Saturday, March 24, 2007

Robin Hood—Parent Hood

While being pursued by Guy of Gisborne, Robin and his cohorts find a baby in the woods. Guy attacks and one of Robin's men, Roy, is captured and taken to the castle when he takes a hit for Robin. There he's tortured for information, and finds out the truth about the baby. Guy is the baby daddy, while Annie, its mother, is a kitchen girl in the castle, who was told the baby was taken to an abbey and that Guy would marry her. Guy, of course, is a big sleazy smirky eyelinered liar of a baby daddy. And still wearing leather.

The sheriff coerces Roy--Roy must kill Robin or the sheriff will kill Guy's mother. Robin, et al, prepare to storm the castle, with Robin wearing the baby in a sort of medieval Snugli on his chest. This doesn't seem like the best idea, but the baby comes through just fine, remarkably enough.

In the meantime, Marian has tried to be the voice of reason with the sheriff, who's trying to use a recent disease outbreak in the village to keep it under quarantine and effectively starve the villagers out. Marian tries to bring food to the village and is intercepted by guards. Robin rescues her--still with baby in Snugli--and shoots a bunch of bread into the village on arrows. Dude, he's just showing off now. Fortunately he doesn't accidentally shoot any of the villagers. The sheriff's men show up and break up the party. Because of her defiance of the sheriff, Marian is punished by having her hair shorn in front of the usual crowd that shows up for such things.

Back with the Merry Men (I don't think they've actually called them Merry Men in this show) Roy attacks Robin in his sleep, but is stopped by Much and the others. He tells Robin about the sheriff's proposal, and about the baby. Robin of course determines to rescue both Roy's mother and Annie. They're intercepted by the sheriff. A surprise assist from Annie, who attacks her baby daddy with a knife, provides enough distraction for them to save the day, but not without losing Roy, who chooses to sacrifice himself for his mother.

Overall, this episode seemed a little deeper, more layered, and darker than previous episodes, which is a good thing. The storytelling felt a bit more confident--as if the writers are finding their feet and moving beyond the cliches of the Robin Hood story into something a little different. While I still don't find Robin all that likable, I was impressed that he took the time to read the Qur'an, and obviously found something of merit there, since he quoted from it. Remarkably open-minded for a Crusader. His pursuit of Marian is a bit annoying, and I'm glad she's not responding to it, because he's being kind of a jerk. When it comes to her, he seems to be rooted in their past relationship, and not able to see her as she is now. They're at odds, definitely, with Robin working outside the system and Marian trying to change things from within the system. I like this set-up better than the usual Robin/Marian interaction. Unfortunately it's not going too well for Marian, what with the whole hacking her hair off thing. Although she looks awfully good with that new 'do. If they'd really wanted to humiliate her, they should have shaved her head, but she'd probably look good bald, too. I'm disappointed in Guy so far, though. He really hasn't had much to do other than stand around and wear leather and smirk. Not that he's not really good at that, but I'd like to see more of him.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Tudors

I dropped by the Showtime website tonight to check out the first two episodes of The Tudors and was met with an unpleasant surprise. The episodes Showtime is presenting on their website have been edited. Dude, that's just wrong. If you're going to give me a preview of the show at least do me the courtesy of previewing the entire show as it's going to be aired on your station. Otherwise it's just a commercial.

Annoyed now.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Madison, this week's damsel in distress, is hanging out in a bar with her friends after work when her boss comes on to her. She handles it smoothly, then freaks and leaves when she catches sight of another man across the bar. The next morning at work, she finds her boss mutilated on his desk.

"Detective" Sam Winchester views the body in the morgue and questions the doctor, who says the man looks like he was attacked by a wolf. Also, his heart was missing. Apparently there's a pattern of mutilated bodies with their hearts removed, the deaths occurring just before the full moon. Dean is stoked--he thinks werewolves are cool and is looking forward to facing off against one. They go to have a chat with Madison. Madison mentions that her ex-boyfriend Kurt recently attacked her boss--Kurt being the man she saw in the bar.

Detectives Landis and Dante (John and Joe, the directors of An American Werewolf in London and The Howling, respectively), head out to investigate Kurt and look in his freezer for human hearts behind the Haagen Dazs. In the street below, a cop is attacked by something growly. Sam and Dean find the cop mutilated.

