Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bones 6.2: Hannah and her Prospects

We didn't have to wait too long to meet Hannah, Booth's new love from Afghanistan, a reporter on assignment in Iraq last week.  She's in Washington tonight on Bones 6.2, walking right into a conversation between Booth and Brennan.

Hannah - played by beautiful Katheryn Winnick - is beautiful, bright, and courageous.  She risked her life covering the war in Afghanistan, and Booth met her when he saved her life (which Bones may think is what ignited Hannah's feelings for Booth).   Angela has to warn Hodgins to stop "drooling" over Hannah.   We can well understand Booth's attraction to her, if not (quite yet) his professed love.

How does Hannah measure up against Bones?  Well, no one can have Bones' genius, complexity, innocence and allure.  But Booth has discovered, more than once, when he tries to move his relationship with Bones to another level, that she puts on the breaks.  This will make Booth loath to leave Hannah, unless Bones once and for all wants to be with him, and even then, it's not clear what Booth would do.

I'm therefore thinking that Hannah's going to be around for more than a few episodes, and when she and Booth break up it will be her doing, not his.

Meanwhile, back at the lab, everyone's in fine form,  including Dr. Edison, who comes up with an important piece of the puzzle after Bones chides him for accepting her initial quick-take premises too quickly.  Cam in turn chided Bones for being too tough on Edison, because Cam thinks Bones is acting out her frustration and jealousy over Hannah.   Bones of course denies that motive, and says she was only trying to prod Edison to perform at a more effective level, which he does.

Cam apologizes to Bones, but she must know that she was right.  We the viewers certainly do ....  One of the charms of Bones the series, as I often say,  is seeing what is patently clear to us and all the other characters on the show except Bones and Booth.


5-min podcast review of Bones

See also Bones 6.1: The Linchpin

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










                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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


Amy Harris and Paul Levinson on PBS about TV Finales

Sex in the City writer Amy Harris and I talk to Alison Stewart on PBS's Need to Know last May about television finales ...with clips from 24, Lost, The Fugitive, Six Feet Under, St. Elsewhere, Seinfeld, and The Sopranos!


Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Criminal Minds 6.2: The Meaning of J. J. Leaving

A sad, beautiful Criminal Minds 6.2 tonight, with J. J. forced to leave the BAU to accept a promotion - forced to leave by superiors way over Hotch and even Strauss' heads.  At least she left alive, which leaves open the possibility of her return to the team at some point in the future.

As Samuel Taylor Coleridge noted in his Biographia Literaria almost two centuries ago, a "willing suspension of disbelief" is essential to the enjoyment of poetry.  The same applies to the enjoyment of television today - an acceptance in some part of your brain that the characters whose lives and adventures you are following on the screen are in some sense real.  And few things disrupt that pact made with your fiction as does a major character leaving a narrative because the actor or actress can no longer perform the part.   It's as if the really real world behind the television has reached out and punctured the pretended real world of the narrative you've been following so closely.

Sometimes it can't be helped, as when Jock Ewing left Dallas because actor Jim Davis died in 1981.   Other times this happens because the actor or actress decides to leave, as when Adam Cartright left Bonanza in 1965 because Pernell Roberts rode away in search of greener pastures.

In the case of J. J. leaving Criminal Minds, the fault seems to be with the powers that be somewhere in control of the series.   Actress A.J. Cook certainly didn't seem to want to leave, based on her public statements.   In a case of the storyline of tonight's show echoing what happened in really real television life,  A. J. was apparently obliged to leave for the same unsatisfying executive reasons as was J. J. on the show.

It was clear in tonight's episode that the rest of cast will certainly miss her.   The worst criminal part of the story at least had a happy ending - a Natalee Holloway kind of story in which the victim was found alive, due in the case of Criminal Minds to the sharp observations of J. J.

So the writers gave J. J. a fine send-off in these last two episodes - the first two episodes of a new season.  As I said in my review last week,  J. J. added a tender humanity, a lightness of being, to this often crushingly intense show, and, for that reason, she'll be difficult to replace, if she is at all.


5-min podcast review of Criminal Minds

See also Criminal Minds in Sixth Season Premiere and Criminal Minds 5.22 and the Dark Side of New New Media



                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle






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, September 29, 2010

NCIS 8.2: Interns!

