Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Time After Time 1.5: You Can't and Can Change History

Time After Time was back with episode 1.5 last night - filmed at Silvercup's new Bronx studios, by the way, where I attended a great opening ceremony with Governor Cuomo speaking this past summer.

Changing the Bronx - bringing it back - is what Silvercup North is all about, just as changing history is what Time After Time is all about.  The very notion of time travel is about changing history.   Which is why Stephen Hawking talked about the chronology protection conjecture, and I wrote The Chronology Protection Case, basis of the movie you can see any time for free on Amazon Prime.

Now the theme of both, and of Time After Time 1.5, is that history - or the universe - won't let you change it.   So when John aka Jack the Ripper goes back to World War I in Paris to save his son, it turns out that H. G. doesn't have to go back in time himself to stop John - history, the universe, will do that all on its own.

Except when it doesn't.  Which, of course, can happen in a time travel story, since it's the writer, not really the universe, which/who is calling the shots in the story,  So I would say it's just a matter of time, to coin a phrase, until Wells or who knows who does manage to change something in history in Time After Time - whether in spite of or because of Wells' or John's interventions - just as Silvercup North has changed the course of the Bronx.

Meanwhile, the other story in Time After Time, which will somehow tie into the time machine and Wells, is the work of Brook and her brother. Tonight we saw her heal his wound with some kind of quick-acting DNA-relevant something or other.  That was not only cool, but promises some interesting gambits ahead.

I'm very much liking Time After Time, and looking forward to more.

See also Time after Time: H. G. Wells Back in Action ... Time After Time 1.3: The Red Heads ... Time After Time 1.4: "Mad as a Bag of Ferrets"

The Chronology Protection Case movie, now FREE on Amazon Prime

24 Legacy 1.9: The Personal

Classic 24 had certain reliably powerful tropes to ramp up the tension and action. Kidnapping a major governmental official, attacking CTU headquarters, were prominent in this 24 playbook.  Both put in an appearance tonight in 24 Legacy 1.9.

And the execution was good, in a plot in which both events are connected.   John is coming in to CTU to see and make up with his wife Rebecca.  His father had admitted working with the terrorists (though for reasons still unclear - to help John win the election, by seeming strong after terrorist attacks?).  But Naseri, the new arch villain terrorist, has broken into CTU to free last week's arch terrorist (all important characters survived the attack on the terrorist staging area last week), and Naseri lucks out and not only frees his target but scoops up John in the process.

The stakes have swung back to the highly personal - save Rebecca's husband - from the mass destruction of the concerted terrorist attacks, though some of that could still be in the works, too.   And speaking of personal, events are now drawing Nicole even closer to Isaac (they almost kiss).

Back to Jack Bauer, his tattered love life was always a staple of the original show.  My guess is we're on the way to seeing Eric's end up the same way at the end of this season.  But you just never know with anything that has 24 in its title, and I'm looking forward to the concluding episodes of this season, and to another to follow next year.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Black Sails: Penultimate

The high point of the next-to-last ever episode of Black Sails last night was when Flint shoots the guy who was about to shoot Long John, who was in the process of demanding that Flint give him the treasure, or fight with Flint to the death over it.

As in many decisive acts in this rich, multi-layered tapestry of a story, there is more than one interpretation or explanation for what Flint did.

Maybe it was out of love and admiration for Long John, which certainly had to have been a part of it.

And/or maybe it was Flint, ever quick and incisive in his calculation, knowing that Long John was of much greater value in the fight that loomed ahead, against the British and the Spanish, in Flint's attempt to create a new civilization of freedom.

In any case, it's the British attack on the pirate ship that causes Flint and Long John to halt in their duel, with an eye towards the common enemy.   This creates the right backdrop for the final episode next week.

Of course, as I've been saying all season and earlier, history and Robert Louis Stevenson dictate who will survive and not survive this last battle we'll see in Black Sails.  But I'm very much looking forward to seeing it, anyway.

