Friday, March 30, 2007 Longer thoughts on the season finale of BSG
If you're interested in more coherent thought on the season finale of Battlestar Galactica, I encourage you to surf over here and read my long, rambling post about it.
And jump in the discussion...we only have nine months between now and the next new episode.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/30/2007 01:12:00 PM |
| Thursday, March 29, 2007 TV Round-Up Lost: Expose I have to wonder if this episode was written in some way to quiet the very vocal fans who have complained long and hard all season about the sudden appearance of Nikki and Paulo. Or maybe the writers felt that it worked well last year, giving us an episode that examined the backstory of characters we'd only just met. But the reason that worked was because it was the Tailies and there was a reasonable explanation for why we'd not seen them before now.
Not so much with Nikki and Paulo, who showed up with no explanation and then we got this looking back at the backstory with these two inserted. In a way, it was almost like the old clips episodes on most 70s TV shows where everyone sat around, talking about the good old days and we saw clips of classic episodes. Of course, we live in a more sophisticated time now and can digitally insert the new characters into the classic scenes.
Creatively, I liked what they were trying to do here. The thing is I don't think the overall execution was as successful as the producers were hoping for.
Maybe I was just a bit tired when I saw the episode, but it took me a while for the connection between what Artz was telling Nikki and what she did to Paulo. It was a bit chilling to think that Nikki and Paulo were buried alive, the castaways effectively killing them both. It was an intersting, unneerving twist that reminded me of an old episode of the "Suspense" radio show I heard years ago that unnerved the tar out of me. Basic plot is guy has a condition where he looks dead but isn't. Something happens, he loses his medical bracelet and gets to almost being autopsied before someone realizes he's alive and stops it. It's a pretty intense episode (at least it was when I was much younger) and it worked well because we could hear our heroes internal dialogue as he begged and pleaded for someone to notice he's still alive. I have to imagine deep down inside that Nikki and Paulo were yelling at the top of their lungs. Not that it did any good.
That said, I didn't find their backstory all the compelling. Again, with the theme of clips from other episodes, that is what the flashbacks felt like. Oh we're con people and we're on a job. And we encounter everyone before they get on the plane and man, wasn't Shannon a witch with a capital B before she got to the island? Yeah, been there, done that and got the t-shirt.
It was fun to see most of the main cast feature in an episode, I will give them that.
On the better side of things, Sun finds out that Charlie and Sawyer were behind her kidnapping. Now that was interesting though I managed to see a preview at some point during the week that ruined that twist. I did like her comment that she wasn't going to tell Jin because they'd have to dig another grave. The violation of trust and the betrayal she must feel should be interesting to see how it plays out. It was also nice to know there might be some further consequences to this and I have a strange feeling Jin is going to find out...and then it's not going to be pretty.
This episode was pretty uneven. It was no where nearly as compelling as the last two, but it wasn't necessarily that bad. It was just sort of there and while it did have an interesting revelation or two in the final act, I'm not sure it was the most solid episode we've had all year. But if we can return to form next week, this minor hiccup will be forgiven.
And at least we've got rid of Nikki and Paulo...unless one of them comes digging up out of the sand like some kind of crazy island zombie.
24: Day Six, 8 - 9 p.m. If you're president of the United States, you have the best medical staff on the planet. Witness here where Wayne Palmer goes from being in cardiac arrest and not ten minutes later is up, around and mentally alert enough to find out Daniels is nuking the unnamed country and to put a stop to it. That is some seriously great health care right there.
And before you go telling me that it's standard procedure for time to mean nothing on 24, but only service the necessities of the plot, I must remind you that, yes, I know that. It's just sometimes when the show slaps you with such a moment that strains credulity so that I have to point it out.
I don't quite get why Daniels is being portrayed as such the war-monger. I'd love to find out a bit more about his agenda and why he feels so strongly about it. I suspect that we're going to find out he's in on the plot, though at this point I'm not sure. Maybe someone else is pulling the strings on him. The thing is, I am not sure the writing staff knows quite where this is going either.
Which leads me to wonder--can this day of 24 be pulled out of the tailspin it's in? It was getting better but the past two weeks have settled back into 57 minutes of just OK with three compelling minutes at the end, leading up to the cliffhanger.
But I have to say this--everything going on over at the White House was far more interesting than anything going on at CTU.
Can we just flash the word "foreshadowing" on the screen in neon any time anyone mentions Denver? I swear, it feels like every conversation about that goes like this..
Person 1: Do you remeber Denver. Preson 2: Yes, something huge happened there. Person 1: It sure was huge. Person 2: Yes, yes it was.
OK, I exaggerate a bit...but not much. At this point, I get it--something happened in Denver. But it's maybe time to start hinting at more than just that something happened there.
Of course, it's not like Mike Doyle is coming off as all that great or interesting a character. This week he hides evidence that exonerates Nadia (boy howdy, that was fast)....only it was revealed he was making sure. And I don't quite get why his buddy was trying to set him up. I mean, other than to have Milo and Mike almost come to blows about how Nadia was treated.
Speaking of which, did anyone else find the Milo kisses Nadia scene disturbing? I think it was the way she was kind of saying he stood no chance and the way he grabbed her, pulled her to him and almost forced the kiss on her. I don't know, but while I think the intention was to make Milo looked rugged and manly, to me it came across asa bit creepy and that the next scene will be Nadia filling out the sexual harrasment forms. (In real time, no less...it will totally rock and Jack will have to shout a lot).
And that brings me to Jack Bauer, the hero of our show who can do anything--including getting an autistic kid to help trap Gredenko. I will give the show credit--I expected the kid to blow the CTU cover and have Gredenko escape again. At least we didn't go there.
That said, watching Jack walk in and say to Gredenko, "You know who I am and what I will do" was totally awesome and completely Jack Bauer. Of course, it assumes that we forget that earlier today Jack was doubting his own Jack Bauerness.....but there you go.
I think I'm going to have to start adopting the stance I take with Smallville for this show--just stop worrying about it and just go along for the ride. Thing is, I can do that when the ride is great as it was last year. When it's not the rollercoaster that we've come to expect from the past five years, it is that much more glaring. Of course, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the odd number years of 24 are great, while the even numbered ones aren't quite as good. Sort of like a reverse of the Star Trek movies...
