30 September 2010

The Watcher: 9/24-9/30

It's that time of the year, folks! The new TV season is upon us, and I'm pretty much giddy, giddy, giddy! I really gotta step up my game and finish the first portion of CAPRICA before the Fall premiere next week, and finally finish the sixth season of RESCUE ME. Also worth noting is that I gave up on MAD MEN seven episodes in. Overall, it's a good show, and there's nothing really wrong with it. Simply said, it's just not my type of show. So, unfortunately, that won't be pursued. Also, my apologies for not including NIKITA, for those who care. Will be remedied next week. Anyhow, how are you folks enjoying the new season thus far?

S04E02 - "Chuck Versus the Suitcase" (27 September 2010) - Last week, CHUCK was awesome. This week, still pretty awesome, but less with the awesomeness. The whole episode felt very generic, and a tad bit contrived. I am happy that Chuck and Sarah seem to have a mostly healthy relationship, but I'm a tad agitated that it seems they're going down the route where Chuck wants this, this and this, but won't say anything, which causes major drama and problems for the two. I don't want that, and I will be a very pissed viewer if this show spends too much time messing up with their relationship instead of strengthening it. But luckily, the pain of their contrived problems was lessened by Yvonne Strahvoski showing off her goddess-like figure. Oh, thank you, thank you. On a unrelated note, I really hope Casey gets more screentime and story soon, because Adam Baldwin is a very underused actor in this show. Every series I have seen him in, regular or guest spot, Baldwin owns, so I really, really hope we get a episode soon that allows him to show off his dramatic and comedic side simultaneously.

The stuff at the Buy More: not sure if I dig it or dislike it. Jeffster and....er, that other one are back, and everything is going back to basics. So, color me sorta excited. However, this means the General won't be Buy More manager anymore? Kudos, though, to Morgan for hitting that jackpot, should be interesting to see how that develops. Overall, not a super strong episode of CHUCK, but here's optimism that things will improve.

S05E01 - "My Bad" (26 September 2010) - Five seasons in, and when Dexter Morgan finally shows emotion, it's frakkin' frightening. Near the end of this intense hour, the cold, calculating exterior of Dexter finally cracks when a hippie dude at a random gas station makes the mistake to say to Dexter that his dead wife should suck his dick. Every ounce of what we would call guilt and sadness transforms into rage, and Dexter takes a blunt instrument to punch his fury. And then, at the urging of Harry, Dexter screams in rage, guilt, and agony. It's a chilling sequence in a otherwise uneventful-ish episode, but a good episode nonetheless. Julie Benz makes a special appearance in a flashback sequence of their first date, and keeping true to Dexter's personality, it really wasn't a date at all, just a cover for a job. Brilliant. Also brilliant: how Dexter is forced to spill the beans to Astrid and Cody, and the dark comedy of wearing Mickey Mouse ears. I love it when this show uses light elements juxtaposed against a greater darkness; it just makes me giddy. The interaction between Dexter and Deb was also interesting to watch, as Deb was all over the place, confused as Dexter's very incriminating words on the scene as well as his blatant lack of emotion in any regard of the situation. I will most certainly look forward to their scenes together, although I have no interest in a Deb/Quinn hook up. Wasn't he just banging Trinity's daughter two days ago?

Season 5 appears to be a odd one. On one hand, Dexter will have to cover his last season tracks from Quinn, who seems to think Dexter may have killed his wife. And apparently, instead of one serial killer, this season will be host to multiple baddies. I'm not quite sure where this season is headed, but I am genuinely engaged.

S10E01 - "Lazarus" (24 September 2010
) - SMALLVILLE begins its tenth and final season with a remarkably well put together season premiere. Before moving forward, this is the second time in two years that a CW show has used the word "Lazarus" (the other being the SUPERNATURAL season 4 premiere, 'Lazarus Rising'; a quick Wiki search of the word states it means 'God's assistant', which is quite appropriate for both shows, especially in SUPE's last two seasons), anyone else find that semi-humorous? Anyhow, more than ever, it feels like Clark Kent is so close to fulfilling his 'destiny' in becoming the iconic blue and red Superman. With the great leaps forward Clark has made the last two seasons, I was admittedly curious where the writers could take Clark - and lo and behold, they go a route I didn't even think about. The major theme of this season, it appears, and one of three major hurdles Clark needs to overcome before becoming the global icon, is battling his pride. I would say this character flaw sort of comes out of left field, considering that Clark hasn't shown much in the way of obnoxious pride in his work at all. However, if it means Clark battling his own inner demons, I'm more than willing to encourage the writers to go that route.

The second major hurdle is Lex Luthor, as foreshadowed by the three years later vision Clark had in last season's finale, "Salvation." Unexpectedly, Superman's bald villain played a major role in this episode, minus the original actor. In true SMALLVILLE form, clones of Lex Luthor were used to force Clark to fight his foe, but they were used in such a fashion I really don't mind. Apparently, Lex had manufactured multiple clones of himself in the event of needing healing, as he would most definitely need after the Fortress collapsed on him two seasons ago. So I give major kudos to the writers for that idea, as well as using that to relieve Cassidy Freeman from using burn prosthetic for the rest of the series. Although I wasn't particularly a major fan of the Lex clone that picks a fight with Clark, he did shed some possibly inaccurate information about the real Lex: he claimed that the 'maker' is 'dead', died in that explosion from season eight. My wager is that that is the 'official' story until the day Michael Rosenbaum, the role's originator, agrees to reprise his role. Entertainment Weekly columnist Michael Ausiello recently indicated a future episode of the season will be called "Luthor", so at the very least, the family still plays a major part in Clark's journey.

