Outlaw “Pilot” – Season 1 Episode 1

I’m reviving this blog to very briefly talk about Outlaw.  The premise of this show is that a bad boy Supreme Court Justice decides that his position as a judge doesn’t allow him to do true justice.  So he becomes a trial attourney.  You see, judges are only allowed to enforce already existing laws.  They can’t make exceptions even when they know it would be right.  So… he becomes an attourney.  Because lawyers are in a better position to manipulate the law than Supreme Court Justices.  He doesn’t become a politician. Or a vigilante.  He becomes a lawyer.

But the highlight of this pilot was the extensive sequence they lifted directly from the Iron Man screenplay.

Judge is gambling.  He leaves and talks to his assistant/paralegal on the way to his luxurious ride.  They are approached by a young woman questioning the protagonist’s integrity.  He asks his assistant how hot this humanitarian is.  He confronts her accusations and insists that he sleeps well at night, although he’d be willing to give up a few hours of sleep for her.

It must be some kind of tribute, but it’s a strange way to launch a TV series.  Like they’re pitching “Okay, what if we did Iron Man but instead of inventing a suit that lets him fight crime like a super hero… he relinquishes a position of extreme power to become a lowly trial attourney. “

I just don’t know what to say.

I like Jimmy Smits. And Conan O’Brien.

This show makes no sense.

I can’t stop watching.

FlashForward “No More Good Days” – Season 1 Episode 1

“So you’re saying what? Everbody’s consciousness just jumped forward 6 months to April 29th?”

–Stan Wedeck, conveniently explaining the premise of the show with a healthy amount of skepticism

The TV adaptation of the science fiction novel FlashForward is here, and it’s even crazier than the book.  We’re not sure how much of the book they’re keeping at all really.  There’s the actual event, a two minute period of time where every human being on Earth simultaneously collapsed and caught a glimpse of their futures.

But instead of following boring old scientists in Switzerland (that’s not even a sexy foreign country) who are finding the Higgs Boson (maybe if they were studying something less nerdy), we get to follow super extreme TV protagonists.  What’s hot in American television?  Medical drama and police procedurals.  What do our protagonists do?  Well the husband is an FBI detective and the wife is a surgeon.

Does anybody know a cop married to a doctor?  With schedules that busy, they must spend like twelve minutes per day together.  It’s surprising that Olivia even has time to cheat on her husband.   But she will!  Or she did!  IN HER FUTURE-MEMORY.

So maybe this is the key to what makes FlashForward great.  Every new show on TV introduces you to a bunch of characters and you can basically guess who is going to break who’s heart.  FlashForward concedes that and actually lets the characters know their own future as well.  So now we can sit around for a whole season wondering if these characters can defy the inevitable.  Or are they doomed to do what every alcoholic lead investigator in a police procedural does: remit.

Well it’s going to be a long and entertaining struggle.   So far we’ve got our cop protagonist investigating the flash forwards and it turns out some surveillance cameras caught footage of a dude NOT passed out during the flash forward.  So this differs from the book.  All cameras and recording devices ceased working in the book, presumably because of the Observer Effect.  Trees falling in forests.

But in the show, some people didn’t pass out so there are still observers.  And they will be unmasked!  Who has perpetrated this evil deed?  I hope it’s actually the Swiss scientists.  I knew their neutrality was just a facade until they developed their neutrino technology to a point where they could make us all fall asleep and see the future.

And who will catch these no-good Swiss?  A cop struggling to keep his own life together, but bound by honor and duty to save his country.  There’s a point at the beginning, just after the event that sets the tone for this whole episode.

Agent Mark Benford slow motion running around crashed cars to find his wife at the hospital.  Then he stops running and he’s just a man slowly walking through water by a downed telephone line.  Then a taxi swerves by him wrecklessly and … he actually kicks the car as it drives by him.

A picture of a kangaroo sign at stuart higway.
The kangaroo is a symbol
for his inner turmoil.

And then we go back into slow motion for a bit as we see a kangaroo in the middle of the street and then the camera pans up to capture that quintessential “oh my god, my hometown has become a warzone” shot of military helicopters flying overhead.  Finally, Benford finds a group of people gathered around an electronics storefront watching news from around the world.

Oh, and the Rays are gonna sweep the Sox at Fenway IN THE FUTURE!

So I’m looking forward to forty minutes a week of slow motion running past kangaroos and really dramatic close ups of friendship bracelets (this actually happens in the show three times).  Like Jack Bauer but even benign tokens of affection given to you by your child are related to catastrophic global terrorism IN THE FUTURE.