Blogger Meet-Up: UT vs Vandy baseball
Every spring when I lived in Knoxville, I looked forward to UT baseball on the radio. I'd take in a few games a season, always enjoying it, especially if the Vols won.
I may not be a huge fan of the major leagues, but there is just something cool about college baseball. (I think part of it may be that since I love UT, I've got a dog in the hunt).
There is some great baseball being played by two of our state universities. Vandy was number one in the country and UT always seems to have a good team. The two will meet-up for a three-game series in April and I thought it might be fun for bloggers or whoever else wants to go to meet-up for an evening at the ballpark.
So, here's the deal. Saturday evening, April 21st. Saturday night contest for both teams, starting at 6 p.m. CST. Tickets are only seven bucks and are sold the week before by phone or two-hours before the first-pitch at Vandy's stadium. If you want to go, grab a ticket and head on out. Tickets are general admission, so we can find a place to all sit together, watch some ball, eat some hot dogs and consume cold, frosty beverages.
And if my good buddy, John H shows up, I bet we might have some lively UT/Vandy debate.
So, make your plans and come on out ot the old ball-game. If you can go, drop me a line or leave a comment.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/27/2007 01:40:00 PM |
| Monday, March 26, 2007 Getting my head around it all.
So, we've now met four of the final five Cylon models. At what point next year does D'Ana wake up and reveal the last one?
If you've not seen the third season finale for Battlestar Galactica, there are SPOILERS here...
What I've liked about the past two season of Battlestar Galactica is that the cliffhangers aren't all about direct peril. Yes, this year the fleet is under attack and has to recharge for 20 minutes...but the bigger cliffhanger is the return of Starbuck and she knows the way to Earth. Again, back to my parallel to the first episode of DS9, it follows here. Both Sisko and Kara kept coming back to one spot in their memory in each episode and now they've both apparently found a wormhole....
OK, not sure about the wormhole part, but I am just filling the blanks a bit here.
And is that why the Cylons are in the nebula--to find Starbuck and have her lead them to Earth?
Man, why do we have to wait progressively longer every year between seasons of Galactica?
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/26/2007 03:00:00 PM |
| Saturday, March 24, 2007 Facing the Giants
I recently watched the movie, Facing the Giants. The movie is a Christian-based movie about a football team for a small Christian school in Georgia and the story of their coach, whose having a good run of bad luck.
Overall, it's an enjoyable movie. The actors are all members of (what I assume is) a mega-church in Georgia and they all do a fairly good job. The only really bad choice is including Georgia head football coach Mark Richt in the film, but that may be my UT bias showing just a bit.
But while I liked the movie, I can't say I loved it . It was good but I still had some issues with it, namely in the way it presented the journey of our hero in the film. My biggest problem with Facing the Giants is one that I have with a lot of what is published under the banner of Christian fiction these days.
The movie starts out with our hero, Grant Taylor. He's the coach of the private Christian Shiloh Acadamy's football team. His teams aren't doing so well--he's had six straight losing seasons and he's on the proverbial coaching hot seat. It's not helped when his team loses the first two games of the year including a game he and the rest of the coaching staff counted on as an "easy win." This isn't the only issue in Grant's life--he and his wife are trying to have a baby and have been failing for four years. Grant finds out the problem rests with him. Also, the family car is slowly dying and the two of them can't afford a new one. Their nice house has a pervasive odor that they can't seem track down.
As the first 45 or so minutes of the movie progress, poor Grant has one problem after another pile on him. The poor guy is really beat down and it seems he can't turn around twice before another problem is rearing its ugly head. At this point, Grant becomes frustrated, reaching almost rock bottom. Here he gives all the burdens to the Lord and asks for guidance. He decides to have the football team follow the principles and purpose God would have for them--and not just have it be all about winning. If they win, they give glory to God, if they lose they give glory to God. Either way, they're going to have a heart of worship and praise.
I don't really have a problem with that part of it. I did find it a bit of a stretch for poor Grant to face just about every crisis known to man in the course of the first 45-minutes of the film. It's a good thing he doesn't have a dog or else it would have run away or worse.
However, once Grant gives the burdens over the Lord, all sense of drama and suspense in the film end. And that's where my main issue with the film crops up.
Now, I do believe that giving your life to God and walking with Christ is a blessing and can fill you with a peace beyond understanding. But I also know that just becuase we do that, it doesn't instantly make your life better. If anything, the road may become harder. Anyone who tells you being a Christian is a walk in the park is lying to you. It's easier because you have the strength of God to rely on, fall back on and carry with you, but it doesn't mean that life suddenly becomes easier or that you have to stop dealing with the issues you face in the world. But that's sort of what happens in the movie.
The team embraces the new purpose for the team--and they start winning. Grant is given a new truck, they find the source of the mysterious smell in the house, Grant and his wife become pregnant (this part of the script is fairly Three's Company when the wife goes to the doctor and gets results for another woman with the same first initial and last name. Then the nurse has to go running out after her to tell her, only we don't hear it on-screen (we see her reaction) becuase it's intended to heighten the drama of the final game where we the audience know more than Grant does.)
My problem here is the same problem I had with another piece of Christian fiction I read recently, "Saving Alice." The novel is by David Lewis and the plight of our hero is pretty much the same--he's a guy trying to do the right thing, but the world is just piling one burden after another on him until he breaks. "Saving Alice" goes a lot farther in breaking our hero, to the point that he loses his wife and his daughter commits suicide before he breaks down and really asks God for help. Then, in the final 20 or so pages, the prayer is answered...only it's done via magical realism. Our hero wakes up and finds he's still married to the wife, the daughter is alive and he's been given a second chance.
Which it's a nice idea, but the whole end of the book seems a bit too Wayne's World going for the Scooby Doo ending than it does a believable story. Don't get me wrong--I don't want to see the guy suffer and I do believe in miracles and the awesome power of God. But I just can't buy that God would turn back the clock and give the guy a reset button...he's learned his lesson, now he gets a do-over, if you will.
