Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lost Girl "Oh Kappa, My Kappa" Review

"Oh Kappa, My Kappa" felt like homage to those late 90s early Buffy and ANGEL episodes. Now, I want to limit the comparisons between Lost Girl and Joss' shows for the obvious reasons, namely because Buffy and ANGEL are two of the greatest shows ever produced. Lost Girl is very fun, but I'm not prepared to claim its future alongside the Joss' two shows. Michelle Lovretta's script had the same self-awareness as Kevin Williamson's Scream. The evil frat and/or sorority storyline's been used throughout the years by genre shows. Mutant Enemy-wise, I immediately think of "Reptile Boy" and "Help" (even though "Help" is set within high school, but it follows the same beats of the evil college fraternity storyline). Lovretta probably knew the audience would consider itself smart enough to know the twists of the episode before the twists happened, or she, too, tired of the same old in genre television, so she chose the Scream route, and wrote a terrifically fun 42 minutes of TV.

The episode opened as a young college co-ed ran through the dark Canadian woods away from some menacing figure we couldn't see, as it was a POV shot. Later, the co-ed awoke in a damp hole in the ground, where another hole in the ground lay mere feet from her; a creature in the hole caused a disturbance in the water, slowly climbed from the hole, and tried to INGEST our co-ed from where she sat. The young co-ed crawled behind a rock where the creature couldn't reach her because of its chains. The creature looked like a monster from season one of Buffy, which operated on a shoe-string budget and aired on the almost-invisible WB network. I've no idea what the budget for genre TV is in Canada, but I assume Lost Girl operates on a shoe-string budget. The creature's lair looked like a set from old Buffy as well, and that just warmed my genre geek heart.

Of course, a young co-ed doesn't voluntarily move into the residence of a creature. Indeed, she went missing, and somewhere someone needed to find her. Kenzi surprised Bo with a pamphlet detailing Bo's Private Investigative Services. Bo resisted the business at first because several of the facts were plain lies, but Kenzi's persuasive powers won the day. Kenzi reminded Bo about her succubus nature, added that she, herself, is a thief and therefore unemployable. So Bo and Kenzi meet with Gina's, the missing co-ed, mother, even though they won't earn much coin from the case. Again, my genre geek heart was warmed by the existence of a supernatural private investigation company complete with clients unable to pay much for services. All that was missing was a morose vampire with a soul and Cordelia Chase to enthusiastically pursue money; of course, Bo settled in nicely as the Angel to Kenzi's Cordy. Bo took the case regardless of payment while Kenzi fussed and pouted in her chair.

Gina pledged a sorority and was two days away from rush, or something (I lost all respect for fraternities and sororities the day a frat opted against filming a commercial because of a moderate drizzle; therefore, I will not research the ins and outs of a frat/sorority). Bo and Kenzi travel to the college to investigate. Bo disguises herself as a security guard. Kenzi's given the duty to go undercover as a sorority hopeful. There are several red herrings throughout the story. The girls don't allow certain people into a room. The dean of the university used to be a kappa. The college has a history of covering up disappearances and other crimes to maintain its excellent reputation. The head of security is sort of controlled by the dean of the college. All signs point to the sorority as evil and using new pledges to feed its supernatural creature in the locked room

Of course, Bo and Kenzi SUCK at their jobs right now, which is awesome. Lovretta was able to subvert expectations whilst remaining true to her characters. Bo and Kenzi, literally, just began work as private investigators. Of course they're going to be terrible at their jobs. Kappa Omega Beta locked that room because it was for the new pledges' post-rush party. I adored the time spent on a complete red herring. The kappas descended a stairwell in red robes, chanting Latin, and I thought, "Here we go: some "Reptile Boy" style camp is about to go down," because "Reptile Boy" followed evil frat guys who fed a reptile-like demon co-eds. I was wrong, and I tip my hat to Michelle Lovretta for a genuine surprise.

Bo's boss, the security guard, is actually the man responsible for the missing co-eds. The dean never controlled him as much as he never pursued leads and kept the dean in the dark. The security guard murders the dean before he kidnaps Bo. The security guard's reasons for murdering young co-eds is an issue of eternal youth. The fae produces a water that stunts the aging process. In exchange, the security guard feeds the fae young women; it's a terrible and morally bankrupt deal. Bo kicks ass in that dank hole in the ground and saves Gina's life.

Meanwhile, we learned a bit more about Dyson. It turns out the Light know a great deal more about Bo than they're letting on, including Dyson. Dyson's also a player (or playa), which broke Bo's heart, because she already fell in love with him after their first 'healing' session. The healing session led to my favorite moment in the episode, which was Kenzi excitedly dancing for five seconds. Romances are never simple nor easy in the world of genre television. Bo and Dyson's relationship won't be of the stuff dreams are made on. I should mention that Dyson's a shapeshifter, just like Sam in True Blood, so that's LAME.

Other thoughts:

-I read the Lost Girl forum on TWoP last week. Apparently, I'm the lone Kenzi fan in North America. Kenzi's dancing delighted me; more so, though, Ksenia Solo's line delivery delights me. She's a ball of energy with an infectious way of saying things. I'd probably listen to anything she said to me.

-Faes have joined the Dark to take revenge on the Light. I'm unsure if I'm looking forward to a big mythology episode or dreading it. The Ash and Morrigan were fairly lame in the "Pilot."

-Michelle Lovretta wrote the episode. Paul Fox directed it.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Alcatraz "Cal Sweeney" Review

Network television's not a hotbed for original, inventive and creative television. JJ Abrams' series usually were more inventive and creative than your run-of-the-mill network crime or action drama; his last few productions have been more run-of-the-mill than inventive though. Established TV writers advise aspiring writers to write what they know AND to put a new spin on an old story, because pretty much every story's been told and told again AND told again. In other words, everything's familiar now and a series' quality can be judged by how the writers twist the familiar into something new. FOX advertised the hell out of "Cal Sweeney." Okay, I embellished a bit. FOX just made the episode look like a twist on a very old story, but it wasn't, and I think this will be the last time I write about Alcatraz.

"Cal Sweeney" made one aspect of Alcatraz crystal clear: the final scene will be the most interesting part of any episode. The 1960s flashbacks of the prison and the present tense investigation of those old Alcatraz criminals are rote narratives with a mix of semi-compelling and tertiary characters. The adventures of the criminal, Cal Sweeney, did not keep one riveted to the action in the A story. Cal Sweeney's a more sadistic and soulless version of Sawyer, but without the quips and any sort of likeability. Sweeney went from bank to bank, opting against taking anything valuable, killed some folk, and acted generally more violent than he needed to, considering what he went to the banks for.

The flashbacks offered insight into our criminal-of-the-week though. Sweeney ran a laundry business, in which he managed to make significant sums from the inmates unable to pay for their laundry on the day-of. E.B. Tiller, the deputy warden killed in the "Pilot" by Jack Sylvane, wanted a take from Sweeney's business, but Sweeney wouldn't meet the 50% he wanted. Later, the guards ransacked his cell. Sweeney loses his mind when a certain item is missing from his cell. Together with his protégé, they hatch a plan to cater a birthday dinner for Tiller, with the endgame being retrieving the missing item (or something) from Tiller's. The missing item is essential to understanding Cal Sweeney. The missing item is, in fact, a tin box with nothing inside, like just like the character that is sadistic and soulless.

Initially, Cal committed the same crimes that landed him in Alcatraz. Sweeney robbed people of their items in safety deposit boxes, any kind of personal memento. Sweeney in the present took things one step further by visiting a person he robbed and then demanding to know the whole story for why an item's so significant it's hidden in a box inside of a safe. The writers dropped this aspect of the story by the half-way point, though, and shifted into 'police needs to PROTECT the sadistic and soulless criminal.' The shift in tone is noticeable, but it's necessary, because the initial Sweeney story was going nowhere; his behavior's never explained either, though it's suggested the brutal incident with Tiller altered his frame of mind and violent tendencies.

But anyway, Rebecca and Hauser need to protect Sweeney because of their super-secret underground Alcatraz project. Rebecca snuck into the bank Sweeney held hostage to break him out, which is an interesting place to go in a procedural. Perhaps a cop needed to save a criminal in a procedural or two before, but I've never seen it. I felt excited by the fresh direction of the narrative; however, the episode immediately returns to rote procedural narrative. Sweeney puts a gun to Rebecca's head once more and forces her to drive and yada yada until she one-ups the villain by knocking him unconscious by crashing her vehicle. Hauser takes him to Alcatraz where he demands the item Sweeney stole from the bank, which is a key that opens a door to something subterranean and possibly time-travely.

Now, I barely wrote about the three main characters. Rebecca, Diego, and Hauser were given zero character development in the entire episode. I've read interviews with writers, or listened to podcasts, in which they'll obsess over the difficulty of making the audience care about a character who we'll never see again. Well, I'd tell television writers to quit fretting over it, because I'm way more interested in the characters I'll watch every week. The time devoted to the 1960s is worthwhile because one senses answers lie in the past. "Cal Sweeney" introduces a mysterious 'hole.' Dr. Lucy's given a scene in the flashback in which she outlines her work--she planned on re-wiring the memories of the prisoners to change their natures. I suppose one cannot have character development and significant serialized progress in the same episode, even though the greatest genre shows successfully combined both in their episodes; of course, Alcatraz is really just a procedural disguised as serialized fun.

