My TV and Me

November 4, 2011

The Sons are at the top of their game.

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 12:15 pm

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!

“Clay can’t be saved.” ~ Unser

Or perhaps I should say that the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club are falling apart – ripping each other apart, in fact – and that Shakespearean-level drama has re-invigorated the fX series, making it one of THE shows to watch right now.

There are times that I just can’t believe what’s happening before my eyes: Did Juice just try to kill himself? Did Clay really just shoot Piney in cold blood? Did Gemma really stoop so low to manipulate Unser? Did Clay really just put that hit out on Tara??

It’s not that I don’t believe that these characters are capable of these things. After almost 4 seasons, I am under no delusions. But that Sutter is willing to take the story so far in this direction…I am both in awe and a little worried. Has he written himself into a corner? There can’t be any way to come back from this, can there? The only way I can see Clay surviving through a seventh season (which is how long Sutter has the story mapped out for) is if it is not revealed that he his behind Piney’s murder and the hit on Tara. Even then, once Gemma learns about the hit, will she still cover for Clay? I just don’t see Clay remaining President of SAMCRO at the end of this season.

“Relationships are overrated.” ~Clay Morrow

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October 28, 2011

Fringe: Episode 4.03

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 3:06 pm

Alone in the World

“You matter to me. I care, and I… And I don’t want to lose you. I can’t lose you. Not again. Aaron… I know how hard it is to make connections. I know what it is to be lonely. It takes courage to be the one to take someone else’s hand, to trust that they won’t leave you. I won’t leave you, Aaron. And I’m begging you not to leave me. Please. Let it go. Let it go. Please. Let it go, son.”
~ Walter

This episode reminded me a lot of an X-Files MOTW (monster of the week), one of the good ones like, say, Firewalker, where the writers would use the stand alone story to great effect in the development of the characters and their relationship(s). In this case: Walter and Peter.

Unlike in the blue-verse, where Walter played God and the Observer intervened and Peter never died, in this timeline we get to see how that profound loss has damaged him. This episode highlights that nicely with a story about a lonely young boy whose life Walter has to save. I really enjoyed it.

Observations:

~ I don’t think I can remember a sadder moment on Fringe than when Olivia opened the lab office door to find Walter attempting to lobotomize himself. [Also, can you think of any other show that would have the balls to have a major character do something like that?]

~ As sad as that moment was, the scene itself ended on an opposite, relief-filled and optimistic note as Walter learns – as do we in a nice reveal – that Olivia has been seeing the same man as Walter, only for her he appears in her dreams. Very nicely written.

~ The actor they chose to play Aaron was a very good casting choice. The wrong kid in that role and the entire premise would have crumbled.

Loved this exchange:

BROYLES: Has Dr. Bishop come up with any theories yet on cause of death or the bodies’ advanced state of decomposition?

ASTRID: (speaks to her earpiece) Walter, Agent Broyles wants to know if–

WALTER: Yes, yes, I heard him. (watching Broyles on his television screen) Will you tell Agent Broyles that as there appears to be no unusual environmental factors to explain the rapid deterioration, that it is absurd for me to make any determination without first examining the remainders!

ASTRID: (to Broyles) Okay, Walter said he–

WALTER: Tell him, for all I know, it could be viral or a mutation of some flesh-eating bacteria.

ASTRID: (to Broyles) He thinks that–

WALTER: (continues to interrupt) Some kind of alien parasite or… Bigfoot. Bigfoot! That’s it. Astrid, perhaps you can look around for massive fecal droppings, huh?

ASTRID: (covers her earpiece) He doesn’t have any theories, sir.

It appears as though the baseball gods have granted me a reprieve as Game 7 of the World Series will air tonight instead of the next new episode of Fringe. Bummer, yes, but it also gives me more time to catch up!

Recap for “Subject 9” coming soon.

October 25, 2011

Chatter: Fall TV So Far

Filed under: reviews — Tags: , , , , — gina64 @ 1:39 pm

I’m back from a weekend in New Hampshire, and ready to blog.

So did you see that fX has renewed Sons of Anarchy for a fifth season? It seems the ratings for this season (4) are better than they’ve ever been. And for good reason, I think. This season’s writing is much tighter and the drama onscreen has been riveting. I read somewhere that Kurt Sutter has the story planned out for 7 seasons and I see no reason why, at this point, we shouldn’t expect to see it last that long. The club is already falling apart, and I see Shakespearean levels of tragedy coming in the end. I can’t wait.

