Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Foot: Recap/Review of Terriers--Fustercluck

After two episodes that focused on developing Hank and Britt as characters, "Fustercluck" dives back into the mythology, or rather, the over-arcing story for the first season. Lindus returns to the fold. The search for Mickey's killer returns. Hank is less depressed and near-relapse because he has too much work to focus on. "Fustercluck" contains a ton of set-up for the rest of the season, and is the best episode of the season. Also, the title of the episode might be the greatest episode title of all-time.

Essentially, the Lindus story established in the pilot completely reverses itself in this episode. His wife visits Hank and Britt, hands them 1000 dollars and tells the two to visit her husband if they want to keep the cash. After briefly "interrogating" Lindus for his transgressions in the pilot, Lindus tells the two what he wants. Lindus wants to keep his wife and son safe because they are innocent of the mess Lindus is in. Men want Lindus dead. The police have enough evidence to lock Lindus away for a long time. The problem for Lindus is, Hank and Britt don't trust him. Lindus wants the two PIs to break into his office and steal a quarter-million of his own cash.

Hank and Britt talk with Mrs. Lindus about the break-in. The two guys will get 40% of the money. While Hank and Britt really don't trust Lindus, mostly because they framed the man for a murder he actually did commit (you have to watch the show), Hank agrees to do the job because Mrs. Lindus promises Hank that she'll deliver the name of the man who killed Mickey.

Hank and Britt commit a smooth and IMPRESSIVE break-in. I feel like Ted Griffin's Ocean's Eleven days returned for the robbery sequence. They get the money. Hank gets the name but the guy just took the fall for the crime. Before Lindus, free on bail, can flee the country in his private jet, Hank and Britt kidnap him. To make a long story short, Lindus dies by episode's end. Uh-oh. Before he dies, from getting hit by a car, Lindus tells Hank that the company Mickey used to work for put the hit on Mickey because of secretive papers that the company thought Mickey's daughter had. There are many layers to the situation Hank and Britt find themselves in. Not even knew what they were getting themselves with the simple 'let's plant the gun in Lindus' house.' Now, Hank's former partner suspects the two of kidnapping Lindus and he arrives at Hank's house just as Lindus dies.

It was an action-packed forty-some minutes of television. The show also introduced Hank's sister, Stephanie. She's a brilliant woman suffering from a mental illness. She's going to be important and she might cause more problems for Hank than he already has. Hank's sort of responsible for two men's deaths in as many weeks (though the timeline in the episode was a few weeks later). The insanity he finds himself in could have disastrous effects in the long run. Hank's a man who will do anything for his own personal gain so I wonder where the writers take the character as the story gets deeper and Hank comes closer to discovering the actual man or men behind his friend's death. He was ready to inflict pain on the patsy before he realized Lindus lied to him.

Terriers is a smart television show. At the end of last week's episode, we saw a mysterious figure crawl into Hank's attic. This week, near the end of the heist, Britt notices a black SUV parked outside--an SUV that arrived after the heist started. A man noticed Britt and Hank spying on the construction site. The three top writers on the show don't have reputations of spoon-feeding the audience. The network, FX, also doesn't air shows that spoon-feed the audience or hold their hands. The black SUV is definitely coming back.

Some other thoughts:

-I keep waiting for Tim Minear's first episode and I think episode five will be Minear's. Based on the previews, the episode seems like it's in Minear's wheelhouse. Hopefully he directed whatever episode he wrote.

-Terriers is probably my favorite new show of the season. Hawaii Five-O is, surprisingly, another new show I really like so far.

-Jon Worley wrote "Fustercluck." It appears that "Fustercluck" is his first television script. Michael Offer directed the episode.


Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles--"Pilot"--Written By Josh Friedman


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Foot: Review of No Ordinary Family--Pilot

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="385" caption="Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis star in ABC's No Ordinary Family"][/caption]

The last show about superheroes that I watched had no sense of fun. Characters never smiled. The actors and actresses delivered their lines without emotion and probably should've considered hiring new dialogue coaches. Hayden Panetierre developed a habit of mumbling some of her lines and she conveyed zero emotions throughout most of the HEROES run. Perhaps the show reflected the unhappiness of the writers room or the unhappiness of the actors. The show suffered from whatever took place behind the scenes of the show. HEROES became one of my least favorite shows of all-time.

I hope No Ordinary Family retains the same sense of fun the pilot had. The characters are excited about their superpowers. The final image of the pilot features the family laughing and smiling in the backyard. After the depressive experience that was Heroes, I welcome a superhero show that is fun.

The show revolves around the Powell family. Jim (Michael Chiklis) is a sketch artist for the local police department. He's an aspiring cop who struggles to earn the respect of the actual cops. His home life is a balancing act between work and their children--leaving little room to find the spark of his marriage again. Stephanie (the lovely Julie Benz) works long hours as a scientist and can barely find enough time in her day to talk to her daughter or help her son with homework. No way she can find the time for romance with her husband. Daphne (Kay Panabaker), their daughter, is a teen who is not whole apart from her cell phone. She's also a high school girl who faces the possibility of losing her boyfriend because she's not ready to have sex. JJ (Jimmy Bennett), the son, struggles with homework. His teacher tells Stephanie that she thinks he has a learning disability.

Everything changes for the family when their plane crashes into the Amazon river and the family soon emerges with superpowers. Jim possesses super strength and an ability to jump long distances. Jim would win the Olympic long jump easily. He was a man who found himself in the role of the mother in the household, now he feels like a true man. Stephanie, the woman with no time, develops super speed that allows her the time she needs to talk with her daughter about her daughter's problems, help her son with his homework and be intimate with her husband. JJ develops the power to do homework better. Daphne can hear the thoughts of her peers. Each superpower allows the family to grow closer and become the family that Jim has wanted them to be.

Jon Harmon Feldman and Greg Berlanti created the show. Both have experience with family dramas, especially Berlanti who created the excellent Everwood. Feldman worked for Dawson's Creek during the first season followed by Berlanti, who joined the show in season two. Feldman's track record isn't great. Berlanti has earned a tremendous amount of trust from me because of the excellent first season of Everwood (a season that ranks behind LOST's first season on my all-time great individual season of television list). Berlanti can get a bit soapy with his series. Ditto for Feldman. I trust that this show won't become too soapy. The pilot is promising and I'll gladly review the show on a weekly basis.

Some other thoughts:

-Autumn Reeser and Romany Malco are both great in their supporting roles. Reeser was in Entourage the last two years. What a difference the writing makes. Entourage writes female roles terribly while Feldman, in the pilot, gives Reeser good material. Autumn Reeser is a delight.

-I'm a huge fan of Julie Benz. I'll watch the show, regardless, because of her. A weekly dose of Julie Benz is great.

-Tom Amandes shows up at the very end as the man Jim and Stephanie have been talking to. Everwood fans know him as the awesome Dr. Harold "Patch" Abbott. Hopefully Tom Amandes hangs around for a few episodes because he is awesome.

-Critics have complained about the 'talking to the camera' device. Berlanti used narration for the first two seasons of Everwood. I have no idea if the device will be dropped. If not, this might be a PG version of In Treatment meets The Incredibles.

-David Semel directed the pilot. Semel directed one of the best ANGEL episodes of all-time, "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been?" and he's a TV veteran. Semel also directed four Buffy episodes, among them "Lover's Walk." Semel ALSO directed nine Dawson's Creek episodes. He directed one of Van Der Beek's first self-righteous turns as Dawson in "Be Careful What You Wish For." Semel directed other classic Creek episodes, as well. Yes.

-The criminal in the episode possesses super powers so the show won't lack villains on a weekly basis.

-Not sure the actor who played the Reverend on the show that wouldn't die, 7th Heaven, is believable as a villain. I also don't like the hint that another damn company exists that dislikes superheroes. Way too much of that went on in HEROES.


The Foot: Review of The Event--To Keep Us Safe + College & Charleston

Episode 2 of The Event may have delighted many people but the episode, titled "To Keep Us Safe," did not entertain me at all. "To Keep Us Safe" is a much better effort than the pilot. I wonder why NBC didn't devote two hours to the premiere because nothing happened in the pilot. At least the show revealed some things about what's going on; however, nonsense still comes out of Laura Innes' character's mouth like 'I can't tell you anything, Mr. President" and then she follows THAT up with a threat to the president AND the people of the country. She threatens the President because he wants the truth. WHAT?!? There's no context for her threat but she sure delivers the words with a menacing look and an ominous tone in her voice.

The plane that disappeared into an electromagnetic field last week did not go to an alternate dimension. The plane landed in Yuma, Arizona. The first fifteen minutes of the show were begging for bloggers and critics to draw the LOST comparisons. A plane crashes in an unknown and mysterious place while a military official talks about a major electromagnetic event. I don't mean to get into Jacob's Foot mode and write 2,000 words about LOST but that plot is directly lifted from LOST. Some critics have theorized the show is poking fun at shows like LOST. I doubt the electromagnetic/plane thing was a parody of LOST because the characters were deadly serious about the disappearance and the information. It's one thing for the network to push the show as the next LOST because their job is to draw an audience. The writers didn't need to place such a blatant image of LOST in the first act of the second episode. Allright. LOST tangent is now over.

