Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh, Burn Notice...

Man, this season has been up and down for Burn Notice. I've really been enoying the season-long arc, and Jesse has been a good addition to the team. However, tonight's season(ish) finale exposed one of the glaring flaws that this show has acquired: The Client of the Week isn't always interesting. Sometimes you just have to abandon the formula and give us a solid hour of what we want. You've got Jesse on the loose with a gun and a grudge, Robert Patrick being awesome, and Vaughn being creepy, and yet they still bog down the hour with the kidnapping nonsense. Was it an okay plot? Sure. Save it for another time though. All it did was give Michael access to a submersible, and that wasn't even that imperative to the ending. Don't get me wrong, submarines are still kick ass, but still. Now the cliffhanger, that was some awesome stuff. Mystery boots picking up the briefcase, Michael bleeding out on the pavement, shot by Jesse (ostensibly to help him, but yeah), Vaughn's guys shooting it out with Robert Patrick's henchmen...made for a great wrap-up. Anyway, I can't see the formula going away anytime soon, but Burn Notice will be back in November, and someone has a whole mess of names of the people who burned Michael. What are they going to do with six episodes? We'll have to wait and see. Emphasis on "wait".

New Leverage coming up this weekend, and Eureka tonight. Felicia Day is guesting on Eureka coming up soon, maybe this weekend, maybe in September. Either way, looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And I'm back

Maybe I'm OCD and I just liked the idea of having an even 100 posts...or I got busy and lazy when going back to nights. Either way, I'm back, and hopefully will be back to normal output now.

As it is, I've finally gotten around to watching Dexter, hooray for me! I'm halfway through season 1, and it is amazing so far. I know I'm behind the curve, but I'm going to shoot for a season summary, as far as my opinions go.

Meanwhile, this has been a great week for TV. Leverage on Sunday was an epic episode with lofty aspiration that it completely achieved. The Rashomon Job was a clever story about how the team all crossed paths while trying to steal the same item...well, all except Nate, who was trying to keep it right where it was. Everybody's recollection of the events built so well on each others, using similar looking actors to fill in for each of the Leverage crew for each telling of the story. The completely different takes on Sophie's accent had me rolling with laughter, and John Billingsley was a great guest star as the museum security director who wasn't as ruthless as the rest of the team remembered. It's been a great season for the show, and the metaplot episodes are coming up in the next few weeks.

Top Chef was a little bit of a downer tonight, as Amanda's turn finally came up. Alex leaving last week was pretty much ordained, but I really thought that Amanda might have been able to dodge the bullet tonight. This is one of the more frustrating things about Top Chef judging: sometimes it seems like the worst dish of the night goes home, and sometimes it seems like more of a "worst chef overall" goes home. Kenny left for "worst dish", but Amanda left as "worst chef". Granted, her tartare wasn't perfect, but at least two of the other three bottom dishes sounded worse. On the other hand, the other chefs are more experienced and have better finishes, so she was the safe choice to go. Oh Amanda, I'll miss you and your massive levels of cuteness.

Psych was just okay this week, but Chi McBride is awesomesauce, so it gets a good grade. Last week's episode was better, with Shawn and Gus competing with an older version of themselves to solve the murder of the former chief of police. This is still a show that manages to make product placement funny, too.

Warehouse 13 has also been improving by leaps and bounds, putting up three really good episodes in a row. Pete had a bit of a freakout, but that led to Claudia getting to hit the field as an apprentice agent with Myka to explore a wrestling team that bursts into flame. However, last week's episode was the pinnacle of the series so far. Pete and Myka switch bodies thanks to a griffin statue, and while the usual hijinks occur (involving Pete's cute girlfriend, and guest star Cody Rhodes), the incredible part was how the two actors managed to take on their counterparts speech patterns and mannerisms so well. Also, Artie and Claudia hit the road to track down another artifact, and Claudia has to deal with a lovestruck Artie (great acting by Saul Rubinek on that one too), and Artie eventually gets even with Claudia for the "Knock Knock" handcuff incident from way back in last season. It was telegraphed by the "previously on" at the beginning of the episode, but still a cute moment. This show has really come into its own, and if you're not watching, you're missing out.

