Saturday, September 29, 2012

Top television moments -- Week of Sept. 24, 2012

This was the week that most shows returned -- including the bulk of CBS' programming.

If we, as viewers, were supposed to be impressed -- I think the networks failed.

Still, I have high hopes for next week -- including the plane crash resolution on 'Grey's Anatomy' and the return of 'Once Upon a Time.'

So, without further ado, here are this week's top television moments:

5. Sons of Anarchy: Who would have thought Opie’s death would be overshadowed by the real life antics of actor Johnny Lewis? ‘Sons of Anarchy’ vacillates between “must watch” and “bad soap opera” for me. Still, this week’s episode and Opie’s sacrifice was some of the best storytelling the show has done in years. I had my doubts how prison life would play out for Jax on screen. I have to say, I’m enjoying it so far.

4. Revolution: I just want to point out that I called Rachel being alive. I knew Elizabeth Mitchell was too good of an actress to only appear in flashbacks. While her reveal at the end was great – I think my favorite moment was watching daughter Charlie trick “Nate” and leave him handcuffed to a pole. He had it coming. I also enjoyed Miles’ showdown (both of them) with the bounty hunter. His short temper with Charlie is getting a little old – but you would think someone that grew up in this new world would be a little less naïve. She needs to learn about survival -- and quick.

3. Private Practice: This show is Addison – and I won’t watch it after she leaves mid-season. That being said, I don’t like that she chose Jake. It seems out of character. Addison and Sam were built up for several seasons. For her to choose Jake when Sam offered her everything she said she wanted was a step back for the character. Still, despite all that, Addison wasn’t the surprising part of the episode. No, that would go to the revelation that Tim Daly’s Pete hadn’t jumped bail and abandoned his wife and son. No, he had a heart attack while running and fell off the path. There he was found by a dog more than a day later. While I don’t like how Pete was written off, I have to say Violet’s reaction was gut-wrenching. Here roundabout thinking – and final reveal – were some of the best acting Amy Brenneman has done in years.

2. Hawaii Five-0: For a lot of people, I’m sure the best moment was Wo Fat’s escape. I just found that ridiculous, though. For others, I bet it was the confrontation between Steve’s mom and Wo-Fat. I don’t really care either way. For me, the moment that changed the show was a determined Chin stalking Delano through the parking structure. Not only did he not seem to care if he was shot, but Chin actually killed Delano in cold blood. Sure, Delano had it coming for killing his wife, but I actually want to congratulate Delano for ridding me of that character. Not only was she boring, but her and Chin’s sudden domestic bliss seemed ridiculously forced. Now we know why.

1. Grey’s Anatomy: This show hasn’t been good in years. It hasn’t been compelling in years. It had a (very) brief resurgence with the hospital shooting a couple of years ago. Then it fell right back into mediocrity. Creator Shonda Rhimes tried to recapture the shooting “magic” in the season finale last year when she had several doctors in a plane crash. Not only was the loved Lexie Grey killed off – but Mark and Arizona’s fates were left in the balance. In the season premiere, we found out early that Mark had been in a coma for 30 days and they were going to turn off life support. I know a lot of people think Arizona’s appearance in the final minutes of the episode was shocking. I, however, knew that she hadn’t died. I found it weird that they never came out and said it (even though they were trying to allude to it without alluding to it) all episode. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is not the show it used to be – by any stretch of the imagination. It is one gimmick after another now. Still, when Derek and Callie watched Mark slip away, I felt a little sad. Of course, then they brought Kepner back and all I feel is disappointment. Again.

Honorable mentions go to:

2 Broke Girls: This show isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, Max’s love for Caroline’s father – and her enthusiasm for being rich – were too much fun to pass up.

Parenthood: While there was a lot of melodrama in the episode – I absolutely loved Zeek’s arrest. Still, the fact that no one in this family can catch a break is starting to get old.

Criminal Minds: I actually didn’t like the episode. I just want to get my guess in for the season-long unsub before anyone else. I think it was that pervert that was taking pictures of young girls a couple of seasons ago. The one that was “setup” by the guy who was kidnapping teenage girls and pretending they were his stepdaughter. That episode had an ominous ending – and then they never revisited it.

