Thursday, August 30, 2007

Second Run TV: Smallville

Smallville: Season 6, Episode 19 "Nemesis" (C-)

What is this, the 2656454535th time Lex has been abducted from his supposedly insanely secure mansion? I have been over the whole Lex being evil thing too many times now. And kryptonite magically being everywhere. But at least it is good to see some Lex-Clark dramatic interactions, as well as some true soul (and information) searching on the part of Lana, and some questionable shadiness on the part of Lionel Luthor. Three episodes to go, here's hoping they broadcast all three before the season premiere September 27th.

What I'm Watching: Rescue Me

Rescue Me: Season 4, Episode 11 "Cycle" (C+)

I am getting some more doubtful feelings about where this show is possibly headed. Why is Tommy taking out the chief's daughter again? Is anything actually going to happen with Sean's drinking and Mike ever working at the firehouse again? And I have seen more than enough Tommy hallucinations for one lifetime. Two more episodes until the end of the season.

What I'm Watching: The Closer

The Closer: Season 3, Episode 11 "Lover's Leap" (B+)

It is hard to comment week after week about this show, but it is a good thing. The quality is steady, the humor is reliable, and the cast is probably the best group working today. My one real complaint is that this season is focusing less on the individual supporting characters, as opposed to last season, where specific episodes highlighted Tau, Daniels, and others. Bring on the Sanchez backstory!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What I'm Watching: The Kill Point (Series Finale)

The Kill Point: Parts 7 & 8 " The Devil's Zoo, Parts 1 & 2" (B+)

What a great finish to this on-and-off show. It truly gets it right in this final two-hour installment, which incorporates elements and ideas not terribly original but still pulls them off with grandeur and excitement. I said last week was intense, but this week even more so with the crazy Mr. Rabbit putting cards on everyone's foreheads to see who will die first (as well as putting four or five on that guy he really hates). And the dramatic release of Wolf's crush and the discovery of all the hostages, who part ways in a well-done scene, where no one has showed up to embrace Abe, who came through despite seeming quite cowardly in the beginning there. Some nice one-on-one chases towards the end, and ultimately a great way for this mini-series to conclude.

Recommended viewing for those who would love a short hostage drama a tad more compelling than "The Nine" but which falls a little short of the Samuel L. Jackson-Kevin Spacey thriller "The Negotiator".

What I'm Watching: Psych

Psych: Season 2, Episode 7 "If You're So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead?" (B+)

I really do love Gus. He has been increasingly taking the spotlight these past few episode, and deservedly so. After finding out that he did in fact get in to his dream private school but that his parents declined admission, his reaction is priceless. Add in his role as professor Shawn's assistant "fairy" and you have the recipe for a hilarious hour. And that is one funny carpool.

What I'm Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 6, Episode 7 "Mr. Monk and the Daredevil" (B+)

I have always enjoyed Tim Bagley's recurring appearances on "Will & Grace" as well as his spots on "Monk" as Monk's essential nemesis and rival favorite patient of Dr. Kroeger's. Here he gets a nice long focus, where it becomes clear that he can be just as mean as Monk in criticizing inconsistencies as he does with the drawing the children give him. He also competes just as avidly, if not more, as Monk both for Dr. Kroeger's affection and to progress more than the other. Funniest thing the entire episode: Randy insisting on spelling out the letters even though he already knows what they are.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Second Run TV: Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy: Season 3, Episode 9 "From A Whisper to a Scream" (B+)

I will be honest: I enjoyed this episode much more than I expected. It is by far superior to all the other "Grey's Anatomy" episodes I have seen this or any season, and I fully support its submission in the Emmy category for Best Drama Series. Some decent music choices and pretty good performances from Sandra Oh (who wisely submitted this episode for Emmy consideration), Patrick Dempsey, and Isaiah Washington help this episode surpass its usual blah quality and enter on to a new level of compelling drama with a healthy amount of everyone sleeping with everyone else mixed in.

Second Run TV: Smallville

Smallville: Season 6, Episode 18 "Progeny" (D+)

Where did Chloe's mom come from? A rare "previously on" segment was even necessary because this was just some out of the blue. From the very start it smelled of a temporary family member replacement one-shot guest-starring role. And I getting really tired with Lex being involved in every single evil, shady thing. Lana's faked pregnancy is beyond disturbing, and she is really just too dumb not to realize anything. If I have not said it before, Chloe really always get stuck with the most annoying and precociously thought-out dialogue, even when she is a young girl as in the flashback.

