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Second Season’s the Charm?

September 26, 2009

I was incredibly frustrated by Dollhouse last season. It had a lot going for it: an intriguing premise, a solid cast (and… Eliza Dusku), and all the geeky wit and imagination of Joss Whedon. But somehow, it kept falling flat.

Yes, yes, the network interfered with Joss’ vision. (Oh, of course it did. It’s FOX.) Whatever the reason, the show often felt like it was glorifying the very kind of exploitation it was trying to criticize, which frequently left a very sour taste in my mouth. You know there’s something very messed up going on behind the scenes when the only episode that feels like it’s even hinted at a show’s true potential is an unaired extra on the DVD set.

But “Epitaph One,” a bleak look into a near, dystopian future when the Dollhouse technology will have finally been put to its inevitable (and much more logical) world-ending use, was easily the best, most entertaining, and least offensive offering of the entire first season. And it made me excited to tune into last night’s premiere.

I’m glad I did. Read more…

Back to School

September 24, 2009

So the fall season is upon us and new TV is nigh.

And it seems fitting that since the fall TV schedule aligns so well with the start of the school year that the new shows I am trying would be about students. Here are my first thoughts about the new series I have picked up:

Read more…

Summer Spies and a Hot Guy

August 11, 2009

I finally got around to trying out USA’s Burn Notice. I honestly wish I done so earlier. Although, I don’t think I really knew what it was about before I started watching. I probably would have never even looked at it if Tenillypo hadn’t recommended it. In my opinion, the network could have done a better job promoting the show. Then again, its charm is something I believe  you need to experience in order to appreciate.

The main character, Michael Weston, used to be a spy before he was “burned,” which means he was basically fired and wiped from the government records. It was done without warning or cause.  It is the catalyst for Michael’s primary objective: to figure out who burned him and why. While doing so, he uses his special set of skills to help a client solve a problem in each episode. These are often people who would otherwise not have the means or connections to change their situation. Michael seems to help them out of compassion and a sense of justice.

He works with Fiona,  an ex-girlfriend who has a similar set of skills and a short fuse, and Sam, a friend who is a former Navy seal and an FBI informant. They all have light playful relationships that make watching them enjoyable. Their loyalty to each other is palpable – if one of them needs help with a job, the others are there to help, no questions asked.

Michael’s family is also often thrown in the mix. His mother uses guilt to try and work Michael and it’s easy to see where he gets his power of persuasion from. This is often portrayed in a comedic way and their love for each other is always obvious. His brother has gambling problems and is in and out, often needing Michael to get him out of trouble.  His father died, but he continues to be an active presence in the family, with the entire family carrying baggage from his abuse during their childhood.

Michael Weston may be one of the most bad-ass characters I have ever seen. He is confident, versatile, cool under any circumstance and blows stuff up on a regular basis. Did I mention he is super hot? When I first saw Jeffrey Donovan I didn’t think much about how he looked. When watching him as Michael Weston, I have to fan myself on a regular basis. He oozes sex appeal.

Michael and Fiona have enough sexual tension to keep their relationship interesting. There is a little “will they/won’t they” to their relationship, but it isn’t the central focus of the show. Fiona is just as talented and strong as Michael. She keeps up with him and is always portrayed as his peer. Let’s hear it for gender equality! She can be a loose cannon, but I like that about her. She is a big personality and does not apologize for it.

It all comes down to this – if you like shoot outs, disguises, spying, explosions, fun accents and hot people you will most likely enjoy this show.

Dragons and Magic and Boys, Oh My!

June 22, 2009

Last night the first season of Merlin premiered on NBC. I was pretty excited about this because Tenillypo had been watching it online and had thoroughly enjoyed it. NBC picked up the first season, but the show was originally aired on the BBC last fall.

Now, it is important to remember that this is a show about Merlin, who supposedly will become a great sorcerer and right hand man to the great King Arthur. So if you don’t like knights and magic and a bit of cheesy graphics, it won’t be for you. However, as computer graphics go for television, I find Merlin‘s to be on par or better than most. They add to the story, not take away from it. I can’t always say the same for the makeup, but hell, I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer so sometimes I can look past things.

And speaking of Buffy, Anthony Steward Head is great as King Uther, who currently presides over Camelot and is doing his best to enforce the ban on magic that was put in place 20 years ago. It seems that magic got a bit out of control back then and Uther feels that he must continue to punish those who do magic to keep his kingdom safe.

