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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
TV Round-Up: Lost
Because You Left, The Lie
At long last, "Lost" throws caution to the wind and embraces what we've all known since day one--it's a sci-fi show. A character-driven sci-fi show, but a sci-fi show.

The best thing to happen to "Lost" was for the producers to decide there needed to be a definite ending to the show. It gave the show a new spark of energy and helped it to begin building toward a definite end-point, a finish line where (hopefully) all of our questions will be answered. OK, so maybe it won't answer all of them, but it sure looks like they're working on providing the answers to a good majority of them.

We got a lot of answers here--especially in the first hour. I'm wondering if this may be a pattern to "Lost" this year. An hour full of answers and moments to push the series forward followed by an hour to show the impact of these developments on the characters. And I will give the show credit--while I enjoyed the flashbacks and flashforwards, it's nice to see the series realize this storytelling angle has been played out and begin to move forward with events unfolding in real time. I don't doubt there is some jumping back and forth between time zones, but now it's all being done in a way that drives the story forward. And after four years of flashing around in time, it's nice to see the characters get specific episodes that occur in the here and now.

So, the island is now skipping through time, somehow. How this is happening and how to stop it are all in the air for now. I did find it interesting that between the episodes Locke's leg had a chance to heal a bit. Or at least he didn't appear to be limping as much in the closing moments of "The Lie." It should be interesting to see if and how he embraces the fact that he has to sacrifice his life for the island, though this being "Lost" I wonder if he'll really stay dead. It brings up the question of how many people the show will kill off before the series ends. "Battlestar Galactica" is in a blood thirsty kind of move in its final episodes and it makes me wonder if "Lost" will follow suit. Would it have the guts to kill off and leave dead some of the more popular characters.

We also see that Ben's quest isn't going to be as easy as he'd hoped. He's been able to convince Jack to join him, but is that because Jack really has nothing left to lose by going back? From Jack's flashforwards, we can see he's pretty much tanked everything he came back for, so why not head back? Why not try to reconnect with Kate and regain the romance and love he lost? Why not go back where he's actually respected and seen as a leader? Why not go back where he doesn't have to live in the shadow of his father? For Jack, it's a pretty easy sell to head back to the island. For the others of the Oceanic Six, it may be a harder sell.

At some point, something led to a falling out between Ben and Sayid...something that won't be easily fixed. And Kate has a lot to lose going back. Interesting that Kate's first instinct when faced with questions is to up and run. It appears not a lot has changed since we first met her as Fugitive Kate all those years ago. And does she pine for Sawyer as much as he does for her? Would this make her go back? Or would some kind of sense of responsbility that Aaron get to be reunited with his actual mother and not his adopted one? And how much would that secret getting out put that kid into therapy? I'm thinking that's one heck of a bill there...but at least the kid will have mommy issues, unlike everyone else on this show with daddy issues.

And that doesn't count Hurley, who is in jail now. I expect they'll come up with some way to pull some strings and get him released. Not sure what those will be, but I wonder if Penny will use some connections. Or Sun.

At the center of all this is Desmond, who seems to have become the focal point of the time and space wackiness of the show. I find myself wondering if Desmond may have to sacrfice himself to restore the island and save the world. And would he want to make such a choice, seeing as he's given up a lot of his life and himself to and for the island. I think the scene where he had the dream and woke up with Penny may be one of the few times we see him happy this year or for a while to come.

And that doesn't even cover Daniel Farraday, who knows something he's not telling. What that is and all the other questions I have will hopefully be answered soon. Because when "Lost" is giving us answers and bringing up new questions, that's when it's at it's best....

