Sunday, October 25, 2009

flashforward: s01 e05 gimme some truth

I don't know what just happened, but I lost this whole post and I'm too tired to redo it, so we'll skip to the questions at the end.

- Who sent that message to Olivia? There were only three people with Mark when he admitted what happened, unless someone else at the bar is a spy. Did someone else entirely know through other means, and it's only a coincidence that it happened then? And why would they send the message at all?
- Why were they attacked-- was it the President's call, or was it independent? And why are the attackers all Asian?
- Is Janice going to die? If so, that changes the future and ups the ante on the show, since the Flashes are only what would have happened then and things can be changed. Which puts Noh back in the game and totally tosses Mark out the window, since the whole Mosaic project is based on his Flash.
- That lady at the door was the same one in the picture, right? If so, why does the kid know Stan so well, while his mom is all frigid? And what did Stan "do to that girl"? And why wouldn't his wife know about it?
- What's going on in the rest of the world? The other doctor and his mystery woman, the call Lloyd got, the babysitter's drowning, all of that?
- Are the Towers still there? And if they're intrinsic tot he Flash, where are the bigger ones that would have set it off for the whole world?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

classic who: The robots of death

This is frequently considered one of the best eps of all time. I don't know about that, but it's not bad, and the robots, though generally idiotic and easy to confuse, have a really awesome design that is now in action figure form. I might need to get them.


The Doctor and Leela wash up on a ship that's out mining sandstorms in search of riches. Miners again. ::sigh:: The crew of the ship are a mix of high-class and low-class from some planet where that's really important, but it can be evened out by bringing home enough lucanol (which sounds like an expensive medicine). Except that their whole society is dependent on robots, and there's many more of them then there are people. The robots apparently have enough of a reputation for harm that one of the crew members mentions that he heard of one ripping a dude's arm off once, but it's considered an urban legend... until people start turning up dead.

Then there's a bit of the ol' The There Were None while the Doctor and Leela get blamed for the crimes and talk their way into solving them. Like you do. It seems that one of the robots that's supposed to be a basic and mute labor drone has been modified to be much more intelligent and to figure out what's up with threats on the home world of a robot revolution-- started by a sceintist who was raised by robots and doesn't like people, and is thought to be aboard. Several more people are murdered while the survivors alternately believe and disbelieve the Doctor, and eventually the engines get sabotaged; they have to cut power so they can not explode, which makes them sink, which forces them to ask the Doctor for help. Once that's sorted, they start looking for the cause of the robot malfunctions and find that they're being reprogrammed with a giant glitter-pen syringe to the brain. (they call it a laser of some sort)

It's revealed that the engineer is actually the terrorist they're looking for, and they start looking for ways to shut him down.

They manage to get all the robots except the crazy ones and the helpful one shut down, and the Doctor builds a machine to bust up the rest while he gives Leela the task of releasing helium gas to change Taran's voice so the robots won't recognize him. He's offed by his own reprogrammed robots, and D84, the helpful one, triggers the Doctor's device, which offs the rest, and all of a sudden, everything's fixed.

I have trouble remembering the Doctor in this episode. I mean, he was there, but it was mostly miners fighting with eachother and cool-looking robots getting reprogrammed and killing people.

Leela's kind of boring so far, and not terribly useful on a ship. I miss Sarah Jane.

Miners, ugh. I'm getting so tired of miner politics. It's like the fallback when they can't think of anything more interesting.

There's a lot about this ep that are mirrored in Voyage of the Damned. It doesn't' really make it more interesting, but it's nice to see continuity over such a long stretch of time.

And then it just ends. The old eps seem to have issues with the idea of ending a show...

flashforward: s01 e04 black swan

According to Blondie McTerrorist, a black swan is something so outside everything you know that it changes the world when you see it. Hm. Like a FF?

Anyway, what happened this ep:
Nicole saw herself being drowned and died before the end of her flash, and that's why she's been missing, although no one mentioned that detail. And she felt like she deserved it, and saw the killer's face. Now she's back babysitting. Also, she was friends with Arron's daughter-what-is-still-dead.