Enter Merlin, a young man who does not need to study magic, but seems to be simply born with it. He has been sent to Camelot by his mother who is fearful that without direction Merlin may be in danger because of his talents.

Merlin quickly becomes acquainted with Arthur, the young and heroic son of the King. Arthur is introduced as a spoiled bully. However, he is quickly won over by Merlin and his willingness to stand up to him.

Before the first half of the first episode is over it is clear that the central relationship in this series is the “bromance” between Arthur and Merlin. And if you didn’t get that, there is mystical dragon in the basement of Camelot who will tell you straight out that Arthur and Merlin’s fate are intertwined. (Hey, I said you had to like dragons)

To me, Merlin is a breath of fresh air. With so many cop and medical dramas out there, the child in me longs for a sense of whimsy. Merlin satisfies that desire ten fold.

From Robots to Bones…

June 22, 2009

I finished Terminator: TSCC and mostly I am just confused. I assume if there were more seasons more things would be explained, but even within individual episodes I got confused. To me, the second season felt somewhat disjointed. There were a bunch of episodes that felt like they were stuck in for filler. Overall, I liked it and I would definitely continue watching it if Fox hadn’t axed it, but I don’t feel an incredible sense of loss over its cancellation.

So while I wait for Gossip Girl to arrive via Netflix I decided to start watching Bones. I’ve seen the first seven episodes and I find it amusing. Unfortunately, Hulu is only showing the first nine episodes. It may be a while before I get around to seeing any more.

BTW: I’m much more at ease with seeing human corpses than I was with the parade of dead dogs in Terminator. Was that really necessary?

A bit behind the times…

June 6, 2009

One of the things I like to do when most of television is in reruns is play catch up with shows that I missed during the first run.

Right now the show that I’m starting from the beginning is Bones.

Now Bones has many average qualities. The procedural is done to death on network television and although they have a slightly different take to it, Bones is still about the same. In addition, most of the characters are over the top, with their defining qualities taken to the extreme.

However, what the show does well is hit those emotional buttons and that is my Achilles heal. Brennan, the forensic anthropologist turned crime fighter, has experienced tragedy in her life. Her parents went missing when she was a teenager and her abandonment issues, coupled with her experience in the foster system are realistic and empathetic.

Booth, the Mulder to her Scully, is a former army ranger whose loyal devotion to Brennan is one of his most attractive qualities. Add to that the fact that he is played by David Boreanez, who is easy on the eyes, and I was pretty much hooked. Fairly early in the first season they showed how much Booth was willing to put on the line for Brennan. And for me, that is one of the most appealing qualities in a television relationship. So for that reason alone, I will continue to watch this show no matter how stereotypical the rest of it is.

Summer television watching:

May 26, 2009

It’s summer and that means no new shows for quite a while. It also means that I can catch up on some shows I have either stopped watching or never watched.

I’m slowly making my way through Fringe on Hulu, which I had abandoned fairly early on in the season. I must say it is an entertaining show and the episodes improve as the season goes on. However, it is in the vein of the X-Files and I was never one for scary/grossness.

Because I am a masochist I have decided to start watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles. I have the first disc of the first season waiting at home. I’m sure I will love it and then be utterly annoyed that it was canceled.

I also think I need to give in and start watching Gossip Girl. I saw the first episode when it aired and thought it was really stupid. I guess I will need to give it more of a chance since so many people seem to like it.

Busy summer.

Update:

Fringe was much better than expected, but still not great. The lead character, Olivia is rather annoying and if there is supposed to be chemistry with the male lead I’m just not seeing it. And there were many episodes featuring animal experimentation, which I just can’t handle.  Even after all that I will probably watch the second season on Hulu.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Ok, I’ve only watched the first episode and it seems like it will be fun, but there are two things that are annoying me. First, Sarah is supposed to be 33? How old is John? Did she have him when she was 17? Linda Hamilton certainly didn’t look 17 in the first Terminator. Second, if Sarah destroys Skynet, as  she supposedly does in the second movie, doesn’t John disappear? I mean wouldn’t Kyle Reese never come from the future if he wasn’t sent there because of the war? I know with time travel shows you just have to overlook some things, but that just seems like kind of a big one.