Friday, April 18, 2014

GENERAL HOSPITAL: How bad does it have to get before it's too bad to watch?

I’ve often thought that threatening to quit watching a soap opera is an empty threat.

Until you actually do it, that is.

I honestly thought I would watch all three ABC soaps until I died (or they did) but, at a certain point, I gave up on All My Children.


Because the storylines were so bad that I had no choice.

Usually, even when a soap hits a rough patch, I can find something on it that still manages to interest me. All My Children got to the point where there was nothing I could stomach anymore – so I gave up the soap.

On the flip side, One Life to Live held my interest until the bitter end. And, while I wasn’t happy with all of the stories on the show, I was happy with enough of them to keep watching.

I’m at an interesting crossroads with General Hospital right now. I have the inclination to give up – but only
loyalty keeps me tuning in.

Basically, the soap is terrible – but I keep watching because I don’t want it to get cancelled. It’s a vicious little circle.

I don’t think there’s anyone out there that can argue that GH is well written and paced right now. The question is, who is to blame?

Most people are pointing their fingers at head writer Ron Carlivati right now. It’s sad, a man that came in with such promise has crushed the dreams of fans everywhere.

When he brought back so many beloved vets, fans loved him. I mean, this was the man that brought back Frisco Jones, AJ Quartermaine, Lucy Coe, Scott Baldwin, Kevin Collins, etc. – how could you not love him?

And, with the vets, came the ratings. Robin's return from the "dead" and Robert's return to rescue her helped GH achieve ratings it hadn't seen in years. RC basked in the kudos.

That euphoria didn’t last too long.

After initially giving fans what they wanted – RC immediately yanked the rug back out from under them.
Sure, he touted the return of our vets, but then we got to see them about once a month. And, the ratings highs he achieved have been falling over the past few weeks (although the demographic is still strong -- which means he's ticking off longtime viewers).

And, while this was going on, RC has introduced a bevy of newbies that no one cares about. From Sabrina to Felix to Jordan to Nathan to Madeline we got useless characters that had no ties to the rich history of GH.

RC would throw us for the occasional loop, though, when he’d do something smart – like bringing Lucas Jones back. A “newbie” that had strong ties to multiple people on the canvas – that’s like finding gold in the middle of the street.

For every Lucas, though, we get four duds.

It’s exhausting.

When I look at the current GH stories, I can’t help but internally cringe.

While I was excited by Fluke (at first) – that excitement eroded when RC wrote every person in Port Charles as an absolute idiot that didn’t notice that Luke was an imposter. Seriously, the only two people that realize something is up with Luke are Spencer and Ned – a child and a guy who hasn’t been in town for a decade. Yet Sonny and Tracy, people who see him all the time, don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with him.

When you couple that with the rumblings that Fluke is actually Bill Eckert – a man that we saw die on screen
(and his death was one of the indelible images of the 1990s when he was carried from the catacombs) – and I’m massively irritated with the story now.

Say what you will about Bill Eckert, but he was not a sociopath. He was boring and he was a good father. Since his son, Sly, stayed in town years after his death – are we supposed to believe that Bill just abandoned Sly? That’s not honoring GH’s history RC.

One of the few newer characters that RC has introduced viewers to that works is Britt. Unfortunately, in his zest to expand her roots, he’s now forced a brother on her that absolutely no one cares about. Seriously, the actor that plays Nathan couldn’t be more wooden if he was actually a board.

We have the insipid Levi wandering around calling Maxie “Max.” The unnecessary Jordan is tied to two secondary characters that aren’t important to anything (or anyone) on the canvas – and she’s clearly either evil or an undercover snitch. Felix is only there to prop Sabrina – who needs to be killed off ASAP.

If you want to use to glorified extras, why not give something to Max to do? Is he still in the hospital fighting for his life, by the way? Has anyone seen him since Morgan shot him? Has Morgan even addressed the situation in the past two months? And where is Magic Milo?