Ned was saved from dying on the operating table by using his flash forward to diagnose a disease he hadn't had any symptoms of previously, and came to the conclusion that the future saved him.*

Al's looking for someone named Celia, and Dr Cutie is drawing pictures of someone he hasn't met yet who probably has something to do with how he's not suicidal anymore.

Blondie McTerrorist sent them on what's probably not really a wild goose chase, where they found a would-be drug lord hiding out in a startup restaurant, and I'm willing to bet they wind up back there later, and find out that they just didn't have all the details the first time. Also, she says Mark's not the sort to give up everything for his goals. Yet, anyway. And really, maybe it's better of the things he values are taken from him rather than willingly being given up-- taken means it'll add to his drive, whereas giving means he's losing his humanity.

Lloyd manages to connect with Dylan, after taking Dr B's advice even though she didn't want to give it. She sent Dylan to physical therapy, trying to get rid of him so she doesn't have to face her FF, but he got sent back, so that's a bust. Oh, and according to Charlie-who's-now-called-Simon-apparently, he's at least partially responsible for what's happened. Which I totally called because that fuzzy not-asleep-guy looks like him. Even though he apparently has a FF to prove he was out. Maybe an evil twin? That'd be fun. Or stupid.

* like I said, more ordinary, but weirder. Not as weird as I was hoping, though, like some sort of transplant...

flash forward: s01 e03 137 sekunden

You know how sometimes a show feels like the whole episode exists so you can get the emotional punch-in-the-stomach at the end? Yeah, this is one of those. I thought it would be another not-as-cool-as-the-pilot episode, and it kind of was, and then there was that last bit with the kid in Ethiopia that didn't really need to be there, but worked so well I'm glad it was.

The Plot: Nazi war criminals = assholes. Got it. But this one was an asshole in service of the Mosaic, and he gave Mark the piece of info that lead to the wonderfully creepy-named murder of crows, which led to the website that charted populations, which led to Ganwar, Ethiopia, and the idea that maybe this has happened before. All in the last, like, three minutes of the show, after all that boring Nazi crap.

And some developments: Dimitri's fiancée saw him at their wedding, which got him off his moping-ass and into a more active mindset... after tracking the don't-get-killed phone message didn't get him anywhere; Aaron followed his gut and dug up his daughter's grave, which proved to actually be her's which means she can't still be alive*; Mark's boss's wife, it turns out, is Gina Torres, who I love, and she's going to be adopting a Muslim kid that she saw for the first time at the funeral held by the FBI for the ones who didn't make it out of the Blackout; and Marcy isn't sure she wants a baby and shows a tendency toward drowning her sorrows in alcohol**.

But man, that last scene. The goats all spook at the same moment, and shy away from the city. All the birds fly over, then just stop, and plummet from the sky. All the people are laying on the ground. And there's that cloud that's haunted the planet's imagination since WWII-- or at least something that looks enough like it that it gave me chills, looking like nightmares I've had since I became socially conscious when I was a teen. I feel so bad for that kid, the only one who wasn't knocked out.

This I hope they follow up on:
- Why crows? Are other birds affected? Is it a consciousness, thing, and if so, all the apes, most of the monkeys, a lot of the bigger parrots, squids and octopi and most, if not all the whales and dolphins should have been affected, too. (If they come up with something like this to explain the crows, and don't mention other higher-minded animals, this will totally become a pet peeve of mine.)

- What about the mushroom cloud for the one that took out the whole world? Someone, somewhere, should have gotten footage of it, even if no one actually saw it.

- The CDC keeps crazy-good records; someone who was there must've noticed the similarities, and someone who's read the records must've noticed that it's the same thing.

- Tangent: what about the people on the ISS? If they were affected, too, then the field or whatever was much bigger than they thought.

*...unless the plot thickens in such a way that reality starts changing, which would explain all the times when something from the flash seemed impossible. So maybe she's still alive in an alternate reality. And either way, maybe this bit of crazy starts the reuniting of her parents. This might also explain Ned being a black man in the future, but I'm thinking it's something more ordinary, but probably weirder. If that makes sense.