God gives you do-over in your heart and soul, but that doesn't mean you don't have to deal with the circumstances of your life as they are. Believe me, I've prayed for the do-over or back up time just a few hours and change a few things and it just hasn't happened. I think it negates the experience and the journey of our faith a bit. Being a Christian makes the journey easier, but it doesn't mean there aren't speed-bumps and potholes in the road along the way.
Of course, we all know how the movie ends--the Eagles make the playoffs and make a deep run. They come up against a power-house school in the fianl game--the Giants from the title of the film. This part requires a lot of disbelief because it makes little sense for a school the size of Shiloh to be in the same classification as the powerhouse football school. I mean, I don't know a lot about high school football in Georgia, but for these two teams to be in the same football classification makes little or no sense.
But needless to say, if you've seen any football movie in the past 20 years, you know how it will all end up.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/24/2007 10:41:00 AM |
| Friday, March 23, 2007 One point short.
As happy as I am to see the Vols make the Sweet 16, I still have to admit the outcome of last night's game against Ohio State is frustrating.
Flashbacks of being in the Sweet 16 and slowly letting a lead erode away against North Carolina a few years ago haunt me.
That said, I think the Vols are in great shape headed into next year. Great coach who is a perfect fit (pay him whatever he wants to not bolt to Iowa), most of the team returning...it should prove to be an interesting year.
Who'd've ever thought that I'd be looking for to men's UT basketball as much as I do the Lady Vols and football?
For that alone, they should give Bruce Perl coach of the year and start erecting a shrine to him outside Thompson-Boling Arena.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/23/2007 09:04:00 AM |
| Thursday, March 22, 2007 TV Round-Up Lost: The Man from Tallahassee I have to admit I was a bit worried about this week's episode of Lost. After three years of hints and wondering, at long last we'd find out just how John Locke ended up in a wheelchair before he came to the island.
If there was one mystery on this show that has intrigued me, it's this one. The revelation that Locke was in a wheelchair before he came to the island was what hooked me on this show, taking it from a good show to a must-see every week until the bitter end. But as time went on and we slowly didn't find out what put Locke in the wheelchair, I began to worry if the story could ever deliver on the promise.
Well, let me just say--the story did deliver and it even had some good twists along the way.
I really liked the give and take between Locke and Ben. Hearing Ben ask Locke how it felt to to be hurt was a chilling moment. How is Ben able to be so creepy and threatening when he's so helpless from the surgery and confined to a wheelchair. When Locke admitted it hurt when his back shattered, I was bracing for the worst. I figured there would be some fight with father but I never quite expected it would be an eight story fall. It was an almost Hitchcock-like suspense moment, knowing something bad had to happen to Locke but not quite sure when and how it'd happen. So when it did, it was a take-your-breath-away kind of moment that made you both stare in disbelief and then flinch as we heard Locke hit the ground.
For once, the flashback story informed the events taking place on the island. One thing that is interesting about pre- and post-crash Locke is that how he interacts with con men. He's been conned by his dad and an attempt by Ben. And you'd think after all of the manipulation he's experienced, he'd have learned. Not so much. Locke plays right into Ben's game, giving Ben the best of all worlds--Ben gets to keep Jack, keep his word and not lose face with the Others. I think that was a telling conversation with Ben. His desire to be as strong is interesting. If Ben showed weakness or lost face with the Others, would they overthrow him? Are they all vying for some power postion on the island? Or does Ben have something over each of them that he holds over them besides the submarine off the island?
It opens up some interesting doors for the show now mythology wise. Presumably Locke has destroyed two ways to communicate with the outside world in the past few days...that has to come back to haunt him. He can't deny it since Sayid, Jack and Kate all know what he did.
Locke has shown an intense desire to stay on the island. I loved the role reversal of Ben and Locke. Ben wants so desparately for the connection with the island that Locke has, while I bet Locke wouldn't turn down the leadership role Ben has.
And the cliffhanger--wow, that was a jaw-dropper. Yes, I guessed what was going to be behind door number one as soon as Ben offered to show Locke what was inside the black box. But it stil didn't make the revelation of Locke's father being on the island any less dramatic, intense and one heck of a cliffhanger for next week. See, that is where they should have ended the fall run of shows...can you imagine the buzz if we'd had to wait three months to find out what happened next?
Meanwhile, it appears Locke has burned a lot of bridges and his fellow castaways know it. So will Locke now be forced to stay with the Others because of retribution the other castaways would give him?
Wow, this show is getting great again....that's two great episodes in a row.
24: Day Six, 7-8 p.m. I'll admit I've been sort of wondering how to approach this week's episode of 24 since the final seconds of this hour ticked down Monday night.
It wasn't bad, so much as it was "more of the same for those who haven't had it up to here" (apologies to Bob and Ray).
So, another season, another mole. Excuse me while I'm not shocked or surprised by it. I guess I could be excited that we found out who the mole was fairly quickly, but then again, Nadia is a bit too obvious, don't you think. But as I think of everyone else in CTU, I'm not sure who else it can be and work from a plot standpoint. I mean, unless it's Bill and he's got an implanted evil personality...oh wait, that was Babylon Five.
Meanwhile, it's a whole lot of very little Bauer this week. Jack finds out Audrey is dead (presumed) and he suddenly drops everything to see the file. Now, I understand it's a shock for him to find out, but is taking Chloe away from her normal duties to get the file really going to fly?
And Marilyn makes her move, which ends up pretty awkward. Can't blame the poor girl since just a few hours ago, Jack was inappropriately touching her face and subtlely feeling her up under the pre-text of fitting her with a bulletproof vest. And where's the kid? Was he off in the other room getting a soda? How weird would it be to see mom busting a move on your uncle when dad's only been dead a few hours? I think someone is going to need a lot of therapy. Hopefully CTU will pick up some of the bill for that.
Meanwhile, the real drama is taking place at the White House where the vice president has lost it and gone full out war-monger. He seems to be looking for an excuse to nuke someone, much to the horror of the Biscuit and the newly-returned Karen Hayes. "Don't let your silly logic fool me" he says as he presses the button to nuke the country that shall not be named. And none of the military leaders stand up to him on it. I know our military men and women are trained to fight, but I also know they like to avoid it as much as possible and it's a last resort.