Scott Patterson yelled that Sean shouldn't trust ANYONE and that he alone can rescue his daughters. Sean takes off and eventually passes out in the desert. He awakes in the hospital and soon finds himself in custody of the FBI because the kidnappers framed Sean for the murder of the guy with the brunette girl who tried to rape Leila seconds before mysterious white guy stabbed in the gut. This show is a mess. I digress. Sean pleads with the FBI people to find the plane but they think he is crazy and psychotic. Essentially, nothing happens in the Sean story of the episode. Whoever kidnapped Leila and her sister are part of a powerful organization that not even the government knows about them. The organization probably doesn't consist of the aliens we discovered lived amongst the characters though.

Meanwhile, Danko from HEROES tells the president that he would like to rid the country of the aliens. The plot is basically the second half of the third season of HEROES. The president isn't as eager to commit genocide though. He wants answers. He doesn't get them so he, in turn, threatens Laura Innes. Also, the top guy working the case is actually ONE of the aliens. In fact, he is the brother of the love of Laura Innes' life and his brother is responsible for the plane; however, the alien working with the government wants to protect the civilians, I think.

The whole alien plot is a bunch of nonsense though, and I'd rather not take the time to coherently summarize their early plan because I don't care about it. The number one issue with the show thus far is the lack of investment I have in the characters and the entire story. Why should I care about the aliens, their plan or the government and their reasons for covering up the crash? Why should I care about Sean and his girlfriend? The characters have no personality or definable traits. They exist only as plot devices. This kind of plot-driven-lets-sacrifice-the-characters show is not for me.

I'm cutting The Event from the weekly review rotation and I'm done with the show overall.

Good Day, The Event.


The Sopranos--"College"--Written By Jim Manos, Jr

If you've never seen The Sopranos, this script could very well make you a fan of the show.


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Foot: What's Worth Watching Tonight

Usually, I'd write about Beyond Survival with Les Stroud since the day is Monday; however, I am no longer going to write about Beyond Survival on a weekly basis. Instead, I am going to write about what's on television each and every night. Who knows how long this idea lasts before I pull the plug on it without warning and return to solely writing reviews for various episodic television shows.

I'll give this the name WHAT'S WORTH WATCHING TONIGHT. And since I am including sports, I'll begin at the 7PM hour.


Phillies at Nationals on CSN Philadelphia

If the Phillies win, they clinch the NL East for the 4th year in a row. If the Braves lose, they clinch for the 4th year in a row. Some prefer to win the division by winning while others do not care. Roy Halladay goes for his 21st win of the season vs. John Lannan. Lannan falls apart against the Phillies. I wonder, will this game break another Comcast record for ratings? But, really, if you live in Philly, what else will you watch besides this game?


Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, on ESPN

Should the Phillies/Nats game get rained out tonight, this football game is probably going to be awesome. Just think of the plethora of positive Mike Martz columns that will be written if the Bears improve to 3-0. Remember, Jay Cutler was awful last season. He threw one more TD than INT. There's a good chance that Clay Matthews will destroy Jay Cutler though. This is the damage that Matthews has done in two games: injured Kevin Kolb which led to Kolb losing his job to Michael Vick. Last week, Matthews destroyed Trent Edwards. Edwards is now unemployed.

How I Met Your Mother--"Cleaning House"--on CBS

I'm sure the relative optimism I had for sixth season of the show will be damaged tonight. It's a Barney episode and Mrs. Stinson returns. Last year's Stinsons episode was a goofy, sitcommy episode that did generate laughs; however, I have a bad feeling about this one. Who knows though. Expect a review of the episode later tonight.

House--"Selfish"--on FOX

House and Cuddy reveal their coupling to the world. The mystery of the week revolves around a girl who collapses in a skateboarding competition while with her terminally ill brother. Yes.

WALL-E, on Disney XD

The delightful Pixar movie about a robot who falls in love. This is one of the greatest movies of all-time.


The Event--"To Keep Us Safe"--on NBC

Promos have indicated that The Event will actually be revealed. I don't really care what The Event is. I hated the Pilot. I'm not sure I'll watch or write about the show. I'll watch the second episode to see if an actual story is told in the episode, if actual characterization takes places, etc. But The Event is close to getting cut from the lineup like Hellcats was.

Lone Star--on FOX

The con man show made it another week despite atrocious ratings. The showrunner/creator pleaded with the internet to watch his show. Despite the plea, I'm still not going to watch the show.


Hawaii Five-O--Episode 2--on CBS

I actually watched the pilot last week after the show generated good reviews from critics. I'll probably watch it every now and then. If you haven't seen an episode, check it out. It's a fun hour of television.


Maria Full of Grace Written By Joshua Marston


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Vampire Diaries "Bad Moon Rising" Review

Maybe this show isn't for me, after all. As I watched various episodes from last season or read about the episodes, I wasn't exactly on board with the show. The finale last year earned great reviews. I watched it. The finale did nothing for me, really. My return to the CW has gone as smoothly as Ken Griffey Jr.'s tenure with the Mariners this season. I even fell asleep during the fourth and fifth acts of the latest episode. Of course, it was about 2:25AM when I reached the fourth act of "Bad Moon Rising."

I thought "Bad Moon Rising" fell flat in every area. The exposition was very clunky, the werewolves story is very weak and the teenage melodrama was at a Dawson's Creek level. On Dawson's Creek, the melodrama was very annoying because the teenage characters were self-involved and their lives were relatively stress-free so it made sense they'd blow everything out of proportion. Dawson Leery himself was the worst. I draw the parallel with Dawson's Creek because TVD showrunner, Kevin Williamson, created Dawson's Creek and set the standard for overwrought melodrama.

In one of the episode's stories, Damon, Elena and Alaric went to Duke University to read the research Isobel collected about Mystic Falls. The three wanted to learn more about werewolves after Mason Lockwood's werewolf-ness during the fight at the carnival. The story allowed Elena and Damon to be alone and, possibly, repair their friendship after Damon's attempted murder of her brother. For a vampire who is 164 years old, Damon acted more like Pacey Witter than Dawson Leery. Yes, the Dawson Creek comparisons will continue. Damon continued to be a smart-ass for awhile before he let his guard down and decided that honesty might work with Elena. Damon found information for Elena to use about Katherine and doppelgangers. Elena thanked him; however, the friendship is far from fixed. Elena hates Damon for what he intended to do with Jeremy. Damon even gave a tearful confession about how he didn't see the ring and thought he actually killed Jeremy. Damon admitted he couldn't bear the thought of Elena gone from his life. Well, Elena told him that he's lost her forever. THAT is the kind of melodrama I am speaking of.

Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder have great chemistry. I think the writing fell flat and the motivations behind these two characters to explain their actions. The writers wanted to get to a place where Damon could say Elena is more similar to Katherine than Elena wants to acknowledge. Elena used Damon to get info on Katherine, but Damon also used her. The problem is, I didn't realize this was going on until the two characters said it nor did I think Elena was Katherine-esque.

Meanwhile, Stefan began helping Caroline control her vampire-ness. This story reminded me of the Dawson/Jen story from season two of the show. Dawson and Jen go to a party. Dawson wants Jen to know that she's better than where she's at. Dawson becomes self-righteous and judgmental. Stefan's much less self-righteous and judgmental than Dawson Leery. The two stories had things in common though. Stefan continues to remind Caroline that she can't let her vampiric nature take over. The two end up at a party. There was even a bit of dialogue when Stefan tells Caroline that he should've walked away from Elena a long time ago because the vampire stuff could be troublesome. But he can't walk away from Elena because she's Elena. Shades of Dawson and Joey Potter but at least the two haven't broken up yet. Dawson's Creek enjoyed telling the viewers that Dawson and Joey were soulmates even though the two were barely together in six seasons.

A relationship that did end is Caroline and Matt because Matt tired of his girlfriend's craziness. Katherine showed up at the end of the episode to recruit Caroline as a teammate, I suppose, in whatever plan she has. Embrace Caroline as a badass vampire, show. I'm not a fan of her as a mopey teenager who happens to need blood to survive.

And the werewolf story fell flat on its face. The backstory is nonsense as is the idea that they are a threat to vampires.

If only former Dollhouse writer Andrew Chambliss' name wasn't on this episode because this episode was awful. Chambliss comes from the school of Joss Whedon. Tim Kring might've taught him bad habits though. Oh that's a cheap shot because I hated HEROES. The bulk of the blame probably goes to the entire writer's room for breaking a very poor episode.