And his wife? Doctor Olivia Benford?  She’s that angry kind of doctor who gets agitated and starts screaming in the middle of surgery.  “WHERE THE HELL IS THAT CHEST TUBE SPRAY?!  I need it now!”  (I’m not totally sure what she asks for, but it sounds like chest tube spray … in the future?).

And she’s got another doctor or nurse or somebody who was going to kill himself but the flashforward has changed his outlook on life.  And there is a child she saves on the day of the event whose professorly father is going to have a torrid, British-accented affair with Olivia SIX MONTHS FROM NOW.

It’s going to be a good year.  I am really happy ABC is continuing its pursuit of really complicated time travel-based action shows like DayBreak and FlashForward, and I hope they do more shows like this IN THE FUTURE.

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Gossip Girl “Reversals of Fortune” Season 3 Episode 1

“Sleeping with the enemy is hot.  Why do you think I have the whole ‘Ivanka’ thing?”

– Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl, encouraging Nate to bed a Red State redhead

Before we drive our mom’s Camry down the L.I.E. to gatecrash the White Party, let’s pause to remember the seventeen-year-olds-who-were from season two.

The U.E.S. girls and boys graduated from Constance and that dude school and were super worried about becoming irrelevant.  Gossip Girl most def does not blast txts about college kidz, so how will anyone know that they’re fans of Chipotle in this man-really-is-an-island era of Facebook anonymity??

Luckily, Serena ruins everybody’s life and GG announces that she’ll continue to catalog their missteps in college.  “Caaaaaaannonbaaaaall!” shouted one CW writer to the other as they jumped into their Scrooge McDuck Money Bin.

The l’il high school grads, inexplicably driven to move the plot with something other than Nate’s libido, still want to know WHO IS Gossip Girl.  A billion minutes later, we learn that THEY are Gossip Girl, GOSSIP GIRL IS THEY!  This is exactly the sort of thing Maureen Dowd would write a column about.  Don’t even think about it, Red.

Third season begins.  The Humphensteins have taken to their new tax bracket like champs.  Li’l J is lounging poolside at Lily’s summer house, exhausted after wrestling dolphins and steering her clipper ship off the coast.  Are ripped up fishermen’s nets really in style this fall?  Don’t even think about it, Red.

Dan and Daddy are taking a casual walk in the lively, green woods — presumably to have signs of respiration around Dan as he explains three months worth of back-story without ever actually breathing.  No idea what he said.  Did an owl just hoot?  Moving on.

Nate touches down in his chopper with redhead, Bree Buckley.  Turns out she’s from rival political fam.  A red Ferrari magically appears and they time travel to a daytime soap where we can watch and hope that episodic amnesia and tight camera shots make them more interesting.

Now, the golden couple.  Blair and Chuck.  At the end of last season, Basstastic braved H1N1 in the damp streets of Paris to buy Blair her fav control top panty hose.  Then he said I-love-you.  He even kinda sorta smiled!  The stuff of fairy tales!  Now the pair is adding blondes to their bedroom rotations.  Being a kid is tough.

Serena, meanwhile, is hounded by paparazzi 24/7 when she gets back to the city.  She insists that no funny business went on abroad — only sun salutations and colon cleansings.  Tiny Dancer doesn’t believe her, but he’s blabbering on without a forest in the backdrop so we decided to check out Anna Sui’s new GG-inspired clothing line on the internets.

Eventually Diaper ends up at the coffee house, which looks more than ever like the saloon from the set of Deadwood.  There’s  Billy the Kid’s carafe for steamed soymilk!  Vanessa lumbers up to the splintered cafe table and asks where Diaper got that there fancy cowhide money holding dee-vice.  Diaper begins to cry and folds the 100 dollah bills into tiny footballs which he flicks into Van’s hair-don’t.

Score!  Every GG episode has a party, and we learn that our first party of the season is the Archibald’s polo match in Greenwich!  Evurbody’s invited, except people with bad hair.  Vanz and secretly respirating Humphrey son, Scott, hatch a devilish plan to gain admission that involves showing up and walking in.   The rich people will never see this coming.  Do buses even go to CT?

Party time!!  Long dresses are in.  Scotch tries to talk to Daddy Humphrey about the weather.  Yeah I’m a friend of Vanessa’s.  Of course I tried to put a comb through that nest.  But hey I took a train all this way to meet YOU!  Or maybe it was that bus from Chinatown to Chinatown? Look, I’m confused, and your soulful voice spoke to me through a free iTunes download.  Daddy Humphrey immediately recognized the blabbering idiot as his own lost boy.  Do you want a cowhide money-holding dee-vice, son?

