Reviewing a Few Shows

It’s been a while, so I suppose now is the time.

Dexter– at the end of a great season (let me just say that finale was the epitome of a nail biting thriller), I am sorry to see Julia Stiles go and I hope the producers aren’t teasing hen they say the door is still open for her to return. My real wonder is how Lumen feels about herself after everything she has done. Whether or not I believe Deb would have let them go…I’m still not sure. But it certainly didn’t ring as completely false. (If you pay attention, she never actually makes any attempt to identify the vigilantes or even really wonders who they are.) I wonder if Dexter’s acquittal of Quinn has bought him any good will (Quinn has no way of knowing that Dexter definitely changed the results since he couldn’t know for certain that it was Liddy’s blood on his shoe). Why must this show be so short? Bring us the next season already!

The Good Wife– this season has been an interesting one, mostly because you can’t help but wonder about Kalinda’s story that they so teasingly hang in front of us without really revealing much of anything. There was an interesting moment of her in the airport where she got tagged for extra security (I couldn’t help but wonder if they’d show the full body scanners). Also having the son (can’t remember his name) totally into Kalinda was classic. A small detail but this show is all about the small details. People, start watching this show! Saving it from cancellation!

Psych– so we finally have it. Sean and Juliette are dating. At least, that’s what they tell us. Most of the time there’s little indication of this (beyond Juliette making a comment like “I know you, I’m dating you”), only occasionally, when they were first telling Gus, was it actually a part of the story. Personally, I want it to play into things more. It does make Juliette’s loyalty’s conflicted at times. And if she’s around him more, might she ever realize that he’s lying about being psychic? I think that would be a particularly interesting thing to look at.

Nikita– I don’t know how other people feel about this show, but I’m actually really enjoying it. Especially Alex’s side of things since we seem to know enough about her to sympathize with her. We still need more about Nikita (like how she was on death row in the first place). Is it weird to see Ted Moseby’s future daughter act as superspy? The mid-season finale was a particularly interesting test on Alex that really drove home the stakes of what she is doing.

The Challenge– People are really hating on Laurel this season and while I agree that at some points she was pretty mean, I think people are also forgetting about the situation they were in. They were in a competition to make money, so there is no reason she shouldn’t have been trying to get rid of the players who she thought would prevent her from doing so. (Yes, she was out of line talking to Eric, but she did apologize and whether it was genuine or not we can’t really ever know, so it isn’t worth debating.) Her cockiness is pretty fair too, considering how strong a competitor she is (it’s like Evelyn, she is that good but she may not know how to play the social game). Whether or not she was right about Cara Maria in the end is sort of irrelevant. (So is the fact that Cara Maria is the only one who didn’t cry, since she was also the one who was carried, whether she wanted to be or not.) I feel bad for Paula, but she also shouldn’t be so surprised about it either.

Friday Night Lights
– I wasn’t loving the newest cast members and the change of schools (not because of the schools but because of the sudden enormous shift in storylines), but this season has really grown on me. I don’t care for Julie’s storyline, she’s acting like a five year old. I never really cared for her since that’s sort of all she’s ever been. But some of the other stories have picked up. I particularly love seeing Mrs Taylor try to connect to that problem kid who all the teachers hate.

Leverage– the show is pretty much the same as always, but who wasn’t charmed by Parker’s love of Christmas?

Vampire Diaries– anyone else think this season is a vast improvement over last? Not that I didn’t like last season, but ditching the diaries, bringing in Katherine, making Caroline a vampire, adding werewolves and creating a bond between Tyler and Caroline…all those elements made the show so much better. This last episode with Taylor’s transformation was particularly excellent. (And it’s nice to read about how supportive the cast and crew was with it in filming.) I’m not into Bonnie and Jeremy at all, but other people seem into it so to each his own. I am still waiting for the “rules” about the Originals. They can go out in daylight, they aren’t killed via stake through the heart, etc. So what are their limitations?

