Friday, November 24, 2006

Clearing the DVR—CMT Crossroads

A few weeks ago, my boss, knowing I am into all things Johnny Cash, told me Rosanne Cash and Steve Earle were going to be on a show on CMT called Crossroads. I'd never heard of the show—I wasn't even sure I got CMT. But I found it and recorded it on the DVR.

Due to being somewhat DVR-clueless (hey, I just got the thing in August), I managed to accidentally record several more episodes of the show. I'd enjoyed Rosanne and Steve, and the other episodes looked interesting, so I saved them.

Crossroads is a pretty neat show. The premise is that they take two artists of usually very different musical styles and put them on stage together, where they perform each other's songs. The performances are interspersed with short interviews, and sometimes audience Q&A. The result is a show that's fun to watch, anchored by entertaining performances and occasionally insightful interviews (some of these are just fluff, but not always). It's amusing to watch artists who are starstruck by each other, and obviously a little nervous to be singing somebody else's song right in front of them. Though the pairings always feature a country artist, you don't have to be a country music fan to enjoy the show—just a fan of good music.

What I found on my DVR:
Steve Earle and Rosanne Cash
Martina McBride and Pat Benatar
Bon Jovi and Sugarland

For more info on Crossroads, check out the show's page on CMT.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Tidbits

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it.

Some tidbits for Turkey Day:

Creative Screenwriting Weekly has a nice two-part interview with Anne Cofell Saunders of Battlestar Galactica.

Part One
Part Two

Unfortunately, it looks like the Lost fans aren't hanging around for Day Break.

Sad Story Here

This makes me sad. Weh.

Okay, off to eat pie.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Day Break—What If He Lets Her Go

I'm even more impressed with this show after this episode than I was after the pilot. Rather than retreading old ground already covered in last week's show, this week Hopper manages to go off on a completely different tack, investigating different layers of the complex story of his Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. A completely different plot is thus spun out of these new elements, showing us entirely new information about the characters and the case. A "previously on" segment is narrated by Hopper, orienting us to where we are in the story, and quick flashbacks help us remember where we've seen people before (or, in my case, that we're supposed to remember where we've seen them before but we can't because the short term memory is the first to go). This worked well, I thought.

Tonight we discover that Hopper can heal during his repeating days, as his gunshot wound isn't bleeding as badly when he wakes up at the beginning of this episode. However, this precludes a repetition of the shower scene from last week, which is a bummer, although he does spend some time shirtless in front of the mirror bandaging himself up. He convinces Rita to take the day off so he can keep her close, then he saves Coffee Shop Lady, but Rita insists on helping the victims of the bus accident. Hopper retrieves the package mentioned on his voice mail and finds an hourglass inside. I'm thinking Time Turner here--maybe if he turns it upside down at the right time, he can save Buckbeak.

At the hospital, Rita is seeing to the accident victims when Chad drops by to check on her. He tells her Hopper killed Garza, and that she's wanted for questioning. Hopper arrives and sticks a gun in Chad's back and tries to get Rita to come with him, but she refuses. He runs.

Hopper meets up with Andrea. They trace the call regarding the package to the home of US Attorney Nathan Baxter, who was involved in one of Hopper's previous cases involving a gangbanger turning state's evidence, then getting nabbed from the safe house. They go to Baxter's house and find a dead woman in the swimming pool. Hopper thinks this is who called him.

Chad convinces Rita to let him take her home. He offers to check her house and spend the night to protect her, but she refuses. After she leaves his car, his phone rings (an aside--who the hell has the William Tell Overture as a ringtone?). It's Ominous Bearded Guy, who's been surveilling Hopper's place. He wants to meet Chad at a bar for hot sexy boy loving unknown reasons.

Rita confronts Hopper over his weirdness and finally asks him to leave when he refuses to explain. Hopper is abducted by Damien, who's bit annoyed that he ratted for Hopper and then got abducted out of his safe house. Damien has Baxter in the trunk of his car. Damien is sure either Baxter or Hopper gave him up at the safe house. Hopper asks for more time to find out what exactly happened, and who really ratted Damien out. Damien agrees, and then shoots Baxter dead.


Rita wakes up alone at 6:25. Hopper is already dressed. And morose. This time he catches the soap dish with hot sexy vampire-like reflexes. He tries to explain his dilemma to Rita in generic terms. She tells him to solve the case rather than trying to protect the target, of course unaware the target is her. He heads out and saves Coffee Shop Lady again, then goes to get the package. This time he confronts Ominous Bearded Guy and his crony in their car Their backseat tussle ends with Hopper being tossed out of the car onto the street, but he's snagged OBG's phone.