Unbreakable Written By M. Night Shyamalan


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Foot: 2010 Week 3 NFL Picks

I went to the Phillies game last night. I think standing room is the greatest thing in the world. While people sat in seats mere feet from me for much more money, I enjoyed the same vantage point for less money. It was the first game I've attended in September since 2004 when the EXPO's came to town on a Friday night. Eric Milton nearly hit a grand slam that night but settled for a ground rule double. Me and my buddy had to leave in the 7th due to SEPTA scheduling but the Phils had a comfortable lead. Little did we know the team would go down 12-7 in the time it took to get the subway from Broad and Pattison to City Hall. No, the crowd did not resemble last night's crowd. But last night was amazing. The last few years of Phillies baseball has been beyond amazing. If Prado didn't double in the 4th, I would've seen a no hitter in person. How dare the Daily News give the backpage of the Daily News to the Eagles yet again. A couple of years ago in 2006, the night of the Bobby Abreu & Cory Lidle trade, me and my friends had an entire section to ourselves. The crowd was fantastic last night. This team is going to do some amazing things in the next month.

Anywho, it's time to write about the goody National Football League. Week 2 is in the books. I had a decent 10-6 week. Week 2 unfolded differently than Week 1 but I didn't get destroyed for picking 15 favorites to win. But enough about last week. It is time for me to tell you all how exactly Week 3 will unfold. LET IT BEGIN!


San Francisco over Kansas City

-The Chiefs only beat the Browns by 2 points. The Chiefs or the Bucs have to be among the worst 2-0 teams in NFL history. You know who leads the Chiefs in receiving? Young Tony Moeaki with just 8 receptions and 79 yards. WOW. The 49ers saved their image by nearly beating the defending Super Bowl champions. I think it's safe to say that Singeltary will drop his pants in anger again should his team lose to the Chiefs and fall to 0-3.

Minnesota over Detroit

-Brett Favre probably wishes he didn't come back. Stories have circulated about Favre being pressured into coming back. But he's 40 years old! A 40 year old shouldn't be pressured into doing something he doesn't want. Plus, he's Brett Favre. Even though he played as bad as a QB can, the media still won't criticize him. I think Favre takes his frustrations out on a very bad Detroit secondary. The Vikings defense is not nearly as lazy as the Eagles defense so the game won't be too close. The Lions are still terrible, folks. They might be tougher to play but they remain terrible at the end of the day. Yes, the Lions are like TV's Entourage.

New England over Buffalo

-Chan Gailey has created a clusterbleep of a running back situation in Buffalo. Gailey said he'll go with whoever fits the game plan best. The big story though: Gailey is responsible for the return of HARVARD FITZPATRICK. Fitzpatrick has usurped Trent Edwards. Sadly, I was unable to bring Harvard back to my fantasy team in the 14 team league.

New Orleans over Atlanta

-I'm excited for this game. I think the Falcons will turn alot of heads if they shock the Saints. The Saints look very beatable. They sort of slogged their way through the Vikes game and then won on the last drive in San Francisco. Reggie Bush's string of bad luck continued with the knee injury that'll keep him out for 4-6 weeks. Or one could call it karma. Take your pick.

Tennessee over New York Giants

-The Giants fans should not feel particularly confident about their team. They made the Panthers look more of a threat than they actually are and the Colts completely dismantled the Giants. Vince Young had the unfortunate matchup against the Steelers defense. I wouldn't worry too much if I'm a Titans fan; however, Chris Johnson was accused of taking the second half off though he denies it. Someone said Johnson was tired of getting hit. I don't believe it. Chris Johnson's one of the greatest running backs in NFL history already.

Pittsburgh over Tampa Bay

-If Raheem Morris, his coaches and players pull off a win, I will feel betrayed by logic. The Steelers proved the QB doesn't matter because the defense isn't going to let the team lose with Mr. Rapist on the sidelines. But who knows...the Bucs could do it. They play with a ton of heart. If it's low scoring, the Bucs could win with a late field goal. I'm sort of talking myself into picking the Bucs. MAYBE I WILL pick the Bucs. I don't know. I'm usually stubborn about changing a pick though.

Cincinnati over Carolina

-No way Jimmy Clausen will be as awful as Matt Moore. You know, I made some bad drafting choices in my 14 team league. I actually drafted Matt Moore. I didn't pick Kyle Orton because Ryan Grant was available. That didn't go well. Not all was bad in fantasy land though. The Love Isselfs won. My fantasy baseball team, the I Don't Like The Mets, won the championship. I deserved it. I had the best roster and best pitching. In my 10 years of playing fantasy, this team ranks among the top 5 teams I drafted/assembled. Moving on now.

Baltimore over Cleveland

-The Ravens defense hasn't allowed a touchdown this season. I feel the game is already lost for the Browns.

Houston over Dallas

-Les Bowen of the Daily News picked the Texans to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. I think the Texans finally arrived this season. This offense is Saints-esque right now. The offense was great last year but it's even better. The defense can shut teams down too. And it'd be so awesome if the Cowboys fell to 0-3. Jerry Jones would pull a Vince McMahon and fire everyone INCLUDING the fans.

St. Louis over Washington

-Why not, you know? Bradford's been solid. The defense is solid. The Redskins are inconsistent enough to lose this game. They are the team that the Lions beat for the first time in over a season last year. McNabb used to play in these kinds of games with the Eagles. Most notably, the Bengals tie. McNabb is not beyond being part of an embarrassing loss to the Rams.

Philadelphia over Jacksonville

-Andy Reid's word is as reliable as his offensive line. The whole week has been nonsense for the Eagles. The McNabb trade is now meaningless. The defense likes to take naps in the 4th quarter. But whatever. I'll still watch the team play and root for them and cheer for them. I love the Eagles. The franchise never did something like this before though. They always stuck to the plan and, suddenly, the plan has been shelved for immediacy. Maybe Banner and Lurie really are jealous of the Phillies.

Indianapolis over Denver

-I hope the Colts run defense is as bad as they were against Foster. Knowshon Moreno's on my fantasy team. One would think the Broncos could go toe-to-toe with the Colts the way they are throwing the football but they are the Denver Broncos. But it'll be an emotional game for the team because of the death of their teammate. I think the Colts are on a mission though. They aren't going to lose for nine weeks.

Oakland over Arizona

-Never thought I'd see the day when Gradkowski saved a team from disaster. But I did. It happened last week. I'd like to congratulate all who drafted McFadden because he finally has played up to his potential. Here is a question: when will Max Hall replace Derek Anderson as the Cardinals starter?

San Diego over Seattle

-The Seahawks were very bad last week as expected in the preseason. The Chargers played like they should in San Diego and free of downpours. Rivers didn't yell at his offensive line at all. Good for him. But this could be a tough game. It's a home game for Seattle. Pete Carroll is a maniac when feeding off of the home crowd energy.

Miami over New York Jets

-The Jets are the greatest heels in the NFL right now. I wonder if Rex Ryan planned this. I want Rex Ryan to cut promos before kickoff. The Dolphins aren't a very good 2-0 team. They can't score but the defense is solid. This is a risky pick. I just dislike the Jets.

Green Bay over Chicago

-Devin Arshomadu said he didn't try as hard in week 1 because it was the first game. Awesome. Glad he's on my fantasy team. He played mostly special teams week 2. I should drop him but I'm notoriously loyal to fantasy players I drafted. I drafted Adam Lind and didn't drop him until I needed to make room for Nelson Cruz post-DL. I think Clay Matthews is the best linebacker in the NFL. Six sacks through two weeks. Remember when Barnett and Hawk were supposed be the faces of the Packers defense?

Last Week: 10;6

Overall: 19-13


The Foot: Man Vs. Wild Season Finale plus Treme Pilot script

Another season of Man Vs. Wild has concluded. For the season finale itself, the show delivered another Behind The Scenes episodes. Behind The Scenes usually features the crew commenting on the various challenges and locales they've been to. This episode included footage and commentary for some of the newer episodes. The blueprint for shooting the show doesn't change. I didn't learn anything I didn't know already about the process of shooting the show but there were moments of great humor and insight into specific challenges in some of the shoots for this season. I'll just dive into the highlights:

-The best part of the Behind The Scenes episodes is whenever the crew has the same reaction that viewers did to Bear's antics. For example, four minutes or so were spent on the shark-infested waters in Northern Australia. I wrote about the episode a few weeks ago. Dan Etheridge, the second camera man for Man Vs. Wild, described the island as the scariest locale he's been to because sharks were everywhere--in the shallows, in the deep part of the ocean. Bear had to go from island-to-island through the shark-infested waters. The most memorable bit was when Bear felt a shark hit his leg as more sharks got closer. Bear and his cameramen eventually sprinted out of the waters. Additional shots of the waters were included for this episode. In the actual episode, only one shot of a shark in the shallows made the final cut. There were several shots of sharks hanging out in the shallows.

-Speaking of perilous situations, the crew commented on the alligator populated lands of the Northern Territory in Australia. This episode had the memorable moment when Bear fought an alligator, briefly, for food before conceding the fight to the alligator. The crew commented on the tough climb Bear had to get to the other side of the water. The tree he had to climb was rotted so Simon nor Dan could follow him. Bear nearly dropped but he didn't. Once again, additional shots were in this episode of alligators bubbling beneath the water. Australia's an insane country but I'd still visit there if I could.