Are we really at last resort stage yet?
I don't think so..again, it feels like we've warped to day two and are repeating out same mistakes.
I'm betting next week we somehow try to wake Wayne up. I didn't see the previews so I can't say for sure. But the way things are unfolding, I bet it that is where we're headed.
I just wish that after the last two weeks when things were looking up that we'd somehow built on that. It appears that we've regressed a bit here and while the White House stuff was good, the rest of it was nothing to write home about.
And did we all suddenly forget about Charles Logan? Not even an update...come on 24, you can do better than that!
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/22/2007 02:51:00 PM |
| Wednesday, March 21, 2007 R2-D2 in Nashville
Driving into work this morning, I noticed that there's been an R2-D2 sighting in Nashville.
OK, so maybe it's not the real R2, but it's still pretty darn cool.
Seems the U.S. Postal Service has wrapped a little over 300 post office boxes with an R2-D2 cover to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the original Star Wars. And one of those boxes sits on Broadway near downtown Nashville. (It's near the Tennessean offices, if you're looking for it.)
I thought it was pretty cool and I will have to dig up my digital camera and get some pictures of it.
Of course, the other scary thought is--has it really been 30 years since Star Wars came out?!? I saw it for the time as a child...oh dear heavens, I'm getting old!
Your "exclusive" coverage of the woman's NCAA tournament is pathetic. You show us two minutes of the Lady Vols vs Pitt and then cut to two lower seeds playing?!?
Last time I looked, the Lady Vols had six national titles and were the most successful program in women's college basketball. That and being a number one seed should take priority over some crappy other game between two Yankee schools (Rutgers, Michigan State) playing.
The least you could do is show the game locally for the Lady Vols fans in the region. I bet a lot more people care about this game locally than the pathetic game you chose to go with.
I bet if it were UConn, you'd be all over it, gushing about how great they were and kissing Gino Auriema's ass.
Your bias is showing...though I don't know why I expect anything different from you.
(Recall here I don't read spoilers and I don't watch the previews...so all this is supposition and speculation only.)
The people hearing music seem to be high-level members of the resistance from New Caprica--namely Anders and Tigh, so far. I know Tigh was held prisoner, but was Anders ever in custody? If so, did the Cylons do something to him?
I think Six is playing the Fleet. I have a feeling that Cylons are waiting in the nebula for Galactica and the fleet to jump out and ambush them. Helo seems to be slowly coming to this conclusion, but it may be too little, too late.
How long has Roslin been back on the comala extract? And how long before the press demands some kind of proof her cancer has returned and she's not just taking the extract to induce vision to try to get them to Earth?
Those are just, out of the gate, initial reactions and questions that cropped up. I'm sure there will be more and if Ron Moore knocked on my door right now and said, "Hey Michael, I've got part two here. Want to crack open a beer and watch it with me?" I'd not be replying in the negative to that one.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/18/2007 01:37:00 PM |
| Saturday, March 17, 2007 Double OT thriller
So, my friends who pull for the Commodores--how much more frustrating was it with a close game in double OT to have CBS cut away with no warning to the Pitt vs VCU game?
I could just hear John H screaming in frustration...
A great game and congrats to Vandy on the big win.
That's just wrong
Is it just me or is it wrong that a commercial extoling the virtues of the University of Florida for creating Gatorade should feature a shot of Peyton Manning at the end?
Yeah, now that I think about it, it is totally wrong...in every possible way.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/17/2007 10:36:00 AM |
| Friday, March 16, 2007 Vandy cheerleaders gone wild
I have to admit, I'm curious as to exactly what the Vanderbilt cheerleaders did at the SEC Woman's tournament to get dismissed from the cheerleading squad.
I wonder how long it will be before the sordid details work their way on-line.
Or are they are already out there and I just am not looking in the right places?
How are those brackets looking?
So, I picked some upsets in day one and there was only one--VCU over Duke. And wouldn't you know it, that was one I didn't pick!
I wish George Washington had made it more of a game against Vandy. But that may just be my growing dislike of Vanderbilt coming through.
The Vols kick off the NCAA tourney this afternoon and I hope we don't pull the usual one and done routine we always seem to when it comes to playing in any kind of big tournament. I'm not seeing them going all the way like some people I've heard calling into various shows this week, but I'd love to see them make a deep run in the tourney.
I heard a local radio promotion for one of the electronics stores in town. If you buy an HD TV to watch March Madness and UT or Vandy wins it all, they'll refund the price of your set. Interesting promotion and while I'd love to see the Vols win it all, I think the store is pretty safe they won't have to issue any refunds for HD sets.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/16/2007 09:09:00 AM |
| Thursday, March 15, 2007 TV Round-Up: Lost Par Avion Two weeks ago, we had a fun but (at the time) farily inconsequential episode about Hurley starting up the van and giving the island residents a much-needed victory and some hope. It was a change of pace from the rather bleak, mundane and heavy storylines with the Others and while it could have been fairly self-contained, instead we're seeing how it carries over to the beach residents here.
Interesting to see that Charlie starts the day, trying to embrace the hope. He's doing a good job until Desmond shows up and throws cold water on the day, saying Charlie should be out hunting instead of curled up on the beach with Claire. At first, we're not sure why but it becomes clearer when Claire sees a flock of seagulls go overhead--several of them tagged to study their migration patterns. If they can catch one and tie a note to it's leg, there may be a chance someone will come find them. She tries to find a way to do this, expecting Charlie to jump in and help, only to find he and Desmond are being wet blankets. Desmond even goes so far as to shoot near the trap to scare off the birds.
Eventually, we find out Desmond is doing all this to, once again, save Charlie from death. In this case, Charlie would have gone out onto some rocks, fallen into the ocean and died trying to get a bird to give to Claire. Which this brings up an interesting question--how many different ways did Desmond see Charlie's doom related to this mission. If he'd allowed Claire to catch the seagull in the trap, would that have ensured Charlie lived another day? Or was that mission destined to fail and thus push Charlie toward trying to please and help Claire? And while we saw Desmond go out onto the rocks to get the bird, how did he know that he hadn't created the situation by making Charlie and Claire fight? After all, we've seen the elaborate lengths Charlie will go to see Claire is happy.