Person of Interest has turned out to be one of my favorite new shows. The procedural, stand-alone nature of the episodes satisfies my lazy brain, while the slowly unraveling of the back stories of both of the main characters leaves me coming back for more. I watch Michael Emerson for the acting and Jim Caveziel brings the pretty.

Are any of you still watching Terra Nova? I’m not. I lasted through the 2-hour pilot – barely – and 10 minutes of the second episode before I deleted the season pass on my DVR. What a huge disappointment for me. I was BORED with the family drama/ungrateful and obnoxious teenage son baloney, and found the entire premise to be completely bereft of any sense of wonder. Blech.

Let’s end this post on a positive note, shall we? If you have not seen Showtime’s new thriller Homeland yet, well, please find a way, even if you don’t have Showtime. Homeland stars Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin and Morena Baccarin and, accordingly, the acting is stellar. Danes plays an emotionally unstable/unhinged CIA operative who suspects that an Iraq War POW (Lewis), returning home after 8 years of captivity, has been turned and is now a sleeper agent/terrorist. It is the best-reviewed new show out there right now, and trust me, it really is that good.

Also, look for some Fringe recaps within the next day or so…

October 7, 2011

Fringe: Episode 4.02

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 12:01 pm

One Night In October

This has been a crazy week, and this is as far as I have gotten in posting a recap/review for “One Night in October”. I haven’t even had a chance to re-watch it. And now I’m going away for the holiday weekend.

For now I’ll say that I really liked it. I thought that Anna Torv was amazing once again as the two Olivias; that the episode did what this show does best – showcasing the human cost of that weird sci-fi stuff; and guest start John Pyper-Ferguson knocked it out of the park. What did you guys think of it?

More questions were raised, some were answered, and I’ll address all of that next week.

Enjoy tonight’s show!

Oh, one more thing. A screencap of one of my favorite scenes, the homage to the classic Maxell ad:

September 30, 2011

Fringe: Episode 4.01

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 5:25 pm

Neither Here Nor There

We rejoin Fringe a week after Peter was erased from existence (but only sort of, as we find out in this episode), and the effect of his “undoing” is clear to see: Walter is less confident and is in fact terrified of even leaving the lab; Astrid, as a result, is a field agent, acting as Walter’s ears and eyes; and Olivia is completely shut down emotionally, wearing her loneliness like a badge but is awesomely even more kickass. Even Alt-Livia has turned out differently without Peter’s influence – she is cockier than ever, and sort of obnoxious. (Anna Torv kills it in the early scene where the two Olivias argue. You would think they were played by two different actors.)

It seems that Peter built an actual “bridge”, one which occupies a physical space in the hangar where the Machine is stored. (on Liberty Island, right?) People from either universe can meet in the middle, in the hangar, as they work on saving both worlds. Neither side trusts the other. At all.

This episode was intended, I think, to feel like a pilot, with Agent Lincoln Lee sort of playing the Olivia Dunham role from the season 1 pilot episode. There was an awful lot of clunky exposition and some heavy-handed references to “something missing”, but I didn’t really mind at all. I think they did a good job of setting things up, raising many more questions than I had going in:

** It seems that contrary to what the Observers said at the end of last season, Peter actually DID exist, in both worlds. However, in this timeline both Peters died, as they were meant to. I point you to Walter’s line, “People die. It happens. Sometimes they even die twice.” And the Observer December said, “They can never know the boy lived to be a man.” So Walter failed twice to save his son. I’m thinking he did go over to the other side to save Alt-Peter but failed – Peter died either from the disease, or when they fell through the ice in the car crash (that August saved them from in the original timeline).

** Olivia told Lincoln that she checked Walter out of St. Claire’s. How could she? She’s not next of kin. She must have had a relationship of some kind with him. I’m assuming she was still a part of his experiments as a child. Perhaps she stayed in touch with Walter in this timeline? She seems to have a closer bond with him now.

** What is the Amberverse? Is it an entirely new reality? Or is the Amberverse just the “bridge” that Peter built between the red and the blue universes? (I refer to the new opening credits color)

** I am a huge fan of Agent Lincoln Lee. He seems to be meant to be a part of Fringe division – look at the way he just holds that dead bird for Walter, no questions asked. And he’s adorable.

** Speaking of the dead bird, why is Walter trying to re-animate dead flesh? That usually doesn’t work out very well.

** Who do you think is responsible for the new shapeshifters? Was it purely by chance that Lincoln got caught up in the investigation involving them? I think not. I think that the shapeshifters targeted Lincoln’s partner – remember, they were chasing a completely different man across the rooftops. Were the shapeshifters waiting for them once they got inside the warehouse? Why do they need heavy metals? What do the injections achieve?