And these two episodes were examples of why this show is so good....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/28/2009 01:00:00 PM | |
Sunday, January 25, 2009
TV Round-Up: 24
Day Seven, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
When Star Trek: The Next Generation first started, there were a couple of early stories where you could easily scratch out the names of the original Trek crew and pencil in the names of the new Trek crew. ("Naked Now" is, by far, the biggest offender in this category). Same thing here. You can just crossout the name CTU and pencil in FBI for this season because the exact same kinds of wacky stuff that plagued CTU are plaguing the FBI. You've got a boss under fire for what his subordinates are doing, you've got interoffice affairs and romance, you've got the snarky computer gal, you've got unrequited crushes blinding people making decision. You've got it all...except most of it's been done before.

I think a lot of it is to throw off suspicion on who the mole in the FBI is by giving everyone a reasonable excuse to be a suspect. Right now, my money is on Erica, the blonde agent who moved Sean Hillinger's wife's flight up in the line. I could see her using the whole moving up the flight as a way to pressure Hillinger down the line and make him give up vital information. Also, the fact that they seem to be carrying on some kind of affair outside the office could mean she's using him to disclose vital information to her. She could be setting him up to take the fall when the identity of the mole comes to light. Of course, it could still be Hillinger who seems pretty disillusioned with things, but I'm not sure he makes as much sense.

Because really, other than wondering who the mole is, the FBI office scenes are not doing a whole lot for me.

Neither are the scenes with the President's husband who apparently graduated from the Kim Bauer school of stupid plot points. So, last week he discovers a huge conspiracy going all the way to someone high up in his wife's administartion. And now he's following clues on his own, gone off the reservation and no one knows where he is. Except his own personal Secret Service agent, that is. One who is all too willing to help out and we find out why--he's in on it. So, apparently everyone is against him on this one. Except his wife...and at this point I wouldn't be stunned at all to find out she's somehow behind the whole thing. Because really, that's the only kind of plot twist that might redeem this plotline. Wait...no, no it wouldn't. It just feels like something to do and tread water. And yet, somehow I know it will tie into the whole America's under threat plotline that is currently unfolding. Or else the guy will be saved at the last minute from death and given to the evil bad guys of the month as a bargaining point with the new president.

David Palmer, if we ever needed your ghost to come back from beyond and run things, it's now.

And there's Jack. I won't go into the silliness that is Jack's magic way of flushing out Matobo and his wife. OK, I will. So we spent a bunch of money on the safe room and don't have it on a separate or more secure ventilation system from the rest of the residence?!? I could maybe, maybe buy that if it weren't for the fact that said ventalation system is behind easily torn down drywall. I fully buy that Jack is Spider-Man, Superman and Batman combined into the most awesome super hero around, but even this is a bit of a stretch.

But we have to get Matobo out of the room and into the hands of Jack and Tony so they can get the computer controlling device back. So, you've got to have a way to get from point a to point b. It still feels like the writers came up with some peril and a cliffhanger first before thinking through how to get out of it.

Which may how things work out for Agent Walker. Or maybe she's really doomed. Jack goes out of his way to not kill her and then has to bury her alive. I've got to say the woman is pretty good because there are at least three or four points at which I'd be freaking out, no matter what Jack said about wanting to save my life. I'm not sure I can see a way out of having a flesh wound from a bullet and being buried alive in a trench. Add that she has no cell phone, so odds are the FBI won't magically show up this time in a helicopter. Unless, she's got some kind of subdermal transponder (oh wait, that was Star Trek) and that's how they find her. Or her boss will magically find her through the power of love or she'll be tracked down by some extra iron in her blood from a vitamin. Or she's dead and gone, though it just doesn't feel like they'd kill her off this soon in the season.

Clearly she needs a bit more time to become disillusioned with Jack.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/25/2009 07:52:00 PM | |
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
TV Round-Up: Battlestar Galactica
Sometimes a Great Notion
Outside of the series finale of "The Shield," I can't think of an episode of any TV show this year that's had as many jaw-dropping, "holy cow they just did that" moments as the triumphant return of "Battlestar Galactica." They were all so huge that I've held off posting about them for a few days simply to let them continue to sink in. Also, my good buddy Sam set off a firestorm on the Slice of SciFi web site when he put up a poll this week about the death of Dualla. (Just one of many moments in a superb episode).

