Saturday, February 10, 2007

Talk to Nielsen

Nielsen is currently doing an online survey of TV watching habits. If you'd like to put in a plug for some of your favorite shows, even though you're not one of the Privileged Few Nielsen Families (who as long as I can remember have never really watched stuff I liked), drop by here and complete the survey. It's not too terribly long, and covers a good range of things, including shows you've streamed or downloaded from the Internet. I hope they continue doing this kind of thing, because it seems to me like something like this would be much more representative of what folks are watching than the current Nielsen Box and Survey system.

TV Tie-Ins—Angel: Old Friends

Angel: Old Friends

Written by Jeff Mariotte, art by David Messina. The story picks up right after The Curse. Angel is drawn out of his self-imposed exile as familiar faces begin to pop up in LA, behaving very out of character. Who's behind all this? And can Angel stay out of the demon-hunting game knowing evil is once again afoot? I liked this series, as well, finding it to be stronger and less predictable than The Curse, and peppered with some lovely heart-wrenching moments as Angel is visited by friends he's lost along the way.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Friday Night Lights on iTunes

Friday Night Lights makes its debut on iTunes this week. If you'd like to check out the show, you can download the pilot episode for free for a limited time.

And this is my one hundredth post!! Whee!! And it figures that tonight Blogger lets me edit...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Music on Men In Trees

I flip over after Supernatural to check out Men In Trees, and what are they doing on Grey's Anatomy? Playing Snow Patrol. Seriously, I like Snow Patrol, but there are other groups, people...

Anyway, why am I watching Men In Trees when I usually don't? Because the second song in the episode, when Anne Heche is in the bar, is by Steve Carlson (who, as far as I know, is in no way connected with Snow Patrol).

Steve Carlson is half of the band Kane, with the other half being Christian Kane of Angel. Kane recently signed with a major label, and are supposed to have an album out I believe this summer. Steve also does music solo, and with the Steve Carlson Band. I highly recommend all his music. Check it out at iTunes, or at these websites:

As for the show itself, it seems fun, and a co-worker really likes it. I might have to catch up with it some time when I get a chance. And was that Nick Lea on the preview for next week?

Steve Carlson:

Steve Carlson

Supernatural—Born Under a Bad Sign

I don't know why it's so much harder to review shows I really like than ones I'm not quite so invested in. Maybe because I have to fight the urge to squee like a fangirl. So maybe if we get it out of the way up front--this was just--wow. Really, really good. Awesome. And I chewed off all my fingernails.

On to attempt a review.

This season has been moving toward the possibility of Sam going bad, driven by his unexplained connection to the Yellow Eyed Demon. And tonight we face this head-on.

We open with Dean looking for Sam--he's been missing for a while. Dean finally gets a phone call and goes to meet Sam, who's in a hotel room covered in blood and with no memory of what happened. Following what little they can dredge up out of Sam's fuzzy memory and jacket pockets, the boys end up at a storage locker. Inside is a VW Bug (so uncool) full of blood and a bloody knife. Following the trail, they discover Sam has been a Very Bad Boy. He's been smoking, and if you ever watched Buffy, you know that means he was evil. They finally make their way to a house, where they find the body of a Hunter. Sam is certain he did it, and it appears the victim was a Hunter. Security tapes clearly show Sam slitting the man's throat.

Convinced he's murdered the Hunter, Sam begs Dean to kill him. He's been suffering from random attacks of rage and hate, which he feels are trying to take him over. The Yellow Eyed Demon is finally making a play, turning Sam evil to serve his grand plan.

Only on this show could they have an intensely powerful, emotional scene in the middle of a hotel room full of weird trout pictures.

Dean, of course, refuses to kill Sam, determined to save him, instead. Obviously following another agenda, Evil!Sam pushes Dean right to the edge, threatening Jo, then begging Dean to kill him so he won't kill her. Jared Padalecki's performance is chilling here, reminiscent of David Boreanaz's Angel/Angelus tour de force in Season Two of Buffy. Jensen Ackles is equally good, as Dean fights to save his brother from what turns out to be a demonic possession. Jo's involvement added a lot to the story this time, too, instead of feeling a bit added-on, as some of her other appearances have. The twist--which isn't that much of a twist but it doesn't even have to be because this episode is that good--is that the demon now possessing Sam is the same demon that possessed Meg last season. He (or she) is after revenge--the Winchester boys sent him back to hell, and he wants to return the favor in terms figurative or literal or both. Again we're told John is suffering in hell. They've dropped this tidbit too many times now for it to not have some relevance on how the rest of the season will develop. Of course, there's the question of whether the demon's stories can be trusted. Did he tell Jo the truth about how her father died? Is he telling the truth about John's whereabouts? Or is all this just a demony way of messing with the Hunters' heads, throwing them off their game?

