Posts tagged Fringe

Did My DVD Watching Break My TV Watching?

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This week saw my regular TV broadcast viewing get a little bit smaller. After a pretty disappointing episode, I threw in the towel with Heroes, a show that I’ve been an avid supporter of since Peter jumped off a building in season one. I also didn’t even bother watching the week’s episode of Fringe after I’ve been pretty mediocre about the series since the beginning. I just don’t care anymore. I’ll spend that hour watching a DVD, maybe even a TV show on DVD.

All is not lost though. I still plan on tuning in to catch Pushing Daisies and Life each week, the only two shows that have managed to cross the line between online viewing and actual initial broadcast viewing. I’ll also be checking in for my regular fix of The Office as well as 30 Rock which premieres this week.

They're trying to figure out why I'm not watchingSo what happened? I’ve only really started watching first run programming on Television recently when I got back into a few things. Up until then it was purely DVD. But after last year’s Writer’s Strike and a looong summer of great DVDs, maybe I’m just a little jaded. My tolerance for Television shows has definitely gotten a lot shorter. I want entertainment and I want it now. It’s bad enough that I have to sit through the commercials when I watch TV, but now I have to wait around as you eventually get to your point (Fringe, I’m looking at you). I just don’t have the patience anymore.

My best guess is that after watching so many complete seasons (and series) on DVD alone has spoiled my viewing of first run shows on Television. Why bother watching an episode a week when I can plow through the entire season in a weekend once I get the DVD? Plus, no commercials or annoying pop ups telling me about some other show I’m not interested in. DVD has replaced my TV shows.

Now, I know that one could argue that with the invention of the DVR, I could probably have a similar experience. I just recently acquired a DVR and I’ll be honest and say that it’s still set to record Heroes and Fringe for the entire season. Will I return to watch them though is the question. I think another would be if I’d be more comfortable watching a show like Fringe if I hadn’t seen any of the episodes before and just picked it up as a blind buy next year.

My TV is not dead though. As I mentioned, there are still a handful of shows that I’m watching on a regular basis and come January, I’ll be ready to check out the return of Lost as well as the premiere of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. But will those last? Or do I have such high standards for TV now that I won’t be able to hold on to them?

Fringe Files – Episode 3: The Ghost Network

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What started out as a new and interesting idea has begun to really bore me. We’re three episodes into a show that could have easily take care of my sci-fi show fix until I get caught up on Battlestar Galactica and instead we’re struggling in mediocrity. I’ve expressed my ongoing interest in the show in the following graph.

As you can see by the graph, things aren’t looking good. (more…)

Fringe Files – Episode 2: The Same Old Story

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Another week, another episode of “THE TOP RATED NEW SHOW OF THE SEASON” (there’s been what? Like two new shows so far? This and the new 90210 on the CW maybe? Tough crowd). This episode gave us some more weird, crazy science coupled with a tweak of more information and just enough intrigue to keep me coming back for the next episode.

So let’s see what we’ve got this time around. This episode starts off in a hotel room, just like the one before it. Will this be a theme for the show? After having fun in a seedy motel room, a creepy dude gets ready to perform some weird looking experiment on his lady friend. Only before he’s able to inject her with the orange syringe, she starts going crazy. A baby is growing inside her at an alarming rate. So he did what any one-night-stand guy would have done in this situation: Dropped the bitch off at a hospital and drove away. Way to go, guy.

Then something weird happens, the lady dies and our new team of wacky investigators is called in to have a look. They find that the baby came out and immediately aged 80 some-odd years and died right there on the floor. This created my favorite phrase of the night in “80 year old man baby.”

So what the hell do we make of all this? After a meeting of the Board of Weird Science head by the tall creepy black guy who is interrupted frequently by the cyborg arm lady from Massive Dynamic, our troubled trio hits the hotel room to look for clues. A connection is made to an old case that the girl (I’m really too lazy right now to look up everyone’s names. Can you tell?) worked on with the agent that died in the pilot. Some more investigation happens and we find that Old Man Bishop may be behind this thing (and many others) from his experiments 30 years ago. Seriously? No one figured that our earlier?

This episode continued further into the land of the weird when the baby daddy from the beginning turns out to be a test tube baby grown in a lab to become a soldier in 3 years. He kills women and steals their pituitary glands in order to stay young. Totally makes sense right? Of course, after a fancy camera is introduced and super mad scientist goggles are put on, the show again borders on the criminally insane. It’s on a very fine line for me right now. On one side you’ve got cool X-Files-like crazy science and on the other side you’ve got literally insane made up fantasy science that is just ridiculous. Toss in the beginnings of the obligatory forced romance between the two lead actors and you’ve got your show. The “shocker” ending, which I think I know what I saw, but I’m not 100% sure, was interesting…if it was what I think it was. Otherwise, I’ve got no idea really.