The third major hurdle is the new villain Darkseid; truth be told, I don't know too much about the character, so I can't comment too much, but from what I understand, he sounds like a formidable foe and worthy as Clark's final adversary - assuming the series finale doesn't conclude with Clark and Lex [oh, how I wish we could get Kevin Smith to write their dialogue...]. So what do we have in store for this season? Well, we require a tragic conclusion to Chloe Sullivan's arc. It's been foreshadowing many, many times the last few seasons, that the Legion have no idea who Chloe even is and her role in Clark's life. In this episode, she trades herself for Oliver's freedom, and from the sounds of it, she won't pop up again until later on. If Chloe doesn't get a very, very tragic and sad ending, I will be very disappointed. Her cousin Lois, after finding out that Clark is the blur, takes off, emotionally unsure of what to do next. Not so sure where they're going to take her storyline, but I sorta gotta have faith in these dudes. And one final note - I quite liked the callbacks to SMALLVILLE season one. I love when shows that are reaching their end acknowledge their beginning.

"Lazarus" was a very well written and directed episode, setting up Clark's path, setting up Chloe's departure from the mythology, setting up villains present and future, and all around making me majorly giddy for tomorrow. So, all in all, the show's tenth and final season looks to be something grand.

S02E01 - "Intervention" (Part 3) - (28 September 2010)
- SG-U is a hard show to review. I like the show, and I don't like the show. I really dig what Wright and Cooper set out to do with UNIVERSE, and I like the whole concept of the Destiny ship and that it had a mysterious destination, but the execution of everything is just so...flat, I guess is the right word. SG-U could be so, so, soo good - on the level of quality of Moore's BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, but its poor writing, direction, and characters just sorta frak it all up. And I don't say this with happiness. But even with my bitching and complaining, I'll still stop in every week to see what happens next. It just sucks that this show boasts true unrealized potential.

Anyhow, the Lucien Alliance problem from last season is resolved in a rather fun manner, and by episodes end, everything is cleaned up to a nice musical montage [note: it's ironic that the real dramatically heavy moments get the music montage treatment, considering that the goal of the show is to delve into all aspects of these characters' lives], preparing the Destiny crew for next week's little adventure. Things worth noting: the girl who played Anna on SUPERNATURAL plays a Lucien Alliance gal, and I couldn't be more excited! Oh, wait, there's more! Robert Knepper of PRISON BREAK fame is also a Lucien Alliance baddie! YES! And the final thing worth noting: the really interestingness of T.J's storyline. I'm really hoping that planet and the aliens from last season's "Faith" play a major role in the events to come, because that could be super duper wicked.

Overall, the series seems to be aiming to grow, and here's a genuine hope it does evolve into something extraordinary.

S06E01 - "Exile on Main St." (24 Septembe
r 2010) - With last seasons finale "Swan Song", SUPERNATURAL concluded the five-year plan set forth by series creator Eric Kripke. As such, Kripke announced he would be relinquish his role as showrunner, giving that position to longtime collaborator Sera Gamble, but remain on as a creative force nonetheless. That news alone set fans in a tizzy. Additionally, "Swan Song" was such a emotionally powered episode, so clearly and definitively feeling like a series finale, many couldn't understand bringing the series back for a sixth season. So "Exile on Main St.", penned by Gamble, has a lot to accomplish in a very, very short amount of time. The episode begins a year later, with Dean the everyday man now, working construction, making breakfast, being a father figure for Ben, and being a good boyfriend for Lisa, the girl of his dreams. But on this particular day, his mind has been playing tricks on him, causing Dean to suffer hallucinations [bringing about a stellar reprisal of Azazel, who was so freakishly wicked, it nearly made the whole episode], and also causing Sam to re-enter the picture, saving his brother. The two reunite to take down the Djin, who have been setting up camp around Dean's neighborhood. Oh, and another major revelation: not only is Grandpa Campbell, last seen dead in the season 4 episode "In the Beginning", resurrected, but Sam's traveling with three other Campbell s - family. Grandpa Campbell reveals that in the past few months, monsters of the world have been acting strange - going against established patterns, for instance. Additionally, there's new creatures being discovered every day, creatures that they don't know how to fight. Something is messing up the beastie's schedules, and something resurrected Sam and Grandpa Campbell, and who knows who else. So running out of storylines? SUPERNATURAL is not.

One note though: will Ben factor in as some sort of important figure, as Azazel was saying as Dean's hallucination, working as possible foreshadowing, or is this just the writers having some fun toying with Dean? It would be a bit interesting to see a repeated cycle, with Ben becoming as screwed up as Sam.

Although I like the set-up, I like the story ideas, there is something disappointingly flat about this episode. For example, the reunion of Sam and Dean was oddly anti-climatic, and the emotion simply wasn't there as opposed to the, like, three or four other times they come back together after a death and resurrection [yeah, that happens a lot in this show]. I normally wouldn't make it a big deal, but after a entire year of thinking his brother was dead, Sam and Dean's reunion was just - well, dead, really. I don't know if there really is anyone to fault for that, because the direction was fine, Jared and Jensen were great, but I'm maybe guessing the writing needed a little bit more something? It's a odd episode, to be sure. It took three viewings for me to fully appreciate it. I just really feel SUPERNATURAL needs a longer running time. So, overall, I enjoyed it, but compared to season openers of the past, "Lazarus Rising" is still stronger. It's a bit humorous that I enjoyed the SMALLVILLE premiere over SUPERNATURAL. Would not have expected that...

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