Friday, September 28, 2012

Fringe 5.1: Paved Park and Shattered Memory

Fringe opened its fifth and final season tonight with a great episode that picked up right where - not last season's finale - but episode 4.19 left off, that is, in the 2036 brutal dystopia ruled by the Eternal Bald Observers. In other words, they're not Observers any more. They're would be and to a large extent already in power masters of humanity. They've paved over Central Park, for crissakes, in an effort to make our world more habitable to them. They come from our future, where the air is really bad, and they're using Central Park to literally pump noxious gases into the air.

Walter, Peter, and Astrid survived from our time to 2036 in amber, that wondrous technology from the alternate reality of Fauxlivia and Walternate, which may now be closed forever (though I somehow doubt that) to our reality, whatever the year. Henrietta - better known as Etta - has survived into the future in real time, which is to say, she's lived day by day, the hard way, into 2036. She's fighting the bald be-hatted Masters as part of an underground, which makes sense, given that she's Peter and Olivia's tough and beautiful daughter.

The two last saw her when the Masters unleashed their attack, a little in the future of our time and reality. The first part of tonight's episode features Peter, Etta, Walter, and Astrid finding Olivia - who was not in evidence in 2036 in Fringe 4.19 - and freeing her. Unfortunately, Walter gets captured in the process, making it more a tradeoff than a victory.

Walter may have the ability to defeat the Baldos, one of whom, an especially nasty piece of work who reminds me of the guy who plagued Neo in The Matrix, proceeds to torture Walter. In the process, he destroys a part of Walter's mind, putting Walter back in the same leaky boat he in was for most of Fringe seasons past.

So we have an excellent foundation for the final season. I've always thought that Fringe was at its best when it dealt with overarching story lines - like the alternate reality - and not with the standalone insanities which were only sometimes really outstanding. From the looks of it, Fringe will be concentrating on nothing but defeating the bald ass hats now in charge, which means we should be in for a superb last season indeed.





See also Fringe Returns for Season 4: Almost with Peter ... Fringe 4.2: Better and Worse Selves ... Fringe 4.3: Sanity and Son ... Fringe 4.4: Peter's Back, Ectoplasm, and McLuhan ... Fringe 4.5: Double Return ... Fringe 4.6: Time Slips ... Fringe 4.7: The Invisible Man ... Fringe 4.8: The Ramifications of Transformed Alternate Realities ... Fringe 4.9: Elizabeth ... Fringe 4.10: Deceit and Future Vision ... Fringe 4.11: Alternate Astrid ... Fringe 4.12: Double Westfield / Single Olivia ... Fringe 4.13: Tea and Telepathy ... Fringe 4.14: Palimpsest ... Fringe 4.15: I Knew It! ... Fringe 4.16: Walter Likes Yiddish ... Fringe 4.17:  Second Chances ... Fringe 4.18: Broyled on Both Sides ... Future Fringe 4.19 ... Fringe 4.20: Bridge ... Fringe 4.21: Shocks ... Fringe Season 4 Finale: Death and Life

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3 ... Fringe 3.21:  Ben Frankin, Rimbaldi, and the Future ... Fringe Season 3 Finale: Here's What Happened ... Death Not Death in Fringe 
 
See also reviews of Season 2: 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






"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

"Daddy, this is the best book I've ever read!" -- Molly Vozick-Levinson, age 12 at the time

"cerebral but gripping" -- Booklist


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Romney's 47% Video and the Power of New New Media

As the video clip of Mitt Romney's "47%" remark does increasing damage to his campaign - latest polls show him trailing by 10% in Ohio, and by almost as big margins in other swing states -  we have another example of the power of new new media in politics.

The video was not taken by a professional news crew or camera.  Rather, as Ben Smith points out in BuzzFeed, "Its emergence offers a glimpse at the workings of the contemporary media: Chaotically driven by an anonymous leaker; empowered by ubiquitous recording devices."

Like the George Allen "macaca" video of 2006, the Romney video may well be his undoing in 2012.  In both cases, traditional media played a crucial role in fanning the flames of the story.  But the story itself was captured by a recording device which epitomizes a world in which every consumer has become a potential producer - every attendee at a rally, everyone in every audience, can be a reporter through which audio and video clips of the event can be seen by everyone else in the world, first via posting to YouTube, then via ripple dissemination through mass media.   Multiple copies of the Romney video have been viewed more than four million times on YouTube, and millions more times on cable and network television.

