Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekly Roundup 4 - Sept 28 to Oct 4

sun: true blood
Okay, so one thing true blood has going for it is weirdness. Jason's accused of murder for the second time in four episodes, and when he's in cuffs in the back of the cop car, he downs that v-juice he got last ep. Tara gets him out by lying directly to the cops saying she's Jason's alliby, which complicates things because she was with Sam that night. And all the v-juice goes right to J's little man, and he gets a case of 'accute priapism' which is both funny and gross. We never get to see it, but with the looks on everyone's faces, including the doctor, I think it's better that way-- imagination is way stronger than reality sometimes. Meanwhile, Gram asks Sookie to listen in on people's brains, and everyone just wants to see her brother hang and knows nothing-- except Hoit, who's probably the sweetest one on the show-- so she decides to go check out this vampire bar both the dead girls were known to visit.

Now, this bar-- Fangtasia, which is so cheesy it's great-- is something like the way puritanical churchies think goth clubs are, except the vamps are real. And it was less scary then I thought it should be the way everyone's going on about it. Kinda like the vamp-gang from last ep. There's a fine line between stupid and cool when you're being a vamp, and most of those we've seen are like people playing dressup. Bill's got that Angel I-feel-bad-for-killing-people thing, and then there's Eric, who sits like a king and has the Curse of Eternal Coolness. Watch him walk through that door and see if he isn't neat. Though, it's better if he doesn't talk.
Anyway, the bar scene was a letdown, but it's made up for with Bill freaking out a county sheriff that pulls him and Sookie over on the way back. Finally a little vampire mojo! Though I do feel a little bad for the guy.

And then, just in case the weirdness wasn't at a high enough level, Sam breaks into deadgirl's house and starts sniffing all over the bed where she was found, rolling around in the smell of her-- just like a dog. Yup, I'm sure there's something going on with that boy now.
I don't think this episodes was as enthralling as the previous three, but this is the point when a show has to actually get itself into a plot, so that's okay. Story happened. Let's see what happens next week.

mon: sarah connor, heroes
Cameron's acting really weird now, reverting to previous versions of herself and apparently confusing herself for the real human she was based on. It makes cam really really creepy as well as more unstable than before, and it makes her history more convoluted-- she was 'chosen' by John in the future, probably because she already knew him in his past. We already sort of knew that he chose her to reprogram because he already knew her-- but if he already knew T-Cam, and then chose Real!Cam for whatever reason, and then remade T-Cam because of that... Time travel implications mess with my head. There's alot going on with Cameron and John, in the current time and in the future, and if there's romantic feelings on one side or the other, and if John remembers all this stuff already...

It must really suck to be the one who has to organize all the time-travel that will result in the life you already have.

Anyway, the episode was neat, no explosions, but lots of new pieces of the puzzle, with John doing things on his own and Dereck nowhere to be seen. In subplot-land, Ellis takes the job with Terminator!CEO, who has a daughter (huh? can Terminators have babies now? Is she also based on a real person? Is the daughter a clone or something?), and a crash that left her without a husband and with a driving need to find the stuff that will be Skynet. (More questions: Does she not know that she's the same as the robots, even though she obviously has full control of shape-shifting? Was her husband another posing terminator, and it's his arm that was in those pictures, or is she doing the play-human bit to get to whoever that husband was? Was she the 'mechanical error'? Is Ellis to blame for Skynet happening anyway, now that previous blame-ees have been stopped? Why's it always gotta be a black man? I'm sure there's a paper in there somewhere...) And Casey went into false labor and had some bonding time with Sarah, which is interesting because she's really the first mother Sarah's had any real interaction with that we've seen, and she's so very very normal. But I still think there must be something special about that baby they keep making up stories for.

This week's Heroes still has too much going on, but it might be okay if they can pull it all together... though their track record on that is not so great. Anyway, Parkman may not be a useless lump after all, Tracy is apparently part of a Samantha Mulder-esque clone batch (so I guess she can die hundreds of times and not leave the show) and Micah took her appearance remarkably well, future!Peter is trying to clean up his messes, Mama Pet is kinda creepy and acting like an incestuous cougar, Syler's having little crises of the existential variety while using his new job to nomnom more powers, HRG is plotting and planning, Hiro is still fumbling stuff and Ando is 'tired of being your sidekick' which doesn't bode well in light of the flash-forward, Claire is going all freelance and we know how that turns out... so yeah. Alot going on. But at least we didn't have to waste time on Mohinder-Fly and Now-Wimpy-Maya. I don't know. Always when I'm watching this show, I feel like it's making sense and being entertaining, but then when I talk about it later, it really doesn't and kind of isn't, but it feels like they're actually trying to make it work. I think they need to stop introducing new characters, though, because, I mean, the German was not so great, and Jesse is now nom-ed, and Baldy McFlame-On is back in jail with Knox the Angry, and that's four of the twelve down, and we haven't even met the other eight yet. Introduce and toss away. We've already got more than we can follow, guys.

tues: fringe
Fringe was on fire tonight. The plot was tight and made sense, the characters were true to themselves, there was a good mystery, and there were good questions raised. Peter has reached a believeable point where he isn't going to go off the handle and leave, and there's a new player in this game: the Observer... who almost seems like he isn't quite human. We get to hear a little more about this weird medical history of Peter's-- a terrible accident when he was a kid, which doesn't rule out weirder things, and, in fact, gives an opportunity for them. And there's a weird connection between Walter and the observer that I hope they get back to.
See, this is what the show promised it could be when I watched the pilot. Tight, sharp, strange. Good characters with lots of issues they have to work through. Lots of back story we don't know and have to explore. Show mythos that feels right, rather than tacked on and nonsensical. I can see how that same mythos can drown it-- it happened to X-Files, and it's happening to Lost-- but at this point, four eps in, I can also see how it can expand and enrich the show and make it like this all the time. Episodes 2 and 3 were good, but this one was great. And this is how I want it to always be.

wed: daisies
Pushing Daisies is back! And what a fun weird episode. Chuck gets a job! Olive moves away to a nunnery! Chuck moves into Olive's house! The aunts go outside of their own accord and without thinking about it!