I thought that the actors were a lot better in this episode than the pilot. It’s like they got to know their characters a bit more and they’re now a lot more comfortable in them. I thought that Joshua Jackson was a lot better too. He’s managed to shed a tiny bit of that babyface persona he’s got for this character. The father / son dynamic between him and Old Man Bishop fit the show’s quirky nature too.

The GIGANTIC LOCATION WORDS are still there too, much to my dismay. They might as well have a narrator screaming the location at me. Don’t they know that in text, ALL CAPS means you’re yelling?

Rating: ★★★½☆

Nickeloadeon Controls 54% of All Children (9/16/2008)

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The alarm clock sounds at 6:30, but I don’t wake up until 7. Oh, I shut the thing off, but I’m just not moving. I shower and get dressed. Monica and I watch some In Living Color and head to work.

Office stuff happens. Emails, phone calls, etc.

I realize that it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve last read any comics. I’m not really missing it either. Is this the turning point I was looking for? I check my pull list (I keep one on the Midtown Comics website) and cut out a few titles. I realize that I’ll probably drop a few more once the current arc ends (ie: Action Comics, Mighty Avengers). Others will probably be dropped altogether and I’ll move to trades for the whole story. There are some titles that I just want to get each month and will continue to do so (ie: Green Lantern, Amazing Spider-Man, Buffy) so we’ll see how this goes.

Speaking of comics, I just realized that I can’t get comics tomorrow. Monica is dragging me to a bridal expo after work. I’ll have to get them on Thursday instead.

Today is the third installment of the company’s “Lunch ‘N Learn” program. Free pizza and a presentation by the Kids Media Group. They all talk and then hand out notebooks and Hannah Montana CDs. IT’S FOR MY SISTER, I SWEAR!

My right thumb is cracking a lot today. I don’t know why. The big toe on my right foot used to crack all the time but it has stopped all of a sudden. I’m falling apart!

On my way out of the office for the day, I head downstairs to check on my lunch container lid. Sure enough, it’s still there. I made sure to bring my camera this time so I snapped a few photos.

And Outside...

With my pictures taken, I head out. I swing by Stop N Shop to pick up some groceries and then race home. I’m on a tight schedule tonight. I do exercise #1 and feel incredibly tired. I think I pulled a muscle in my back. I’ve pulled this muscle before and it’s a pain in the ass. It hurts when I take a deep breath.

After the exercise, I watch Breach, which turned out to be an alright movie. It ends with a minute to spare before Fringe starts on FOX. Monica got home a little while before and we watch the episode together. It was alright, definitely a bit better acting wise since the pilot. Review to come.

With our TV watching over, Monica jumps in the shower and I take a look at the bonus features on the Breach DVD. We get to bed around 11 and chat for a little while. I get to sleep around 11:30.

Fringe Files – Episode 1: Pilot

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Last night saw the series premiere of Fringe on FOX. Already held as an “X-Files Lite” and co-created by J.J. Abrams, the show had a lot to live up to. Did it deliver?

I think so. The pilot episode of Fringe was a lot of set up. Throughout the incredibly annoying 1 minute commercial breaks that happened every 5 minutes or so, the show created this interesting foundation for a modern X-Files-esque show with a little bit of humor thrown in.

Here’s a quick breakdown. After an insane virus basically melts every passenger on a plane, the FBI and CIA and Homeland Security are called in to investigate. Olivia Dunham (relative unknown Anna Torv) works with the team to find out what’s going on while making googly eyes at her co-worker / fuck buddy, John Scott (Mark Valley). In typical Television fashion, Scott is blown up just after he admits that he loves her. Dunham sets out to find out why her boy toy was in this explosion…and lived…and now has clear skin. You still with me? Cause it’s about to get weirder. Seems the guy that caused the virus had a twin brother who created this super virus and there’s some weird pattern that links everything. ZOMG! Conspiracy.

This pilot presented a ton of information, but still gave us quite a bit of questions like who exactly is William Bell? What is “The Pattern”? Since when do you use a bunch of ice pops on a man’s groin to cool his entire body down? Can anyone else see those annoying gigantic words in the sky telling the audience what the location is? Many questions, but that’s good, especially early on. Things are under control and let’s keep it that way. A central theme is set up with a sort of villain. It’s still very much in the shadowy mysterious phase, but that’s OK. The ultimate evil should be revealed in time.

