Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dexter 4.10: More than Trinity

A jam-packed edge-of-your-seat can't-catch-your-breath episode 4.10 of Dexter tonight, in which -

.Debra nabs Christine as Lundy's killer, with razor-sharp logic and DNA from Christine's toothbrush in Quinn's apartment, which also tells Debra and the gang that Christine is related to the Trinity killer.

.Dex learns that the Trinity killer in incorrectly named - Lundy missed that Trinity also always kills a fourth, a 10-year old boy, before the three, symbolizing Trinity's attempt to preserve forever his last time of innocence.

.Dex stops the Quadro Killer just on the edge of killing a new 10-year old, and preserving him forever in concrete. This whole story line was one of the most harrowing and well-played ever on Dexter.

.Masuda's frustrated in his frequent attempts to tell Dex about Rita kissing the next door neighbor.

.Deb gets a visit from another one of Harry's informants, whom we barely see.

.Speaking of Harry, he again had probably the single sharpest, funniest moment on the show, looking at his watch, signifying the pressure Dexter correctly sees himself under to get out the station house and find Quadro and the boy.

.Dex has never been better as father, bathing baby Harrison and holding him when he has a fever.

I've included some seemingly less important events in the above, because on Dexter you just never know. Just two episodes left in this superb, brilliantly powerful season 4.






6-min podcast review of Dexter


See also
Dexter Season 4: Sneak Preview Review ... The Family Man on Dexter 4.5 ... Dexter on the Couch in 4.6 ... Dexter 4.7: 'He Can't Kill Bambi' ... Dexter 4.8: Great Mistakes ... 4.9: Trinity's Surprising Daughter

See also reviews of Season 3: Season's Happy Endings? ... Double Surprise ... Psychotic Law vs. Sociopath Science ... The Bright, Elusive Butterfly of Dexter ... The True Nature of Miguel ... Si Se Puede on Dexter ... and Dexter 3: Sneak Preview Review

Reviews of Season 2: Dexter's Back: A Preview and Dexter Meets Heroes and 6. Dexter and De-Lila-h and 7. Best Line About Dexter - from Lila and 8. How Will Dexter Get Out of This? and The Plot Gets Tighter and Sharper and Dex, Doakes, and Harry and Deb's Belief Saves Dex and All's ... Well

See also about Season 1: First Place to Dexter







The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lie to Me in Afghanistan

Shawn Ryan - most famously creator, writer, show-runner of The Shield, easily one of the best shows ever on television, and arguably the best - was brought aboard Lie to Me this season to add some visceral punch to the intellectual power Lie to Me already had. This was never more apparent, and successful, than in Lie to Me 2.8 this past Monday.

This could have been an episode of The Unit, another great show executive produced by Ryan. Lightman takes a trip to Afghanistan, to sort through an apparently American Taliban, who may or may not be telling the truth to his American captors - that is, our soldiers, who are under attack.

Back home, Foster's doing her best to keep it together, including keeping Lightman's daughter Emily in the dark about her father's whereabouts. But since the Washington, DC team is helping Lightman, whose interrogations are up on video screens in the Lightman Group's offices, it's only a matter of time until Emily learns the truth.

Meanwhile, there are good twists and turns in the Afghan theater as well. We know, of course, that Lightman won't get killed, but it was good to see him in these life and death situations anyway. He's in a very different physical place than usual, but his keen intellect dominates and illuminates as always.

As I've said before, Lie to Me is one of the few shows with such a sharp variety of storylines, ranging from personal to professional to criminal and now military crises. Shawn Ryan's input looks to be just thing for this mix.






5-min podcast review of Lie to Me


See also my reviews of
Lie to Me and Bill O'Reilly, Saddam Hussein, and Ben Reynolds in Lie to Me 2.6 and Lie to Me 2.7: The Redeeming of Loker






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

V 1.4: Good Medicine for Television

An outstanding 2009 finale of V, Season 1, Part 1 tonight - episode 1.4 - with not more to come until close to the Ides of March, 2010.

V previously attacked Obama's health care reform, and tonight took a swipe at the swine flu vaccine - it's apparently being spiked with some Visitor drug on V. I support health care reform, and have no reason to think the flu vaccine is subject to some sort of conspiracy in our world, so I disagree with the political connotations of V while enjoying its daring as a television show. That is, the progressive in me (I'm a progressive libertarian), and the professor with some knowledge of health care issues - though I'm not an MD - is not pleased by these threads on V, while the television reviewer in me, the author of this blog, says good job in making this story immediately relevant.