**... which would be an easy way for someone without a boyfriend to get preggers soon, so that she can be that far along in six months.

fringe: s02 e05 dream logic

Olivia's buying in to whatever the fixer tells her to do, which is slightly troubling, though I like him. That might actually be part of why it's troubling, because I also liked Charlie. Anyway, she does what he tells her, under the faith that it'll help, even when it has no obvious reason to help. It seems to be, so far, but he's not offering anything, and the mystery puts me on edge more than the mysteries they're solving.

This week was a chip in the brain to fix sleep disorders that allows people access to the brain / dreams of those with the implant. First, they think it's an attempt at mind-control, but when Walter experiments on the brain of Agent Zachary Ty Bryant, he realized that it's like all the craziest drugs all at once, everything that goes through the other person's mid-brain poured into yours-- and the culprit is an addict of the rush that causes. But the result is that those he feeds off are living their dreams and killing people. This week's ick: several shots of slimy brain surgery, and pulling things out of said brains.

Pretty weird.

But the background of the show was shifting around while all this was happening. Olivia's dealing with Charlie's death and whether or not it's her fault and the creepiness of finding out that he was dead ages before she knew it (though they haven't really mentioned that part...). Peter is remembering that he used to have horrible night terrors when he was a kid, and now that he remembers, he starts having the dreams again. They apparently involve talking in his sleep, and what he's saying freaks Walter out. Meanwhile, Astrid is continuing to be adorably fond of Walter, and he's responding well. I like watching that weird little friendship happen.

I think Peter is remembering his own snatching. And I think that's going to be the arc of this season-- getting around to Peter's realization that he's not who he thinks he is, and therefore, everything he thinks about his life isn't right. The trust between him and Walter is only barely starting to solidify, and it'll be shattered. Maybe they'll even set it up so Other Walter shows up, and then he'll have to choose sides in the Coming War. Maybe he'll choose the other side and wind up facing off with Olivia, which I think would be horrifying, unless the result is to bond them closer as a team so they can work together to save both universes. There's so much potential for crazy pathos there.

The show is less about Olivia these days. She's sort of out of the equation by being messed up and frequently off doing something she isn't sharing with the others, and Peter finally having a purpose means he's doing a lot of the work these days. I'm not comfortable with the shift away from Olivia being a strong, empowered woman with a tech-savvy genius behind her left shoulder, but I'm willing to let them find a new equilibrium.

Otherwise, the episode was kind of slow...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

sanctuary s02 e01

Somewhere along the line, when I gave up watching season one because it was taking too long to get anywhere, it seems to have gotten really cool. Now I'll have to go back and watch the rest of the season.

So here's where we are: Late last season, Ashley was kidnapped by the Cabal, who want to control all the Abnormals, and they've been running weeks of experiments on her, activating her latent Abnormal DNA, then grafting in new DNA from this Source Blood that happens to be the reason why Jack the Ripper and Helen Magnus don't age and haven't died. And she's the pilot of a program to make more like her: mindless soldiers with healing and retractile claws and unstoppable strength, and I'm assuming maybe some other powers. (Ash has teleportation from her father, but the other five were scrubbed clean of all abnormalities when they were children, so they could be grafted, theoretically, with any power they wanted to give them)

The goal is to take down the entire Sanctuary network.

Oooh, big! I was scared that it might still be slow and dull like the first season's beginning, but apparently I should have held out. Now I'll be watching this (because I don't have enough to watch already!), and I'll eventually go back and catch up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

flash forward: so1 e02 white to play

The problem with these high-concept shows is that the pilot can be fantastic, but then the actual making-it-into-a-show is really complicated. I'm willing to see it through, but this episode seemed like alot of waiting, and I'm not a big fan of wheel-spinning (it's what plagues whole seasons of Lost sometimes, and it makes me feel bad for Penny). It's not that this was a bad ep, only that it wasn't as fast or as tense as the first.

So here we go:

Olivia and Mark are starting to feel a little rocky because of her affair in the Flash, and they haven't forced Charlie (why does this lady keep having kids named Charlie?) to tell her story, which means they don't know why she's acting up at school. All the kids keep playing Blackout, where they all lay on the ground and reenact the Flash, then wake up and tell everyone what they saw, and it's all good things-- though who knows how much of that is real. Probably most kids would have seen something ordinary. But not Charlie, and she doesn't want to play, and she runs away. Which brings her face to face with a military blockade that hasn't had much to do with the story yet, but brings into focus that the seeming return to normalcy isn't real-- everything's still weird just around the corner.