Feeling Madison needs protection, Sam and Dean duke it out with rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to stay with the "hot chick." Sam wins. Dean's scissors obsession cracks me up. Sparks fly between Sam and Madison, and before it's all over we get one of the hottest sex scenes I've ever seen on network TV. And that includes last season's smokin' hot bit between Dean and Cassie in "Route 666."

As the story plays out, the parallels between Sam and Madison are obvious but not hammered home--it all just hangs there in the subtext waiting until we feel safe and then it all comes out and eviscerates us. And Sam, who has his heart ripped out every bit as thoroughly as the werewolves' victims. (Yes, this is a pretty on-the-nose metaphor, but for some reason it worked, unlike the on-the-nose metaphors in "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things"). Like Sam, Madison has a monster inside her, but with her it's explicit, and no one can cure it. Like Sam, Madison is willing to die to keep from being this monster. And like Dean, Sam must face the necessity of having to kill someone he cares about to save her from herself. Dean offers to take on Sam's burden, but Sam refuses. Faced with the unthinkable, he cowboys up and does what he has to do. If and when the time comes, can Dean do anything less?

I really didn't see anything not to love in this episode. Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles both knocked it out of the park, but Padalecki got another spotlight this week and he did it proud. This performance, while not quite as showy, was every bit as good as his turn in "Born Under a Bad Sign." Emmanuelle Vaugier was very good as Madison, and Sera Gamble gave us yet another heart-wrenching roller coaster ride. Kudos all around.

Supernatural at iTunes:
Supernatural - Supernatural, Season 2

Bones--Info on Minghun Ceremony

Thanks to an anonymous commenter from last night, I got a correct spelling for the Chinese tradition featured in last night's Bones. Here are some references, for those who might be interested. (Abstract only) (long and more informative than the other two references)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lost—The Man from Tallahassee

Sporadic reports today have it that Lost has been picked up for next season.

Back story: Pre-wheelchair, but short a kidney, Locke fights bureaucracy and depression. A young man, Peter, arrives at his door asking him for help with his mother, who's apparently being conned by Locke's dad. Locke searches out his father and finds him in a flower shop with his new fiancee, preparing for the wedding. Locke confronts him, accusing him of conning the fiancee.

Later, a pair of detectives approach Locke about Peter. Apparently he's dead. Locke accuses his father of the murder. Dad shoves Locke out a window. While this was an interesting twist, nicely out of left field, and finally an explanation of how Locke ended up in the wheelchair, I found it pretty hard to believe he could survive an eight-story fall.

Jungle story: Kate, Sayid and Rousseau watch Jack playing football in the yard with Juliet. Attempting to make contact with Jack, Kate and Sayid are both nabbed by Others. Locke makes his way into Ben's quarters and holds him at gunpoint, demanding to know where the submarine is. Alex breaks in on them--Locke grabs her as a hostage, then sends her to fetch Sayid's bag. While she's gone, Ben plays head games with Locke. Locke returns the favor, commenting that Ben isn't healing very fast, even though Locke himself obviously has been fixed somehow. Ben theorizes that Locke wants to destroy the sub so he won't ever have to leave the island, and that Locke wants to stay on the island not only to stay out of the wheelchair, but because his father can't ever get to him there. He offers to show Locke the island's secrets. Locke isn't impressed--he seems to believe he has a mystical connection and understanding of the island that even Ben, who was born there, does not. He cites his able-bodiedness as evidence.

Jack is brought to talk to Kate. He tells her he made a deal with them, and they're going to let him go home. Juliet comes to get him. He tells Kate he'll come back for her.

Alex retrieves Sayid's pack. Sayid gets smacked around for talking to her about her mother. Locke has Alex take him to the sub.

Jack asks Ben to let Kate and Sayid go after he leaves. Ben agrees to do so. Locke is apprehended on the way back from the sub. As he and Jack run into each other on the pier, the sub explodes.

Locke is imprisoned by the Others. And look! There's Batmanuel Nestor Carbonell again. Ben thinks Locke was sent by the island to get rid of the sub so he wouldn't have to keep his promise to Jack and thus lose his status as the Others' leader. Ben feels Locke does have a special communion with the island, though his understanding is still flawed. He takes Locke to a locked room and reveals...Locke's dad, tied up in a chair. I make my wtf face. Apparently this is the titular Man from Tallahassee. So how the heck did they get him shipped in and why did they bother? Just to throw Locke off his game? Or did he appear in the big Make-A-Wish box?

