General Reviews

As I like to do every so often, I am going to go through a bunch of shows I’ve been watching to write some general thoughts on the show and any exciting or upsetting news that I may have heard about it.

Survivor Samoa– One thing I like about this show is that they try and make certain that the women have an equal opportunity at most things. Very often, the physical competitions are divided so it’s women vs women and men vs men, elimination/immunity challenges tend to include equalizers like puzzles or skills that aren’t strength based. (I find this admirable since MTV’s RW/RR Challenges seem incapable of doing this. Remember the Battle of the Sexes’ final challenge?) About other aspects of the show: Russel has figured out something very basic–if there is no exile island, then the immunity idol must be hidden at camp. And if it is hidden at camp it must be an identifiable location so that clues can be given to find it. So twice now he has just wandered around camp searching the few places that it could be, and found it. Why has no one else taken this approach? Especially after he found it the first time? I will say that Russel, while I can’t stand him and don’t understand why so many people have gone along with him for so long, is quite the player. He’s super manipulative and strategic. And nice blindside this week.

Vampire Diaries– I have a few distinct issues with this show. 1) It bugs me that Elenia and Bonnie look exactly like their ancestors Katherine and Emily. They couldn’t just hire other actors for the three seconds that they are on screen? 2) Quite killing the interesting people! Vicky and that friend of Stefan’s were both interesting story lines that I would have liked to see develop a lot further. 3) Elenia is the dullest person ever. I mean really, she’s possibly the worst main character in existence. Otherwise, I think they did some clever stuff this week. Especially because there is obviously more to come from Damon, plus all the new vamps. Is Logan one of them?

Dollhouse– Probably the most upsetting, though not surprising, news of the week is the cancellation of Dollhouse. The show was getting really good this season, finally focusing on the entire cast instead of just Echo and Paul Ballard. There are so many things that Fox did wrong with this show (formulaic first season, poor advertising, horrible timeslot, not airing epitaph one) but I do think that Joss Whedon would be more suited for Syfy or some of other cable station (one thing he will have to do is have a cheaper budget though because Dollhouse, for example, is too expensive to produce for Syfy). At least the full season two will be aired. If you haven’t checked out this show already, I really recommend it. What I like about Joss is that he takes things further and uses his shows to examine human behavior and morality in a way that most shows do not.

FlashForward– After a bit of a lull following the series premiere, the show has really picked up steam again. The last few weeks have been some of the best episodes yet and they call into question everything that’s been revealed so far. And then call that into question. A few, interesting twists have come into play now and you can’t help but wonder what everyone is going to do as conspiracies and cover ups seem to multiply and desperation leads to some pretty crazy behavior.

V– Also on the upsetting news of the week, I did not realize that V would only be airing four episodes before going on hiatus until March. That’s pretty lame. The show’s second episode was just as good as the first (which says something about the show since I’ve found that most Sci Fi has a great pilot and a weak follow up). I have no idea what will be filling the time slot during the months off, but I really wish the networks would stop doing that.

Smallville– On the good news, this series has really improved from the last few years and it’s showing in the ratings. Despite being in its ninth season and on a Friday, the show has actually seen increases every week in its viewership. Perhaps everyone is just glad to be rid of Lana Lang for good or they like the playing with Lois Lane. Either way, the plots are better. Lex Luthor is gone for now which is actually fine by me. We looked into Oliver’s story more. Chloe has proven herself to be more interesting than ever before. Lois is just kind of crazy but entertaining. Sadly, Clark continues to be somewhat dull. There’s only so much entertainment to be had from a guy whose entire storyline revolves around “being the perfect hero.”

Ugly Betty– Another show that has become more interesting than before. It takes a look at dealing with grief, poor self esteem, jealousy, being gay in high school, what a mother would do for her daughter…In other words, real issues instead of just scheming against each other which, while interesting in Gossip Girl, isn’t suited for this show as much. Not to say some scheming isn’t good. I just don’t think in this show that should be the entire story. I think also the dad’s story about being wanted in Mexico or wherever just wasn’t as interesting as Justin learning to deal with being in high school.

White Collar– while not as exciting as the first episode (it has become a bit formulaic at the moment) there are some things that leave me interested in the show. The first is that Neal Caffrey is an interesting character. The second is the questions about his girlfriend. It is clear that more was happening than that she was just dumping him and now Neal is trying to find her. I’m hoping we’ll get more than cursory mentions of that in episodes to come. More chasing her and a little less of chasing random bad guys. It does bother me a little that he’s supposed to be this huge romantic in love with this girl and meanwhile he’s hitting on the new FBI agent transferred in to work with them.

Ghost Whisperer– I think one thing I dislike about this show is that the son, Aiden, is kind of weird looking and a bit annoying. Would have been nice for them to have gotten a cuter kid. But oh well. This week they introduced a frightened child-ghost who is hiding with Aiden at the very end which could lead to some great story soon. I wish they would get back to the Shinees and Shadows stuff a little more. (And I think we will be seeing that soon.) I dislike shows that are formulaic with little bigger arch. This show has a bigger story but they tend to ignore it for the majority of the time which is unfortunate. Show us more of Aiden’s skills, show us who he can see. And it would be cool to see more real murders instead of just misguided ghosts.

Merlin
– I know this show didn’t do well this summer when it came to the US, but I was watching it last year (online of course) and I really enjoyed it. I would like to learn more about Morgana (we got some hints with the introduction of her half sister Morgose–come on practically the same name!) but I think this season is pushing along well. Especially with the whole magic good or bad dilemma. Arthur and Uther are constantly being forced to rethink their stances only to be hurt by magic and revert back to hatred again. I can’t wait for the day when Morgana and Merlin’s magic is revealed. It would be nice to see more occasions where they almost get caught.

Legend of the Seeker– As I’ve said before, watching this show inspired me to read the entire 12 book (sort of 13 book) series. This season looks even more exciting with the introduction of Cara, a Mord Sith who has allied herself with Richard. I would like them to go more into depth about how the Mord Sith are created as that is an interesting/terrifying story. Meanwhile, I’d also like to stop seeing scenes of the underworld. (For one thing, it’s depressing to think that no matter what type of life you live you are doomed once you die and for another, it’s just not a very well executed bit of imagery.) I’m looking forward to seeing what else they are planning since they have changed things enough from the books to leave you surprised by how things turn out while sticking to the heart and emotion of most of it. (And while leaving out a bit of the preaching.)

As you can see, I’m a real sucker for Fantasy (which would explain why I’m writing a fantasy book–currently 400+ pages in). Any shows you have some complaints or good news about?

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