Posts tagged Television

James Knows…TV: The Office: Episode 3 – Baby Shower

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Each episode of The Office walks a fine line between incredibly awkward and absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, there are some occasions where the show just falls into the strange and almost not funny abyss. I felt that last night’s episode “Baby Shower” had a few such falling moments. That’s not to say that the episode wasn’t good. It basically redeemed itself in the end, but the entirely unwarranted testing of Jan’s stroller by Dwight and Jan singing for no damn reason in the middle of her baby shower just left me on the edge of my seat, but not in a good way. I was sitting there waiting for the twist. Where is it? You’re supposed to have something weird happen followed by something that’s really funny. But the funny part didn’t come. Sure, Dwight had a few fun lines during this road test, but it just felt entirely out of place. (more…)

Heroes Hoedown: Chapter 5 – Angels and Monsters

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I was filled with hope last week that the show’s writers had somehow managed to right this sinking ship that Heroes has become. I mean, here was an interesting twist and some great character driven story telling even if it held too much to the crazy time travel nonsense. Then there was this episode. Ugh. It’s like the writers thought “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we had everyone in the show act entirely out of character and do shit they’d never ever do?” Yeah! That would be awesome! If “awesome” meant “a piece of garbage.” (more…)

Heroes Hoedown- Chapter 4: I Am Become Death

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And now things get a lot more interesting. While this episode had elements seen in countless other episodes of Heroes (ie: Horrible future), this one just felt a little different. That super powered train is starting to get back on track. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll make something out of all this.

So what happened? We had some more info in the horrible future as the Peters jumped around and tried to figure out why things didn’t change when Future Peter went back to the past to shoot his brother and damn, I hate time travel. Anyway, more stuff happened, but let’s take a look at this week’s line up for the hoedown! (more…)

(Getting A) Life – Episode 1 – Find Your Happy Place

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Of all the TV shows returning this Fall season, Life was in the top 3 that I was looking forward to the most. The story of the exonerated detective, Charlie Crews somehow leading a (somewhat) normal life while trying to find out who set him up for the murder of a family was an interesting one. When we last saw Crews, he had found the man who committed the crime and put him away. Now he needs to find out who paid him to do it.

Thankfully this episode began with a brief recap getting us (mostly) up to date on what was going on. The last episode of the first season aired in December or January so it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the show. This episode had a strange group of murders. The victims were each found in trunks in odd locations. They were alive when they were placed into the trunks and suffocated while inside. Each trunk was numbered, but the detectives can’t find a connection between them.

The murderer in this case hates people that are happy. I can’t say that I was surprised when the killer’s identity was revealed though. It wasn’t that I didn’t suspect him. It was that he was the only suspect really. No one else was really there so the possibilities were pretty small. (more…)

Heroes Hoedown – Chapter 3: One of Us, One of Them

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Second week in and here we go. Aside from the fact that I think that the commercials ruined one of the most interesting parts of this episode (Sylar working for the Company), I thought this third chapter in this collection was just OK. Heroes is going to have to work a lot harder to bring me back to the full fanboy status that it held me at during the first season.

Now on to the roster!

  • Sylar – He’s a company man? As I mentioned, I thought that the commercials for this episode totally ruined this really cool plot twist. What was worse was that the episode seemed to basically neuter the coolest and scariest part of the entire show. After terrorizing us with Sylar’s attack on Claire in the first episode, he’s now a tie wearing partner for Noah and ready to help bring these bad guys to justice. This really ticked me off. It confused me too. Why would Mama Petrelli (and Mama Sylar for that matter) think this is a good idea? Sure, my son is a mass murdering psychopath, but he just needs a little love. Sending him out to bring in the very people that he’s been killing seems like a great idea. Of course, someone like Sylar can’t be rehabilitated in a day and he cuts up one of the loonies that escaped from Level 5 adding the power of the Black Canary to his repertoire. Then he goes back to the cell for his time out. Yup. Seems he’s been neutered.
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Office Supplies – Dunder Mifflin Returns! (“Weight Loss”)

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It’s back! It’s back! Oh, happy day! The Office is back! I didn’t realize how much I missed the show until 30 seconds before it started when I was sitting on my bed with my knees held up to my chest and a big smile on my face. I felt like a little kid.

Surprisingly, this episode jumped right to the theme song instead of giving us a little clip to whet our appetites at first. Fortunately after the theme song, it jumped right in to the fun and just kept going. For the first time we were shown what the summer is like at the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. Usually the first episode of the season just jumps into the fall and skips the summer. This time we were treated to some summertime fun. There was a company wide contest. Whichever branch lost the most weight was given some extra vacation time. Hilarity ensues. (more…)

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…)

Heroes Hoedown – Chapters 1: The Second Coming & 2: The Butterfly Effect

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It’s been awhile. Before the third season of Heroes premiered on NBC, my fiancee asked me what happened in the second season…and I had no idea. There was something with a virus and a doomed future (again), Nathan got shot, Ali Larter got killed (HOORAY!), Sylar got his powers back and that one girl cried black tears. That was about it, right? Well, last night was the two hour premiere of the third season. I was expecting a big extended episode but it ended up being just the first two episodes back-to-back. Umm…sure.

I’m going to break this down like I did on Tubenation so here’s our roster for these two episodes.

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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☆

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.

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