The rapid build toward the climax was masterfully written--the commercial break after Sam knocked Jo unconscious nearly gave me a stroke. And the climactic scene between Sam and Dean, with Evil!Sam torturing Dean, and Bobby's final rescue--wow. Really well-played by Ackles and Padalecki. And just enough humor sprinkled through the final, most intense scenes to vary the mood without breaking it.

Overall, a very strong episode, one that seems to be setting us up for a powerful second half of the season, as the question of Sam's good versus evil status is explored further, and hopefully more is revealed about the Yellow Eyed Demon's plans and the coming demon war. (This is conjecture--I've remained largely spoiler-free--but it does seem like the direction they're going.) I really only had one quibble--if Bobby had charms to fend off possessions, mightn't this have been a good thing for them to have earlier? That bit seemed a bit forced, but I have a suspicion it'll come into play later.

Next week's episode looks like a good departure after the intensity of this week's episode. I love the way they're playing with the formats of the trailers, going beyond a simple "Next week on..." to have a little fun with them.

Waiting for Supernatural

Okay, there's this thing where I'm on Mountain Time, and my best friend is on Central Time, so she gets to see Supernatural an hour before I do. And every Thursday night she TORTURES me by doing a running non-spoilery commentary for the entire episode in AIM. Today it went: HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP and some other exclamations I won't post in a mostly family friendly blog. And she CALLED me just to TORTURE me even more.

That alone should be enough to tell you it was a good episode. I can't wait to find out for myself.

**Looks at clock.** Jeez, is it eight yet?

A Milestone

Today, hits on this blog have reached an all-time high. I assume this is at least partially due to Lost fans dropping by to read last night's review. Thanks, everybody, for dropping by! It's been a real kick watching the numbers go up.

Boy Is My Face Red

A correction, an admission of guilt, and some housekeeping...

Woke up this morning to find a kind anonymous commenter had pointed out that I called Howard Epps Omar Epps. (Note to self: No more tequila while blogging.) I dutifully went to edit the post, and Blogger was in that mood where it won't let any posts be edited. While poking around trying to get it to cooperate, I accidentally deleted the entire post. So the Bones review from last night is now at

To the anonymous commenter--thanks for pointing this out. I didn't delete your comment--well, actually I did, but not on purpose and I ended up deleting the entire post along with it. So nothing personal.

To Omar Epps--I do not think you're a serial killer. I think you're a hottie. I blame my mistake on the tequila and the House reference earlier in the post. Okay, actually, I blame Stephen Fry.

PSA: Drinking while blogging? Never a good idea.

Bones—The Girl in the Gator

Okay. First.

In this article at, Eddie McClintock, our guest for tonight and apparently several other nights, claims he gets mistaken for David Boreanaz. "I've actually signed a few autographs as him." Dude. You look nothing like The David. Plus isn't that fraud? Does the FBI investigate autograph fraud? I'm appalled.

Okay, seriously, although this wasn't the greatest Bones episode by far, I like the addition of Eddie to the cast, because it looks like it's destined to bring some fun tension into the show. It's a bummer to have David Boreanaz absent, but I hope he's getting a good break from the shift in the plotline. He deserves it. Put your feet up, Dave. Have some tea.


Seeley Booth is having a bad day. Apparently going from reglar nookie to no nookie has made him really tense, because he shoots a clown on an ice cream truck because it's being too noisy and annoying. As a result, he has to see a shrink before he can get his gun back, leaving Brennan to meet up with Agent Tim Sullivan (who does not look like Agent Booth, although he seems to be trying to act like him), to investigate a body found inside Eugene, an alligator. I felt kind of bad that they shot the alligator. I mean, he was eating a dead body, not a live human. It seems unfair. Poor Eugene.

Booth is sent to see Gordon Wyatt (Stephen Fry of Fry and Laurie, as in Hugh Laurie as in House) and is told to cogitate and they'll have some tea. Booth tries to get him to just sign the papers so he can go back to work, but instead Wyatt has Booth build him a brick barbecue, which leads to Booth modeling some seriously hot wardrobe and getting scruffy. I have to wonder at Wyatt's motives, but I highly approve.