Where’s Epiphany? Wouldn’t she have been a good sounding board for Patrick when Robin left? Wouldn’t she be the one to take on Dr. Obrecht at the hospital?

Pacing has been an issue at GH for awhile now. There are too many characters and too little airtime.
Unfortunately, RC seems unwilling to drop the dead weight.

What he is willing to do is lie to fans about reinvigorating the Quartermaines – and then immediately kill AJ off, say that Robin’s return is a “love story” for Robin and Patrick and then have Robin abandon her family (something she would never do) and have no one in town notice that “Luke” hasn’t bothered to see his daughter since she got her baby back.

I guess you can see why I’m at this crossroads. The question is, has GH finally gotten so bad I’m willing to walk away?

It’s close to the threshold, that’s for sure.

What do you think? How bad is GH these days?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TELEVISION: The 100 shows promise -- but is hampered in some areas

When I first read about the premise of the CW’s new teen dystopian thriller The 100, I was actually intrigued.

The basic premise of the show, for those that don’t know, is that the Earth was compromised by nuclear winter after a conflict caused several countries to shoot missiles at each other.

To survive, an “ark” was built. This time, it went to space.

The generation of individuals living on the “ark” was merely meant to be a transition generation since it would be a hundred years before Earth was inhabitable again.

Unfortunately for the survivors on the ark, the oxygen system is starting to fail and the survivors only have a few months to live.

That’s where viewers are introduced to the story and we’re introduced to Clarke (Eliza Taylor) – a young
girl that has been in the prison system on the ark for the past year. She – and 99 other teenage prisoners on the ark – are being dispatched to Earth to see if survival is an option on the planet.

Since scientists believe the Earth is still too toxic for humans to survive, it’s possible the kids on the shuttle will die the minute they land. Each teenager has a wristband feeding their vitals back to the ark so the adults can monitor the morbidity rate of the kids.

To no one’s surprise (it wouldn’t be much of a television show if the kids all died in the pilot episode) the kids land relatively safely (two fatalities) and find that they can breathe without a problem.

The first order of business is food and mindless flirting, apparently.

Most of the kids have been in the background so far, but a handful of them have been pushed to the forefront.

The first is Clarke, the moral compass of the show. Clarke’s mother is one of the science officers on the ark. She’s got her own political agenda – as do all the adults we see on the ark – but more on her in a minute.

We’re also introduced to Wells, Clarke’s childhood best friend – who Clarke isn’t overly happy to see. It seems Clarke believes that not only was she imprisoned because of Wells – but her father was also “floated.”

What’s floated? Anyone that broke a rule on the ark was essentially shown into a capsule and had an
external door opened and they were sucked out into space. Clarke’s father was one of these individuals. His crime? He was the one that found out the environmental controls on the ark weren’t working and the people on it were in danger. He wanted to do the right thing and tell everyone, but he was floated instead.

Clarke always thought Wells told his father, Chancellor Jaha (Isaiah Washington) and that resulted in her father’s death. Clarke realizes relatively quickly, though, that her assumptions were wrong. Wells didn’t turn on her and turn in her father. It was her mother, Abby (Paige Turco).

Of course, Wells doesn’t survive long after Clarke and he reconcile. He’s killed by a frightened 13-year-old child named Charlotte – who is trying to control her fear (yeah, the Charlotte tale is one of the weaker arcs so far).

That brings me to the true “heart” of The 100. This is really just a fancy retelling of Lord of the Flies. We have kids who have all done something wrong to get where they are. Many thought they were being sent on a death mission. So, when they survive, they are easily swayed by a charismatic leader.

Enter Bellamy (Bob Morley). Bellamy’s story is interesting – if incomplete. We know that he’s the older brother to Octavia, a girl who was locked up because it was illegal for a couple to have more than one child on the ark. Octavia spent her childhood in hiding and, when she was discovered, was locked up.

Bellamy went out of his way to make sure he was on the shuttle with the prisoners so he wouldn't be separated from Octavia again.

