Saturday, February 27, 2010

Caprica 1.5: Adama's Daughter

A superb episode 1.5 of Caprica last night - I would say easily the best so far of the series - in which Tamara Adama (Joseph's daughter and Bill's sister) finds her way in the virtual world.

Actually, she does more than find her way.   Since she's already dead in physical, analog reality (having been killed by the bomb blast, along with Zoe Graystone), Tamara in the virtual world is immortal.  Or, in virtual-game terms, Tamara cannot be de-razed.  She's something between pure code, which can be easily eliminated, and all the avatars, who when 'killed' in the virtual world wind up jolted back to their physical realities, like snapping out of a dream.  Tamara's special quality could make her the most powerful avatar in the virtual world, and we see her progress from frightened to well on the way to being totally in control.

This happens just as Joseph is coming to terms with what he had come to accept, under pressure from same, as the permanent loss of Tamara.   And in a powerful parting scene, the real person analog of Tamara's partner and friend in the virtual world comes to see Joseph, to tell him about Tamara, as per her request.   Since there's no likely way Tamara's friend (I didn't catch his name) could have known Adama's address except from Tamara, Joseph is convinced the report from Tamara is real.   Everything will now be changed for Joseph - and, by extension for Sam and young Bill - as Tamara's presence in the virtual world begins to exert increasing influence over their lives.

Tamara is moving into a position as one of the most powerful characters on the show.   At the same time, Zoe's importance is increasing in her Cylon shell, as her father Daniel commits his corporation to moving from virtual viewers to development of robots aka Cylons.   This is a philosophically right move - a robot will always be more powerful in impact than an avatar, since the robot lives in the real world.   But, as we also of course know from Battlestar Galactica, it's a move that will eventually come this close to destroying the human race.

Zoe, it's worth remembering, has the same immortal powers as Tamara in the virtual world.   And Zoe has the additional power of being able to move in the real world in a Cylon body.  Will be interesting to see what happens if Zoe and Tamara ever become enemies...

See alsoBattlestar Galactica Caprica: Exquisite, Flawed Copies ... 1.2:  Dawn of a Different Machine ... 1.3:  Daughters, Missing and Present






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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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Farewell Governor Paterson

I have mixed feelings about David Paterson's announcement today that he won't be seeking election to his own term as Governor of New York, having become governor when Eliot Spitzer resigned and Paterson as Lt. Governor assumed the office.

I still have not forgiven Paterson for not appointing Caroline Kennedy to fill Hillary Clinton's seat when she was appointed U.S. Secretary of State.  I've come to admire Kirsten Gillibrand's position on many issues - including support of the public health care option, by reconciliation - but I still think Caroline Kennedy in the Senate would have been a game-changing appointment that could have really helped our nation progress.    Paterson had the chance to appoint her, and he blew it.

On the other hand, his treatment by the mainstream media, in particular their running with the Internet rumors that he was going to resign because he himself had been caught in some sort of sexual scandal, and the NY Times was about to publish a story about it, was disgraceful.   As I told Chuck Scarborough in an interview on the NY Nightly News - see video below - the news media should be reporting stories, not potential reports of stories.

It turns out the New York Times story was not about Paterson, but his aide David Johnson, who's accused of domestic abuse.   And Paterson's decision not to run is due to his possible involvement in trying to get Johnson's alleged victim not to proceed with the charges.   Paterson has denied this, it's not by any means in the same league as being involved in some sort of sexual scandal himself, but apparently the focus he'll need in defending against those claims, and being Governor, leaves no room for his running for office.

It's a sad day for Paterson and a tough day for New York.  He's done some very good things as governor, such as signing into law a bill that extends health coverage to children under their parents' policies until the children are 29.

The one good thing that we can get out of Paterson's announcement not to run for election is that at least he's not in the U. S. Senate, where every vote counts more than ever in these volatile times.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost 6.5: Alternate LA Families and Prester John's Speculum

Lost 6.5 had another inexplicable intersection of characters in the alternate LA reality - Jack runs into Dogen at a music competition.

And the pianist competing in the auditorium may be even more important to understanding what is going on - or the nature of this alternate LA reality, in which flight 815 does not crash.   It's Jack's son, David, who doesn't exist in our original Lost reality.   Jack had a wife, of course, in the original, but no children as far as we know.   Both ended in divorce, but in alternate LA, Jack has a piano virtuoso son.

This is another piece of evidence for something I mentioned last week, in my Better LA review:  our characters are doing a little better in this alternate reality than in the original.   But tonight there's also a hint of something else in this alternate reality.  It seems that Jack, at least, is slightly out of it.  His memory's not quite there.  First, he's not quite sure about an appendix scar.   He asks his mother about it, and she says, sure, you had your appendix taken out when you were younger, and Jack replies, not 100% convincingly, that he remembers.   Then, Jack doesn't know that his son was in the music competition.   The explanation - that his son is keeping this from Jack - is not unreasonable, but it still seemed to me that Jack's memory was less than fully charged.