Medicine played a role in other ways in V 1.4. Joshua, the chief V medical officer who killed the bad-V FBI guy, is forced to kill his prime 5th Columnist comrade, who steps forward to claim he was guilty of killing the FBI plant, to protect Joshua. Ryan's human lover isn't feeling very well, and finds out she's pregnant (the original 1980s V had a powerful V-human hybrid thread - apparently our two species have DNA compatible enough to allow procreation). And Chad the media guy is diagnosed by the Visitors as having some problem in his brain which could kill him in the months ahead - it doesn't exist now, is invisible to our technology, but the advanced Visitor technology can see that it will develop, and can cure it.

Add to all of this some good Todd, Lisa, and Anna scenes, and fighting father Jack getting seriously stabbed at the end - not to mention a peek at the huge, menacing Visitor space ship armada back on the Visitor world - and we have the makings of some fine science fiction on television this Spring.

I'll be looking at the screens and the skies.

5-min podcast review of V

See also V Returns to TV ... V 1.2: The Effects and The Characters ... V 1.3: Multiple Twists and Lizard Visions

Monday, November 23, 2009

House 6.8 and the Reverse of Flowers for Algernon

"Flowers for Algernon," correctly thought by many to be one of the best novelettes ever written, turned into a novel and movies and soon a movie starring Will Smith, tells the story of mentally disadvantaged Charley, given an operation that turns him into a genius, only to slip excruciatingly back to his lower intelligence, when he and we learn that the treatment doesn't last. Daniel Keyes's 1959 masterpiece tugs at every heart string known to humanity, and leaves you gasping for air at the end. There's not a better depiction of what it feels like to understand something very important one day, one minute, and just lose it the next, at first knowing that you lost it, and then forgeting that too.

House the television show, never shy about taking on a profound or dangerous subject, in effect told the reverse of "Flowers for Algernon" in tonight's episode 6.8. A genius is discovered in a state far less intelligent. Turns out he's been drugging himself to be that way - he wants to be stupid, so he can relate to his wife, who is no genius (though she didn't seem that stupid to me).

Gregory House is of course a genius, too. But he's someone who exults in his lofty intellect and wields it to stay on top of the world, and get the things he wants. He's so bright, that sometimes he even talks himself into believing, somewhat, that he wanted for things to work out not the way he originally wanted.

What he wants most this season is Cuddy. But she's not cooperating one bit. Can he get her to allow herself to love him by acting less intelligent, or less like House? I don't think so. Should he forget her and move on to someone else? Not likely. Will he get her just by doing what he's doing? I can't quite see that, either.

But moving back to a lesser state is something House would never do. It will be fun seeing how he manages to get what he wants this season - or convinces himself that he never really wanted that, either. Nah, I can't see that, either.

No flowers for Algernon (the name of the mouse who's first given Charley's treatment, and then slides downhill right in front of Charley's eyes, and gives him the first indication that his own treatment won't last). No flowers for House. I expect we'll see him brilliantly brandishing his brain for a long time...






5-min podcast review of House


See also House Reborn in Season Six? ... 6.2: The Gang is Back and Fractured ... 6.3: The Saving Hitler Quandary ... 6.4: Diagnosis vs. Karma ... 6.5 Getting Better ... 6.6 House Around the Bases ... Four's a Crowd on House 6.7






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Dexter 4.9: Trinity's Surprising Daughter

This season of Dexter has been exulting in surprises ... Debra and Lundy being gunned down ... the Trinity killer not the man who fired that gun, after all ... and tonight's Episode 4.9 pulled out a last-minute stunner at the top of its league ...

The set up: a tale of two Thanksgivings - chez Dexter and chez Trinity killer - and Dex is at both of them (not at the same time - this isn't Fringe - but even so).

At Dex's, Rita allows the pain-in-the-A neighbor to kiss her, and Vince sees it. I never liked Rita, as I've said here before. I admit she looks great this season, but her character is like fingernails on the blackboard. But even she's preferable to -

Thanksgiving at the Trinities. The TK is emerging as a monster in all aspects of his life. Tonight we see him terrorizing his son, who wishes him dead, and pleads with Dex to join the unhappy family for Thanksgiving, to keep the monster in check. Before that little visit is over, Trinity's 15-year old daughter comes on to Dexter, the Trinity killer almost kills his son, and Dex almost kills Trinity.