I won't lie: the series could morph into something awesome. The groundwork's being laid, which is the boring part, but I wouldn't be surprised if the series shares more in common with Fringe, eventually, than Criminal Minds. The dominating procedural element needs to disappear for this happen though. I probably won't be around to review it, if it does morph into an awesome show, because this will be my last Alcatraz write-up for a bit. February sweeps begins next week.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Once Upon A Time "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" Review

Mirrors are the dominant motif in "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree." Sidney Glass, the former Mirror on the Wall in fairy tale world, is the central focus of this episode. The episode tracks how he became trapped in a mirror, as well as his undying devotion to Regina/The Evil Queen. Of course, there are problems with the episode: it is predictable and lazy, first and foremost. I feel like I've seen all the writers can do with the fairyback format as well. So far, the fairybacks have been origin stories entirely centered around the idea of love, be it romantic love, paternal love, or fraternal love. I'm okay with the consistent theme of love, but the execution of each story's similar, as if the beat sheets don't change except for settings and character names. I do not fancy this series, friends and well-wishers.

Once Upon A Time's laid it on strong since its pilot. OUAT is one of those shows where one feels the crew, and/or the ABC executives, perceive the audience as complete morons, unable to identify the themes of the episodes. Thus, "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" opens with a shot of Henry gazing into a mirror. Later, Sidney Glass repeats how he plans on showing the town who Regina really is. The fairyback contains several moments in which Regina, or the Genie (Sidney), looks into the mirror whilst sitting in front of a BIGGER mirror. I'm surprised no one looked at their reflection in a lake ala Narcissus and fell in. So this episode is about identity and cracks in the mirror, only the audience truly sees the clear reflections of the characters, because the actual characters aren't privy to all of the information.

Regina and Sidney Glass constantly manipulate their own identities in front of the townspeople. Regina's the noble and benevolent Storybrooke mayor, someone who spends $50,000 on a new playground for children, whereas Glass is the recently shamed ex-aide of the mayor, who seeks Emma out for some good old fashion revenge; however, Glass is still Regina's puppet, which ties into his origin story in the fairy tale world. Regina successfully manipulates him, Emma, and the whole damn town just as she manipulated the genie in that other life before the curse descended upon them all. Regina manipulated Sidney Glass because she's the only who remembers how devoted he once was to her, and how the natures of these characters haven't changed; the characters just don't remember why they feel the way they do.

Regina created a ruse for Sidney to execute. Regina's been jealous of Henry's biological mother since the day she decided to remain in Storybrooke. Sidney approached Emma about potentially devastating evidence to Regina's image. Apparently, Regina used $50,000 for personal use. Emma resisted the temptation to stoop to her level though, because she made a promise to her son. However, Glass showed her pictures of herself and Henry at the castle. Emma decided to attack. The attack failed though. Regina proved the money went towards a new playground. Regina then used Emma's actions to ban Emma from seeing her son. The episode concluded with a scene between Regina and Sidney; a reveal the two worked together the whole time. I saw the 'twist' coming from the first moment Sidney and Emma met under the bridge because Once Upon A Time is very predictable.

Sidney's a bad dude, too, though I'm indifferent towards the character. The fairyback told the story of his first months of freedom from life as a genie. The man wanted to find True Love. King Leopold used his three wishes to give the genie his freedom, as well as give the third wish to the genie, who later used the third wish to ALWAYS be by Regina's side. I've written about the old 'show and don't tell' rule before, but I'll reiterate it: SHOW and don't tell. The Evil Queen and The Genie's relationship happens off-screen. The only important part is, I suppose, the Genie's devotion to her because it informs his decision to betray the man who gave him his freedom; his love for her also reveals the true nature of The Evil Queen, or in other words, shows us that one lone incident didn't transform her into a soulless succubus but, rather, that she never had a soul; that her plan always involved the death of King Leopold, regardless of his affections for his first wife and how they made her feel. Most importantly, she used Genie/Sidney to achieve something entirely different from what he thought. The point: she's a manipulative bitch who disregards everyone but herself in both worlds.

There are questions to ponder. Obviously, the $50,000 for a playground defense is a load of shit. Regina's illegal doings were protected from the first frame of the episode. So, then, what is the $50,000 for? Our mysterious stranger, whose name escapes me, stole Henry's book. In addition to writing, he plans on doing "stuff" while in Storybrooke. Who is he really and what are his plans? Now, I'm not particularly interested in the answers to these questions, but these are the questions posed by the episode.

Other Thoughts:

-Emile de Ravin returns to our television screens in two weeks in Once Upon A Time's adaptation of Beauty & the Beast. ABC advertised her as LOST'S Emilie de Ravin. I adored Ms. de Ravin on LOST. That is all.

-Ian Goldberg & Andrew Chambliss wrote the episode. Bryan Spicer directed it.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

'I Will Kill You With A Boat': The Trials & Tribulations of Young Love in Teenage Melodramas

I was a dumb teenager. I once called a girl a lesbian in freshmen year because she didn't feel the same as I. I tried to amend the insult by arguing that I meant THESPIAN. Of course, I insulted her on AOL Instant Messenger, which made my argument about lesbian vs. thespian seem bogus. Surprisingly, the girl didn't ignore me for the rest of high school, even though she had every right to; in fact, she not only remained friendly but, indeed, went out of her way to be nice to me. One time, after math class, she signed my hand because 15 year old me thought it gnarly for a beautiful Slavic girl to do that. One summer, when I moved past my affections for her, we hung out with a good friend of mine, as well as my then-current crush, her best friend. I felt like I'd been transported to a WB Teen Drama. But the day didn't end dramatically. Old crush was impossibly cool and down-to-earth whereas then-current crush wildly disappointed me. There were no sweeping monologues, or overwrought displays of emotion. No. My friend, Pete, and I took public transportation home.

The WB teenage drama became the bane of my teenage years though. Indeed, I watched Dawson's Creek and Everwood. I watched Joss Whedon's awesome supernatural dramas, Buffy & ANGEL, on DVD. The portrayals of these teenage characters, as written by male and female writers in their mid-to-late 30s, or their 40s, were terribly influential. I thought the key to any girl's heart were sweeping monologue and overwrought displays of emotion, or a heartfelt letter comparing one's looks to a golden sunset on a summer. If things went wrong, I thought it normal to flare nostrils and gesture wildly with my limbs (I never actually behaved like this). Life isn't a teenage melodrama though. While high school can be melodramatic, it does not resemble a series penned by a group of well-off writers in Hollywood. No, high school is BORING. School dances rarely had the drama and excitement of a Dawson's Creek prom episode.

Today, I present a sort-of list of the pitfalls of the fictional teenage character on a teenage melodrama, or, rather, a how-to-date guide for fictional characters. I'll track the relationships of various fictional characters from first meeting through the inevitable dramatic break-up in front of the entire class, or on a beach where both characters are somehow reverential in spite of the break-up.


Everwood's Amy and Ephram met when Amy needed Ephram's brilliant neurosurgeon father to operate on her comatose boyfriend. Dawson and Joey met as children and reenacted Spielberg films together. Pacey and Joey met through Dawson Leery. Angel initially stalked Buffy before properly introducing himself as a cocky and arrogant dude. Spike and Buffy met when he tried to kill her and everyone she loved at PTA night. Surprisingly, the Dawson's Creek characters met in the least dramatic way. Amy was a complete flirt and tease when she introduced herself to Ephram. The girl complimented his purple hair! Ephram stood in the hall, mouth agape, unsure which direction, his world thoroughly EXPLODED because Amy Abbott talked to him.

Stalking and deception worked for the majority of the characters listed. Indeed, a dramatic entrance will only entice the person a fictional character's interested in. For example, I watched ABC Family's The Lying Game on Monday night. An attractive woman with dirty blonde hair had a dramatic conversation with her boyfriend. We learned about the boyfriend's lies and deceit. The boyfriend blamed the girl's dad for killing his mom during surgery. The boyfriend moved to the new town, under a false name, intentionally met the girl, all in hopes of revenge against her father. What isn't dramatic and over-the-top about that meeting? THAT's how you meet the girl of your dreams, friends-and-well-wishers.


One could use the nonsense term 'predating' for this category instead of courtship. This is the period of time before the first date. In some cases, the characters take several seasons to have a first date. Other times, they don't take several seasons. It all depends on the show runner, and the writers, to determine how much time they want to waste before coupling two characters that are destined to be with one another.

The two vampires of the Buffyverse, Angel and Spike, were different during the courting period with Buffy Summers. In the case of Spike, no courting happened, because he was a soulless vampire. Spike's idea of romance was taking Buffy to an abandoned house, chain her to the wall, and not let her go until she confessed her deep, romantic feelings for him. Angel ascribed to the old adage about honesty being the best policy. "Angel" concluded with the iconic image of Buffy's crucifix burned into his chest after their first kiss. Angel revealed his vampiric nature to her, and after three acts of freaking out Buffy decided she would trust Angel. The tortured lovers kissed and a legendary romance began.

The first season of Dawson's Creek is about Joey's pursuit of Dawson Leery (I wrote about the entire season during the summer of 2011). I argued that Williamson portrayed authentic teens despite their sophisticated vernacular. Joey's completely passive-aggressive with Dawson. Dawson's absolutely clueless, too wrapped up in Jen Lindley to give his childhood friend a second glance. Whenever Joey tries to be honest about her feelings, she became choked and unable to. Dawson, such a student of subtext, completely missed the subtext of whatever Joey said. It's not until Dawson sees Joey compete for the Miss Windjammer competition that he sees Joey as more than just a friend. Meanwhile, in season three, Pacey and Joey's paths to each other is quite different. I'll just write this: there's a wall, ballroom dancing, and a sailboat.