Last Resort: Daniel Lissing’s James King steals the opening episode when he explains to island thug Julian how things are going to be from now on. He was badass without ever pulling his gun. Now that’s a character I want to get to know more.

Big Bang Theory: Howard's exploits in space were funny -- but it's Penny's bleaching of Amy's mustache that got the biggest laugh from me. Still, can someone explain the rooting value with Penny to me? The more she strings Leonard along the more I start to dislike her.

What do you think? What were this week’s top entertainment moments?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hits and misses from an up and down week on General Hospital

I love the denizens of Port Charles – but this was a rough week.

While I think the writing for ‘General Hospital’ has gotten markedly better – there are still a few stories dragging the show down.

 The biggest is the multiple personality storyline with Kate. There is nothing new and fresh about DID. Connie isn’t entertaining – she’s annoying. That being said, if Sonny ends up embarrassed on his wedding day I will enjoy that aspect of the story.

The next story that causes me to fast-forward through the show is Olivia and her LSD infused hallucinations. I can’t find one redeeming thing about that storyline.

Finally, the two new battling doctors at GH – Britt and Sabrina respectively – are not only yawn-worthy but cringe-inducing. Neither actress can actually act – and the writing for both is abysmal.

Instead of focusing on one thing to complain about this week – I decided to give a quick shout out to what is working for me (and more importantly, what isn’t).

So, here we go:

HIT: Anna’s interrogation of Todd – complete with another listening session of his “crazy calling” ringtone -- highlighted two of the best actors on the show.

MISS: Heather’s constant talking to baby Victor/Danny is grating. It’s a common soap plot – but it’s still ridiculous and annoying. The last three months of poor Brody’s tenure on ‘One Life to Live’ were spent talking to a baby. Look how well that turned out for him.

HIT: Lulu and Maxie’s reconnection at the bachelorette party was both entertaining – and needed. I have nothing against Jen Lilley – but her Maxie had no chemistry with Lulu. Kirsten Storms’ Maxie has a realistic – and much needed – female friendship with Julie Berman’s Lulu.

MISS: More contrived drama to fuel the Sam and Liz war. This time Liz – who has had her kids die and get kidnapped – lies about a paternity test to hold on to a man. It’s a desperate attempt to make Sam look like a victim – which just makes me dislike Sam. Do we really have to watch these women war over a monotone moper?

HIT: Carly and Shawn reconnect. Sure, their romance never got off the ground. Still, they had a solid friendship that has been completely ignored since Carly and Johnny’s “relationship” started getting shoved down our throats.

MISS: Speaking of Carly and Johnny, since when does the uber-suspicious Carly believe a bad liar like Johnny? It’s actually detrimental to the Carly character. Loyalty is one thing. Stupidity is another.

HIT: Magic Milo spices up Connie’s bachelorette party.

MISS: Michael starts talking marriage – even though he’s been dating Starr for five minutes and her boyfriend and daughter have been dead for less than a year.

HIT: Sonny worries about Spinelli counting cards.

MISS: Anything having to do with Trey and Kristina.

HIT: Little Emma – who is still dealing with her mother’s death – pitches a fit about being left with a babysitter. The scenes run true to life, as Emma shows she’s desperately trying to hold on to some sort of normalcy.

MISS: Patrick starts dating. Not only is Britt vapid, territorial and manipulative – but she’s overt about it. Patrick has a small child and was stalked by Lisa Niles – why would he open Emma up to that at this point? And Sabrina? She’s worse than Britt. Now Patrick has two stalkers. I don’t care if the rumors are true and Sabrina is tied to Duke – she’s still annoying.

HIT: Carly has an adult conversation with Liz.

  Jax leaves town. He doesn’t have to be paired with Carly. Why not try him with Liz? That would make Carly’s head implode and that’s always entertaining.

What do you think? What were GH’s top moments this week? What were the worst moments?

Is Last Resort a dig at the military?

ABC’s new slate of shows is clearly the strongest.

Still, I’m not sure how their military drama ‘Last Resort’ is going to go.