** I’m pretty sure that ShadowPeter appeared 4 times: 1) Behind Olivia after her early scene with AltLivia; 2) Behind Walter in the lab; 3) In Walter’s mirror (offscreen); and in Walter’s TV. I think he’s only appeared to or near Walter and Olivia because those are the 2 people with whom he has the strongest emotional ties. Remember 6B? To quote myself: It was a deeply romantic episode that put forward the idea that we are connected to the people we love on a sub-atomic level, called a “quantum entanglement” by Walter. That if this connection is strong enough – deep enough – it can either destroy or save the world. Perhaps the quantum entanglement that bonds Peter so strongly to Walter and Olivia is what is preventing him from being completely erased from existence.

I’m so happy Fringe is back. Enjoy the show tonight!

September 26, 2011

BBCA’s Dramaville I: The Hour

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 4:42 pm

There’s a part of me that wonders if this show was promoted improperly. And by that, I mean, I’m not sure I just watched the show I thought I was going to be watching. Instead of a one-off Cold War era spy thriller, The Hour was actually season 1 of a period-piece drama set in the world of the early days of the BBC (1950s) that happened to focus on spies and political intrigue. (A second season has been picked up by the BBC). Consequently, the first 3 episodes dragged – I almost gave up on it – as I wished for more thrilling, espionage-y stuff to start happening.

I’m glad I stuck with it. The Hour is a very intelligent drama, the acting is brilliant, and the portrayal of the time period is so nostalgic and inviting that it makes me wish I lived in Britain, at that time, even if it wasn’t the best of days for strong, independent women.

I’m not sure when it will air, but I am looking forward to season 2. I recommend The Hour to anyone who is a fan of intelligent, adult drama, and who has the patience for some slow-moving initial episodes.

September 23, 2011

Fringe Friday Returns Tonight!

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 1:21 pm

I had hoped for some clarity after I re-watched the season 3 finale, “The Day We Died”, last night, and while I feel that I may understand the unfolding of events just a little better, I still have no freaking idea why what happened, happened. Or where the hell this story is going.

I do, however, know that I love love LOVE this show, and it felt so good to be watching it again last night. That despite all of the wormholes and doomsday machines and time travel and science-speak – all things that I am a fan of, don’t get me wrong – at its heart Fringe is a well-constructed, skillfully executed character piece. That no matter what whacky plot development they throw at us next I know that it will exist to serve the characters that we know and love so well. I cannot wait to see where this is heading.

Random observations/questions/quotes from TDWD:

~ Why was Peter’s consciousness sent to the future? Before sending the Machine in pieces to the past, FutureWalter somehow rigs it so that when PastPeter steps into it, his consciousness gets transported to the future where he will see the consequences of that act and therefore not use the Machine. Right?

~ Did that future suck, or what? Did FutureWalter suffer a stroke at some point? What happened on “the Detroit trip” with FuturePeter and FutureBroyles? Why does FB have a white eye? Do any of the answers matter now, if Peter has “served his purpose”?

~ The scene where FutureWalternate (they really make this show hard to recap!) shoots and kills FutureOlivia is no less of a gut-punch on a re-watch. It’s not only seeing Olivia die – it’s seeing Walter do it.

~ When FW explains to FP how he can travel through time and make a different choice that will save both worlds, he touches FP’s face and says, “There’s no telling what the cost might be.” Do you think FW suspected that Peter’s very existence was at stake?

Sometimes I feel like a crazy person when I go back and read what I wrote. Enjoy the show tonight and come back for the recap!

September 15, 2011

We have a Winner!

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 12:59 pm

Congratulations to Rachel Reilly, the winner of Big Brother 13 and $500,000 simoleons. Rachel was probably my least favorite houseguest at the start. She was a vile, catty, arrogant *and* insecure drama queen with a fake, braying laugh that grated on my last nerve. Then her fiance Brendon got booted and Rachel had to actually develop a social game and cultivate relationships with people besides her fiance. I think she probably grew the most as a player than anyone else in the house, and if you combine that with her domination in the competitions, she deserves it.

My favorite, Porsche Briggs, took second place and $50,000 – yay, Porsche!! Happily for me, the weaselly, deluded attention whore Adam walked away with nothing. I’m sorry, Adam. I wanted to like you, but you were way too much of a butt-kisser for me.

Some stray observations, in case anyone reading this cares:

I’ll say it again: Adam is so deluded. He thinks he’s going to be a reality celebrity and that he was a fan favorite, and I think he’s going to be sorely disappointed once he starts reading things on the internet. I had a mixed reaction to his vote: on the one hand, I was SO happy that his vote didn’t matter in the end; but on the other hand, he sort of redeemed himself a little in my eyes by voting for Porsche.