It's hard to say who was more clueless - Allen or Romney - in the ways of new new media.  Allen's error was made in 2006, when YouTube was just a year old and the iPhone still a year away.  But he should have known that, even with the media of his time, anything said at a public, outdoor rally could be captured for later national listening and viewing.   Romney must have been aware of what happened to Allen - though, with Romney, you never really know - and was likely lulled into thinking he could say whatever he needed to please his rich Republican funders, without fear of it being made public, because the venue itself was so private.  But not private enough.  Nothing is reliably private in our age of smart phones and YouTube.  Romney should have known that even the ritziest private venue was vulnerable to social media.

Politics continue to be shaped and driven by new new media - not just by their savvy use by campaigns, but, even more profoundly, by the ignorance of campaigns of what new new media can do.





Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Revolution 1.2: Fast Changes

Revolution - the new J. J. Abrams' show on NBC about a post-digital apocalypse age - continues to surprise.  After shocking us with the deaths of the protagonist Charlie's parents in the first episode - a daring move, given that they were both played by major actors - it turns out in the second episode that her mother Rachel is still very much alive!    Fans of Lost's and V's Elizabeth Mitchell, including me, will be happy.  We'll be seeing  at least Rachel in more than flashbacks.

Meanwhile, the story as a whole is less predictable than post-apocalyptic tales usually are. Not only is there still digital technology afoot somewhere, but there are battles being waged over who has guns. If you think about it, guns are a good technology to focus on in a post-digital world, because they are mechanical not digital. In Revolution the militia bad-guy government has them, and the American patriot guerrillas do not - in fact, the militia brigades confiscate any guns they find, and kill anyone who refuses to turn them over. Fans of the Second Amendment will be pleased. (I support the Second Amendment, but think it's consistent with much stricter gun laws than we now have in place.) In any case, it makes for a good thread in Revolution.

The swordplay and knife action are also good on the show, giving it a sort of Game of Thrones flavor. But the best thing about Revolution so far is the fast pace of changes, which have now transformed the basis of the show twice in the past two weeks, and make me eager to see next week's episode.

See also Revolution: Preview Review



"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

"Daddy, this the best book I've ever read!" -- Molly Vozick-Levinson, age 12 at the time

"cerebral but gripping" -- Booklist

Bones 8.2 of Contention

A good, realistic Bones 8.2 tonight, as Bones and Booth begin to come terms with the three months they've spent apart.

In ordinary television, a couple in love, reunited after three months apart, with a baby part of the separation, might face a hitch or two, but would be pretty much nothing else but happy to be back together.   The story would move on to other things.

But Bones is taking the time to show something a little different.  Booth can't just forget the three months the family was split - three months wtihout Bones and Christine.  He has to feel guilty about not being able to find them and reunite the family on his own.  Bones, for her part, got used to living on her own, with Christine.  It's not easy for her to just slip back into the give and take of a relationship and a family.

So Bones and Booth spend a lot of time sniping and fighting tonight.   Their professionalism insures that this contention won't get in the way of the case - which, appropriate to this new situation for Bones and Booth, centers around a divorce lawyer.   Of course, as Bones points out, the two are not married, so they can't get divorced.  But even a temporary split-up would make a lot of people very unhappy - characters on the show not to mention we viewers.

With the help of Sweets - who is on his way to having one his best years on the show - Bones and Booth conclude the show with a good kiss and step in the right direction.  Their relationship and their family will be ok.

Which raises an interesting point.  The story of Bones and Booth is now so realistic - as a tonic to their often fantastic cases - that it now feels almost impossible to predict where it will go.  That's because, like reality itself, almost anything is possible.   Good, adult television - but, like life itself, not always the most reassuring.

See also Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian

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

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

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



"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review


Monday, September 24, 2012

Boardwalk Empire 3.2: Gasoline and the White Rock Girl

Boardwalk Empire has done a great job portraying the new media of the early 1920s - such as boxing matches broadcast on radio.  In episode 3.2, the plot hinges on the new transportation tech of that era - in particular, trucks, which Nucky uses to transport booze from Atlantic City to New York, and their dependence on gas.