See also: Black Sails 4.1: "True Friends and Mortal Enemies" ... Black Sails 4.2: Bones vs. Flint ... Black Sails 4.3: Decisive Victories and Losses - On Both Sides ... Black Sails 4.4: Chess Game ... Black Sails 4.5: Bold Moves ...Black Sails 4.6: Spanish Horsemen with Lances ... Black Sails 4.7: Jack Rackham and Fake News ... Black Sails 4.9: Flynt vs. Long John

See also Black Sails 3.1: Restored ... Black Sails 3.2: Flint vs. Sea ... Black Sails 3.3: Gone Fishin' ... Black Sails 3.4: Mr. Scott's People ... Black Sails 3.5: Alliance ... Black Sails 3.6: The Duel ... Black Sails 3.7: The Blackening of John Silver ... Black Sails 3.8: Whether Vane? ... Black Sails 3.10: Wither Vane ... Black Sails Season 3 Finale: Throckmorton

And see also Black Sails 2.1: Good Combo, Back Story, New Blood ... Black Sails 2.2: A Fine Lesson in Captaining ... Black Sails 2.3: "I Angered Charles Vane" ... Black Sails 2.4: "Fire!" ... Black Sails 2.5: Twist! ... Black Sails 2.6: Weighty Alternatives, and the Medium is the Message on the High Seas ...Black Sails 2.7: The Governor's Daughter and the Gold ... Black Sails 2.9: The Unlikely Hero ... Black Sails Season 2 Finale: Satisfying Literate and Vulgar

And see also Black Sails: Literate and Raunchy Piracy ... Black Sails 1.3: John Milton and Marcus Aurelius ... Black Sails 1.4: The Masts of Wall Street ...Black Sails 1.6: Rising Up ... Black Sails 1.7: Fictions and History ... Black Sails 1.8: Money


pirates of the mind in The Plot to Save Socrates 

Hand of God: Powerful Second

I binge-watched Hand of God - second season - on Amazon the past few days.  The long and the short of it: I enjoyed the second season much more than the first, and am therefore really sorry there won't be a third season.

The story is about a tough "hanging" judge, who has more than a God complex.  He actually thinks he's receiving directions from above - or maybe he actually is - and all of this emerges as his family and then he get embroiled in a murder-of-a-cop case.

On one level, this is a top-notch police and whodunnit story, which was a little murky in the first season but became clear and riveting in the second season.   On another level, this is a story about what is really going on in the judge's head.

The second season features him undergoing a thorough mental evaluation via a cutting-edge specialist - who finds there's nothing physically wrong or different in the judge's brain.  This rules out all the possible sources of the judge's visions, such as Lewy body (which afflicted the Mayor in another wild series, Boss) and epilepsy.

And there's also this: the judge receives directions to where his wife is, when she's in deadly danger, twice.   How could he have known where she was?

So we're left with: Is he some kind of genius, who somehow figured out where he wife was, on no evidence that we saw (highly unlikely), or is God really speaking to him?

The acting is excellent - especially Ron Perlman as the judge, Dana Delany as his wife, and Garret Dillahunt as his loyal, religiously passionate accomplice, willing to whatever it takes to help the judge.   The dialogue is snappy - with even a shot at Fox News.  And the accoutrements, which revolve around privacy in the digital age, sharp and timely.

My recommendation: see both seasons, and don't let the slightly discombobulated first get in the way of your seeing the altogether excellent and philosophically provocative second.

Homeland 6.10: Fake News!

A scaldingly relevant episode 6.10 of Homeland tonight, with dialogue that was either prescient, overdubbed, or spoken in more recent realtime than usual for a TV series, in as much as Max point blank tells Carrie that O'Keefe is producing "fake news".  (Max's face is slightly off-screen, hence the overdub possibility.)

The fake news in question is the centerpiece of the episode.  We saw O'Keefe putting it together previously.  Its footage manipulated to look like the President-elect's son, killed in Afghanistan, was actually running away like a coward and was not a hero.   As such, this bears resemblances to what the GOP did to John Kerry with the notorious "swift boat" ads in the 2004 election, and Bowe Bergdahl's true story in Afghanistan, though the Kerry and Bergdahl stories have nothing else in common.

In Homeland, O'Keefe unleashes this caustic fake news at Dar's request, after the President-elect spurns his "advice" to appoint people to her cabinet who attacked her in the election, and tells him she intends to put his "ass in jail".   Not one to be bullied, Dar goes nuclear and launches O'Keefe.