The Sing-Off– anyone been checking this show out lately? It cracks me up that acapella, which is hugely popular in college, has suddenly made it on tv. It’s sad, but true, that it never quite sounds as good recorded live as it does in person, so when you watch, think about how much better it must really be than what we hear. I don’t particularly care for the Jerry Lawson group, but otherwise, I’m quite impressed with the teams. The Backbeats and On The Rocks are my favorites. They’re still in it, but I haven’t watched episode 4 so we’ll see if they make it to the finale. I would say the judges are decent. Not the best I’ve seen but definitely better than certain others (Randy…)

Survivor– sometimes i think Jeff Probst goes a little too far during tribal council. To push them to the point where he literally may have convinced people to change their alliances (and if they had even the slightest brains they would have). I will say that I am impressed by the number of older players still in the game (half! when does that ever happen?) This is definitely the weakest season that I’ve season in a while, but perhaps it just seems that way after coming off such an excellent Heroes vs Villains season?

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Large-Scale Review

Heroes– So the current season’s part two is now in swing and what do we think about it? Not a fan of this whole Claire as a lesbian thing. As I’ve said before, I don’t mind people being gay, I mind when shows make someone gay just for the sake of having a storyline. If a character is gay they should actually be gay, not just a sudden “new thing” to try out. I think the story about Hiro being slightly out of his mind was pretty funny. I’m frustrated by the Sylar storyline because he had the opportunity to find love and be with someone with Elle and then he just killed her, so it feels like this storyline has been done and over again. And the Samuel in love thing was forced. Crazy stalker!

Castle– This was a great episode, dealing with Beckett’s mom’s murder but leaving it open-ended so that we know there’s more mystery to come. Not much else to say since the show isn’t super deep or anything but though Beckett is slightly funny looking, they’re dynamic works so well. (I love Nathan Fillion!)

White Collar– I’m not sure how I feel about this newest Kate bit since it feels like such a build up for such a let down. But I get the sense that there’s more coming with that and maybe what they have us thinking about Kate now isn’t the entire truth.

Human Target– Having watched two episodes now, I am no more pleased than I was with the first episode. There just isn’t enough personality and heart in the show to make me care. (I will say that I have this suspicion that the bad guy–girl–of this last episode may not be as dead as she seems. What are the odds that she had a parachute under that jacket?)

Friday Night Lights– I don’t think this season is as good as the previous ones. The newer characters are not very interesting and Julie, as the only real carrying over high school student, remains as dull as ever. And now the racial tension stuff feels a little over the top.

Burn Notice– I’m thrilled that Fiona is still there (not that I ever expected otherwise). I felt so bad for his mom in this episode and she made some good points. How do you decide whose life you can ruin?

Bones– I didn’t like the part about Booth’s obsession about it not being JFK though I understand the reasoning, it’s naive of him to think that the US has no secrets. Not that I’m paranoid like Hodgins but I’m sure there are some things they don’t want us to know or that they keep secret for reasons of security. But it was sweet of Bones to lie (even if it isn’t logical).

Grey’s Anatomy– So…welcome back Izzy. I’m kind of proud of Alex and a little irritated at Mark for being angry at Lexi. Arizona and Calley are super-cute and even though making her gay was also a little forced, they’re a cute enough couple to make up for it.

Private Practice– Wooahh Naomi. That’s all I can really say.

Vampire Diaries– I’m not sure how I feel about this newest episode. Elena was still a whiny baby, not that I was expecting much more. Stefan was still dark and broody (though interesting to see his history with Bonnie’s family). I’m kind of glad Damon got beaten up. Sad about Gina Torres though.

Project Runway– This season is definitely proving better (and more talent-filled) than last’s. I don’t understand how Ping is still in the competition but maybe the producers told the judges to keep her as long as possible for entertainment’s sake? I guess I’m okay with that for now, as long as someone truly awesome doesn’t get booted in her place.

Legend of the Seeker– Another good episode this week. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Sister Nikki taking all of his powers since that cuts out a large portion of the book (either they’ve completely changed everything about the rest of the book series or Richard needs to get his magic back which may mean that Nikki dies). I guess they decided they had to make the han-acquirement more TV friendly because it is WAAAY more gruesome in the book, but I understand, it is syndicated TV. Don’t love Leo but I do like Cara’s interaction with him so good and bad for the new seeker. And if they are returned to Richard then what? My final question: if prophecies just appear on the walls does that mean we won’t be seeing Nathan Rahl ever? That would be a shame.