So her mom takes her to work, and while she's at the hospital, she sees Dylan, the kid that knew Olivia's name in the pilot, and flips out over the fact that someone hurt him, said she knew him from her dream, but wouldn't say more.

Meanwhile, Dylan's dad is Loyd, who happened to be the man Olivia saw in her Flash, but he apparently didn't see her, so she has the option to change history-- he doesn't know her, and maybe she can avoid him and the affair that comes with. Except that Dylan asks for her, so now he knows that she's something important to them.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Mark is following the leads from his wall. All the D Gibbons' in the country are being tracked, but the one in question walks into the office with cupcakes (and really, this convenience of the future already happening might start getting old if they don't shake it up and get a little more creative; it's bad plotting to have characters know when they should enter, though it could be a really great meta-commentary about plot itself if they do it right). She's never done anything wrong, but she dreamed about an argument with her creditors and knew Mark and Dimitri, and came looking for them to see what it meant. investigating her led to finding that someone had stolen her credit info and was using the card elsewhere in Utah, which led them to another D Gibbons who's been hacking networks, apparently doing what they're doing. And his phone says he was awake during the blackout and talking to the person at the stadium that they know was also awake. And it sounds like a conspiracy.

he blew everything up and got away, but the picture of the burnt doll happened there, and that's proof that they don't know enough to change anything yet, and so far, things are going to happen. So much drama. It's a shame it took this long to get to it.

Other things that happened this episode:
- Homeland Security was questioning how they had the chutzpah to assign themselves as the head of the investigation, which resulted in them showing her the video and getting the green light to continue allocating government funds.
- Charlie tells Mark that 'D Gibbons is a very bad man'-- so apparently her vision is some sort of lynchpin we really need to know about.
- Dimitri and tech girl enter their stories into the Mosaic on the off chance that someone has info they can use to help them make sense of their own visions, and by the end of the night, very shortly after, Dimitri gets a call from a woman with an accent telling him that she was looking at a case file that said he was going to get murdered.
- Lloyd doesn't know how to be a dad, but alot of the pressure of telling his kid that his mom is dead is lessened by the fact that the kid already knows from his Flash. But he's also autistic, and that'll probably come into play later, or else there's no reason for it.
- Joseph Finnes continues to have a nice, even, believable bland American accent.

So, like I said, not a bad ep, but not as tense as the first, and not as exciting, though there was alot of info delivered, and less of the quick decisions and acceptance of weirdness that was my only complaint with the first ep. And I'm even more excited to see how it goes.

fringe: s02 e03 fracture

I think I didn't review last week, but it had Olivia acting weirder than usual, her hearing heightened, her leg still damaged, her concentration off, and Nina Sharp gave her the name of a guy who 'put her back together'-- I'm assuming the one who gave her a robotic arm, or maybe someone involved after that. This week, she's still going to see him, three or four separate visits in this one episode that can't take place over more than a few days, and he keeps pissing her off.

Meanwhile, the case they're on is about people who are crystallizing and then exploding, becoming their own bombs and shrapnel in one-- a guy goes off in a train station and blows up alot of innocent bystanders, and that's what gets Fringe Division on the case, via a news filter Astrid's invented that looks for weird events.

It turns out that they've stumbled on something called Tin Man, a secret project that was supposed to help American soldiers exposed to a synthetic nerve toxin in Iraq. Most of the people treated died-- more than two hundred-- but a few of them didn't. They have to treat themselves with a top-secret serum they can't let anyone know about every day, but it's that serum that's exploding them. Their Colonel is calling them back into active duty and sending them to intercept people in black trench coats carrying briefcases, then triggering a super-high frequency that catalyzes the serum while also jamming all electronics so there's no proof of what happened.

They manage to stop him before he blows up the next one, but they don't catch the man in the trench, and in holding, the Colonel tells them that it's to send Them a message: they can't just pick a war with us. He doesn't actually mention alternate realities-- he doesn't know who or what they are-- but the montage while he talks shows us the man in the trench coat taking that briefcase to the Observer, while he says that they're collecting info on our culture and our defenses to use against us.