In a sweet twist - though sweet is likely not the best word for this - Saul ends up being the only person who can help the President-elect now, courtesy of the video Max sent to Carrie, which shows O'Keefe and Dar talking.   This means Saul won't have to leave the country.

If I hadn't titled this review "Fake News," I might have gone for "The Education of the President-Elect," as she's certainly wised up now to what Dar is, and some of what's been going on.  She realizes that Dar is pulling Carrie's strings via Franny, and no doubt regrets that she didn't come to Carrie's aid when Carrie practically begged her for help.

Better late than never, and it will be fun to see Carrie, Saul, and the President-elect in an all-out war against the intelligence establishment on Homeland.  As to how this is reflected in the Trump administration - I'll leave that for another review.

And see also  Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional


Friday, March 24, 2017

Colony 2.11: Twist

Colony 2.11, aired earlier tonight, offered a different format - a series of segments, each titled Bram, Will, etc - telling a partially overlapping story from each of their perspectives.  (In an interesting coincidence, the penultimate episode of Bones earlier this week was presented in a similar format.) On Colony, this approach allowed for nice twist at the end.

The single story was an attack on the posh residences of the Green Zone - an attack of the Red Hats, with Bram joining in, unbeknownst to his parents.   Bram and his partner enter a home - we learn later, the temporary residence of a big shot, Ambassador King.  Bram's partner is killed.  Bram escapes, enlists the aid of his aunt. and eventually gets back home.

He tells his parents what happened, and says in response to Will's saying/asking if Bram shot his partner's killer that he wanted to, but couldn't.

But, in the final scene - from the Ambassador's perspective - we learn that it's the Ambassador who kills Bram's partner, and Bram in turn kills the Ambassador.

Now ... this was clearly, at least partially, in self-defense.  Bram did have the option of running, but the safe thing to do was kill the Ambassador.  But why, then, did he lie to his parents?

The answer conveys the important lesson this fine episode: Bram has changed.  He's more complex than we might have given him credit for.  He's choosing to play his cards close to the chest, not be accountable to his parents, and go his own way.

This makes him a more interesting character.   We'll see how this plays out in the next two episodes - and, with any luck, in a third season next year.

See also Colony 2.1: Prelude ... Colony 2.2: 1969 ... Colony 2.3: The Wall ... Colony 2.7: Countdowns and Intentions ... Colony 2.8: What Passes for a Happy Ending ... Colony 2.9: Together Again ... Colony 2.10: The Fight Continues

And see also Colony 1.1: Aliens with Potential ... 1.2: Compelling ... 1.5: Questions ... 1.6: The Provost ... Colony 1.7: Broussard ... Colony 1.8: Moon Base and Transit Zones ... Colony 1.9: Robot Arm ... Colony Season 1 Finale: Not Quite Enough

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Designated Survivor 1.13: Regrouping

A slightly less explosive episode of Designated Survivor - 1.14 - easy to do, in view of the surprise killing of VP by his wife, and her following suicide, last week.  This weeks was a good time to shuffle the desk a little, with a variety of changes including

  • Aaron out and Emily in as the President's Chief of Staff.  Kirkman is understandably suspicious of him, and we're given at least some reason to think this ourselves at the end of the episode, but I'm still not buying it.  I think Aaron will come down as a good guy before the season concludes.  In the meantime, it's good to see Emily dressed up for her new, more important position.
  • Kirkman's wife and kids are off to Camp David.  Actually, this strikes me as a bad idea, and not just because Kirkman will miss them.  I think his family is indeed safer in the White House than up in isolated Camp David, where I predict we'll see them attacked by helicopter or whatever before the season is over.
  • There are some brand new, old players afoot - new, in that we haven't seen them before, old in that they are a former Secretary of State and a former President.   The former President, especially, should have some interesting story lines - including his take not only on Kirkman but who was behind the explosion.
So, with this deep breath and clearing of the decks, we're off to the conclusion of this first season of this wild new series.  Unlike Homeland, Designated Survivor strikes me as just a little too insane to really happen - but that's what makes it such harrowing fun.