Last time we saw the "Galactica" crew, the war was over and we'd found the way to Earth. The music swelled, full of hope and everyone went down to the planet, full of hope that, at long last, the nightmare journey to find a new home was finally over. And just like that Ron Moore and company socked us in the gut as we found Earth a radioactive wasteland. Which led to a lot of questions...and a lot of time to speculate.

"Sometimes a Great Notion" continues the story and shows its impact. What happens when you pin all your hopes on something and it falls very, very short? What happens to the characters?

For Laura Roslin, she retreats into herself. Her faith is rattled and she no longer can find comfort in the prophecy that had led her for so long. She can't and won't address the quorum because she can't figure out what should happen now. In many ways, it appears that Roslin is handing over the reigns to Lee Adama, who steps up here and acts like the leader the fleet needs. Just as his father and Roslin did in the wake of the Cylon attack on the colonies. If anything, this episode is about passing the torch of leadership from one generation to the next.

Becuase it's clear that Bill Adama was ready to pass along that torch. Adama takes a gun, goes to Tigh's quarter and tries to get his friend and XO provoked to a point that Tigh will kill him. Interestingly, the Tigh we saw in season two is gone--the one who nearly led the fleet into self-destruction and only by Adama's pushing himself back into leadership were things saved. Now, we have Tigh acting like the leader that Adama can't be--or doesn't want to be. Tigh refuses to kill Adama, knowing it will destroy more than just one man, but possibly the entire fleet itself. Without the "Old Man" to tell them what to do next, things will get a lot more bleak.

And they are pretty darn bleak. To the point that some can't imagine going on any more. Like Dualla. I have to admit, that until the moment Dee pulled out the gun, I never saw it coming. What a stunning moment for the show. And the impact it has on all the characters. And it's such a raw, unflinching look at suicide and the impact it has on those left behind. Hearing the conversation between Lee and Bill Adama about how they never saw this coming and trying to make sense out Dee's actions was one of the more powerful scenes in a show packed full of powerful moments. And I have a feeling Dee's death is only the first of many we're going to see in the coming episodes.

Meanwhile, we've got a new mystery. What is Starbuck? Is she a ghost? An echo? Is there time-travel involved? A time loop? Or is she a clone or a Cylon from this 13th colony? (How cool was it to see the old school Cylon faceplate? I hope we see them again...) It brings up the question of where was Starbuck (or when) when she saw the fields of green? Clearly it's not Earth as it is now. And what exactly happened on Earth to destroy it. Will we find out? Will we stumble across the other members of this colony? Will they be old school Cylons? I have to admit some deep geeky part of me would LOVE to see that...

Finally, there's the big reveal of the hour--the identity of the final Cylon. I'll go ahead and say I liked the choice. And I like that Ron Moore and company went ahead and answered the question now rather than letting it linger. Had it continued too much longer, it could have taken away from the final episodes in my opinion because the whole series finale build-up would be all about that. And we'd not get to see the impact it will have on the characters--esp. Tigh. The irony that Tigh is a Cylon and he killed Ellen for betraying the resistance to the Cylons....goosebumps.

And since Ellen was killed before the Ressurection Hub was destroyed, odds are we could see her again. A scene between Tigh and Ellen over his killing her....that has some amazing potential.

Man, I love this show....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/21/2009 01:00:00 PM | |
Monday, January 19, 2009
Gratitous Birthday Post
It doesn't seem possible, but another year has come and gone. Today I turn the big three-six.

Yes, thirty six years ago, I arrived in this world.

So, since it's my birthday, I am opening up the usual "Hey, leave me a birthday comment" post today. I know, it's a totally shameless begging for well wishes and comments....but hey, it's my birthday!