There just weren't that many gas stations around back then.  And the station in fictional Tabor Heights has the last gas until the New York area.  This gives Rosetti a bright idea - take over the gas station, and use it to hold up Nucky's shipment to Rothstein, which can't get all the way from AC to NYC without that refill.  The plan works.  As is still the case in our world, control the energy and you can control the world - or at least, try to.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Nucky's finding true love - or at least true lust - with the beautiful Billie.  When a radiator breaks down, and Billie, naked, gets on the floor and leans over in an attempt to fix it, Nucky says she looks like the White Rock girl.  As indeed she does - I remember looking at the White Rock girl myself on soda bottles back as kid in the 1950s, and thinking all kinds of things.  But nothing quite as fine as Billie.

Boardwalk Empire is off to a good start this year.   No Jimmy, no Manny, but lots other good, gangsterly forces at play - including the return of Nucky's brother, whose ultimate loyalty is still, as ever, in question.

See also Boardwalk Empire 3.1: Happy News Year 1923



"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Brooklyn Book Festival

Just got back from the Brooklyn Book Festival - Trevor Quachri, new editor of Analog, invited me to come by the Dell (publisher of Analog) table at 1pm, to sign some issues of Analog with my stories, and also sell some of my own books if I wanted.  I had a fabulous time, for all kinds of reasons -
  • I sold multiple copies of every one of my novels - more than I usually sell at major science fiction conventions.  There's a lesson here: the general public, people who may not go to science fiction conventions, are interested in science fiction.  The Dell table was bustling the whole time I was there, and I bet after I left as well.
  • It was good to see the table for the National Coalition Against Censorship also holding forth to the multitudes - always inspires me to see the strength of the First Amendment and the many people who see its crucial importance.
  • Simon and Sarah unexpectedly came by.   So did Bob Blechman, though I sorta expected him.  It was good to see Sheila Williams - editor of Asimov's - again, too.  And Ian Randal Strock, Assistant Editor of Analog years ago, and now publisher/editor of SF Scope.
  • Emily Hockaday is the new Editorial Assistant at Analog.  It was great to meet her, too.
  • My father grew up in Brooklyn, and got his law degree at Brooklyn Law School, which was hosting some of the Brooklyn Book Festival events.  It felt good to be back in my father's domain.
  • I taught at nearby Polytechnic University briefly in the late 1980s.  The neighborhood was just beginning to come back then.  It's exciting to see what a cultural center it has become.
  • There was a love of books in the air - a buoyant kind of feeling which carries along with a sense of hope for all kinds of things, ranging from politics to culture.  A perfect tonic for any kind of day, and the weather was splendid today, anyway.
I plan on making the Brooklyn Book Fair a yearly September visit - even if the weather is not as glorious as it was today.  But, in the meantime, if you wish you had come by the Dell table and picked up a copy of one of my novels, or an issue of Analog with one of my stories, there's a least an easy option for you regarding one of my novels - that's what they made Kindles for.




"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Homeland 2.1-2: Sneak Preview Review

I caught the first two episodes of the new season of Homeland last night - Season 2, to debut on Showtime September 30 - courtesy of a Showtime screener.  Better than last year - which was excellent - especially 2.2, which is one of the best episodes in the series.  Spoilers follow.

The harrowing ending of last season has Brody not setting off his suicide bomb, in response to his daughter's plea that he come home.  But he could do far worse damage to the United States, if he gets elected Vice President.  Meanwhile, Carrie's manic-depression has all but taken her out of the game.

These two are the essential antagonists in Homeland, with the question being how much damage Brody will do before Carrie is able to stop him, if she is able to stop him.  The two are evenly matched, as brilliantly set forth in the second episode, when Carrie almost manages to get Nazir killed in Lebanon, who escapes because of a text message sent by Brody, seated in the war room in Washington where the strike is being managed (in TV narratives, cell phones almost always work when you need them).