See also Designated Survivor: Jack Bauer Back in the White House ... Designated Survivor 1.2: Unflinching and Excellent ...  Designated Survivor 1.4: "Michigan's on the Verge of Anarchy" ... Designated Survivor 1.5: The Plot Thickens ... Designated Survivor 1.6: The Governors ... Designated Survivor 1.7: Reassuring Fiction ... Designated Survivor 1.8: Kitchen Sink ... Designated Survivor 1.9: Hacked! ... Designated Survivor 1.10: Who Was Hit? 
Designated Survivor 1.12: Boom!

  terrorist squirrels and bombs in NYC

Penultimate Bones

Bones pulled out all the stops - and tugged at all our heartstrings - on its next to last episode this week.

Especially good to see -
  • Cam and Aristoo getting married, in a joyous ceremony.
  • Angela's pregnant - presented in a clever bunch of miscues.
  • Did I hear Angela say something to Hodgins about a doctor - could that be something hopeful about his paralysis?
  • Zack Addy getting his sentence drastically reduced, with Bones and Caroline both playing important roles.
Aubrey's love-life was unfortunate, but you can't have everyone having an happy ending.  But the most unfortunate development, to say the least, was the explosion at the end.  We had to have something like this, too, because Bones is, after all, a story about criminals.

But I'm too worried about any of major characters not surviving.   First, to jump to the meta-level for a moment, Bones wouldn't do that to us - end the series with such an unhappy ending.   But also, we saw in the coming attractions that Booth and Hodgins were alive and conscious.  Bones may be in worse shape, but she'll pull through.

And you know what?  I think everyone will survive - including Aristoo.  The Jeffersonian will be demolished, but not our characters, who made it real.   I'm an optimist - I think there's even a chance Aubrey will find true love.  Because that's always been the way of Bones.

See you next week, with one last review.

See also Bones 12.1: Back in Business ... Boned 12.7-8: Loss and Recovery

And see also Bones Back for Season 11: Aubrey and 'Audrey' ... Bones 11.2: Back in Place ... Bones 11.5 Meets Sleepy Hollow 3.5: Time Travel ...Bones 11.10: Shake-Up ... Bones 11.11: Meets Ironside ... Bones 11.18: Meta-Bones ... Bones Season 11 Finale: The Ultimate Intern

And dee also Bones 10.1: The Fulcrum Changes ... Bones 10.2: J. Edgar and the DNA Confession ... Bones 10.3: Meets Rush and a Dominatrix ... Bones 10.4: Brennan and Angela on a Bench in the Playground ... Bones 10.5: Two Jokes and Three Times ... Bones 10.6: A Thousand Cuts ... Bones 10.7: The A-Word and Quarks ... Bones 10.8: Daisy's Doula ... Bones 10.9: The Milgram Experiment and the Birds ... Bones 200: 10.10: Just like Bogey and Bacall ... Bones 10.11: Life after Death, and Sweets in Wonderland ...Bones 10.12: The Digital Revolution ... Bones 10.13: The Almost-Serial Killer ...Bones 10.14: meets La Parure ... Bones 10.15: Cards in Hand ...Bones 10.16: Hodgins' Money ... Bones 10.17-18: Bullies and Capital Punishment ... Bones 10.19: Do You Buy Booth's Gambling Addiction? ...Bones 10.20: Intimations of a New Jeffersonian ... Bones 10.21: Ten Years Isn't Enough ... Bones Season 10 Finale: Rehearsals for Retirement?

And see also Bones 9.1: The Sweet Misery of Love ... Bones 9.2: Bobcat, Identity Theft, and Sweets ... Bones 9.3 and NCIS 11.2: Sweets and Ziva ... Bones 9.4: Metaphysics of Death in a Television Series ... Bones 9.5: Val and Deep Blue ... Bones 9.6: The Wedding ... Bones 9.7: Watch Out, Buenos Aires ...Bones 9.8: The Bug in the Neck ... Bones 9.9: Friday Night Bones in the Courtroom ... Bones 9.10: Horse Pucky ... Bones 9.11: Angels in Equations ... Bones 9.12: Fingernails ... Bones 9.13: Meets Nashville, and Wendell ... Bones 9.14: "You Cannot Drink Your Glass Away" ... Bones 9.15: Hodgins' Brother and the Ripped Off Toe ... Bones 9.16: Lampreys, Professors, and Insurance Companies ... Bones 9.17: Spartacus in the Kitchen ... Bones 9.18: Meets Day of the Triffids ... Bones 9.19: The Cornucopic Urn ... Bones 9.20: Above the Law ... Bones 9.21: Freezing and Thawing ... Bones 9.22: Promotion ... Bones 9.23: The New Intern ... Bones Season 9 Finale: Upping the Ante