-The funniest part of the Behind The Scenes episodes was the segment about what Bear eats in the wild. The series has done episodes about the food Bear eats so, again, this wasn't new ground nor was the information. In North Africa, Bear collected a bunch of bugs that crawled into his camp because of the fire for breakfast in the morning. Bear decided to make a bug patty. He squished every bug and combined it all into something that resembled a beef patty. Simon nor Dan ever turn the camera from Bear when he's eating something. They basically force Bear to swallow the entire thing. After Bear finished his bug patty, he said that it was a truly terribly way to begin the morning.

Overall, there isn't a whole lot to write about with an episode that comments on the series itself. As I mentioned at the top, I'm very familiar with the Behind The Scenes stuff because there's been a few of these kinds of episodes in the past. The crew deserves their time in the spotlight because they do everything Bear does (well only the camera men). The entire crew does a tremendous job on each and every episode.

I posted my Terriers review about an hour ago so check that out below. The Week 3 NFL picks won't be posted until late tonight.


Treme--"Pilot--Written By David Simon & Eric Overmyer

For an 80 minute pilot, the screenplay is only 66 pages. Remember: Treme is a show that features a lot of music. If you're a David Simon fan and you don't have HBO, read the Treme pilot.


The Foot: Review of Terriers--Change Partners

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="384" caption="Donal Logue as Hank Dolworth in Terriers"][/caption]

Sometimes, network executives ask a showrunner to write a few episodes that act as a sort of pilot for any viewer just jumping. When this happens, episodes can be frustrating because nothing really happens in a story. Joss Whedon's Dollhouse found themselves in a spot where they had to promote the sixth episode fiercely because nothing happens in the first five episodes (besides the awesome episode two). In fact, Joss had do this with Firefly as well, and possibly ANGEL. I don't have confirmation on ANGEL though. I digress though.

After last week's Terriers, an episode that acted as a sort-of pilot, the third episode abandons the pilot quality and delivers two good stories about Hank and Britt.

In "Dog & Pony," Hank's dark side appeared as he dealt with his struggles to pay for his house and his ex-wife's impending marriage. The dark side doesn't exactly disappear in the episode so the light-hearted Hank that dominated the pilot was clearly outside of the norm. I'm fine with this. I like the anti-hero in the hero's role. Right now, Hank a mix between the two identities. In "Change Partners," he's eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with his dark side. Not only does he steal his ex-wife's fiance's credit card information to put seedy charges on the card but he sleeps with another man's wife; however, that story is much more complicated than it sounds. Britt remains unhappy with Hank because of the way Hank's used the money they earned without consulting Britt.

The case for this week comes to Hank after he's rejected for a loan. One of the bosses brings him to the office to cut a deal with Hank: if Hank captures one photograph of the boss' wife with another man, the loan will be his. It's a simple enough job complicated by the revelation that the boss is a masochist who likes the idea of his wife with another man. The wife, played by Olivia Williams, has been telling her husband about her infidelity even though she's never been unfaithful to her husband. She just loves him very much, and she even describes this behavior as masochistic. Hank is desperate for the house loan so he hatches a plan for the wife to keep her husband and for him to keep his bank loan. He enlists Britt, with permission from Katie, to create the affair. The plan seems to work. The boss promises Hank that he'll prepare the papers.

Meanwhile, Hank, Gretchen and her fiance get together to talk about the house. Hank didn't expect the fiance to join the two. The dinner unfolds rather awkwardly, especially when the fiance asks Hank to look into the credit card stuff. Afterwards, when Gretchen and her fiance leave, Hank throws the leftovers on the floor because he's frustrated, angry and, mostly, in pain. The wife shows up at the door to thank Hank but the two eventually end up in bed together. The next day, Hank goes to the mortgage offices to sign the papers but finds Masochist unhappy because he figured out the affair was created for the sake of the loan. Hank loses his cool and tells the guy, plainly, that he knows his wife cheated on him because he slept with the man's wife three times last night. Soon after the papers are half-signed and Hank leaves, the man jumps out of the building to his death. All this guy wanted was a reason to die.

A parallel exists between Hank and the Masochist. In the previous two episodes, various people have told Hank about the kind of pain he's going to experience living in a house he used to live in with Gretchen. The house places Hank in situations in which he has to interact with his ex-wife frequently, a painful situation in and of itself. Hank's a masochist in a way as well. He could've walked away from the house but chose not to. There are signs that Hank could harm himself in the way the boss eventually harmed himself. Hank won't commit suicide but he's a recovering alcoholic so he might return to the bottle. His partnership with Britt is already on shaky ground, mostly due to the house and Gretchen. Hank's desperate to show Gretchen that he can return to the man she once loved and he won't allow himself to think that Gretchen simply moved on.

This episode is about relationships and the transformative nature of relationships. Gretchen is now a girl who is uncomfortable eating around Hank. Olivia Williams' character, whose name I forget, would've been healthier by walking away from her husband. Instead, she does what he wants and then deals with the news that her actions caused the man to kill himself. Britt and Katie also deal with a transformative piece of information.

We've known that Britt was a thief before he met Katie. His old thief buddy, Ray, returns to recruit Britt for a job. Britt's reluctant. Ray decides to scare Britt by breaking into the house and following Katie to school. Additionally, Ray dangles a piece of Britt's past as a threat in his recruitment. Britt agrees but quickly arranges for Hank to take Ray's gun when Britt briefly holds up the bar where Ray first appeared in the episode. Ray will be going back to jail.

The important part of the story is Britt's past and the information will transform his relationship with Katie. A week before he met her, he and Ray broke into Katie's apartment and stole a few things. Britt saw her picture on the refrigerator, went to the bar and met her. Katie's temporarily disgusted and orders Britt to leave the house; however, in an episode full of weird kinds of sexuality, Katie tells Britt to wait five minutes while she undresses, and instructs him to break in through the window. Britt's speechless and nods. The dog barks at Katie and she says, "don't judge me." So, at least, one relationship doesn't self-destruct because of change.

As the series moves forward, we'll probably discover shadier things about Britt because he and Hank aren't the typical heroes. We live in a post-modern existence, after all. The episode was very strong. Great character development and good story progression.

I particularly enjoyed the guest spot by Olivia Williams, who once portrayed Adelle Dewitt in Dollhouse. She was outstanding in Dollhouse.

Phoef Sutton wrote the episode. Guy Ferland directed it.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010



Today marks the sixth year anniversary of the LOST series premiere. The diehard fans actually commemorate this day. I count myself among the diehards and I celebrated the 5th year anniversary of the premiere last September 22 in a post that featured the greatest scenes in LOST. I think half of the scenes I used have been deleted by YouTube but search the archives to find a post that definitely takes the longest to load.

I haven't actively searched for a show to replace LOST like many fans. I read critics and fans speculate about what the next LOST will be. Well, in my opinion, there will never be another LOST. LOST was just a uniquely, awesome show and I'll never have as much fun watching other scripted television as I had watching LOST. I don't need another LOST either because I own the entire series on television. I don't actively search for the next Buffy or ANGEL or Firefly. No other shows could be those shows, if you know what I mean.

I miss those early season one days because the kind of fan nonsense and hate that dominated the majority of message boards during the majority of season six didn't exist nor did the post-LOST animosity. In those days, fans simply went head over heels for the show after Walkabout ended. But oh well. I don't care if people were pissed off by the ending. I loved it.

There's no finer time to give the LOST pilot the Screenplay of the Day. J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof wrote it. LOST had a very unique writing style. The intensity of the episodes began in the scripts. There are F bombs all over the pages. I love reading the LOST scripts. Hopefully, one day, every script is available to read.

LOST--"Pilot Parts 1 &2"--Written By J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof



In the latest episode of Beyond Survival with Les Stroud, Les visits the Hewa tribe of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific to witness first-hand the Cumoutin ceremony. The ceremony was banned by missionaries and many people defined the Hewa people as cannibals because of the ceremony. Unlike the other episodes, the focus isn't on recording and preserving the culture of the Hewa's because the Hewas their culture and way of life is in no danger.

The central focus of the episode is the Cumoutin ceremony. Despite the narration from Les about the ghoulish atmosphere of the ceremony, the Coumoutin is very spiritual. Les defines the ceremony as a celebration of life and avoids comparing it to a wake or a funeral. The funeral comparison is apt though. The Hewas want to release the spirit of the deceased into the heavens through the ceremony. Death itself doesn't release the spirit. The Hewas mourn the deceased like family and friends mourn the deceased at a funeral. The camera caught shots of the people with tears in their eyes and heads bowed. The Cumoutin lets the Hewas say their final goodbye. The episode closes with the ceremony and Les even departs early so they can continue as they wish. The beginning and end of the episode focuses on the Cumoutin.

The rest of the episode is spent hunting and gathering with the Hewas. It was a very simple episode. Les Stroud didn't overdramatize like he tends to do in his narrations. Their hunts take a long time. The Hewas use a hunting dog to sniff out game. Once the game is found, they create small holes for the smaller Hewas to enter in attempts to capture the game. The dog found a small rat. Several hours were spent working to catch the rat but the work didn't end with a catch. The hunting dog got stuck inside of the hole and the Hewas worked as fast as they could before the wet mud collapsed and kill the dog. The dogs yelps were heartbreaking. Luckily, the Hewas freed him and the dog immediately wanted to continue the hunt.