That last act is the most damaging to Dexter, since, as he aptly says to himself, now Trinity has seen the monster in him, Dexter. One of the reasons this has been such a spectacular season of Dexter is that Trinity has made Dex not completely himself, violating Harry's code left and right. Killing Trinity with his - Trinity's - family in the next room would have been unthinkable to the more carefully controlled Dexter of prior years.

But I haven't gotten to the really sharp punch in the stomach surprise tonight. Trinity is reading the reporting in the paper on his exploits by Quinn's girlfriend Christine. In the last scene in 4.9, Trinity pays her a visit. She opens the door, sees a scowling Trinity standing there ... and says, "Hi, Dad."

Now, a lot of people - not me - have been saying all week that she was the most likely to have shot Lundy and Debra. The problem I had with Christine is that I didn't see any motive.

But as the older daughter of Trinity? Brilliant, like this whole season!







5-min podcast review of Dexter


See also
Dexter Season 4: Sneak Preview Review ... The Family Man on Dexter 4.5 ... Dexter on the Couch in 4.6 ... Dexter 4.7: 'He Can't Kill Bambi' ... Dexter 4.8: Great Mistakes

See also reviews of Season 3: Season's Happy Endings? ... Double Surprise ... Psychotic Law vs. Sociopath Science ... The Bright, Elusive Butterfly of Dexter ... The True Nature of Miguel ... Si Se Puede on Dexter ... and Dexter 3: Sneak Preview Review

Reviews of Season 2: Dexter's Back: A Preview and Dexter Meets Heroes and 6. Dexter and De-Lila-h and 7. Best Line About Dexter - from Lila and 8. How Will Dexter Get Out of This? and The Plot Gets Tighter and Sharper and Dex, Doakes, and Harry and Deb's Belief Saves Dex and All's ... Well

See also about Season 1: First Place to Dexter







The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Friday, November 20, 2009

Twice Upon a Rhyme in Rockit Scientist Records NYC and Rockaway Records LA

Been a truly banner week for Twice Upon a Rhyme, my 1972 LP, in both New York City and Los Angeles.

Here's how this tale of two coasts happened:

You may recall I mentioned the tasty lunch and great conversation I had at the City Diner in Manhattan last month with Evan LeVine, appreciator of fine 1960s music and all-around significant popular culture.

Well, after the conversation, Evan's perambulations took him to the Rockit Scientist Record store on St. Mark's Place, also in Manhattan. What I didn't know until a few days ago is that Evan talked up Twice Upon A Rhyme to the store's owner, John Kioussis, who this week sent a message to me on MySpace, asking if he could get a few copies for the store.

I of course said yes, and had the pleasure of talking to John at Rockit Scientist Records yesterday. Turns out he has a long relationship with Twice Upon a Rhyme. He picked up a copy in a record store on Long Island years ago, then traded it away for another album - something which John says he now much regrets.

Music to my ears.

I can't think of a better temporary home for Twice Upon a Rhyme than Rockit Scientist Records - take a look at that picture.

Though, actually, Evan works at a store in Los Angeles, Rockaway Records, which is no small shakes, either. Evan wrote on my Facebook wall about an hour ago that he discovered a copy of Vivid Records' issue of Big Pink's CD reissue of Twice Upon a Rhyme a little less than a year ago, and would be playing it on the store's loud speakers in about an hour, which come to think of it is just about now.

Twice Upon a Rhyme, coast to coast ... feels right, since both the Beachboys and the Lovin' Spoonful were great influences.





Listen to some of Twice Upon a Rhyme....

Bones 5.8: Booth's "Pops"

An endearing episode 5.8 of Bones last night, with a winning performance by Ralph Waite, who continues a sterling career in his senior years. On Bones, he plays Booth's grandfather - "Pops" - who raised Booth and his brother after Pops evicted their father from their lives. Booth's father had been beating him.

As in most of the episodes this season, the best story is in these personal interludes and not the skeletal puzzle at hand. Pops sees what every viewer and everyone other than Bones and Booth see - that they're right for each other, and time's winged chariot is hurrying near (I always work Andrew Marvel into my reviews when I can.)

"Shrimp" - Pops' nickname for Booth as a boy, still much in use - and Bones of course continue to demur and play dumb, likely for real, about all of this. I'm almost hoping for an episode in which we find they've been in bed for months or more already, and have been play acting to the world to the point of pretending it isn't happening, even when the two are alone.

Bones had customarily hilarious repartee in this episode. Pops says he likes her because she has "balls". Bones replies she has ovaries. Pops says, ok, he likes her because she has "steel ovaries". And Bones responds with a deadpan, sincere "thanks".