Friday Night Lights–Up to Date!

Finally caught up and just in time since there’s an episode next week! I’ve got a few final thoughts about the show:

-it turns out I still didn’t know how old everyone on the show was. Landry and Matt weren’t the same age? And Julie? I’m not as surprised about her, she acts so young, but still. Maybe they should have talked about it being her freshman year of high school or something in the beginning of season one.

-JD McCoy suddenly became a jerk in season four which is unfortunate. Dude, coach protected you, even if he upset your fragile little family by calling CPS. My favorite moment was when he’s yelling at Matt that Coach shouldn’t have put Matt in during State when everyone knows JD was sucking it up and Matt was the reason for their comeback.

-I felt so sad for Luke when he had to switch schools. Sure he was kind of a jerk with Julie and JD just before but he was so sad when he had to leave and he’s working so hard for a good reason. (By the way, notice how everyone seems desperate to get out of Dillon?)

-The new cast members are a pretty good addition. I kind of wish there’d been a better transition, like more characters introduced earlier on in the series so that it didn’t seem like Landry, Devon, and Luke were the only ones relegated to East Dillon. And how old are all the new ones? I was iffy about the fact that the show would be following the Taylors rather than the players (most shows would have coincidentally had everyone end up in college together and follow them) but I’m finding that I really like it. It’s a nice change. Though I miss the old cast a bit and would love to hear from them more. Not sure how I feel about Becky just yet though, the whole her and Tim thing makes me uncomfortable even if nothing really happened yet. I really want Tim to DO SOMETHING. He’s so frustrating. But I guess it’s hard for me to put myself in his mindset, coming from his background.

-Tyra cried every episode! I mean, I don’t think she got through a single one without crying. Which is why I’m slightly torn. I liked her character because I think she represented the struggle between upbringing and having higher goals well but man did she cry. I think something that’s interesting is that Tyra and Tim’s lives were supposed to be so awful and then it turns out there’s a whole section of Dillon (East Dillon) that’s even worse. Maybe they’re supposed to be there?

-How do all the recent Panther alums feel about Coach Taylor losing his job and why did no one speak up for him? (I mean, clearly Matt’s pissed but who else?) Because he sort of gave the worst speech ever for himself. Tami should have spoken. Conflict of interest or not, she is a much better speaker. It’s funny that Joe brought JD to Dillon just for Eric and then replaced Eric.

-I hope East Dillon makes it to State and beats the Panthers. How many losses does it take to knock them out of the playoffs? I guess that depends partially on other upsets but I think they’ve got 3-4 losses now and in previous seasons after 1-2 losses it was always like “one more loss and we’re done.” But then again, they’ve always been a little over dramatic about their football. I’m glad to see Buddy in his newer role as not such a jerk.

-With the number of injuries we keep hearing about and seeing (Jason Street, Grant the Agent, Jess’s Mom, Smash, etc), it would be nice to see what they do for injury prevention. It would also be nice to see how people get on the team. Recruiting isn’t allowed (and while obviously some have been recruited) so there must be tryouts and stuff right? Let’s see that.

-Last comment, Grace Taylor is a little funny looking. Which is awful to say because she’s a little girl but her head is huge and her hair doesn’t quite cover it…

More About Friday Night Lights

So I’m now into the third season of Friday Night Lights and have a bit more of a well-rounded opinion of the show. Meaning, I’ve found some things to complain about.

First, and this is the most ridiculous of my complaints, Tyra’s short haircut looks awful on her. Her longer hair was not quite right but I think that was lack of styling and the length was better.

Now to more important things:
Jason Street not in Season Three- it’s not that I particularly loved his character, though admittedly I’m curious to see what else happens to him and if he ever readjusts into a normal person. And what about the baby?