I tuned in Thursday out of curiosity. I’m a big fan of Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman and Dichen Lachman.

Let me start out by saying the show is definitely high concept.

In a nutshell, the USS Colorado is ordered to fire nuclear weapons on Pakistan. The order is routed through a secondary relay tower in Antarctica. Braugher’s Captain Marcus Chaplain and Speedman’s Commanding Officer Sam Kendal have their keys at the ready when they decide to question the order.

Essentially, the Colorado surfaces far enough to show that there has been no attack on American soil. While they radio in for confirmation of the order, they are fired upon by another submarine.

When the crew realizes they were fired upon by Americans they’re understandably concerned. When it’s broadcast on television, though, the U.S. Government reports that Pakistan downed the Colorado.

In an attempt to find a safe haven until they can figure it out, the Colorado docks at a small island with a NATO base. There, Braugher essentially declares the island a small nuclear country and tapes a video to be released to the world about what really happened.

That’s how the first episode ends.

First, the good: Braugher is a steady presence on the show. He’s always been a good actor – and he continues to be here. He’s so good, he straddles a fine line. Is his captain really doing what’s best for his crew or is he a little unbalanced?

Speedman’s Kendal is also intriguing. He calls his wife – played by the suddenly everywhere Jessy Schram – to tell her not to believe any lies about him. Despite his dedication to his wife, they’re clearly setting up some forbidden love story with Daisy Betts’ character. There’s a lot of longing glances from afar going on.

Ironically, while I tuned in for Speedman I was more drawn to Daniel Lissing’s conflicted character James King. His back story is the one I’m most looking forward to investigating – including what his mission was and how he’s responsible for what is transpiring now.

‘Last Resort’ is clearly a political show – and that’s fine. I just think a lot of military types are going to be rubbed the wrong way by the program’s message.

Not only is the premise of the project that the military will kill their own to start an unjustified war – but also that you should always question orders when you might not necessarily believe in them.

Now, I’ve never been in the military. I do believe they serve a vital service to this country and deserve respect. I’m guessing it’s a big no-no to question orders, though.

If the ‘Last Resort’ crew members are portrayed as heroes for defying orders, I’m guessing there’s going to be a certain portion of the population that aren’t going to like it (especially in today’s political climate).

‘Last Resort’ debuted to 9 million viewers – that’s not a strong number. It is essentially just slightly above last year’s ‘Charlie’s Angels’ reboot (and that died a quick death).

While I’d be curious to see where they’re going with this show – I don’t think ‘Last Resort’ will survive past half a season.

Is it too early to request Speedman grow his hair out and return to the ‘Underworld’ franchise where he can walk around in all of his gratuitous shirtless glory??

What do you think? Did you like ‘Last Resort’?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who are television’s whiniest fan bases?

Every fan base has a crazy or two. It goes with the territory.

Still, as a frequent guest on a lot of different message boards, I have started recognizing a pattern (or a miasma of patterns if you will).

Now, I'm not going to even touch on movie fan bases. I'm not in the mood for teenage girls to bombard my email with their Jacob and Edward love (or their Kristen Stewart jealousy, I mean hate).
Actually, today, I’ve been getting a lot of hate mail from crazed ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ fans. It took me by surprise. Not that they were crazed – but that they would actually take the time to write.

So, it got me to thinking, who are television’s whiniest fan bases?

In no particular order:

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: There are several fan bases from the Buffy universe that could make the list (yes, Willow and Tara fans, I’m talking to you). Still, it’s the Buffy and Spike fans that are the most frightening to me. I think the testament of Buffy is that the show has been off the air for like a decade and fans are still debating Bangel vs. Spuffy. I get being loyal to your favorite couple. I don’t get writing fan fiction and verbally attacking someone that doesn’t agree with you – and that’s what I always get when I voice my Spuffy disdain.

SUPERNATURAL: This is a show about two brothers. They’re both attractive. They’re both solid actors. They both have been showcased in a variety of different storylines. So why is it that Dean fans always repeat the same complaints? If I have to hear one more time how Dean never gets his own storylines and how Dean is used as a prop for Sam I might actually wretch. While I am one of those people that hasn’t been a big fan of ‘Supernatural’ for the past two seasons, I’ve still watched out of loyalty. The truth is, Dean wouldn’t even like his own fan base because they complain so much. Yeah, I said it.