One of the best things about Temperance Brennan is that so few things offend her. We could use more of her attitude in this world.






5-min podcast review of Bones


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








The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers

Fringe really hit its stride last night, with an episode 2.8 not just about the Eternal Bald Observer, who we've been wanting to know more about, but the Eternal Bald Observers. It was a superb standalone story, with intellectual verve and real heart, and also moved the central story of Peter and Walter importantly along.

The Observers are indeed in effect eternal - I first called the Observer Eternal Bald when he was first introduced in episode 1.4 last year, as a way of pointing out that science fiction often seems to have an Observer who is bald and around for a long time - but last night we learn that the Observers have been present at an odd series of notable events in human history, ranging from the Boston Massacre in 1770 to the beheading of Marie Antoinette in 1793. I wondered why Fringe didn't show us an EBO at the death of Socrates or the Crucifixion, but maybe there's some reason for the presence of Observers at just certain important events that we don't yet know.

The Eternal Bald Observers are here only to observe, but they've interfered with our affairs twice. Last night brought us the more or less complete story of one of the interventions. An Observer at the San Francisco earthquake of 1989 is taken by the bravery of a young girl whose parents die. He thereafter has kept a watchful eye on her, and intervenes again, in our present, to prevent her from getting on a plane in Boston which will crash in Rome. The other Eternal Bald Observers - there's a table of them, including the EBO we met last year, who is not the same one who has been watching the girl - don't want any intervention, and hire a human assassin to clean up this problem, i.e., kill the girl.

But the EBO keeping watch on the girl can't allow this to happen. He's grown to love her, in an avuncular, protective way. Walter tells him he (the EBO) must do something to make the girl - now in her 20s - significant enough to make the board of EBOs want to keep her alive. He allows the human assassin to kill him, while orchestrating the woman's escape. His death in protection of the woman makes the woman special enough to warrant the EBOs' continuing protection of her - he's the first EBO to die on behalf of a human. Apparently his love of her, which impelled him to protect her, wasn't in itself enough - which is sad, but those EBOs are a tough bunch to convince.

The other time the EBOs intervened in our affairs is when they saved Walter and Peter. The older EBO leader apparently alludes to this when he tells his colleagues that this intervention was warranted because it corrected something which wasn't supposed to happen. The EBO we met last year was the point bald man on this, and he presumably also had a role in Walter's taking of Peter from the alternate reality after Peter died as a boy in our reality.

Peter still does not know his real identity, and his story is the most compelling in Fringe, humanizing Walter as a father willing to breach alternate realities to "keep" his son, and putting the two on collision course as Peter learns more about the Observers and Walter strives to keep Peter in the dark about his origins. The unanswered questions that loom - including what happened to the Walter in the reality from which our Peter was taken - promise some outstanding Fringe in months and more to come.






10-min podcast review of Fringe

See also Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7


See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best




FlashForward 1.9: Shelter From the Storm

Ain't it good to hear Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm," and see him sing it in a vid? This was the theme song and the theme of tonight's FlashForward 1.9, which peeled back a little more of the paradox of the story to reveal ... more fine paradox, and a mystery tramp, too.

Bryce goes to Japan to find Keiko, the Japanese roboticist and lover of Hendrix and Dylan, aka the woman he saw and found and knew he loved - and she him - in his flashforward. Significantly - a very important insight into flashforward business here - Bryce knows in his April 2010 flashforward that he has been searching for Keiko since he was about to commit suicide and the blackouts/flashforwards hit in 2009. Unless I've missed something, this is the first time the April 2010 flashforward shows characters who are explicitly aware that they had the blackouts/flashforwards in 2009. And this in turn means that the explanation I put forth last week - that the April 2010 flashforwards took place in a reality (reality 1) in which the people had not had blackouts/flashfowards six months earlier, but once the blackouts/flashforwards occurred in 2009, this slipped the world into another reality (reality 2)- is not quite right, at least not for Bryce.

It's not right for Keiko, either, and in another significant first in this episode we see her own flashforward story, which complements Bryce's. The two of course cannot meet before the April 2010 flashforward date, so Bryce's trip to Japan to find Keiko in 2009 cannot succeed. But Keiko's trip to Los Angeles can and will succeed and result in their meeting in April 2010. It's a nice bit of misdirection - Bryce and we are led to believe that their meeting will take place in Japan, when in fact it will and always did place in Los Angeles, the real shelter from the storm. (This episode also has the best use of back stories - Bryce's and Keiko's - making it reminiscent of Lost, which I take as a good.)