Smash in Season Three- I’m not sure how long he is around, as I’ve only seen a few episodes, but I think his current story is really interesting. Similar to Street’s with a glimmer of hope and ironic because of everything he said in season two. (Though one issue- Whitmore gave him an academic scholarship, not athletic, so even if he injured himself, he should still be in college at least for a semester or however long it would take for him to fail the GPA required. If he fails of course. So Smash, I say you sue Whitmore!)

Tyra and Landry in Season Two- I like the way they got together, though Tyra got a little annoying in the together, break up, together thing. However, I think the whole killing someone plotline was a little…shall we say overdramatic? (Not even Gossip Girl stuped that low. Serena only thought she killed someone!)

Julie- possibly the most irritating character of the show because all she does is whine and complain. I’d like to see her actually DO something. And getting a job isn’t enough. Let’s see some real accomplishment or some sort of progression in her character. It’s like she’s digressed since season one.

Season Three’s beginning- this was a really intelligent, comical beginning that summed up so much information in just a couple words and scenes. Like Tammi becoming principal, they just slipped it in casually.

JD’s Dad is really irritating, which is kind of the point, but still. The odds of a freshman starting over a senior who has started for three years is very very slim and he needs to earn that spot. He wouldn’t just be handed it in the beginning of the season. He has to prove he can handle all the pressure, responsibility, the higher level of play, and that takes time.

How old is everyone? Apparently Tim Riggins was a sophomore in season one? This seems like they realized at some point “shoot we can’t lose everyone!” They should have had him flunk a grade or something. (If you redo a grade, do you send five years of grades to college or can you pick?) And Lyla was also a sophomore? And Tyra? This all seems a little too convenient that they were all the same age except Jason and Smash.

One of my favorite things about the show is the radio show they have here and there in the show. While I normally dislike voiceovers, this isn’t a typical voiceover. It’s essential to the plot because it gives you an idea of the town, the mentality, etc without really intruding on the show.

One final thought, and this one is for the MIOBI fans, after Smash tears his ACL he complains “It’s not fair, I did everything right!” and all I could think about was Payson in episode 1. Granted, she looked a little more like a spoiled brat because at that point it wasn’t a big enough deal what was going on it was just kind of mean. But I think this is interesting, since the Make It Or Break It was compared to Friday Night Lights when it first came out. I think Friday Night Lights does a better job spreading out the misery among its cast, but I can’t wait for MIOBI’s return!

Anyway, still recommending that you watch this show if you haven’t already.

Friday Night Lights

In order to handle TV Hiatus Time, I’ve taken to watching Friday Night Lights, one of the shows my sister suggested to me recently. My sister cried at least twice in the series premiere. Not that this is difficult for a show to accomplish, but still. Not much of a crier myself, I have found myself tearing up slightly on occasion. The show has done a good job of giving the characters problems without really heaping them on (as opposed to MIOBI which is so often compared to this show).

FNL is about a small southern town where High School Football is basically the town’s life. Everyone’s got an opinion on how to run the team, everyone shows up to every game. And in season one, Coach Taylor is stepping into the head coaching role for the first time with a team primed for the state playoffs, thanks to star quarterback Jason Street. But when Street gets injured, rookie Matt Saracen must step into the role of QB and lead the team. Also in the mix is Street’s ever supportive girlfriend Lyla and his best friend and full-back Tim Riggins (something of a drunk loser). There’s Smash the smart talking, speedy running-back who is feeling the pressure to make it to college and eventually pro. (There are of course some others here and there, including Coach’s daughter Julie, but they are somewhat less interesting.)

Anyway, whether you like football or not (I am not particularly a fan and as a general do not enjoy watching sports on television) this is definitely a series to watch. It’s a little difficult to find the show online, but it is definitely worth it. (projectfree.tv seems to be doing the trick for the moment.) The character’s lives and stories are well portrayed, even the sports is exciting to watch. The cinematography is interesting too. There’s sort of a home video vibe (not that the picture quality is poor) where the camera is slightly shaky and quick moving, which gives it a more intimate feel and serves this show very well. It does not feel manufactured and forced.

Oh, and to top it all off, this is based on a true story, so while the exact situations are not necessarily real the overall story is.

I’m not sure how I managed to completely miss this show until now, but I’m hoping to catch up on it quickly.