Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bones—The Knight on the Grid






I've been waiting for a strong return to the Gormogon case, and tonight's episode was exactly that. I enjoy a good ancient religious conspiracy theory almost as much as Jack does, and this one's coming together nicely, with lots of yuckiness and, well, ancient conspiracy stuff. Also, it's great to see Russ again, and I liked the introduction of his girlfriend and her daughter, who we heard about all the way back in 1-22, The Woman in Limbo.

However, while I think the last few episodes have been the strongest of the season so far, Sweets is really getting to annoy me. I liked him as Booth and Brennan's therapist. While I preferred Stephen Fry's Dr. Gordon Gordon from last season, I don't think the dynamic between B2 would have been quite as strong or as intimate as it has played out in the therapist's office this season. But the minute they let Sweets out of his office, he started to grate. I feel like he's being shoehorned into the casework. There are plenty of folks on the team who can put the psychological pieces together, particularly Booth and Cam, so why do we need his input? Also, he performed a pet TV peeve of mine tonight, which was to walk into a room and start spouting information about things that were discussed before he came in.

But here's an idea--what if Sweets is the apprentice? I'm starting to think it's a plausible theory. And while my slow-motion scan of the last scene didn't confirm anything, the guy did look just about enough like Sweets that it could be him, and if the producers are smart, they'd be sure slow-motion and freeze frames on high definition TVs wouldn't give away the secret.








Monday, November 19, 2007

Heroes—Cautionary Tales

















Just some comments tonight rather than a full recap.

Elle? Still really annoying me. I think it's because she's over the top and insists of pawing everybody. And sweetie? Mohinder's personal bubble is my personal bubble. So stay out of it. And her over the topness isn't countered enough by Kristen Bell's performance. Yeah, I know she's supposed to be over the top, but she's really not working for me. Although I did approve of her being knocked unconscious and then tortured. And the parallels set up between her and Claire were fairly well-done, and fleshed out Noah a bit more.

Mohinder, hon, you really gotta lose the nose strip. And get your normal brain back, cause the one you have now doesn't seem to be working too well. But you're still pretty. Seriously, though, Mohinder's changes in loyalty don't make sense to me given his established character. I don't feel like his arc is working well at all this year.

Noah, you are such a badass. I stil think killing the old mentor went too far, but this week you're kicking ass and taking names, and I like it.

All the heroes seem to be gaining finer control of their powers. Most notably in this episode are Hiro and Matt. Matt, please don't use your new Jedi Mind Trick for evil.

Wehn al the characters are speaking the same language, why can't they just borrow a page (no pun intended) from the comics and just make a note that they're translating from Japanese and let the actors speak English? That way I wouldn't have to read my TV all the darn time. I lack the proper attention span for subtitles.

The reveal on Nakamura's murderer wasn't much of a surprise. Well, it was to Hiro, but not to anybody else. The Horn Rimmed Glasses Guys showdown, though, while telegraphed, played out nicely, and the twist at the end was nicely done, as was Hiro's father's funeral and the intercutting between that and Noah's death. And I particularly liked Noah's reaction upon awakening, harking back to Claire's "Holy sh--" from last season.

I was expecting another fairly lackluster installment, but instead it seems like the season is finally hitting a bit of a stride. That this episode held my attention with minimal Petrelli family involvement is a good sign. With only two episodes before the hiatus, it'll be interesting to see which direction they go, and whether or not they resort to the rewritten ending for episode ten.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blogger is at it again...

Blogger's not allowing me to edit individual posts, so the Unbox links will stay up on individual reviews until I can get in to remove them. Just don't go buy 'em, mkay?

*smacks Blogger with a stick*

Writers' Strike













This banner is from wga_supporters and was made by itzaimster.

In support of the WGA strike, I'm going to pull all my ads for TV shows on iTunes and for Amazon Unbox. I also won't be linking to any more streaming video until this is settled. I'm very much in favor of legal online distribution of TV shows, but not when the writers get no residuals for their contributions to it. I don't think it's going to be too far in the future when online distribution becomes the major, or even only, means of distributing TV shows (and then they won't be TV shows anymore, but I digress), and if the writers get cut out of that pie now, they'll be relegated to flat fees and no residuals when that happens. That's unacceptable, which is why I support this strike.

According to recent reports, both parties have agreed to go back to the table on the 26th, so let's all keep our fingers crossed that they come up with an equitable settlement.

In addition, I'm getting a bit bored with doing recaps, so I'm going to see if I can come up with other ways to talk about TV. Watch this space--I'm just going to let the muse lead where she will.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Heroes—Four Months Ago

















Sorry for the abbreviated review tonight--real life intrudes, as does NaNoWriMo... Unfortunately my blog words don't count for my NaNoWriMo totals.

In tonight's episode, we scoot back in time four months to find out what happened after last season's finale. Truthfully, I wish they'd started with this, instead of having the flashback setup. This whole episode was much more interesting and satisfying than just about anything they've done yet this season, with one glaring exception. That exception being Elle. I do not like her. In fact, I can't stand her. Her crawling over Peter made me want to just smack her right off my TV screen. I'm still not finding Maya and Alejandro's story particularly interesting, but Adam... Wow. What a difference a few centuries make. My only complaint about him as a new character is how much time they wasted on his earlier incarnation, because this one is a very strong addition to the current cast. Also addressed were Heidi's departure from Nathan's life, Peter and Nathan's return to earth, Nathan's healing, what killed DL, and how Peter ended up half-naked and handcuffed to the inside of a shipping crate. Overall, a very strong entry, and more like what I expect to see from this show.












Thursday, November 8, 2007

Supernatural—Red Sky at Morning

















Cruising along in the car, Dean interrogates Sam about the missing bullet in the Colt. Thus confronted, Sam confesses to killing the Crossroads Demon. Dean's not happy, saying Sam took too much of a risk. The victim's aunt flirts with Sam, though she's old enough to be their grandma. I like her. The ghost ship lore connects it to strange dry-land drownings. Dean has a panic attack when his car disappears, but then Bela shows up to confess she had it towed. Sam tells Dean he can't shoot her, at least not in public.

Investigation of the ghost ship keeps the Winchester boys crossing paths with Bela. Bela determines to take out the ship, while Sam and Dean try to protect the next victim, but he drowns in his car. The loss hits Sam hard. Bela proposes a plan which gets Dean into a tux and yeah, did anything happen after he walked down the stairs looking all freaking HOT? Dean doesn't really know how to behave like a tux-wearing sort of person, which is ausing given his past ability to blend in with about any crowd. Sam gets to date Gert, the aunt, who's quite happy with the arrangement.

Anyway the plan involves stealing a Hand of Glory that was made out of the sailor who's drowning everyone. Dean and Bela make a good team, with Bela bossing Dean around and Dean whining a lot. But of course Bela has her own reasons for wanting the hand--namely so she can sell it--and when she sees the ghost ship herself, she's forced to go to Sam and Dean for help.

Since the spirit is only going after people who shed their own family's blood, and since she stole the hand from them, they're not too inclined to help her, but they do, anyway, summoning the sailor's spirit. There's a lot of rain and a lot of Latin, and Bela nearly drowns, but in the end the spirit faces the spirit of the brother who hanged him, and they blow the special effects budget in a final, watery confrontation between the two ghosts. She gives them part of her take in return. Dean decides to take the money to Atlantic City. I've been there, Dean--it's kinda boring.

Then we wrap up with another confrontation between the brothers, Sam angry with Dean for not caring about his impending death, Dean obviously caring so much about it he's scared shitless and far beyond talking about it.

So, a bit of angst, a good ghost story, a large dollop of humor, and Dean in a tux. In a lot of ways this wasn't a stellar episode, but it was very entertaining. The drownings harked back to "Dead in the Water," maybe a little too much, especially in the tub scene, and the final confrontation was strongly reminiscent of the final confrontation with the ghost in Angel's Season One episode "Rm w/a Vu." I very much enjoy the dynamic between Bela and the boys, especially Bela and Dean, and any excuse to get Ackles into a tuxedo is fine by me.








Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bones—The Intern in the Incinerator






A female body is found burned crispy in the incinerator at the Jeffersonian. Angela is able to ID the skull just by looking at it, because she knew the victim. She was a Jeffersonian intern, Kristen Reardon. She had been having an affair with a married man who also worked at the Jeffersonian. Kristin was involved in authenticating the artifacts from the serial killer case, which appear to be from an anti-Masonic, anti-Illuminati group called the Gormogon. Booth finds a suspect in Kyle Aldridge, the married man Kristin was having an affair with. Cam tells the gang they're trying too hard to connect the murder with the serial killer case. In the end, the murder proves not to have been related to Gormogon, but to a smuggling ring working within the Jeffersonian.

In a well-played and funny subplot, Cam asks Booth to accompany her to her dad's birthday party, as her fake boyfriend, since they don't know he and Cam broke up. Cam's sister makes moves on Booth when she thinks he and Cam might be having relationship issues. Booth goes to Hodgins for advice on what to do about Cam's sister, but all Hodgins can do is giggle at him. Finally, Booth confesses to Cam what happened. The sisters admit neither of them wants Booth, and reconcile in a sisterly alliance against him.

The case tonight was well-constructed, and the character-related subplots were really well-done. I was glad to see Cam with a larger storyline this week, as I really like her character and love the way she interacts with Booth. I also liked the interaction between Booth and Brennan. The scene involving Booth knowing Brennan's passwords, and the reflection over Dixie cup shots at the end, both displayed more bonding and intimacy than any traditionally "romantic" interaction between them ever could.










Monday, November 5, 2007

Heroes—Out of Time

















Back in the past, Kensei has gone totally evol, keeping Hiro drugged up on opium fumes so he can keep the girl. Yaeko frees herself and Hiro teleports them out. Somehow Hiro still things Kensei has a heart of gold. I think Hiro's being just a little too good-hearted here. He gives Kensei a second chance to help him destroy all the guns. No go. Kensei is still bad. And goes boom with all the guns, as Hiro teleports out of the storage building.

Hiro has taken Kensei's place in history, but Kensei's story doesn't have a happy ending. He resolves to return before he messes history up even more, and makes with the smoochies with Yaeko before he goes. He appears in Ando's cubicle, back in the present. Ando breaks the news about Hiro's father. This story was best, I think, in its conclusion. Obviously Kensei's been set up for later movements on the chessboard, revealed later in this episode. It's too bad the story seemed to drag so much before finally getting to the point.

In the Ukraine, Bennet takes pictures of the new paintings. It's a series that leads up to his own death, one of which shows Mohinder with a just-fired gun. A Company-issued gun. Mohinder isn't too sure about his alliance with Bennet now that Bennet seems to have gone kind of apeshit. I'm not too sure about Bennet now, either. He seems to have left his character behind back in episode two or so and is now being inhabited by somebody else.

Nathan and Matt show up to warn Bob of his imminent death. Bob suggests they inject Maury with the virus, and charges Matt with this task since he shares his father's abilities. Bob tells Nathan Peter's alive. Except oops, they lost track of him. Nathan is Not Impressed.

Niki sees DL--vision or real life? Maury has been fiddling with Niki's mind. She injects herself with the virus, thinking it's the only way to save herself.

Matt drops by to see coma!Molly. Caught in Molly's dreamscape, Matt drags Maury in after him. Matt escapes the dreamscape with Molly and leaves his dad behind, effectively incapacitating Maury and rescuing Molly. Oh, by the way, we've got another M there with Maury. Mohinder tries to cure Niki, but she has a new virus strain that can't be cured by his blood. There's no cure for this version of the virus. Bob suggests Claire could help heal Niki, and sends Mohinder out after Mr. Bennet. With a Company-issued gun. Mohinder's surprised by the murder in the Ukraine--enough so that he spills to Bob that he's been working with Bennet. Apparently that smack in the nose affected his brain. He's still awfully pretty, though, although the big white Band-Aid is a dubious fashion statement at best.

In future (2008) New York City, Peter and Caitlin find themselves alone, as the city has been evacuated. Apparently this has something to do with an epidemic, because people in HazMat suits show up and drag Peter off to decontamination, where he is stripped and hosed down. Yeah, that was nice...*rewinds DVR* Caitlin's deported back to Ireland. The population has been decimated by the Shanti virus. I get distracted thinking about The Stand. Peter is reunited with his mom, who of course he doesn't recognize. She tells him Nathan is dead--he died in the first outbreak of the virus. Peter starts to regain his memory. Seeing Caitlin being dragged away with other folks being deported, he freaks out and accidentally teleports himself again. To a place where he meets up with Adam. Who's Kensei. The plot thickens. Finally.

West drops by Claire's house with waffles. Dude, he has totally gone stalkeriffic. I don't like him. I think I mentioned that already. Their prank has made the local paper. I have a moment of hope Claire is coming to her senses, but then she kisses West. Damn. West freaks out when he sees Bennet. Maybe that'll scare him away permanently. *crosses fingers* Bennet finds out about West and tells the family they're moving. Claire puts on her teenage rebellion shoes and says she's not going.

I thought this week's episode was considerably stronger than last week's, and there's some serious groundwork being laid for the future plotline. I didn't miss Maya and Alejandro and Elle a bit--are you surprised by that? This show is strongest when it focuses on the central story, and this week all the plotlines converged on that central story, which is a good thing.

Next week, we find out what happened in the four months between "How to Stop an Exploding Man" and "Four Months Later." I'm intrigued.













Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Night Lights—Let's Get It On















Heeding Tim's plea of last week, Lyla arrives in Mexico, much to Jason's surprise. Tim continues to wear sleeveless sweatshirts, and his arms are really distracting. Honestly, this show doesn't need a plot when Tim's arms are around. Lyla is upset and starts to leave, but Tim has a PLAN that involves a booze cruise. Nice work there, Timmy. But he figures if they take Jason out away from other folks he'll talk, which kind of makes sense. Tim's determined to stop Jason from having the procedure, so they hold an intervention on the boat. It doesn't go well, and Jason jumps off the boat into the water. Fortunately they're close to shore. Lyla and Tim catch up to him on the shore--this was a little strange because I'm not sure how they got to the truck after the boat backed up. Then again I was really distracted by Tim's arms.

Having had an epiphany in the water, Jason finally decides he won't go through the procedure, and their section ends with a drunken threesome. Okay, not quite but man, it was close. And that was even more distracting than Tim's arms. These three are breaking my heart in a good way. Tim's direct confrontation of Jason, with his heartfelt, "I love you," was such a wonderful piece of writing. I love the way Tim has been written throughout this storyline. Frank, sincere, passionate, and then at the end of almost every scene he manages to undercut himself with a throwaway line. Really well-done, both the writing and the performance. I'm almost sad they're coming back to Dillon next week, because the time in Mexico has been so involving.

At the all-important six-week post-partum date, Coach Taylor plans for some nookie but Tami's more interested in a good night's sleep. Been there, done that. Practice goes just about as well, because the team is all tense and freaked out. Matt and Smash have a bit of a dust-up. Coach MacGill gives Coach Taylor advice on his floundering sex life, which seems to make Coach want to spork his own eyes out. Baby Grace continues to be really odd-looking.

Coach follows MacGill's advice in his usual overboard kind of way. His attempts to work things out with Saracen and Smash work about as well as his attempts to get Tami into bed. And the game doesn't go so well, either, with Smash and Matt both on the bench, until they bury the hatchet and the team gels again in the second half, with Landry's help. And after the game, Tami finally perks up and decides she'd like to fool around. This was a funny sequence, and the whole subplot was made even funnier by its sheer realism. Yep, boobs like concrete. I remember that well.