What I'm Watching: Rescue Me

Rescue Me: Season 4, Episode 10 "High" (B)

This show is again utilizing its best asset - some stellar dialogue and conversations. They may be overdoing it a bit, with quite a number of lengthy speeches and back-and-forths throughout the hour. All the different plot points and character arcs seem to be falling back into place, save perhaps for the whole Tommy-Janet-Colleen-Sheila baby thing that is just too preposterous to be believed. But at least the firefighting stuff is staying strong, and it is good to see Charles Durning as Tommy's dad again. And wow does Mike have the worst luck with threesomes.

What I'm Watching: Damages

Damages: Season 1, Episode 5 "A Regular Earl Anthony" (C)

Frobisher seems all too calm and manipulative about his case, which is surprising given his usually nervous aura around his family (Patty's personal life also shares this enormous discrepancy with her professional persona). I do feel sympathy for Tom, but I just cannot shake the feeling that Patty is simply too evil to be real. I have a suspicion the show may have become far more intriguing and stable if Tom had gone out on his own with Ellen under his wing. In any case, there is nothing smarter than a public figure strolling the street in the middle of the night wearing a bright shiny bow tie commanding arond his thugs while they beat up and threaten someone.

What I'm Watching: The Closer

The Closer: Season 4, Episode 10 "Culture Shock" (B+)

Brenda's personal life, in this case her parents, are so well intertwined with the case with which Brenda is involved. The "yoo hoo" call that both Brenda and her mother have is very amusing. I particularly love the reaction of the entire team to the news of Brenda's engagement, particularly Provenza. The case here is interesting, not quite as intriguing as last year's somewhat similarly-themed "Critical Missing" episode, but nonetheless a more than decent effort.

Side note: As of this airing, I have officially given up on "Saving Grace" due to lack of time and interest.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This Fall...

After some infrequent updates in the coming week, TV with Abe will resume full-force with thoughts on the final episodes of the current seasons of "The Closer", "Saving Grace", "Damages", "Rescue Me", "Smallville", "Mad Men", "Monk", "Psych", and "The Kill Point". Also coming up will be detailed and informed Emmy winner predictions in all the major categories as soon as I finish watching all the nominated performers' episodes. Starting September 18, I will be reviewing every pilot that airs on the five major networks, as well as keeping up with some returning shows like "Prison Break" and "The Office". Stay tuned!

What I'm Watching: The Kill Point

The Kill Point: Part 6 "The Great Ape Escape" (B+)

This is one intense hour, and this mini-series has finally gotten it right. The drama and suspense work together well, and the dynamic between the hostage-takers is truly explored for the first time. Even the eerie speeches by that random SWAT guy who guest-starred on "Alias" in the fourth season works this time. Next week concludes this show with a two-part finale that is sure to be just as intense, and hopefully a pretty awesome finish for this enjoyable and occasionally more than decent thriller.

Flight of the Conchords Renewed!

It is with great delight that I report that HBO's amazing comedy music show "Flight of the Conchords" has been renewed for a second season. Despite low ratings, the cult following the show has inspired has enabled it to be given a second season, where it will hopefully attain higher ratings. In related news, "Entourage" has been deservedly picked up for a fifth season, while the rather bizarre "John from Cincinnati" has been cancelled.

What I'm Watching: Psych

Psych: Season 2, Episode 6 "Meat is Murder, But Murder is Also Murder" (B+)

This seems like a required episode for this series, an installment where Gus has to pretend to be the psychic, but everyone pulls it off flawlessly. The always entertaining John Amos guest stars as Gus' disapproving but cop-show-loving uncle in a more than amusing turn. I am loving how this show and "Monk" both have sort of themed episodes each week which work so well and entertain so much.

What I'm Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 6, Episode 6 "Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure" (B+)

This show really excels at utilizing its true "background" characters like Troy to great use and tying them in neatly to the entire plotline, in this case being both the case and Monk's therapy sessions and relationship with Dr. Kroeger. Great stuff all around here, especially Natalie's reaction to the two teenage boys relentlessly hitting on her and Monk's fear of the loud music.

What I'm Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 1, Episode 5 "Five G" (C)

I am quite unclear on what the hell is going on with Draper and his changed identity. I see no reason that the already intriguing and compelling character of Don Draper needs to have a shady past. This kind of eerie and mysterious element works well for the show, but this brother is just not an interesting character worth thinking more about. The short story plot is intriguing and well-delved into, much like a lot of the era-specific themes in this show.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Second Run TV: Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy: Season 3, Episode 20 "Time After Time" (C)

I was never a fan of this show from the start. It is altogether too sappy and the entangled relationships are too inter-connected and complicated to be believable or sensible (I understand that may not be the point, but still). The main issue is how blatantly unlikeable central character Meredith Grey is. Her surrounding peers do not help matters too much, and I find the only truly liekable character to be Mark. The rest of the ensemble seems needy, self-involved, and obnoxious. This episode is Katherine Heigl's submitted episode for Emmy consideration, which I do not think is wise, but I will comment more on that during my Emmy winner predictions series.