Sully (Seeley? Sully? Did you catch that subtle juxtaposition?) and Brennan investigate the murder. Brennan identifies the parts in the gator as Judy, a missing college student. She also was apparently involved in a porn website called Hotty Student Body. Hodgins knows about it--he clicked on a pop-up and got caught in a pornado. I like that. Pornado. They find footage of Judy on the website, and suspicion builds toward the website's owner, Monte Gold. While they're interrogating him, they run across Isaac, a fundamentalist minister type who follows Monte around trying to save wandering souls.

The story continues from here in the usual fashion, with plot twists to divert from one suspect to another. Ultimately I found the main plotline less than satisfying. Monte and Isaac were sterotypical in the easy-way-out way, much like Howard Epps' mother in last week's episode, and the fallen minister as murderer "twist" was far too obvious. Monte's death wasn't a bad addition, although I saw it coming the minute Judy's father approached Angela in the diner. I did, however, enjoy the interplay between Sully and Brennan, as they began to warm to each other. And the scenes with Dr. Wyatt and Booth really made the episode. Booth's issues with the clown stem from his uncertainty about what happened with Epps in "The Man in the Cell"--he's genuinely uncertain whether Epps' death was accidental, or if he should count it as his fiftieth kill. The interplay here was by turns funny, as Booth tries to pressure Wyatt to sign his papers, and touching, when Booth finally breaks down and gets to the root of his problem. Boreanaz wasn't in the episode a lot, but when he was, he really delivered. And boy, can he wear a denim shirt...

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Lost—Not in Portland

This episode was preceded by an hour-long recap of the entire series. And I'm only now noticing that the guy who arrested Kate and was with her on the plane is the demon guy who took John Winchester's deal in "In My Time of Dying" (Supernatural). I'm pretty sure I'm way behind the curve on that one, but no wonder that damn plane crashed.

Front Story: We start where we left off, with Jack trying to help Kate and Sawyer escape. His attempts are, of course, hampered by the fact that he doesn't know they're on a different island from the rest of the original group. Kate and Sawyer run into Alex, who helps them escape, but she wants them to help her rescue her boyfriend. Ben wakes up on the operating table, which is really creepy. He asks to see Juliet. He's heard that she told Jack to kill him on the operating table. Juliet says she'll help Kate and Sawyer escape if Jack finishes the surgery.

Kate, Sawyer and Alex get ahold of Alex's boyfriend Karl using the "Wookiee prisoner gag." Nice work, Sawyer--Star Wars jokes are always funny. Karl's being tortured--or experimented on--with a slide show with a really loud soundtrack--some kind of sense overload thing. Jack accidentally nicks an artery while he's working on Ben. Oops. The trio make their way to the boat, but are pursued. Juliet shoots their pursuer, and I finally remember where I've seen Alex before--she was on Malcolm in the Middle. Juliet tells Alex she has to stay; otherwise Alex's father will kill Karl. Ben's her father? I don't think we knew this before. That bit confused me. The only way he'll let Karl live is if Alex stays...but Karl goes with Kate and Sawyer... so if she'd gone with him, Ben would hunt them down? Or kill Ben long-distance? Or shake him to death like a bunny? Just not entirely clear on that statement from Juliet.

Jack tries to operate and talk to Kate on the walkie talkie at the same time, to make sure Kate and Sawyer have really been able to escape. Doesn't he know multi-tasking in the operating room is a bad idea? Jack makes Kate promise she won't come back for him. Sawyer seems none too happy about Kate's emotional reaction to talking to Jack. Kate, Sawyer, and Karl leave in the boat.

Jack has finished up with Ben's surgery, having removed the tumor. Jack asks Juliet what Ben said to her to change her mind about killing him. Apparently he told her that if she saved him, and helped Jack, she would be allowed to go home. She's been on the island for three years.

Backstory: Juliet gets the spotlight this time. Her backstory involves using an experimental treatment on her sister, on the sly, and getting busted by her ex-husband, a hospital administrator. Batmanuel Nestor Carbonell shows up in Juliet's flashback as Mr. Alpert. If I were having a flashback, I think he'd be a good addition. Juliet's got some interesting backstory. Aside from meeting Batmanuel, she's also managed to impregnate a male mouse. Her ex, though, has control over her career. In a minor breakdown during the interview, she says the only way she could take the job is if her ex were it by a bus.However, her work is successful, and she's able to help her sister get pregnant. (Another bit I wasn't clear on. Her sister was costumed to make us think she had cancer. Then the treatments turned out to be fertility treatments. But she did say that she needed to "get healthy." However, pregnancy and cancer treatment are generally mutually exclusive things, so again, not quite clear on what was going on here.)