The acting for Fringe definitely needs a little work though. Joshua Jackson is too much of a babyface to be a badass. I’m sorry. At first he comes off as Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Catch Me If You Can, but he quickly turns into the kind of guy that’s ready to hold a girl’s hair back as she throws up after a long night of partying and banging his best friend. Aww. He’s so special. The interaction between his character and his kooky father presented some comic relief, but at times it felt like this relationship was just thrown in to make the show a little wacky. The still unproven Torv presents a decent strong woman character, but she still needs a bit more practice and time in the limelight in order to prove that she can carry the show because Jackson certainly can’t.

I thought that this first episode wasn’t bad. I mean, I’ll definitely be checking out the next one. Sure, the acting was a little sub-par and the show pretty much jumped the shark around 8:48 PM when they introduced that weird underwater mind-meld experiment that sounded like something cooked up by Hunter S. Thompson and Warren Ellis on a summer holiday, but it wasn’t all that bad. With a void being left in the sci-fi genre in Television once Battlestar Galactica finishes up in a few months, Fringe looks like it’s ready to at least partially fill that hole. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done though, don’t get me wrong. Throughout the entire episode, I never forgot that I was watching a show on FOX. It’s like the network just can’t get over this hump of mediocrity that regardless of how good a show can be, they need to make sure to include some gratuitous semi-nudity and stupid jokes. I hope that Fringe can rise above that and be an interesting show.

If you missed the premiere, you can check it out this Sunday, September 14th at 8 PM on FOX or on the FOX website. It’s also on Hulu.

*****
I’ll be posting my review of each episode (hopefully) the day after they air.

Please Don’t Put Crack in Ice Cream (9/9/2008)

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During the night I had a dream where I was leaving a movie theater. I bumped into just about everyone that I knew in high school. They’re in line to buy tickets to the movie that I just saw. After saying hello to everyone, I woke up.

The alarm goes off at 6:30 and I just don’t want to move. The weather is shit and it’s like my body knows it and just wants to stay in bed all day. I end up sleeping in for about another 15 minutes. Monica and I get up and watch some In Living Color. I shower and go through the rest of the morning routine. As Monica’s brushing her teeth, she points out to me that the water in the shower is still there. We’ve always had a slow drain, but this water just isn’t moving at all. I use the plunger and some grime is pulled up but the water is still stagnant. With time running out before I have to get to work, I decide to leave Anthony a note about the shower and call the landlord when I get to the office.

The ride in to work is depressing. The sky is dark and dreary and the clouds hanging in the sky feel ominous. A storm’s brewin’. I get in to work at 8:30. After going through email, I call the landlord. They’ll send someone up and I let Anthony know. He later updates me of the shower’s performance. The water now goes down like a normal drain. No more showering in an ankle-deep pool of my own filth! Hooray!

Alan lets me know that I’ll be getting a BlackBerry for work sometime in the near future. I guess this is a good thing? It could mean more responsibility, but I’ll be tied to work more often. I can’t turn it off and I’ll be accessible at all times. Yikes.

The storm finally breaks. I don’t have a window, but the thunder is so loud that the building nearly shakes. It’s loud and it’s close. There’s a very spooky feeling. I worry for a little while because I realize I didn’t even think to grab an umbrella on my way in to work.

My lunch is leftover raviolis. Since the weather outside makes me want to kill myself, I stay in and eat. I read more of The Great Gatsby. I’m about halfway through the book and I’m starting to like it. I think it just takes me a little while to get accustomed to the book and the way it’s written. I remember feeling the same way with A Clockwork Orange because it’s written in that weird slang.

I get back to work and take care of a few things. I’m definitely good on the phone.

5:30 rolls around and I head out. I seriously hate people that don’t use their turn signals. If you’re reading this and you don’t use your turn signal when driving, I want you to know that you’re an asshole.

I get back to the apartment around 6, just after Monica. She skipped the library trip for the day. We talk for a little while and then I do some exercise. Since I was feeling good, I do exercise #2. Just like the last time I did it, my limbs get all wiggly. I cautiously walk around and make some chicken and stuffing for dinner while Monica talks to Kara. I tell her about the Woodstock Film Festival. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon and I need to be ready. I really really want to see Kevin Smith’s new movie (even though it’ll be out in theaters a month later) and hell, he might even be there!

Monica and I eat and watch an episode of In Living Color. I really need to figure out some other things to do with chicken. I’ve got the chicken cutlet down pat. I need something different.

After the episode, we watch the series premiere of Fringe. My thoughts on the show will be on the site soon, but I dug it. With our sci-fi needs mostly quenched, we watch a bit of the latest game show ripped off from Japan, Hole in the Wall. I hate Television sometimes. We talk for a little while. I’m continually reminded of why I want to spend the rest of my life with Monica. I can just have so much fun with her and we (just about always) laugh both at each other and at others. It’s fun.

We get to bed around 11. I do some more reading and get to sleep around 11:30.

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