Bellamy wants to fire up the survivors to discard their bracelets and let the ark think they’re dead so they
won’t come down. He’s hiding some big secrets – and I’m curious to see what they are. Back on the ark, as the kids are "dying" -- the adults are starting to gear up to "float" hundreds of innocent citizens to prolong the air supply on the ark.

While I like Bellamy, the problem is, he has largely been painted with a dark brush. The only thing he’s missing is a mustache to twirl.  Charlotte showed a softer side of Bellamy – but that didn’t last very long.

The truth is, the biggest problem with The 100 isn’t the story. True, the story is a little heavy-handed right now – but most shows are when they first launch. I have hope that the writers will relax a little bit and not force everything.

No, the real problem is the casting.

I understand this is a teenage ensemble, but the bulk of the cast is obviously learning how to act on the job right now.

While there have been some decent moments, there have also been some cringe-worthy moments – and I don’t expect that to get any better when we get immersed in an actual love triangle this week.

I keep reminding myself that this is a show for teenagers – so they like the melodrama – but sometimes the teenage angst is almost too much for me to take.

Still, the premise of the show is interesting and the acting of the adult cast is top notch. I’m willing to hang on and let the writers iron out the kinks (if they’re willing and able).

Since dystopian fantasy is all the rage right now, I think The 100 has a chance to survive and thrive. I’m just hoping the acting with the younger set improves – and the writing lightens up a little bit.

What do you think? Do you like The 100?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

TELEVISION: Is ABC's Once Upon a Time losing its magic?

I’ve been a fan of ABC’s fantasy drama Once Upon a Time since its debut.

I loved the idea of fairy tale creatures in our modern world with no idea who they are.

I thought the idea of having a grown (and abandoned) daughter reunite with the parents that were essentially the same age as her had a lot of potential.

Through the first season of Once Upon a Time, I was not disappointed.

The show wove a tight tapestry of mythology and romance – and it managed to capture the imagination of viewers everywhere.

When the show finished its freshman season almost two years ago – it was on a high note. The curse was broken, Emma had woken Henry with a twist on “true love’s kiss” and Regina was a marked woman.

When the show returned the following fall, it made the mistake of immediately separating Emma and Snow
from the rest of the cast and sending them to the Enchanted Forest. While I wasn’t a big fan of the storyline, I did get what they were trying to do: They wanted David to bond with Henry and Snow to bond with Emma.

Here’s the problem, though: This is a show that’s supposed to be fun. Sure, we need drama to ratchet up the intensity of the program, but we also need to be able to laugh. Laughs have been in short supply on this show for more than a year.

Listen, I know this show isn’t a comedy. I get it. That doesn’t mean viewers can’t have fun while watching it. There isn’t anything fun going on with this show anymore, though.

My biggest problem with Once Upon a Time is the break-neck speed the writers shift storylines. For example, the beginning of the third season saw Emma, Snow, Charming, Rumpletstiltskin, Regina and Hook venturing to Neverland to save Henry. The arc took the entire first half of the season – and resulted in fans getting restless and bored because things weren’t progressing fast enough. What’s funny about that is that the entire arc occurred over a few days.

Then, the first half of the season ended with some actual growth from Rumple and the “ultimate sacrifice” – which everyone knew wouldn’t stick. Quite frankly, there’s no death on this show that they can’t happily undo whenever they feel like it – so that is one drawback to the show.

Anyway, the last time we saw Emma and Henry was the duo driving out of Storybrooke with amnesia about
who (and what) they really were while the rest of the denizens of Storybrooke were transported back to the Enchanted Forest.

It was actually a great cliffhanger for the winter.

Cut to the spring premiere, where we find Emma and Henry living a life without danger and dourness. Emma is in a relationship. Henry is well-adjusted and happy. Then Hook shows up, plants one of Emma and . . . everything is imploded.

Instead of trying to utilize any type of actual pacing, Emma had her memory back midway through the spring premiere and was reunited with her parents (without any big deal being made about it, mind you). Emma was instantly over her boyfriend – the flying monkey that was the Wizard (don’t ask) – and she was only mildly interested in what was going on around town.