Maybe "I'm changing," Gibbs says on NCIS 8.2 last night, in reply to a question about why he's welcomed a cadre of interns to his NCIS operations, when previously he had expressed Gibbsonian dislike for the intern.   It's a good change.  The interns brought a lot to last night's episode, including an important discovery by Abby's intern, whom she first had disdained, a good dose of humor to Ducky's work, and an opportunity for McGee to put someone lower on the totem pole through his paces.

The story was also good - the team is investigating the kidnapping of a daughter of a Navy couple - Rebecca Mason's in a local school, where everyone in her classroom is knocked out by some strange gas, and her parents are overseas.   Her grandfather - Nicolas Mason played by William Devane - is thus the first family member Gibbs interviews.

A kidnapping of a child is a rarity on NCIS - in fact, I can't recall the last time this happened on the series - and soon something also unlikely happens:  Gibbs is fooled in his interview of Mason, who turns out to be head of a former top-secret government team, that goes back to Reagan.   Why didn't Gibbs see Nicolas was something more than just a civilian at first?   My guess is the kidnapping of a daughter stirred Gibbs' own deep emotions - we also see this in Gibbs' earlier response to DiNozzo - and slightly clouded his usually perceptive assessments of interviewees.   In any case, it made for good story development.

Lots of nice twists in this episode, including the ending, where the bad guy is revealed as the teacher in Rebecca's class (played by Sam Anderson - Bernard from Lost), and he's captured after Gibbs' engineers a feigned shooting of Nicolas by Ziva.   DiNozzo also has a fine, defining response to Conrad, an intern, who says DiNozzo and Ziva could make a fortune in the private sector.  DiNozzo snaps back, "then who would catch the bad guys?"

So will the interns continue?   Mr. Palmer understandably thinks it's getting too "crowded," but Gibbs has at least Conrad fill out an application for what may be a season-long position on the team.   The times on NCIS are definitely a changing...


5-min podcast review of NCIS

See also NCIS Back in Season 8 Action

And see ee also NCIS  ... NCIS 7.16: Gibbs' Mother-in-Law Dilemma ... NCIS 7.17: Ducky's Ties ... NCIS 7.18: Bogus Treasure and Real Locker ... NCIS 7.21: NCIS Meets Laura ... NCIS Season 7 Finale: Retribution






                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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 Good Wife Starts Second Season on CBS

The Good Wife returned to CBS last night, with a great episode that picked up right where the first season ended, Alicia about to join Peter on stage after his political come-back speech, phone ringing for a second time in Alicia's hand with a call from Will, her boss and almost more ...

Will's first call, a few minutes earlier, was to tell Alicia that he wanted to be with her.  Alicia's response was that she got the romance, but if she was to jeopardize her family, she needed a plan.   In the premiere of the second season last night, Alicia doesn't get to answer the second call - one of Eli Gold's guys takes the phone from Alicia, and she joins Peter on stage.   Will, seeing the two on television, leaves voice-mail - it's best that Alicia forget what he just told her, their relationship will be strictly professional from now on.  But, then, a few beats later, he reconsiders and calls back with a different message: he loves her, they can make this work, if she agrees then they should get together and work out a plan, if not, he won't bother her about this again.

But Alicia never gets to hear that second message, because Eli erases it.  This is a good move, narrative-wise, because it allows the new season to start off as if the end of the last season didn't happen.   (But, technically, wouldn't Alicia have seen a second missed call indicated on her cell phone?  And my wife doubts that Alicia would have let anyone take her phone, even under these pressured circumstances.)   But keeping the lid on Alicia and Will for now does make for exciting possibilities in the near and later future of this series.

Meanwhile, the most powerful scene in the episode - and I'd guess on all of television last night - comes after Peter sees Alicia stand up to a judge in a courtroom, and risk a contempt citation in defense of the Fifth Amendment.   Peter is turned on by Alicia's daring and power, and later, at home, he walks into the steamy bathroom where Alicia has just finished her shower and dressed.    She's happy enough to see him, but demurs and says she has to study up for a case.   Peter says that's ok, he'll take of everything, which he does, with about as explicit oral sex as we've seen indicated on prime time network television without actually seeing it.    This is a significant reversal of usual male-female power-sex roles, because Peter is doing this a little more for Alicia's pleasure than his, to in effect reward her for her brave courtroom performance.