Trying to keep the woman at Baxter's house (Eva) from dying this time around, Hopper finds out Garza told her to call him about the package. OBG's phone rings (and what is with the lame ringtones? Dixie? Wtf?) and finds Baxter on the other end calling OBG to tell him Hopper is in his house. Of course Hopper knows this, and confronts Baxter. While they're in each other's faces, Damien and his sidekick show up and shoot the woman, who flies out a window into the pool. Hopper ends up in the trunk with Baxter. Baxter admits to Hopper than he ratted out Damien.

Elsewhere, Rita has agreed to an interrogation by AD Skinner Detective Spivak. Chad prevents a line of questioning they apparently want to use against her. She is obviously appreciative, and this time when he takes her home she accepts his offer to stay the night--just to make sure she's safe, you know. Hey. He's Adam Baldwin. He has huge hands. He can sleep on my couch any time, even if he is a Republican.

There is a car accident (from the POV of the two guys in the trunk--cool!) and a lot of gunshots and Baxter and Hopper are liberated from the trunk by OBG, who slugs Hopper in the face for taking his phone. After an Angel-reminiscent blipvert to make us think we're moving on to day three, Hopper wakes up in the trunk. He finds Baxter dead in the front of the car, and he's been left with a gun. So now he's been framed for two murders instead of just one. He eludes the cops in a musical montage to "Unbound" by Robbie Robertson.

Hopper calls Rita from outside her house and assures her she's okay, and that he'll see her tomorrow. He of course hears Chad being Chaddy in the background. Hopper gets a call from Andrea, who has apparently just killed somebody and I think I was supposed to recognize the body but I couldn't make out the face even on pause with the DVR because the eyesight is second to go after the short-term memory.

The previews look like the next episode will focus on Andrea, and apparently will guest star Nestor Carbonell, aka Batmanuel from The Tick. (Shut up. The Tick was WAY better than Suddenly Susan.)

One-Shot—3 lbs.

The premise: Stanley Tucci (Lots of Stuff), Indira Varma (Rome, Torchwood) and Mark Feuerstein (Caroline in the City--yes, I remember him from Caroline in the City--you want to make something of it?) are transported into a parallel dimension where House and his cronies are Stanley Tucci, Indira Varma and Mark Feuerstein. Seriously, everything about this show feels like it’s trying to be House. The camera going inside people in the teaser, the camera movement around the hospital, the witty banter, hell, even the incidental music sounds like the music from House.

In this case, I think the show would have been better served to be allowed to stand on its own feet, rather than trying to ride on House’s coattails. In my opinion, it’s not nearly as strong a show as House, and these deficiencies are underlined by the obvious attempt at clonage. If it had been allowed to be, say, 3 Lbs., a story about neurosurgeons with an enigmatic title reflecting the weight of the average human brain, it would have been a lot more interesting.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Our Patient of the Week is already in a Horrible Dilemma—he works at Chuck E. Cheese, or rather Chuck E. Squirrel. No wonder he keels over. Not to mention puking all over the birthday presents. Ewww. It turns out poor Jack is the guardian to his younger brother and sister—their parents died, leaving the three of them alone.

Wilson is being harassed by Tritter, aka Thermometer in Rectum Cop Guy, who’s trying to get him to testify against House. He ends up with his prescription privileges revoked, so he can’t even prescribe drugs for his patients.

House sets up a “game” based on what tests the other doctors will try to diagnose the patient. Foreman, Cameron and Chase all try their theories, with no clear results, while House claims to know what’s wrong. They end up treating Jack for Hepatitis A. Of course this won’t work because it’s only a quarter after eight and House never makes a definitive diagnosis before a quarter to nine. On cue for the commercial break, Jack breaks out in spontaneous copious bleeding.

House goes the rounds trying to get a Vicodin prescription from somebody. The entire team turns him down.

Chase goes through the Dumpster at Chuck E. Squirrel with Chuck E. Squirrel himself, looking for samples of Jack’s puke. Ewww. Foreman gets samples of spinal fluid with the non-AMA-approved assistance of Jack’s little sister, who interrogates him. Jack exhibits a new symptom—brittle bones.

Back with Jack, Foreman diagnosis syphilis, while Cameron diagnoses Eikenella (a bacterium), and Chase finds botulism. So Jack is a veritable bacteria zoo.

They clear the infections, but now Jack is having seizures, which of course they can find no explanation for. House thinks Jack might have drugs trapped in his fat cells, so they put him in a sauna to get a tox screen. He has a seizure in the sauna and they take a blood sample which proves drug-free.

Cameron refuses to give House a Vicodin prescription and gives him PMS pills, instead. Given House’s usual moodiness, this might prove to be a good idea.