We now have a woman walking around trying to pretend saying the word “wicked” a hundred times is somehow entertaining, Rumple is back with very little explanation and Neal is dead.

Now, I am a Neal fan. I’m not an Emma and Neal fan – but I was interested in Neal’s backstory. Personally, when you look at the history of Once Upon a Time – Emma has been through five love interests in a year and a half’s worth of time. Five? Yeah, five. Graham (my favorite), August, Hook, Neal and now monkey boy. That’s an obscene amount of love interests for one character in such a short amount of time.

Neal had a unique place on the show as Rumple’s son and Henry’s father. Plus he had that whole history
with Tink and Hook. So why kill him off? I don’t really care about Emma’s happily ever after – but Neal was at least part of Henry’s happily ever after and now he’s just gone – and I can’t help but feel it’s in an effort to prop Hook.

I get that people think Hook is some dreamy guy, but he does nothing for me (none of the guys on the show are really my cup of tea) – and I actually have pirate fatigue thanks to Johnny Depp. So I don’t get all the Hook love. Is he interesting? Maybe, but I can’t really tell because the writers keep beating me over the head and telling me that he is the be all and end all of characters on Once Upon a Time so I'm starting to resent him too much to pay attention to him.

How about we have Emma focus on being more of a complete person and not worry about her love interests for a change? How about that?

How about we try to find some middle ground between the boring and tedious pacing that has marked the first half of both the second and third seasons and the speed demon pacing that has marked the second half of both of those seasons.

How about we try to recapture the magic and let some of the gimmicks go? Just because you can wedge every fairy tale character known to man into a story – that doesn’t mean you should.

I’m not ready to give up on Once Upon a Time yet – but I am starting to lose hope that it will regain the greatness it once had.

What do you think? Has Once Upon a Time lost its magic?

Friday, April 4, 2014

TELEVISION: What were this week's top entertainment moments?

This was a big week for television.

The Walking Dead ended its fourth season on a rather grim note.

How I Met Your Mother infuriated almost every fan they had and incited them to claim it was the worst series finale ever (which means they’ve clearly never seen the Roseanne series finale).

Once Upon a Time killed off one corner of a triangle – and ticked of a whole legion of their fans (which, even if you’re not a fan of Neal and Emma, just wasn’t a smart move).

And The Following brought someone back from the dead. Again. Okay, that wasn’t even close to a surprise.

So, what were this week’s top entertainment moments?

5. Suits: After announcing that he was leaving the law firm – which caused Harvey to freak out – Mike
ultimately changes his mind and admits that he had a friend hack into the records for the Bar Association and make him a lawyer. “I made a mistake.” While I love the bromance between Mike and Harvey, I’ve often thought that Mike’s predicament was an albatross hanging around the necks of this show. This “fix” doesn’t really fix anything. While it is an obviously new wrinkle in the situation, there’s still a lot that can blow up here. I was also a fan of Donna’s when she told Harvey he couldn’t tell Scottie the truth – especially because they always run so hot and cold on one another, and Scottie would probably use that as a weapon to hurt Harvey at some point. For me, that’s the reason the Harvey and Scottie relationship will never really work.

4. Once Upon A Time: This show is really starting to write itself into a corner. This week’s outing ended with the death of Neal – which makes absolutely no sense at all. Neal is the son of Rumplestiltskin and the father of Henry. Forget the romantic entanglements – which are so annoying anymore I want them all to be banned on this show – but look at the character. How can Rumple ever be a better man and get his happily ever after now? How can Henry? To me, this was just another way to prop the Hook character – and I’m so over that. I don’t think Emma should be romantically involved with anyone right now. She’s got a lot to deal with – and she still hasn’t come to grips with who her parents are and who she should have been. Neal was important to the history (and balance) of this show – and I think the writers just made a huge mistake in killing him off. I’ve been struggling with the writing all season. This is just more reason to worry for me.

