13 January 2011

The Watcher: 01/07/11 - 01/13/11

S01E01 - "Pilot" (9 January 2011) - It's nearly impossible to write a satisfying 43-minute introduction to a superhero show, and ultimately, THE CAPE attempts to cram something that should be at least two episodes worth into that time frame to rushed and overall 'bleh' results. In ten minutes they introduce a corrupt city, this new organization that is pretty much taking over Palm City (lame name), the villain, the setup, and in thirteen minutes there's the usual montage of how our main character, Vince Faraday (David Lyons, in a better than average performance), becomes a lean, mean, fighting machine with a few tricks up his newly christened superhero persona; and then the final ten minutes, where Vince makes his debut as The Cape, nearly dies but is saved thanks to his 80's montage training sequence which lasted all but two minutes, and then saves the day...sorta. Oh, and he also gets a sidekick in the form of Summer Glau as the enigmatic eyes-and-ears of Palm City Orwell who wishes to expose the city's corruption. OK, while it's true that THE CAPE doesn't present much in the department of newsness, I'm more interested in how the story is executed, and if the "Pilot" is any indication, it's a show that will swerve between the lines of seriousness and cartoonishness. Still, I'm already finding myself liking it better than HEROES. The tragedy is that the premiere of THE CAPE could have been frakking awesome...if they had just allowed themselves the time to let storylines develop. It's like friggin' STARGATE: UNIVERSE, repeated. A show with potential that's just rushed each and every episode lacking anything in the way of stakes for our characters. Oh well, let's see how the next episode holds up...

S01E02 - "Tarot" (9 January 2011) - A improvement over "Pilot", and undoubtedly a sign of what's to come. Alright, so I take it the tone is very live action comic booky, like the two FANTASTIC FOUR films of the past few years; serious on occasion, but mostly a comic book come to life. Well, OK, not entirely a fan of this tone, but I can deal. After all, still diggin' it over HEROES. The most notable thing is that Vince Faraday completely resolves to become The Cape, and even dons a black mask to cover his face (smart move), and begins to study poisons, fight techniques, and other miscellaneous things to keep him alive in combat. Basically, he's doing exactly what Batman did in BATMAN BEGINS, and I love that movie, so kudos to the creators for doing that. I also liked the moments where Tripp went batshit on his mom about not using Dad's last name. Good, emotional scene that holds some promise this show can become something pretty damn good. That said, I do appreciate that the show also spends time with the mother and child. Also, I'm really beginning to like James Frain as Chess, although his obsession with the game (where it creeps into nearly every scene and line of dialogue of his) can get a little tedious. But "Tarot" shows some promise, that even if it's not a particularly great or revolutionary or altogether really well done show, it will be a week to week hour of fun, similar to HUMAN TARGET on FOX. Not sure if that's much in the way of positives for the show, but it's not bad, either.

S03E04 - "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" (14 November 2010) - Awwwww. Why'd you have to die, Newton, why? You were a compelling and overall kickass bad guy. Sure, not as sadistic as the season one villain Jones, nor as creepy, but you were kickass, as evidenced by your assault at the hospital. Cruel, precise, unflinching, and fearless, that was some serious Terminator moves over there. It will be very sad to see you go, Mr. Newton. As the title suggests, there was greater emphasis on the shapeshifters in this episode, exploring the multiple emotional strain on them during extended assignments as well as the inner workings of their body. So...shapeshifters are embryo grown machines? I'm still not 100% on what the shapeshifters are, or what they are made of, but their threatiness is without doubt. Plus, they're pretty damn cool. The car chase at the end was pretty epic, as was Olivia demanding the storage unit from a broken and battered Newton. Again, it's sad to see Newton go, cos I'm not really a fan of this parallel universe Olivia. On the plus side, Anna Torv has been amazing in creating two distinct personalities. However, I'm sure she's not too thrilled about dyeing her hair every other episode. On that note, wowness for "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?"

S03E05 - "Amber 31422" (4 November 2010) - Parallel universe. Two Ashmores (Shawn and Aaron) reprising roles from the Prime universe in season two. And Olivia hallucinating Peter, who is actually giving her pretty big hints that she's not of this world, and she needs to get back. Overall, "Amber 31422" is a decent episode that becomes better than it really is thanks to Anna Torv's awesome performance, a bit more history of all the bizarre events that have plagued this universe for the last 20+ years, and a nicely nuanced story about family that speaks volumes for the entire show.