L.A., then, is the shelter at least for Bryce and Keiko. But what about the other characters? They're not getting much satisfaction at all, including Mark Benford, who wants to know who texted Olivia that he was drinking again in 2010.

Aaron and Stan, the only people Benford told about his future fall from the wagon, both provide pretty convincing denials. So who sent the text?

Could it be Simcoe - who is realizing he's falling for Olivia, and wants to do what he can to put Mark and Olivia on the skids? But how would he know about Mark's future?

It's a mystery - but as one of the scientists who caused the flashforwards, he just might know a little more of what the future holds that everyone else, except Simon.

Would you like a little shelter from the storm? Here's a little Dylan ...

6-min podcast review of FlashForward

See also FlashForward Debuts and Oceanic Airlines as a Portal Between FlashForward and Lost and 1.2: Proofs and Defiance of Inevitability and 1.3: Conficting Visions and Futures and 1.4: FlashForward Meets Shaft and House ... Drunk FlashForwarding in 1.5 ... Across the Universe in FlashForward 1.6 ... FlashForward 1.7: The Future Can Be... ... FlashForward 1.8: The Nightie as a Grain of Sand

Listen to 40-minute interview with Robert J. Sawyer






The Plot to Save Socrates


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"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

V 1.3: Multiple Twists and Lizard Visions

The Visitors got visas in 1.3 tonight, and the twists and surprise identities continue to abound.

1. Erica stops a human from killing Marcus (Anna's top adviser), but it turns out the would-be assassin is a Visitor. They apparently were testing our (human) willingness to protect the Visitors, or perhaps even just Erica's.

2. Ryan goes to see another fifth columnist - a Visitor on our side - who tries (unsuccessfully) to turn Ryan into the Visitors.

3. Up on the ship, Erica's partner, unpeeled as a Visitor at the end of episode 1, has trouble remembering how he got nearly killed. Just as he remembers, his doctor drugs or kills him - his doctor is a fifth columnist. Good that we have at least one on the ship.

4. But right before that happens, Erica's former partner informs us that he's not the only Visitor who's infiltrated the FBI. I'm still thinking Erica's boss is a visitor, but maybe that's too obvious.

5. Tyler finally gets some good time in his room with Lisa, who takes off her uniform so Erica - who comes home unexpectedly - won't know she's a Visitor or a collaborator when Erica busts into the room. But the big reveal for Lisa comes at the end - she's Anna's daughter.

V continues to develop momentum and complexity. My favorite tech scene tonight is the lobster-eye multiple-reflection screen configuration Erica comes upon in a V security room. An insight into the deeply alien way most of the Visitors look at us and our world.

See also V Returns to TV ... V 1.2: The Effects and The Characters






5-min podcast review of V


Lie to Me 2.7: The Redeeming of Loker

Eli Loker (Brendan Hines), one of the best characters on Lie to Me, in which all of the central characters are outstanding, has been in Lightman's dog house since the middle of the first (last year's) season, when Loker alerted the Security Exchange Commission about the results of a case he was working on. Lightman nearly fired Loker, settled for demoting him to a lowly unpaid intern, with an injunction that Loker needed to show he could really "contribute" to the organization.

In last night's 2.7, Loker did just that - in a way that lost the Lightman group almost two million of much needed dollars, but maintained the moral high ground that is so crucial to Lightman, and what makes him and the show so appealing. Loker finds that a big electronics discount store, signed up by Loker as a client, was partially responsible - "contributory negligence" is the legal term - for a stampede that took place in front of the store. When Loker makes it clear to the client that he does not intend to sit on this information, the client takes back the lucrative fee. Lightman feigns fury about this to Loker, but he's in fact delighted by Loker's integrity, and it will be fun to see Loker in an ascending rather than descending role.

The other story in 2.7 was about a teenager, kidnapped as a baby 16 years ago, in search of his real parents. It was a strong, in the end heart warming story, but it had no connection to the electronic discount store, and I find the two separate story approach (lots of television does it) usually does not make for the most riveting episode.

Hey, I'm reviewing Lie to Me, so I'm not going to lie to you.

And I'll be back here next week with my review of this highly original, compelling series.