Matt and Julie have an awkward conversation in the cafeteria. Landry has a nice moment here where he's still Landry. Julie asks Matt to the Decemberists. Hey, she's kinda dumb about boys but at least she has good taste in music. Matt turns her down in the end, though, and tells Julie exactly how he feels about how she treated him. Good for you, Matt. And maybe Julie will finally realize how badly she screwed up.

The police consider Tyra a person of interest in the murder case, but I think I might ignore that and pretend that whole plotline isn't even on the show. Although Tyra and Landry are kind of cute together when the other part of their story isn't in play. Anyway, Tyra breaks up with Landry per his father's demands, because Dad Clark has realized Landry's lying to him about something, and blames Tyra for it. While Landry had some great moments on tonight's show, he's still being terribly undermined by this plotline. Not going to harp about it anymore, though.

Did I mention Tim has really photogenic arms?










Thursday, November 1, 2007

Supernatural—Bedtime Stories













Sam and Dean make their way to a town where fairy tales are being brought to life in all their original gory glory. Glory gory? No, I got it right the first time. On their way, they have a very impassioned conversation about the Crossroad deal, since they have distinctly different ideas about how to deal with it at this juncture. Dean yells a lot. He's hot when he's mad. They think the first attack in town might be a werewolf, but the evidence doesn't add up.

Our next victims are Hansel and Gretel with Power Bars, all lost in the woods. They find a house and a sweet little old lady with pie. Poison pie. That's just wrong. And the she gets all stabby with a big knife, which is even wronger. Sam puts two and two together and comes up with the fairy tale connection. The next victim appears to be Cinderella, and all the victims are being stalked by Snow White. All this is way creepier than it sounds. Even the sudden strong saturation of color in this normally undersaturated show is creepy.

And tonight even the commercials have a fairy tale theme.

As it turns out, Snow White is the spirit of the local doctor's comatose daughter, and he's been reading her Grimm's fairy tales. Her spirit is seeking revenge for her stepmother's having poisoned her when she was eight, putting her in the coma, and the angry spirit is lashing out through the fairy tales. The latest is Little Red Riding Hood, and Dean goes to rescue the granddaughter, since grandma has just died of Big Bad Wolf mauling in the hospital. Sam confronts the father, to stop the haunting, and is surprised when the doctor believes him--he's sensed the girl's spirit, too. While he tries to convince the doctor to listen to Callie's spirit, Dean throws down with the big bad wolf (actually a human who's being driven by Callie's spirit). Once the doctor hears his daughter's story and believes her, she passes on.

And there's still fifteen minutes to go... Hm. There was a lot of arguing about the Crossroads Demon at the beginning--want to bet we see something else about that here at the end?

Well, DUH, cause later at the hotel, Sam sneaks out and summons up a crossroads demon, who turns out to be Jared Padalecki's girlfriend Sandra McCoy, Awkward much? He threatens to kill her if she doesn't let Dean out of his deal. She plays mind games with him, telling him part of him will be relieved when Dean's gone. Killing her won't break the deal, though--there's a higher power who holds the contract. She won't tell him who the boss is, so he kills her. Ooo, they'll be having fun dinner conversation about that for months. "Honey, remember that time you shot me in the head and my eyes went all glowy and you could see my skull through my face? That was fun, wasn't it?"

This was a solid episode, though the framing for the Crossroads Demon sequence was a little blatant. Still, Dean looks hot when he yells and Sam looks hot when he shoots demons, so it's all good. And what is up with Sam shooting the demons? Good that the demons are dead, but the human hosts go down with them and that's been a bit of a moral quandary for him in the past. Doesn't seem to be bothering him much now. I'm really intrigued about what the writers are thinking about what's going on inside Sam's head these days.

Another interesting note--the Colt is not the same gun anymore, and the Crossroads Demon knew Ruby not as a compatriot but as a pain in her ass. More intriguing bits of information that I hope will play out in the future.









Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bones—The Mummy in the Maze






Tonight, Bones has its first Halloween episode. It opens at a corn maze. I hate corn mazes. Poor little kid lost in the corn maze. And he finds an actual dead dessicated body, which makes it all even worse. Looking for the body, Booth and Bones and the coroner all get lost. Seems like if they find a dead body in a corn maze they could probably get permission to just doze down the maze to get to the body. Which Booth finally does with his body, which is kind of hot.

The body proves to have been actually mummified, with lacquer and cedar oil. Then another body is found at an amusement park, in a haunted house, just past the killer clown. The clown makes Booth squeal like a girl. The details of the deaths are extra gross tonight and involve tarantulas. Ew. Thanks to many disparate pieces put together by the Squint Squad, Booth and Bones are able to save the final victim from the killer clown. No, seriously.

Jack and Angela consult a private investigator (Azura Skye, who was the argot-afflicted Russian patient on last week's House). She finds out all kinds of interesting things about Angela. And she's found the ex-husband in the Florida Keys. He doesn't want a divorce, and he built Angela a house.

The highlight of the episode is the costume party, although it was really kind of disturbing how hot Boreanaz was done up like a geek. The private investigator was quite amusing in her attempts to be sure Angela really wanted to be with Jack and not with the apparently ridiculously good-looking and still-devoted ex-husband (although one must wonder how much of that she made up as part of her "test"). And the Halloween costumes were great. Overall, another solid outing.










Heroes—The Line

















I think it's safe to say a show has entered a sophomore slump, at least for me, when I find myself more interested in playing Tetris than paying attention. Last night's episode did very little for me other than to annoy me. Mr. Bennet had some intense moments, but I'm not sure I buy his extreme measures--it's like he's a Company man again, but working against the Company, and I know that's the point, but it feels out of character to me. The Maya/Alejandro/Sylar thing is doing nothing for me, nor is Hiro/Yaeko/Kensei. Mohinder is being a bit of a dumbass, in my opinion, although he's been kind of hot lately. And Claire and West? Still not working for me. The prank on Debbie was mean, even though she kind of deserved it, but Debbie seemed really over the top as a character.

Anyway, going lukewarm on this show right now, and really hoping it picks up again soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reaper










I've just spent a lazy Sunday afternoon catching up with Reaper, and I think this show has emerged as my favorite of the new fall series. When he turns 21, Sam (Bret Harrison) discover his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born, so now he has to work as a bounty hunter for Satan for the rest of his life. His job is to return escaped souls to hell where they belong. With the aid of his friends, Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez), he uses various devices as "vessels"--a Dirt Devil, a remote control car, a toaster--to bring back the demons based on often obscure clues from Satan (Ray Wise). Also in the cast are familiar faces Missy Peregrym (Heroes) as Andi, Sam's unrequited love interest, and Valarie Rae Miller (Dark Angel), Sock's ex-girlfriend and often unwitting accomplice. The premise is quirky, the execution even quirkier, and the show overall funny, entertaining, and not stodgy or predictable.

Ratings for Reaper have been fairly solid for the CW so far. It seems to me that it might be a good programming move for the CW to pair it up with Supernatural next season, since Smallville will reportedly be coming to a close.

The soundtrack is cool, too. Here--have some songs:

Lazy Eye—Silversun Pickups (Episode One)
Silversun Pickups - Carnavas - Lazy Eye


The Bravery—Believe (Episode Two)
The Bravery - The Sun and the Moon - Believe


The Perfect Crime #2—The Decemberists (Episode Three)
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife - The Perfect Crime #2

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus—Volume One

In the wake of the arrival and consequent crazy-good sales of Buffy: Season Eight in comic book form, Dark Horse Comics is now re-releasing the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics in trade paperback format. I'm glad they're doing this, because the original comics are a bit hard to track down now, and buying all the paperback compilations is expensive, plus not all the comics were rereleased in this form.

The other thing I really like about the new compilations is that they're not in publication order, but in chronological order. The original Buffy comics jumped around on the timeline, with some set pre-series, and others set during various seasons of the show, in somewhat random order. In these new omnibus editions, the comics have been reordered to fit the series timeline.