Second Run TV: Smallville

Smallville: Season 6, Episode 17 "Combat" (D-)

Is this really what "Smallville" needs right now? An extra-special fight club episode with preposterous Lois costumes mixed in? Top it off with a healthy dose of evil Lex scheming and manipulating Lana, and you are basically back to where the show was before this year. And why show only a teasing glimpse of Oliver Queen rather than bring him back full-force to the show? He was a valuable presence who helped to enhance the quality of the show, as well as only of the only components that made Lois bearable. I am hoping this is only a standout episode not indicative of the rest of the season and continuing series, which I plan to pick up again come September when the show starts its seventh season.

What I'm Watching: Rescue Me

Rescue Me: Season 4, Episode 9 "Animal" (C-)

So Tatum O'Neal is finally back, but the return is not as exciting as anticipated. Why it has to be coupled with the return of Uncle Teddy is beyond me. This show is great at writing off characters; why is Uncle Teddy possibly still on this show? All this Janet/Sheila baby-thieving/selling garbage is getting worse by the minute, and I will not stand for much more of it. Besides the humorous sandwich reference, Tommy's encounter with the random woman is just plain odd, and the chief's anger towards him about his daughter seems uncharacteristic at best. I do not see Mike/Probie as the suicidal type, and I feel like more than just boredom would have to drive him to attempt it. Stretching all possible lines of believability is not a smart move for the show.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What I'm Watching: Damages

Damages: Season 1, Episode 4 "Tastes Like A Ho Ho" (C)

All this Katie/Greg business seems a bit too clear-cut for all parties involved, mainly due to the fact that at least someone should be able to tell that Katie is lying besides just the all-knowing Patty. And I do not approve of more screentime being focused on Lame Boyfriend and his terrible-at-flirting friend, and can easily see that this is headed towards adultery which may lead to his eventual engagement breakoff. Tom taking a new job? Patty is going to be pissed. I am hoping for more Frobisher next episode.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What I'm Watching: Saving Grace

Saving Grace: Season 1, Episode 4 "Keep Your Damn Wings Off My Nephew" (C-)

I think I am done after this episode. It is simply uninteresting, and senseless to an unbearable point with all the angels and dreams stuff. The police team is boring and nothing about this show, not even Earl's remarkably bright wings, shine. There is also a very forced amount of religion put into each episode, yet Earl's approach is so unreligious, it just seems impossible that Grace would ever even consider reevaluating her beliefs.

I am desperately trying to find out who played Grace's brother, the non-priest, since I think he also guest-starred, for some reason uncredited, in the first three episodes of the second season of "Sleeper Cell". Can anyone help me out here?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What I'm Watching: The Closer

The Closer: Season 1, Episode 9 "Blindsided" (B+)

Again with the very serious set-ups, but at least there is a good deal of fun to be had with Brenda's attempts to do her job despite being limited by an uncooperative psychologist. I was thrilled to see Blake Shields in the guest star credits after his excellent turn as the angry Tommy in the first season of "Sleeper Cell", but disappointed with the lackluster though important role (the killer) he gets in this episode. The scenes between Roy and Fritz are hilarious though, and Barry Corbin is entertaining as Brenda's father. I do hope to see more of Brenda's parents in the coming episodes.

What I'm Watching: Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the Conchords: Season 1, Episode 9 "What Goes On Tour" (B+)

It is always a pleasure to see this show. The cast is simply terrific, and the dialogue is just so hilarious. I am loving Murray more and more each second, and this episode he even has more to do than just take attendance at the three-person band meetings. The songs in this installment are not as brilliant or memorable as some of the other ones, but they are still fun. I am really hoping for a renewal for this show, and cannot wait for a chance to catch up on the episodes I missed.

What I'm Watching: The Kill Point

The Kill Point: Part 5 "Visiting Hours" (B)

Finally the hostages make a stand, and it is pretty darn exciting for the minute and a half it actually lasts. Hopefully the hostage/hostage-taker relationship will become a bit more realistic now as the hostage-takers might crack down and not be so accomodating and somewhat friendly. The sixth bank robber may finally have a plan to get them out, and the next few hours should really pick up pace and get really intense. Here is hoping for some good work for both Donnie Wahlberg (watch "Boomtown" now!) and John Leguizamo after this mini-series ends.

TV on DVD: Battlestar Galactica (Season 2.5)

Some spoilers to be expected.