Then Juliet's ex gets hit by a bus. Mr. Alpert comes back to talk to Juliet, and he brings Ethan with him. Juliet points out that she offhandedly said her ex should get hit by a bus during their interview, and gets a little freaked out by the coincidence. Mr. Alpert wants her to work with them. He knows way too much about her. The job is somewhere that's "not quite in Portland." The island, perhaps? Because it's not in Portland. And that must be important because it's, you know, the title of the episode...

Overall, not a bad return episode of this series. It'll be interesting to see how the ratings are affected by the long hiatus.

Zeljko Ivanek, who plays Juliet's ex-husband in the flashbacks, was in "The Woman in the Car," a first season episode of Bones.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

House—Needle in a Haystack

We're back to the usual format as we open with Mysterious Ailment Victim, Stevie, a teenager who's in a car making out with his girlfriend. He starts wheezing uncontrollably and I feel warm and cozy because this looks more like the show I'm used to.

House's diagnosis of the teen is complicated by the fact that he's Romany. Conflict ensues when the parents arrive and try to enforce their traditions, even as it interferes with treatment. They end up dealing more directly with Stevie, bypassing parental consent in a not particularly legal manner. In the end, the source of his troubles proves to be more mundane than expected. And, as usual, it isn't lupus.

In the meantime, House spars with Cuddy to get his parking space back from a new doctor, who's wheelchair bound.

So House is back to formula, as is a far better show for it. Let's hope last week's episode was just a fluke, and they won't try anything like that again. Or if they do, that they'll execute it a whole lot better.

Some quibbles--the cultural conflict that interferes with diagnosis and/or treatment has been done to death, and gets tiresome after a while. I know little or nothing about modern day Romany culture (except that a while back they used to shove souls into vampires, but that's a different show), but it seemed a little too shallow and pat to me. On the other hand, Stevie's final decision to accept his family's culture rather than take the internship Foreman offered was nicely done. It wasn't patronizing, nor were we made to feel like he'd made the wrong choice. So that mitigated things a bit. My other quibble? Not enough Wilson.

Overall, a good installment.

The song at the end was In the Waiting Line, by Zero 7, from the soundtrack to Garden State.


Okay, I was wrong. Jericho doesn't come back this week--it remains on hiatus until 2-21. My bad. I'm a goober.

Monday, February 5, 2007


Okay, first of all I’m so annoyed with myself that I didn’t post my prediction about Claire’s real father because I was RIGHT, and now nobody will believe me. Weh. Anyway, that was an interesting twist, as was Bennet’s reveal that he knows something about Dr. Who Claude. So this older generation of Heroes was supposedly killed off? I wonder how many others are lurking about.

So, on to tonight’s episode:

Niki is still in therapy. The therapist is trying to draw out Jessica via hypnosis. Of course this doesn’t end well. Niki’s dragged back to solitary, but then some folks in suits show up and tell her somebody on death row confessed to her crimes. Niki is sent back home. Except she’s Jessica, and Niki’s been locked away, figuratively in the closet.

Isaac is in a painting frenzy, trying to track down Peter. One of the paintings is of him with Simone. Another appears to be a taxicab full of light. Maybe it’s a taxicab blowing up. Has the prediction of New York blowing up turned into just one taxi blowing up? Cause that seems like progress. Okay, maybe it was something else… like the taxi cab from a bit later.

Claude continues to mentor Peter in his dead sexy accent, suggesting that Peter try to hang onto one of his absorbed powers. A thought--can anybody hear them? Cause they’re pretty chatty, and nobody seems to notice them unless there’s physical contact. And if they're trying to be all stealthy why do they keep running over people? Claude decides they should spy on Simone, to prove to Peter that everybody sucks.

Of course while they’re watching, Simone goes to see Isaac and they share a moment. Peter is pissed. Claude makes a crack about Peter’s hair. I crack up and fall off my chaise, which makes it hard to type. Claude tosses Peter off the building. It’s a damn long fall, and he doesn’t die… Apparently Peter managed to summon Claire’s powers at the last minute. Suddenly he’s swamped with all the powers he’s absorbed. He starts to lose control and Claude slugs him in the face. Yeah, this whole mentor thing is going really well.

Hiro’s dad insists he must go home, back to his job at the family company. He even offers a promotion to Executive VP. Hiro explains that he has a different destiny. He has to deliver the painting so he can get the sword and keep NY from going kerblooey. His dad is less than enthusiastic about this story and destroys the painting.