Of course, that's the whole thing with potential time pardoxes....you can run around them for hours and never really wrap your head around them.
That said, I liked where the story took things. I liked that Desmond fesses up to Claire what he's doing (he kind of had to as he appears kind of stalker-like if he doesn't) and Charlie gets someone to share the burden of his impending doom with. I have a strange feeling we're setting Charlie up for a huge fall becuase he's becoming too content, happy and full of hope at this point. And one thing it never pays to be on Lost is happy for any extended period of time. Again, I've said before the island seems to give people what they need and they then shuffle off stage right. So, could it be that Charlie needed to be at peace, he is now and that will spell his exit from the island?
Meanwhile, the other plotline is just as compelling. Locke, Kate, Sayid, Rosseua and eye-patch man continue their trek to find the Other's barracks. They encounter what turns out to be a fancy electric fence and we find out two interesting Locke bits. One is that he kills eye-patch man to see what the fence does and that he knew the house was wired with C4 and would explode. Locke even took some of the C4 with them. At this point, Sayid doesn't trust Locke or his motives and with good reason. And suddenly, Locke is back in a huge way. I've always like the character, but I think he got a bit on the less interesting side with his blind faith in the Hatch last year. Now we've got the edgy Locke back, the one from season one who had his own agenda, kept secrets and you never quite knew exactly what his next move was. And with this arc, he's back. He still has the faith he showed last year as we see in his conversation about Eko's stick leading them to the house last week. But he's not as pure and noble as we got last year and I like that. I think freed of Jack, Locke has blossomed again as a character. We've seen Locke assert himself and be the kind of adventurer he dreamed of being back in his first flashback story. And it should be interesting to see if he reverts back a bit now that we've found Jack and Others.
Speaking of which, what does Locke want to find the Others so badly for? I'm curious about that.
And even the flashbacks worked well. I think we'd all figured Claire was Jack's half-sister, but it was nice of the producers to confirm it. I was not shocked to see Claire go into the hospital room to find Jack's dad there. And while the storyline followed an old cliched route, it was still entertaining enough to keep me interested. I have to admit, seeing the dark-haired Claire took a bit of getting used to...she looked very different. I wonder if we'll see this aspect of Claire again.
I did like how the flashbacks related to the main plot on the island--in this case we found out how Claire saw all those nature shows with her mother. It was a line that was sweet at first, but takes on a tragic, sour turn when we get the big revela.
And then the cliffhanger...just like in season one, I was left wanting more. Seeing Jack running toward them and it turns out to be he's playing football with the Others. Good spot to leave things and ensure I will be counting down days until I see the next installment.
I think Lost is back....and it's getting really good again.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/15/2007 03:23:00 PM |
| Wednesday, March 14, 2007 TV Round-Up: 24 Day Six: 6 - 7 p.m. Another solid hour of 24 and it looks like there's hope that day six is finally picking up the pace.
Of course, it's full of greatest hits from previous years, but at this point I think I'm going to stop complaining about it and just go with it. (Oh wait...too late).
A new field agent shows up over at CTU, looking to become the new Curtis. It's Mike Doyle, a no-nonsense kind of guy who shows up and does what every new employee at CTU does best--rub everyone the wrong way. Doyle's not used to having people be snarky or question his orders, which means he and Chloe will not get along at all. And he seems to be more by the book than most agents, so it's probably only a matter of time until that conflicts with Jack's typical methods.
Doyle quickly comes in and starts pushing everyone around, but it's all for the greater good...see, we've got not let Markov get away. We've got two ways to resolve this--one involves Logan, the other is a full out assault on the embasssy. Yeah, our options are not looking too good here. And here last week I was giving Bill a bunch of credit for saying, "I don't care, we owe it to Jack to rescue him" when that wasn't what was really happening. Shows you what I know.
So, we pursue both options. Logan heads out to talk to Martha, who can make a phone call to Anya Suberof and maybe get her to help things out. Seems Martha's not doing too well these days--living in an institution in a bungalo. And she's shacking up with Aaron Pierce, which you have to admit is kind of awesome. She doesn't believe the changes in Logan and it seems as if just being around him sets her off. She slowly loses it over the course of the hour and ends up stabbing Logan with a knife. Yeah, that was a bit obvious when we saw her chopping up the kiwi with the knife and the camera made sure we saw it. I knew at that point that Chuck was in deep kimche and maybe should have taken Aaron's advice to wait outside.
I am betting Chuck wishes he'd taken it as well.
Logan is stabbed and apparently dies in the back of the ambulence as the cliffhanger. For a minute I assumed Fayed and Gredenko launching the nuke would be the cliffhanger, but even 24 won't make us suspend disbelief enough to see them jury rig a nuke to the delivery system in under three seconds. If they'd had four, I'd bet they'd've gone for it...but not three.
Anyway, Martha is able to get through to Anya and get Suberov to try and resolve things diplomatically. Only Markov refuses the order and so we get to unleash the strike team on the house without it leading to war. So, it looks like Jack's got a get out of jail free card here thanks to some fancy footwork by the vice-president and CTU.
Speaking of the vice-president, he's certainly starting to strut his stuff in the Oval Office. He brings in an ambassador from an unnamed country and starts verbally slapping him around. Should one more nuke go off on our soil, their country will feel the full wrath of the United States military. Seems that Tom has changed loyalties and is blaming Asad for the bombing to help push through his agenda. Can't wait for Karen Hayes to show back up and start kicking some butt and taking some names.
And then there's Jack...who doesn't do much during the hour.
An interesting theory I've heard other places....what if Jack takes the ultimate fall this year and we replace him with Ricky Schroeder's character? Would that work for anyone? Or is part of the fun watching Jack?
That said, I can't believe it will take Jack long to recover from his wounded ribs. I give it ten minutes in the next episode and we barely hear about it again.
But that said, the episode is still good and the show is showing improvement.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/11/2007 07:07:00 PM |
| Friday, March 09, 2007 TV Round-Up Lost: Enter 77 Not as compelling as the Desmond episode, but still a more solid entry than we got the last two weeks. I think part of it may have been that I'd heard such an early buzz about this episode that it raised my expectations and hopes to a point that no TV show could really meet (unless it's by Joss Whedon).