Other good touches on the last night's show are additions of Scott Porter (Jason from Friday Night Lights!) and Michael Ealy (Sleeper Cell, FlashForward) to the cast, and indeed to Alicia's law firm.   But Julianna Margulies as Alicia remains the towering figure in the show, continuing to deliver an awesome performance in every episode.



5-min podcast review of The Good Wife






                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle











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


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Event 1.2: Aliens!

We learned on The Event 1.2 last night that the saviors of the President from the plane intent on taking him (and who knows who else) out - the people that the President intended on freeing, after their imprisonment for decades in Alaska - are aliens!

So The Event joins The Invaders, Invasion, and, currently V, as a prime-time network alien story.  It occurs to me that all of these series have the letter "v" in them, so The Event is in an apt as well as good company.

These aliens got here in 1944.  Their DNA is only one-percent different from ours.  But as was pointed out last night, chimps have DNA less than two percent different from ours, and look at all the difference that has made.  (Mozart, Shakespeare, trips to the Moon, and television shows about aliens all reside in that difference.)

You might think that the President, grateful to the aliens for saving his life, would be that much more determined to free them from their fortress of solitude up north.  But now that he's glimpsed the awesome power of their technology, just the reverse is the case.

And there's the question of who was behind the assassination attempt?   A group of humans who wanted to stop the President from freeing the aliens, or another group of aliens, antagonistic to the Alaskans?

The action, the answers, and new questions continue to flow at a fast pace on The Event, which makes it good science fiction television.


5-min podcast review of The Event


See also The Event Debuts on NBC




                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle




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 7.2: House and Cuddy Chapter 2 in the New Relationship

A good House 7.2 last night, in which House and Cuddy continue, no easy thing for each of them.  A lesser show might have made what we saw last week a one-night stand, with House and Cuddy reverting to earlier, non-couple status.   But that would have been unsatisfying, and untrue to the deep feelings that have been brewing between the two for all of these years.

Instead, House the show seems admirably intent on showing House and Cuddy doing their best to make this work.  This includes getting Wilson up to speed, and dealing with House's talented staff.   But most important, will Cuddy be able to effectively supervise House, given their love now increasingly defining their professional relationship?

They disagree on just about everything, just as they did in the past.   Cuddy doesn't want House to tell Foreman and the gang about the relationship, until House and Cuddy tell Human Resources.  House tells Foreman et al right away.   House, as always, wants the most drastic treatment, as his laser medical insight cuts to the very life-and-death core.   For House, the ultimate ethic is saving the patient, and doing whatever it takes to try to make that happen.  For Cuddy, more conventional dos and don'ts apply.  Will Cuddy give in to House now?   Or will House accede to Cuddy's rules, and thereby become a less effective miracle physician?

Both happen on the show, as the two struggle to find an equilibrium.  The key is that they both love and are constantly attracted to each other.   House repeatedly grabs Cuddy's ass.  She puts her hand on his crotch.   Hey, it's all in the tradition of doctors and passions mixing on television, except this is striving for a higher, deeper level, like everything else on House.


5-min podcast review of House


See also House and Cuddy on the Other Side in Season 7 Premiere

And 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 ... House 6.13: Cuddy's Perspective ... House Meets Blogger in 6.14 ... House 6.15: About Taub ... House 6.16: Revealing Couples ... House 6.17: Socrates on Steroids ... House 6.18: Open Marriage








                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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, September 27, 2010

Boardwalk Empire 1.2: Lines and Centers Power

Boardwalk Empire was back for its second episode on HBO last night, continuing the fine atmospheric 1920s Atlantic City narrative begun last week.   I especially liked the light orange shirt Nucky had on, and I'll look for something like it at Syms, which unfortunately didn't exist back then.

What did exist was a land-line telephone system much like our current cell phone networks, always in danger of degenerating into a call with lapsed voices.   Al Capone in Chicago makes good use of this feature, ending a talk by phone from back East that he doesn't want to have, with the pretense that he can no longer hear the caller. 