3. Justified: Raylan is having a tough time right now. Feuding with his mentor, Art, was bad enough when
the man was just going to retire. Now that he’s fighting for his life in a hospital – and Raylan knows that Daryl (not his young nephew/brother) is responsible for the hit – Raylan is truly spinning out of control. Between pairing with Boyd (which is always funny and charming), to trying to cajole Ava into helping him (which she stupidly fights) to locking Dewey Crowe up, Raylan continued to push his agenda. Finally, Raylan came to a different conclusion and went to a judge and asked for a favor. What was that favor? Raylan informed a furious Daryl and Wendy that young Kendal would be tried as an adult for his shooting on Art. See, the Crowes were banking that Kendal would only do a few years in juvie and then be set free – and Raylan has made sure that Wendy had a choice to make: Her brother or her son. I can’t wait until this week’s season finale. It’s bound to get bloody between Raylan and Daryl.

2. The Walking Dead: This whole season was about coming to grips with who you are now and letting go of the person you were in the past – or even the person you want to be. That’s what Rick found out when the “claimers” decided they were going to try and rape Carl and Michonne and he completely broke from his “Farmer Rick” persona and literally bit a man’s throat out. That’s what Daryl found out when he offered to sacrifice himself for Rick, Carl and Michonne. “I didn’t know what they were.” That’s what Carol found out when she had to off Lizzie and admit that she was the one who killed Karen. And that’s the idea that Rick truly embraced in the final seconds of the episode when he informed his fellow survivors that the Terminus folks have “screwed with” the wrong people. Something tells me that the Terminus inhabitants are going to wish they’d never met the Ricktator.

1. How I Met Your Mother: Sorry kids – but I was not infuriated by the HIMYM finale. To be fair, I quit
watching the show several seasons ago because I couldn’t get over what a betrayal the Robin and Barney relationship was and how Barney would never really do that to Ted. So, when I was watching the finale, I couldn’t help but think it was a little ingenious how they had planned this out from the beginning. The truth was, Ted did love the mother of his children. She was just never his greatest love. That honor went to Robin – who tried to make her life fit around Barney but, ultimately, realized that she wanted to be with Ted. Like the finale or hate the finale, it got big ratings and it got everyone on social media all fired up. That was a big win for CBS – any way you look at it.

Honorable mentions go to:

Law & Order: SVU: Olivia and Cassidy break up because she wants a family. It just seemed a little contrived. I wish Cassidy would have rejoined SVU – but the development is what it is and this show is long past fresh.

Criminal Minds: This show has had a rough two seasons, but I actually liked this outing. Since I’m a cynic, I scoffed that the reason this was happening to these two families was probably because of inbreeding. Who knew I would ultimately be right? Still, great casting for the episode and nice ambiance. Plus there was none of that pesky “private lives” stuff that is dragging this show down all the time anymore.

The Americans: A teasing Elizabeth asks Philip to show her what kind of “animal” he is with his “other
wife.” When Philip shows her – as Clark – he leaves Elizabeth a crying mess on the bed. I’m guessing the role playing is going to stay out of the bedroom from now on.

The Following: Ryan has a new girlfriend he likes and Claire is suddenly back. This should go well.

The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon can’t decide between Xbox One and PlayStation 4 – but watching him try is always entertaining. Plus, Wil Wheaton’s cameo this week was just hilarious.

Hannibal: Will is starting to lose his humanity – and he proves it by sending a “fan” after Hannibal. Hannibal survives (of course) but more (and more) people are starting to get suspicious of Hannibal.

What do you think? What were the most entertaining moments of the week?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Five things this season of Game of Thrones needs to deliver

I’m a big fan of HBO’s sweeping fantasy opera Game of Thrones – but to pretend the show is perfect doesn’t do it any favors.

The first season of the show was flawless. You can’t deny that.

I think a lot of the accolades heaped on the show, though, stem from that first season.

