23 September 2010

The Watcher: 9/17 - 9/23

Thanks to a evil thing called poetry, my TV watching has been slimmed down considerably. However, now with the new TV season upon us, and the poetry assignment completed, I'll be Mr. Hulu & Mr. Megavideo Guy once again! So, sorry this is so short and sweet. Until next week, with reviews of SMALLVILLE and SUPERNATURAL season premieres, more GREEK, and the hopeful conclusion of my TRUE BLOOD season 3 reviews and of CAPRICA 1.0 before the new season starts. Cheers!

S01E03 - "Reins of a Waterfall" (5 February 2010) - This episode marks the guys behind CAPRICA firing on all cylinders. Directed by BATTLESTAR GALACTICA developer Ronald D. Moore, he creates a visually beautiful forty-three minute episode with great use of camera movements, lights, blurriness, and quick edits. It's most definitely a huge step up from his directorial effort from the final few episodes of GALACTICA. Not only that, but plot points are beginning to pick up. I'm finally getting a inkling of what Sister Clarice is up to, dealing with something called "apotheosis." Suffice to say, I'm now sorta intrigued. Magda Apanowicz continues to impress as Lacy, as does Eric Stolz and Esai Morales. Speaking of Morales, holy frakkin' Gods did he have two lovely scenes in the episode - near the beginning when he hires his brother/cousin/whoever to beat up Daniel for him, and the final scene where he orders the hit on Daniel's wife. Damn, that man of honor from the pilot is sure going down a dark, dangerous path. But with how fast the show is moving the relationship between the two, I am curious about the longevity of the program. In conclusion, "Reins of a Waterfall" has re-instilled my faith in the show. Plus, this trailer for Season 1.5 helped matters.

S01E04 - "Gravedancing" (19 February 2010) - Another fantastic episode, although that can mostly be attributed to the riveting sequence where Daniel Graystone went on Sarno's show for a live interview, which understandably went horribly basically right away. And then Amanda Graystone walks onstage, completely by surprise of everyone in the show, and me for that matter. I was hooked. Sarno, Amanda, and Daniel engage in a verbal jest, and boy was it captivating. Great writing, phenomenal performances by Stolz, Oswalt, and Paula. Lacy is getting a bit more into the action by abiding a request from Zoe to transport something to Gemenon, and all I could really think of was 'damn, she's gorgeous.' Sister Clarice warns her STO students of the law enforcement coming to school so they could hide their bad materials. Zoe gets the opportunity to dance and loosen up in her Cylon body. Adama figures out he doesn't have the nuts to follow through on the Amanda Graystone hit. Overall, a pretty damn good episode. Like I said above, the Sarno interview was utterly riveting, and I'm still loving Alessandra Torressani's work as Zoe.

S04E01 - "Chuck Versus the Anniversary" (20 September 2010) - The show that somehow survived cancellation three seasons in a row is back for its fourth season, and similar to the season three premiere, it's a game changer. In the previous season finale, Chuck made a promise to sister Ellie to quit the spy business, and quit the spy business he did. However, a final request from his father is nagging Chuck's head, and he feels obligated to fulfill it: locate his mother, who disappeared when he was six years old. So we got Chuck and Morgan searching for Mamma Bartowski on their own dime, Sarah and Casey still with the CIA and mission impossibling themselves, Ellie has exciting news, and the Buy More has been rebuilt from the ground up, but this time erected by the CIA to serve as a homebase. Yep, things are strange in Chuckville. I guess the first thing worth mentioning about the premiere: the casting of Linda Hamilton (Sarah freakin' Connor!) as Chuck's mother. She's aged well, and if the final scene is any indication, she can still kick mighty ass, perhaps even giving Ellen Ripley a run for her money.