More to come soon, including a few episodes of Burn Notice to catch up on, and some other stuff. Good to be back.

Friday, August 6, 2010

One Hundred!!! Round Numbers Are Cool!!!

The milestone is here, one hundred posts since starting this blog almost one year ago. A project that started out as a way to track Heroes as it slowly sank into the quagmire of high expectations and an inability to maintain a coherent storyline has evolved into...well, I don't quite know, actually. But I've watched a lot of shows, enjoyed many of them, and that's good enough for me. As promised, this will finally be my Doctor Who post, which I've been putting off for a while.

Doctor Who: So Matt Smith has one season under his belt, and this is actually the first full season of Doctor Who that I've watched. I've seen some of the David Tennant episodes, but those were spotty at best, mostly the product of the occasional BBC America mini-marathon of episodes. I enjoy the concept of Doctor Who though: Well-written science fiction stories, aliens, time travel, a charismatic lead, an attractive Companion, and through it all an example of the potential of humanity.

Matt Smith's doctor is...he's like a cross between a Muppet and a samurai. From the first episode, he begins it dipping fish fingers in custard and ends it giving a heated speech to an alien race, warning them what will happen if they tangle with him. That's what I loved about an episode like "The Lodger"; it was some brilliant comedy, but in the end, it was his belief in humanity that helped save the day. Even in an episode like "Cold Blood", where the Lizardperson was killed, he still trusts in us to do the right thing.

In the case of the finale, a chain of events from Van Gogh, to Churchill, all the forward to Liz 10 and River Song leads us exploding TARDIS. And Stonehenge. And...the Pandorica. What is it? Who is inside? Why is Rory a Roman centurion? Oh yes, and all of the Doctor's enemies have shown up, all at once. As the Pandorica continues to open, Amy has to fight off a Cyberman, Rory wonders why she doesn't remember him, River recruits a Roman legion, and The Doctor employs some stalling tactics to buy them some time. Seriously though, that whole scene was amazing, with The Doctor holding off the combined forces of countless alien aggressors with nothing but the memories of how often he's defeated them.

So Amy and Rory. Amy doesn't remember Rory, and Rory doesn't remember how he became a Roman soldier. Then the Romans start growing lasers out of their hands, because they are actually robots programmed to believe they're human. Rory fights it, but shoots Amy in the gut. Not the best reunion ever. River is in the TARDIS, unable to stabilize it, and is stuck in a time loop (for her own safety, of course). Downstairs, The Doctor is confronted with his enemies, and the Pandorica opens with no one inside. Yet. Because it's a prison meant for The Doctor. The Rogues Gallery believes that The Doctor will be the one responsible for destroying the universe, and that they are saving all of time and space by sealing him away. The Doctor pleads with them, telling them that he's the only one who can stop it all, but it's too late. What a downer.

But luckily, there's a happier Part 2, and even better, it involves Li'l Amy! A series of mysterious notes leads her to a museum where the Pandorica is on display, having been guarded over the years by a mysterious man in a centurion's uniform. Oh Rory, you sly devil, you. Amy touches the Pandorica, which opens to reveal...Amy? Buh? Must be time for a flashback. Or does the word "flashback" hold any meaning whatsoever in Doctor Who-ville? Time travel nosebleeds occur in my chair, as The Doctor uses a wrist thingy to time travel to Rory and tell him to put Amy in the Pandorica, which will force her to stay alive. Honestly, the time travel "timey wimey bits" gave me a huge headache, although they did lead to some good times. River Song being ruthless with an ancient Dalek, Rory as Amy's protector throughout history (good work, by the way), The Doctor popping back and forth as he pleased, and then the reveal that this was all taken from Amy's imagination. Apparently living next to a crack in reality will do things to a gal.