In truth, the second season of the show was often plodding – and the third season fell into the same trap until the Red Wedding swooped in and turned the entire season on its ear. People say they love the third season – but each and every one of them actually loves the Red Wedding – because that’s all they cite when they praise the season.

I’m more in the middle – what I like, I really like and what bores me really bores me. The good outweighs the bad, though.

I think Game of Thrones does have one issue – and it’s not an issue that can be easily fixed because the source material (which I haven’t read) set up this broad landscape: The cast is too big.

It is hard to engage with every story because you can’t engage with every cast member. So, you pick your favorites (for me that would be Arya, Tyrion, Brand and Jaime) and focus on them. When scenes with people that all start looking alike start to take time from your favorites – then things start getting tedious.

Game of Thrones does move the story along, though – and fans have learned that no one is really safe when it comes to this show.

So, with that in mind, I decided to put together a wish list. These are the five things I want to see happen on this fourth season of Game of Thrones:

5. Jon Snow needs to get a personality: Yes, I know this one is petty, but watching Jon Snow is like
watching a man with constant constipation try to act. It’s just flat-out painful. He’s an isolated character (not as isolated as Daenerys, but still) and the action he’s involved in is merely on the fringe of the big story. I’d like to see him become more than a mopey mess and embrace a little of the Stark family pizzazz (even though I don’t think he’s really a Stark). Jon was so close to Brand this past season that viewers could almost taste it – so close to something that would at least give the character a chance to shine – but it eluded him again. Let’s hope that a little bit of color infiltrates Jon Snow’s (really) white world this season. Oh, and if you could give that guy a haircut – that would be awesome.

4. Tyrion needs to get his revenge on his family: As the only Lannister of any worth (I hold out reserved hope for Jaime), Tyrion is always the one getting slapped down by a father that hates him, a sister that loathes him and a nephew that’s one despicable act away from being the devil. Sure, he’s had a few moments of greatness (slapping the crap out of Joffrey, saving the day in season two) but he never gets the credit he deserves. After all the awful things his father and nephew have done, Tyrion deserves to be the one that takes them down (or at least out, for awhile). So I want him to come up with one of his brilliant plans and yank the rug right out from under the ruling party in King’s Landing.

3. Daenerys needs to be less of an island: Everyone wants to see the dragons, I get that. The problem Game of Thrones is watching all of these freaks stab each other in the back. Daenerys is fighting with people – but she’s fighting with people that don’t matter to the overall story. I want to see her start to move towards the world she’s insisting is her realm to govern. Quite frankly, I’m often bored with her storyline because I know that it’s not really impacting the overall arc of the show. Just give her something more important to do.
(for me) with Daenerys is that her story is really occurring in a vacuum. I can ignore her less than probable character growth from scared misfit to dutiful wife to emotionally vacant leader – even if I’ll never understand her motivations – but I cannot understand why her story is so shut off from everyone else. The fun of

2. Arya needs to find one moment of happiness: Arya really is the angriest little girl in the world. And, yes, I get it. Her father got betrayed and beheaded. She lost her favorite pet because Joffrey was a sniveling little worm. She’s been separated from her family – and learned to kill for sport. Just when she was about to be reunited with her mother and brother they were slaughtered and she was left to run around the countryside with the deformed Hound. For all she knows, her entire family has been wiped out. She has no idea where to go or who to make pay – although she’s keeping a mental list and reciting it to herself on a nightly basis. I get all the reasons why Arya is ticked – and I don’t want to see her gleefully skipping through a field of daisies. I do want to see her find something to live for, though. Just one thing that will make her smile.

1. The Lannisters need to be taken down a peg (or ten): This isn’t a place for spoilers, so if (or when)
the Lannisters are being lanced – I don’t want book fans to ruin it here. From a purely fan perspective, Joffrey needs to die. That little rodent is a clear sociopath – one that gets pleasure in the pain of others. Sure, Jaime dropped Brand out of a tower window – but he had a motive for it. I didn’t agree with the motive – I’m never really going to get behind incest – but he wasn’t killing Brand because he wanted to kill him. He was killing Brand to protect a secret that could get him, his sister and their three children killed. That doesn’t make it right – but it does make it understandable. Joffrey, on the other hand, gets off when other people are in pain (often Sansa). He’s a spoiled little tart and this needs to be the season where he gets his comeuppance. If it happens, I’m sure it will be in the ninth episode of the season (which has proven to be the big turning point in every season so far) – but I will watch that little turd die a thousand times if I can. He can take his evil grandfather with him, by the way.