What could this be an indication of?   That the LA better reality is not the prime reality, so that its denizens don't quite have a complete hold on their realities?  Perhaps....

Meanwhile, our original Jack back on the island gets taken to a  lighthouse by Hurley (under Jacob's direction), where they discover a device that shows Jack's house as a child, in a live mirror.   This is how Jacob has been keeping an eye on Jack, and other people with names on the wheel (were these the same names we saw on the wall last week? ... probably).   All of this reminded me of Prester John's Speculum - a semi-mythical medieval device that Prester John (a semi-mythical character) used to see across hundreds of miles (and perhaps, I always thought, across time, but who can say).   Jack destroys the "speculum" in the Lighthouse - fitting, since nothing remains of Prester John's speculum in our world today.

And to top off this episode about Jack and his family, we finally meet Claire on the island.  She's crazed, looking for her baby, and has a friend - faux-Locke, inhabited now by the Nemesis.

Coming attractions for next week apologized that they could show us only seconds, but promised us answers.


5-min podcast review of Lost

See also  Lost Season Six Double Premiere ... Three Questions Arising from the Lost Season Six Premiere: Linkage Between Two Realities,  Dead Bodies Inhabited, Who/What Survived H-Blast? ... Lost 6.3:  Kate and Claire, Tenacious Details, and Dr. Arzt's Arse at the Airport ... Lost 6.4:  Better LA, Wilder Island, Some Partial Answers at Last

More Lost - see : The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben ... 5.8 True Love Ways ... 5.9 Two Times and a Baby ... 5.10 The Impossible Cannot Happen ... 5.11 Clockwork Perfect Time Travel ... 5.12: Ben v. Charles, and Locke' Slave ... 5.13: Lost Meets Star Wars and the Sixth Sense ... The Problem with Baby Aaron and the Return of the Oceanic Six ... 5.14: Eloise, Daniel, and Obsession Trumping Paradox ... 5.15: Moral Compasses in Motion ... Lost Season 5 Finale: Jacob and Locke




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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

Monday, February 22, 2010

24 8.9: Jack vs. CTU, Just Say No to Superiors

Jack vs. CTU - it could be a headline about almost any episode of 24 - but in Season 8 Episode 9 it took an especially nice turn, as Jack goes head to head with CTU head Hastings over Renee.

Renee is not able to just walk away from her killing - by multiple stabbings - of Vlad.   Jack coached her to say it was self-defense, and it was, in the larger sense of a Vlad alive posing a continuing threat to her.   But, as we know, she stabbed him far more than was necessary for any immediate defense.

Hastings is basically a good guy, with no taste for prosecuting Renee, but the grade-A a-hole Presidential assistant - there's at least one just about every season of 24 - has other ideas.  Seems it was his idea to bring back CTU, put Hastings in charge of it, sell the President on the package.  And the last thing he wants is for CTU to be implicated in the murder of someone - Vlad - who had a central role in the nuke rods still at large.

Jack first makes it clear to Renee that he loves her - good - and then proceeds to spring her, with typical Jack flair and violence, from the heartless prosecutor the President's assistant sent to CTU to break Renee.   It all comes to a head when Hastings is about to send out a team to recover the nukes, but Cole's not around - I'll tell you why in a minute - so Hastings puts a young guy in charge of the team who clearly is not the most experienced.    Jack sees Hastings' need, and offers to help the team - in return for Hastings' promise to release Renee.   A good result all around, especially in a satisfying scene in which Jack tells Hastings that Jack has sat in Hastings' seat, and sometimes you just have to say no to superior orders.   A good definition of the job.

Meanwhile, about Cole - he goes after Dana who's really Jenny, who's out, maybe, to kill her ex-boyfriend to free her from his extortion.   At least this is finally having some relevance to our central story - see above.    Cole takes care of business, but will Hastings welcome them back with no questions?

Possibly, because, sometimes, you just have to say no in the job.


5-min podcast review of 24


See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8

And see also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22  ... Hours 23-24 



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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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nearly Gunfight at the OK Corral for Big Love 4.7

I wasn't sure whether I was seeing Gunfight at the OK Corral or maybe Bill Henrickson as Jack Bauer on tonight's episode 4.7 of Big Love.

There actually wasn't much real gun play, but there was plenty of lead-up to it, as Bill and Joey go down Mexico way for a showdown with the notorious Greens, who are holding Ben, Frank, Lois, and soon Jodean hostage.

Actually, Sarah Seltzer just tweeted that it was a page from High Noon, and that's true, too. (Come to think of it, Frank Miller was one of the names from High Noon.) "Oh don't forsake me oh my darling, on this our wedding day..."

Just about everyone gets out alive in this show down, though - Lois slices Hollis' arm off, and the Greens kill the bird dealer - but there is a wedding day, anyway, in another part of this real Western show.

Margene marries Ana's Gorin (off camera)), so Ana won't have to leave with him and take Bill's unborn baby. Here is where Big Love meets Green Card. (And hey, there were Greens in this episode.)