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/19/2009 12:01:00 AM | |
Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is it just me or does anyone else think that Arizona playing in the Super Bowl is one of the signs that the end times are upon us?

Looks like it will be Pittsburgh vs Arizona for the Super Bowl.

Well, at least there's a new "Office" after the game....

As a Titans' fan, I kept wondering why Joe Flacco couldn't have thrown a couple of those interceptions last week when they would have helped Tennessee?!?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/18/2009 09:15:00 PM | |
Friday, January 16, 2009
Feel Good Friday: Doogie Howser Edition
This clip from Neil Patrick Harris's appearance on Saturday Night Live is a lot of fun...

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/16/2009 04:02:00 PM | |
Thursday, January 15, 2009
"Battlestar Galactica" Will Run Long
Don't say I didn't warn you....

SciFi Wire reports that tomorrow night's highly-anticipated (at least by me) return of Battlestar Galactica will run long--by about three and a half minutes.

Adjust your recording devices appropriately....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/15/2009 10:37:00 AM | |
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
TV Round-Up: 24
Day Seven: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Were 24 a more character driven series, along the lines of Lost or Battlestar Galactica, I would expect a lot of this season to focus on the mirror images that are Jack and Tony. Both have been betrayed by the agency that works for them, both have lost their wives and both have made sacrifices for thier country that they may regret, late at night when they can't sleep but they know are necessary choices. Tony tried to have some happiness by walking away, only to see Michelle killed and to have to fake his own death. Or die for ten minutes and then come back. Which at this point, the show might as well embrace that it is sci-fi and say that Tony had a clone that came back. It'd be just as easy to swallow as the explanation he gives here.

But back to my point....

Tony and Jack have both sacrficed and lost a lot to keep America safe. Both are now rogue agents and they are mirrors of each other. Tony has apparently gone down a path toward taking vengeance upon the country he once served for the percieved crimes against him. Jack tried to avoid the truth but ended up taking the stand to defend himself and the choices he made. It makes you wonder if somehow the evil mastermind of the plot currently unfolding had got to Jack in a dark hour if Jack might have turned. Or is that one tie Jack still has to the world--the much maligned Kim--what is holding him back. Tony, after all, had nothing to lose by faking his death and turning against his country.

It's a fascinating question, but one I doubt will be really explored much more. 24 is plot-heavy and that doesn't leave time for this kind of character examination.

What it does have time for is twists that aren't really as shocking as the show would like them to be. I guess the fact that Chloe and Bill have set up their own version of CTU out of Bill's house isn't really quite as jaw dropping as finding out Nina is the mole or that Logan is behind the conspiracy. It's kind of more an expected thing since we've now seen that no season of 24 will function without Chloe now. It's not that I don't like the character, but it does seem a bit forced to keep bringing her back. Nor does it help that Jeanne Garafulo's character is pretty much a Chloe copy. They've really got to do something to make these FBI characters more interesting quickly. For the most part, I find my eyes glazing over a bit when we cut to them.

What I do find interesting is how is Bill financing all of this CTU gone rogue stuff. It can't be cheap.

We also see 24 veering into the old X-Files territory where no one in power can truly be trusted. How awesome would it be to see Mulder show up to team up with Jack? OK, maybe not so much but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

One other aspect that is interesting is how Jack influences those who come into his orbit. I wonder if Agent Walker would have pushed as hard to get information out of the suspect in the hospital had Jack not "shown her the way" earlier in the day. Being around Jack's attitude of the end justifies the means when the clock is ticking could have been a tipping point for her. Will she be the new FBI, female equivalent of Jack? Again, you've got a chance for some character exploration here, but I doubt it will be really followed through to any kind of conclusion.

And now we've got Jack and Tony together again, joining part of the conspiracy that is far ranging and wide-reaching. There are enough elements here to keep me intrigued, though I do wish they'd really play with some of the conventions of the show in a more substantial way.

That said, this show is still entertaining as all get out...