In the forty-some minutes of the episode, I learned very little about the Hewas besides the Cumoutin. In previous episodes, I had a good amount of knowledge about the cultures, the way their society worked, gender roles, etc. For whatever reason Les spent much less time teaching the viewers about the Hewas. Les takes about a minute, at night, to talk about how he's gotten used to the constant stares when he's in a completely new environment and among new people. Les complains about the jungle treks a few times and notes that he can't keep up with the Hewas. Mostly, Les focuses on Les' experience rather than the Hewas.

Les should never return to Papua New Guinea because he hated it in the series finale of Survivorman and the hatred hasn't disappeared.

Besides the filming of the Cumoutin ceremony, this episode completely ignored the premise of the series. It's safe to call this episode the worst episode of the series.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Foot: Review of Running Wilde--Pilot + Screenplay of the Day

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="442" caption="Keri Russel is adorable."][/caption]

A couple of years ago, Mitchell Hurwitz created the best American comedy ever. Yes, even better than Seinfeld in my humble opinion. The show went by the name of Arrested Development. Since the cancellation of the show in 2006, rumors about a movie have surfaced every now and then. Arrested Development is as beloved a series as it was when it was actually being produced. Arrested Development now follows the careers of the cast and the top writers. The actors have more or less been defined by their time on Arrested Development and anything Mitch Hurwitz writes will be compared to Arrested Development. Any review of the newest show from the AD writers, Running Wilde, contains a paragraph about Arrested Development and, inevitably, uses the perfection that was Arrested Development in the evaluation about the worth.

Is that fair though? The same sort of situation happens to bands. If a band writes an outstanding debut album, that album will follow the band around for the rest of the band's existence. Should the band stray from the roots of the first record, the fanbase will turn on the band for failing to write the same record. Critics insist they do not want Running Wild to be another Arrested Development; however, the widespread Arrested Development content in the reviews leads one to assume critics actually want Running Wilde to be Arrested Development 2.

The only similarity between the two shows is Will Arnett as Steve Wilde. Arnett basically plays Gob Bluth. Now, Wilde is the main character so the Arrested Development comparisons cannot be ignored. At times, the show feels like a spinoff with Gob Bluth. But Running Wilde is different. Arrested Development was about a rich family that had no interest in changing and, well, lacked the self-awareness to think about change. Running Wilde is about change.

Steven Wilde is self-involved and the kind of person who would give himself a humanitarian award just because he wants an award. He surrounds himself with yes men and friends whom he actually pays to be his friend; however, Wilde becomes a little less self-involved when Emmy, an old girl he once kissed and built a tree house for, attends his humanitarian award party. Emmy is an actual humanitarian, working to preserve indigenous cultures in the Amazon jungle. She also has a daughter, Puddle, who narrates the show, as well as a goofy humanitarian husband (played by David Cross).

Emmy, despite herself, experiences the same feelings for Wilde that she had as a young girl. Emmy also wants Wilde to ask his father stop an oil project in the location of her the people she's been protecting. Wilde simply moves the people into his house. But Emmy eventually decides to live with Wilde because she is good influence on him. She wants him to change, to become a better man. You see, Wilde took the fall for Puddle, who didn't speak for six months, and took the blame for lying to Emmy about a doctor and diagnosis regarding Puddle. Somehow, this led Emmy to decide that she wanted to live with Wilde.

The pilot wasn't very good. The laughs were few and far between; however, when the laughs came, they were good laughs. The supporting characters have potential as well as the inevitable clash between Wilde and Emmy's husband. I don't have issues with the two main characters either. Emmy is the archetype of a likable do-gooder and Keri Russel is so endearing and cute. Wilde's a bit of retread of Gob but that could change as the show progresses. I liked the first two acts but the third act ruined the pilot for me. I also strongly disliked Puddle as the narrator. The child narrator pretty much destroys any hope I had for some classic Hurwitz/Vallely humor.

I don't think I'll write weekly about Running Wilde. There isn't too much to write about. Ideally, I like to write a good amount of an episode. I'm going to continue watching though because Hurwitz has earned it. And I think the show will improve.


Party Down--"Steve Guttenberg's Birthday" written by John Enbom

Party Down was a comedy that barely anybody watched and it was brilliant. Thanks for not watching America, you so and sos. I won't say much about the episode except that it's awesome. At least read the damn scripts for the show if you didn't watch the actual series.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Foot: Review of The Event--Pilot

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="570" caption="The Event airs Mondays at 9PM on NBC"][/caption]

The Event pilot REALLY is dominated by pronouns. Many things happen in the pilot and then a cliffhanger happens. A plane is hijacked. The president wants to do his press conference as planned despite warnings from his intelligence. There are kidnappings. Much mystery surrounds the story. A reporter in the episode even uses the sentence 'shrouded in mystery' when discussing something mysterious. I'm not a fan of this show.

Every show that a network marketed as the next LOST failed. The one show that actually marketed itself as the next LOST was Invasion and it bore little resemblance to LOST other than sharing the same time-slot with the show. Of course, the show was cancelled. Each show suffered early cancellation because the writers didn't understand what JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and the rest of the LOST writers did with LOST. LOST began as a character drama and ended as a character drama because the show was always about the characters. Answers didn't provide the satisfaction that character resolution provided or character moments.

The show opens with Jason Ritter's character, Sean Walker, on an airplane. Sean is being chased by a group of men and a black SUV. The SUV is driven by a character, Simon Lee, who warns air traffic control that someone plans to use the plane as a bomb. Air Traffic Control tells the pilot to hit the brakes because of the terroristic threat aboard the plane. The pilot doesn't listen because he is Scott Patterson from Gilmore Girls. Now, Scott Patterson refuses to ground the plane not because he's angry his beloved hat was taken away post-Gilmore Girls but because, presumably, his two daughters were kidnapped by people who WANT him to take this plane and use it as a weapon to kill the president. The president has to evacuate his mansion because of the threat. Of course, the president's involved in some immigration cover-up (I think) and Danko from Heroes is the resident evil man who speaks in a low, evil, untrustworthy tone.

The Event provides the illusion of a tremendous amount of things happening when, in actuality, the pilot accomplishes very little. The above paragraph IS the entire episode. The Event shifts between time-frames. Sean brought his girlfriend, Leila, on a cruise in an elaborate trip that would end with a proposal. The proposal is interrupted by a man shouting for someone to save his girlfriend. Sean saves the woman and the two couples become friends. They drink and eat together. As soon as Sean leaves his girlfriend alone with the girl's boyfriend, she is taken. Sean is soon wiped from the database along with Leila. You see, THERE IS NO SPOON. The disappearance leads to the airplane fun. At Leila's household, where Scott Patterson (her father) lives with his wife, are attacked by unseen people after their seven year old daughter is taken. Naturally, the scene jumps to the elder Buchanan boarding the airplane as the pilot, thus, a significant chunk of story is missing. Sean pleads with Patterson to NOT crash into the president's house. Obviously, the people behind the disappearance of his daughters and the murder of his wife made demands so that he could secure the safety of his daughters. But the elder Buchanan is not interested in crashing the plane as much as he is interested in flying the plane into white light and an alternate dimension. Yes, an alternate dimension. Blah.

Nick Wauters, the creator, doesn't seem interested in an actual story. His interest lies with surprises, twists and mystery. TV writers are taught that a pilot must establish what this series will be. Well, this series is a mess. The pilot does not tell a complete story and story is everything for me. Even Hellcats tells a complete story in 42 minutes. The pilot didn't make me care about what the Event is nor any of the characters besides Sean. The only likable character is Sean Walker and that's mostly because Jason Ritter is the only good actor in the entire damn show. No offense to Blair Underwood and Laura Innes. I digress. I don't care for the obtuseness of Innes' character nor anything involving the president of the United States. I just don't care.

I'll watch next week's episode and review it. I might continue reviewing it regardless if my disdain for the show grows. Also, another major problem the show experienced: the trailers revealed every major plot point besides the last one.

This might be the worst pilot I've ever seen.


The Foot: Review of How I Met Your Mother S6 Premiere

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="The cast of How I Met Your Mother"][/caption]

Last week I wrote my mini-rant about How I Met Your Mother's fifth season. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas promised that season six would be different, that they'd finally continue making progress in the central narrative: how did Ted meet the mother?

How did the season six premiere do in delivering on the promise? Well, Bays and Thomas did an solid job but there were some flaws. For instance, the show relied on an old trick that has gotten old six years into the show. Every season thus far had an episode that made it seem Ted would finally meet the mother. The most annoying 'we fooled you' was the foot episode I mentioned in last week's preview (and no, the name of this blog "The Foot" is not a tribute to How I Met Your Mother). The problem with these episodes is simple: the story becomes meaningless at the end of the episode. The name of the show has become the bane of the series' existence. Ted learns nothing after many of his dates makes the same mistakes continually. The sentiment at the end of one of these episodes has gone stall too. These episodes always end with Ted's narration telling the audience that the girl did find happiness, just not with him.