Amy and Ephram's roads to one another were complicated. Colin Hart, Amy's boyfriend, emerged from his coma. Colin died at the end of season 1. Amy fell into a depression. Ephram wanted to be a good friend to her, but he acknowledged that he couldn't be whatever she wanted him to be, because it hurt him. For example, in "Blind Faith," Amy and Ephram went to a diner milkshakes. Ephram learned that Amy came to him after her friend blew her off for a boy. Ephram flipped. They later danced at a wedding, but Amy told him she couldn't be what he wanted her to be. Ephram met Madison. Amy met Tommy. Both relationships didn't work out. One night, in early spring, Ephram and Amy traveled to Denver. Ephram knew that Amy liked him. He contrived a situation where Amy had to be honest. Amy sniffed out the plan and felt hurt and embarrassed that he'd be so careless with her feelings. Ephram, once again, FLIPPED OUT, and yelled that 'You've played me....well, NOW I PLAYED YOU!"


Of course, Amy and Ephram got together two episodes later. On a sun-drenched day in fictional Everwood (real location: Salt Lake City, Utah), their first date happened on the top of a mountain. Ephram prepared a picnic, complete with tuna sandwiches. Ephram and Amy have an honest conversation that concludes with a kiss and a RELATIONSHIP.

Dawson and Joey's first date is sort-of disastrous. I wrote about the episode during the summer. Joey's neurotic about their second kiss because her sister, Bessie, talks up the second kiss like it's something so monumental that the date will rise or fall with it. Jen, whose grandfather died the night before, transformed into a clingy ex-girlfriend. Joey was PISSED. Dawson, that do-gooder, tried to appease new girlfriend and old girlfriend, and nearly derailed the night in the process. Dawson took Joey to the Rialto on its final night where they watched The Last Picture Show, a film Dawson will eventually use to make Joey feel guilty in a third season episode. Joey's also regretful for bypassing an all-expenses paid trip abroad to Paris to study. The first date ends well, though, after Dawson treats Jen horribly. Dawson praises the French for their kissing method. Dawson and Joey then makeout as the camera's disgustingly close, which leaves NOTHING to the imagination. In sum: their first date had the necessary melodrama for a fictional teenage romance.

Angel and Buffy don't have a traditional first date. I'd argue their dates consisted of slaying vampires late at night in the cemetery, followed by long kissing sessions and polite conversation. Spike and Buffy never dated. Spike took advantage of Buffy's state-of-mind and self-esteem and engaged her in sadomasochistic sex in abandoned houses, and in clubs. Their relationship was unhealthy whereas Angel and Buffy's relationship was healthy, except for the period of time when he lost his soul and brutally murdered some of Buffy's friends, as well as verbally abused his former beloved.


This section could be novella-length (it won't be). When doesn't something go horribly wrong on a teenage melodrama, or an awesome show about a vampire slayer? There are six seasons of Dawson's Creek, four seasons of Everwood, and seven seasons of BtVS, which means plenty of shit went wrong for our couples.

Relationships go horribly wrong in Dawson's Creek more oft than not. Dawson and Joey broke up in #206 after Jack kissed Joey. Dawson and Joey reunited in #220, only for Joey to break Leery's heart in #222. In #301, Joey tried to seduce Dawson, but he rejected her. Joey ran from Leery Manor in embarrassment. When Dawson wanted to be with Joey again, she wasn't available, and then vice versa. Their drama became unbearable and frustration. Not once did the character behave with class when something horrible went wrong. Usually, Dawson berated Joey in front of their whole school at a dance; he basically called his childhood best friend a heartless harlot. In #320, Joey confessed her feelings for Witter. Dawson told her that she'll need to choose between Pacey and himself because he won't be a consolation prize for Joey when Pacey breaks her, which HE WILL DO. I'm going to write about this scene at length in several months. I'll just say that Dawson resembles a serial killer throughout the horrible display of emotion. In season five, Dawson's father passed away. Dawson BLAMED Joey Potter for the death, because if she hadn't called him in #501 then he wouldn't have come to Boston; he wouldn't have gone to Capeside afterwards; he wouldn't have used the last of the milk, forcing his father to make a milk run late at night. Dawson is a bastard.

Ephram never reacted well to anything horrible happening between him and Amy. Ephram never used his inside voice with Amy. After Ephram's onslaught of noise and words concluded, Amy stood tearfully, visibly shaken by Ephram's tone, or her own selfish behavior which hurt Mr. nice guy E. Brown. Ephram's worst outbursts never involved Amy though. His other girlfriend, Madison, told him about their baby, who was given away for adoption. Ephram didn't know about the pregnancy until it was too late to influence any crucial decisions. Ephram berated Madison, then his father, before breaking up with Amy. He sold every piece of expensive music equipment to fund a trip through Europe where he aimed to clear his head and re-assess his life.

Buffy killed Angel when he lost his soul. Buffy tried to kill Spike on several occasions. In season three, after Angel returned from hell, he and Buffy grew close once more; however, their future wasn't promising and he left for a life of atoning for his past in the city of Angels.


The important high school dance is a staple of melodramas. Dawson's Creek used the dance setting in five of the six seasons. Everwood used the dance setting in 2 of 4. Buffy used the dance setting in 1 of 7 because Joss Whedon wasn't writing a teenage melodrama.

Dawson and Joey had dramatic moments in four of the six 'dance' episodes. In season 1, they danced a wonderfully choreographed number; it was the only time I ever thought Beek and Holmes had good chemistry. #206 is a seminal episode in Dawson's Creek because of the break-up. None of the characters actually dance. Dawson yells at Joey. Joey looks anguished. Dawson punched Jack in the face. Season 3's "The Anti-Prom" was about an anti-prom arranged by Dawson Leery because Capeside wouldn't let Jack bring a male date to the prom. However, Dawson never gave a shit about Jack--it was just an event he could use to make Joey feel really bad about not wanting to date him. At one point, Dawson's storming away from the anti-prom, with Joey following him, and he turns around and breathes fire at her, shouting, "HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!?" Holy shit, Leery, settle the bleep down. Season 4's "Promicide" featured less homicidal Dawson Leery but more of a terribly cruel Pacey Witter. Witter's teardown of Joey Potter is included in a From Autumn To Ashes song. Like Dawson, Pacey blames Joey for all of his problems. I'll just show you the ugly scene:

Joey's the heartbreaker in season six's 'dance' episode. Joey bonded with her professor's teenage daughter. The teenage daughter's school needed chaperones for the high school dance. Joey and Pacey agreed to chaperone. Now, both were wandering back into 'something' with each other. They just spent an entire night locked inside of a K-Mart where they rekindled old feelings. Unfortunately for Pacey, EDDIE returned to Boston. Joey cannot resist tertiary characters portrayed by Kate Hudson's brother. At the dance, Pacey and Joey slow dance together. Joey uses the dance to break Witter's heart. She LEAVES him MID-DANCE.

The dances in Everwood are more joyful. Amy's nice to Ephram. There are no insults. The one 'dance' episode of BtVS is sentimental and sweet. Buffy's given the 'Class Protector' award. Angel shows in time for Buffy's perfect prom moment--a dance.


Break-ups are messy, especially in Dawson's Creek. The end of relationships in Everwood were quiet; Irv usually provided beautiful narration following the end of a relationship. Amy found comfort in her family and friends. Ephram handled it with grace and class. Dawson's Creek is an entirely different story. Dawson tries to murder Pacey after a break up; Joey ALWAYS looks anguished; personal property gets destroyed; folk imbibe; guilt trips happen.

Of course, Dawson's Creek is the lone melodrama I wrote about today. Everwood is actually a family drama, but had elements of melodrama. Relationships aren't portrayed much differently from what I wrote about today, on television (the exception being the Taylor marriage in FNL). In sum, the behaviors of those in love on television drams are mostly reprehensible. Never act like them in your day-to-day interactions with people and spouses.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lost Girl "Where There's A Will, There's A Fae" Review

"Where There's A Will, There's A Fae" introduced viewers to a different kind of fae. The pilot introduced the important faes to the mythology--the dark faes and the light faes--but not all faes are created equally, not all possess the same makeup and ideas about how faes should co-exist in the world. The fae world's fragile though. Bo's supposed to behave herself, avoid killing humans for food, and keep clear of anything that might infuriate The Morragan and The Ash. So, what does Bo do? Our badass heroine takes on an essentially innocent fae's case because he promised to tell her information about the parents who abandoned her. A semi-origin story ensues with fun and energetic action.

Bo's lived her entire life in the dark about her actual nature as a succubus. The old adage about the difficulty of killing old habits is apt for Bo in the episode. Bo needs to control her hunger and the use of her power lest she anger the more powerful faes. Bo TRIES to behave. Her and Kenzi spend the initial minutes of the episode buying furniture and hardware for their apartment, or loft; however, a fae randomly appears in their apartment accompanied, whose entrance is marked by a burst of green fire. The fae is Will (for the Will O' The Wisp re the fire). Kenzi and Bo are freaked. Will cuts to the chase lest he be killed by the kiss of Bo. A chest of expensive diamonds and jewels was taken by a man and the fae wants his treasure back. Bo resists until Will proves he can tell her what she wants to know about her parents.

The incentive's enough to spring Bo into action. Kenzi helps her investigate the trail of the treasure thief. The adventure's fun and energetic. The beats are familiar, but they're executed in an original way. Bo and Kenzi seem aware of the tropes they're involved in. For example, Bo and Kenzi break into the thief's trailer and find an open phonebook to the page of a diamond store, circled in pen ink. At the diamond store, Bo tries to be an undercover agent, but she's not good; she then uses her hands and threatens him to learn the information she needs from the store owner. Later, a headless assassin with a hard-to-remember-name-and-therefore-difficult-to-spell-because-my-memory-fails-me storms into the room where Bo and the thief are. Outside, in the car, Kenzi's reaction is apropos, "oh crapballs," especially because she witnessed the assassin remove his head before entering the room. Lost Girl can be wild, friends and well-wishers. Bo's similarly nonplussed by the intrusion. Kenzi rushes from the car to the room, grabs a broom handle, and hands it to Bo. Bo snaps the broom handle in two and uses them as two stakes to kill the assassin. Lost Girl is an endearing series when characters react like most people would to a headless assassin freely entering a hotel room to maim and destroy.