Volume One consists entirely of pre-series stories, some of which I had read and some of which I hadn't. All of them are solid stories, and I enjoyed the book quite a lot.

The book starts off with All's Fair, a Spike and Dru series set during the 1933 World's Fair. It's an enjoyable story, but I found it to be the weakest of the set. The next series is the strongest. Buffy: The Origin is an adaptation of Joss Whedon's original script for the Buffy movie--i.e., this is what the movie would have looked like if studio suits and egomaniacal actors hadn't stuck their fingers in the pie. The Origin leads directly into Viva Las Buffy!, in which Buffy fights vampires in Las Vegas with Pike, her boyfriend from the original movie. This series and Slayer, Interrupted, in which Buffy ends up in a mental institution, fill in a good bit of the timeline between the movie storyline and the story that picks up with the pilot of the TV series. Also included is backstory on Giles, with a much-appreciated cameo from Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Sandwiched between these two stories is the one-shot Dawn and Hoopy the Bear, in which an attempt to kill the Slayer affects her little sister, instead. Her arguably non-existent in this time-frame little sister.

The inclusion of Dawn in these comic sets was a conscious decision by the writers, since Season Four through Seven canon includes the character not only in the present but also in the other characters' manufactured pasts. It makes sense given when these comics were written, so I don't have a problem with it, but it'll make your head explode if you think about it too much.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable read, and I plan to follow this series as it's made available. Volume Two is already out--Borders here I come! With coupons, of course.













Preorder

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Night Lights—Backfire















Road trip! Tim and Jason are bound for Mexico. Well, okay, actually they're IN Mexico now, in pursuit of experimental surgery for Jason, but their plans go awry when Tim's natural charm gets him arrested. But he schedules the treatment, and their journey continues with drunken karaoke. Afraid for Jason's life if he goes through with the treatment, Tim calls Lyla and asks her to come to Mexico to help him change Jason's mind.

On the football field, the Panthers continue to struggle as the "throw the ball to Smash all the time" strategy doesn't work so well. Garrity fires MacGregor, who doesn't take it well. Neither does Taylor's boss, when he quits the TMU job. And then he returns to Dillon to discover he doesn't quite have his old job yet, because MacGregor's being obstreperous. MacGregor's finally ousted, and confronts Taylor on the way out of town.

Lyla goes to witness--poorly--at a juvenile prison, and gets too personally involved with one of the young men when he's released. Buddy sticks his nose in and interviews the kid for a job.

Julie continues to act like a horrific brat. I have no sympathy for her at all at this point, and her squeaking selfishness is really getting on my nerves. But when the Swede finally shows his true colors, she at least makes the right decision, so maybe things will smooth out with her soon. On the other hand, Tyra and Landry's over-the-top subplot continues to be over-the-top and also annoying. It's unrealistic and the whole plotline feels like it's patched into this show from some other show that I don't want to watch.









Supernatural—Sin City












I'm under the weather and not really up to doing the kind of review this episode deserves, so I'll do a quick drive-by. Hopefully I'll have something to say about Friday Night Lights later tonight.

I love the work Bob Singer did in this episode, laying down storylines that'll undoubtedly drive at least the rest of the first half of this season, if not the rest of the year. Sam's refusal to become the Yellow-Eyed Demon's right-hand man, not to mention killing the demon, has thrown the demon world into a chaos possibly worse for mankind that what might have played out if Sam had just stepped up to his demonic destiny. And now we know he was Azazel, not just any ordinary demon, and after the havoc that boy wreaked on Hex I'd keep an eye out for him, boys. Now the demons are all jockeying for power, as well as trying to set up shop in human bodies Earthside. What is Ruby's role in this? She helped Bobby set the Colt to rights, and has promised to help Sam save Dean from Hell. But what will she demand of Sam along the way? All signs point to bad.



Run Through the Jungle—Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Chronicle: 20 Greatest Hits - Run Through the Jungle











Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bones—The Secret in the Soil






We begin with Bones and Brennan attending therapy with Dr. Lance Sweets. Which is kind of a dorky name. And neither of them is happy with the situation, but the FBI is demanding their partnership be evaluated. On their way home from therapy, they're called to go check out a dead body. Mmmm, greasy bones. Cam and Brennan examine the body while Booth reminisces over old romantic conquests. Nice timing there, Seeley. The body temperature is abnormally high--the body was cooked before it was dumped. Okay, um... ew. I wonder if this is going to tie in to the cannibal dude from the season premiere?

Jack has the same thought I did. Which means either I'm really smart or I'm a freaky conspiracy theorist type. Considering I watched The X-Files all the way through to the series finale (every single freakin' episode, people), I'll go for the latter. The victim is a Franklin Curtis, an organic grocery mogul. Mr. Organic's body is covered in pesticides. Denise Crosby plays his wife. Hm... where did I see her last? X-Files? Seems like she popped up somewhere else since she was Scully's gynecologist. Ah, it was Dexter. Thank God for imdb. Apparently Curtis was a bit heavy-handed in his pursuit of organic farming, thus giving us a potentially huge list of suspects, since he drove other farmers out of business. Brennan comes up with an argument in favor of organic farming that seems to affect Booth--pesticides can make your genitals shrink. The interaction here is priceless.

The first suspect, Andy, is a tobacco farmer--they think Curtis might have been cooked in the tobacco curing barn, but apparently somebody else was cooked along with him. Gracie from Jericho is the suspect's wife. Curtis made passes at her, apparently, trying to get his hands on Andy's farm. Curtis seems to have been a bit of a horndog.

While they're investigating the next suspect, another organic farmer growing pineapples in a hothouse, a waft from the compost compound nearby initiates an amusing "Who farted?" exchange between Booth and Brennan. The compost smell, though, constitutes another clue. They go to search the compost facility for more dead bodies. Of course they find one--a female body that's been dead about the same amount of time as Curtis. The assumption is that they're lovers, but later evidence shows they're father and daughter.

The case this week had some nice twists, with the final reveal both logical and emotionally fraught. The environmentalist theme seemed like it was going to be heavy-handed at first, but after the first act or so it began to fade more into the storyline, as it should be. While there wasn't a great deal of screentime for the Squint Squad, everybody had at least one good moment. Jack's enthusiasm over bugs and compost, Angela's observations regarding Booth and Brennan's bickering, Zack's observation that he's occasionally wrong--all these were welcome, enjoyable, and spot-on moments for them.

I've been hearing about the "couples counselling" plotline for a while, and had my doubts about it. Seeing it play out, though, I think the writers have found a sneaky way to explore the depths and breadths of Booth and Brennan's relationship without tossing them into bed. If they do this right, it could verge on genius in that respect, and so far so good. The moments toward the end with the two of them in Sweets' office were very revealing without being treacly or corny or treading too close to that deadly romance line. My only disappointment is that they have a new doctor, rather than Gordon Gordon, but the dynamic would have been vastly different with him, and possibly not as revealing as it's been with the considerably younger and less dominant Sweets. Kudos so far for this twist--I'm looking forward to seeing more of this plotline.










Monday, October 22, 2007

Heroes—Fight or Flight

















Molly is still unconscious, with her two daddies tending to her. Matt departs to go find his father. His first stop is Angela Petrelli. Nathan isn't happy about Matt questioning his mom. They end up going to Philly together to hunt down Matt's dad. Nathan isn't pleased with Matt's suggestion that they fly there together. Nathan is all scruffy. This is infinitely better than the beard. They find Matt's dad and discover, predictably, that he's also received a photographic death token. Matt tries unsuccessfully to read his dad's mind, and Dad promises to tell him "everything." Matt's dad double-crosses him with a door that takes Matt to prison and Nathan to nuclear holocaust New York. He must have that key from The Lost Room. Or maybe just some mind manipulating abilities. Either way I think Matt and Nathan are in some serious trouble. In the apocalypse-world, Nathan faces his own burn-scarred self, while Matt finds himself imprisoned with his ex-wife and her baby. So they're both facing some kind of inner struggle with conscience thing in a dreamscape. And everybody knows inner conscience-struggles are never complete without a little headbutting. Matt manages to break them out of the dream, in which they've actually been headbutting each other. They discover Bob's death token--looks like he's next.

