn't put in the numbers and it all turned out OK and oh yeah, God doesn't care about us. I will admit the Henry interrogation took a backseat to Hurley and I have to admit I'm a bit irritated that we heard about Jack going to tell the group about Henry but didn't see it happen on screen. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lost scheduling for next year

America has spoken about the scheduling of new episodes of Lost this year. More succicently put, America has bitched about the fact that since the start of 2006, new episodes have been sporadic with repeats of last season mixed in and confusing the overall continuing storyline.

Thankfully, the producers have heard our moaning and may be willing to do something about it. Damon Lindeloff, one of the producers, is floating the idea of doing Lost as three blocks of new episodes next year. Basically, Lindeloff's plan is "when there's new episodes, you get a block and when there's repeats, you get nothing but repeats." The plan is to have three blocks of eight episodes for a total of 24 new episodes next year. The blocks would coincide with sweeps months, of course.

The only downside I can see to this--the new season wouldn't kick off until October.

Which as a fan of The X-Files and having to wait until practically Thankgiving each year for the new season to start when it was on FOX (yet another reason to hate baseball...damn playoffs go on too long!), the wait for Lost seems short by comparison.

The upside is that the series can build to two natural in-season cliffhanger per year. You can still have the overall story arc, but you can have mini-arcs within it that will reward viewers without them getting lost (no pun intended) or forgetting details that are pivotal to the plot. In short, I think it makes a whole lot of sense and that is the best reason I can think of as to why ABC won't do it...

A peek behind the curtain

In an effort to the BSGWS (Battlestar Galactica Withdrawal Syndrome) a bit more bearable for the fans at home (as if having new Doctor Who isn't enough!), Ron Moore has promised to post some supplemental podcasts over at SciFi's web site.

Normally, Ron Moore's podcasts work as an almost immediate release DVD commentary for the show. I've found them interesting to listen to as the show has progressed and I love the almost instant feedback and honesty we get from Moore. For example, earlier this year he admitted that "Black Market" didn't come out like he hoped and he took the blame for it.

Now to spice things up, Moore and company are posting a couple of recordings of a writer's meeting for the last season of the show. The first one covers the writing process for "Scar" and some of the later episodes of the season.

It's a fascinating look inside the writers room and to hear them hash out details on how the story could go and where it should go is fascinating. If you're suffering BSGWS, these might help keep you going until season three picks up in October.

Paging Michael ....

Battlestar Galactica has won a Peabody Award.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

24 Review/Recap

Day Five, 10 - 11 p.m.
What is it with 24 and airing colossally huge episodes during the national championship basketball game? Last year, it was the episode where Air Force One was attacked and this year we have the dramatic revelation that....wait for it...President Logan is the mastermind of this entire plot!

Now this is one of those huge revelations that should have been jaw-dropping but wasn't. The show worked too hard to set us up to dislike and suspect the vice-president so that seemed way too obvious a choice. It did lend some tension to the scenes with Wayne Palmer at the compound, but beyond that, it was a blind alley. Also, I have to bring this up because, well, I can. So, Logan is behind all this and if we follow the logic of 24, Jack Bauer is the only man who can stop him. With me so far?

Now last year Jack really torqued off the Chinese and odds are they'd be really upset to find out Jack is still running about, saving America's collective rear end from the deadly threats of terrorism. So if I'm Logan, I'm calling up the Chinese and tipping them off that, oh by the way, Jack is still alive. Because I would think this would severely complicate things and it might effectively put Jack on the sidelines.

Of course, that assumes we know what Logan's role is in all of this. I think we need some motivation here. Sure seeing him on the other end of the phone talking to Henderson is a nice cliffhanger moment, but we've got to find a way to make it pay off. It can't just be a super cool moment to end an episode and nothing more. If it is, I'm going to be annoyed.

Meanwhile, over at CTU, things are not going well. Audrey has to sell-out the entire staff in order to keep Chloe in the loop. And Homeland Security is playing big bully on the block, taking over and firing everyone in sight. And yet as duplicitious as Homeland Security is, they don't see anything could be suspicious about Audrey suddenly changing her mind and loyalties. She goes from, "Oh, I'm proud of what we've done today" to "No, really where do I sign?" in under five minutes. I think I'd wonder why she had this sudden change of heart.

And in keeping with the finest tradition of not really acknowledging that events are supposed to be unfolding minute by minute, Jack is able to dig himself out of a car covered in burning debris and carry Bierko out on his back in under two minutes. Man, that Jack--he takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

I also had a moment in the episode when Wayne confronted Evelyn about what she knew and Evelyn reveals she can't tell or her daugher dies. Anyone else want to hear Wayne say, "There's only one man who can help us now...Jack Bauer!" I am telling you that would have been awesome!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Black Light Posters, Man

Entertainment Weekly has an enhanced view online of the map on the back of the blast door that Locke saw. Now they just have to figure out how to lower the doors without trapping someone's legs under its crushing weight to read it.