The case-of-the-week, or whatever one wants to call it, was about the complicated relations between a fae parent and a human child. In general, though, parental relations seem difficult in these crazy universe of Lost Girl. Bo's biological parents abandoned her as an infant. Trick told The Morragan and The Ash that he'd investigate Bo's origins last week. I, too, am interested in the depths of the fae world, its rules and the psychology behind questionable parent roles.

The treasure thief was none other than Will's biological son. Michael, the son, felt anger and resentment towards his father for abandoning him and his mother when he was born. Will calmly explained the complicated rules and dynamics of fae and human relations. Will didn't have a wealth information for Bo; it was more or less about what I wrote in the previous paragraph. Kenzi conveyed the most disappointment when she saw Will took the swag (treasure) when he and his son disappeared into thin air. We weren't going to learn about Bo's parents from a tertiary character anyway. I thought the writers handled Bo well in the episode; her semi-origin tale gave Bo emotional depth, and her case allowed the writers to show her off as a badass heroine once more.

The battle between the light and the dark faes earned a few lines of dialogue. Through Trick, we learned that a war between the sides has been imminent for a millennium. The faes have a bar they congregate at (It's basically Caritas from ANGEL). The faes are miserable bastards though. Bo needs to formally accept her nature or something to be accepted. Kenzi's by her side at the bar later and the scene briefly transforms into the dream-world of Inception with the pissed off subconscious glaring at anyone who's not the dreamer. Bo claims Kenzi because Trick tells her to; now, Bo's responsible for Kenzi's safety.

Lost Girl really is quite a silly show but I think I already love it. Ksenia Solo's presence no doubt makes me want to watch each week. There's a whole lot of pure genre fun, like headless assassins and tertiary characters with fun personalities. Next week's an episode about Bo and Kenzi attending a sorority college, which seems very awesome.

Other thoughts:

-Bo doesn't want to kill people in order to feed herself. At a trailer park, she would've killed a tertiary character if not for Kenzi's interference. We saw one pissed off succubus when Kenzi messed with her dinner. I'm certain we'll witness more I-will-suck-your-soul-out-of-your-body anger from Bo.

-Dyson came over to heal Bo. The healing session was more physical and sexual than your average trip to the pharmacy for antibiotics and band-aids and anti-infection cream.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Alcatraz "Kit Nelson" Review

Jennifer Johnson wrote "Kit Nelson," the new show runner of Alcatraz after the creative shake-up announced by Abrams in November. Whether or not Jennifer Johnson was on staff prior to her promotion is unknown to me. I doubt that she was because she ran Chase, but, of course, show runners will join staffs as executive producers and run the room and stuff. I digress. I'm just wondering whether "Kit Nelson" is a reflection of the show we'll see week-to-week under Johnson's direction. If so, I'm looking forward to it. "Kit Nelson" is a good episode of television.

No shows are alike in their initial batch of episodes. Some hit the ground running. Others take several episodes. A select few take at least a season and the first few episodes of its second season to figure out the right formula. I don't know how long Alcatraz will take to find the right formula for its storytelling. Perhaps "Kit Nelson" is an example of the kind of episode we'll see throughout the season. The Alcatraz-prisoner-of-the-week storyline was decent. The rest of the episode explored and developed each of the three characters in a significant way.

Kit Nelson is the Alcatraz prisoner of the week. Nelson went to Alcatraz after a series of child murders in which he kidnapped his victim and returned him home within 48 hours of the kidnapping, but the victim was a corpse. Diego heard about a missing 11 year old on the police scanner, darted to his files, and figured out Kit Nelson's back kidnapping children, ready to return them home as a corpse. In this case, the kidnapped child is Dylan, an innocent comic-book loving youth. Kit's a weird dude. The 48 hour period between the 'napping and the murder is full of activities such as fishing, dining on cherry pie, and taking in an old movie at the local cineplex. Diego and Rebecca can't figure Kit out. Emerson's still the mysterious ex-Alcatraz officer who knows more than the other characters, so when he cancels an Amber Alert, it infuriates Diego and Rebecca.

The cancelled Amber Alert temporarily threatens the dynamics of the group, as well as the future of the group. Diego, or Doc (as he's called), flips out at Emerson for hurting their chances of finding the kid alive before the 48 hour period ends. Emerson calmly explains the delicate nature of these cases, considering the suspects should've died years ago. Also, the suspects haven't aged a day since 1963. Emerson tells his partners to imagine how the public, and the media, would react to a photo of a man who shouldn't be alive and kidnapping children in the present. Doc stormed off. Rebecca reminded Emerson about their need for Doc's expertise of all-things-Alcatraz. Predictably enough, tracking down time-traveling criminals isn't easy or smooth. One's morality is at stake when caught between a secret Federal operation and the life of an innocent boy. Unfortunately, Emerson isn't given much screen time; he's a man close to breaking in whatever scene's he in because of the condition Lucy's in. Rebecca easily convinces Emerson to NOT break ties with Doc.

The drama's relatively scant for the rest of the episode in regards to the group. Doc and Rebecca work together. The duo track Kit and Dylan down twice. The second time's the charm as Dylan followed Doc's earlier advice: Don't Give Up. Dylan broke a light in a sewer cell and took off through the jungle. Rebecca and Doc corner Kit. Kit threatens the boy's life. Emerson shows up from nowhere to shoot Kit in the head. We learned one other thing about Emerson: he doesn't care if the prisoners are dead-or-alive at Alcatraz.

The end is intriguing. I never wrote about the twist at the end of "Ernest Cobb," involving Lucy. "Kit Nelson" ends similarly. The Alcatraz doctor looks the same in the present day and continues to work on the patients brought to him. Emerson probably knows about Lucy's from 1963, or he's completely clueless and happened to hire the same doctor. I don't know enough about the show to speculate about its future.

Alcatraz is certainly an interesting show. Again, I'm curious about the ultimate identity of the show i.e. the week-to-week format. The procedural element's not terrible. The dynamics between the characters is strong. If the show devoted more time to the characters, it'd be a stronger hour each week. The procedural aspect dominated the storytelling. Usually, procedurals aren't interesting enough to write about in detail.

Other thoughts:

-The Alcatraz flashbacks are cool because they provide insight into the villain of the week. The second best scene of the episode happened between the Warden and Kit. The Warden wanted to learn the truth about Kit's crimes. The flashbacks were specifically about that truth. The Warden frightened Kit into telling the truth with the threat of confinement in a small room devoid of light.

-The best scene of the episode was the chase through the woods. Jack Bender directed the episode. Bender was an executive producer of LOST. The scene reminded me of a great LOST jungle chase scene, including the music. Alcatraz should be visually terrific every week with Jack Bender running that part of the show.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Once Upon A Time "7:15 A.M." Review

"7:15 A.M." is the next chapter in the romantic saga of Prince Charming and Snow White, and Mary Margaret and David. The title refers to the time of day both would sit in a coffee shop just to see one another, though both were unaware of each other's reasons for being in the coffee shop. The moments of bliss and serenity were non-existent in the episode. "7:15 A.M." is about how painful love can be, how it's a disease that can rot you from the inside out, and how there's nothing one can do to stop one's feelings from hurting so much.

Once Upon A Time wants the relationship between Snow White and Prince Charming (and their Storybrooke counterparts) to be an epic love story. After all, the fairy tale's among the most famous love stories of all-time. From a young age, children watch the Disney animated film. Prince Charming kisses his one true love on the mouth and restores her to life. From a young age, we're brainwashed by Disney about what to expect from love; that it's all about feelings and how we're in little control over those feelings; that the feelings that we feel for a specific person was destined to happen since the day we were born; that when we meet our soul mate, we'll just Know. And, really, it's a nice and simple idea. Adult women will openly declare their desire to meet their own Prince Charming (though no male every longs for his Snow White, which says alot about the demographic of Disney fairy tales and this show). The phrase 'falling in love' is what people say about their spouses. Popular culture's dictated a specific rhetoric for love, romance and relationship. Our most famous stories are responsible this, and Once Upon A Time isn't about to turn their show into a thoughtful meditation, or study, on what love is. Kitsis and Horowitz probably stated their desire to tell the complete and unforgettable story of how Prince Charming and Snow White got together. So now we're witnessing the story unfold.

The action in the fairy tale world begins soon after James agreed to marry Midas' daughter, Katherine. The future of the entire kingdom rests on this marriage. King George presented James with an expensive crown. James reacts with derision and disgust. Couldn't the crown feed the entire kingdom for a year? King George turns James' moral thinking around and states that Midas' wealth will feed the entire kingdom, once James and Katherine are married. James' honor is the problem. King George demands James forget about Snow White. Nobility isn't supposed to be easy, King George says, and it requires sacrifice. James understands the reasons why the marriage needs to happen, but he insists on pissing off the King by speaking openly about his affections for Snow. When George flatly tells his fake son to forget about her, James sends her a message of love via pigeon.

Snow White, meanwhile, wants to forget about James completely. She tells Red, aka Little Red Riding Hood, that she's been unable to get David out of her head. Red tells her about what Rumplestiltskin's able to do with magic. Red's confident the imp can create an anti-love potion. Snow met with Rumple, who went on about how miserable love is, and then cut a deal with her for the potion. But Snow received the message from James seconds before she drank the potion. She went to the castle, but ended up in a prison with Grumpy the dwarf. Stuff happens in the prison, but I've no interest turning the review into a recap (which it's dangerously close to), so I'll cut to the important, but contrived, stuff.