Brody's exact relationship with Nazir - just what Brody is wiling to do for him - was the not all that clear last year, and it's made slightly more clear in 7.1-2.  Brody, having pulled back from the suicide mission last year, does not see himself as a terrorist at Nazir's command.  Rather, as he says to Nazir's attractive new operative (who's trying to get to know Estes more personally) in Washington, he'll use his political position to help Nazir.  That not only includes saving him from a bullet, but, as indicated above, could also be extraordinarily damaging to the U.S., should Brody, now a Congressman, get on the Presidential ticket as VP candidate.

Meanwhile, Carrie is working herself back in the CIA's good graces, the hard way.  She's not quite believed when she says has reliable info on where Nazir will be, but Saul believes her just enough to authorize the strike.   Nazir escapes - because of Brody's text - but no one blames Carrie for this, and in fact, as Saul tells her, she'll be taken much more seriously now, since her info about Nazir proved true.

Carrie tells Saul how haunted she is about being wrong about Brody.  We of course know she was right.   And by the end of 2.2, Saul does, too.  Carrie manages to grab some Nazir-relevant materials in a breathtaking chase scene in Lebanon.   She gives them to Saul.  In the last scene, he finds the video that would have been sent out had Brody blown himself up last year - Brody telling his terrorist story to the world.

So now Saul - if he lives (I'm now especially worried about him) - knows that Carrie was right about Brody, too.  The stage is set for an increasingly high-powered battle in this top-drawer series.

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




"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bones 8.1: Walk Like an Egyptian

One thing I missed in the past season of Bones was a cracking good mystery, the kind in which Bones excelled in the first few seasons.  We get that and more in the superb return of Bones tonight for its 8th season.

Among the highlights -
  • Booth and Bones reuniting as Bones, now blond and still on the run, bursts into Booth's motel room.  We get a classic segue from Booth wrestling with his at first (for a moment) unknown intruder to the two, well, wrestling in a much better way on the floor.
  • Hodgins nearly choking Pilant to death, which is what most people in the audience wanted.
  • Great performances and workouts from each and every one in the cast - that is, in addition to the above, Cam, Angela, Sweets, and Caroline, each working in their own ways to clear Bones.  And kudos to Edison, for a fine job as Bones' temp (in retrospect) replacement.  I'm glad that Cam gave him a permanent place in the Jeffersonian at the end, complementing Bones and Bones.
And the ending itself was standout.  Bones, smuggled back into the Jefferson to do hands-on work (another fine scene), gets the goods on Pilant.  But, as Bones is cleared and Pilant's taken away to prison, Max observes that he'd rather see Pilant dead.  Will Max get the chance?  Maybe, in some future episode.

But it won't be in prison.  Because, in one last twist for the night, Pilant with his programming genius has figured out a way to make the Egyptian government and the FBI think that Pilant is really an Egyptian - meaning, the Egyptians are able to get him released and sent back to Egypt.

Now, aside from Pilant's successful, brilliant programming scam, I'm not quite clear, legally, how this worked.   Caroline sagely wisecracks that she didn't even know there was an Egyptian government these days.  But even if Pilant was the Egyptian his forged record now shows him to be, surely the FBI would not have released him to Egyptian custody if he had murdered someone here.  Presumably Bones' evidence was so tied to Pilant, that, when the man in custody was thought to be someone else - an Egyptian (due to Pilant's manipulation of the data) - that newly created man no longer had a connection to the murder.  (Or, might the "Egyptian" have diplomatic immunity?  But no one said he was a diplomat - and, even if he was, that kind of immunity might not apply to heinous crimes.)

In any case, the effects of the twist do something far more interesting than locking Pilant up in the prison - he's now loose and a threat, who could come back to do deadly damage at any time.  We haven't seen the last of him, and Bones is off to a roaring 8th season start.

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

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

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



"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boardwalk Empire 3.1: Happy New Year 1923

It's New Year's Eve 1923, the hour of Boardwalk Empire's Season 3 premiere.   It's a little after Nucky shot Jimmy dead, at the very end of last year's finale.  It's not clear who among Jimmy's people know what happened to Jimmy, but we'll get to that presently.

In the meantime, we meet Gyp Rosetti, a mobster with a skin so thin he kills a man on the road who tried to help him and in the process offered the slightest criticism.  Rosetti's a psycho who by the end of the episode has not only Nucky but Rothstein, Lucky, and Lansky on his list.