Deafness, deliberate and unintended, to what's really going on is something of an underlying theme on Boardwalk Empire.   Nucky and Jimmy have each underestimated the other, and Nucky tries to set this straight by gambling away the money that he has put Jimmy through his paces to collect.  Nucky wants to show Jimmy that Jimmy's Nucky's to boss around as Nucky pleases - a dangerous proposition that bears watching.   Meanwhile, Margaret struggles to understand just why Nucky is helping her, and only gets more caught in his web.

At this point in the story, there at least three centers of power interacting - Rothstein and Lucky in New York, Capone and company in Chicago, and of course the roiling center of power in Atlantic City.  They all came into play when Jimmy and Al took Nucky's booze intended for Rothstein last week, and the consequences continue to spill out, most prominently with Rothstein demanding payment from Nucky for Rothstein's lost bottles.

And, at the end of the episode there's this: a witness to the Jimmy and Al attack, someone thought dead, who survived it.   Should rock the boat some more next week ...

See also Boardwalk Emipre on HBO

                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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

Mad Men 4.10: Grim Tidings

Mad Men 4.10 got back to its mean, even grim roots last night, with an episode that had good news for almost no one.

Don almost breaks down, when FBI agents show up at Betty's place to question her about his life.  A big defense-industry client that Pete had brought into the firm had triggered a security check for Don.  His fill-in for the late Blackenship - Megan - filled out the government form and made a few errors, that is, she didn't get a few things right about Dick's impersonation of Don.   So Don's worried, and almost goes off the deep end.  Faye tries to help, but Don gets out of the vice - at least, at this point - by pressuring Pete to cut loose the client.

Pete's none too happy, especially when Roger gives him a tongue-lashing for not staying on top of such an important client.   Pete, covering for Don, has taken responsibility for the client leaving.

Meanwhile, Roger's had a tough few days, too.   He's lost Lucky Strike as a client.  He's begged them for 30 days before letting anyone know about this, and so far he hasn't said a word to any of his partners.    Then he learns that the night he and Joan spent together - last week in terms of episode time, something closer to seven weeks in narrative time - has gotten Joan pregnant.  He'd be ok with her having the baby, but she would rather not, and is more than willing to "take care" of the pregnancy.  About the only good thing that comes out of this sad affair is Roger gets even more in touch with how deeply he feels about Joan.

We haven't seen much of Lane recently, but he gets smacked in the face last night, too - in his case, literally by his father, wielding a cane.   His father wants Lane to come back to England and put his life back in order - which working in New York, and being in love with an African-American Playboy bunny, apparently is not doing.   I guess striking one's son with a cane passed for constructive family intervention back then.

And the one piece of really good news in this baneful tide?  Don is taking Sally to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium.  She deserves it, after all that she went through last week.

See also Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women ... 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists"

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through





                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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, September 24, 2010

Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia

Fringe returned for its 3rd season on Fox last night with a just perfect gem of science fiction.

As you'll recall from the Season 2 finale, Walter and Peter have made it back to our universe with Olivia, but she's alt-Olivia, badder than ours, who's now embedded in our universe as per Walternate's (bad Walter's) plan.   In last night's story, we find out what Walternate has planned for our Olivia, now trapped in the alternate universe.

Walternate is having a med-tech deliver an injected treatment to Olivia, designed to replace her mind, memories, loyalties, etc with alt-Olivia's.   It has apparently not worked, and Olivia escapes.

She's determined to get back our universe, but that's not easy.  The portal used by Walter, Peter, and alt-Olivia has been amber-sealed.  The alt-Fringe unit, in which Charlie is still one of Olivia's partners, is in hot pursuit.   We get more delicious glimpses of the differences between ours and the alt-universe, in which President Obama appoints former Pres-JFK to head a commission (JFK had been UN Ambassador), daily flights go to the Moon, and Martin Luther King and Eldridge Cleaver worked together ("we had a dream").   As I mentioned in my reviews last season, it's in many ways a better universe than ours.   But Olivia, of course, does not want to stay there.    As long as she continues to be our Olivia, that is ...