Cameron, Foreman and Chase do another brain scan and find something that looks like a tumor. Then a few more. Then lots more. Just in time for the commercial break.

Countdown about ten minutes to the definitive diagnosis…

House heads to Cuddy for Vicodin, who writes him a prescription. The brain “tumors” prove to be infections from aspergilla. House determines Jack has a genetic illness. House and Wilson have a standoff over the other doctors—Wilson needs one of them to help him with prescriptions and House refuses.

House decides they need to give Jack a bunch of infections at once to find out which one gains the most ground, which then will show them what the root cause of his problems is. House administers a viral cocktail, then tells Jack it’s not exactly approved and he should keep it a secret. This was highly featured in the promo, and turned out to not be a big driver of the plot, which makes me wonder if it will surface again later, or if we’ve just been duped again by the Fox promotions department.

Jack gets sicker. Cameras zoom inside his body, which is never a good sign. Chronic granulomatous disease proves to be the final diagnosis, meaning Jack’s immune system is extremely compromised, and he’ll be continuously sick. House recommends a bone marrow transplant. Jack’s little brother Will is a match. Foreman tries to convince Jack to do the transplant, but he refuses. House and Foreman confront him, House wanting to prove Jack’s motives aren’t as altruistic as Foreman believes. House proves “right”—Jack is overwhelmed by his responsibility and feels he’s too young to be his siblings’ father.

Wilson has decided to shut down his practice because he can’t prescribe medications. He confronts House and tells him he should turn himself in and get help, then he throws House out of his office. Wilson tells House his shoulder pain is because he feels guilty, and that House has basically hung him out to dry. Once again Wilson knows House better than House knows himself, but this time House has completely failed him.

Jack decides to let his younger siblings go into foster care. Foreman gives him a pep talk, but Jack doesn’t really buy it.

Wilson is left alone on a rainy park bench. House drives by and they don’t speak. Damn. My favorite TV couple has broken up. Weh.

Monday, November 20, 2006


The promos this week have been all about the catchphrase, “Save the cheerleader, save the world.” This episode was supposed to explain this warning. Well, by the end of the hour, one cheerleader is saved, one has had her head sliced open, and we still don’t know if the world’s been saved.

The major focus of tonight’s plotlines lie with Claire and Peter, whose storylines converge, and with Mohinder, who’s still soul-searching in India. Minor storylines follow Jessica/Niki, Micah and DL, as well as Hiro and Ando, with the latter also involved in Peter’s search for a cheerleader to save. Nathan appears briefly in an attempt to “save” his brother by being an asshole. (His talent is supposed to be that of flight—seems to me his superpower lies in, you know, being an asshole.)

The episode is called “Homecoming,” so of course there’s Homecoming at Claire’s school, and she’s elected homecoming queen, in spite of having nearly killed the star quarterback, who of course deserved it a lot. Elsewhere in Heroes-land, Peter is determined to “save the cheerleader,” even though Isaac’s painting seems to presage Peter’s own death. And he really should get his hair cut so he doesn’t have to keep pushing it out of his face cause that’s driving me nuts. Isaac should have painted a big ole portrait of Peter at Fantastic Sam’s getting a fauxhawk.

Peter hooks up with Hiro and Ando, trying to get them to Odessa, TX to help him “save the cheerleader.” Hiro, however, has blipped back in time to try to save Charlie (“Memory Girl” from last week’s episode) from horrible bloodsplattery death at the hands of Sylar, who likes to open up people’s heads like tin cans. To quote Jayne Cobb, when does that get to be fun?

In India, Mohinder searches for the boy who popped into his dreams, whom his father had listed as a gifted child who can manipulate other people’s dreams. The kid proves far too easy to find. He claims to be some sort of oracle who’s drawn into people’s dreams to help them answer questions. He’s all enigmatic and shit and about as helpful as oracles usually are. In the end his main task seems to be to supply the incredibly obvious password to Mohinder’s dad’s computer, so Mohinder can see the list of people his father had discovered to be mutant Hero freaks. His crisis of conscience over, he determines to go find all these people and tell them what they are, so they can all save the cheerleader and save the world—or something.

In the Jessica-DL-Micah storyline, Jessica (aka Bad!Niki) is pursing DL with harmful intent. Micah knows about Jessica, which begs the question of how much he’s seen of her murderous bloodsplattery antics. Therapy, anyone?

Isaac is still being force-fed heroin by Horn Rimmed Glasses Guy (aka Claire’s dad) and Eden so he can paint prescient pictures that will hopefully help them stop Sylar and “save the cheerleader.”