Mohinder calls Bennet. He's planning to take Molly in to the Company to get her some help. Mohinder takes Molly to the Company. Mohinder, sweetie, why are you being so dumb? His Company boss, Bob, sends him out into the field with a taser to bring in someone else. Jessica shows up and beats the hell out of everybody until Mohinder tasers her. Mohinder tries to rescue her once she switches back to Niki and discovers she's there of her own volition, looking for a cure.

Monica tells the cops about what happened at the restaurant. This show has a preponderance of characters with names that start with M. Matt, Mohinder, Molly, Monica, Maya, Micah, Mr. Muggles... Mr. Bennet, except I guess that doesn't count because his name's really Noah. But I digress. Monica has the usual I don't know what's happening, nothing makes sense anymore, blah blah reaction to her new powers. Yawn. Pardon my boredom with the new characters, but jeez, they have enough regulars in this cast to populate a small country. Micah plays the piano. That reminds me of when Noah Gray-Cabey used to be the obnoxious piano-playing kid on My Wife and Kids. Monica can mimic his playing just by watching. Micah puts the pieces together and tells Monica about his powers to get her to open up to him. He gives her a 9th Wonders comic about a Copycat talent to help explain. She begins to experiment with her powers. And then Mohinder shows up at her door. Hm. It's like when Xavier shows up at your door to invite you to X-Men school.

In Ireland, Peter and Caitlin make with the smoochies in the bar. Have I mentioned I like Peter's new haircut? Caitlin encourages Peter to see what's in the Mysterious Box O' Doom. Peter decides he'd rather take her to his room for tea and crackers. Elsewhere in Ireland, Veronica Mars shows up looking for Peter. She was a pretty good private detective for about a season and a half there--Peter might be in trouble. And now she can make lightning. I wonder if that's how Peter picked up that skill? He didn't have that before. So maybe they ran into each other before Peter got his brain wiped clean. Caitlin's brother offers to take care of Veronica Mars while Peter hides with Caitlin. At Caitlin's flat, Peter admires her paintings, and finally decides to open the box. He confesses his devotion to Caitlin first--we know that won't end well. The box doesnt' really have anything all that interesting in it. So much for that buildup. Peter has a precognitive flash and uses Caitlins painting supplies to use his Isaac-powers. Veronica Mars continues to be obnoxious. I'm really not liking her character much so far, which is probably why I can't seem to be bothered to look up the character's name on imdb. Anyway, she zaps Caitlin's brother. That's just rude. Her daddy, who she's reporting to, isn't too happy about it, either, and she's ordered home. I hope you get all your allowance cut off, Veronica. Peter and Caitlin try to interpret the painting he just created, and Caitlin gets news of her brother's death. Peter determines to find the bad guys.

Ando takes his teeny scrolls to an expert to have them analyzed and repaired so he can continue reading them. The expert says they're genuine, and repairs them so we can head into another flashback with Hiro and Kensei and Yaeko. They're off to defeat White Beard, and Kensei and Yaeko seem to be getting along swimmingly. But it looks like the three of them are facing off against an entire army, and after that the scrolls are too damaged to read further. Yeah, Ando, I hate those cliffhanger endings, too.

Tonight's episode felt disjointed to me, as if they were trying to cram too much into a small space. Which, point of fact, they were, and are, and sort of always have. It just seemed a little more like that tonight than usual. I'm sure they're doing setup that'll play out later on down the line, but I still wish they'd streamlined the show a bit more rather than making it more complicated. I know I keep harping on that, but I really think it's made this show harder to watch.













Chuck, Burn Notice


















I still enjoy Chuck. I think it's fun and quirky, but for some reason I have almost no ability to pay attention to it while it's on. Weird quirk of the brain, I guess. Anyway, have they always done that random freeze-frame thing, a la Burn Notice, and I've just missed it, or is that new?

Speaking of Burn Notice, I finished watching the full season over the weekend. Again, a fun and quirky show that I have a hard time fully focusing on. I really have to recommend it, though. Not only is it quirky and fun and has Bruce Campbell in it, but you can learn how to make listening devices and fake plastic explosives if you pay attention. And, seriously, how can you not love a show where they use a vibrator to counteract the bad guys' attempts at surveillance?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

TV Online—Amazon Unbox and Netflix Watch Instantly

After a lot of waffling, I finally decided to take the plunge and try out Amazon's Unbox, as well as Netflix's Watch Instantly service. Overall, I'm fairly pleased.

The bad: The waffling came about because of system requirements. Netflix requires Windows Media Player 11, with all its DRM "improvements," which had me leery. I don't really trust Microsoft to have my best interests at heart as regards management of my digital media, so I didn't really want to install their upgrade. However, on reflection, I realized I don't use WMP that much, anyway, so I figured it wouldn't be an issue. The biggest problem I have with Netflix, though, is that it requires use of Internet Explorer as a browser in order to watch their offered video. I'm a dedicated Firefox user, and IE frankly gives me hives. But if it's just for that service, I can deal.

It was my understanding that Unbox requires use of the latest WMP version, as well, though I don't see it on the system requirements list at Amazon. In any case, it at least doesn't force me to use IE, since their player is independent of the browser. While Netflix runs streaming video, Unbox works with downloads, which are limited to use on 2 computers. Neither system is Mac compatible (boo).

The good: Netflix has a very good selection of movies and TV shows available for viewing--over 5,000 according to the website. If you're a member, you can use one hour of viewing time per dollar you pay for your monthly membership. So if you have one of their basic subscriptions, you're looking at 5-10 hours of viewing/month. If you're a spazz like me and have a grandfathered (from *ahem* years ago) super duper membership, you're allowed, well, a lot of viewing time. I'll never use it all up, but at least it adds a bit more value to my membership, since I have a bad habit of leaving movies laying on top of the DVD player for months before I get around to watching them.

Anyway, I first set the system up on my son's computer so the kids could watch the Sonic the Hedgehog animated series. They finished that up and then apparently couldn't find the time to look through for other shows they might enjoy, so I went ahead and set up the system on my own computer and started watching The Office from Season One. The software was easy enough to install once I'd gotten my Windows updates finished, and runs pretty smoothly. Netflix seems to feel my DSL connection is on the low end, speedwise, so it delivers the lower quality versions of the available movies, but it's not bad--definitely on a par with the free streaming service offered by the network websites.

Also at Netflix, they're offering new episodes of Heroes the day after network broadcast, I guess to make up for NBC's pulling the show from iTunes. They also offered the premiere of Californication before it was broadcast on Showtime, and Dexter's Season Two premiere for a limited time.

At Amazon Unbox, you can download episodes of a good number of TV series for $1.99 and episode--the same price as at iTunes. NBC's shows will continue to be available here even after they pull everything from iTunes at the end of this year--I guess NBC was happier with the DRM at Amazon than they were at iTunes. They also have movie "rentals" for $3.99 each. These have to be viewed within 30 days or they will explode. Actually, they automatically delete themselves. Once you start playing them, you have 24 hours to finish watching, so if you have to leave on an emergency trip to Zimbabwe in the middle of your movie and you won't be back for a month, you're out of luck. If you have a TiVo, you can watch downloads on your TV. You can also hook the TV into the computer to watch, or watch downloaded video on a select number of portable devices (iPod not included--another boo). Portable video files come with your download.