The first two episodes of this season boast some remarkable scenes towards their closes that help create a fascinating picture of the dynamic between the vicious Admiral Cain and Commander Adama. The story here progresses admirably, despite the fact that a large number of the episodes contain stand-alone, one-shot plots. The "48 hours earlier" scheme is used possibly a bit much in these episodes. The election campaign is intriguing, and I am impressed that the whole crazy Dr. Baltar thing has been preserved so long without getting stale. There is a general feeling of yearning for the "good old days", that being the time of the mini-series and the first season before everyone underwent all these ordeals and became so hardened, especially with the frantic and extreme direction-changing finale, about which I have not fully decided how I feel. The episode "Downloaded", however, is a stunning and captivating look at the Cylons on Caprica and the shocking revelation that Six a.k.a. Caprica also speaks with an imaginary projecton of Gaius.

"Battlestar Galactica" Season Two Point Five: B+

Monday, August 13, 2007

TV on DVD: Weeds

The second season of "Weeds" is undeniably fun yet lacks a bit of the daring originality and quirkiness of the first season, which is replaced by occasionally inane and senseless ideas and plotlines. Generally, all is well and there is a fun ride in store for everyone. The battle between Doug and Celia is great, and all of the Botwin family dynamics are amusing yet sometimes appropriately serious. The Peter plotline gets off to a really great start but takes a dive towards the end of the season. Guest stars are in plentiful form here, with an always welcome brief spot from Snoop Dogg (my new favorite guest star after his turns on "The L Word" and "Monk"), Ron Canada as Helia's religious flame, Zooey Deschanel as Andy's crazy ex, and Eden Sher (watch "Sons and Daughters" if it ever comes out on DVD) as Shane's intelligent girlfriend. Mary-Louise Parker is the MVP throughout the season, though commendable performances come from Kevin Nealon (Doug), Elizabeth Perkins (Celia), Alexander Gould (Shane), Andy Milder (Dean), and the always reliable Justin Kirk (Andy). The end is extremely rushed and frantic, and I cannot imagine how the show will get back on its feet, but I am sure it will manage. The third season premiere airs tonight, and I will review it as soon as the episode appears online.

"Weeds" Season 2: B/B+

Still Watching TV

I have been sort of slacking on the updates recently because I have been rushing to finish "Weeds" Season 2 before tonight's premiere (assuming I can find it online, of course) and watching a whole lot of "Battlestar Galactica". Coming soon will be detailed and eductaed Emmy winner predictions as well as reviews of all the fall pilots as they air.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What I'm Watching: Psych

Psych: Season 2, Episode 5 "And Down the Stretch Comes Murder" (B+)

Always a theme for these "Psych" episodes, and they also work tremendously well. I love Corbin Bernsen's continuous surprise appearances wherever Shawn and Gus happen to be, and every one of Shawn's comments about his shirts ("a little girl just started crying when she saw this shirt"). I do not see the real purpose of the police captain/chief, whichever she is, because Lassie and Juliet can really handle all the cases and jokes themselves without the unexciting and purposeless presence of this stern authority figure. Otherwise, the show dynamics continue to work excellently.

What I'm Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 6, Episode 5 "Mr. Monk and the Birds and the Bees" (B+)

"Monk" is really great in the sense that it tends to zero on the really particular and unobserved, in this episode being the coincidental incriminating photograph of the killer and his accomplice in the background of Julie's T-shirt. This plays out just as well here as it did in other episodes like "Mr. Monk and the Three Pies" and "Mr. Monk and the Class Reunion". I always enjoy seeing Natalie get some more screen time and a larger role. "Monk" does have that fantastic secret weapon - Tony Shalhoub and his character Monk are fascinating, but the supporting cast is terrific as well.

What I'm Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 1, Episode 4 "New Amsterdam" (B+)

This show is really stretching itself out to fully backstory all its cast members, this episode focusing on controversial divorcee neighbor's bizarre son and the extremely unlikeable Pete. Some compassion can be drawn up for Pete after this hour, as we see him act like a man of his time, begging for money from his parents but staunchly refusing the aid of his parents-in-law, but also taking a good deal of iniative, and getting promptly fired for it. I am not certain how he will act now that he has been re-hired, whether he will still be a slick moneyman or perhaps a more accomodating and courteous gentleman (I doubt the latter).

Friday, August 10, 2007

Second Run TV: Smallville

Smallville: Season 6, Episode 16 "Promise" (C)

After all this time, Lana finding out Clark's secret is just so...anti-climactic. It would have been so much better for the show if she had found out earlier, which of course she has like 15 times, she just forgot about it. The best moment where she should have remembered was when Clark first proposed to her during the show's 100th episode, but then she died so he had to take it back and blah blah blah. Now that she actually knows and caved to a very unconvincing threat by the eternally ambiguous Lionel Luthor, what will she do? And Lex just killed a blackmailer with his bare hands before marrying Lana, who went M.I.A.? It all just makes very little sense and seems to have happened too fast. Let's get back to Chloe being a meteor freak! Or maybe bring Pete back!