I'm looking forward to next week, so we can get back to some polygamous reality.

In the meantime, here's a little YouTube clip from High Noon.




5-min podcast review of Big Love

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds ... Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?  ... Big Love 4.3: Super-Compressed, Super-Fine ...  Big Love 4.4:  Bill and Don
... The Potential for Brilliance in Big Love 4.5 ... Big Love 4.6: Barb Ascendant

See also: Big Love, Season 3 ... 1. a 4th ... 2. Two Issues Resolved, Two Not So Much ... 6. Exquisite, Perfectly Played ... Big Love Season 3 Finale: Bigger Love ...

And from Season 2: 2: Oh, Happy Day, and Not ... 3: Sons and Mothers ... 4. Help Me, Rhonda ... 5. The Waitress and More... 6. Just Lust ... 7. Margene's Mama ... 8. Polygamy and Misgivings ... 9. Swing Vote Margene ... 10. Polygamy as the Ultimate Cool/Bad ... 11. Family in Crisis ... Big Love Season 2 Concludes






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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

Friday, February 19, 2010

Big Love 4.6: Barb Ascendant

What we first noticed last week - Barb voicing her views to Margene about how Margene joined the family - comes out full throttle in Big Love 4.6, as Barb lets Bill know just how she feels about not only Margene but Ana.

Why Ana?  She's come back into Bill and the family's life with news that she's pregnant.   This was the one thing that didn't quite happen in 4.5, when just about all else hell broke lose for Bill and his family and his political career.    But Barb is not really too upset about this - in fact, she wants to welcome Ana into the family - until-

She and we learn that Bill and Ana conceived the baby before he and Ana were briefly married last year.  This leads to Barb giving Bill the best tongue-lashing we've seen in the series so far, about Bill's extra-curricular pre-marital sex.  This is where Margene comes into the picture in Barb's outrage - she and Bill also had sex before they were married.

It's good to see Barb getting back into a little greater control of the family.  One aspect beyond her control, however, is Ben along with Lois and Frank in Mexico.   They're trying to make a deal with a balky bird dealer, when those horrible Greens show up, Hollis and Selma.   I tell ya, Nightmare on Elm Street has nothing on the Greens as far as sheer creep-quality is concerned.   I'd rather spend an evening with J.J.

I'm not sure how Nikki would feel about that, though.  She shows up dressed like a "whore" - her mother's word - for J.J. and her mother's wedding, and there's no doubt that not much good is going to come out of that situation, either.

Top it off with Alby's gay lover committing suicide, and you have a Big Love just simmering for punishment and redemption as Season 4 proceeds.



5-min podcast review of Big Love

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds ... Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?  ... Big Love 4.3: Super-Compressed, Super-Fine ...  Big Love 4.4:  Bill and Don
... The Potential for Brilliance in Big Love 4.5

See also: Big Love, Season 3 ... 1. a 4th ... 2. Two Issues Resolved, Two Not So Much ... 6. Exquisite, Perfectly Played ... Big Love Season 3 Finale: Bigger Love ...

And from Season 2: 2: Oh, Happy Day, and Not ... 3: Sons and Mothers ... 4. Help Me, Rhonda ... 5. The Waitress and More... 6. Just Lust ... 7. Margene's Mama ... 8. Polygamy and Misgivings ... 9. Swing Vote Margene ... 10. Polygamy as the Ultimate Cool/Bad ... 11. Family in Crisis ... Big Love Season 2 Concludes



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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

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Myopic Critique of the New "We Are the World"

One of the most short-sighted critiques  I've seen in a long time is the one concerning whether the new "We Are the World" should have been made.   Jay-Z is being widely quoted as saying that the original 1985 version is so good, so peerless, that he doesn't "ever wanna see it touched".

I can understand the feeling.  I still cringe a little every time I hear someone other than the Beatles do a Beatles song, anyone other than the Supremes try "You Can't Hurry Love."   This applies to movies, too.  The remakes of "The Getaway" and "The Manchurian Candidate" don't hold a candle to the originals.

And there's no doubt that the original "We Are the World" is much better than the current remake - better in incandescent artists, for sure.   Who can compare with Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, the list goes on and on.

But that's not the point, is it.   The point of both "We Are the Worlds" was to focus attention on and raise money for highly worthy causes.    If the new "We Are the World" is only good, or even great, in comparison to the 1985 version which was greater, actually, the greatest, why should whatever good the new version can do be eliminated?

There is pain, hurt, evil in the world aplenty.   The forces of light have all they can do to keep the flood of darkness at the gates.   Why turn away a valuable ally, even it's lesser than the original?

It's often said the good is the enemy of the great - meaning that selection of the good can preempt or shortcircuit the great.    But the maxim does not apply in this case.    The new "We Are the World" in no way diminishes the original - if anything, it calls attention to how superb the original still is.   And the new version has the benefit of literally adding to the chorus.    Those who bravely gave perfection another try deserve our thanks not our critique and certainly no one's derision.



