Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Summer Hiatus Begins

Well, it's that time of year again, when the fall season ends and the networks go into reruns. Well, they used to--now they do summer programming. Not much of it looks really interesting to me at the moment, though, so I'll likely be drifting off network TV for the summer.

What do we have to look forward to in the next few months?

Torchwood arrives on BBC America this summer, as does the third season of Dr. Who. I'm totally there for both of these. Eureka should be back around August-ish, I believe. Plus I've got a lot of stuff to catch up on, namely Rome, The Tudors, and whatever else I can think of.

Right now I'm watching Season One of Gilmore Girls and being terribly amused at Jared Padalecki's baby-face and how he's still taller than, well, everybody. This is quite a fun show. I'd watched some of it back when Gilmore Girls: Beginnings was on on Sunday nights, but I hadn't come back to it. I'm really enjoying it so far. Although I still think Stars Hollow should have an apostrophe in it somewhere...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lost—Through the Looking Glass

I tuned in tonight hoping to see some answers to some of the questions posed through the course of this season. Instead, we got a whole passel of new questions. For once I'm not completely sure I'm disappointed by that.

I haven't reviewed Lost in a few weeks not only due to time constraints, but because I've discovered I enjoy it more if I don't try to write it up. Tonight was no exception--I took notes for about ten minutes, then stopped, and suddenly found the show much more entertaining.

So not so much with the recapping tonight--just some reactions to the major developments. The writers seriously messed with our heads here, mostly to good effect. Although I was about to tune out and never tune back in again for those fifteen minutes or so we thought Sayid and Jin were dead. Okay, Bernard, too, but I'm not so much invested in him. In fact, I thought it was a little weird that he and Rose just popped back out of the woodwork last week after such a long absence. I loved Hurley's last-minute charge to the rescue, and even though it's been telegraphed for the last several episodes, I disliked Charlie's death. It was a good, heroic death, but there were at least a couple of ways he could have gotten out of there before he drowned, and that bugged me. Also, how did Charlie know to play "Good Vibrations" with exactly those variations on the tune? And how did he know which numbers were which notes in the first place? I had some issues with that whole sequence. He could have remembered the numbers Bonnie gave him and worked it out that way, but I'm pretty sure she started out with 555, and Charlie didn't. (I also had issues with how emaciated Tracy Mittendorf (Angel) looked, but that's a very different sort of rant.)

Of course the biggest messing-of-heads was with Jack's supposed flashback, which turned out in the end to be a flash forward. This is either a move of pure genius on the part of the writers, or exactly the opposite. That'll depend on how they play it, naturally. I was frustrated that we never saw who had died that sent Jack off the deep end (almost), but this made sense as a story choice given that it wasn't a flashback. I'm also a bit unclear on some other elements of that section. Jack referenced his father--but we know his father's dead. Was he just that messed up, or was there something else going on there? And why is he so determined to get back to the island?

All this begs the question, too--is rescue really on its way? Will Naomi's boat show up and take them off the island and then the story will proceed from there to explain Jack's issues in the flash forward tonight? There are 48 episodes left to tell the story, which in current show-time is only about another month or so, give or take. Of course, that equation isn't set it stone, either.

Anyway, the twists and turns of this season still have me veering back and forth between sticking with the show and giving up. After tonight's episode, I think I'm leaning more toward the "sticking with" side again.

Good Vibrations--The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys - Sounds of Summer - The Very Best of the Beach Boys - Good Vibrations

Monday, May 21, 2007

Heroes—How to Stop an Exploding Man

I'm having a bit of difficulty writing tonight's review. The usual recap and commentary doesn't seem like the right thing to do tonight. I haven't been as attached to this show as I have been to, say, Supernatural, but tonight's episode was a well-done and stunning conclusion to a surprisingly solid season of TV.

When Heroes started off back in the fall, I was intrigued but not really hooked. But as the season progressed, I got more and more of a sense that the writers knew what they were doing, and had a goal in mind that they were making their way towards. And they did, on both counts.

Heroes has had a surprisingly solid voice and feel from day one, especially for a freshman show. While most first-season shows take a while to hit their strides--some not making it until a second or even a third season, if they last that long--Heroes seemed to know what it wanted to be from the beginning. Kudos to Tim Kring and the writing staff for pulling this show together in such a spectacular fashion.

So... on to the plot, or a brief summary of it. First, DL is not dead. He looked really dead. That was kind of cheap, because I really thought he was dead. But he's hot so I won't be bitter. Anyway, at his insistence, Niki leaves him to search for Micah. There she meets up with what she thinks is Jessica, and they throw down. But then Jessica appears in a reflection to cheer Niki on--they've found common ground in the desire to protect their son, and in the end they seem to have reconciled. While a reasonable conclusion to her season-long conflict, it seemed a bit anti-climactic.