5-min podcast review of Lie to Me


See also my reviews of Lie to Me and Bill O'Reilly, Saddam Hussein, and Ben Reynolds in Lie to Me 2.6






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Monday, November 16, 2009

Four's a Crowd on House 6.7

A highly significant House 6.7 tonight, which clarified a question going back to the first season, brought together the best of all the seasons, and may have resulted in a permanent change - though with House, you never know for sure.

The question clarified and the apparently permanent change concern the same person - Cameron. She flat out says that she loved House, but adds to that that she loved Chase - note the past tense - because she's leaving him, and therein the team and the show. Presumably, because this is House we're talking about. But it feels more or less finally.

And why? Cameron can abide Chase's medical murder of the "Idi Amin, Jr." - as House aptly terms Dibala - but only if he is genuinely sorry about that. But Chase, under House's prodding, comes to accept-going-on-being proud for what he did, and when he lets Cameron know about that, she just can't abide that. She always did take a moral ground a bit too high for most mortals.

House prodded Chase into this position - which is indeed consistent with who Chase most is - because House wanted to get Chase to want to be back on the team. House feels that way about Taub, 13, and, for that matter, Cameron, too, and his pursuit of at least Taub and 13 was one of the more enjoyable interludes of this excellent show. House succeeds with Taub and 13, leaving open the question of whether he'll take back Taub, 13, and Chase, or let one of them go, to get back to the magic number of three (along with Foreman).

House says 3 out of 4 ain't bad, expanding on Meatloaf, but personally, it wasn't the greatest night for him at all. Cameron in effect breaks up with the part of love that she had for him, and Cuddy's not moving an inch away from the private eye.

But it was good to see House starting to scheme to break them up in the coming attractions. I expect they'll be in bed together for real before the end of this season.






5-min podcast review of House
See also House Reborn in Season Six? ... 6.2: The Gang is Back and Fractured ... 6.3: The Saving Hitler Quandary ... 6.4: Diagnosis vs. Karma ... 6.5 Getting Better ... 6.6 House Around the Bases






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Dexter 4.8: Great Mistakes

Dexter made what might well have been a life-changing mistake at the end of last week's episode - 4.7 - he called an innocent man. Tonight's episode 4.8 begins with Dexter's conscience being troubled by this mistake - I wouldn't say tormented - but Dex pretty soon gets beyond that. "It was a mistake, for fuck's sake," Dex's internal voice complains, as Batista puts up Dex's target on the board, saying we thought he was a killer but now he's missing and may be a victim.

Does this mean that serial killers have no conscience? Maybe. It's certainly one of the best lines we've heard from Dexter, rivaling his sister's.

Dex may be able to leave that mistake behind him, but this fine episode isn't quite done yet with big mistakes. The Trinity Killer is jumping off a roof, but Dex grabs him - this isn't the ritual way he wants to dispatch this monster, who Dex knows is guilty for sure. But Dex quickly changes his mind, realizing that an avenging execution from his hand is satisfactory, whether his hand wields a knife or lets Trinity fall. And at just that moment, two good samaritans appear on the roof, and pull Trinity up to safety. Dexter's mistake was trying to save the killer in the first place.

But the biggest mistake of all disclosed tonight was made not just by Dexter, but by Debra - who discovers it - and all of us, as well. We had been thinking that the Trinity killer wounded Debra and killed Lundy. But Debra realizes that her scars suggest a much shorter killer - shorter that the Trinity killer's 6+ feet - and Masuda confirms this.

Which leaves us with one huge-ass puzzle (sorry, I'm listening too much to Debra's great speech patterns). The Trinity Killer is responsible for the serial cycles of three killings. But who shot Debra and Lundy?

The only character I can think of who had a motive would be Debra's boyfriend Anton - but Anton's taller than Debra (you can see that clearly when they're kissing, standing, in episode 4.2).

So where does that leave us? I don't think Dexter - the show - would bring in a killer totally out of left field, at this point. So that leaves us, again, with the Trinity Killer. Was he crouching when he shot Lundy and Debra? Debra tonight said no, Lundy would have seen that.

But if the Trinity Killer is indeed a mistake for the Lundy-Debra shooting, who then?

It's mistakes like these that make Dexter such great television.