What do you think? What do you want to see on this season of Game of Thrones?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How The Walking Dead continues to keep viewers guessing

This is a day late (I know) but real life got in the way of reel life this week.

Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on this week’s season four finale of The Walking Dead.

This has been a wildly uneven season – there’s no getting around that. The season started off slow and then imploded everything in the middle of the season – thus scattering our heroes to the four corners of Georgia as they struggled to regroup.

The second half of the season was made up of a handful of character episodes – and the soul jarring The Grove – wrapped around a whole lot of emptiness.

So, when our heroes started coming together in the last two episodes – I expected something different than what I got.

I had no doubt that Rick, Michonne, Daryl and Carl would fight off Joe’s rabid band of rapists and “claimers” and then find their way to Terminus. I thought that, the final scenes of the episode, would involve Rick and Carl being reunited with Judith.

Boy, was I ever wrong.
As it stands, we have no idea where Tyrese, Carol and Judith are. They could be in Terminus – just locked
in a different train car – or they could still be traveling to Terminus. We just don’t know.

I didn’t think we would find out what happened to Beth – and I was definitely right on that front. Supposedly – and I don’t know if I believe this or not – Gareth and the Terminus residents are not going to be the big villains of the fifth season. If that is truly the case, I would guess that whomever has Beth is going to be the big villain – but that’s purely conjecture.
Basically, what we got was Rick going down and dirty to beat Joe (and rightfully so – because he never would have been able to live with himself if something had happened to Carl). Then we also had a nice reunion between Daryl and Rick (anyone else wish they would just give in to their man love?) before everyone moved towards Terminus.

With only a few minutes left in the episode, I thought (for sure) that Rick would get his happy reunion and we would be left to find out the Terminus people were evil next season.

Um, nope.

In short order, Rick recognizes Herschel’s watch (which was confiscated from Glenn) and Maggie’s poncho
on different denizens of Terminus. He threatens the Terminus leadership and then, unfortunately, his group is herded through a series of rooms that show some terrifying sights.

In one room, you have candles lit with people’s names beside them. These are obviously dead people. In an outdoor courtyard, you see human bodies that were skinned. Given the “unique” way the Terminus folks were talking about the food, you pretty much have to realize that they’re cannibalizing people.

Since season four was all about personal growth, watching Rick shift to badass again was a perfect way to end the season – and I do think that the Terminus folks messed with the wrong people (Daryl, Michonne and Rick are going to beat the crap out of them).

As it stands, I thought the ending to the season was both action-packed and emotionally fulfilling. I really couldn't have asked for anything more.

Now it’s going to be a really long wait until October.

What do you think? Did you like the season finale of The Walking Dead?

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Happy Anniversary! We just gutted the Quartermaines . . . Again!

General Hospital celebrated its 51st birthday Tuesday by slapping all of its fans in the face. With a baseball bat.

Head writer Ron Carlivati kept touting the greatness of the anniversary episode – while forgetting to mention it was a big middle finger salute to longtime fans.

He kept talking about flashbacks. Not from the rich history of GH, though, but from the toxic relationship that toppled GH’s ratings: Carly and Sonny.

So, in the episode where Monica is dealing with the death of her fourth (and last) child (yes, I know, Jason is actually a thugsicle somewhere and not really dead) we spent the bulk of the episode watching Maurice Benard’s Sonny act with three different actresses – all playing the same character. The flashbacks were all of Sonny and Carly – the couple that (literally) dragged GH’s ratings to the basement.