I've got to say that the past three weeks, I've not seen the point of the flashbacks. And this comes from someone who has defended the format time and again to those who wonder why we're still doing them. So, after his particiaption in the Gulf War, Sayid tried to escape his past, only to have it catch up to him. He's tricked into coming to a restaurant, taken hostage and tortured so that the restaurant owner's wife can see him treated as badly as he treated her. In the end, she comes to him, seems to forgive him and we're left hanging. About the only connection to what was unfolding on the island was that in the flashback and the home of guy with an eyepatch, there is a cat.
Honestly, we've seen better Sayid flashbacks in the past two seasons. And we know he's a bit haunted by what he did. But he will still do it if the ends justify the means. And he's good at it.
So, we didn't really till any new ground here. Which is a shame really, but it seems as if the flashback segments are getting shorter. I just wonder if they're running out of things to do with the characters in these segments.
I don't think they have....I just think they're not taking the next step.
Meanwhile, the storylines on the island are interesting. Locke, Kate, Sayid and Danielle find the home of the eyepatch man and he reveals a large number of answers. The Dharma Initiative is gone, he's the last member of it, etc. He's also got a satellite dish that could be used to communicate with the outside world. As we find out in the course of the hour, it's not working, but Sayid thinks it could have been put back on-line.
We never find out becuase Locke manages to blow up the house. Locke plays chess against the computer, winning and unlocking some more footage of the Dharma scientist guy we've seen several times before. The last screen is to push 77 if the house has been invaded. We see the house wired in the basement and it doesn't take much to put two and two together. The fact that the house blew up at the end wasn't shocking. It was all there and you could easily put it together if you paid attention.
What is interesting is Locke's decision. I think he had a good idea of what would happen should he enter 77. As I've said before, Locke has a good reason for wanting to stay on the island and I can see why he'd want to destroy a chance to communicate and be forced to leave. And I don't think we've heard the last of this conflict between he and Sayid..and if you did watch the previews and they gave away any of these details, please don't tell me. Like I've said before, I avoid previews at this point because they give too much away (unless it's footage for Spider-Man 3 and then I'm all over it...)
Meanwhile, on the beach Sawyer is challenged to a game 0f ping-pong. The bet--if one person can beat him, he has to stop calling everyone nicknames for a week. If he wins, they give back all his stuff they took while he was off with the Others. A lighter plot but one that worked and it gave us a chance to see life on the beach. Also, was there an inside dig at the two new characters who appeared out of no where by Sawyer?
Jericho: Heart of Winter This episode would be a good one to take a long winter's nap through.
There were elements here that should add up a good episode. You've got the town struggling as winter storms advance and there's a lack of fresh meat. You've got Hawkins and Sarah going to meet the Old Man but finding out that three of the agents in their group have been comprimised. You've got Sarah trying to find the package and killing her contact to do it.
But yet, all of this is not enough to make a good episode.
The problem is there are so many bad scenes between the interesting ones that maybe I'm missing something between rolling my eyes. We go out hunting and encounter..well, evil guys in a black truck. We've established going too far out of town is dangerous, so no new ground here. It's a chance to wreck the truck, get Skeet in trouble and have him almost die. As he's stuck under the truck, he confesses his big sin from his time in the Iraq war, which I guess is supposed to answer some questions but it felt more like throwing us a bone. Also, I can't see Skeet's character being that tortured over just one thing. We need more than that..if that's all we get on this I will be annoyed.
Also annoying is how stupid Hawkins is being. He doesn't see that maybe, just maybe Sarah is up to something. This is a guy who somewho senses that Skeet is watching him through a telescopic lens and yet he doesn't see the deception under his own nose. Even in the end when Sarah decides to go out for a walk even though we've previously established it's frigidly cold outside and being out after dark in Jericho is not a good idea.
But he NEVER sees through this.
And then we've got Emily and Roger...which that's a yawn-fest. I think we're just wasting time until he catches her with Skeet. Until then, color me bored.
Not hard to do really. The whole show did that this week..and more.
The past couple of nights I've been having some really strange nightmares. I've dreamed that I was part of the Rebel Alliance fleeing the Empire, that I'd overslept and missed a big deadline and that Tennessee has (once again) lost in their opening round game of the SEC Tournament.
Oh wait, that last one wasn't a nightmare.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/09/2007 04:09:00 AM |
| Wednesday, March 07, 2007 TV Round-Up 24: Day Six, 5 - 6 p.m. For the first time since hour four, I finally feel like something is happening. It's been a long time since I was this involved with an episode of 24. I'm not saying it's an instant classic or a return to form, but from the interest stand-point and being on the edge of my seat, this one was a definite step in the right direction.
For one thing, now that all the cliched family drama is gone from Jack's life is gone, we can get back to Jack doing what Jack does best--being the biggest, baddest secret agent around. I loved when Logan reminds Jack, you know the last time you violated the sanctity of a consolate, it didn't end well and that Jack totally disregards that. For Jack, the ends justify the means and he doesn't seem to care about personal freedom or any of those small things that you and I might think about in a simliar situation. I loved seeing Jack waltz back into the Russian consolate, take the ambassador hostage and then torturing him for information. OK, maybe I didn't love the part where Jack used the cigar clipper to encourage him to talk, but you still have to admit that in those scenes Jack was totally bad-ass.
And then, Bill Buchanan sits in CTU headquarters, finds out Jack has been captured and decides to go a bit Bauer himself. Bill decides he's going to have a strike team ready to go in and get Jack back. And I get the feeling that whether or not the vice-president orders it or not, Bill is going to make sure Jack doesn't stay in Russian hands too long. Of course, part of this is the necessity of the show--we have to rescue Jack to have him continue his pursuit of the nukes. But I have to wonder if part of this isn't a feeling that Bill owes Jack somehow. Jack has paid a pretty big price for keeping us safe in the past few seasons and has bailed Bill out by faking his own death and then going to China as a prisoner. Yeah, I'm just saying--Bill owes Jack one.