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Soap fans truly are a different breed. I should know, I’m still crushed that Sonny and Brenda couldn’t make it work. Through the years, there have been a lot of rabid fan bases on GH boards. My favorite were the “Soily” haters. That was a group of fans repulsed by the Sonny and Emily pairing. My least favorite – at least right now – is the Jason and Sam shippers. Long before Steve Burton announced he was leaving GH, some of the “Jasam” fans were starting to get on my nerves. The thing is, no matter how much you want it, a soap couple is never “end game” until a cancellation announcement has been made. Maybe it’s because I am not a Jason fan – but I’m truly looking forward to “Jasam” being off my screen. Of course, I doubt he’ll be off the message boards anytime soon. If Georgie's exit is still being lamented, what do you think Jason's will be like?

TRUE BLOOD: The television show is a lot different than the books. The only thing that is truly the same is Eric and Sookie fans. Both book and show fans – at least when it comes to Eric and Sookie – can get just as irrational. Personally, I preferred Sookie without a love interest for the majority of this season on the show. She was a lot more interesting when her life wasn’t about a man. As for the books, I was an Alcide fan for a long time. Now I’m just a fan of the fact that Charlaine Harris is ending the series. I’m pretty much over all of the characters.

CRIMINAL MINDS: Who would have thought a procedural would have fans so rabid they could make a whiniest fans list? Still, that’s exactly where I’m at with Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) fans. After running off Rachel Nichols, fans are now going after Jeanne Tripplehorn because they’re upset that Brewster opted to leave the show. For me, Prentiss was always my least favorite member of the team – so I really won’t miss her. I should clarify that I didn’t hate Prentiss. I just didn’t love her. I haven’t decided how I feel about Tripplehorn’s character yet. I do know that I think fans calling her old and ugly while demanding Prentiss’ return need to get over themselves.

LOST: There was a lot of ‘Lost’ shipping over the years. Jack and Kate. Kate and Sawyer. Sawyer and Juliet. Jin and Sun. Sun and Michael. Sawyer and Hurley. Only one group freaked out when things didn’t go their way, though. That would be the Kate and Sawyer fans. To this day, if you dare mention the ‘Lost’ finale and Kate and Jack’s “happily ever after” to the wrong person, be prepared to hear an earful about how that was some of the worst writing ever put to paper. Love it or hate it, the ‘Lost’ finale had a clear vision. Maybe it’s because I was a Sawyer and Juliet fan – but I was happy with the ending.

GOSSIP GIRL: This wasn’t actually a hard decision. Dan and Blair fans won hands down. No one else in the ‘Gossip Girl’ realm was even in contention. For a year all I heard about on ‘Gossip Girl’ websites was that they needed to test Dan and Blair. They did. Then they needed to put them together. They did. Then they needed to live happily ever after. Guess what? This is ‘Gossip Girl,’ Dan and Blair never had a chance to live happily ever after. Not only did the couple have no chemistry, but they just didn’t fit. There are only 10 episodes of ‘Gossip Girl’ left – and all I can say is “Thank God I don’t have to sit through any more boring Dan and Blair romance scenes.”

THE WALKING DEAD: Unlike the previous entries, my least favorite ‘The Walking Dead’ fan base doesn’t revolve around a particular couple or character. Although, I would like to send a special shout out to the “Keep Carl in the House” group. I find them hilarious. No, my chief complaint with ‘The Walking Dead’ fan bases goes to the comic book fans that won’t stop whining any time the writers change something from the comic books. Here’s the thing: Comic books don’t translate well when they’re adapted literally. A broad audience isn’t going to get comic book humor. Besides that, who really wants a straight adaptation? Where’s the surprise in that? I don’t know about anyone else, but I think following the comic books on this show would be a death sentence (pun intended). You need to make a show accessible to the broadest possible audience. That’s what these writers have done.

What do you think? What is the whiniest fan base?