In a fine, classic kind of science fiction twist, it turns out that Olivia's very attempts to get back to our universe have changed her into the alternate Olivia - given her the talents, memories, etc of alternate Olivia.   As the med-tech explains to Walternate at the end of the episode, the adrenalin pumping through Olivia as she made her escape pushed the treatment already in her blood stream past the blood brain barrier, where it could do its work of replacing our Olivia's mind with alt-Olivia's.   Our Olivia is now a sharp shooter like alt-Olivia, happy to hug her mother (who died when Olivia was a child in our reality), welcomed back in the fold by alt-Charlie, etc.  (See my novel, The Consciousness Plague, for more of what you can do with the blood brain barrier in science fiction.)

Only one person, other than Walternate and the med-tech, now knows something of the truth about our Olivia, trapped now not only by the alternative universe but by her own transformed mind in the alternate universe.   The cab driver, first forced by Olivia to drive her when she she still had her right mind, eventually helping her of his own accord, has seen the true Olivia.   He's played by Andre Royo, who brings the same power and sensitivity to the cab driver that he did as Bubs on The Wire.  It will be fun to see how he helps get our Olivia back to her senses and universe this season (or whenever, eventually).

Fringe has now set itself up for what could be a break-through season, just as last season's was in contrast to the first.  The differences between the same characters in the two universes - especially Walternate and Walter, and alternate-Olivia and Olivia - have been drawn in a way that calls for the unexpected.   Evil Walternate, after all, hates our universe because our Walter stole his Peter all those years ago.   Does this mean that there is some good in Walternate - some of our Walter - which could come through at a crucial moment?

I'll be watching ...

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 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey ... Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

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



                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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
 

Bones Back in 6.1: The Linchpin

Bones was back with Season 6 tonight, the perfect pick-me-up after the Yankees horrible loss to the Rays.   The team's back together - after 7 rather than 12 months - and brimming with the usual heart, soul, humor, mystery, and brilliance.

The occasion for the reconstitution is Cam, in trouble when her political enemies jump on her inability to solve a missing child case - what they're really after is stopping her public concern about brain damage in veterans from IEDs.   Caroline the irrepressible Federal prosecutor realizes that Cam needs help, which can only be given by her former team.

Everyone's soon back in business, more or less the same, with these significant differences:  1. Booth is having an affair, as a serious as a "heart attack" (Booth's words) with a hot blond reporter who's now in Iraq.  2.  Angela's pregnant.   This will be a great, fun addition to show (actually, the reporter as well as Angela's baby).

I'm not listing Sweets and Daisy as different because, although Sweets attempts to end it, they kiss and clearly they've got some kind of good future ahead.   Sweet!  (I say this even though I didn't give them much hope in my review of the Season 5 finale last Spring.  My being right is less important than their happiness.)

Lots of good lines in the show.  My favorite:  Booth talking to Caroline about Bones not finding her missing link to humanity (he means in Indonesia).   Caroline's response: "We'd all like to find that" (she means it about Bones in general).

My favorite scene:  Bones and Daisy with the guerrillas in Indonesia.

Favorite riff:  Who is the "linchpin" who keeps the team together?  Bones thinks she is.  Booth is sure he is.  Angela thinks the essential glue is Angela and Hodgins.   My vote: they of course all are, not to mention Hart Hanson, who wrote this fine, coming home episode.

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





                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle






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
 


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Criminal Minds in 6th Season Premiere

Criminal Minds returned for its 6th Season debut on CBS last night, in a typically searing episode that picked up right after the brutal Season 5 finale which had Derek bested by twisted, ingenious serial killer Billy Flynn.

Derek has thus undergone psychological (Flynn got away, and kidnapped his victim) as well as physical trauma, and this shows in his uncharacteristic brusqueness with Garcia.   She handles this well, however, and Derek soon has his piercing focus back.

We learn that Billy has kidnapped the girl because he wants her to be his partner, that is, help him in his killing spree by having her open doors, literally,  to his victims.   He's attracted to her because she's intelligent and shows no fear, and these qualities help her divert some of Billy's plans.

J. J., who will (alas) be leaving the show soon, also has an excellent role, when she talks Billy into letting the girl go.  J.J. has no experience as a hostage negotiator, so this is a major moment for her.   She brings to the show a humanity, even a lightness of being,  if that's possible, and Criminal Minds will be a little poorer without her.

Derek has the best line, telling Hotch that they (the team) were there for Hotch when he needed them, and now Derek would like Hotch and the team to do the same for him.  Which they do, and all turns out as well as can be expected in these harrowing circumstances.