Most of "Big Day" revolved around Ted wanting to approach a pretty girl at the bar; however, an old ex showed up and hugged the pretty girl as soon as Ted decided to make his move. Neurosis temporarily took over as Ted re-lived the apparent sour post-breakup experience between he and Cindy, the ex. Cindy seems like a completely arbitrary character now. In last year's foot/ankle episode, Ted said the ankle belonged to the mother. We now know Ted will meet the mother at a wedding that we flash-forward to in the beginning and end of the episode. The ankle episode now becomes essentially meaningless. Why spend 22 minutes to get to an ankle when that plot point is useless? If Ted sees this girl's ankle at the wedding and knows she is the one, I will stop watching the show the second after that happens.

Most of the bar stuff was good. The show played Robin's breakup for laughs, which is good, because no one bought Don as the love of Robin's life. Barney was Barney.

The Lily/Marshall storyline fell completely flat. Pregnancy storylines never go well in television. Name me one baby plot on television that went well and The Foot will give you a free plastic spoon. How I Met Your Mother used to nail the pathos of a life-changing situation before the series fell off a cliff last year. Lily and Marshall's problems felt very forced. Lily's anxiety about pregnancy and her fear that she wouldn't be able to get pregnant is okay but the show didn't earn those feelings. Lily's feelings last year were played as laughs. She wouldn't agree to try to have a child until she saw a fifth bloody doppelganger. Does that really seem like someone ready to carry and nurture a small life for nine months? You need to see Barney's doppelganger in order for you to make a decision? Are these writers very stoned? They must've been bludgeoned in the head with blunt instruments.

Overall, the sixth season premiere had improvements. It might take twenty more episodes to get to the actual wedding but we should finally meet Ted's wife this season. I'm looking forward to the stories that lead to the wedding as well.

It's very possible I return around 12:30AM or 1AM with a review of The Event pilot.


Friday, September 17, 2010

The Vampire Diaries "Brave New World" Review

Who doesn't love an awesome carnival in a television episode? The carnival storyline that dominated Heroes in their last season was intriguing. In true Heroes fashion, of course, the storyline barely developed and, when it did, it was revealed the writers barely thought out the motivations of the villain. Kring and his staff must've watched Carnivale and thought "wow that's a cool premise...let's steal that." Essentially, the carnival plot crashed and burned; however, the Fall Thaw carnival-esque festival was delightful on Everwood. Carnivals are awesome.

Last night's episode of The Vampire Diaries, titled "Brave New World," spent the bulk of its time in a carnival. The carnival had nothing to do with the story outside of Elena's desire to feel like a normal teenager for once (echoes of Buffy Summers); meanwhile, Caroline woke up a vampire after Katherine killed her. The werewolf story continues to progress at a snail's pace. Maybe Kevin Williamson is reluctant to dive into the world of werewolves after his own werewolf movie bombed with critics and audiences.

The A story of the episode was Caroline's new un-life as a vampire. I have one word to describe the development: awesome. The previews were awesome and the story was awesome. Candice Accola played Caroline's transformation in a unique way, unlike most actors with a character who becomes a vampire. It was a mixture of confusion, bewilderment, primal/vampire behavior with emotional confusion because of the emotional turbulence the transformation creates. She knocked it out of the park, and she's a wild card. Damon wanted her dead immediately, citing the unpleasant way the Vicki Donovan thing went down. Stefan sort of agreed with his brother but took Elena's side. Caroline killed her first human in the episode. She learned how to compel. Her memories of what Damon did to her returned. Caroline might be a dangerous, awesome vampire if anyone crosses her; however, she might be a vampire who behaves like Stefan. The writers transformed Bonnie from a character who did very little in the first season into a completely engaging character. Williamson promised every character would have a worthwhile arc. The man and his staff have kept their words.

Once Bonnie discovered her friend is a vampire, she nearly killed Damon. TVD doesn't play games. The pacing of this show is insane. Bonnie promised she'd kill Damon if bad things happened. She kept her word. The only reason she didn't was because Elena asked her to stop.

Meanwhile, Jeremy almost went through with his plan to kill Damon for revenge. Jeremy changed his mind because he doesn't want to be like his father and uncle. Damon and Jeremy even bonded yet again. Those two have gone back and forth. Sometimes they hate one another because Damon does something evil, then Damon acts like a big brother and helps Jeremy.

The other significant story was the werewolf story with Tyler and his cousin. I'll reiterate the story is progressing at a snail's pace but should finally make significant progress next week. I just didn't care though. The True Blood werewolves story destroyed my tolerance for werewolf storylines.

In other news, Damon became the leader of the council, Katherine has disappeared but remains a threat. Alaric is still MIA despite his prominent role in the finale.

Overall, the episode was awesome. It was fun and entertaining. I loved the A story.

Some other thoughts:

-The last scene was cheesy. Stefan brought Elena to the top of the ferris wheel because she wanted to feel like a normal teenager. The CW-ness of the series shined through there. Not a fan.

-The scene between Caroline and Damon after she killed her first human and when he told her he would kill her was great. The way it was shot, written, acted. The makeup department did a great job with Candice Accola.

-Brian Young wrote the episode. John Dahl directed "Brave New World."


"Our Mrs Reynolds" Written By Joss Whedon

This a Firefly episode. It's one of the funniest scripts Joss has penned. Joss is one of the best writers in the business so, go ahead and read a Whedon penned script. A potential reader doesn't need to know anything about Firefly to enjoy reading this script.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Foot: Man Vs. Wild--Extreme Desert

The desert is always an interesting place for Bear Grylls to go. The man does anything for water and food in the desert. He once used the stomach of a camel as shelter. He took on a hive of bees for honey which led to the infamous swollen face after a bee sting. Fun times for Bear in the desert.

The latest episode of Man Vs. Wild finds Bear in the Mojave desert in the United States. The episode is the sequel to the episode when Bear and his crew created different survival situations for him such as the avalanche, icy water and the infamous glissade incident that nearly killed him. In the desert, Bear endures a sandstorm, a flash food, angers a rattlesnake and plays with scorpions in the darkness. Bear doesn't experience any near deaths. As always, here are the highlights:

-The opening of the episode is one of the best in the series. For the first time in his life, Bear prepares to skydive from 30,000 feet. The air temperature is -45 degrees at that altitude. His eyes could freeze immediately without goggles. Nitrogen bubbles could knock him unconscious twenty minutes after the jump without proper oxygen intake before skydive. The show missed a golden opportunity to reenact the dramatic, intense skydive scene from Point Break. If one man would jump from a plane without a parachute like Johnny Utah, he would be Bear Grylls. In the interest of safety, Bear doesn't follow in Utah's footsteps. Bear jumps and absolutely loves the feeling of falling so fast through the sky. He is euphoric as am I because THAT is how a Man Vs. Wild episode should open. Also, he jumped into -45 degree temperatures and landed in the desert heat.

-The first challenge is a man made sand storm. As always, Bear wants to demonstrate proper survival methods to take. My first thought when I saw the large cloud of sand move closer and closer to Bear was, "I would run the other direction." On cue, Bear tells the audience that running is a bad idea because sandstorms can be miles long. The storm will inevitably cover a person. The smart thing to do is wait. Find shelter even if the shelter is small. Bear uses a broken car door. The difference between the wind underneath the car compared to the wide open is 50mph. Bear instructs to cover your mouth with a shirt because the easiest way to die in a sand storm is through suffocation. After the sand storm ends, Bear plainly tells the camera that he hates sand as he spits sand from his mouth and rubs sand from his clothes, hair and forehead.

-The second challenge is a flash food. I'll admit to being surprised by the two big challenges happening in the first twenty minutes of the show. The second half of show suffers because of the front-loading of awesome challenges. Anywho, the crew has three tanks of water. Together, 90,000 tons of water are going to come at Bear and his tent. Only Bear would sit in a tent with 90,000 tons of water targeting him. He explains that LESS water can move an entire SUV. Bear must be aware of rocks as well. The water is soon dumped but the water doesn't hit Bear directly because he set up camp AWAY from where the bulk of the water would go. His tent gets taken out though. The flash food looked FUN rather than scary, sort of like a water ride at Dorney Park. Bear loved skydiving and sort of enjoyed the flash food. This is like an episode when Les Stroud was on a desert island, eating fruit, fish and having a fantastic time.

Also, before the water was released, Bear said he felt happy, then added 'as happy as one can before 90,000 tons of water hit them.' One of the great sentences from Bear Grylls.

-Bear wore special snake boots to track the speed of rattle snake biting the foot of a human. The rattle snake can bite in .5 second which gives a person no chance to defend since the body takes 4 seconds to react and a second or two to process the danger.

-Bear played with two scorpions in the desert. By play, I mean he wore protective gloves and poked at their stinger. If you saw any previous desert episodes or an episode of Survivorman in the desert, you know scorpions are dangerous but the greatest source of food in the desert. The two guys always ate scorpions. Les cooked them and Bear ate them raw.