The New Year's Eve Party is classic Boardwalk Empire, done up in perfect period style with costumes and music.  Eddie Cantor provides the entertainment, with Lillian "Billie" Kent, who winds up half naked looking good in bed with Nucky after the party.

Out in Chicago, Van Alden's selling irons, and accidentally saves Irish mobster O'Bannon's life from Capone's ire.  Will Van Alden end up working for O'Bannon?  He's halfway there.

Nucky asks Manny to kill someone for him.  It's New Year's Eve, but, as Manny's wife helpfully advises, just for the "goyim".  Right, the Jewish New Year is in fact tonight - L'shana tova.  Manny's a great character-

But that brings me back to what I saying at the beginning.  It's not clear who knows what about what happened to Jimmy, but Richard has found out who was responsible for killing Jimmy's wife - the undeclared love of Richard's life - and in the one big surprise of tonight's episode, Richard shoots Manny dead. What will Richard do if/when he finds out that Nucky killed Jimmy?

I'm going to miss Manny and his Yiddish, but it's good to have Boardwalk Empire and the 1920s back on the screen.



"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

Dexter 7.1-3: Sneak Preview Review!

I caught the first three episodes of the new season of Dexter last night - Season 7, set to premiere on Showtime September 30 - courtesy of a screener from Showtime that arrived yesterday.  These three episodes were the best openers I've seen for Dexter - taut, tough, unflinching in addressing the issue that has haunted and torn Dexter from the very beginning.  Herewith my review, unavoidably studded with spoilers.

The final scene of Season 6 was Dexter's worst nightmare come true: Deb standing in the doorway, with Dexter's hands on the knife in Travis's body.   Season 7 does not shy away from confronting the inevitable consequences of this scene: Deb is too smart a cop to be swayed by Dexter's first explanation, pretty fast on his feet, that he just "snapped" and killed Travis that way.  That wouldn't account for the plastic with which Travis was wrapped - all too familiar to Debra, who was wrapped in the same when Rudy almost killed her.   Before too long, she realizes that Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher and the model for the Ice Truck Killer.

And, in another unflinching stroke, Dexter doesn't deny this.   A part of him knows he can't pull the wool over his sister's eyes at this point, and a part of him, as always, welcomes the relief of coming clean.   Deb - of course - can't bring herself to arrest Dexter, but she - also of course - thinks that maybe she can somehow cure him.   Dexter knows better, but he has no choice but to give this a try.

And this brings us to the deepest crux of Dexter's life - which has been at the back and sometimes the front of just about every episode.  If Dexter can take out a serial killer before the killer takes another innocent life - a serial killer who for whatever reason is beyond the power of the police to stop - is not Dexter doing an ultimately moral thing?   In the third episode, Dex seeks to convince Deb of this proposition.  We the viewers are already convinced - at least, I am - but we're not police.  And Debra?

I'll keep this one, crucially important answer from this review.  But suffice to say that Deb's decision is plausible and stands to set Dexter on a new, logical, satisfying and keenly painful track.

See also Dexter Season 6 Sneak Preview Review ... Dexter 6.4: Two Numbers and Two Killers Equals? ... Dexter 6.5 and 6.6: Decisive Sam ... Dexter 6.7: The State of Nebraska ... Dexter 6.8: Is Gellar Really Real? .... Dexter 6.9: And Gellar Is ... ... Dexter's Take on Videogames in 6.10 ... Dexter and Debra:  Dexter 6.11 ... Dexter Season 6 Finale: Through the Eyes of a Different Love

And see also Dexter Season Five Sneak Preview Review ... Dexter 5.4: Dexter's Conscience ... Dexter 5.8 and Lumen ... Dexter 5.9: He's Getting Healthier ... Dexter 5.10: Monsters -Worse and Better ... Dexter 5.11: Sneak Preview with Spoilers  ... Dexter Season 5 Finale: Behind the Curtain

And see also
Dexter Season 4: Sneak Preview Review ... The Family Man on Dexter 4.5 ... Dexter on the Couch in 4.6 ... Dexter 4.7: 'He Can't Kill Bambi' ... Dexter 4.8: Great Mistakes ... 4.9: Trinity's Surprising Daughter ... 4.10: More than Trinity ... 4.11: The "Soulless, Anti-Family Schmuck" ... 4.12: Revenges and Recapitulations

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

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

See also about Season 1: First Place to Dexter




"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Revolution: Preview Review

I caught the complete first episode of Revolution last night - set to premiere later this month on NBC - courtesy of NBC putting this up On-Demand. Herewith a review, with soft (non-specific) spoilers.