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost 6.4: Better LA, Wilder Island, Some Partial Answers at Last

We learned two crucial things about Lost alternate-reality LA in episode 6.4 tonight:  It's a far better place for our characters than their original reality, back in LA, before our original story began.  And it's just crawling with inexplicable coincidences in the intersections of our characters' lives.

First, about the better place.   Tonight's story was primarily about Locke.  Back in this non-plane-crash LA, we find Locke happily married to Helen (in the original reality, Locke's father spoiled that relationship).    Further, even when Locke is fired, his luck is changing for the better,  because-

Locke meets Hurley in the parking lot.   Here is where LA not only is a better place, but starts teeming with inexplicable coincidences.   Hurley gives Locke a job in another one of Hurley's companies (he's rich), a temp agency.   And after Locke runs into a bit of a problem with the woman interviewing him, he asks to see her boss - who turns out to be Rose.   And after she places him in a job as a substitute teacher, Locke runs into a history teacher in the faculty lounge - Ben Linus!   A much better LA indeed!

The Rose thread introduces another important theme of hope in this alternate LA.  Rose has terminal cancer, as she did in the original reality (another tenacious detail).   But in this improved LA reality, she has come to terms with it, and is determined to live what is left of her life to the fullest.   And, for good measure, Locke is able to admit that he didn't really go on the walkabout in Oz after all.   He's about give up his belief in miracles, but Helen tells him she'll always believe in miracles and never give up on him.

Meanwhile, back on island, things are aren't so hopeful at all, though we get some answers to long hanging questions.     Most important, the numbers that played such a role in Hurley's life, and which Desmond was chained to entering in the hatch, come from a cave that Jacob kept.   In this cave, Jacob listed the names of all the people he visited off the island (we saw some of these visits, to our characters, last year).   Jacob assigned them numbers - and the numbers next to the names of our characters, Sayid, Hurley, etc,  correspond to the numbers in Hurley's string of numbers, and entered on the computer in the hatch by Desmond and for a short time by Locke.

Of course, this still does not explain why the numbers were on Hurley's his life, why Desmond had to enter just that sequence in the hatch, etc.

But at least Lost, in its home stretch, is finally moving to address this long perplexing, fascinating, questions.

Even as it is still raising what seem like new ones.   Who was the boy who appeared to Locke/Nemesis, and to Sawyer, too?   I'm betting Aaron - but he did he get so old so quickly?  More time travel?

But the biggest question of all is still which of the realities is the most real, the most true, and will be standing and breathing at the series' conclusion.   The LA reality may be too good to be true, but the island is still a little too crazy to comprehend, so I'm still expecting some combination of both.



5-min podcast review of Lost

See also  Lost Season Six Double Premiere ... Three Questions Arising from the Lost Season Six Premiere: Linkage Between Two Realities,  Dead Bodies Inhabited, Who/What Survived H-Blast?
... Lost 6.3:  Kate and Claire, Tenacious Details, and Dr. Arzt's Arse at the Airport

More Lost - see : The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben ... 5.8 True Love Ways ... 5.9 Two Times and a Baby ... 5.10 The Impossible Cannot Happen ... 5.11 Clockwork Perfect Time Travel ... 5.12: Ben v. Charles, and Locke' Slave ... 5.13: Lost Meets Star Wars and the Sixth Sense ... The Problem with Baby Aaron and the Return of the Oceanic Six ... 5.14: Eloise, Daniel, and Obsession Trumping Paradox ... 5.15: Moral Compasses in Motion ... Lost Season 5 Finale: Jacob and Locke








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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

Monday, February 15, 2010

24 8.8: Turning Tables

The tables were reversed on Jack on 24.8.8 tonight - he was the one who was tortured.   But unlike all of his victims in prior seasons, Jack breaks lose and kills his torturer.

He also does a good job in getting Bazhaev to turn around, and tell him and CTU where the nuke rods are (in return for an immunity deal, granted by the President, for him and his son Josef).  As I mentioned last week, Josef is quietly livid about Bazhaev killing his other son, Josef's brother.  I thought this would result in Josef turning on his father, and cooperating with Jack and CTU.   But I was only half right.

Josef gets back at his father all right - but by stealing the nukes, not by helping the good guys.  Bazhaev's cooperation is thus worthless, and CTU is right back where it started as far as intercepting the nukes before they get into the hands of the pseudo-Iranian-President's-murderous brother.

It was a good twist, as 24 moves along with a good, barreling story.  I'm looking forward to more - especially something more apocalyptic.

***

Meanwhile, in real life news, Kiefer Sutherland needs to be operated on for a ruptured cyst near his kidney.   I wish him a speedy and complete recovery.   He deserves enormous credit for being the backbone of this powerful show for eight years now.





5-min podcast review of 24

See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7

And see also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22  ... Hours 23-24 




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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

NCIS

It's the number #1 drama on television, my wife and I have been watching it on DVD and catching up with this season's episodes online for the past few months, so I figured I'd give it a review here on Infinite Regress.  The short form:  NCIS is superb, and deserves its enormous success.