-The final challenge's signifcance was lost on me. It involved a difficult climb. I think Bear wanted to show off his expert climbing skills. Also, he said he feared heights. This is the same guy who climbed Everest twice and just jumped out of a plane that was flying at 30,000 feet in the beginning of the episode.

Another solid Man Vs. Wild. Next week is the season finale.

The week two NFL picks should be up in a bit.


Community--"Pilot"--Written by Dan Harmon

It's only 34 pages. I estimate the read time to be around 20-22 minutes. Half-hour comedy scripts are different from hour long drama scripts as well as feature length screenplays. Dan Harmon's an awesome writer and Community's great. Go ahead and read it.


The Foot: Review of Terriers---"Dog and Pony" plus Screenplay of the Day

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="550" caption="Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James"][/caption]

Usually, a TV series' second episode delves deeper into the central character of the show. Terriers' second episode, "Dog & Pony," does exactly that, revealing in more detail the complicated man that is Hank Dalworth. He is a recovering alcoholic who was dishonorably discharged from the OBPD because of his conduct and alcoholism. Hank continues to attend AA meetings. After the assets of Lindus freeze, leaving Hank without money for his down payment on the house he once lived in with his ex-wife, he seems near the edge of drinking again. If not that, he's terribly bothered by the impending marriage of his ex-wife to her fiance. Hank's a man who self-medicates the pain he feels; however, he does not return to drinking this episode.

The sadness and loneliness he experiences in his personal life does not translate to his professional life, or rather, his life as an unlicensed private investigator. The episode opens with he and Britt being questioned about the Lindus case. Everyone thinks Hank and Britt planted Lindus' gun. They did but they refuse to say they did. This refusal incites the rage of Hank's former partner who calls into question Hank's ability to be a cop. So, Hank and Britt take an arrest warrant from the office with a $5,000 dollar reward for finding the Montal--the fugitive.

The case has a few twists and turns. Montal is wanted for a armed robbery of liquor store but he was also a key man in a robbery job at the horse track; however, he's mostly innocent. The case exists to show that Hank remains a great cop even though he isn't paid by the OBPD to be one. The oldest rule in creative writing is show, don't tell. We could've heard Hank's former partner, other members of the force, their lawyer buddy talk about how Hank was the greatest cop they'd ever see before he fell apart. Shawn Ryan and Jed Seidel as well as Ted Griffin, Tim Minear and the rest of the writing staff adhered to the oldest rule in the creative writing rulebook. Interestingly, Hank is doubted by everyone who isn't Britt, Katie and the individuals he helps when he's working a case. Gretchen, the ex-wife, reminds him again and again that he can opt out of the house because she doesn't think he has the money to afford the investment. Of course, he can't afford it but that's not the heart of the issue. Likewise, his former partner and Reynolds warn him to stay clear of Montal after Montal kicked their butts because they think Hank lost his ability.

Hank earns a victory over his old colleagues because he solves the Delmar Window case in 24 hours. The police were stumped by the case for three months. Hank lets Montal walk free and Britt gives him the dog he and Katie bought in the last episode. Hank feels small yet again when he goes to the house to give Gretchen a check for the down payment. He imagines the two are together like old times before reality sets in. She's getting married and he's going to be alone in the biggest reminder about their life together. This won't go well.

Some other thoughts:

-Britt gets a tarot card reading from Montal's girlfriend and she tells him a dark presence is going to mess up his life. Hank's former partner, whose name I again forget, warns Britt that Hank will let him down at some point--intentionally or non-intentionally. Britt thinks the dark presence is his dog but, no, it's not. Personally, I wouldn't trust the girlfriend's reading but the scene foreshadows trouble ahead for Britt and Hank.

-Britt and Katie get Winston, the dog from last week he and Hank took from the laundry lady's ex-boyfriend. Both dogs are great. Winston is a character though. But the other dog was adorable. Dogs are awesome.

-Donal Logue was very good in this episode. Shawn Ryan & Jed Seidel wrote the episode. Clark Johnson directed "Dog and Pony." Johnson's a veteran of Shawn Ryan series. He also directed a few Wire episodes.

-I'm a huge fan of the show so far. The ratings haven't been great so I recommend anyone reading to check it out. You can find episodes on iTunes, OnDemand and Amazon Video OnDemand. Next week episode has gotten terrific reviews. I'm guessing Tim Minear penned it and he always writes quality scripts. Hopefully, he directs too.

The Man Vs. Wild write-up will be posted in a bit.


2002 SUPERMAN draft by J.J. Abrams

Superman fans, see what could've been if they went with Abrams screenplay. Abrams' writing style is awesome.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Foot: Hellcats Episode 2 Review AND POINT BREAK/RED DAWN

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Ashley Tisdale and Aly Michalka"][/caption]

Any television show ever created in the history of planet Earth has had episodes devoted to relationships between children and their parents. Execution is everything in television because so many stories have been done and so many variations of a story has been done. Boy Meets World did terrible episodes about the troubles between father and son. Did Cory have a legitimate reason to be angry at his father? No. Of course, Boy Meets World created a storyline, invented the history on the spot so their emotional father/son episodes never worked.

The second episode of Hellcats deals with family relationships, particularly mother/daughter relationship. No, Gilmore Girl fans, the relationships don't resemble those crazy Gilmores.

The pilot established the trouble Marti had with her mother. The reasons were poor, the motivation forced and the emotional impact of the relationship was lost because of the so-so acting from Aly Michalka. Marti's mother is a goofy, eccentric woman who harms Marti in zero ways. She doesn't insult her verbally nor physically. Marti is annoyed by her mother's lack of responsibility; however, Marti's mother is the sole reason Marti is even in Lancer University. In the past, Marti's mother acted too enthusiastically at gymnastic competitions, which played with Marti's head. This episode resolves the conflict between the mother and daughter. Marti eventually learns that she has to move past the effect her mother has on her. After all, her mother is innocent. She loves her daughter very much and has crazy ways of showing it. This is the same woman who brought an entire house a fancy dinner of ribs--a college aged house. The woman should be beloved. And yes, she is beloved by everyone in the house for the gift of ribs dinner. Anywho, at least the writers were aware enough to make the mother, whose name I obviously forget, the sympathetic figure in this story.

Meanwhile, we learn more about the character of Savannah. She was home-schooled all of her before she transferred to Lancer. Her old college, Methodist Christian (I think), is pretty much owned by her family. Savannah says she betrayed her family when she transferred to Lancer. The family issues surface at qualifiers, after her sister suffers an injury. We find out the deeper emotional truth that her family thinks Savannah betrayed her faith and God. Savannah chooses the Hellcats over group prayer on a Saturday morning. The decision appears to be the last straw between Savannah and her family. Quick tangent now: why is every fictional religious character opposed to forgiveness? If any religious character is offended in an episode, the last thing they do is forgive. As for the episode, the writers did such a poor job of developing the family dynamics of Savannah's family that the whole storyline fell flat on its face like her sister did during the cheer. Maybe the writers wanted the audience to see that parallel. Savannah's story allows the writers to involve the character in many zany and cliche stories because she's a sheltered daughter of a religious family who is free of their control and influence. I'm sure she'll be pregnant by February sweeps.

Marti and Savannah are, nevertheless, united by their issues with parents. Savannah helps Marti overcome her mother issue. And, well, Marti doesn't really help Savannah at all. The antagonist of the show, Alice, becomes an after thought after the Hellcats win qualifiers, securing the scholarships for every Hellcat; however, Savannah says the work gets tougher and the ease of winning qualifiers was a cakewalk. Of course, the male character with no personality makes a remark about the word cake walk. I suspect the writing staff of the show is unaware of the history cake walk but I understand the show is merely using the popular expression for accomplishing something with ease.

The director and the wardrobe people love Aly Michalka's breasts. Lots of time spent and clothes worn accentuating her chest. I'm not complaining because she has an awesome body. It made the hour bearable.

Overall, this show really isn't for me. I'll write about next week's because it looks awful but I might use the opt-out clause I gave myself in the preview for this. I didn't enjoy this episode at all. Ashley Tisdale remains delightful though.

The Foot is action packed tomorrow. My Terriers review will be posted as well as thoughts on the latest Man Vs. Wild and NFL picks. There's a good chance I write four entries tomorrow.


Point Break By W. Peter Iliff

You'll notice James Cameron's name if you click on the link. I researched Cameron's involvement in Point Break. Besides being Bigelow's husband at the time, I haven't found any. Anywho, since I don't trust people to click on the link, I'm quoting the best part of the screenplay--the introduction of Bodhi:
A LONE SURFER slashing through the pilings of the pier. A

real kamikaze run as the whitewater walls thunder behind


SILHOUETTED against a crimson sky and backlit spray the

figure pumps among the pier pilings in a frenzy of motion

that is somehow balletic.

Laying out bottom turns, torquing his body and blasting

the lip a few times, moving so fast his long dark hair

stands straight back as if he were leaning out a car

window on the freeway.