What I'm Watching: The Nine

The Nine: Season 1, Episode 9 "You're Being Watched" (D+)

If only Lizzie could have been working with Lucas and Randall and skipped town after having lied to them all thsi time. This show is in need of a major reinvention, and shady cable guys are not going to cut it. Is anything actually happening on this show besides the installation of a whole lot of free cable? Tim Daly, by the way, needs to slow down when delivering his lines and pause occasionally to show a tiny bit of emotion. I am a big fan of his, but this is not his best performance by a long shot.

What I'm Watching: Rescue Me

Rescue Me: Season 4, Episode 8 "Solo" (C-)

This show is rapidly losing its edge. The first ten minutes are merely Tommy talking to himself and hacking down his home. His date with the new chief's daughter is bizarre and totally out of character for him (despite Lou's convincing). Running into a blazing fire with no gear to save someone is all good and fine, but then coming out and sticking his finger into a gaping cut on his hand? It seems desperate, as if the showrunners are desperately searching for a way to reinvigorate the series. Janet's gone, the baby's with crazy Sheila, Jerry's really dead (not even talking to Tommy), and even the new probie has backed off Tommy. I say it every week, but it is about time to bring back Tatum O'Neal, and maybe even Tommy's dad. Susan Sarandon cannot support this entire show by herself.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Series Return: The Knights of Prosperity

The Knights of Prosperity: Season 1, Episodes 10 & 11 "Operation: Rent Money"/"Operation: Steal the Safe" (B)

I was in for a pleasant suprise when I turned on the first two of the remaining filmed episodes of this uneven comedy series that was cancelled a few months ago. These episodes are flat-out hilarious, and while their hilarity does not quite make up for the inane nature of the plotlines (unlike, say, "Two and a Half Men"), it comes pretty close. Maz Jobrani is so funny as Gary, especially his torture techniques which he quotes directly from Sayid from "Lost". I like that they are now robbing Ray Ramano is great, and he does a fine job playing a washed-out, depressed version of himself. Only two more episodes of this show, but it looks like it may go out in a knee-slapping blaze of glory. Do not expect too much logic when tuning in to this show, but prepare yourself for more than a few laughs.

What I'm Watching: Damages

Damages: Season 1, Episode 3 "And My Paralizing Fear of Death" (C+)

As much as she is supposed to be intimidating and heartless, Patty's determination to help Ellen sort out her priorities seems forcibly controlling and too deliberately evil. Patty's composure in all of her family matters is too starkly different from her cocksure demeanor in all the rest of her life. I feel like Michael Nouri is the perfect person to play Patty's husband, and I am not certain how I feel about the whole dream with the limos that Patty has. It is intruiging, especially in line with the grenades popping up everywhere. I am glad to see Nestor Serrano in a new role as Patty's bodyguard, following his turn on "24" in the show's fourth season, especially after his 2005 fall drama "Murder Book" did not get picked up or even air. On a final note, I do not care how good a job my fiancee has, but if she misses our engagement party, I would be just a little more ticked off than Lame Boyfriend.

A lot of promos for FX's comedy "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" have aired during this episode, spoofing the "I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" commercials. I watched one episode of the show last year and thought that it was a bit too raunchy for my tastes, but these ads are hilarious. My favorite is the one where the guy who is not Mac (Dennis?) says that P.C. stands for "post-coital" and tells Mac to go get a bucket and wash his balls. It is just so irreverent and unlike the nature of the real computer ads, and that is why it is so funny. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" premieres its third season Thursday, September 13 at 10pm on FX.

Second Run TV: House

House: Season 3, Episode 15 "Half-Wit" (C+)

While this episode is a bit better than last year's submitted episode "Autopsy", I still do not see the brilliance so many people seem to find in both the show and its lead Hugh Laurie (both of which submitted this episode and got nominated for Emmy Awards). Laurie's performance feels effortless and a bit overdone. The show itself is fairly boring, and as a casual viewer, the whole team dynamic is pretty hard to latch on to and picking apart the relationships is tough. House's drug addiction and fake cancer just seems bizarre, but I suppose I would have to watch the show more to understand all that. The specific piano player case is not all that fascinating, and no one really even seems to care. A good guest star turn from Kurtwood Smith (Red from "That 70s Show") despite being a very minor role.