A story about tortured lovers makes for great drama. I'm thinking of the story of Tristan and Iseult (and not the lousy adaptation starring the girl from Gilmore Girls), specifically, even though the Snow White-Prince Charming story bears little resemblance to Tristan and Iseult. Romeo & Juliet’s another celebrated story of tortured lovers. The difference between these classic tales of tortured romance and the OUAT story is the quality of the stories. Tristan & Iseult is a great story; Romeo & Juliet is a great story; OUAT's Prince Charming & Snow White story is NOT great. The couple will have their shippers, of course, but even The Cape had its shippers. Anyway, their separation isn't contrived in the fairy tale world; its medieval setting makes things easy for the storytellers because it was impossible for people to meet their soul mates. James can't be with Snow White because of a dowry. It sucks for the characters, but it makes sense, and it's fine drama.

The contrivance occurs at the end of the fairy tale storyline. Snow White's broken-hearted because King George told her the truth about James' duties. King George threatened to murder James as well, which would be upsetting for anyone in Snow's shoes. Grumpy, the dwarf, helped her escape from prison. Snow returned the favor by saving his life. So she's alone, crying, walking back into the lonely forest, and the dwarfs join her. The 8th dwarf, sleuthy, died stupidly running away from armed guards after they ordered the escaped prisoners stop. The dwarfs identify with Snow's sense of loss. Doc says, 'now we are seven,' which made me think of Wordsworth's famous poem, but Doc's line and the poem aren't related; I won't spend the rest of the review comparing them. The scene with the seven dwarves was quite sweet, though, especially the advice Grumpy gave Snow about dealing with pain and loss. The next scene we get is an amnesiac Snow White: she drank the bloody potion. Say it with me, friends and well-wishers: PLOT CONTRIVANCE.

The story in Storybrooke reminded me of a LOST island story. In LOST, a character went on an Island journey of self-discovery (it was awesome), and returned to camp a slightly renewed individual. Mary Margaret's still heartbroken about David. One day, she finds a hurt bird, takes it to the vet, and learns the bird needs it's flock before they migrate again. The bird might suffer the same lonely fate as Mary. Mary embarks on a journey to return the bird to her flock. David joins her. There's a ton of conversation about how both hurt because they can't be together. A brief plot device about Katherine's pregnancy is thrown in, but she's not pregnant, so Mary and David hook up. The resolution didn't have the catharsis of a LOST Island journey of self-discovery nor the quality. Regina watched from her car, displeased.

I think it's difficult to make the same exact story work in two different stories. The Once Upon A Time writers, as talented as they are, aren't close to cracking the code for successfully telling the same story twice in an episode. There are minor differences between the two tales, but not enough. Snow White the Amnesiac is a contrivance because it's a lazy way for the writers to show her destiny with James--just think of the entirety of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. This story will unfold like THAT story.

Other thoughts:

-Emma and Henry were interested in the leather-clad stranger who rides a motorcycle. The stranger didn't answer many questions, but he opened the mysterious wooden box. A typewriter was inside, which confirms he's not only a writer but a pretentious writer. I'm interested in learning more about the character though.

-I have questions about the curse. We know characters can't leave Storybrooke. Other folk can't enter the town. Mary teaches in a grade school. How many children can possibly exist in Storybrooke? The town's the size of a TV set. Also, how is a convenience store continually stocked? How will a delivery man drive into the town when it's impossible? I'll ask more of these questions later.

-The second paragraph in which I comment on popular culture's opinion of love is related to a book by Erich Fromm's The Art of Loving.

-Daniel T. Thomsen wrote the teleplay. Kitsis and Horowitz got the story credit and a sizable paycheck for that credit apart from the money they receive as creators and show runners. The story by credit seems like such a farce. I thought Lenkov was the lone dude who gave himself the story by credit. Anyway, Ralph Hemecker directed it.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Grimm "Of Mouse And Man" Review

Grimm desperately needs an over-arcing story, whether it involves the ancient history between Nick and the creatures from fairy tales, or Nick's desire to open an ice cream shop and then franchise it. "Of Mouse and Man" created some forward momentum. There are mustard seeds of a significant arc planted. The front-nine of Grimm's completed, so hopefully the rest of the season is different from its first nine episodes. Grimm's told effective creature-of-the-week stories, though not consistently. The story about Marty, the meek mouse who learns a mighty roar, is horrible. The previews for the episode spoiled the twist a week earlier. The time wasted on red-herrings sunk the episode.

As always, the problem with Grimm and procedurals in general, is the amount of story given to the least interesting story in the episode. I understand the reason the least interesting part of procedurals are given the most time, because the main character's profession dictates he/she and his or her team spend the bulk of the episode doing their jobs, impressing the audience with their ability to get the job done, especially if the main character plays by his or her own rules, which describes 99.3% of the protagonists in procedurals. The character stuff's relegated to the bench. Maybe 10 minutes, at most, is given to character development scenes, or relationship development, or any kind of development, including the development of an arc.

Monroe and Nick's fiancée, who's so forgettable I need to research her name on Google, are involved the development of the over-arcing story for a run of episodes, if not the rest of the season. The stories are different. Monroe's attacked by a group of reapers. Nick's fiancée’s freaked by an ugly truck parked outside of their house. A man and a woman sit inside with a camera and binoculars. Once they see Juliet watching them, they drive off. Later, Juliet sits outside the couple's house. The woman is playing with her two children, sees Juliet, and immediately rushes into the house and closes the blinds, frightened. Word about the presence of a grimm in town’s seemingly spread in town since the refrigerator repairman opened his mouth in the bar. Nick's been identified as a threat. Monroe's stated the facts about the various creatures: most are harmless but there are groups who are dangerous, like reapers and lausenschlange. Juliet's story isn't about any immediate threat to her or Nick. The voyeurs are curious and cautious. Juliet's story offers the certainty that Nick's two lives will merge, sooner than later. And that is good.

Monroe, on the other hand, is involved in the story that involves violence. Monroe's been breaking the mold, going against the grain, not playing by the rules set centuries ago, etc, and he's not interested in changing his lifestyle or decision-making just because a couple of tough and scary group of reapers sent him a message about the mistakes he, a Blutbad, made working with a Grimm. Monroe tells Nick this when Nick offers Monroe an out. Nick smiles and the unlikely partners drink a beer together. The reaper business isn't the only potentially intriguing plot point up in the air. The Capt. Renard angle hasn't been re-visited in months. The 7-10 minutes of episode devoted to serialized plot/character moments are actually interesting and compelling enough to keep me around week after week. I trust David Greenwalt tremendously, as well as the talented group of writers working on the series, even when they break a story as bad as this week's creature-of-the-week tale.

Basically, the creature-of-the-week story was a reversal of the underdog story. The tropes of the underdog story were used. Marty, the Mausehaut (or mouse), is a weak and timid individual. Other men bully him. Marty's been taking care of his ill father while pining for the woman across the hall. His biggest bully is Mason, a lausenschlange (or snake), a bigwig lawyer who treats people terribly. Marty realizes that he needs to create the change he wants in his life, so he murders his father. Another twist happens in the final act. We learn that Marty murdered other people because he kept seeing his father's face, haunted by a dead man. Before that, though, Marty had the moment-of-triumph has in every underdog story, except it's darker because of the whole murdering thing. It's the moment in the episode when we learn the truth about Marty. I appreciate what the writers tried to do. It's refreshing when a show tries something different with a story that's been told many times before, but it didn't work. The concept itself was different but the execution wasn't original or interesting.

Grimm's actually a series the American public should embrace. Procedural dramas are the most popular TV shows on television. I truly hope Grimm aims to be more than a procedural. I hope Greenwalt and Kouf and the writers have an excellent narrative up their sleeves for these next run of episodes. I'm never invested in any of the tertiary characters introduced in these one-off stories. On rare occasions, I am invested, but the storytelling and characterization needs to be masterful e.g. "Let Your Hair Down."

In sum, the good parts were far and far between, and the suck was widespread.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Secret Circle "Witness" Review

Jake and Cassie aren't the first fictional characters to use magic to access memories. Magic was used to help Faith access the memories of Angelus in "Orpheus." Faith's journey into the mind of Angelus/Angel is one of the best episodes of ANGEL because it delves into the mind of the show's most important character, and reveals layers we didn't know were there. "Witness," though, is the most boring episode of The Secret Circle. Not only is nothing learned from the trip to the past, but nothing's even gleaned, except for the confirmation that Adam's father is secretly psychotic or something. I knew my expectations were impossibly high for the boat-fire mystery. The first two acts were sluggish (with goat meat) and the pace was agonizingly slow. The only revelation: John Blackwell LIVES. Every viewer assumed such already.

"Witness" began where last week's episode left us, with Jake descending the basement staircase to make his presence known to Adam and Cassie. A bunch of important exposition ensued about the whereabouts of the witch-hunters, their plan for Cassie, and how that plan connects to John Blackwell and Cassie. The exposition IS important, but it's not interesting. Just picture characters flatly exchanging information. Jake's most important piece of information concerns the fate of Cassie. The witch-hunters council plan to burn her at the stake, like they burned Blackwell. Jake also remembers the day of the boat fire, though the most important memories are blocked. We'll learn that the only memories he has is of the deck and his parents going inside. Anyway, Cassie asks Jake for more information which is how she learns about the spell that will not only provide access to his memories of the fire, but also, transport her to THE DAY of the boat fire. Ladies and gentlemen, I present your A story.