Among the highlights - the characters and the acting are outstanding -

Mark Harmon as Gibbs is in the role of his long career.   He has just the right mix of toughness and twinkle-in-the-eye humor.   And a lot of heart and soul.

Michael Weatherly as DiNozzo is a breath of fresh air.   He has just the right mix of humor and toughness.   His encyclopedic knowledge of movies and television shows, cited by him in every episode as he tries to put the case in context, is genuinely instructive, and delightful.

Cote de Pablo as Ziva David is spectacular.   A former Mossad agent on loan to NCIS, now an outright NCIS agent, she's the best fighter on the team, as well as the best marks-person.   It's a pleasure to see her.   Not only that, it's a pleasure to see her wiping out a team of bad guys, when DiNozzo has all he can do to take down one.   Her replacement of Kate, who was killed at the end of the second season, electrified the show.

David McCallum as Ducky is wonderful to see back on the screen.   Illya Kuryakan, 40 years later, in a lab coat!

Sean Murray as McGee, and Pauley Perrette as Abby, are also excellent.

The show has given its characters considerable depth.   The fathers of Gibbs, DiNozzo, and Ziva have all played crucial roles in stories.   The killing of Kate gives NCIS a 24-like edge - a major character can be killed, unexpectedly.   The stories are often riveting, and always entertaining.   Even the music is great.

Especially appealing to me is the "meta"-commentary on the shows - not only from DiNozzo about other television shows and movies and their characters, but, for example, when Gibbs is asked what Ducky looked like when he was younger, and Gibbs says "Illya Kuryakan," or when Gibbs, in true McGarrett style, says "Book him, Dano-zzo".

I'll be watching every episode from now on, and posting reviews right here.


5-min podcast review of NCIS







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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
 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Initial Thoughts about Google Buzz

I heard about Google Buzz yesterday, and received the invite when I logged onto Gmail this morning. It's an addition, alternative, addendum to Twitter (which you can you can relay into your Google Buzz, along feeds from your blogs, etc) and status updates on Facebook (which Google Buzz provides no connectivity to).  I signed up (of course).   Here are some very initial thoughts:

1.  At very least, Google Buzz provides a new mix of people - to follow, and, to follow you.  In the past few minutes, I read Buzz from Ryan Ozawa, Brian McFadden, Steve Rubel, and Zach Seward.  I know all of these people, more or less.   But I've never seen the four in succession on my Facebook wall, or on Twitter.

2. Google Buzz posts the first few lines from your blog feed, with a "more" option to read the rest, which is right there when you click.   This is one step better than Twitter or Facebook, where you have to click on a link and get to a different page to read the full blog post.

3. The availability of Google Buzz directly from the your Gmail makes email, text, audio, and video chatting with any Buzzers easy.

4.  There is always the danger of one new app too many - do we already have enough status updaters with Google and Facebook?   Possibly, but probably not.   Further, in the case of Facebook, the irritation that many users are feeling about the new interface could fuel a move from Facebook to Google Buzz as a prime updater system.   Time will tell.


free Twitter chapter!


See also Google Buzz: Takes on Twitter as a 'Wave' with Training Wheels
 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lost 6.3: Kate and Claire, Tenacious Details, and Dr. Arzt's Arse at the Airport

We now have more evidence about the nature of the two realities in Lost.  Not only the basics - most of the people on the plane, for example - stay the same.   So do the details.  In the LA reality of episode 6.3, Claire thinks her baby's name should be Aaron.   In metaphysical terms - the what-if ground rules of science fiction - the rules of these two realities are that details have a stubborn tenacity.  They poke through whatever the differences in the two realities, whenever they can.

Inexplicable coincidences, which in many ways have been the hallmark of Lost (Desmond and Jack running into each other on the steps of the stadium, Sawyer is served by Kate's mother in a dinner, etc) continue in the LA reality, as well.  Ethan is Claire's doctor in the hospital to which Kate brings Claire when she goes into labor.   But how did Ethan end up in Los Angeles in this reality?   In the original Lost reality, which the characters are still pursuing on the island, Ethan was born to Amy and Horace.   But if the H-bomb went off, how did Ethan get off the island, with the tenacious, constant detail that he's still a doctor kicking in?

Events on the island are little more explicable. There's something inside Sayid, if we believe Dogen, and I'm inclined to. I said last week that I thought Sayid came back to life inhabited by Jacob.   That still seems to be on track, though Jacob's taking a little longer to manifest himself.   (I suppose there's an outside chance that the manifesting spirit "claiming," as Dogen puts it, Sayid's body is not Jacob but Smokey - but what would be the Nemesis's point in claiming two bodies, Locke's and now Sayid's?)

Kate had some very good scenes with Sawyer on the island (and some really powerful acting from Josh Holloway) , where we also find that Claire is still alive - though inhabited, at least according to Dogen.