Second Run TV: Two and a Half Men

Two and a Half Men: Season 4, Episode 7 "Repeated Blows to His Unformed Head" (B+)

I have not checked in with this show for quite some time. Returning, I find it pretty the same as I left it. Not too much actually happens in the half-hour, but it is absolutely hilarious. The dialogue is more than clever, and makes up for the often inane storylines. This particular episode was submitted for Emmy consideration and garnered nominations for both Jon Cryer and Conchata Ferrell. Cryer certainly does a good job and works pretty hard at it, though I am not sure the role is terribly difficult. Ferrell hardly has a part in this episode, and while her brilliant lines are well-delivered, I cannot see how she got nominated for an Emmy based merely on this. I do not tend to watch just an episode here and there of any show, but this seems like just the series for that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

TV on DVD: Battlestar Galactica (Season 2.0)

Minor spoilers contained below.

Ten episodes in two days means that there has to be something good in this show. The season opener's title, "Scattered", very well describes the second season of the show, which finds its characters all off in different places fighting different evils. I am not completely behind all the creative decisions made for the show, but I feel reassured that it is heading somewhere good and that this may merely be buildup. If nothing else, it is entertaining and addictive. I really like the new character played by Lucy Lawless and think that any scene with Richard Hatch (Tom Zarek) is worth watching again. The mythical religious aspect is really being amped up, but I am not sure that I mind. Sustaining the whole insane Dr. Baltar plot has sure gone on longer than I ever would have expected, but the result is commendable and does not get as old as it should. The plotline concerning Sharon is all very-well played out, and the midseason finale (the finale of 2.0, leading into 2.5) presents a disturbing side of the good guys and should lead to some awesome confrontation in the second part of the season.

Having now gone more than 24 hours without "Battlestar Galactica" for the first time in a few days, I cannot imagine what it will be like when I have to wait over a month to start watching Season 3 (I have already found repeats of the third season, which will begin airing on Sci-Fi at 2:00am on Friday nights in September). Though I will not see BSG's nominated episodes until at least five days after the Emmy awards, I am so rooting for them to win.

What I'm Watching: Saving Grace

Saving Grace: Season 1, Episode 3 "Bless Me, Father, For I Have Sinned" (C-)

This all feels very trite and overdone, despite supposedly being a groundbreaking and original show. Even Grace is seeming a bit too normal, and her anti-church antics and less-than-lawful techniques are hardly shocking or new. I daresay she is becoming boring, and even angel Earl is toning down his memorable charm and yelling at Grace with seriously flashing his wings. I am also not buying this relationship between the new captain and Grace. It just seems out of character for both of them, and I stand by the fact that killing off the captain in the series' second episode was forced at best since I for one did not even know his name and could not have cared less about his death. To me that reads like a desperate attempt to force viewers to immediately sympathize with characters before getting to know them, but then again it could just be the attempted start of a new direction for Grace's life (aside from the obvious increased angel presence). All I say is, I would have given it more time.

What I'm Watching: The Closer

The Closer: Season 3, Episode 8 "Manhunt" (B+)

These episodes are turning very serious, focusing on dark and disturbing crimes and health-related news for Brenda. Just before Fritz proposed, I was thinking to myself that they should get married. It will not really change anything since their relationship will be pretty much the same, but I am sure the wedding will be lots of fun (here's hoping they will get married on-screen!). I am not so much for the slow-motion gunshot sequences (like in last season's finale where Sanchez shot the guy), but it provides a nice dramatic punch to round out the episode.

Monday, August 6, 2007

What I'm Watching: The Kill Point

The Kill Point: Part 4 "Pro Patria" (B-)

If nothing else, this show is steady in its quality. It is definitely an enjoyable show to watch, and the plot moves along quickly enough, despite some definitive holes and other problems. While I would like to see more interaction between the hostages, which was absent for the first time in this episode, getting inside the hostage-takers' minds is great too. And next week their friends might try to help them? I am psyched.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

AFT Awards: Top 5 Scenes

The following represent some of the best individual moments in television for the 2006-2007 season. Descriptions contain SPOILERS. This particular post contains important information that should be avoided if you have not seen the most recent seasons of any of the following: Dexter, 30 Rock, The Office, and Lost.

Best Scenes of the Season

#5. DEXTER, "Truth Be Told"

Dexter frantically searches for Deb, and in doing so realizes that Rudy is the Ice Truck Killer. The closing shot of the episode, just after Rudy proposed to Deb and then knocked her out, has Rudy staring out at the ocean, Deb bound and unconscious on the deck of his boat.

#4. 30 ROCK, "Tracy Does Conan"
This brilliant scene was shown as Baldwin's clip for either the Golden Globe or SAG Awards, which Baldwin subsequently won. Liz discovers that the big night Jack has been so heavily preparing for is not happening right away, and walks in to find him all suited up in his tux. Asked why he is wearing the tux, Jack responds, "What am I, a farmer?" Give him the Emmy for that line alone.