6-min podcast review of Dexter


See also
Dexter Season 4: Sneak Preview Review ... The Family Man on Dexter 4.5 ... Dexter on the Couch in 4.6 ... Dexter 4.7: 'He Can't Kill Bambi'

See also reviews of Season 3: Season's Happy Endings? ... Double Surprise ... Psychotic Law vs. Sociopath Science ... The Bright, Elusive Butterfly of Dexter ... The True Nature of Miguel ... Si Se Puede on Dexter ... and Dexter 3: Sneak Preview Review

Reviews of Season 2: Dexter's Back: A Preview and Dexter Meets Heroes and 6. Dexter and De-Lila-h and 7. Best Line About Dexter - from Lila and 8. How Will Dexter Get Out of This? and The Plot Gets Tighter and Sharper and Dex, Doakes, and Harry and Deb's Belief Saves Dex and All's ... Well

See also about Season 1: First Place to Dexter







The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bill O'Reilly, Saddam Hussein, and Ben Reynolds in Lie to Me 2.6

An outstanding episode 2.6 of Lie to Me last Monday evening. Among my favorite parts -

. Reynolds (Mekhi Phifer) has an expression of stubborn defiance about something he may have done wrong - cut to shots of Bill O'Reilly and Saddam Hussein. Priceless!

. Lightman's loyalty to his "family" - his co-workers - including FBI Special Agent Ben Reynolds. To prove his commitment to Reynolds, whose career and even freedom is in jeopardy due to Reynolds' actions when undercover, Lightman destroys FBI evidence right in front of Reynolds. Now Lightman is almost as vulnerable as Reynolds in this mess.

. The looks exchanged between Foster and Lightman, when Lightman talks about someone shagging her boss (thanks to my wife for noticing this). A slight smile from Foster, a big smile from Lightman, another smile from Foster, Lightman's still smiling. The carefully orchestrated facial expressions of the major characters in Lie to Me is one of its best features. On the other hand, who knows, maybe Tim Roth ad libbed that big smile.

All in all, a top-notch FBI-oriented episode. The FBI is having something of its own new golden age in what I've been calling the new golden age of television. Bones, FlashForward, Fringe, Numb3rs, with Reynolds a major player on Lie to Me, and there's likely more FBI in shows I haven't yet seen.

On Lie to Me, Reynolds is one of the ways show-runner Shawn Ryan (The Shield and The Unit) is infusing grit and punch into the series. Should be some good times ahead.

And here's me versus O'Reilly from a few years ago ... what would Lightman say?



See also my review of Lie to Me







8-min podcast review of Lie to Me







The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Realities 1 and 2 in FlashForward

Here's my thinking about the paradox of attempting to change a future you saw in your flashforward, as depicted in FlashForward on ABC:

The future in the flashforwards is Reality 1, in which people seen in the future did not already know that they would have that future - i.e., had not seen flashforwards six months earlier. In other words, no flashfowards had occurred in that Reality 1.

But the moment the flashforwards do occur, that changes Reality 1 into Reality 2, in which everyone alive knows that flashforwards occurred, and most people have seen themselves in their flashforward.

That is the reality which our characters are living through now, and we are seeing unfold each week on television.

Which suggests that the flashforwards can indeed be changed, though not easily.

Of course, since in our reality there are no flashforwards (as far as we know), we are just living in reality, with no number.

But see FlashForward 1.9: Shelter from the Storm




See also FlashForward Debuts and Oceanic Airlines as a Portal Between FlashForward and Lost and 1.2: Proofs and Defiance of Inevitability and 1.3: Conficting Visions and Futures and 1.4: FlashForward Meets Shaft and House ... Drunk FlashForwarding in 1.5 ... Across the Universe in FlashForward 1.6 ... FlashForward 1.7: The Future Can Be...

Listen to 40-minute interview with Robert J. Sawyer






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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Friday, November 13, 2009

FlashForward 1.8: The Nightie as Grain of Sand

Last night's FlashForward 1.8 featured a philosophically high-staked card game, the back story on Tracy Stark (Aaron's daughter), and the biggest attempt Mark Benford has made thus far to change the future he and Olivia saw in their flashforwards.

I'm not sure I get why Simcoe would allow himself to be bound by the results of a poker game with Simon - Simcoe wants to go public with their causing the flashforward, Simon does not - but the game does provide some good occasion for some ontological talk about hard determinism. Hey, when was the last time you heard that phrase (hard determinism) on television, or, for that matter, saw that word (ontological) in a TV review? FlashForward gets props for doing and eliciting just that.

Meanwhile, Tracy's story is interesting in and of itself. She was presumed dead in Afghanistan because her leg was blown completely off, and her DNA was mixed into the remains that were examined. Even without the flashforward angle, this is one of more original wartime stories I've seen.