My experience with Unbox so far has been limited to free content. I "purchased" (can you call it purchasing when it's free?) three supplemental videos for Bones ("Couples Counseling" videos--short and fun little asides to the story as it's playing out on the series). At first I had some difficulty using the software--it wouldn't download my videos. I had a suspicion I'd entered the wrong password, but couldn't find an option in the software to correct the issue. After an uninstall and reinstall, I was able to enter the right password and download the videos. All that went swimmingly, so I suppose my difficulties could be attributed to user error. It was a bit frustrating, though, to not be able to figure out how to fix my password without uninstalling.

In any case, both these options seem to be very viable for catching up with shows online. If you want DVD quality viewing, you're not going to get it here, but if you can't wait for the DVD releases, both Unbox and View Instantly can help you keep up with your viewing, or check out samples of shows you might not watch otherwise due to scheduling conflicts.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Night Lights—Are You Ready for Friday Night?


















In tonight's episode, Tim wears sweat pants hanging so low they would fall off if he breathed wrong. This makes me happy. Very happy.

Oh, and then there's plot. Because the new coach, while being more poetic, is still mean, and works Tim so hard Tim has to be taken to the hospital.

Dear Mr. Mean Coach--Do not mess with My Boy Tim and his Fabulous Sweatpants of Guh. I will cut you. No love, TC.

Lyla continues to be annoying in her attempts to recruit Tim to her church. Tim's at the end of his rope--he's drinking heavily again, Billy has taken up with Jackie, and Jason, trying to do his job as assistant coach, tells him he's a screw-up. So Tim goes to church with Lyla. He seems to have found God now. Which is okay as long as he still wears the Fabulous Sweatpants of Guh. But in the end, he heads off on a road trip to Mexico with Jason, who's not getting along with Coach McMean, either.

Coach Taylor continues to struggle with his job and family obligations. Friction grows in the team as Smash aggrandizes himself to reporters. MacGregor has established him as go-to guy, and his coaching techniques are tearing the team apart rather than pulling it together. Buddy Garrity tries to reassert his power over the team. He pulls Coach Taylor in on this scheme, using some pretty low tactics. Unfortunately, what he says about Tami and Julie is true--they really are having a hard time without the Coach. And so is the team, as Taylor witnesses when he watches the Panthers play from the sidelines. But it's Tami finally allowing herself to fall apart that makes up his mind--he's going to take Buddy's deal and get his old job back. Wow, I didn't see that one coming...

Landry and Tyra remain great characters stranded in a bad plot, unfortunately. I still hold out hope that this will improve, but at least by now it's become a relatively minor blip in a show that's starting to look like my old Friday Night Lights again.









Viva Laughlin

Okay, so, what is this show? It's a drama about a guy trying to get a casino built in Laughlin, Nevada (or at least the pilot is--I assume the casino gets built at some point), and every once in a while people burst into song. Except apparently the producers don't trust the actors to carry the musical aspect of the show, because they sing over the original produced performances of the songs so you can't really hear the actors singing at all. I don't get it. I mean, if you're going to do a musical, then get people who can sing. Or, more to the point, they have people who can sing so let them. Hugh Jackman can sing his tight little silver suited ass off and we all know it, so let the dude sing ferpetesake.

As far as the characters and the story and such, that's all fine, but really, they just lost me by not having the balls to actually, you know, do a musical.

Oh, but Jackman? Smokin' hot. And so is DB Woodside.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Supernatural—Bad Day at Black Rock













Tonight's episode is by Ben Edlund. I really shouldn't have to say anything else about it. I mean, this is the guy who brought us "Simon Said," and "Hollywood Babylon," and, a few years ago (has it really been that long?), turned Angel into a puppet. And tonight he's going to construct an entire Supernatural episode around a rabbit's foot. Which seems odd, but not as odd as turning Angel into a puppet, and that was one of the highlights of my TV viewing history. So yeah, looking forward to this one.

Before we get to the bunny toes, we catch up with Gordon, who's still in prison, but getting outside info from another hunter about the devil's gate fiasco at the end of last season. Gordon still seems to think Sam needs to die. But didn't he do that already? The hunter, Kubrick, joins forces with another hunter and goes in pursuit of Sam, who's collecting more Satanic nicknames as Kubrick starts calling him the Adversary. I think he paid a little too much attention in Sunday School. Heck, by the end even Gordon thinks Kubrick is taking his whole mission from God thing a little too seriously, and when Gordon thinks you're off your nut, you probably have some serious issues.

Dean isn't too happy about Sam's chatting up Ruby the demon last week. I'm kind of surprised Sam told Dean about that. It seemed like he was playing his research cards close to the vest since Dean told him about the loophole. Although it's probably good he's opening up to Dean. At this point I'm wondering, though, if he's told Dean about Mary's history as revealed last week via Ruby.

They get a call on John's old cell phone about a storage container being broken into. They go to investigate and find the container filled with childhood memorabilia (Sam's soccer trophy, Dean's first sawed-off shotgun) as well as a potentially useful arsenal and a collection of curse boxes filled with bad mojo, locked away for protection. One of them has been stolen. I liked this scene and what it revealed about John and his love for his sons. I also liked that John is in many ways still an active character in the show, much as he was in the first season before the boys caught up with him. Tying family backstory into this episode was a great move on Edlund's part--it added a layer that made it feel that much more accessible.

Sam and Dean chase down the thieves and aquire the rabbit's foot that was inside the curse box. Dean, seeing the effects of the artifact, buys lottery tickets, because he's Dean. Sam, though, is certain the artifact is cursed. Which of course it is, as evidence by the really gross death of one of the men who initially stole it. Seriously, how do they come up with all these inventive yet really repulsive ways to kill people off? And this one had the added bonus of being funny. Anyway, the bunny foot was made to kill people--when you lose it, you die in less than a week.

And a waitress in the restaurant where they stop to eat lifts the rabbit's foot out of Sam's pocket. Sam and Dean now have to figure out how to break the curse so Sam won't die. And the restaurant's publicity shot of Sam and Dean as their one millionth customer leads the hunters straight to their prey.

Poor Sam gets saddled with the bad luck, which leads to lots of pratfalls for Padalecki, who is as hysterical in this turn as put-upon Sam as he is scary when he gets to tackle demon-possessed Sam. Seriously, I've been watching Gilmore Girls and Padalecki has come a long way, and is developing some serious talent. Fearing for both their lives, Dean leaves Sam in the hotel room ("Don't even scratch your nose"--so of course Sam's nose immediately gets itchy) and pursues the thief, a new hot chick named Bela who apparently specializes in this sort of thing.

While Sam is afflicted by more and more off-the-wall accidents (the air conditioner catches fire while he just sits there trying not to do anything dangerous), Dean regains the rabbit's foot and manages to make me laugh hysterically while at the same time being completely hotass. "I'm Batman." Yes, I rolled right off the chaise. Sam's death seems to be inevitable when Kubrick catches up to him, but Dean makes use of the rabbit's foot's powers while luck is still on his side. It's this kind of assured competence in the most bizarre of situations that makes me want to lick Dean all over. Did I say that out loud? In the end, he tricks Bela into touching the rabbit's foot, so she'll be forced to let them destroy it. But she gets her revenge by pickpocketing Dean's scratch tickets.

I have to say I'm very happy with my show so far, even with the changes that have been introduced. I had high hopes for the new cast additions when rumors first hit the internet over the summer, and so far Bela and Ruby are playing out quite nicely. I was afraid Sam's storyline might fall by the wayside, but instead it's just gathered more layers. And Dean's impending death, while it continues to color the tone of the show, was more or less set aside this week, which I think was a good thing. While it's an important subplot, it doesn't need to be explicit in every episode. Kudos once again to Edlund for a stellar hour (well, okay, about 42 minutes) of TV.








Monday, October 15, 2007

Heroes—The Kindness of Strangers

(Blogger won't let me upload an image tonight so picture Naked Peter in this space.)