Random TV Round-Ups

Smallville: Hypnotic
You ever get the feeling that a show you're watching isn't running the episodes in their intended order? Or maybe it's just the producers think we won't notice little detials like--oh that Clark and Lana supposedly broke up for good as the end of the huge 100th episode because Clark wouldn't come clean about the fact that he's got super powers so he could save Lana from death but make himself and the rest of the cast miserable....

Oh wait, I forgot. Maybe Jonathan's death pushed Lana back to Clark for a while and she stayed with him to help him through a rough patch. Thing is--I think the five seconds I put into coming up with a reason as to why Lana and Clark are still together on the show is more than the entire writing staff of Smallville did.

As good as the first half of this season was, the show is really sinking back into the same mistakes that plagued all of season four. Maybe we just had all the build-up to the 100th episode and we put all our eggs in that basket. But whatever the case, it better start picking up some momentum here soon.

And maybe it will because--woo-hoo, James Marsters is back as Brainaic! Forget all that random stuff about freaky girl who can hypnotize Clark into being her errand boy and sex slave (meanwhile, Clark once again punches his card for doofus hall of fame when Lana goes -- my room is free tonight Clark and Clark totally turns the offer down!). Let's just feature entire epiosdes that have Lex and Professor Fine chewing scenery and threatening each other. Now that is good television my friends. I am far more interested in whatever nefarious plot that Brainaic has hatched and why he needs four copies of himself to do it. Cause that seems new whereas the hottie back in Smallville taking advantage of Clark and pitting him against Lex just seems like been there, done that.

But at least Clark and Lana are broken up for good.....maybe. Who knows? With this show you're never quite sure.

Veronica Mars: The Rapes of Graff
Watching "The Rapes of Graff" I get the feeling this is to be the final catch-your-breath, stand-alone type of story for the season. And yet, it's not really a stand alone story since it could be setting up next year (assuming CW is not a bunch of turkeys and cancels the show!) and it may have given us some big clues about where the final few episodes of the season are going.

Veronica and Wallace visit Hearst College for the weekend. Hearst is a local school and while Veronica seems to have the scores to get in, it doesn't meet her basic criteria for a school of being really, really far from Neptune. Because this is Veronica and she can't go anywhere without a mystery finding her, she soon finds herself embroiled in a mystery. Seems that Troy VanderGraff is there as well and is accused of being a rapist. Sure, he's a jerk, but he's not that or so he claims. He enlists Veronica to help him clear his name, which Veronica does by finding out the rape is part of a pattern of such crimes and one occurred before Troy was on campus. We don't get a culprit caught, but we do see Veronica catching the eye of a dean at the school. That said, what I liked about this plotline was that we got to see Veronica investigating something outside of her comfort zone. She doesn't have the same access and resources she does at Neptune so to see her thrown for a loop like that and adjust to it was a nice touch. Hopefully should she end up at Hearst next year (assuming CW is not a bunch of idiots...), we'll see more of this.

Meanwhile, other things are going on. Lamb is caught on tape with a high school student. And it seems Cliff had his briefcase removed from him, containing a bunch of files related to Logan's case. Which was dismissed at episode's start but may be back on the plate since he wouldn't leave Hannah alone. Though it seems as if her father's only option was to ship her off to Vermont. Not sure he can change his testimony and then change his mind again. If anything, this would be a huge point for Cliff on the stand to blast the witness credibility. Of course, it's not like Logan would look really good since it would appear he was only using Hannah to get to her dad.

And now the Fitzpatrick's might be behind the bus crash. I still say it's the mayor who is once again absent from things. But I wonder if he used the Fitzpatrick's to faciliate the bus crash...

The Sopranos: Fleshy Part of the Thigh
As I've said before, The Sopranos enjoys a unique spot in terms of storytelling. Since the season is pretty much guaranteed and HBO would run it in whatever order David Chase tells them, it allows the show to build up a storyline. Also, running it without breaks helps to keep the momentum and build it up. This week we see Tony continue to improve. Though we see there is still fallout from his being in a reduced capacity. Tony has a new lease on life and his new found compassion and outlook that every day is a gift is surely going to come back to bite him. Also while he was out of things, his lietunants got a taste of power and how to operate under the radar or without his consent..and they seem to have got used to it. Esp. Paulie who ignores Tony's promise to the mother that her son won't be harmed if the company sells.

There are some who'd calls this seaon slow moving. I'd say no more so than usual. The show has always been about setting things up for a pay-off later. And as long as we get the pay-off I will give them the benefit of the doubt if the early episodes seem a bit slow moving.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Simpsons: The Movie

It's official. There will be a big-screen version of The Simpsons in July of 2007.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

The best smile on supposedly-educational television

I think I have decided that Kari Byron of Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters" is my ultimate TV dream date. ;)