I was bummed but not surprised that the bully Jeff was America’s Favorite. He’s certainly the cutest! And if you add all the cash prizes he won while in the house to the $25,000 AF prize, he probably walks away with almost as much money as Porsche. Oh, well.

I felt bad for Dominic, Keith and Lawon, that they didn’t get to say anything. I especially wanted to know WTF Lawon was thinking when he sacrificed himself, and who told him he was going to come back with special powers.

It’s no surprise that Danielle doesn’t talk to her father. He couldn’t muster up one nice thing to say about her. I’m surprised she’s as confident as she is, with a father like that. Danielle is still my favorite from the season.

I think Shelly really came off well in the end. I liked her at the start, then I didn’t know what to think of her in the middle, and I think I like her again after the finale. I’m not sure, but I think she may have been one of the better players in the house this year.

And that’s it. Until next summer!

June 21, 2011

A tale of two finales, part one: The Killing

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 4:03 pm

Who killed Rosie Larsen? After 13 episodes and almost as many red herrings, your guess is as good as mine.

AMC’s The Killing had its season 1 finale on Sunday, and I was left unimpressed. There is a lot – a LOT – of anger out there, but I don’t really feel as strongly as that. I think there’s a big part of me that knew they wouldn’t identify the killer by the end of the season. I’m just left feeling underwhelmed by the show overall, and a bit let down that it didn’t quite live up to what I thought it was going to be.

There are things about the show that I really like – the acting is fabulous; the setting and atmosphere and cinematography I love – but I think the writing leaves quite a bit to be desired (why the hell wouldn’t Stan just TELL Mitch that he bought that house?), and the pacing is WAY off. For instance, if they had intended on stringing this mystery out to another season – which I think they did all along – they should not have spent so much time on Bennett and that stupid Muslim/Somali thing, and should have done a much better job of fleshing out the characters – Linden, Holder and especially Rosie – early on, so that the viewer would have enjoyed watching even if they didn’t get the “ending” that they wanted. Instead they spent so much time on the Larsen’s grief that could have been better spent exploring Rosie’s life, talking to her friends more; they could and should have aired the Linden/Holder character episode, where they search for Jack, MUCH earlier in the season. Instead we got scene after scene of the Larsen misery – Mitch went from a sympathetic figure to freakin’ Lady Macbeth without any real frame of reference. Even after 13 episodes and all of that grief porn, we still don’t know very much about what the Larsen family was like before this happened. I want to like these people more than I do.

Despite all of my complaints, I did think that the finale was actually an enjoyable episode. I think people’s opinions greatly depend on what they expected from it. If you expected to find out who killed Rosie Larsen – as many did and were right to do so – you are pretty pissed right now. Many critics I read (Alan Sepinwall, Mo Ryan, James Poniewozik) have vowed to never watch the show again, they are so angry. Me, I’m OK with not knowing who killed Rosie at this point, and if there is a larger conspiracy afoot, that may – MAY – explain some of the more bizarre writing choices.

I did not like the development of Holder as a (possible) bad guy. Not because they didn’t lay the groundwork – they actually did for this twist, with the secret envelopes filled with cash, the weird pay phone call that Linden walked in on, the fact that he was just a lowly undercover Narc methhead who gets promoted to Homicide…it’s that we just spent an entire episode getting to know him and Linden better, and they seemed to portray him as a really decent guy. It really feels like a rug-pull to me and not earned properly.

What’s my theory at this point about the murder? To be honest, I don’t really have a fully-formed guess, just a vague notion that Gwen is involved and her father, the Senator, was driving the car that Holder got into at the end.

So, will I watch it next year to find out if I’m right? Yeah, I think I will.

A Tale of Two Finales, Part Two: Game of Thrones, coming soon.

May 6, 2011

Fringe: Episode 3.21

Filed under: reviews — Tags: — gina64 @ 3:57 pm

The Last Sam Weiss

“I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. You have no idea how extraordinary you are.”

~ Walter to Olivia

I am sure that I have said this about other Fringe episodes – although I can’t point to any particular instance – and this show is so damn good, I do not doubt that I will end up saying it again, but I just call ’em as I see ’em: “The Last Sam Weiss” was quite possibly the best episode of Fringe I have ever seen. It was riveting and suspenseful – lightning storms, cars exploding, great museum escapes, spooky typewriters – while still retaining every bit of its heart. I could not believe how much stuff they packed into this episode! At one point I stopped the recording to check how much time was left. I thought that surely it must be over, when in fact it wasn’t even halfway through! Well done, writers. Seriously.