So not much answered here, although we did finally find out how Locke ended up paralyzed. And someone other than Locke thinks the island has some kind of juju about it. If there really is a big box that will give you anything you wish, can I wish for Jensen Ackles on a plate? Can it do that? Cause that might be worth getting stranded on an island full of nutcases, polar bears and weird black clouds.

Next week, apparently somebody dies. I wonder who. There are a couple of characters whose deaths could very possibly cause me to stop watching this show. I hope it's not one of them.

Lost on iTunes:
Lost - Lost, Season 3

Bones—The Boneless Bride in the River

Although Brennan is attempting to be on vacation with Sully, Booth calls her in on a case--a body that was boiled, and its entire skeleton removed, before being dumped in a river. Yes, this is as gross as it sounds and why am I still trying to eat ice cream? I should know better by now. Zack and Hodgins try to inflate the skull-less head to reconstruct the woman's face--also gross but funny, too.

Angela manages to ID the body as an Asian woman who's in the country to visit her fiance. He claims they had called off the wedding, and then flees from the scene. Nice way to not look suspicious. The victim proves to be a mail order bride. Brennan suspects the body was treated as it was as part of a traditional Chinese ritual in which the bones of a woman are buried with a man to provide company for the man in the afterlife, although generally the woman isn't murdered to provide the bones. While suspicion of course focuses on the fiance, the final resolution leads the investigation in another direction.

In the meantime, Sully buys a boat and invites Brennan to take a year off to cruise to the Caribbean with him. Angela encourages her to go. Surprisingly, so does Booth, although most of his other behavior indicates he's not crazy about the idea.

This episode had an interesting premise, although my google-fu failed as far as verifying the supposed Chinese tradition that drove the plot. Not that it doesn't exist--I just wasn't able to confirm it. The writers certainly seem to be coming up with crazier and crazier ways for people to die. The humor in this episode was good, as well--I particularly liked the scenes contrasting Harper's graceful martial arts gymnastics with Booth's clumsy barreling along and falling over himself. I've always liked the way David Boreanaz doesn't seem to worry about humiliating himself on camera, and this was no exception. Of course, it led up to that great fist-in-the-face moment--we can't have our stalwart FBI hero humiliated for the entire episode, after all. His mixed reactions to Brennan's dilemma with Sully were equally well-played. While I rather enjoyed the addition of Sully to the cast, I'm kind of glad they didn't drag it out too long, because it could have gotten tiresome. This handful of episodes was just about right.

Bones on iTunes:
Bones - Bones, Season 2

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

...and Another Online Preview

The pilot of The Riches is available at AOL TV. This show from FX, with Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard, has been getting some really good buzz.

The Tudors

The Tudors premieres on April 1st, but the first two episodes are available online at Showtime's official site. Drop by and check them out.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blood Ties—Bad JuJu

Vicki takes a case searching for a woman's missing brother. She's just accepted Angelique's case when they are attacked by a very large, very strong, not entirely human-looking man. Vicki's convinced the guy was some sort of undead. Mike's not crazy about that thought and encourages Vicki to not be a whack-job, so Vicki goes to Henry for help. Henry says it was a zombie. So of course the case leads them into some serious voodoo magic--and into even worse danger when Vicki's client proves to not be what she seems.

I still like the overall dynamic of this show. The interaction between Vicki and Henry is as fun as it was between Vicki and Mike last week, and Henry and Mike all in each other's faces is just as good, though Mike's skepticism is a bit tiresome, as skepticism usually is in a show like this. The plot this time proved a bit of a departure from the usual treatment of voodoo/zombie lore, though it didn't really present us with anything new. And I have to say snarky and/or pissed Henry is much more entertaining than broody, retrospective, feeling guilty Henry.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Dresden Files—Storm Front

A couple of people we don't know die horribly while making out. There's a lot of blood. Eww. Harry is summoned to the case. Our couple have had their hearts ripped out of their chests. The man is a local crime boss. Harry doesn't want to get involved--the only way to solve the case is to recreate the magic that caused the deaths, and that would get Harry into deep doo doo with the High Council. Except he's already in deep doo doo with the High Council, because Morgan and the other High Council folk have jumped to conclusions and assume he committed the murders. Apparently he killed his uncle Justin with black magic, so he has a record, but he says it was self-defense. He has to prove somebody else did it to get out of trouble.