And back in alternate-reality L.A., Claire is not giving baby Aaron away.   The adopting parents have split, and the adoptive mother no longer wants the baby.  Lost missed an opportunity, here, to make the adoptive mother someone we know.  But we did get Dr. Arzt's arse at the airport. 

And with Claire keeping her baby, the two realities move maybe a little closer to convergence, which I predict will be how this will all end.


5-min podcast review of Lost

See also  Lost Season Six Double Premiere ... Three Questions Arising from the Lost Season Six Premiere: Linkage Between Two Realities,  Dead Bodies Inhabited, Who/What Survived H-Blast?

More Lost - see : The Richard-Locke Compass Time Travel Loop ...

and Lost Returns in 5 Dimensions and 5.3: The Loops, The Bomb ... 5.4: A Saving Skip Back in Time ... 5.5 Two Time Loops and Mind Benders ... 5.6 A Lot of Questions ... 5.7 Bentham and Ben ... 5.8 True Love Ways ... 5.9 Two Times and a Baby ... 5.10 The Impossible Cannot Happen ... 5.11 Clockwork Perfect Time Travel ... 5.12: Ben v. Charles, and Locke' Slave ... 5.13: Lost Meets Star Wars and the Sixth Sense ... The Problem with Baby Aaron and the Return of the Oceanic Six ... 5.14: Eloise, Daniel, and Obsession Trumping Paradox ... 5.15: Moral Compasses in Motion ... Lost Season 5 Finale: Jacob and Locke





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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

House 6.13: Cuddy's Perspective

A standalone superb episode 6.13 of House last night - a day in the life of Lisa Cuddy.   With all the talk about a House spinoff, this episode shows that a new show about Cuddy could work very well - except that she would still be needed on House, and House would be needed on Cuddy.

The integration of Gregory House into the Cuddy show was done deftly.   We get just snippets of his cases.   In one fine scene, the elevator closes with Cuddy inside, as House continues talking about his case in the hall.   This captures the essence of the episode, all from Cuddy's perspective.

She reluctantly seeks House's advice - here, House is playing the Wilson role - on Cuddy's most dangerous "case".   She playing wicked hardball with an insurer, holding out for more favorable rates, even though Princeton-Plainsboro is a small hospital (her counter-argument is that Princeton-Plainsboro has the most brilliant care, aka House).  Plus, she has an employee who has been stealing and dealing drugs, a lawsuit from a patient unhappy that Chase saved his thumb (!), a crying baby at home with a fever, and, well, you get the picture.

It's interesting to note the role that House plays, other than his advice, in Cuddy's hectic life.  At least on this day, he's much less of major distraction and dangerous wild card to Cuddy than we might think, based on what we've seen of House and Cuddy from House's perspective on House.   And this makes sense - Cuddy has lots of problems, real and potential, and House is not always one of them.   From her perspective, House can be a pain, but just one of many, and also a pain that can be a valuable ally.

Maybe not coincidentally, all of Cuddy's problems resolve, after she talks to House.   The insurer caves (and her job is saved).   Cuddy stares down the drug-dealing employee's threats of blackmail.   The aggrieved owner of the thumb sees the light.   And the baby is better.   She's back home in bed with Lucas, who can make up for what he failed to complete in the morning.

All in a day's work and life for Lisa Cuddy.  It's a measure of how deeply the characters are drawn, how true their intellects and emotions ring, that House can be just as superb from another character's perspective as from House's.


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 ... House 6.8 and the Reverse of Flowers for Algernon ... House 6.9: Wilson ... House 6.10: Back in Business ... House 6.11: Making Amends, Mending Fences, and a Psychopath  ... House 6.12: The Progression to Mensch




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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
 

Heroes Forever

A beautiful Heroes finale tonight - definitely of this, the fourth season, maybe of the entire series, though I hope not.   This was written by series creator Tim Kring.  It tied up some powerful lose ends, and brought into being some revolutionizing new ones.

Among the highlights -

1. Hiro finds Charlie.  The actress, Jayma Mays, is on Glee now, but Hiro finds her in his hospital - very old, and at the end of her life.  Samuel sent her back to 1944.   She never stopped thinking about Hiro.  He can fix this - he can go back to 1944 (the operation restored his powers), and take her back with him to the present, where they can live together, happily ever after.  But Charlie's grand daughter comes into her room.   Charlie has led a full and happy life.  If Hiro were to go back to 1944 and "save" her, what would happen to her family, to her granddaughter?  They would cease to exist.  In a good ending to this little time travel nugget, Hiro understands that he has to let the story of Charlie and him end right there, in this hospital.

2.  Hiro and Ando in any case are urgently needed in New York City, where Doyle, doing Samuel's bidding, is getting Emma the cellist to play her music.  This is attracting droves of people to Central Park.  Samuel's plan is to kill them, to demonstrate his power.   But all kinds of heroes are converging on the park, to do what they can to stop him.

3.  This includes Peter and Sylar, freed last week by Peter from Matt's mental prison, and swearing that he's changed, he's a hero now.   And he indeed does his part, and frees Emma from Doyle's puppetry.