S03E06 - ""6955 kHz" (11 November 2010) - Hmmm. The First People. Now that sounds interesting. Oh, the limitless possibilities, but judging from the next three episodes, it's a plotline that doesn't seem to be top priority for the FRINGE writers, and I dunno why. It sounds utterly fascinating! I'm not going to say much about this episode other than it's the first in a Trilogy of Awesomeness, but I am pondering the whole gizmos and gadgets things that the Fringe Division are finding thanks to Astrid deciphering the coordinates. Now, it's revealed that these things are part of Walternate's doomsday device (speaking of which, what the hell is Peter thinking about continuing the develop the device? I can't see any rationale. Please explain), but if they were placed there millions of years ago, does this mean Walternate also developed time travel and put them there, or am I missing something entirely?

S03E07 - "The Abducted" (18 November 2010) - Parallel universe. The Fringe Division is tracking "The Candyman", which immediately made me think of Tony Todd (although it sadly wasn't), and becomes another Broyles-centric episode. But best of all is the moment when Broyles realizes Olivia knows who she is, and instead of doing something, just shrugs and decides to go home. Amazing scene. But it's sort of funny...if the original parallel universe Olivia stayed where she was without the body switching, she would have been dead weeks ago; it's our version of Olivia that continues to get herself out of jams and save the day repeatedly. How did the parallel universe Fringe Division survive without her before? The episodes end is stellar, and sets up for one of the best FRINGE episodes ever, as Olivia is able to momentarily cross over and send a message to Peter. Things are gonna get interesting.

S03E08 - ""Entrada" (2 December 2010) - What a riveting, pulse-pounding episode. Wowzers. After the finale of "The Abducted", being watched at 1:12 AM, I simply couldn't sleep without seeing how the Olivia/Peter storyline was resolved, and I am so freakin' happy I did. This, ladies and gentlemen, is television writing at its best. Not to mention one of the few times I really, really liked Broyles and he became a real character instead of Mr. In Charge Guy. Great, great episode, and a great example why people should watch FRINGE.

S03E09 - ""Marionette" (9 December 2010) - After the amazingness of the last two episodes, FRINGE settles back into the Case of the Week format, choosing a crazy man who is pulling a Victor Frankenstein and harvesting organs to bring someone (he loved) back to life, and the final moments were an attempt to reflect on the Olivia/Peter relationship. Not very subtle, but hell, it works. First, I gotta mention: it's nice having the original, unburdened Walter Bishop back. His love for drugs and food and his infectious smile definitely makes him one of the more cooler characters on the television, so it's pleasant to see him not all gloomy and doomy as he was in season two. But as for Peter telling the truth of the past two months to Olivia (good for you, chap) and her subsequent response to it...well, I understand the writers need to create some sort of drama between the two characters, and I am appreciative that it comes out of an outstanding scenario of body switching, but at the same time, I did sort of roll my eyes. However their relationship ends this season, I simply hope the writers don't extend it further than they downright need to. That being said, I am quite interested to know what the Observer meant at the end, "He is still alive." This should be good... Oh, and one final note, and this is one of the many reasons why I love FRINGE: the scene about halfway through the episode, when the Frankenstein man is moving his beloved's body via wires (like a puppet), the music, the performances of both actors (if it was an actress there) and the cinematography created one of the spookiest two minutes of the season. Bravo, dudes.

S02E02 - "Serpent's Tooth" (11 January 2011) - My hopes for the show improving has been squashed. Admittedly, I do like the inevitably of Anna pursuing a futile quest to destroy the soul and quench all human emotion from Vs and humans, because it seems epic and awesome, something V desperately needs right now. Unfortunately, the writers don't know a thing about subtlety or good writing, so "Serpent's Tooth" was a exercise of a viewer's tolerance of 41 minutes of plain garbage. My initial goal was to stick around for the rest of the season seeing as there are only eight episodes left - and I just might do so - but episodes like this make me really re-evaluate my wisdom in this regard. Or it could simply be me: perhaps I've been far too spoiled by science fiction richness like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (the reimagined series) and the gritty real nature of THE SHIELD, both shows boasting exemplify creativity behind the scenes and in front of the camera, and I just haven't had the opportunity to see V as a good show. Or, of course, my instincts have been right all along, and V has been on a rapid decline in quality after its fourth episode (if not sooner). Point is, if I continue to review the show, I doubt these will be much in the way of reviews but more or less my bitching about lack of quality. Nonetheless, I'll do my best. It's moments like these when I must question the wisdom of ABC canceling INVASION all those years ago (a pretty much perfect alien-invasion show in the same serialized vein of LOST) and finding the work of V satisfactory. Ugh. In other news, Morena Baccarin is still hot, and still the best thing on the show. Oh, and Rekha Sharma (Tori from BSG) is a V! Did we know that before? Frak if I remember, cos it seems like everyone's a V these days.

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