Pursuing the case, he's attacked by a fire-throwing demon, reunites briefly with Bianca the vampire, and uses some pretty flashy magic, including channeling lightning.

This episode had a lot of exposition, almost as if it were a pilot. Which of course it was, originally, until they decided to use "Birds of a Feather" instead, and move this one farther back in the schedule. Harry seems to be spilling a lot of information about magic to Murphy, which seems contradictory to his attitude toward her previous to this. He also uses a lot more magic, which I liked. I especially liked his use of the shield bracelet--I thought they did some nice effects there. Susan is dropped in with no introduction at all, which I suppose would have worked if this had been left as the first episode. Overall, though, considering this was an hour-long adaptation of a full-length novel (cut down from a longer version used as the pilot, I'm told), the story held together surprisingly well, although a heck of a lot of stuff was left out from the book. While it was a fairly satisfactory episode, I wish they'd done two-parters for the stories that are drawn directly from the book plots, like this one and "Hair of the Dog." They could have done a much fuller treatment of the books that way.

Dresden Files on iTunes:
The Dresden Files - The Dresden Files, Season 1

Jericho—Semper Fidelis

Aired Wednesday, 3-14

Food is running dangerously short in Jericho. As the mayor decides to take a last in/first out approach, a tank arrives, rolling down main street, complete with marines who say they're here to help. The marines say that the bombs were dropped by North Korea and Iran, which the US subsequently nuked, and that a reconstruction effort is underway. But pieces don't add up, and Jake and Johnston get suspicious of the marines' motives. The marines prove to be just another group of refugees, keeping themselves alive by conning the towns they pass through to hand over supplies and fuel.

Hawkins and Sarah prepare to leave, but Hawkins finds Sarah's communications device with her instructions to use his family against him. She holds his family hostage to acquire the package. A confrontation ensues. Sarah is killed, and Darcy leaves with the children. Hawkins makes contact with Sarah's contact, pretending to be her.

We have a bit more information about the world outside Jericho--maybe. The "marines" stated that the information they gave about the bombings was possibly partially true--some they heard, some they made up. So the North Korea/Iran scenario may or may not be accurate. Apparently Jericho is far better off than most of the surrounding towns. The catchphrase: "You don't know how bad it is out there." Presumably it's as bad as Black Jack, and probably worse. And one has to wonder what will happen to Roger and the other refugees, given the new mayor's attitude toward them.

Featured Music:
Echoes and Falls--Señor Happy
Señor Happy - I'm Sorry - Echoes and Falls

This episode at iTunes:
Jericho - Jericho, Season 1 - Semper Fidelis

Robin Hood—Who Shot the Sheriff?

When a bailiff is shot down in cold blood, Robin is blamed for the man's death. As the killings continue, often felling innocents, the villagers turn against Robin. The Sherwood folk are certain the man was killed by a mysterious figure known as the Night Watchman. As Robin's position with the villagers becomes more and more tenuous, Robin proposes a deal with the sheriff, which proves ironic since it turns out the sheriff himself is behind the killings. But when the true identity of the Night Watchman is revealed, Robin's in for a bit of a surprise. In the meantime, Guy tries to hunt Robin down while smirking and sulking hotly.

This episode felt too on-the-nose to me, with everyone telling Robin he does what he does just because he wants to be loved, not because of any altruistic motive. Marian's attempt to draw him into a chick flick moment felt particularly forced. On the other hand, Robin seems to have a generally condescending attitude toward just about everybody, which I don't find endearing, so maybe they have a point. Guy, while shifty, broody, sulky and smirky, at least seems to have straightforward motives. He's not a nice guy, but you know exactly where he's coming from. And in the middle of it all, Much felt the need to declare his love for Robin again. Seriously, you two, just get a room.

The final reveal of the killer wasn't much of a surprise (although the identity of the Night Watchman was a tiny bit less telegraphed). Robin seemed more than a little dense to take so long to figure out the sheriff was behind the killings. And the sheriff/deputy thing? What a bad, bad, gratuitous joke. I do like that Marian is a strong figure--in fact she's coming off as much smarter and stronger than Robin. Maybe she should depose him and take over running the Sherwood Forest gang. She'd probably do a better job.