GH welcomed back Sarah Brown and Tamara Braun to share Carly duties (for the day) with Laura Wright
so they could show a bevy of Carly and Sonny clips. This was all part of the grand story, where Carly informs Sonny she knows he shot (and killed) A.J.

The flashbacks were meant to be a way for Sonny to convince Carly not to tell anyone what he’s done. He reminded viewers that AJ “killed” his unborn child with Carly. That’s not true, by the way, Carly fell from the stairs. It’s not like AJ pushed her. Then we had to watch Carly find out that Michael was “dead” – when AJ had really kidnapped him – and that’s what convinced her it was totally fine that Sonny shot AJ in cold blood.

Where were all the flashbacks of what Carly and Sonny did to AJ? Why not show the scene of SB’s Carly as she dumped liquor on AJ in an alley to convince him he’d fallen off the wagon? Why not show scenes of Carly lying about who Michael’s father was (time and time again)? Why not show Sonny hanging AJ up on a meat hook to make him sign away his parental rights on Michael?

Instead, we got treated to another round of kick A.J.

Sure, it was a nice touch that GH brought Natalia Livingston back to usher AJ to Heaven – and we got body
doubles that looked like Lila, Edward and Alan watching, too. Couldn’t they get Stuart  Damon back? I know the actor has been having health issues, but if the issue was money – they could have taken everything they gave the two visiting Carlys and given it to him – which would have made fans so much happier.

In the final story of the day, RC dusted off Felicia, Mac, Scotty, Bobby, Lucy and Kevin for their monthly appearance – even though they had very little to do.

RC claims he loves GH history – and yet he keeps trashing it. That doesn’t sound like love to me.

So, thank you RC, you gutted the Quartermaines (again) – and yet you still wonder why fans are ticked.

What do you think? Was this an unhappy GH anniversary?

Why I'm fine with the How I Met Your Mother finale

I don't hate the How I Met Your Mother series finale.

That apparently makes me Public Enemy No. 1 – but I don't hate it.

I don't love it, to be sure, but I understand the central message of the show.

I should point out that I stopped watching How I Met Your Mother several years ago – when they decided to pair Barney and Robin (the second time).


I could never buy the Barney and Robin relationship because it was such a massive betrayal to Ted. And, quite frankly, I could never believe that Barney would purposely do that to his “bro.” It just rang false to me.

Still, I decided to watch the series finale Monday night out of a general sense of nostalgia. While I had quit watching the show, I was aware of the “long wedding weekend” setup for this final season. That gimmick kind of reinforced my decision to quit watching – at least in my mind.
I wasn’t surprised that the show circled back to Ted and Robin. The story was always about Ted and Robin
and how they struggled to “fit” together.

I’ve seen people complaining that Barney and Robin got divorced – but does that really surprise anyone? Both of them were selfish people that never wanted to give up anything to appease anyone else. Of course that was going to come to a head at some point. Plus, Barney is not a one woman man – unless she’s his daughter, apparently.

Do I feel cheated that the mother died and Ted’s story was really a way to ask his children if they would be okay with him dating their Aunt Robin? No, because I always knew that Robin and Ted were the central love story for the entire run of the show. It was obvious from the beginning. Why should that surprise me?

Ted’s love for Robin doesn’t diminish his love for the mother – it was just a different type of love. Ted managed to love them both as best as he could. Did his heart ever truly belong to the mother and only the mother? No. But that's a real life emotion a lot of people face.

The truth is, HIMYM was not a story about Ted finding love. It was a story about a group of friends as they
traverse their twenties and thirties and how people grow and change and move on. The mother was never important to me because it was the group as a whole that was important to me.

Was the HIMYM finale great television?

No. The series finale of Psych last week was much better done and more emotionally fulfilling. I give the writers of HIMYM credit, though. They knew where they were going from the beginning and they stuck to their guns and delivered the love story they wanted to see.

Quite frankly, I’m fine with that.

Okay, let me have it. Tell me why the HIMYM finale was the worst finale in the history of finales.