Never soft on on the eyes or the soul, Criminal Minds continues as one of the most intense, intelligent crime shows ever on television.

See also Criminal Minds 5.22 and the Dark Side of New New Media




                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle




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, September 22, 2010

NCIS Back in Season 8 Action

And NCIS - the most viewed scripted series on television - was back in action on CBS last night, too.  It was a strong show, with both Gibbs' father and Mike Franks on hand, DiNozzo doing a good Canadian accent, and Vance more in evidence than usual.

Picked up right at the point that the Season 7 finale ended - Paloma (daughter of the killer of Gibbs' wife and daughter, in turn killed by Gibbs years ago) makes good on her threat to take out Gibbs' father, or at least try to.  But Jackson Gibbs is obviously no fool, and escapes her attack unscathed.

Paloma then proceeds to draw Gibbs out with a series of murders, while her brother does his best to confound NCIS with his lies.   He was able to pull the wool a little over Abby's eyes last year, but no one at NCIS is about to be fooled twice.  By the time the episode is over, Paloma's dead, and all accounts are settled, including Vance burying Abby's file that incriminates Gibbs in the killing of Paloma's father.

So NCIS can pretty much start with a new, clean slate this season.  I missed a major role for Ziva last night, but the good news on that score is that Vance seems to have some important business with Ziva's father - that is, probably at least dangerous news for Vance and therefore NCIS, but good news for us because it gets Ziva back front and center.

As I've mentioned before, I always like the continuing, deeper stories.  If NCIS can keep those in some kind of prominence this season, I'll be happy.

See also NCIS  ... NCIS 7.16: Gibbs' Mother-in-Law Dilemma ... NCIS 7.17: Ducky's Ties ... NCIS 7.18: Bogus Treasure and Real Locker ... NCIS 7.21: NCIS Meets Laura ... NCIS Season 7 Finale: Retribution



                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle




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


Hawaii Five-0 Back on CBS

Hawaii Five-0 was back on CBS Monday night - tougher, leaner, funnier, prettier than the original.

To be honest with ya, I mostly enjoyed the classic as unintended humor.  McGarrett was a strong, almost brooding character, but his 1956-hair-style in the late 1960s through the 1970s was laughable.  Dano was something of a nebish.   Chin Ho Kelly was likely to too heavy to really be a effective field agent.  Kono was ok.

The new McGarrett and Dano are much more equal, more like Starsky and Hutch than the original McGarrett and Dano.   Their repartee is enjoyable.   Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho is a lot better and more believable than the original, and it's good to see the actor back from Lost (and its disastrous ending).  And one of the best changes is Grace Park as Kono, who brings  her beautiful, dangerous Cylon from Battlestar Galactica to the new Hawii Five-0 team.

Judging from the first episode, it looks as if the bad guys will be even more international than they were on the original show.  One of the best villains in the classic was Wo Fat - Chinese spy and McGarrett's arch-enemy.   It'll be interesting to see if he crops up in the new version, but, even if not, the current world and our battle with terrorists will no doubt provide a lot of suitably serious villains to follow along with those wet bathing suits that  move more brightly than ever on the new show.








                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

House and Cuddy on the Other Side in Season 7 Premiere

House and Cuddy were finally together at the end of the emotionally harrowing finale of Season 6.   Where will they go from here?

That's one of the many questions House asks Cuddy in the fine premiere of Season 7 of House on Fox last night.   Cuddy asks why he has to analyze everything, but before the day's over, she's asking questions, too.    In other words, House and Cuddy are being true to themselves, which is to the good for their future, or at very least, likely most of this season.

Other good news - in addition to this being really really real - is they're good in bed together, Cuddy has already said she loves House, more than once, and by the end of the episode, he says the same about Cuddy.   They're trying to keep this secret, but that's not likely to last too long, and it only lasts to the extent it did last night because neither as at their posts in the hospital.

Speaking of which, there was a pretty good hospital story last night, too, with Thirteen as usual providing the spark for the solution.  She seemed to be leaving at the end of last year, but was on fine hand last night.   And her secret is discovered - she's not really going abroad for a possible cure, that is, she may be going overseas, but the hospital facility there has no record of her being in the special program.