That's Bodhi. They call his the


Utah watches as THE BODHISATTVA gets vertical with a snap,

trims down the volcanic wall, carves the bottom, pivots,

pumps to the top, gouging the lip, getting six feet of


Gawkers HOWL and shout praise at the manic surfer.


The modern savage. Guy's even

crazier than you, Johnny Utah.


They start to walk. The sky darkens as the sea finally

closes out completely. The Bodhisattva seems to levitate

through the shapeless mush to shore.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Foot: Season Finales & CBS Premiere Dates

Pilots, season premieres and finales are a mixed bag. The majority of shows usually write themselves into a corner by season's end, no doubt leading to disjointed finales in which very little resolution actually happens. Rather continue writing with vagueness, I'll clearly state that I am referring to Alan Ball, his crack team of writers and their clusterbleep of a show called True Blood. The show is an amazing three for three with horrendous finales. The latest finale featured 87 cliffhangers. Stories appeared out of nowhere. The various plots that were established were never resolved or dropped. The werewolves storyline received tremendous hype before the season began but the writers lost interest in werewolves by episode six. The second half of the season accomplished nothing really and the finale even less. This show cannot possibly be nominated for an Emmy when shows like Treme and Sons of Anarchy are ignored by the Academy. True Blood isn't even the best vampire show on television.

Today is CBS Preview Day. I shouldn't even call it a preview because I'm entirely unfamiliar with CBS programming. The press releases are junk and independent bloggers cannot get near press materials for networks. So I'm taking a page from every television blog/website on the interweb and delivering premiere dates for returning shows with, perhaps, a comment thrown in.

The Big Bang Theory returns September 23 at 8PM

I implore any fan of comedy to watch Community rather than The Big Bang Theory. If you like the show, DVR it. I have no interest reading news like Big Bang Theory crushes Community in the ratings, resulting in the cancellation of one of the top comedys on the air.

Criminal Minds returns September 22 at 9PM

CSI returns September 23 at 9PM

Justin Bieber guest stars in an episode or two. The CBS wants that CW demographic. I think Bieber's episode should end with his hair cut. His handlers probably wouldn't allow the hair to go because it is a marketing tool but the hair is terrible. Even worse, Tom Brady's adopted that hairstyle.

CSI: Miami returns October 3 at 10PM

The 9th season. Why? Who is watching this?

CSI: New York returns September 24 at 9PM

The 7th season. Again, I ask, why? Maybe audiences respond to the weekly presence of Lt. Dan in their household but Lt. Dan is nothing without Forrest Gump.

The Good Wife returns September 28 at 10PM

How I Met Your Mother returns September 20 at 8PM

If you want to watch a season of television in which nothing happens for 24 episodes, netflix the fifth season of How I Met Your Mother. If you missed season five of the show and are a fan, don't worry about catching up. You didn't miss anything. The two showrunners characterized the season as "stand alone" because of the plethora of stand alone episodes in the season. Stand alone episodes allow the characters to start fresh every week, meaning there is no continuity to worry about. It's lazy storytelling. The showrunners promise actual plot development and episodes that matter in season six. Jennifer Morrison's signed on for some episodes. I'm a huge Jennifer Morrison fan so she is enough to pull me in for another season. Plus, she has to be involved in the mother plot. Amazingly, though the show is about Ted meeting the mother, the mother plot made zero progress last season except for one small thing: Ted saw her foot. Last season sucked.

Medium returns September 24 at 9PM

The Mentalist returns September 23 at 10PM

NCIS returns September 21 at 8PM

NCIS: Los Angeles returns September 21 at 9PM

Rules of Engagement returns September 20 at 8:30PM

Survivor: Nicaragua premieres September 15 at 8PM

Two and a Half Men returns September 20 at 9PM

Undercover Boss returns September 26 at 9PM


SCREAM by Kevin Williamson

Get into the early Halloween spirit by reading Scream, the movie that saved the horror movie genre in the late 90s.


Monday, September 13, 2010

The Foot: Beyond Survival w/Les Stroud--San Bushmen PLUS Screenplay of The Day

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="463" caption="Credit:"]Credit:[/caption]

Beyond Survival with Les Stroud remains a work in progress through three episodes. In last week's episode, Les struggled to put his personal stamp on the episode. I assume Les wants his own personal stamp on an episode because such a stamp exists in this episode. With the Sea Gypsies, he was a bystander because he lacked a translator. The communication lines were non-existent. The episode struggled for an identity outside of the premise for the show.

The third episode aired on Discovery is a much better effort from Les Stroud and his crew. In Malaysia, he lived with a large village. In Africa, specifically Namibia, Les lives among the San Bushmen--the oldest tribe in Africa and considered the first people of South Africa. The San Bushmen Les lives with for a week reside in the Kalahari desert. Their way of life is threatened by a number of factors: loss of land, lack of interest by the younger generation in learning survival skills, and the overall threat of assimilation that the modern world presents.

Unlike the previous two episodes, when the show drops the viewers immediately into the culture and the environment, the first ten minutes follow Les' journey to the village. The dunes of Namibia are beautiful. Les spends a few minutes walking the dunes as all sorts of cameras film the dunes--angles from the helicopter, from faraway, close-up. Les follows a very ancient path to the village. The markings on the sides of rocks inform him the direction of water or a village. It takes Les and the crew a full two days to arrive in the village. They travel along flat dirt roads or flat smooth surfaces or grassy trails. Namibia is a flat place.

The most improved aspect of this episode compared to last week's was the focus. Les spent the majority of the episode with a small group of San hunters on a hunt. The extended time with the San allowed for a story to develop naturally rather than a story concocted in post-production through narration.

While the San are in the process of extracting honey from a beehive, using the same method the Veddas used, a San tells Les that his son and brothers do not know how to hunt or extract honey. The hunters are a small group. Besides the threat of the modern world, one wonders how the tribe will continue to live as they want when these males one day pass away. The skills aren't being passed from generation-to-generation like they were long ago. The San Bushmen are a patriarchal bunch so much so that the roles of women were never clearly defined by Les because the San wouldn't speak much about the women in the village. Once the honey was collected, the men ate the honey immediately. The honey extraction happens once a year because of the cycle of bee life; however, each year, the men never return with honey to the village. The honey isn't for women and children. Les doesn't know why.

Following the consumption of honey, Les joins the men for a hunt to find the village food. Before the hunt begins, a poison is created from varying ingredients with elements that aren't toxic until mixed together. The process can be long. The San Bushmen must be careful because an antidote to the poison doesn't exist. The San Bushmen credit their knowledge of the ingredients and the concoction to the ancients they can communicate with during the trans-dance. The tribe uses poisonous arrows to kill large game. The poison kills red bloods, decreasing the level of oxygen in the body until the animal dies from asphyxiation. San Bushmen will track their prey for over 70 miles until the prey succumbs to the poison in their body.

The hunt is an arduous process. Hours are spent walking the lands, surveying the lands, evaluating the tracks in the ground. The hunters then follow the tracks and the trail until they find the place where their desired prey lives. There are an abundance of holes in the desert. Leopards hide in the holes and will leap and attack someone who crosses in front of the hole. Black mambas and other poisonous snakes live in holes as well as very large spiders. Large porcupines live in holes. The porcupines are the target.

Two porcupines can feed the village for a number of days. The village, often, eats only once a day--usually, small portions of rice that neighboring villages offer. Two porcupines are big catches. A member of the San Bushmen will dig into the hole to scare the porcupines into leaving from the other side of their hole where other members await with small spears. The hunt succeeds without anyone being harmed. The men eat small portions of the porcupine to restore their energy because their hikes are long. Water is scare, obviously, so they have to get creative to find clean water. The search for water isn't shown in this episode though.

The San Bushmen believe in the power of the spiritual world. Communication with the spiritual world occurs through the trans-dance. The trans-dance is a long dance that sends its dancers into a trance state of being in which the ancients communicate with them about survival. Les wants to communicate with the spiritual world; however, despite dancing uncomfortably in front of the camera, Les isn't strong enough to enter the state of being required to communicate with the ancients. The shamans dance for over ten hours. A man with no arm, because he injected himself with poison after feeling shame for beating up another male in the village, enters into a trance for the first time in his life after years and years of seeking that spiritual world. The experience makes him a Shaman.

Overall, the third episode of the series is the best yet. Visually, the cameras captured some amazing shots of Namibian twilight, starlit sky and dawk. I've never seen so many stars in my life.


In this economy, seeing many movies isn't cheap. If you're like me, you have no problem reading screenplays rather than watching the actual completed film. If you prefer the visual experience, you probably don't enjoy reading screenplays. I hadn't seen Insomnia so I simply read the script last week. Good times. Today, I have TWO screenplays to recommend:

1. \"Crush\" By David Fury

This is a television screenplay. TV scripts have different structures, are broken up into acts. If you're an aspiring television writer, TV scripts are great pieces to study in preparation for a spec. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer scripts are great to read because the writing is so good, especially this one from David Fury.

2. Inception by Christopher Nolan

Many people have seen the movie, discussed the movie, theorized about its meaning. NOW read the actual screenplay.


About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.