#3. THE OFFICE, "The Job"

Possibly the funniest character on any show delivers possibly the greatest anecdote ever spoken. He describes his blog,, which is revealed to be merely a word document created by fellow office worker Ryan to keep the world safe from Creed's thoughts. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and instantly unforgettable.

#2. LOST, "One of Us"
After an entire episode of dredging up sympathy for Juliet and really making her into a compassionate character, the rug is pulled out from under us as it is revealed that she was sent by head Other Ben to spy on the survivors of Flight 815. A chilling and amazing scene, and the look on Juliet's face (above) says it all.

#1. THE OFFICE, "Product Recall"
Jim walks in, dressed like Dwight and sets to work freaking Dwight out by acting exactly like him. Mentioning "Battlestar Galactica" and posing the question "What kind of bear is best?" makes for the greatest imatation of Dwight and one stellar and amazing scene.

TV on DVD: Battlestar Galactica (Season One)

Minor spoilers herein regarding events which occured during the miniseries prelude to this season,

This is easily one of the most addictive shows on television, right along with "Lost" and "24". The overall concept is amazing, and while the pursuit of Earth and that whole aspect is a bit bizarre, it really works well. Humanizing the Cylons is one of the most intriguing parts, and watching Helo try to survive on Caprica is fascinating. The religious component of the show, especially the Cylons' strong convictions, is interesting without being invasive. Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell serve as great leads as Commander Adama and President Roslin, respectively. The best members of the cast are Jamie Bamber, as Captain Adama, and Katee Sackhoff, as the likeable Starbuck. The show takes a familiar concept, technology rising up against its creator, but really works with it to make it original and fun. With the exception of the messy and off hour "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down", the first season shines. It is not quite as good as the miniseries, but I am pretty sure it will get there. The ending is a whopper, and I am already into the second season.

"Battlestar Galactica" Season One: B+

What I'm Watching: Psych

Psych: Season 2, Episode 4 "Zero to Murder in Sixty Seconds" (B+)

I am really impressed by this show, which manages to take seemingly dumb ideas and make them into masterful scenarios with the help of a wondrous cast. I am really becoming a huge fan of Dule Hill's Gus, and of course our main protagonist Shawn. His too-easily-solved case leads to a humorous makeover of Gus' car and a whole lot of fun for us, the audience. And Shawn is really good with the ladies these days, except he keeps screwing it up!

What I'm Watching: Monk

Monk: Season 6, Episode 4 "Mr. Monk and the Bad Girlfriend" (B+)

It is fun to see Monk solve a case in this manner, pinpointing a highly unlikely suspect and then working his way towards the truth. While Sharon Lawrence does not get as much great material as in her previous "Monk" appearance last year ("Mr. Monk, Private Eye"), she still serves as a great surprise villain. That all played out very nicely. And hilarious to see Monk trying to figure out a webcam.

What I'm Watching: Mad Men

Mad Men: Season 1, Episode 3 "Marriage of Figaro" (B)

This series really does continue to capture the time period, the best instance of which is the line "dinner will be waiting for me when I get home!". Setting the hour mostly out of the office makes for interactions not quite as fascinatingly intriguing but still somewhat interesting. Jon Hamm really does a nice job making central character Don Draper three-dimensional, and likeable despite his very frequent adultery.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Second Run TV: Smallville

Smallville: Season 6, Episode 15 "Freak" (C-)

This is not bad per se, but there is nothing too commendable about this episode. It is standard "Smallville" through-and-through, a regular case of "Freak-of-the-Week". There are about a dozen plot holes, and nothing makes a whole lot of sense. Most importantly, everyone's memory must get erased by episode's end. And Lex is involved and super-evil as always. Lana and Clark's interactions do not spark the way they used to, but that does not honestly surprise me. I am liking Jimmy more and more as time goes on. The best part of the episode is that Chloe may be a meteor freak. That is a nice direction for the show to take. And does Erica Durance get paid for appearing in less than half of the season's episodes?

TV on DVD: The L Word (Season Three)

MAJOR spoilers below regarding events throughout the third season of the show.

There is nothing more disappointing than a great show which falters in its run. From the first moment of the season premiere, something was off. The new direction the show takes is really quite unfortunate. The line-connections that are drawn before the opening credits are dumb. It was somewhat inevitable that Dana and Lara would get back together, but not like this. Alice in this season is creepy and clingy to a truly obnoxious point. The break-up could have served as a fascinating plotline, but it is skipped over in favor of a few brief flashbacks. Dana becomes uncharacteristically harsh, and killing off one of the show's best characters seems like a poor decision.