So the season's off with a genuine new turn.   Can House and Cuddy make it together and continue to effectively perform - that is, brilliantly perform their jobs - as they have all of these years at Princeton‑Plainsboro?   It should be fun finding out.


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 ... House 6.13: Cuddy's Perspective ... House Meets Blogger in 6.14 ... House 6.15: About Taub ... House 6.16: Revealing Couples ... House 6.17: Socrates on Steroids ... House 6.18: Open Marriage






                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle






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


Boardwalk Empire on HBO

Boardwalk Empire opened on HBO this Sunday Night.  With Martin Scorsese and The Sopranos' Terence Winter behind it, Boardwalk Empire had to be good.   Judging by the first episode, the series is a lot better than good, and promises to be another superb HBO vibrant slice of history, a successor, in its own way, to Rome, which was one of the best series ever on television.

The history of Boardwalk Empire is the onset of Prohibition in 1920.  The place is Atlantic City.   Steve Buscemi, who is never less than riveting in anything he does (including Tony Blundetto in The Sopranos) plays Nucky Thompson, Treasurer in Atlantic City and a racketeer.   As his rebellious protege Jimmy Darmody tells Nucky, however, "you can't be half a gangster."

Nucky's trying to move a boatload of now illegal booze, meaning dangerous but much more profitable.  His buyers are Arnold Rothstein and young Lucky Luciano, both from New York City.  Lucky's played by Vincent Piazza, who looks at lot like Michael Nouri, which makes sense, since Nouri played Lucky on The Gangster Chronicles a few decades ago.   Young Al Capone and his Chicago boss are also on hand, as are the Feds, who are revving up to combat exactly what Nucky and his associates are trying to do.

Before the episode is over, Al will be driving the booze to Chicago, where he kills his boss in his ascension to power.   As Scorsese remarked in one of the promos for the show, one of its great pleasures is seeing iconic gangsters we know well from their later escapades - notably Luciano and Capone - in their earlier years.   Meanwhile, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson is based on the real-life Republican political boss (sweet!) and gangster Enoch "Nucky" Johnson, who held forth in Atlantic City from 1911-1941.

I hope the series runs that long.  It has great color and flavor, fine music, and full-frontal nudity (though, in the first episode, it was confined to a young woman on an autopsy table with a bootleg still in the back).


5-min podcast review of Boardwalk Empire
 




                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle







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, September 20, 2010

The Event Debuts on NBC

The Event on NBC looks like a keeper.

The new series starts off with a complex plot - ala 24 - of bad guys, terrorists, whatever intent on taking out the President (always good to see Blair Underwood back on the screen).   The apparent bearer of a bomb (or whatever) on to a plane turns to be a good guy, whose almost fiance is presumably kidnapped by the real bad guys.   Sean Walker finds himself caught up in a sleight-of-hand of his reality worthy of Hitchcock.

And that's the least of it.  His fiance's (Leila's) mother is killed before her father's eyes, and their younger daughter is kidnapped to boot.   And it turns out the father is piloting the plane, with an eye towards crashing it into where the President and his family and his advisors are all in attendance.   He's apparently a good guy, too, though, and is doing this because the real bad guys have his younger daughter - and I guess Leila, too - and are threatening to kill them.

Now this would be a series worth watching with just the above as a plot.   But the payoff at the end of the premiere episode pulls us into something much more.  For just as the plane nears its executive target, it's sucked into something that looks like it came out of The Philadelphia Experiment, and disappears into thin air.

Sophia (Laura Innes - Kerry on ER!) tells the President: "they saved us".   Who are the "they"?  Sophia explains that there are "some things I haven't told you".

What we do know that is that Sophia is part of some group which is being held in Alaska, and the President wants to free them (contrary to the strong advice of his advisors, including Blake, played by Zeljko Ivanek, who is once again playing a hard-assed a-hole).

And we're off to a brand new series, riveting, complex, frothy, more reminiscent, actually, of FlashForward than Lost, and a good dose of 24, too, as I mentioned above.  Hey, if it stays away from purgatory as an ending,  The Event could end up better than Lost in the end.