Hiro and Ando try to reassemble the painting. Hiro’s sister tries to convince him to follow their father’s advice. There’s trouble at Dad’s company because he can’t control his own son. Ando thinks maybe Hiro should just go, especially since his powers seem to have petered out. At Ando’s urging, Hiro decides to talk to his sister. Through some sneakiness, he gives his sister a chance to show her true colors, convincing their father that she’s his worthy heir, not Hiro. Hiro is free and clear to go ahead and continue his mission, with his father’s semi-blessing. Ando thinks Hiro’s sister is hot, but she totally disses him. He, however, is blissfully unaware that he’s been dissed.

At the “paper factory,” Bennet is overpowered by Sylar, who’s planning to kill Claire.

Claire and Zach make up a manatee-related excuse to go visit her real mom. (This reminds me of a story…my kids and I went to the theater the other day and it was a matinee show. My son called it a manatee. We laughed about that the whole time. You have to be a manatee to get in, let’s all walk like manatees… okay, maybe you had to be there.) Claire and Zach arrive at her bio mom’s place, which proves to be a trailer park. Zach leaves her there so she can’t back out. There’s a touching reunion. * sniff * Claire demonstrates her powers to bio Mom, and bio Mom reciprocates.

In the meantime, Sylar is at the Bennet house, waiting for Claire and chatting with the Pomeranian. Claire’s other mom shows up at home. Okay, this can’t be good. Sylar chats up Mom, saying he wants to meet Claire, and gets himself invited over for dinner. We don’t like him. And isn’t he suspicious, with that big bald wound on the back of his head? Sylar starts to show his true colors. Bennet arrives just in time to save Mom and shoot Sylar. He has the Haitian with him. Sylar gets away. Bennet comforts Mom. The Haitian is there to wipe her memory so she’ll no longer be traumatized by visions of Sylar’s bushy eyebrows.

Claire gets home. Her mom doesn’t remember the conversation about the matinee manatee. Claire realizes something has gone wrong in her absence.

Bio Mom calls Claire’s bio dad to let him know their daughter has found her. Her dad turns out to be … Drum roll… Nathan Petrelli.

Poor kid.


Tonight's Amazon link is brought to you by fandom collisions: Adrian Pasdar meets David Greenwalt. Dude. I should totally watch this.

Coming This Week

Lots of TV this week... Shows with an asterisk I'll be reviewing in real-time. Others will go to the DVR for later perusal. Some mild spoilers in this post, so beware if you're intensely spoilerphobic.

Monday--Heroes*. More whacky hijinks with our happy Heroes gang, as hopefully we find out more about Hiro and Claire's parental units.

Tuesday--House*. Let's hope it's better than last week...

Wednesday--Bones*. Booth has to undergo therapy for being a clownshooting whackjob. We are introduced to not!Booth (Eddie McClintock).

*--Finally returns!

Jericho also finally returns.

Thursday--Supernatural*. Sammy goes bad--or does he? Poor Sammy. Poor Dean!

Friday--No TV of interest to me, so this is when I'll be hitting the DVR. Also awaiting review is last night's Masterpiece Theater, The Ruby in the Smoke, a Victorian mystery starring Billie Piper of Dr. Who fame.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Preview—The Black Donnellys

The pilot episode of this mid-season NBC series was made available on the Netflix-exclusive Heroes Season Summary DVD. The show was created by Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco (Crash, Million Dollar Baby).

The Black Donnellys tells the story of the four Donnelly brothers and how they become involved in organized crime in New York City, and has a strongly cinematic look and feel. To me, it felt a little like a Guy Ritchie movie, with its juxtaposition of wry humor and brutal violence. The writing is good, but I found the voice-over narration approach to be distracting in places, mostly because it wasn't clear to me why Joey was narrating. He didn't seem to be intimately involved enough in the events he was discussing to serve as narrator--unless he's supposed to be an untrustworthy narrator, and then we get into a whole new kettle of fish. Then again, I have a prejudice against voice over, especially in pilots.

In any case, this pilot episode was solid, well-produced and well-acted, with a killer soundtrack (although what's with the ubiquitousness of Snow Patrol lately?).

The Black Donnellys premieres this spring on NBC.

The Tudors—Showtime Original Series

Here's something I'll definitely be following in the future.

The Tudors is a new series starting April 1 on Showtime. It chronicles the early reign of Henry VIII, who back then was not pasty and corpulent, but apparently was Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Velvet Goldmine, Bend it Like Beckham). I highly approve.

Click here for a preview from Showtime. Warning--some adult content, as young Henry seems to have been a bit...oversexed. There are also a few more previews over at Showtime's official site, along with additional information about the series.

This looks like a good one.