Mr. Bennet is still freaking about the painting of Claire, and Mr. Muggles is apparently a power-walking Pomeranian. That dog is scary. Dad gives Claire the "outsiders are a threat" speech again. Claire reassures her dad that there's no boy for him to worry about. At school, she's still being pursued by the cheerleaders. Their lockers are outside, and I swear I've seen this school before in another show or a movie. What do they do when it rains, if the lockers are outside? See? I remember thinking the same thing when I saw this school before. West and Claire have an awkward conversation with lots of subtext, but he asks her out anyway. Claire says she's going to the library to study for a paper and sneaks off to see West. Her dad stalks them but doesn't see West and Claire flying away. They sit on the Hollywood sign and chat. West tries to convince Claire she should trust him. I don't trust him. I think he's kinda creepy. He convinces her to jump off the sign to prove her trust. Of course he catches her in mid-air. Maybe this is all supposed to be romantic but he still seems kinda stalkery to me. They stay out too late (there's a shocker), and he encourages her to lie to her father to cover up. Claire tells her dad she made the cheerleading team, instead of telling him she was out with Creepy Flying Boy. In fact, she's all manipulaty about it to get Dad to let her be on the team. He says she can cheer but she can't date. Hm. How is that gonna work? I think Claire and Julie Taylor (Friday Night Lights) should hang out, because they're both being annoying with the teenage rebellion stuff. The Haitian arrives and says he and Bennet have to go to Odessa, in the Ukraine, to follow up on the paintings. They still haven't given the Haitian a name, have they? Maybe we can call him Mr. Haitian McHottypants.

Maya and Alejandro are still traveling with Derek, who speaks English, which allows us to abandon the subtitles, thank God. They're slightly less annoying without subtitles. They find a body in the road. Oh, and I spoke too soon. More subtitles. The body in the road is Sylar. Whee! Boring characters + interesting character =.... well, I guess we'll find out. Maya shows Sylar the book and Sylar gets all curious and creepy and offers to help them find Dr. Suresh. Hm. Nice trick since Sylar killed him. Derek finds a "Wanted" ad (as opposed to a want ad) in a newspaper with pictures of Maya and Alejandro and shows it to Sylar, who says "golly." Derek goes to call the police while Sylar confronts them with the newspaper. Maya gets agitated and starts to infect Sylar, but Alejandro calms her and stops the process. Sylar is, of course, very intrigued by all this, and helps them escape. In the meantime, Derek has dropped dead of brain hemorrhage...okay, how did that happen when he was quite a distance away from Maya when she had her meltdown?

Elsewhere, Micah is being tormented by the other kids living with Lieutenant Uhura, who is apparently Micah's grandmother, so I guess the other kids would be his cousins. Micah uses his powers to get his cousins Pay-Per-View so they'll stop tormenting him. Cousin Monica has tested into a management training program so she can go to school to help her family recover from the hurricane. It appears she might have some power, but it involves cutting tomatoes into roses and I don't see how that's all that useful. Maybe she just learns things really really fast. Anyway, she doesn't make it into the management program. And her friend looks like somebody cloned Molly Ringwald. Monica is attacked at the hamburger joint and takes out the burglar using a move she saw on TV. Yep, apparently she learns by watching. Handy skill.

Molly wakes up screaming after a nightmare and is comforted by her two daddies Matt and Mohinder. Nathan sneaks a visit with his kids, who mock his beard. Poor Nathan's not allowed to be around his kids. That's not good. I wonder what pieces we're missing here. Angela Petrelli confesses to the murder of Mr. Nakamura to Matt, who's interrogating her in the hospital. She tells Matt telepathically to accept her statement and let it go. Otherwise, digging into the case will expose our Heroes. Nathan, who has shaved now--yay!--confronts Matt about his mother's "confession." I guess Nathan took his kids' mockage seriously. Matt tells Nathan about Molly's dreams and the symbol common to the dreams and the investigation.

Nathan goes to chat with Mom. Mom mocks his shaving. Wow, he can't win with the whole facial hair conundrum, can he? Angela sticks to her guns about her confession. Nathan and Matt compare notes about the older generation of folks, including Angela, DeVeaux, Linderman and Nakamura, and find a picture with a good number of them all together. We get a bit more information about Matt's situation--his wife's baby wasn't his. Back at 3M HQ, Matt tells Molly and Mohinder that he needs Molly to help him find his father. Molly is freaked out by the picture and says Matt's dad is the nightmare man. Okay, there's an interesting twist. Nathan continues to see visions of Peter with his face horribly burned. Matt pushes Mohinder to let him get Molly to continue to help track down his father. Mohinder doesn't like the idea, but Molly says she'll do it. She does, but comes too close, and is thrown into shock, but Matt can still hear her screaming.

Wow, what a freaky way to end it. Most of the storylines seem to be ramping up nicely. I'm most interested in the 3M team and the Petrellis right now. I missed Peter tonight but I can't say I missed Hiro. His storyline isn't doing much for me right now, and I hope when he comes back they've added something to that plot to make it a bit more interesting. Maya and Alejandro are still boring to me but adding Sylar to the mix at least adds some interest there. I'm still not terribly invested in Micah's situation, or in Monica yet, and Claire is really annoying me. Although I'm starting to really like Mr. Muggles. He should get a spinoff.













Saturday, October 13, 2007

Angel Script Books

I thought I had blogged about the Angel Script Book Volume 1, but I can't find an actual post about it, so if I'm repeating myself please forgive me.

IDW Publishing started putting out original shooting scripts of Angel shortly after the series was canceled. Apparently they didn't sell well, because they only did a few, then compiled the existing one-shots into a TPB edition. The second volume consisted of the last few one-shots plus an additional episode that hadn't been published in one-shot form. I don't think they have any plans to publish any more paperback compilations, but I suppose that could change if Angel: After the Fall does well enough.

Volume One consists of the series premiere, "City Of...," by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, "A Hole in the World," "Waiting in the Wings," and "Spin the Bottle," all by Joss, and "Five by Five," by Jim Kouf. And they're in that order, too. Seasons 1, 5, 3, 4 and 1. That's really my only complaint about this series. The chosen scripts seem a bit scattershot and aren't in order. Of course I wouldn't have been totally happy with anything but all 100+ shooting scripts printed and bound and all in order, because I'm a little weird that way.

Going on to Volume Two, we have "In the Dark," by Douglas Petrie, "I Will Remember You," by David Greenwalt and Jeannine Renshaw, "Convinction," by that Whedon guy, "You're Welcome," by David Fury, "Smile Time," by Ben Edlund (oddly much less funny in script form than the final product was), and the series finale *sniff*, "Not Fade Away," by Whedon and Jeffrey Bell.

I always enjoy reading original shooting scripts as a rule, because it's fun and I learn things about writing scripts. Having them packaged in a nice paperback so I don't have to print them out or read them off the computer is a plus, too. The way these books are packaged, though, is more reader-friendly than script-studying friendly, since unlike the Buffy scriptbooks they don't follow the exact page breaks and page formatting of the original scripts. Still a minor quibble, though, and I'm just glad they're available. IDW? We can has more, please?










Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Night Lights—Bad Ideas


















As we cruise into our second episode, nobody seems to be settling into their new roles. Coach Taylor's having trouble settling into his new job at TMU. Landry and Tyra struggle with the aftermath of last week's justifiable manslaughter, and Tammi's having difficulty juggling baby Grace, rebellious Julie, and her needy replacement guidance counselor Glenn, who sticks his nose in places it doesn't belong. The new coach continues to alienate Buddy Garrity, which strikes me as a bad idea given the funding his business probably provides the team. Lyla continues to be annoying, while Tim continues to be a smoking hot purveyor of depraved hedonism. I approve. Of Tim, not Lyla.

At football practice, the new coach also continues to be mean to Tim. He needs to stop that cause we like Tim. Jason sees improvement in his hands, but the doctor quashes his hopes of ever walking again. A nurse sent to help care for Matt's grandmother creates chaos in the household, and tensions continue between the not-quite-divorced Garritys. And, just to round out the drama, the Swede continues to pursue Julie in spite of his apparent rejection last week. I don't like him. Julie seems to, though. I think Julie's on a bad path.