To recap: While Peter remains in his drug-induced coma, the world continues to fall apart, at what seems to be an exponential rate. Walter and Astrid – who have the best chemistry on this show, in my opinion – through some hilarious experiments, conclude that the vortexes are appearing in a concentrated area between the locations of our machine in Massachusetts, and Walternate’s machine on Liberty Island in the other universe. Walter theorizes that the best way to slow down the disruptions is to move our machine to our Liberty Island.

Meanwhile. Sam Weiss tells Olivia that the force field around the machine can be broken with a “crow bar”, which is located inside of a box, the key for which is hidden in the Whitley Museum. They find the key, but a lightning storm erupts inside the museum, short-circuiting the alarm system and lowering the security gates. This leads to one of the funnier bits I’ve seen on this show, when Sam rolls an artifact into a very large vase, knocking it over and into the path of the dropping security gate, allowing them an escape route. I love the shrug and the “I work at a bowling alley” line. They get the key, Olivia successfully opens the box to reveal the “crow bar”: it’s Olivia, in a Rambaldi-style sketch.

Walter makes some gigantic leaps of scientific imagination and figures out that Olivia can use her telekinetic abilities to shut down the machine on the other side, so that Peter can enter the machine on this side. Walter has her practice on the typewriter that Fauxlivia used to communicate with the other side, but it is slow going and frustrating.

While all of this is going on, Peter wakes up. Like Walter said at the beginning of the episode, “Peter interacted with a machine of immense power. A surge like that could have disrupted his neural patterns, created memory deficits… Aphasia.” Indeed, he can’t remember who he is. But he knows he wants to go home (he says so in a note reminiscent of the one he left for his “mother” in “Subject 13”), which he believes is 42nd and Lexington in NYC. He goes to a pawn shop to buy a silver half dollar, like the ones he collected when he was a kid. He travels to Liberty Island to see his father, the Secretary of Defense. The machine seems to have reset his memories so that only those from *his* universe of origin are dominant. Interesting. But then as he is reconciled with Walter and Olivia, the confusion clears.

Everyone is at Liberty Island now, (except for Sam Weiss, but I’ll get to that in a bit) and Peter has his memories back. Olivia explains to Peter that she’s been trying to harness her telekinetic ability by getting the typewriter to type a certain phrase but she hasn’t been successful. Peter asks her what the phrase is, and when she says it out loud – “Be a better man than your father” – there’s something about her connection with Peter that makes it work this time. Great scene.

And so, together, Peter and Olivia approach the device. Let me say that I am very pleased that Olivia has an important part to play in this, too. It’s a beautiful scene. She closes her eyes and after a moment the device shuts down its force field. There’s an awesome Han Solo moment where Olivia tells Peter she loves him before he gets into the machine. He doesn’t say “I know”, but he also doesn’t say it back. As he approaches and enters the machine, he flashes back on his life and Olivia and Walter. He even remembers little Olivia in the white tulip field. Once he’s secured in the machine, immense power flows through him. Suddenly, he opens his eyes to find himself in a strange place, a city where a war is going on. While bombs explode around him, he finds a monument marker which reads,

We will never forget September 11, 2001
Dedicated to their memory, September 11, 2021

Peter’s in the future! But wait…it must be our future, since the towers never fell in the other universe. Right? But what about the Fringe Division badge on the officer who helps him? That’s the logo from the other universe. Peter has weird hair. And isn’t he wearing a wedding ring? What is this place?? Is it a THIRD universe?? A combination of the two?? Oh my God.

Observations

~ The glyph code for this episode? MULTI. I think I may have just answered my own question.

~ I spotted The Observer behind Peter on the streets of NY.

~ Sam Weiss. We haven’t heard the truth about him yet. I found the explanation that he’s just another in a long line of Sam Weisses to be very anti-climactic. How did he get to Liberty Island so quickly at the end? Is there more than one Sam Weiss? He was spouting more mysterious quotes…”It wasn’t supposed to happen this way,” and “It’s not a doomsday device but it’s acting like one.” What? Well what is it then?!

~ I thought this was interesting – in “Stowaway”, Bell reminds Peter that life is not that simple, that sometimes, walking away from one’s fate leads directly to fate’s doorstep. Well isn’t that exactly what happened to Peter in this episode?

~ For screencaps of Peter’s flashback, click here. Very useful!

~ “Ostrich, you are a genius!!”

OK, I think I’ve gone on long enough. Enjoy the show tonight. I think it’s going to be a DOOZY.

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