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/14/2009 08:26:00 PM | |
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
A Dilemma
There seems to be a lot of gloom and depression around Music City these days, a lot of it related to the fact that the Titans lost Saturday, ending their otherwise marvellous season. I've caught snippets and been part of several conversations the past few days, lamenting the fact that we turned the stupid ball over three times in the red zone and that horrific no-call by the refs in the fourth quarter.

:::Deep breath:::

All of this got me to thinking about my loyalty to certain sports franchises and my disdain and lack of love for others. As many of you know, my first love in the world of professional football is the Washington Redskins. So, for years, I've had a good, healthy lack of love for the Cowboys.

I love to hate the Cowboys.

But while the Washington/Dallas rivallry will always be my favorite in pro sports, lately it seems like the Ravens have been making a run to bump the Cowboys off as my number one most despised team in the NFL. And as I've pondered it over the past few days, I realized they may have moved into that top spot of teams I actively hate and pull against. Why you ask?

Because the Ravens have hoisted the Titans' pitard not once but twice in the last eight years when everything was on the line. Yes, the Titans have been able to beat them in the regular season, but in the last couple of years it's been the Ravens who have robbed the Titans of what we wanted most--to go the Super Bowl. They've won two critical games on our field when we were the top dog in the NFL and derailed what could have been a "dream" season for the Titans. To add insult to injury, it was the Ravens who came in and took away our undefeated streak at home back in the 2000 season.

Add to that, the divisional realignment that moved us out of playing the Ravens twice a season and it only magnifies the desire I have to want to see the Titans beat them down every time the two play. (I think the NFL should adopt the same policy the SEC has and have some rivals that aren't in the same division play every year along the lines of UT vs Bama.)

Of course, a lot of that could be the sting of losing to the Ravens and having to hear Ray Lewis tell us all how great God is because the Ravens won. (I'm all about loving God, but I don't think the Lord is really that involved in the outcome of football games....no matter how much prayer time I devote to my team winning.) Part of it could also be that the Cowboys aren't in the playoffs this year (insert sounds of joyful glee here).

So, for now, I am officially declaring the Ravens as the team I hate most in the NFL.

With the understanding that the Cowboys are a close second and can jump up to first at any moment....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/13/2009 03:00:00 PM | |
Monday, January 12, 2009
TV Round-Up: 24
Day Seven, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m.
After a year without Jack Bauer, 24 is finally back. And was it worth the wait?

Let's just say the jury is still out until I see tonight's episodes.

I think a lot of my reaction to the first two hours of the seventh day of 24 was because large chunks of it were ruined by the promotional department over at Fox. Even if I'd been living in a cave that got really bad reception, there was virtually no way to not know that Tony was back and that he was behind the threat in today's plot. So, while the first hour was wise enough to get that revelation out of the way early, it still opened up a whole lot of other questions that haven't really been answered yet. As Jack demanded at the end of hour two, "Why Tony?"

I want to know what drove Tony to fake his own death and then decide to fight the country he served for so long. Looking back at his death in day five, it seems like it only took a few hours for him to become so bitter after the death of Michelle. And yet, there he was, helping Jack out to save the day. So, like I said--his motivation better be pretty good or else day seven is going to lose some major credibility points.

And it's not like 24 has exactly been established on rock solid credibility until now. You have to just accept certain things--many of which are on display here. Jack's way is the best, even if it's extreme. And Jack is much smarter or more observant or just all around more manly than everyone else around. That came across in the scene where Jack notices the sniper headed out the building has different shoes on, thus labeling him as not a Fed. Nice catch for Jack, but given that the rest of the FBI looks like a bunch of bumblers compared to Jack. Except for the new red-headed female agent, who apparently has some kind of huge crush on Jack. (Is it just me or did anyone else get that kind of hero worship/crush vibe from her?)

Speaking of Agent Walker, did anyone else get some kind of strange tension between her and taskforce leader, Agent Moss?