This week's episode felt a bit more like what I expected to see from this show than the premiere, and seeds have been sown for potentially interesting storylines to develop as we continue into the second season. I highly disapprove of tonight's lack of Tim, though. Let's hope we see that remedied in future episodes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Supernatural—The Kids are Alright

















After an arguably weak debut, Supernatural comes back this week with all cylinders firing in an episode that's laugh-out-loud funny and keep the lights on all night horrifying at the same time.

We open with the grossest thing I've seen on Supernatural since the whole arm in the disposal thing back in Season One ("Home"). Cause seriously. Ewwww. I knew there was a reason I never use power tools.

Anyway, creepy little kid + power saw = dead dad, which also = case for our boys to pursue. Dean, though, has an ulterior motive for going to Cicero, Indiana. Apparently he had a really inspiring encounter with a yoga teacher there eight years ago. Hey, Dean, hon. I do yoga. Seriously. And I'm sure my kids could use an exorcism. I mean, don't all teenagers? Upon dropping by to visit Lisa, the very bendy ex-flame, Dean discovers she has a cocky little AC/DC loving skirt-chasing son who's -- you guessed it -- just about eight years old. Also, the freaky girl from the teaser is at the party, and her mom's concerned there's something very wrong with her. I think she's right. Little Katie has got an extremely high creep factor going on there.

Elsewhere, Sam is approached at the diner by Blonde Girl With Cool Knife, from last week. Apparently she's still stalking him. And stealing his food. She's got an attitude. She likes him because he's tall and might be the Antichrist. As good a reason as any to stalk a hot guy, I suppose. Sam seems to have lost his psychic ability. And Blonde Chick knows something about Mary Winchester that we don't know and neither do our boys. Interesting. What kind of pals did Mary have, anyway?

Lisa's neighborhood in Cicero has been plagued by freak accidents, aside from the gross power saw thing, all witnessed only by children just as creepy-weird as Katie. Many of the children appear to be possessed by... something, their true natures only showing in mirrors. Turns out they're Changelings, and there was one in each house where a death occurred. They're feeding on the moms, and the Winchester boys have to figure out how to get rid of them and also save the real children. And now Ben seems to have been swapped, as well, leaving Dean to work out how to rescue the child he seems convinced is his own son, even though Lisa's told him he's not the father.

I don't even know where to start with this episode. Everything was just damn near pitch-perfect, from the humor to the horror. The isolation of Katie's mother, driving her to unthinkable actions to escape what she knows is a threat. Dean's yearning for a normal life, embodied in a ready-made family, and his endearing if ephemeral relationship with Ben. And Jensen Ackles... Wow. The last scene between Dean and Lisa was beautifully played.

And then we have the coda with Sam and Ruby. Ruby the -- holy crap I didn't see that one coming -- DEMON GIRL!! A demon who wants to help Sam find out the truth about himself, and with all of Mary Winchester's friends systematically slaughtered, that truth seems to be no small thing. And on top of it all, Ruby can help Dean. Yes, I made flaily hands at the TV. I'm even more excited about this season now than I was last week. Maybe even more excited than I was after last season's premiere, and I didn't think that was possible.










Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bones—Death in the Saddle






In a charming opening to tonight's episode, a boy scout sort goes to take a leak and finds a dead body swarming with maggots. Fortunately I remembered not to have snacks tonight. Mr. Dead Guy has no feet--they find them buried a short distance away. Brennan fusses because there's still lots of meat on the bones, which means it's not her job. This leads to some clunky exposition between her and Cam to catch us up with previous episodes.

Angela is planning to be hypnotized to remember her ex-husband's name. The name she remembers was a nickname that means "little flute." This makes everyone smirk and also makes Hodgins very happy.

The body has sunscreen on it that's meant for horses, and the teeth show evidence of usage of a bit. Plus Mr. Dead Guy's stomach is full of raw oats and things horses would like to eat. And his name is Ed, so of course they start calling him Mr. Ed. Which turns out to be his pony play name.

Ed's wife says he was a fine, upstanding sort of person and doesn't seem to know anything about the horse connections, which leads to a rather awkward bout of questioning for Booth, who is also regaled with terrible horse jokes by Brennan, who of course hasn't heard any of them before.

Angela is skeptical about the hypnotism, since she worked for a magician once. That sounds like a very Angela-type job. Cam gives her a pep talk.

Booth and Brennan follow Ed's credit card trail to a pony play resort, where Ed was a pony. One of the women there is Annie Oakley (her fetish community name), played by Christina Cox--Vicky from Blood Ties. I guess she got tired of vampires. Although if she's tired of vampires why is she hanging with Boreanaz? Anyway, she was Mr. Ed's last "rider." Booth engages in more awkward questioning peppered with sarcasm, which Annie Oakley finds offensive. Annie says Ed's wife showed up at the resort and Ed disappeared the next day.

On the return trip, Brennan delivers a history of pony play. Typically, she's accepting of it from an anthropological point of view, while Booth is appalled.

They question the wife, who is also appalled by Ed's fetish. She was tipped off by a phone call from a man with an accent, but she says she went straight home after catching Ed and Annie together. Brennan doesn't think the wife did it because of the condition of the body--everything about the murder fits into the pony culture, and the wife wasn't involved in that.

Zack works on identifying the murder weapon by making casts of the head wound that killed Ed. Booth and Brennan return to the pony play resort to find the mystery caller. They question Calvin, the caller, who admits to making the call but not to killing Ed.

Ed was murdered with a hoof knife, and the wound inflicted in the forehead parallels the way horses are normally slaughtered. Hodgins proposes to find the killer by tracing the baling twine used to tie Ed's hands.

Angela's hypnotism doesn't work because she wasn't relaxed enough. She obviously has issues about the husband.

Booth interrogates Lucky, who runs the resort, as regards the twine, as it was traced to his ranch. Lucky's ex-wife is Annie Oakley, thus providing motive, but it's only twenty till so I don't think it's him. Booth seems skeptical of Lucky's story. The feet were severed with the hoof knife. Hodgins is bummed because Zack figured this out at the same time he did. Booth and Brennan follow another suspect to a butcher shop. He runs. That's suspicious, I think, but he doesn't seem to know anything about Ed's death, either. In fact, he was a fan. Also a National Guard deserter (thus the fleeing) and a proponent of eating horsemeat as an extension of the pony play fetish.

Angela tries the hypnosis again. This time it works, but instead of seeing her husband she's attacked by a giant dream wasp. This makes her peevish.

Brennan determines Ed's eyes were gouged out. Okay, now we're doing Equus. They go to question Lucky and Annie Oakley, who apparently is a doctor in her day job. Annie turns out to be the killer/jealous lover. A bit predictable, that.

Angela makes a connection between the wasp and the book where she left the Polaroid from her wedding, which has her husband's first name written on it, and she remembers his last name. Hodgela smoochies ensue.
Brennan and Booth have a heartfelt conversation about vegetarianism and lovemaking. No, seriously.

This episode seemed to be trying to walk that line between over-the-top and serious forensics. I don't think it quite succeeded, because it landed a bit too far on the over-the-top side. And yeah, Bones is generally a bit OTT, but the presentation here seemed a little too tongue-in-cheek to quite work the way they seemed to want it to work. Angela and Hodgins had some nice scenes, but Zack seemed flat, almost a caricature of himself. The two scenes at the resort rehashed basically the same conversation between Booth and Brennan, which in many ways was a rehash of their conversation regarding BDSM in "The Girl in the Fridge." The best part, I thought, was Booth's closing monologue about crappy sex versus lovemaking. It was a bit poetic and heartfelt and yeah, kinda hot...

Anyway, overall not the strongest episode, but amusing.