Serena sweeps past the screen on a horse and is later found crying about daddy issues.  Chuck and Blair move to phase 2 of their relationship: Dancing With the Stars and a bucket of chicken.  And Gossip Girl signs off like Carrie Bradshaw — with a list of truths so simple, so touching, so relatable, that we remember why we watch pretty people with great clothes in the first place.  Next week: Grammy Rhodes moves into the apartment and bludgeons Diaper with a cane whenever he speaks.

The Vampire Diaries Pilot Season 1 Episode 1

“No, you’re worse, you want to talk to me, get to know me, see into my soul and screw and screw and screw until you’re done with me.”

–some waitress side character, proving that I am not good at remembering names of forgettable characters.

Certain people have criticized us for not writing about all the girly shows we watch.  Mostly Gossip Girl. But today, that changes.  Introducing the Vampire Diaries.

The first episode starts off promising.  This is not exactly Twilight.  It doesn’t happen in Washington state.  And the vampire’s name isn’t Edward.   .   . Other than that it is pretty much Twilight.  A girl enters the alien atmosphere that is high school and has a conveniently sexy run in with the handsome new guy that everybody is inexplicably attracted to.  He is, of course, a blood-sucking vampire.

So this is promising to be a serialized, CW-style rip off of Twilight to ride the coattails of True Blood’s success… but wait. It all changes 14 minutes into the episode.  When the voiceover narration of the titular vampire diary kicks in.  That’s right.  This show is going to follow the voice over journal of a vampire.  “I lost control today.  Everything I’ve kept buried inside came rushing to the surface.  I’m simply not able to resist her.”

Whereas Twilight is a macabre look at Bella’s fascination with hooking up with a guy that ultimately wants to eat her, this is a show that promises to deliver the same anti-feminist philosophy BUT FROM AN IMMORTAL MALE PERSPECTIVE.

The show apparently cannot stop the soundtrack once it starts.  There are just like four sequences, six full minutes of omnipresent generic alt rock/indie bands playing over the drama of our heroes.

There are also side stories about a drug dealing dork who is in love with the hot waitress, a superficial blond extra from Gossip Girl who is stuck in this show by accident, the insanely violent vampriric brother that nobody can know about, a cool aunt that raises the protagonist vampiric love interest a little too laxly, and SO MUCH MORE.

I’m not going to lie, I liked it when the vampire corrected his history teacher about the local civil war history.  You liked it too. Gloriously bad!

wisevid streaming episode linkhttp://www.wisevid.com/view_video.php?viewkey=cp6aahu3i1y1p4411111#

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Supernatural “Sympathy for the Devil” Season 5 Episode 1

“Life as an angel condom. That’s real fun.”

–Dean Winchester

The boys are back and beating the snot out of demons and angels alike.  After some apparently Divine intervention inexplicably removes the Winchester brothers from the explosive arrival of Lucifer on earth, we get to follow the hunters as they sit around and read about Christianity.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, Supernatural has some real ambition despite its sometimes lacking budget.

This episode basically has a few computer generated flash-of-light style explosions and a lot of fake blood.  But they get some mileage out of those puddles of fake blood.  The writers interweave the quiet drama of the hunters with the psychological downfall of Lucifer’s vessel, some dude who slowly goes crazy as he sees his dead family haunting every aspect of his life.

These writers don’t have a huge budget, but what they “do have is a GED and a give ‘em hell attitude,” as Dean describes himself.  So the angels browbeat the brothers in a cold dark room with only three characters on screen for most of the dialogue.  Mostly close ups so the actors don’t have to spend the whole day together.  The angels don’t use big flashy effects or explosions.  They just say “let’s see how Sam does without his lungs” and then we cut to Sam writhing around like he has no lungs.  Or the angel says “Bang” and points at Sam and he acts like his legs are broken.  And we hear some big bones breaking sound effects.  See what I mean?  They’re getting a lot of bang for very little buck.

Anyway, this show has everything good about bad tv.  Dean has a pretty priceless  “A-ha!” moment.  Bobby says something about their dad and Dean goes “Dad.  That’s it!”  The episode also furthers the running joke that there are people who write slash fan fiction where the Winchesters brothers are sexually intimate.  .  . which I assume is one of the seals that had to be broken for Satan to come to earth.  They’re also apparently using the “Lucifer never lies” trope.  That’s cool.

And there’s a cheesy confrontation between the brothers too. “I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN EVER TRUST YOU AGAIN, SAM”.  This is going to be a season about true Christian values like forgiveness and slaying thy demonically possessed neighbor.

streaming episode link from zshare sympathy for the devil season 5 episode 1  http://www.fastpasstv.com/watch/2/2922/1

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Sons of Anarchy “Albification” Season 2 Episode 1

“Climb back into your little German clown car and drive back to Nazi Town because the next time you piss all over my shoes, he will kill you.”
–Claudius…err…Clay, it’s so easy to get them mixed up.