My favorite part of the episode was The Doctor going backwards in time, and his very quiet, very gentle scene with Young Amy as he tells her his story, and all the while, planting clues. Amy's wedding looked lovely, and she manages to remember The Doctor back into existence just in time for the dancing. Amy and Rory are wed, everything's back to normal, and we'll see you back here in time for the Christmas Special. Which is too far away. Dammit.

So that's the season. I still like Matt Smith's Doctor, although the character still fluctuates a little too wildly between floppity slapstick and deadly seriousness, plus they never really explained a lot of the aggression from the early episodes. Maybe that was just "new actor/new part" syndrome, or maybe it was meant to give Amy the opportunities to be the rational Girl Friday. I'm even looking forward to some more River Song, as well as next year's storyline. Overall, I really enjoyed this season, and some very good storytelling occured.

And that's it for post #100! Post #101 is coming soon, with a few new shows to catch up on. I never did finish FlashForward, or even start Bored To Death, but I'm not too concerned about those (and neither were viewers...ZING!!). My future output depends on my future work schedule, which I should know soon, so my posts will either get a lot more frequent, or a lot less frequent. Which will it be? Oooh, our first cliffhanger!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I got 99 posts, and a bitch ain't one...

Almost at post #100, and the excitement is palpable! Also, Eureka heats up, Leverage hits the fast lane, and on Top Shot, you can cut the tension with a knife.

Top Shot switched things up a little...not in eliminations (although apparently, that's next week), but in the weapon. It was throwing knives today, and while JJ had a lot of problems in practice, he nailed it in the team challenge and Blue beat Red by a five second margin. Kelly got to sit out an elimination (plus he is the Silent Assassin when it comes to winning those), so it was Denny getting out-slingshot by Peter. In sadder news, Tara's dad was having complications from cancer, so she left the competition in order to be with him.

Two episodes left to go, and next week we'll be losing a goodly number of the remaining marksmen. I'd like to see Kelly advance to the finals, but we'll just have to see. Of the people remaining, he's got to have the most challenge experience, which gives him an edge.

Eureka went a little different direction, as Carter left town to go visit Zoey at Harvard, and still managed to get into a little Eureka-style trouble with an invisible cat. Pretty light for a B story, but it did get us a little...not so much closure, but at least we got some Zoey this year. Nice haircut, by the way.

With Carter out of town, it's up to Lupo to keep track of a rocket race, a joyriding Zane, and a buildup of self-propegating oxygen that is threatening to set the town on fire. Jamie Kennedy was oddly cast, but not necessarily bad. Lupo tries (and succeeds) to get through to the "good Zane" that is inside of alternate-Zane. In a surprising turn, Allison cheats to help Kevin win, which is what winds up helping cause the impending firestorm. Kevin has the answer though, and he, Allison, and Grant save the town. Interesting how two episodes have gone by with no mention of "can we fix the time business?", which makes me wonder if they're just saving that for later, or if they just really wanted a shakeup.

And finally, Leverage brought the goodness this week with their version of Gone in 60 Seconds (but, you know, good). Bill Engvall was a surprisingly effective bad guy, so between him and John Schneider, this has been a good season for guest villains. Unfortunately, this is another week where Parker is the one to make the con go all tits-up on the crew. Granted, it was explained in the story, and the flashback to pre-teen getaway driver Parker was great, but it just seems odd for that to happen twice in a row like that. Sophie's use of neural-linguistic programming as a car salesman was a great callback to earlier in the season, as was how the team got together to steal the auto race. Another thing that bothered me, though, was all the "we can outrun bullets" stuff that Eliot, Parker, and Hardison wound up having to do. Just a little unrealistic for this show...just didn't feel natural. Another week without The Italian or anything close to the meta plot, which makes me wonder if we're getting a big run of those episodes coming up soon.

Catching up on Burn Notice and Top Chef, but I'm thinking of making the 100th post my long-postponed Doctor Who post. We will all be surprised together!