And Yvonne Strahovski, perhaps the single most attractive woman on television right now [a difficult choice, taking into account the gorgeousness of Anna Torv, FRINGE], not only gets to show off her beautiful assets, but also gets some spy ass-kicking going on. I really got to hand it to Yvonne and Anna: these two women are able to be cute, adorable, beautiful, manipulative, and utterly dangerous, and pull it off as fantastically as Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer. Sarah confronting Chuck about the "sexting" was also far too great to be true. More on that later. Those two girls are true fighting machines. Adam Baldwin (FIREFLY) is always great as Casey, and it was hilarious whenever he deflected Sarah's "you miss [Chuck]" moments. Basically, Baldwin rocks. I'm very much liking this mature and mostly confidant Chuck Bartowski, how he walks into that entirely fake Russian place with such suave, and makes the adult [but unnecessary, taking account the time table?] decision to disconnect the upload in order to get the frak out. Chuck's bestie Morgan is still fantastic, initiating the whole "sexting" thing as well as the rolling-on-the-floor-laughing interpretations of Sarah's S.O.S. texts. So Chuck's possibly being forced back into the CIA, he's growing up, Elle's gonna have her plate full, Sarah and Chuck are still good, and Linda Hamilton is freakin' awesome as Mamma Bartowski who seems to be as threatening to the world as Orion was two seasons ago. Overall, this season is shaping up to be very interesting. Only downside: damn budget cuts! The CGI is atrocious. Here's hoping that the series continues after this, but even if that doesn't come to pass, NBC most generously gave this show a chance, and more seasons than I would have ever expected. So no matter what, I've been a happy beaver.

S01E02 - "2.0" (16 September 2010) - Watching the freshman shows second episode, I couldn't help but wonder how much better it could be on a harder network - say, FX for example. By all means, Nikita is still good, still interesting, still engaging, and still a show that I'll check out because I think it has some great potential, but it could most definitely be so much more. Yes, this show does have a edge to it; Alex being beaten around by the German dude, Percy ordering Michael to the German dude to save their asses, and the harsh shoot-out in the subway station. By 'harder', I don't just mean making the violence of the show have more impact and weight, but also adding great amount of emotional impact to the flashback sequences between Nikita and Alex. Those three or four scenes introduce us to how these two messed up individuals came to trust each other so completely, but yet they fall flat. Perhaps a longer running time would be in order, or exercising the entire plot of "2.0" and instead dedicating the entire episode to a flashback. Or, wait until episode three to go the flashback route, and use "2.0" to continue establishing the tone and drive of the show. The "Pilot" promised a grand storyline of Nikita bringing down Division, and considering that the board behind CW see some sort of longevity for the franchise, I wager Division isn't being brought down immediately, and thus inconsequential filler episodes like this are necessary; I just wish they weren't. Or at the very least make some damn engaging fillers, like Angel always seemed to accomplish. Point is, still a good episode, and taking into account the show is still finding its footing, I probably shouldn't judge it so harshly. Besides, Alex still kicks ass.

S01E03 - "Kill Jill" (23 September 2010) - "Michael, you have no idea how much pain I can take." See, now that's the badass quality I've been looking forward to in this new Nikita series, but has been disappointingly lacking - sorta. This episode was a decent step in the right direction, but I dunno if this is just me, but I LOVE those moments when the bad guys have that little, "Oh, shit - it's [insert person - Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, Nikkita]." I want more of those; I'd never get tired of 'em. Anyhow, that aside, "Kill Jill" was a enjoyable, quick 40 minutes of a good story idea that deserved to be executed with a bit more precision and tension, not to mention stakes. There's a lot of "this and this is going to happen if this gets out!!!", a lot of telling without showing, or conveying the stakes in a grand way. There's not much to say about the episode, honestly. I was lovin' the Birkoff stuff, where he was being suspected of treason, and his scene with Melinda Clarke was very fun(ny) to watch. I'm still lovin' Alex, and I can't wait to see people starting to catch onto her. I'm not too thrilled about the potential kinship between her and one of the other recruits. Eh, we'll see. The series is still young, and for all I know, every episode for the rest of the season will be super stellars. Overall, still liking the series. A good step forward.

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