Edited version of photograph of American actor...
Image via Wikipedia

Oh wow.  So Sons of Anarchy Season 2 is here.  And it’s everything I could have hoped for.  For those who don’t know, Sons of Anarchy is a show about a midwestern gun-running biker gang that loosely follows the plot of Hamlet.

That bears repeating.

Sons of Anarchy tells the story of a midwestern biker gang, and that story is the story of Hamlet.

This episode largely focuses on avenging the murder of a gang member’s wife.  Jax (Hamlet) knows that Clay (Claudius) is actually responsible for the murder, but he insists on secrecy and goes along with Clay’s charade.  Clay pins the murder on some random guy in the Mayans–that’s the Latino gang they sell guns to.  I didn’t really like that part of Hamlet where Claudius and Pollonius betray the Moorish gang they broker arms deals with, but I think they did a good job with it in the episode.

OKAY, so converting Hamlet into a modern day gangland serial requires a few deviations from the original themes and specific plot points.  But maybe that’s what makes this show so wonderful.  It’s like somebody really loved the first act of Hamlet and said “I wish Hamlet didn’t pretend to be insane.  I wish he just got tons of swords and fought Claudius and then conquered neighboring glens.”  And then the guy who thought that met this other guy at a strip club who thought “That sounds awesome but what if we had guns and strip clubs and motorcycles that go vroooooom.”  And then both of those guys met Ron Perlman.

This episode is called Albification because the important development unrelated to the revenge killing is that white supremacists are moving into town.  They describe themselves as separatists not supremacists.

  • Firstly, albification i’s a great word.
  • Secondly, I’m glad they decided to put white supremacists into Hamlet.
  • Thirdly, I’m glad that somebody thinks they can be whiter than Shakespeare.

The episode ends with fascist white separatists kidnapping and raping Gemma (Gertrude).  That part of Hamlet always scared me.

FastpassTV / WiseVid streaming episode link: http://www.wisevid.com/view_video.php?viewkey=9vwmif2glfsyi3a72727#

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Supernatural “When the Levee Breaks” Season 4 Episode 21

“Congrats, Sammy. You just earned yourself a bitch warmer seat to the apocalypse.”

–Dean Winchester, Supernatural

This episode is a welcome return to the Heaven and Hell storyline of Supernatural.  I know that I started watching this show because it was a zany little midwestern American Gothic horror show.  It had episodic encounters with ghosts and zombies and norse gods and I loved it through every cheesy moment.

But then something remarkable happened.  The show evolved past its Scooby Doo origins to show the Winchester brothers fighting a battle between heaven and hell.  All of a sudden, demons in every episode.  And the brothers are at the center of the Apocalypse.

Every now and then, the show lapses into a couple episodes of nonsensical ghost chases, but the main storyline revolves around this epic battle between angels and demons.  As much as I love good fiction that preys on Christian allegory, I absolutely love bad fiction that preys on it.

Supernatural gives us a recap episode of sorts.  Sam is sitting in a room, in a sort of intervention designed to force him out of his demon-blood addiction.  Brilliant.  We get to see all the characters we know and love.  Cheesy Marlon Brando demon.  Young sammy apparition.  Dead mom with a big hole in her stomach (even though she died in a fire, pinned against the ceiling).  They all have expository dialogues with Sam to explain what’s happened in the show so far.  Classic.

I can’t lie.  This show was bad and I loved it.  It got worse and I love it more.  The angels don’t know what’s going on.  The demons don’t know what’s going on.  This is forty minutes of emotional struggle between two brothers as the world falls apart.  Sooo ambitious.  You could make an oscar winning movie based on this premise… or you could make a TV episode on the CW.

Personally, I’m really happy that it boiled down to the CW so we can talk about how Sam can kill demons if he just drinks a little more demon blood.  Characters whisper platitudes to each other.  We don’t have to get too invested in the acting or the direction.  We can just appreciate these wartorn brothers duking it out.

Most of the action in this episode is off screen.  The seals are all breaking.  There are only a couple of seals left.  That means demons are going to be here very soon.  The apocalypse.  Does the episode show any seals breaking?  No.  We’re stuck on three or four sets.  This episode focuses on the story of these two brothers and it culminates in them resorting to fisticuffs.

It’s great that the CW thinks this show is good enough to have a whole episode devoted to emotional character development.  It’s written like a stage piece.  No set changes, just dialogue.  Wow.

DEMONS, BEWARE.  We’re going Greek tragedy on your ass.

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