Again, a flashback's supposed to give one insight into characters we couldn't learn about in any other device but a flashback. Genre shows love flashbacks for mythology episodes. Most flashback episodes kick ass. "Witness" didn't provide understanding or insight. The biggest criticism of Batman Begins is the way Nolan chose to shoot the fight scenes. The fight scenes are extremely close, rendering the figures indistinguishable and nearly unwatchable. I remember loud noises, loose clothing, and gray surroundings of the compound. The most important scenes happen on the boat in "Witness." The boat's full of blandly attractive CW types. I couldn't tell who was who. The sound mix might've been bad, or the writing confusing, because the conversation between Jake's parents about the location of the other circle members did not register at all. A possibly important moment happened when a younger Adam's father walked through with the witch-hunters. The camera work, as well as the editing, left a lot to be desired. Cassie told Adam about what she saw, which confused ME as much as Adam. I felt detached from the action because of the poor audio and shoddy framing. Plus, the John Blackwell 'twist' wasn't shocking. Cassie learned two things: her dad's alive and a magic necklace can protect her from the council. Also, for a third, the circle is not safe, because unnamed witch hunter slit the throat of Jake's father.

At least the trip to the past gave Jake more depth. I guess Jake's always been written with some kind of depth; however, the actor never portrayed Jake effectively. I should amend my sentence: the actor showed more depth in "Witness." This is probably the most crucial thing in the entire episode. Jake's among the top five most important characters. Acting in a genre show takes a certain kind of commitment and portrayal. This actor wandered around like he was on the set of a photo shoot, delivering his lines in a monotone with barely any expression. Now, the character is written as a sort of blank but mysterious person, but a dude as charming and magnetic as Jake's supposed to be SHOULD have more charisma and verve. Cassie's unable to resist him. Faye once fancied him. Anyway, these memories should change Jake. For once, we saw him weakened and emotional. The dude didn't even shed a tear over his brother's death. Of course, his perspective was altered; he witnessed his parents' heroism, specifically his father's; remember that he joined the witch-hunters under a completely different idea about his parents. Perhaps the episode's best thought about through the lens of Jake, who experienced growth, reformation, and possible redemption.

Diana and Adam were interested in the boat fire. They were on the sidelines though. Meanwhile, Faye spent the episode in Lee's garage. She met Lee's old friend, Kellen. Kellen's a bad dude, with hair seen most commonly in Hot Topic, with a magic habit. Faye's a dumb teenage girl, so she's drawn to him rather than repelled. I'm already tired of her arc, which feels too long at three episodes. We all know Kellen's going to become a big problem. Faye's going to do a bunch of stupid stuff because she redeems herself through making a smart decision.

Dawn, Charles Ethan were back. Dawn used Ethan to get the stone from Charles. Ethan decided to use the stone for himself. As the flashbacks tried to show us, Ethan is a potentially bad man. Anyone who constantly talks about the fates and what the stars say isn't the sanest man in the first place. Bad Ethan isn't a jaw-dropping twist. I don't care about Dawn and Charles drama for the same reason I don't care about Victoria and Conrad's drama on Revenge--both sets of characters loathsome individuals. It's time to begin bringing the characters into the same plot as their children.

The Cassie plot is the strongest yet somehow the cataclysmic boat fire had all the narrative energy of a rock. The entire episode had the same energy though. The acting was stiff, the lines delivered in a monotone, and the writing or editing confused me during the most important scenes of the episode. Of course, there is narrative momentum heading into #114. Cassie will search for Blackwell. Ethan will be a bastard. Dawn will try to kill folk. The other members of the circle will do nothing.

Dana Baratta wrote the episode. Eagle Egilsson directed it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Vampire Diaries "The Ties That Bind" Review

The Vampire Diaries consistently produce solid-to good-to great episodes. Sometimes, the episodes are slower and more prone to fan criticism, as the last two episodes have been. TVD fans are selfish though. We expect jaw-dropping plot twists and action every week. An episode like "Our Town" is great because it's a character study, but an episode like "The Ties That Bind" is great because it's a reminder of why the show earned such a fervent fan following. "The Ties That Bind" is an awesome episode. Once again, the plot moved faster than I thought it would. There were terrific character moments. The stakes were high. The action was fun. The episode concluded with a terrific surprise. I just loved the episode, friends and well-wishers.

A Bonnie dream opened the episode for the second time in three weeks. Bonnie's dreams have taken on the quality of the Slayer dreams in Buffy; the dreams are possibly prophetic. Bonnie dreamt of the locked coffin before any of the gang knew about the locked coffin. Tonight, she dreamt that she was inside the locked coffin, a captive of Klaus, and rescued by a mysterious woman who she soon recalled as her mother, the mother who abandoned her fifteen years ago. The dreams, though, aren't as prophetic (questionably prophetic to be exact) as Bonnie thinks. If Vegas took bets for fictional plot points, though, I'd wager on the prophetic-ness of the dreams. Abby, Bonnie's mother, used to possess a tremendous amount of power. 15 years ago, she lost her power the day she defeated Mikael and left Mystic Falls forever. Abby explains these things during the course of their eventful, dramatic and emotional reunion.

Klaus is first seen lounging in the Salvatore mansion, drinking and listening to a song by The Black Keys. Stefan wondered what Klaus planned. Klaus innocently stated he had no plan, not without his hybrids or the knowledge of the coffins locale. But he felt ancy, which alarmed Stefan, who immediately called Bonnie to find out the deal with her and her mother. Elena answered the phone and lied so that Stefan wouldn't interrupt a moment between Bonnie and her mom. Stefan called from within the Gilbert house and saw the information for Abby Bennett-Wilson on the kitchen table. Klaus did not, in fact, plan on spending the day listening to good music. He used his hybrid to compel Abby and Jamie, her ex-boyfriend's son, into learning the location of the coffins. The compulsion is what causes Abby to betray the daughter who just entered her life. It's after the dust settles and the danger's disappeared that Abby asks her daughter to help her find her power again.

Klaus IS a fun villain. I honestly thought the episode would be light on Klaus. "The Ties That Bind" established the A, B, and C, stories quickly. Elena and Bonnie were on a road trip to see Abby; Caroline, Tyler and Mr. Caroline were prepared to spend the day in the dank Lockwood cells (or whatever they're called) as Tyler attempted to break the sire bond; Damon and Alaric were curious about Dr. Fell. But then Klaus' hybrid approached Abby's front door, knocked, and smiled wide for Abby as the first act concluded. I quickly realized the coffin business wouldn't be resolved at the end of February sweeps, that the business would be resolved by the end of the episode.

I'm consistently impressed by TVD for the reasons stated in the introductory paragraph, but also because the series uses its structure differently than the majority of network television dramas. I'm as impressed by TVD's ability to successfully break genre conventions as I was when Joss Whedon ran Buffy, ANGEL, Firefly and Dollhouse. The structure's no different from other contemporary network shows. There's a teaser and five or six acts. TVD feels fresh in ways many other network shows doesn't. For instance, an episode about Tyler wanting his free-will and Bonnie re-connecting with her mother could've been broken differently and more dully. The writers could've milked those stories, saved the drama and action for the first episode of February, and still would've produced a solid episode of television. They didn't. The episode engaged my imagination. That's important.

The coffin business wasn't completely resolved. Bonnie warned Damon about Klaus' plan and met him in the basement. Klaus threatened the witches by threatening the Bennet line. The witches revealed the coffins, but Damon removed the locked coffin, which happened to the one Klaus wanted most. Klaus wanted to rip him apart, but Damon had leverage. Damon also removed a dagger from one of the family members for good measure. As Klaus delivered orders to the Nick Carter doppelganger, Elijah ripped the hybrid's heart out to announce his triumphant return to the land of the living. It was a truly awesome moment. Yes, friends and well-wishers, I once insulted Elijah week after week. I didn't like how he demonstrated strength and power by throwing loose change at things, nor the ridiculous his ridiculous hair style. When he returned last May, though, he was awesome. I'm now a fan.

Meanwhile, amidst the chaos, Elena and Stefan had a heart-to-heart talk as she removed wooden bullets from his chest. Elena told Stefan she kissed Damon. Stefan didn't respond, stood up and walked away in silence. Paul Wesley is a great actor who made that scene his. The scene was wonderfully written to, specifically Elena's lines. Her language changed. With everyone else, she'd say Damon kissed. However, she used the first person singular nominative personal pronoun 'I.' She said as much through that pronoun choice as she did in the actual line. Elena accepted responsibility and signified choice through free will. The choice was quite adult and mature; I wish more women were as honest as Elena in their interactions with men. Stefan apologized for his actions last week. Additionally, Stefan told Elena how important honesty is when Klaus is loose and insane. Stefan let his real feelings show when he punched Damon in the face. Some folk don't care about the triangle, yet I, a 25 year old male, feel invested in the Stefan-Elena courtship. I liked the stability of their relationship in the first two seasons. I like the lack of melodrama between them. Their scene was well-acted, well written and well directed.

"The Ties That Bind" isn't an allusion to a play or a Hemingway novel or Gone With The Wind or Faulker's As I lay Dying. Our characters are bound by ties whether it's paternal or fraternal or lover. It's a simple theme: these characters love one another and will save one another, or die in the attempt. And we saw the good and the bad of these ties tonight. Awesome episode.

Other thoughts:

-The scenes between Caroline's dad and Tyler were great. Aside from the supernatural torture aspect, it resembled how a pissed off dad would confront a dumb teenager who hurt and violated his daughter. Caroline's dad was terse to the point: either Tyler breaks the sire bond and controls his transformation or he DIES. Tyler chose the former.