Realizing Nathan is in on the plot to blow up New York, Peter lets his emotions run away from him and starts to go radioactive. He passes out in an alley, and in a sort of not-really-conscious emotional fugue, sees himself in the past, at Isaac's loft with Simone's father. The pieces of the plot come together around him as he watches his mother talking to Charles. Then Charles is able to talk to Peter, and tells him all he needs to save the world is love.

Ando arrives at Isaac's loft, sword at the ready. He faces off with Sylar, who mocks the comic book that shows Hiro killing him. Hiro arrives as Sylar is torturing Ando for information. Hiro rescues Ando in spite of Sylar's smirky McSmirkiness. I liked the fact that Isaac was very present in this episode, in spite of his no longer being around. Almost every major character passed through the loft and saw something there that spurred them on. Hiro teleports Ando to Japan and proceeds back to New York to fulfill his destiny.

Finally, all the Heroes converge in New York, where everybody takes a shot at stopping Sylar. The major confrontation, though, is between Peter and Sylar. Matt arrives and is taken out by his own bullets when Sylar throws them back at him (he's still alive at the end of the episode but not looking too hot). At this point Peter should have an advantage, because he can absorb the power of everyone present, not just the ones who's brains he's eaten. Again, Peter's emotions run away from him and he starts to go radioactive. Hiro arrives and puts a sword through Sylar, just as shown in Isaac's comic. But Peter can't corral his radioactive powers. New York is doomed unless someone can eliminate Peter.

Bennet prepares to shoot, but Claire arrives and takes the gun. She's reluctant, but willing to do what has to be done if there's no other way. But before she can, Nathan arrives on the scene, having finally chosen a side.

I knew what was going to happen as soon as he shot like a rocket out of the sky, but that didn't make it any less intense. Nathan and Peter reconcile, declare their love for each other, then Nathan takes Peter and flies him straight up into the sky. Shortly thereafter, there's an explosion, far up in the sky.

I did not want to see either of the Petrelli brothers go, much less both of them, but that really was a beautiful moment. The plot led to it without telegraphing it, and it was emotional without quite becoming melodramatic. And with luck, since this is a comic book, maybe they'll be back. Hey, a girl can hope.

Of course, then at the last we see a bloody trail where Sylar was lying, presumably in his death throes. It leads to a manhole cover. So he might be back next season. Plus there's a new threat--someone Molly can "see" who's scarier to her than Sylar, because he looks back at her.

In a short coda, Hiro, teleporting, arrives in 1671 Japan. And this is our introduction to Volume Two, "Generations," which will air over the summer. I'm looking forward to that.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Robin Hood—Return of the King

As part one of the two-part season finale commences, Robin and his men react to the news that the king is returning to Nottingham. Robin mopes--when the king returns, Marian will marry Guy. Guy comes to collect Marian. She doesn't seem terribly thrilled by the news. Robin enlists help in his quest to discredit Guy based on his evidence that Guy tried to assassinate the King in the Holy Land.

Robin confronts Marian about the wedding, but Marian sticks by her decision. Marian's father intervenes. He thinks the sheriff is planning to kill the king in Nottingham, and is heading out to do something about it. Marian says she has a plan of her own, involving a last outing of the Night Watchman.

Robin and the others waylay the physician who supposedly cared for Guy during his supposed illness. He admits that Guy wasn't there during that time period, and that he covered for him.

Marian breaks into Guy's place to steal his chest o' money. Guy corners her. Robin and the others intervene and aid Marian's escape, but not before Guy stabs her. Robin tells her he has the proof he needs to discredit Guy. She's all happy, then collapses. Djaq treats Marian's wound. Robin lashes out at Marian and says she should stay home and do embroidery. Gee, Robin, and you can't figure out why she doesn't want to marry you?

Later, as Djaq and Much prepare breakfast, Djaq becomes concerned that Marian hasn't awakened. She thinks there's been more internal damage than they initially thought. Djaq does what she can, including abdominal surgery and CPR. Robin goes to fetch the physician, who rats on him to the guards. He doesn't seem to be very useful. Also he leaves a trail of bandages so the guards can find him. Robin realizes what he's done and backtracks to retrieve the bandages, but it's too late. They prepare to face the sheriff and Guy at the cave. While they prepare, the physician gloats, and informs Robin that Marian is dead.

The sheriff arrives. Robin looks balefully at the camera. And we're to be continued.

Well, I have to say I'm not too happy about this development, since Marian was the only character I felt any real attachment to. So unless they're playing some kind of big double-cross, or Robin's planning to make a deal with a Crossroad Demon, all I really have to say is weh.

Best line--Guy to Robin: "I'll think of you when I take her to the marriage bed." Yeah. I can't make this stuff up. Well, actually I can, but this time I didn't have to.