And see also Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian ... Bones 8.2 of Contention ... Bones 8.3: Not Rotting Behind a Desk  ... Bones 8.4: Slashing Tiger and Donald Trump ... Bones 8.5: Applesauce on Election Eve ... Bones 8.6: Election Day ... Bones 8.7: Dollops in the Sky with Diamonds ...Bones 8.8: The Talking Remains ... Bones 8.9: I Am A Camera ... Bones 8.10-11: Double Bones ...Bones 8.12: Face of Enigmatic Evil ... Bones 8.13: Two for the Price of One ... Bones 8.14: Real Life ... Bones 8.15: The Magic Bullet and the Be-Spontaneous Paradox ... Bones 8.16: Bitter-Sweet Sweets and Honest Finn ... Bones 8.17: "Not Time Share, Time Travel" ... Bones 8.18: Couples ... Bones 8.19: The Head in the Toilet ... Bones 8.20: On Camera ... Bones 8.21: Christine, Hot Sauce, and the Judge ... Bones 8.22: Musical-Chair Parents ... Bones 8.23: The Bluff ... Bones Season 8 Finale: Can't Buy the Last Few Minutes

And see also Bones 7.1: Almost Home Sweet Home ... Bones 7.2: The New Kid and the Fluke ...Bones 7.3: Lance Bond and Prince Charmington ... Bones 7.4: The Tush on the Xerox ... Bones 7.5: Sexy Vehicle ... Bones 7.6: The Reassembler ... Bones 7.7: Baby! ... Bones 7.8: Parents ...Bones 7.9: Tabitha's Salon ... Bones 7.10: Mobile ... Bones 7.11: Truffles and Max ... Bones 7.12: The Corpse is Hanson ... Bones Season 7 Finale: Suspect Bones

And see also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin ... Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects ... Bones 6.3 at the Jersey Shore, Yo, and Plymouth Rock ... Bones 6.4 Sans Hannah ... Bones 6.5: Shot and Pretty ... Bones 6.6: Accidental Relations ... Bones 6.7:  Newman and "Death by Chocolate" ...Bones 6.8: Melted Bones ... Bones 6.9: Adelbert Ames, Jr. ... Bones 6.10: Reflections ... Bones 6.11: The End and the Beginning of a Mystery ... Bones 6.12 Meets Big Love ... Bones 6.13: The Marrying Kind ... Bones 6.14: Bones' Acting Ability ... Bones 6.15: "Lunch for the Palin Family" ...Bones 6.16: Stuck in an Elevator, Stuck in Times ... Bones 6.17: The 8th Pair of Feet ... Bones 6.18: The Wile E. Chupacabra ... Bones 6.19 Test Runs The Finder ... Bones 6.20: This Very Statement is a Lie ... Bones 6.21: Sensitive Bones ... Bones 6.22: Phoenix Love ... Bones Season 6 Finale: Beautiful

And see also Bones: Hilarity and Crime and Bones is Back For Season 5: What Is Love? and 5.2: Anonymous Donors and Pipes and 5.3: Bones in Amish Country and 5.4: Bones Meets Peyton Place and Desperate Housewives and Ancient Bones 5.5 and Bones 5.6: A Chicken in Every Viewer's Pot and Psychological Bones 5.7 and Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops" and Bones 5.9 Meets Avatar and Videogamers ... Bad Santa, Heart-Warming Bones 5.10 ... Bones 5.11: Of UFOs, Bloggers, and Triangles ... Bones 5.12: A Famous Skeleton and Angela's Baby ... Love with Teeth on Bones 5.13 ... Faith vs. Science vs. Psychology in Bones 5.14 ... Page 187 in Bones 5.15 ...Bones 100: Two Deep Kisses and One Wild Relationship ... Bones 5.17: The Deadly Stars ...Bones Under Water in 5.18 ... Bones 5.19: Ergo Together ...  Bones 5.20: Ergo Together ... Bones 5.21: The Rarity of Happy Endings ... Bones Season 5 Finale: Eye and Evolution


the Sierra Waters time-travel trilogy