-Dr. Fell isn't a deranged psychopath. That is good. Alaric and Dr. Fell were open about their lives. Dr. Fell uses vampire blood to save patients with no chance of recovery because she hates death. Alaric told her about his ring and his vampire hunting past. I'd expect some drama between these characters in the future.

-Brian Young wrote the episode. I missed the director's name.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Revenge "Commitment" Review

Emily tells us in the teaser that one's life is determined by their choices; however, one's choices are only as weak or strong as one's commitment to the choice. Emily chose to re-locate to The Hamptons, where the Grayson family resided, the very same family responsible for the downfall of her father. Emily chose the path of cold, unrepentant revenge. For the entire run of the series thus far, which isn't long, she's been a committed woman. The collateral damage wasn't bothersome enough to interrupt her sleep schedule. Everything changed in "Commitment." Bad stuff happened. Emily thought about the people she affected. A marriage proposal happened. Victoria Grayson lied to her son about how Charlotte was conceived with another man. Jack nearly died from a brutal beating, because Victoria hired a man to retrieve evidence from the room of Fake Amanda Clarke. Indeed: things happened.

Emily Clarke's conscience usually became a topic of discussion between her and Nolan. I forget when the BFFs first talked about her conscience, but the conversations always ended the same way--Emily reminded Nolan of her commitment to revenge, and Nolan shook his head and implored her to really think about the effect she has on the lives of others. We were bound to reach this point in the series. A series can sustain a singular motivation such as Emily's for so long before it becomes stale, dull, boring, etc. Emily resembled a robot. I understand the reasons for her characterization; I just felt bored by it in November. Anyway, the episode began with helpful exposition about the Charlotte-David Clarke bombshell. The exposition was written well; it was more or less disguised in substantial dialogue between Emily and Nolan about how Emily feels about Charlotte being her half-sister. The moment was crucial. Nolan's been after one tiny speck of humanity, and Emily's been reluctant to display one speck of humanity. Emily shut him down once more, stating that the Charlotte news changed nothing about her intentions to destroy the Grayson family.

The Charlotte news was just the tip of the iceberg. Whatever feelings Emily felt about her half-sister were buried deep within her mind. Emily needed to focus on the task at hand: creating chaos in the Grayson divorce and framing Amanda for the tapes/burnt house. Again, she acted without thought and people were hurt. Specifically, Conrad harshly dismissed Charlotte from his life without explanation, though he opted against severing her trust fund. Fake Amanda innocently went about her business in The Hamptons, tending bars, making out with Jack, and being completely oblivious to what her dear friend was up to. Victoria invited Fake Amanda over for strawberries and tea. Victoria resembled a spider in a web. Fake Amanda was the poor insect who flew into the web, drawn by something sweet and tasty, only then to feel the bite of a privileged Hamptonite. The purpose of tea and strawberries was DNA, but Victoria hired someone to learn more about this woman whose true identity she suspected wasn't Amanda Clarke. The hired man engaged in fisticuffs with Jack, but made off with a collection of the David Clarke tapes and left Jack a bloody mess. Emily's intentions to frame Fake Amanda spiraled out of control. Now, the man she's always loved, and the woman she swapped identities with, were in true danger. A bloodied Nolan went to Emily's house to tell her that the blood on his jacket isn't nearly as much as the blood on the hands of Emily.

Daniel Grayson proposed to Emily in the middle of the action, during an intense summer thunderstorm. The summer storm was the episode's most obvious metaphor. The clouds were thick around the Hamptons during the day. Declan and Fake Amanda specifically referred to the summer storm and how they roll into town and out of town rather quickly, indifferent whatever damage left in its wake. So Emily's the summer storm; someone who came into town with one objective, whose intensity and passion for revenge is like a supercell; the supercell is intense and violent and utterly indifferent to damage caused. Of course, Emily isn't a supercell, or any kind of weather system; she is a human being, and she can't be a summer storm no matter how badly she wants to be one. The sight of a bloody and unconscious Jack Porter affected our ice-cold protagonist. Emily initially accepted Daniel's proposal because she planned this way back when. The collateral damage altered her opinion for an hour or so. Emily wanted to take a step back, re-access the situation, and figure out how to destroy Victoria without hurting the people she's grown to care about and even love. She decided to give the ring back to Daniel because she needed time to think about whether she actually wanted to marry into the horrible Grayson family.

Emily re-committed herself to the original plan quickly though. Once she took care of Fake Amanda (by giving her a passport and money to leave the country and start a new life), and took the necessary steps to ensure the safety of Jack Porter, she vowed to re-access things; however, Daniel told her about the Charlotte bombshell. Daniel then went on a tirade against David Clarke. Victoria told her son that Charlotte's conception came from rape. So Daniel talked about the things he'd do to that awful David Clarke had he not died in prison following his conviction for blowing up an airplane. The look on Emily's face can only be described as livid but in a classy and subdued way. Emily reiterated her commitment to him, and her excitement to become part of the Graysons. As the engaged couple embraced, she glared at Victoria from her porch, with intense and hateful eyes.

Truthfully, I've been waiting for "Commitment." I wanted to watch an episode that basically let me know the writers know what the hell they're doing; that the in-media-res of the pilot's teaser wasn't meaningless. The episode concluded on several tantalizing shots; one solitary David Clarke tape beneath Jack's bed; the aforementioned Emily icy glare at Victoria; the exodus of Fake Amanda; the relationship between Emily and the lawyer we thought she despised. There's a clearer picture of why the shooting happened on the night of the engagement party. Emily was written more deeply and more compassionately. I had issues with the episode, specifically the tedious scenes between Conrad and Victoria. Both characters are loathsome. I don't care about their divorce, their past infidelities, or their future soon-to-be controversial public trial. I quite liked the rest of "Commitment" though.

Some other thoughts:

-The scene in which Charlotte tearfully came to Emily's wasn't earned. There's been no evidence she'd come to Emily's in a hysterical fit. The scene existed to, briefly, provoke the audience into wondering if Charlotte knows the truth about her biological father. She didn't. Nothing happened.

-Margarita Levieva needs to return ASAP.

-Mike Kelley & Liz Tigelaar wrote the episode. The director's not listed on imdb.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alcatraz "Pilot/Ernest Cobb" Review

Alcatraz is a series about a group of people who work together to capture inmates from Alcatraz, who disappeared in 1963 and now reappear in present day San Francisco without explanation. The series is a Bad Robot production. The promos boasted about the connection to LOST (which is now wrong). There's an island, time-travel, Hurley and flashbacks. However, Alcatraz isn't LOST-lite (Once Upon A Time IS LOST-lite). This show has more in common with Undercovers and Person Of Interest, or maybe early Fringe. The procedural element looms large. The serialized sci-fi elements are sprinkled in. The show, as a whole, needs work.

I wonder if a universal beat sheet exists for writers who pen a pilot for a procedural. The first hour, which is the actual "Pilot," hits many of the beats I imagine exist on the universal beat sheet. Our female protagonist, Rebecca Madsen, is a damn good detective. At a young age, she used to read her guardian's police files for bed time and leave post-it notes to help him solve the crime. We meet Rebecca as she and her partner chase a criminal across various roofs. Rebecca's lagging behind and watches her partner hang onto a wire for dear life because he didn't jump far enough. The suspect tries to kick her partner off, but runs when Rebecca jumps in to rescue. Unfortunately, her partner loses his grip as she tries to pull him up, and he falls to his death. The narrative jumps in time to an office where the captain insists Rebecca choose a partner. Like all fictional detectives, Rebecca's introduced with baggage, and an overarcing purpose that transcends rote cases-of-the-week.

Sam Neill portrays the rough-and-gruff federal agent Emerson Howser whose reasons for investigating the lost souls from Alcatraz are entirely personal. A young Emerson discovered the empty prison cells in 1963, and then devoted his life to the day when the missing men reappeared in the present day. Emerson transformed parts of the prison into his own laboratory. Once the men are found, they're placed into the cells they thought they left behind. The entire floor's obnoxiously lit. The set looks inspired by The Initiative set from BtVS. I digress. Emerson's a mysterious individual. Rebecca asks questions he's reluctant to answer. Jorge Garcia portrays Dr. Diego Soto, a comic book geek and Alcatraz historian. Diego's arc throughout the first two episodes is whether or not he belongs in this world, where the violence and action isn't animated and two-dimensional.

The Siberian tiger in the room is the time-travel aspect. The characters briefly talk about the craziness and absurdity of the situation. Parminder Nagra's Lucy tells Diego that it doesn't matter why it's happening, just that it is happening at all is what matters. The first hour doesn't concern itself with the sci-fi elements. The hour's easily digestible and accessible to the general public. The end of the episode is when Emerson reveals the reason why men thought dead thirty years ago have re-surfaced to murder. The second hour finds Rebecca asking questions, though she works the case regardless of what little answers she gets. Namely, she wants to know why people time-travel. One of the criminals, Jack Sylvan, refers to 'they' when explaining his actions against a rich person; however, he forgets everything else that's important to understanding the pronoun usage. I didn't expect immediate answers about time-travel. I expected even less questions asked by the characters, so I'll consider what we received a positive.

The series will sustain itself with cases-of-the-week on a weekly basis. There are over 300 men to locate and capture. Jack Sylvan and Ernest Cobb are the first missing Alcatraz men we meet. Both stories are completely different. I suppose the writers told radically different stories to show their narrative range. Neither story interested me enough. Sylvan was an unlucky schmoe, sent to prison for robbing a grocery store that happened to double as a post-office, who was mistreated by the deputy warden. Sylvan took revenge, and then forgot every relevant piece of information the characters and audience need. Cobb deserved his prison sentence. He went on rampages with a sniper rifle because he had abandonment issues. Once free in the present day, he re-lived the crime over and over again, with different victims. The series relies heavily on its procedural crime element. The two cases were as interesting as the cases on a CBS crime procedural, which is disappointing.