And any bets yet on who the mole is? While I'm not shocked there's a mole, I am a bit surprised it's come into play this early. How awesome would it be if it turns out to be Agent Walker?

Meanwhile, over at the White House, we've got a new president--one we've got very little investment in yet, so it's hard to care much. And, of course, what's going on over there with the invasion of the African nation will somehow tie into what's happening with Jack.

Like I said, not a great start to the day. A lot of it suffers from a been there, done that kind of feeling that hits lots of shows after seven years. I did find the sequence with the near miss of the planes to be edge-of-your-seat. But a lot of that had to do with the fact of wondering if the producers would allow Tony to commit such a crime and then expect us to forgive him later should it turn out he's deep undercover or some other explanation.

And did anyone else have Die Hard 2 flashbacks when Tony took over guiding the planes in? I had visions of him causing the plane to crash by feeding the flight instruments false information....

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/12/2009 08:05:00 PM | |
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Which is worse?
While it's disappointing and heartbreaking that the Titans lost yesterday, I have to wonder something....

I watched the second playoff game last night in which the Carolina Panthers got the crud kicked out of them by the Arizona Cardinals. From what I saw, it looked like the Panthers showed up for one drive and then the whole team derailed quickly.

Now, a few hours later, I wonder which is worse--losing like the Titans did in the closing seconds of the game or having the stuffing kicked out of you for fifty-eight minutes and change like the Panthers did. At least our fans got some value out of their playoff tickets, unlike the Carolina game where their fans could be headed home at half-time.

I'm sure the Carolina fans are as angry, bitter and hurt today as the Titans fans are.

The thing is, they were expected to have an easy time of things last night and it turned out to be just the opposite....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/11/2009 07:29:00 AM | |
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Baltimore 13, Titans 10
It's that horrible Sunday in 2001 all over again....

I hate the Ravens. I despise them with a passion I only use for the Cowboys, the Gators and the Crimson Tide (and on occasion Georgia Bulldogs).

Here's what I hated about today's loss to them...

  • The finality of it. Season over. We go home and they go on. I hate it that they get to go on.
  • The terrible officiating. Dana on Twitter said that she'd chip in on the fine for Jeff Fisher to go off on them during his press conference. I'd throw in twenty bucks as well. I can't believe they didn't commit one personal foul. Sorry, they did. The refs were just turning a blind eye. And they gave them the game with that lack of a delay of game call on their final drive. And don't even get me started on the fact that Joe Flacco stepped on the end line in his own end zone when the Titans had them backed up.
  • I hate that we left twelve points out there on the field at least. Three turnovers driving to score...it's enough to make me want to throw up.
  • I hate that all the hard work we did is over. Every team but one ends the NFL season disappointed.
  • I hate CBS's obvious bias against us. We're the number one seed and you send your number two crew. Thanks for the slap in the face, national media. I suppose I should just get used to it and stop bringing it up........naaaaaaaah!!!!!!

I'm sure in the next several days, I will slowly come to see the good things from this season. But for now, it's just too much like a punch in the gut to have lost.

I hope whoever the Ravens play next week beats the everlovin' crud out of them...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/10/2009 06:56:00 PM | |

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/10/2009 12:03:00 PM | |
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Wow...even the Cowboys don't want him anymore
So, after one season the Dallas Cowboys have cut former Titan Adam "Pacman" Jones from their roster.

I realize that because of his stupid off-the-field behavior this year that the Titans lost the draft picks they were supposed to get for trading Jones to the Cowboys. But if the trade-off is our best season in several years, winning the AFC South and home field advantage in the playoffs, it's a trade I can live with.

Also, I have to admit that somewhere deep down inside, I can't help but take glee in the fact that Pacman helped the Cowboys self-destruct down the stretch and miss the playoffs.

Looks like the only place left for Adam to go is Oakland....heaven help them.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/07/2009 07:55:00 PM | |
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