The plot, she continues to thicken. The last shot is of what's in the briefcase, the info that will doom us all, and it's observation photos of Peter and Walter. (dun dun DUN!!!!)

My reactions:
- I like that working with Olivia on her cases has changed Peter enough that people from his past who have plenty of reason to distrust him (though he won't say why), can now trust him on the force of his convictions alone.
- I like that we get to see something of what Peter did before he was recruited, and a little of who he was-- which was apparently both untrustworthy and somewhat dangerous. I hope it doesn't degenerate into Peter's 'I know a guy' replacing Walter's 'I remember working on this', though.
- I like that Peter could hold his own against a seasoned Colonel who has 'no regard for human life'.
- I like that when Olivia was in Iraq, everyone looked at her like she was nuts, but she had the decency to cover her hair.
- This guy that's helping Olivia deal-- I like him. He's vague and distracting and strange, but he seems sincere, if a little jaded, and he accomplished what he meant to do-- which seems to have been to piss Olivia off enough that she pushes past her fear. Because when he's done, she suddenly doesn't need her cane and can hold a gun without her hand shaking (does that means she doesn't need a robotic arm? It'd be neat if she does...). I wonder what else she has to go through with this dude?
- Astrid gets to have a little personality, and she seems to be getting kind of fond of Walter, alternating between sweetly guiding him where he needs to go emotionally, and firmly telling him where his boundaries need to be. The news before hand said he'd be getting romance from an unexpected quarter-- could be be Astrid? Talk about an odd couple, but I think it could work. She's so unfazed by everything, and she knows how to handle him, which has got to be good for Peter.
- Peter and Walter get to have their own apartment soon! So maybe they can both have some privacy. And it makes relations simpler, too, doesn't it?
- Olivia's still putting on a brave face and not sharing info with the others about what she's going through, and Peter's still seeing through it but not pushing her. This, I like. What I don't like is when a show has this sort of awareness of eachother's moods and mentality, and keeps insisting that they don't want to have a romance. These two-- I don't get a platonic siblingness off them, and if that's what they're aiming for, they really sort of missed that one and need to focus on shifting the intensity. It's frustrating in an X-Files way, and if that's one of the ways they emulate the previous show (ie: drag it out and keep denying the love and then toss us a single warped little bone very late in the series when we're all ravenous for a payoff), I'll be more than a little ticked.

But so far, it's lovely.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

fringe: s02 eo1

I got very excited a few days ago when I realized just how close this show was to returning, and I'm so glad I wasn't let down. The real review is over on Examiner (along with Bones, which is going to be tracked on the non-SF Tv Blog), so here I'll just give highly personal opinions and reactions, and we'll leave the proper synopses for next week.

- You know, for an actor who claims he sees the characters as a broken family, Joshua Jackson sure doesn't play Peter as if he sees Olivia as a sister. Brother don't cup your face in their hands so much, or look like they need to confess secrets in quite that way when they think you're about to die. And Rachel said 'she liked you, you know' and it looked like he wanted to die, too. And then he got drunk at a bar, and that's TV short hand for 'I love you'. Watch enough shows and you'll see it. I am all for them holding off so it makes sense and letting it grow naturally, but I have two issues here. 1) I don't see the point in denying something that looks pretty encouraging on screen, I never did, and if they want to avoid X-Files's pitfalls, they need to not avoid something that's there for too long, and 2) I don't see why people can't just be in love on TV-- I mean, in a family drama, maybe not, but in this show, there's plenty enough else going on, and it would be awesome to see someone fall in love and get married and just be married as part of their character. It worked for Zoe and Wash on Firefly. It almost worked for John and Aeryn on Farscape. It could work here. Just another detail like that Peter has a shady past and Olivia is probably a mutant.

- What happened to Rachel? She was in the hall when Peter went to say goodbye, and then she was never seen again.

- Broyles and Nina Sharp? I'm snot surprised, but I haven't wuite decided whether I'm totally squicked out or not yet. I think it'll depend on how that's played: if it's weird and manipulative, then I think I won't like it, or I'll root for Broyles to get rid of her or something, like you're supposed to do with a villain, but if it's sweet and mutual, then it's kind of tragic, since they seem to be on opposite sides at least part of the time. And I kind of thought she was involved with Bell? Maybe it's a polyamorous power struggle.