As for Mark Benford, he sets up one of the assassins he saw in the future to be killed right now. I don't quite see why this is so significant - has the point been made that all of you have to do change the future is remove one detail, or one part? Perhaps that's so, but wouldn't Mark be just as vulnerable from the other assassins? I suppose, operating on Butterfly Effect logic, that changing any one thing in the future could change everything, but this has to be made more clear.

The most on-point event last night in the Benfords' struggle to prevent the future revolves around the sexy little night outfit Mark gives to Olivia as a present. She's quietly horrified, because it's the same damn outfit she was wearing in her flashforward with Simcoe. So she throws it out.

Like Mark's friendship bracelet, and the guy he killed last night, this nightie is but a grain of sand in the avalanche Mark, Olivia, and the people who don't want the future are laboring so mightily to prevent...






5-min podcast review of FlashForward


See also FlashForward Debuts and Oceanic Airlines as a Portal Between FlashForward and Lost and 1.2: Proofs and Defiance of Inevitability and 1.3: Conficting Visions and Futures and 1.4: FlashForward Meets Shaft and House ... Drunk FlashForwarding in 1.5 ... Across the Universe in FlashForward 1.6 ... FlashForward 1.7: The Future Can Be...

Listen to 40-minute interview with Robert J. Sawyer






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7

A powerful and effective episode 2.7 tonight of Fringe, which continues to pull itself away from the horror insano-gore of last year, towards a more rational, edge-of-your-seat kind of science fiction. In other words, this evolution of Fringe is for the good.

Tonight featured a 15-year old boy - well played by Cameron Monaghan - who, courtesy of Massive Dynamics, has a massively powerful and, when pushed to its limits, homicidal kind of mind control. That is, the kid can compel people around him to do his bidding, however otherwise they may feel, including killing anyone who gets in his way.

This provides the makings a top-notch police show episode, as Broyles, Olivia, Peter, Walter, and Astrid put their heads together to disarm - or dismind - the kid. But Peter comes under his control, and the story then pivots to Peter's struggle to prevent the kid from making Peter a killer, and Walter's determined effort to save his son. He doesn't "want to lose him again," and the only person in the room who knows the true meaning of that is Nina.

Walter's science succeeds, as it almost always does, but not before Peter is directed by the kid to shoot Broyles. Whether Peter is able to shift his arm a little, or because he's not a good shot (Broyles' explanation, not likely), Broyles is only hit in the arm, and the shot goes straight through (which is good).

The show ends with Peter and Walter talking about Peter's mother - is Peter at all beginning to realize that he came from an alternate reality? - and Nina sending an email to Bell, in the other reality.

Fringe needs more shows like this one. And next week's episode promises to be just what the doctor ordered - a show about the eternal bald Observer.

5-min podcast review of Fringe

See also Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6


See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best





Thursday, November 12, 2009

Psychological Bones 5.7

Physical bones played little role in tonight's fine Bones 5.7 - not just because the bones in the case were those of a little person (should not be called a midget, as Bones advises, but achondroplastic dwarf) - but because the heart of the case was psychological, not physical.

It begins when Booth is not shooting as straight as he used to. He and everyone presume this is another consequence of his removed brain tumor. Booth wants to talk to Sweets about this, but moves on to Dr. Gordon Gordon Wyatt, who is no longer a shrink working for the FBI, whose knowledge of Booth's problem could hurt Booth's career. In fact, Wyatt's not practicing psychotherapy at all anymore, he's a cook (apologies, a chef).

But Wyatt's as sage as ever, and in a brilliant conversation with Sweets we learn some of the best things of the season. Sweets is agonizing about publishing the book he is writing about Bones and Booth, because he is concerned about what effect its ending might have upon them. And that ending is? Booth and Bones love each other - as, of course, everyone in the world other than the two of them know.

Wyatt further is able diagnose Booth's reason for not shooting straight: his love for Bones, love he cannot fully admit to, because he is afraid it could hurt her, has led him to shackle himself psychologically, as he struggles to keep in check what he wants to do and be with Bones. Freud himself could not have written a more instructive psychological episode.

Wyatt not only realizes this, but shares the insight with Booth. True to the untangling of internal conflict which promises relief or reduction of symptoms in psychotherapy, Booth's shooting is back up to par at the end.

So is this mutual deception destined to continue much longer? Hey, I have an idea - how about a joint episode of Bones and Lie to Me, which could certainly straighten everything out between Bones and Booth. Well, they are both on Fox...


5-min podcast review of Bones


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










The Plot to Save Socrates



"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book


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