4.  Noah and Claire were buried in a carnival van deep in the ground by Samuel last week.  But Lauren figures out how to save them - she enlists Tracy, who turns to water, seeps under the ground, and provides a liquid route to escape.

5.  Samuel's power comes from the power of heroes around him.   As they're told the truth about him, they all leave.   Meanwhile, Hiro teleports all the non-heroes to safety.   Deprived of his powers, Samuel is finished.

And now the kicker.   Claire, who has been struggling with whether to live a lie, denying her powers, for the entire series, decides a change is due.   Contrary to what Noah so desperately wants for her, Claire decides to go public.  With most of the heroes on hand and watching in amazement, she invites the cameras of the assembled media to watch her, as she climbs up high, jumps to what should be her death on the ground, then stands and cleans herself off.

It's a wonderful ending.   If the series is renewed, we'll have a whole new story next year, of at least one and maybe more heroes publicly known.  If the series is not renewed, there will now always be a good basis for a comeback series, five, ten, even fifteen years from now.

Whatever happens, I predict we will in one way or another be seeing more Heroes.


6-min podcast review of Heroes

See also Heroes Season 4 Premiere: Metaphysics, University, Carnival ... Heroes Meets The L Word in 4.5 ... Heroes 4 Mid-Season Finale  ... Heroes Season 4 Resumes ... Heroes 4.15: The Chess Game Continues ... 4.16: The Trial of Hiro ... 4.18: Penultimate

See also reviews of Season 3 Heroes Gets Lost ... Heroes 3 Begins: Best Yet, Riddled with Time Travel and Paradox ... Sylar's Redemption and other Heroes and Villains Mergers ... Costa Nuclear ... Hearts of Gold and the Debased ... Seeing the Future Trumps Time Travel ... Superpowered Chess with Shifting Pieces ... Villains and Backstories ... The Redemption of Sylar ... Thoughts on the Eclipse, Part I ... The Lore of the Comic Book Store ... Hiro's Time Traveling Closure ... Augmented ... Shades of Recalibration ... Baby, Rebel, and Last Fantasy ... All that Shape Changes Remains the Same? ... Season 3 Finale: Hopeful Deceptions

Reviews of Season 2 Heroes: Episode 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 7. Heroes Meets 12 Monkeys ... 9. How Immutable Are Fate and Isaac's Futures? ... 10. Penultimate for the Fall ... Heroes 2 Finale: Heroes Who Didn't Survive

And from Season 1: Heroes in Focus ... Heroes Five Years Gone: Triumph of Time Travel and Comics ... Heroes the Hard Part: Only the Pictures Not the Words ... Heroes Landslide: Winnowing and Convergence ... Heroes Volume One Finale







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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

Monday, February 8, 2010

24 8.7: More Like 24s than 24, with at Least Five Stories

At least five distinct stories proceeding in this episode 7 of Season 8 of 24, at least four of them related.   The one that isn't - at least yet - is Dana and her former boyfriend and his loser partner, who rob a police evidence locker, but stay too long.   This may result in their getting caught, and who knows what may happen to Dana, who was pressured by her boyfriend to provide intel for the lamely executed heist.

Meanwhile, our four other story lines are slowly converging.

1. Pseudo-Iranian (Kamistanian) President Hassan is going from bad to worse in his hunt for anyone he thinks might have had the remotest connection to his attempted assassination.   Understandable, to some extent, because his brother was behind it, and is still at large, and a factor in the central plot, the selling of Russian nukes to who knows what terrorist organization.

2.  The Russian bad guy with the nukes - Sergei Bazhaev - is getting ready to bury his son, whom he killed, while his other son, Josef, simmers with anger about what happened to his brother.  Sergei also sends a team to Vlad's hideout - Vlad had called Sergei with news of a great deal for the nukes, but Sergei isn't willing to even admit to Vlad that he has the nukes, so Sergei sends a team to kill Vlad.

3. Not necessary - because Renee has already killed Vlad.  Forced to sleep with him last week (or hour, in 24 time), frustrated because Vlad has given up on getting a deal for the nukes, and is focusing instead on sleeping again with Renee, she loses it, and stabs Vlad to death.   It was a violent but satisfying scene.  Vlad got just what he deserved.

4.  Renee also stabbed but didn't seriously wound Jack, as he was trying to pull her away from Vlad.  Renee admits she lost it, says she has nobody.  In another fine scene, Jack tells Renee she has him.  But Sergei's team arrives.   Jack allows himself to be taken hostage - it's the only chance to get to the nukes.


5-min podcast review of 24


This is a unique season of 24, with so many different stories, and yet enough pulsing action and emotional dynamite in the main story - Jack and Renee - to pull it all together.   It's like 24s, not 24, as the clock ticks not only across split screens but multiple narratives.
 