Claire is grounded by her father, begging the question of why the hell she wears her damn cheerleader uniform everywhere. Is it so Peter will know she’s the cheerleader so he can save her? If so, it doesn’t work, because Peter hones in on Jackie. Events begin to come together, recreating parts of Isaac’s paintings. Jackie is grabbed and strangled by a dark figure who telekinetically slices her head open like a tin can. This, then, is Sylar. Sylar has some wicked telekinetic powers, like throwing locker doors down a hallway.

Peter sends Claire away and confronts Sylar himself. They both hit the concrete from a don’t-try-this-at-home height, and things look very bad for our semi-heroic Petrelli brother, who ends up lying in a big pool of blood with most of his limbs facing the wrong way. Ew. Of course, Peter’s been in close proximity to Claire, so he’s absorbed her healing powers (just stick him in spandex and call him Rogue) and is able to fix himself in spite of his multiple gross injuries. But Sylar’s already escaped. He meets up with Eden, who mind controls his ass into unconsciousness.

The episode ends with Hiro arriving at Charlie’s diner six months in the past, just in time for her birthday party.

So there we go. Cheerleader saved. Was the world saved? Who the hell knows. Maybe we’ll find out next week.

Interesting Item of Note:

One of the kids at Claire’s high school is wearing a Battlestar Galactica T-shirt.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Day Break—What if They Run (Pilot)

Last season, viewers of Lost registered a good number of complaints that they didn’t like having to sit through reruns, and that they wanted uninterrupted first-run episodes instead. ABC’s response to this? Run 6 episodes of Lost in a row, then pull the show completely off the air until February, after which they would run the rest of the season uninterrupted. Now, of course, Lost fans are complaining that their show is off the air for twelve weeks.

In any case, for the hiatus we’ll be treated to a new show, Day Break. The premise: Taye Diggs and a collection of ex-X-Files-ers team up to turn “Monday” (a season six X-Files episode in which Mulder relives the same day over and over until he is able to stop a bank robbery and save Scully from blood splattery death) into a thirteen-part mystery. (Or it could be the season eight X-Files episode “Redrum”, but I liked “Monday” better.) The production staff is stellar, including Rob Bowman and Jeffrey Bell from The X-Files (and, in the case of Bell, Angel). In front of the cameras we have Taye Diggs, also serving as a co-producer, Adam Baldwin (The X-Files, Angel, Firefly), Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files), and, in a minor role, John Rubinstein (Linwood Morrow from Angel).

Wednesday night’s two-hour introduction presented a nicely convoluted tale, but for me the highlight was Diggs and Baldwin wrestling repeatedly in the elevator. I’ll tell you what, I could have watched that for the entire two hours. Well, with a break or two to look at Taye Diggs shirtless, another definite highlight of the episode.

Anyway, our story starts with our hero, Detective Brett Hopper, waking up with his girlfriend Rita. Several odd things happen so he’ll have a way to realize his day is repeating once we get to that point—there’s a car accident outside the apartment, he breaks the soap dish (remember Mulder’s waterbed leak and how he kept tripping over his shoes?). And of course we get all the background we need to set up our basic story. Assistant DA Alberto Garza has been murdered, and our hero has been framed for that murder. He’s taken in and interrogated. We find out his sister’s husband abuses her, and that his girlfriend Rita was once his ex-partner’s wife, and his ex-partner is now leading an Internal Affairs investigation against Hopper's new partner, Andrea. Then he’s kidnapped by goons who tell him he has to confess to the murder or they’ll kill his girlfriend. Well, actually they’ve already killed his girlfriend, and they show it to him on tape, then demonstrate that they are prepared and positioned to kill his sister and her kids, as well. They also tell him in a dramatically echoey manner that every decision has a consequence. And then he wakes up back in bed with Rita, faced with reliving the entire horrible day. Just to add insult to injury, rather literally, he wakes up with all the wounds he received on the previous day. This could be a problem.

Thus is our hero’s dilemma. Everything he does or doesn’t do creates a chain reaction throughout the day (and his major choice determines the title of the episode, talk about pressure), with different end results. Hopper acts based on knowledge gained in the previous repetition of the day, but he doesn’t know what the right mix is. In this respect he’s a lot like Tru Davies in Tru Calling, but he doesn’t have to run everywhere and he lacks Eliza Dushku’s cleavage.

Overall, this all worked better than I expected, given the difficult premise. Each repetition of the day reveals a few more details behind the conspiracy surrounding Garza's murder, adding layers to the mystery and the plot. I’m still curious to see how they manage to play it out over the full 12 episodes (13 if this one counts as 2), but so far, so good. And as long as Diggs keeps taking off his shirt and wrestling with Adam Baldwin in the elevator, I’m all good.

Day Break Official Site.