It starts off months after the previous season left off, which makes me hate the strike even more, because it feels like I was cheated of watching fun stories that happened in the meantime. There was a bee-related death, which means only Chuck has the experience needed to go undercover. The design of the Betty Bee company makes me want to live in a bee hive and / or hire everyone who does the set design for this show to build a house for me. Missy Pyle was fun and weird, and delivered those introductory speeches just amazingly, and French Stewart was silly in a way just disturbing enough to be a villain. But it wasn't really the story that was great so much as everyone's interactions, and now that Olive's gone, I wonder if we'll get a new kooky waitress? I wonder if Chuck will keep her honey-soaked new job? And I hope the Aunts have more to do with the lovely saturated-color world they all live in.

thurs: supernatural, knightrider
Oh my, how the Winchester boys manage to get in trouble. Castiel sends Dean back in time to the moment when the curse happened-- and found out his family was not the way he thought it was, and there was no way to change it. He still has no mom, the Demon still kills everyone, but he gets to meet his grandpa Asistant Director Skinner, which is where his grumpy skeptic strak comes from. You know, this is a very fatalistic show-- they all fave a destiny, and even angels can't change it.

Anyway, the whole point was to show him exactly how it happened so that he can stop whatever the End Game is-- whatever Sam is off with demons doing. And if Dean can't stop it, Heaven will. While it might be interesting to see someone Struck Down, there's still most of a season to go, and leaving only one brother will really change the dynamic.

Of course, this is a two parter, which means I have no idea what happens and I have to scratch at my eyeballs for a week waiting for the conclusion, but it's the sort of captivating that means I will tune in again, so I guess they accomplished their goal. I wonder if anyone will point out that Dean being there is what introduced his mom to the family demon-- before his foreknowledge of events in the early seventies, the Campbell hunter clan wouldn't have gone to see Liddy, and so wouldn't have met Azazael (who was in Hex on the Beeb, wasn't he?), and the family wouldn't have been cursed. But, also, if fate is decided and nothing can be changed, he was already there anyway, and the loop in his timeline is unchangable, and his being there was because that's where he was meant to be, not because he was sent there. Ah, temporal paradox. If I ever write that paper on the subject, I have more fodder.

Before I tell you about Knight Rider, let me just say: Coolest. Interface. Evar. I want my computer to be as cool as the ones they use. And if I can flick a screen from a handheld to the hood of a car, all the better. Also, Kitt has a built in printer AND a matter replicator??? Why do I not have a car like this?

Anyway, it was bound to happen: a show about cars decides to do racing for pinks. And there's the prerequisite bony hot chick. See, I'm a girl, and I'm not all that into cars, but I am into computers, and things that go fast are always an easy way to bypass the ovaries, so this was fun. Exciting. There's racing, there's explosions, there's grand theft auto! It's great that badguys are lousy shots, too, because they would have trashed that cherry ride Sarah has gone through all the trouble to jack.

More racing! And the inevitable betrayal of someone we've never seen before who's introduced as a most-trusted old friend. It's not every day you see a girl get pistol-whipped, but what pisses me off is that she stopped fighting after that-- until it was time to kick someone to stop them from burrying her in the desert up to her neck. The one Chang Brother kept getting punched in the face, and the other kept being coldly angry, and that's about all they had. Oh, and they were selling classified tech to the Chinese or something. Blah blah blah explosions!

And in subplot news, Michael's tattoo somehow was read by Kitt's hood-screen and made a bunch of files pop up that they didn't have time to read before the baddies came. What happened in those Captain-Jack-esque missing years?

fri: sanctuary
Sanctuary is cool. A little slow and talky, but it makes up for it with the action. Even knowing that all the backgrounds are CGI and greenscreen, it's gorgeous, and the story moves at a nice pace. Helen Magnus is way different than Sam Carter, and that helps get past that issue, and as Helen, she gets to be all soft and pretty in a way Carter never really could be. Will Zimmerman is only passingly like Daniel Jackson. And the Sanctuary itself is full of fun and freaky monsters and mythical people. I especially liked the design of the mermaid, with her scaly body and sea-weed hair. It's one part zoo, one part embassy, and one part Torchwood Hub, all of which is fine by me.

But the best is that there's a lot of room for the show to grow. It's set up as a monster of the week show, with the twist that they're saving the monsters to better understand them and help them survive in a modern world. That pretty much allows them to do whatever they like along the way. And Helen is a big ball of mysteries that I think will only get more tangled as the show progresses. The pilot only barely touched on her past and how the Sanctuary happened-- apparently by the 1880s, she was already special and knew enough about her specialness that she was helping strange people, and I'm assuming that that was the start of the Sanctuary. And there's hints that the baddie of the week isn't the only one, and that she may actually be one of them.

All in all, a good start. Atmospheric, fun, full of action and distinct, fun characters as well as really cool weird people, and enough mystery already to keep me interested, even if it was a bit talky and the 'sets' were a bit... cold? That's kind of the fallback of anything fully CGI, though, so I can get over that. Here's to hoping it only gets better.

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