Of course, in good 24 fashion we had to completely strain credibility to get to this point. So, Jack doesn't trust Logan any farther than he can throw the former president but he lets him meet with the Russian diplomant alone...and without checking the room first to see if it has--oh, let's just say--another door?!? Yes, rooms rarely have two doors and a consolate wouldn't possibly maybe have a secret escape route for the important diplomatic officials. No, that would never, ever happen.
That said, I loved the scenes with Logan and the Russian diplomat where we find out that the Russians supplied last year's conspiracy with the Centox gas. Nice touch there.
Meanwhile back at the Presdential bunker, things are finally moving as well. Powers Booth takes over as acting president. And his first job is cleaning up the situation Jack has created. I loved the scenes when Bill calls up the v.p. and says, "Yeah seems Jack is out creating diplomatci incidents again." Yeah, that big chair is not feeling as comfy as you thought it would, now is it?
Tom Lennox is freed and does the right thing by having Chad Lowe and fellow conspirator arrested. But no one believes Lennox. Now, this twist while a nice win for Lennox makes no sense. Why didn't the bomb-maker just kill Lennox and frame Chad Lowe for it? I can't see why having Lennox still alive would be a good idea....or they can blame it on Asad somehow and that gives everyone a way to push through the legislation in honor and memory of Lennox. I'm just saying that it seems like the conspirators aren't thinking this through.
That said, I still think there is a link between the White House drama and the terrorist plot. But we'll see. I've been know to be wrong before.
Oh and we even get to see Karen Hayes who is running back to take her old job back.
So, while it's not classic 24, it's still a darn sight better than what we've been getting this year. Maybe it's the turning point....at last!
Heroes: Parasite You just sort of knew that after last week's "setting the bar" episode, that there'd have to be a let-down this week.
And it wasn't like it was a huge let-down ala this week's Battlestar (sorry, Ron Moore...I listened to your podcast and it didn't sell me on the episode being good), it was still a bit of a drop-off.
But that was to be expected, I suppose.
The first half is fairly slow moving with us catching up on things and putting characters into place for the second half, when the gloves come off and the cliffhangers come left and right. So, the Hatian sensation and Mrs. Petrelli speak Japanese. Hmmmm, makes me wonder she's in on it and and reporting to George Takai. Seriously, I think George Takai is the head of this whole conspiracy thing....that would be pretty cool.
We meet a new hero--this one a woman with the abilty to morph into anyone she wants. Which works well to get Isaac out of trouble and then to get HRG into trouble. Man, you just knew having his wife remember everything and their new found honesty would have to come back to bite him. How great was it that not five second after he said how much he loves this new level of openness they had that it turns out he's been betrayed. I wonder if the Company has some way to reverse the memory wipe and find out where Claire is. Either way, this could get really good in six weeks when the show comes back.
Meanwhile, Hiro finally gets the show, is reunited with Ando and finds out that he's not changed a thing. At least this storyline is moving forward...finally.
And just as last week we began to maybe like HRG a bit more, Nathan gets some humanizing this week. Maybe he's not the bad brother, after all. Turns out he's working with the FBI to bring down Linderman. And we finally meet Linderman...I thought it might be Eric Roberts from last week, but instead it's Malcolm McDowell. Who knows that Nathan is working against him and offers him a choice. I am intrigued by McDowell as Linderman, though I kept expecting him to say "Time is the fire in which we burn." (Bonus points if anyone can tell me the reference without Google-ing it).
Last, let us have a moment of silence for Mohinder. He figures out who Sylar really is and straps him into a chair. Mohinder is looking to study Sylar before he gets revenge for his father's death. But Sylar has other ideas, using his powers to get out of the chair and killing Mohinder. Well, at least mortally wounding him so he can warn Peter about him....just so Peter can get captured.
And we're left another cliffhanger. Sylar has Peter and is using his ability to open up his skull. Sylar wants Peter's power and would be virtually unstoppable with it. The last scene is Peter's bangs hitting the floor and some drops of blood. Guess we know where Peter got the scar future-Hiro referred to.
And with that, we're left hanging. A good set of cliffhangers here. I think they were better than what we got in December. I will say this--I'd thought of tuning out once Eccleston's arc was over, but the past few weeks have convinced me this could be worth the time. I do know one thing--it's going to be a long six weeks wondering what happens next.
Spider-Man 3 Sneak Peek
NBC ran a new, one-minute promo for Spidey 3 last night during Heroes.
All I have to say is--awesome. Can't wait. Will be first in line to see it.
That was before I surfed over to the seven minute sneak-peek on NBC's web site. The footage there is extensions of the scenes from Heroes including one long, sustained battle between Peter and Harry Osborn.
You'd better hurry if you want to see it. NBC takes the footage off-line this evening.
Or you can see it right here, though it's not in HD....
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/06/2007 06:51:00 AM |
| Monday, March 05, 2007 Last night's Battlestar...
In case you recorded last night's Battlestar Galactica because you had to get up early and go to work, I'll warn you to not read any further.
I want to love this episode...I really do. But yet I found it to just be ok. I kept expecting some huge twist--such as Lebonen saying, "By the way, Kara, I'm your father and you're a Cylon." But we didn't get that.
I wonder if this episode's importance will grow in the fall-out of what happened in the final moments of the story.
And I may need to go back and re-watch the story, but did we ever get any real connection between the symbol of the Eye of Jupiter and how Kara had been drawing/painting it since she was a child?
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/05/2007 09:10:00 AM |
| Sunday, March 04, 2007 TV Round-Up Podcast Episode 7
Once again, it's Jennifer Smith and yours truly commenting on some of what's happening in the world of television. This week's discussion includes:
Favorite shows of the week
Least favorite shows of the week.
Why are we still watching Jericho?
Will anything ever happen in season six of 24?
And, of course, our Kim Bauer Cougar Awards. (You want to know who they are, you're going to have to listen.)
Joss "The Man" Whedon keeps coming up with new ways to separate me from my hard-earned cash.