Revolution is J. J. Abrams' latest. Now, I know what you're thinking - or, what I was thinking, anyway. With the exception of Fringe and (to a lesser extent) Person of Interest, Abrams has not come anywhere close to his extraordinary triumphs of Lost or even Alias. Half of his efforts have been like last year's Alcatraz, promising at first but pretty soon an irredeemable turkey.

So I approached Revolution with caution, and - I found the debut episode superb! It's chock full of punch-in-the-gut surprises, with characters we think are major dying on and off camera, and big, unexpected revelations right up until the end. The set-up, though it might seem at first glance to have too much in common with the ill-fated FlashForward and the high-flying Walking Dead, turns out to be refreshing and original.

The world has been beset by a power failure from hell - all electricity is gone, including battery power (which, in our real world, the Amish use instead of electricity from power plants). This means that everything digital is gone - useless - too.

We follow a family - no Family Robinson - in the Chicago area. (You notice how often Chicago is popping up in television drama these days? Boss, Revolution, Chicago Fire, last year's Playboy Club - probably another good consequence of Obama, seriously). Charlie, the daughter - a little under 20 - is strong, attractive, and believable. The others are good, too, and I found myself disappointed when the first episode was over - disappointed that I couldn't see more.

There's an endearing hipness about Revolution - the Hurley-like character (we had one, Hurley himself, in Alcatraz last year) - was a big exec at Google, before the permanent blackout. So far, I like this guy better than the Alcatraz guy.

"You say you want a Revolution, well, you know ..." I'm looking forward to this one on NBC.




"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

"Daddy, this the best book I've ever read!" -- Molly Vozick-Levinson, age 12 at the time

"cerebral but gripping" -- Booklist

Monday, September 3, 2012

Breaking Bad Final Half Season Finale

Well, it had to happen.   After staying just out of narc brother-in-law Hank's field of vision as a master meth maker for years, Walter's luck looks like it finally ran out.   In the last scene of last night's show, Hank, picking up a book of Walt Whitman's poetry on the throne, realizes that the "W. W." is not Whitman or Woodrow Wilson, but Walter White.  No joke.

And so the stage is set for the ultimate confrontation.  Hank was always Walt's greatest danger, because you can only hide effectively for so long in plain sight.   Hank of course is not a threat to literally kill Walter - as Walter's past opponents have been - but he is threat to kill all the benefits Walter has received from his new way of life these past few years.  And because Hank is not threatening to literally take Walter out, he is a much more serious threat.  One which Walter is not really prepared for.

Walter has taken Hank seriously only sometimes, and not always completely.  In fact, this season, Walter effortlessly bugged Hank's office, as Hank easily fell for Walt's crybaby routine.

There are a variety of possibilities here.  Is there any chance that Hank might leave the Feds and happily take some of Walter's money?  Not very likely, even though Hank does have his frustrations with the job.  Skyler may well come to Walter's support now, seeing as how he apparently left the business.  But what good can she really do?   Walter can also count now on Jesse's support, having given Jesse his fair share.   But what good can Jesse do Walter now?

Walter is no less brilliant now than before.   He thinks very quickly on his feet.  If Hank doesn't directly confront Walter with what Hank thinks he has realized, but Walter gets wind of it, Walter may find a way to twist the threads into one last complex, confusing knot to make Hank unsure in his suspicion of Walter.

Should be a great second half of the final season in store.

See also Breaking Bad Season 5 Premiere: Riveting Entropy ... Breaking Bad 5.3: Deal with the Devil ... Breaking Bad 5.7: Exit Mike

And see also My Prediction about Breaking Bad ... Breaking Bad Season 4 Debuts ... Breaking Bad 4.2: Gun and Question ... Breaking Bad 4.11: Tightening Vice ... Breaking Bad 4.12: King vs. King ... Breaking Bad Season 4 Finale: Deceptive Flowers





"As a genre-bending blend of police procedural and science fiction, The Silk Code delivers on its promises." -- Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review


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