5-min podcast review of The Event



                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle









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

Mad Men 4.9: "Business of Sadists and Masochists"

Miss Blankenship had the best line in Mad Men 4.9 tonight - our gang's in a "business of sadists and masochists" - and the very close second is a line from Don about her.   It was the most comedy - hilarious at times - I can recall ever on Mad Men, and the episode managed to still work in a lot of serious, poignant punch as well.

Blankenship draws the ultimate blank right at her desk - that is, she drops dead - just a few minutes after Sally has shown up at the door.   Don asks Dr. Faye to take Sally back to his apartment - where the two were in bed just this morning - and when Faye objects, Don gets off that second best line:  "I would have my secretary do it, but she's dead."  That line felt so good, maybe it's actually the best.

This was also the best Sally show so far, with a really outstanding performance by Kiernan Shipka.  Sally wants to get away from Betty, colder than ice, and getting more despicable as a mother with every episode.    Who can blame Sally for wanting to live with Don.   I would have liked to have seen Don say yes to Sally, and maybe that will happen by the end of this season.

Meanwhile, the other big story in tonight's show, not funny at all, but winning, is between Joan and Roger.   The two love each other, no doubt, but at this point only Roger is willing to admit that.   He sends a pair of masseuses of to Joan's home as a present, and has dinner with her the next night.   As they're walking back to Joan's apartment - through a neighborhood Joan says she's not that comfortable with any more - the two are accosted by a stick-up man.   In the aftermath, robbed only their possessions, Joan passionately kisses Roger.  She's in shock because of the gunpoint robbery, and her true feelings come out.   I was glad to see them together.

So this rare episode with some laugh-out-loud humor at Blankenship's expense also had some read tenderness and depth - a fine, refreshing mix for Mad Men.

See also Mad Men 4.1: Chicken Kiev, Lethal Interview, Ham Fight ... 4.2: "Good Time, Bad Time?" "Yes." ... 4.3: Both Coasts ... 4.4: "The following program contains brief nudity ..."  4.5: Fake Out and Neurosis ... 4.6: Emmys, Clio, Blackout, Flashback  ... 4.7: 'No Credits on Commercials' ... 4.8: A Tale of Two Women

And from Season 3: Mad Men Back for 3 and 3.2: Carvel, Penn Station, and Diet Soda and 3.3: Gibbon, Blackface, and Eliot and 3.4: Caned Seats and a Multiple Choice about Sal's Patio Furniture and 3.5: Admiral TV, MLK, and a Baby Boy and 3.6: A Saving John Deere and 3.7: Brutal Edges ... August Flights in 3.8 ... Unlucky Strikes and To the Moon Don in 3.9 ... 3.10: The Faintest Ink, The Strongest Television ... Don's Day of Reckoning in Mad Men 3.11 ... Mad Men 3.12: The End of the World in Mad Men ... Mad Men Season 3 Finale: The End of the World

And from Season Two: Mad Men Returns with a Xerox and a Call Girl ... 2.2: The Advertising Devil and the Deep Blue Sea ... 2.3 Double-Barreled Power ... 2.4: Betty and Don's Son ... 2.5: Best Montage Since Hitchcock ... 2.6: Jackie, Marilyn, and Liberty Valance ... 2.7: Double Dons ... 2.8: Did Don Get What He Deserved? ... 2.9: Don and Roger ... 2.10: Between Ray Bradbury and Telstar ... 2.11: Welcome to the Hotel California ... 2.12 The Day the Earth Stood Still on Mad Men ... 2.13 Saving the Best for Last on Mad Men

And from Season One: Mad Men Debuts on AMC: Cigarette Companies and Nixon ... Mad Men 2: Smoke and Television ... Mad Men 3: Hot 1960 Kiss ... Mad Men 4 and 5: Double Mad Men ... Mad Men 6: The Medium is the Message! ... Mad Men 7: Revenge of the Mollusk ... Mad Men 8: Weed, Twist, Hobo ... Mad Man 9: Betty Grace Kelly ... Mad men 10: Life, Death, and Politics ... Mad Men 11: Heat! ... Mad Men 12: Admirable Don ... Mad 13: Double-Endings, Lascaux, and Holes

20-minute interview with Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) at Light On Light Through




                 Special Discount Coupons for Angie's List, Avis, Budget Car, eHarmony, eMusic, Mozy, Zazzle








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


InfiniteRegress.tv