See also Season 8 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6

And see also Season 7 reviews: Hours 1 and 2 ... Hours 3 and 4 ... Hour 5 ... Hour 6 ... Hour 7 ... Hour 8 ... Hour 9 ... Hour 10 ... Hours 11-12 ... Hour 13 ... Hour 14 ... Hour 15 ... Hour 16 ... Hour 17 ... Hour 18 ... Hour 19 ... Hour 20 ... Hour 21 ... Hour 22  ... Hours 23-24 










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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
 

The Potential for Brilliance in the Difference between Near-Insanity and Insanity in Big Love 4.5

Another high octane episode of Big Love - 4.5 - with the incendiary mix of politics and family in Bill's life about as flammable as it gets.

In politics, Bill's opponent jumps on the "lost boy" issue to make Bill seem weak on crime.   Then the opponent releases Bill's mug shot, taken when he was a "lost boy" himself and had a brush with the law.  Bill eventually gives a great speech in which he admits to being a "lost boy"  - thrown out of his home, left on the streets by his father -  but that lost boys need and require society's compassion, rather than being scorned and forced into a criminal life.

It was a fine moment for Bill, and he gets the nomination - he's the Republican candidate for the state senate seat - but the deeper issues, as they always are on Big Love, are family not politics, except this time the two are profoundly intertwined.   Everyone's furious at Bill for throwing Ben out of the house last week - for "exiling" him, or potentially making Ben precisely the kind of "lost boy" under political debate.    First, let me say that I don't think Bill quite threw Ben out last week.  True, Bill said that's what he was thinking, when Ben said he should leave.  And Bill, rather than supporting Ben's leaving, should have talked him into staying - or least tried to do that - but I don't think that's exactly the same as throwing Ben out.

But Ben thinks he was thrown out, and Bill certainly could have done a lot more last night to stop Ben from leaving.   Barb at first thinks Bill did throw Ben out, and is furious.  This results in Barb telling Margene off - the first time we've ever seen Barb telling Margene that she slid her way into the family, from babysitter to wife - and in being about as angry at Bill as we've ever seen.  Bill tries to explain, but when he fails in his attempt to get Ben back to talk, Barb is left deeply upset.

These family upheavals play out literally as Bill is trying to get a victory in his political campaign, and show again the almost insanity of a polygamist running for public office - family life with more than one wife, and children who are no longer little kids, is complicated enough.  But almost insane is not the same as insane, and it is in the difference between these two states that the brilliance of Big Love and the possibility of Bill's ultimate success in both family and politics reside.


5-min podcast review of Big Love

See also Big Love Season 4 Start with Casino, Psycho, and Birds ... Big Love 4.2: Politician or Prophet?  ... Big Love 4.3: Super-Compressed, Super-Fine ...  Big Love 4.4:  Bill and Don

See also: Big Love, Season 3 ... 1. a 4th ... 2. Two Issues Resolved, Two Not So Much ... 6. Exquisite, Perfectly Played ... Big Love Season 3 Finale: Bigger Love ...

And from Season 2: 2: Oh, Happy Day, and Not ... 3: Sons and Mothers ... 4. Help Me, Rhonda ... 5. The Waitress and More... 6. Just Lust ... 7. Margene's Mama ... 8. Polygamy and Misgivings ... 9. Swing Vote Margene ... 10. Polygamy as the Ultimate Cool/Bad ... 11. Family in Crisis ... Big Love Season 2 Concludes








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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
 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Caprica 1.3: Daughters, Missing and Present

"53 mentions of your broadcast name today," Daniel Graystone's personal house robot, Serge, tells him when he comes home to his beautiful home on the water in Episode 1.3 of Caprica.  It's something I can relate to - I'm always Googling for mentions of my name.   But this typifies the unusual, original mix that is Caprica - 1940s fedoras, 1980s videotapes, along with maglevs, robots, and now a Cylon - old, recent, near and further future by contemporary Planet Earth standards.   It's an intriguing, reasonable mix for a planet that is not ours.

The story, however, is powerfully human.   Parents struggling with the loss of their children.   Sam Adama beating Daniel Graystone over the loss of Adama's niece, in a brutal scene reminiscent of the tone of Battlestar Galactica.   Joseph Adama coming to Daniel for help in reaching his lost daughter, whose essence exists in virtual reality, and when Daniel is unable to locate her, Joseph goes back home and tells his brother Sam to kill Daniel's wife Amanda.

And the Graystones stuggling on their own, attempting to deal with the loss of their own daughter, Zoe.  Not only can Daniel not find Tamara's avatar, he has no idea that Zoe's intelligence, in a Cylon he created, is standing right next to him and his wife as they argue about Amanda's deluded confession on television last week that Zoe set off the terrorist bomb (not true).   Even worse, Daniel and Amanda making love right in front of the Cylonic Zoe, not knowing it/she's Zoe.

This is tough, real science fiction, in a world much more beautiful than Battlestar Galactica, but every bit as unflinching about life-and-death, wrenching issues.

I'm staying tuned for more.


5-min podcast review of Caprica

See alsoBattlestar Galactica Caprica: Exquisite, Flawed Copies ... 1.2:  Dawn of a Different Machine







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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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