In case you're not aware of it, there's a huge Buffy comic book coming out March 14th. This new book is intended as a season-eight and the first storyline is written by Joss himself. According to Joss, it's Buffy-verse continuity and this means I will have to hunt it down and buy it so I can read it. Of course, I could wait for the inevitable graphic novel collection of the stories to come out, but what's the fun in that? Pieces of the comic have been previewed on-line since January and this weekend, Whitney Matheson at USA Today's PopCandy linked to a .pdf file of the first six pages. Like giving crack to an addict is all I can say.
In other news, it seems there will be a super-deluxe, two-disc edition of Serenity hitting the stores later this year. Whedon has promised lots of great extras. I wonder if we'll get a new commentary or two with the cast--their commentaries on the DVDs of Firefly were great.
Vols defeat UGA
Congratulations to the Vols basketball team for another big road win down in Georgia today.
Nice to see a game that when Chris Lofton was being shut-out for a long period of time, the rest of the team stepped around him.
Should make for an interesting SEC tournament later this week in Atlanta. Though I wish Vandy had lost on Wednesday instead of today (OK, who am I kidding...I wish they'd lost both games) so we could get a first-round bye.
The toys are here...
I was at Wal-Mart today and wandered past the toy section on my way to madness that is the grocery aisles.
I noticed that there were some new Spider-Man toys out...specifically toys for Spider-Man 3.
I'm not kidding...it's about two months before it hits theaters and the toys are already rolling out.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/02/2007 03:09:00 PM |
| Thursday, March 01, 2007 TV Round-Up: Lost Tricia Tanaka is Dead Another flashback, more father issues this week on Lost. I'm still covinced this is some kind of huge group-therapy session for everyone on the island.
As we've seen before, Hurley had one incredibly lucky event in his pre-island life followed by a whole string of not-so-good luck moments. It seems as if the universe it out to get him--even going so far here as to send a meteor crashing into the Clucky Chicken he's purchased the day before it opens. I have to start to wonder--was fate or some mysterious power driving Hurley to the island becuase he used the numbers to win the lottery? Was it some kind of payback for using them, some unintended consequence? If the universe is against Hurley for using the numbers, why can't he get rid of the money (we learned that in one of his flashbacks, I recall. He can't get rid of the money for some reason and every time he tries, he ends up making more. The universe having a big joke on friend?)
The flashbacks here fill in a bit about Hurley and the relationship with his dad. Despite abandoning Hurley and possibly pushing him into his overeating (Hurley clearly starts to ease his disappointment via food in the flashback), his dad's not all that bad a guy, given half a chance. At first, he's there to try and convince Hurley to not do something foolish with the money, but as the story progresses, we see the guy genuinely turn a corner. Seeing the car in the garage woke him up a bit and in the end, he asks for a second chance. But at that point it's too late as Hurley is clearly focused on going to Australia to rid himself of his perceived curse.
In both storylines, we see that Hurley is like a terrier, seizing hold of an idea and not letting go. He won't be disuaded from going to Australia or starting the van, no matter what the consequences to himself or those around him. It's interesting that Hurley rejects the palm-branch of his father, which is a bit of a turnaround from how many of the other storylines for various castaways have gone.
Hurley is determined to give the group a win and some hope. He brings out Jin, Sawyer and Charlie on his quest to start the van and gives at least three of the four some hope. Sawyer's final scene of sitting in his shelter, watching everyone else's apparent happiness while he sits along drinking was striking. At times we've seen Sawyer integrate with the group and at times we've seen him act out of his own selfishness. Will what has happened with Kate send him spiralling into more selfish behavoir?
Speaking of Kate, at least she asked the question I was most curious about--why didn't Locke and company try to rescue she, Jack and Sawyer? Yes, the Others sent Hurley back with a warning, but when has the group ever followed thier orders or warnings to the letter? Or did the Others take those three because they would be the three most likely to inspire the group to a rescue? Certainly I can't imagine Jack or Kate sitting around long, just waiting for the Others to make the next move or taking their words at face value. So if that was the purpose, why let Sawyer and Kate go--surely the Others must expect one or both of them to purse the path Kate is now pursuing.
I do have to ask one thing--why did they include Mira Furlan in the opening credits crawl? Seeing her name ruined all the surprise of who Kate went to find in the jungle for me. Of course, maybe that's just people like me who are reading the credits. But did it ruin it for anyone else?
And I can see why we needed hope, but I'm not sure spending the entire episode there was the greatest idea. It was nice to see some old faces back in the mix though. I just hope next week we don't jump back to Jack and the wacky adventures of the Others. We need some time with the rest of the island cast...
Oh and one more thing--should the van have started? Wouldn't the gas in the fuel tank and lines have turned to sludge and gummed up the engine? Or am I missing the point?
Act like you've won something sometime!
Driving home for a meeting last night, I had my radio tuned to the Vandy vs South Carolina game (as a Vols fan, I had a rooting interest in South Carolina. Should they win, it was possible the mighty Vols would get a bye in the SEC Tourney next week.).
As the game wound down and they took one of the umpteen jillion time-outs basketball has in the final two minutes of a close game, I heard a commercial that made me laugh.
Now, two years ago, Vandy beat UT in football for the first time since the early 80s and to celebrate the victory, Vandy put out a DVD of the win. I can understand the reasoning and why they'd do it. Begrudingly, I can see why Vandy fans would want to have a copy of the big win, esp. since it's unlikely it's going to happen again until at least the year 2030. Then last year, Vandy went to Athens and upset UGA in football. A DVD of the game followed.
Two weeks ago Saturday, Vandy beat then-number-one Florida at home in basketball. And, yep, you guessed it--they've got a DVD out of the game. Frankly, I find that to be going to the well one too many times and it makes me lose a bit of respect I've got for Vanderbilt. I understand it was a big win over the number one team in the country, but do Vandy fans really need a DVD of this one game to watch over and over again? Following this logic, I expect releases of the Vandy wins over Kentucky this year to follow sometime in the next week or so.
You don't see UT putting out DVDs of single-game wins, for the most part. Yes, there is a DVD of the national championship game from '98 but it was the freakin' national championship game, not just some random game mid-season that we won. I know UT puts out season-perspective DVDs, which include highlights of each game played. But then again, I guess the Vols are used to winning on a regular basis and we don't need a DVD release of every "big" win we have.