I'm hesitant about Alcatraz in the long-term because of the creative shake-up in November. JJ Abrams put a positive spin on matters. Of course, he's a producer and his production company wants to make some money. Elizabeth Sarnoff left the series. Jennifer Johnson and David Pyne replaced her as the showrunners. People depart shows all the time. Abrams admitted that the cast and crew re-shot parts of completed episodes, though, which makes one question the producers' confidence in their show. Don't get me wrong: there's a sustainable series here--just not a very interesting, original, or innovative one.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Lost Girl "It's A Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World" Review

Lost Girl is nice change of a pace from the rotation of shows I watch and write about. The series has been imported from Canada, where it's currently in its second season. I don't know the specifics regarding SyFy's desire to air the series in America though. I had a alot of fun watching "It's a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World." Bo, our heroine, is a sexy and badass woman who feels just fine punishing a bastard who drugged an innocent girl's drink. Lost Girl is definitely a niche show, but Syfy's a niche network. I doubt the majority of the American public knew about the premiere of Lost Girl tonight. Furthermore, I doubt this is a show for the majority of Americans. This world is full of faes, a general classification for supernatural folk; and the world's full of different fae species, as well as different sects of faes. There are bad and good faes, which means Bo can kick some ass every week, and that's terrific.

I compared the one scene I watched of Lost Girl, for the 2012 Midseason Preview, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mistakenly thought the cute blond girl would be Bo, the fae succubus. I noted how TV needs more young and empowered women kicking ass on a weekly basis. The first episode brought to mind early ANGEL and Buffy because of the dynamics between Bo and Kenzi; the faes looked like the demons and vampires from those early days of BtVS and ATS in the late 90s; The Ash and The Marrigan are two faes written with enough camp to compete with some early villains from Joss' two shows. The tone, too, felt like Mutant Enemy. Michelle Lovretta's script isn't as punchy or witty as Buffy, but Lovretta isn't afraid to let the puns roll out of the mouth of Bo or Kenzi.

"It's a Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World" involves much world-building, but it’s never tedious or boring. We meet Bo as she tends the bar at a hotel. A businessman slips something in her drink, tries to get her to drink, but she declines. Bo watches Kenzi walk in, accept the drink, and then go about her business. When Kenzi leaves, Bo follows. The businessman followed Kenzi as well, waiting for the drug to take effect. Of course, Bo saves the day by killing the businessman with a kiss; she also carries a drugged Kenzi from the scene, which establishes the essence of our heroine--a badass with a conscience.

The dynamic between Bo and Kenzi is a central part of the series. Fortunately, Anna Silk and Ksenia Solo have instant chemistry and rapport. From the moment Kenzi wakes up in Bo's apartment, the two girls resemble sisters. Commitment to the material is essential for any genre show because actors and actresses will deliver many ridiculous lines throughout the episode, and they'll be involved in ridiculous plots. Solo, in particular, is extremely committed to the role. Her reactions to Bo are tremendous. I loved how she freaked she was initially. I also loved how she embraced Bo when she realized how cool this girl is and can be. Anna Silk's just cool and badass as Bo. Bo dresses in leather and uses the power of seduction for selfish reasons. I especially liked how Kenzi tracked Bo down after she was kidnapped by two other faes; it's essential in a genre show for the sidekick, or the hero (depending on who is in danger), to rescue the other in the pilot episode. Kenzi does rescue Bo which permanently seals their bond.

Lost Girl introduced a bunch of characters--the aforementioned The Ash, The Morrigan, Dyson, Detective Hale, and Trick. All of the characters are faes. Dyson and Detective Hale are introduced in the first act as they investigate the death of the businessman. Dyson and Hale aren't solely cops, though. Dyson seemed like Paul Ballard from Dollhouse in his first scene, a cop who'd been following Bo around, unsure of her actions or her really; however, Dyson and Hale take Bo to an abandoned building early in the episode. We then meet other faes, learn about their history, and the reasons for their interest in Bo. The information isn't overwhelming. It's like Lovretta decided, "Okay, here's what this show is and if you're into it, cool, and if not, okay." Bo needed to fight two faes to prove herself. The battle scenes really, really were reminiscent of early ANGEL. Bo beat her foes of course.

"It's A Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World" succeeded as a pilot. As a stand-alone, the episode told an energetic and fun story. The series set up its over-arcing story. Specifically, the three powerful faes had a meeting of minds over how to handle Bo. They concluded someone wanted to keep her hidden. Plus, there's the issue of dark vs. light, or good vs. evil, as well. Each week will also introduce a new fae for Bo to beat up and defeat, with the help of Kenzi. I'm always respectful of a show that knows what it is, embraces it, and has a whole lot of fun. Lost Girl should be great fun.


How I Met Your Mother "46 Minutes" Review

I'm protective of Eastern Europe. Whereas the majority of Americans quiver in fear of Eastern Europe because filmmakers always used that part of the world as their setting for brutal gore-porn flicks, I see wonder and romance and impossibly attractive Slavic women. New Lily and New Marshall, two Eastern European stereotypes, were not thoughtfully developed. They were gritty, attended underground poker games in a shady part of New York City, and robbed our main characters of $200 each under the guise of the money being to get into the slaughterhouse party. Goodness gracious, though, not every Eastern European resembles the villains from a Liam Neeson action film. It is true that teachers abroad in Russia tell tales of the rude and unfriendly ways of native Russians, but perhaps we Americans are perceived as ignorant brutes who feel no need to learn another language. Maybe the Russians and the other Eastern Europeans throughout East. Europe, tired of assisting Americans in finding a bus station or ordering soup or assuming every Russian loves vodka (well Russians DO love vodka, as my former Russian language professor taught my class; she said vodka and water sound similar in Russian for a reason). Russians, in particular, have been portrayed as brainless brutes, no doubt caused by the years of strife between the USSR and the United States, but the times have changed. Russia's a radically different place, though it bears the scars of its communist past as any picture of urban Russia would prove; and when Slavic women come to the beaches of the East Coast to work in ice cream stands or pizza shops or IHOP or Bob Evans, my heart swells with anticipation and expectation that perhaps I'll meet the Slavic lady of my dreams, even if my hopes will be dashed, and my heart broken, because the Slavic gal will be unable to resist the temptations of a Bulgarian dressed way better than me, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of that weird European electronica group pulsing through floor in whatever random night club I decided to go to because of the Slavic gal's perfect cheekbones, infectious accent, and eyes like a twilight's winter sky.

So Lily and Marshall moved to the suburbs, 46 minutes away from the gang by train. The booth at McClaren's lacked a certain married couple. Ted, Robin and Barney were in a state of shock. Barney, of course, moved quickly to appoint himself the leader of the gang. The night took them to a strip club where they ran into doppelganger Lily and her hulking boyfriend. Barney immediately dubbed them new Lily and new Marshall. Ted spent the evening calling and leaving voicemails for Marshall and Lily because he missed his friends so much. Robin and Kevin were involved in early relationship stuff in which neither wanted to appear as the boring never-do-a-damn-thing person.

Meanwhile, Marshall and Lily were settling into their new home. Mickey hadn't left the city yet, so he assisted his daughter and son-in-law settle into their home. Mickey, though, struggled letting go of the house he used to live in. In each room, at each outlet, Mickey reminded Marshall about his experiences in the home. Eventually, Marshall tires of the overbearing father-in-law and orders him out the next day. Unfortunately, Marshall plugs a lamp into an outlet which causes the power to go out in the entire home. You see, Marshall chose not to listen to Mickey and paid for it. The story turned into a parody of Paranormal Activity and Gamemaster. There were funny bits throughout the story. Chris Elliott and Jason Segal are very funny individuals who will usually make something work even if it shouldn't (e.g. Elliott's entire role in Scary Movie 2). The heart of the story was cheesy (even the show poked fun at itself) about the importance of knowing one's home and one's family or something. Mickey just wanted to feel included, to belong; and Marshall just wanted to feel like a homeowner, his own man, not someone in the shadow of his wife's father. Both got what they wanted, and Mickey even created his only lucrative board game through the experience (as Future Ted informed us).

The Ted/Robin/Barney story was simple and effective. The empty booth at McClaren's represented the emptiness they felt with their friends in Long Island. There were jokes and good fun before the characters arrived at the emotional heart of their story, which was distance does make the heart grow fonder but it's also no reason for them not to see Marshall and Lily as often as they would in Manhattan. Future Ted told us that none of them would remain within walking distance of McClaren's for the rest of their lives. Indeed, as people grow and change, friends move to different areas, and nothing lasts forever; however, the place where friends meet and converse and enjoy one another's company isn't important as much as just meeting and conversing anywhere is important. As Future Ted said: the McClaren's booth didn't matter as much as just having a booth.

I thought the stories worked. HIMYM's been effective when telling these universal stories of adulthood. I'm not sure how significant "46 Minutes" will be in the grand scheme of the series though. At the TCA panel, Bays and Thomas declined to commit to an end-date. The show runners are prepared to run the show beyond the end of their current contract. If the show has 3 or 4 years left, I'd like the series to continue expanding, to move away from the bar scene and into other areas of adulthood. The characters are aging, changing, confronting parenthood and issues of marriage. They're becoming too old for the lives we watched them lead in season 1.

One other thought:

-There were two alternate credit sequences. One featured Barney Stinson as the leader of the gang; the other depicted the gang with New Lily and Marshall.


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.