I am of the firm conviction that Jenny should have been written out of the show. Her character was headed down a despicable road during season two, and headed back home to work out her issues. Why she was brought back is a mystery. She is easily the most detestable character on television, and new addition Moira/Max is just uninteresting. Though s/he should be a fascinating character, every scene with both Jenny and Max are cringe-worthy and awkward. I seriously considered fast-forwarding every time either of them came on screen. Tim correctly diagnoses Jenny's insanely messed up tendencies in his brief guest-starring role.

The inclusions of both Max and Helena in all the gatherings of the group seem more than forced. It is hard to believe that both of them would be so readily invited to personal events like Dana's memorial ash-scattering. The other characters also suffer from poor plotlines and personality changes. Shane and Carmen become a generally unexciting couple, and they no longer spark as they should. I also find it bizarre that Shane would so quickly dump Carmen at the altar based on something the father she hardly knew did. Bette is a pathetic wimp, and Tina is a controlling, selfish bitch. Their baby custody war only gets decent at the end of the season.

It is not all bad, though. Angus is a fun new character, and his relationship with Kit is entertaining. Dallas Roberts, who had an excellent breakthrough role in the little-seen "A Home at the End of the World" a few years ago, serves as a nice Token Male Character replacement for Tim and Mark. Alan Cumming is just fantastic as Kit's new employee, and enhances every scene he is in. The episode following Dana's death reaches close to the quality the show used to have. The finale is so-so, the best part being Helena getting cut off, which should make her character all the more entertaining. And Holland Taylor is just awesome as Peggy Peabody.

I am really hoping that the fourth season of the show is much better, and I think it does stand a decent chance. I believe that at least four new cast members are added, and I do hope they are intriguing. The characters will hopefully bounce back and continue to become enraveled in thoughtful and enjoyable storylines. The fourth season is coming to DVD in October, and I plan to watch it in December. The fifth season premieres on Showtime in January. For now, I have a ton of "Battlestar Galactica" to get through.

"The L Word" Season Three: C-

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Series Return: The Nine

The Nine: Season 1, Episode 8 "Turning Point" (C-)

I think that my excitement that this show was returning made me forget that this really was not a great show. It started out superbly, but then sort of got worse and worse as more time each episode was focused on the events after the bank, which were nowhere near as interesting as what happened during the robbery. In the case of this episode, neither is terribly great. The interview style of the present-day segments serves as a good storytelling technique, but nothing pops out as startlingly interesting. I could not care less about Kathryn's impending D.A. run, and I would love for Joshua Malina to get a fuller role (luckily, he will be the star ABC's new show "Big Shots" this fall). As far as the hold-up goes, Randall is far too unstable a hostage-taker and the hostages really seem to be running the show. After watching "The Kill Point", I am realizing that as intriguing as the dynamic between brothers Randall and Lucas used to be, this hostage drama just does not work terribly well.

What I'm Watching: Rescue Me

Rescue Me: Season 4, Episode 7 "Seven" (C-)

I cannot believe that Tommy actually considered both giving his baby away to Sheila and throwing him into the water. This show has crossed a line of believability, one from which I am not sure it can recover. The rest of the plot is simultaneously becoming less interesting. The injection of the new chief and probie have decreased the amount of time and seeming energy exhausted on compelling relationships between the other firefighters. Janet is becoming an uninteresting mess, Mike and Sean are having stupid discussions, and Franco is getting set to embark on a bizarre relationship with his daughter and Susan Sarandon. Only Lou's storyline remains strong, though he may have just tossed away the most intruiging part, the sex-crazed nun. Hope for the future of the show lies in the possibility that Tatum O'Neal will return based on the impending Gavin family reunion.

What I'm Watching: Damages

Damages: Season 1, Episode 2 "Jesus, Mary and Joe Cocker" (C+)

I am very much skeptical that Katie is smart enough to lie repeatedly to the extremely intimidating figure that is Patty Hewes while she seems so hapless in her prior conduct with Frobisher. I like the humanizing of Frobisher, and all these mixed messages about his guilt help him become a more layered character. It is nice to see Zeljko Ivanek (Andre Drazen on the first season of "24") getting some work, though I really cannot make out Ray's accent. I am not terribly sad to discover that Lame Boyfriend bites the bullet in the end, and I do applaud the show for killing off, or rather scheduling the killing off a, a major character. And as much as I am a fan of Olive Garden, as a former waiter there, but actually stopping to say the slogan of the restaurant after the happy couple receives a gift card is ridiculous. I forgot to check if there was an Olive Garden commercial hidden in there, but come on, be a little subtle!