- Olivia can't remember anything but pieces, which I'm sure will come back in slivers that are convenient along the way, replacing her ghost boyfriend with latent memories and surfacing powers. Hm. But it goves alot of frama and urgency to the season, and that's a good way to start out: right in the thick of things.

- New agent Jessup was introduced like she was going to replace Olivia, which I thought was strange since the comercials showed us that Liv would wake up (and by the way, Fox, drama works better if your comercial doesn't give it away), so I found that strange-- until the end when Charlie's been monsterized and tossed in a furnace. That really got me. He's so normal and hard working and sturdy... and now he's replaced and out to get Olivia and probably everyone around her. Which is horrible for his loving marriage and his adoring fans, but really great for the pathos of the show. Liv's best friend in the agency has been replaced! What will happen when tehy find out! Will she have to kill him herself!? (probably)

- You know, for something 'above top secret', Jessup got ahold of the access code pretty easily off-screen, and then Peter just let her waltz in and start helping on the autopsy...

- Walter's obsessed with Peter's childhood all of a sudden, and some of those memories of Peter's early life have got to be about the other!Peter rahter than being just wrong, and if that isn't a ticking time bomb, then I don't know what is. Peter's only just starting to trust Walter again, only just starting to take charge and function as part of the team, and it'll be rough when he learns that he isn't who he thinks he is.

- Why did Liv say that Greek phrase that Peter's mom used to say? It'll probably be important later on, and it probably will have seventeen web pages devoted to it by now. And is she dead, or just extranged? If she's dead, maybe Liv can talk to ghosts as well as being able to affect things With Her Mind. Wouldn't it be a nice thickening of this plot if she's dead because of something that happened from Walter's experiments, which Peter also didn't know? And does / did she know about Peter?

- At the end there, that was awesome. Peter basically held the whole of the oversight board hostage with that one piece of broken trans-dimensional tech. I like hard-ass!Peter, and I hope we see more of him.

- Astrid is still great-- she takes everything in stride and totally knows how to handle Walter's weirdness.

A great start to the season, and it feels like it's found it's legs, which is a good season ahead of X-Files, of which it referenced twice, one of which seemed to indicate that they're sort of picking up where the X-files left off all those years ago. It did exactly what a season premier should do: get me ready to obsess over the rest of the season.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

true blood: s02 e11

So, we meet the Queen, and... I am underwhelmed. She's interesting, but she seems too light and entirely unthreatening to hold power over anyone, and she seems to have stalled out somewhere between the twenties and the fifties. And she's kinky, but in a way that's somewhere between cute and boring, rather than in a way that would seem provocative.

And she's as messy an eater as any of the others. Really, you'd think centuries upon centuries would teach you to eat cleanly.

Anyway, this ep was wheel-spinning-tastic. Everyone's waiting for something, and nothing can happen yet because it isn't the end of the season yet, so we get the following:

- Sam, Andy and Jason are holed up in the bar, waiting to see what happens next, which leads to Andy and Jason going to get weapons from the police station, and Sam taking care of Arlene's kids, and they seem to be the only kids in town (I'd wondered what happened to them; apparently they've been hiding off-screen for three days while everything goes down). They go looking for help, and wind up at Fantasia, talking to Eric, who's lounging fabulously nonchalantly in a silver suit, with Pam, who's pissed that the maenad ruined her shoes way back at the beginning of the season, hates kids, is aggravated by Eric's interest in Sookie, and is wearing too much makeup.

ps: Eric referring to kids as miniature humans and "teacup humans" was about the best part of this episode.

Eric goes to talk to the Queen, but arrives just as Bill is finally leaving, and there's some threatening between them, and it's all very alpha-male.

- Maryanne finds out that Sam got away and is pissed, and then doesn't really do anything right away.

- Bill is in the Queen's Day Room, which is set up to look like a beach during the day, and he's champing at the bit, but she's tottering around playing Yahtzee and not sharing her information, but there's no indication of what she could do to Bill if he decided to just up and leave. Very little tention in those scenes at all. But we do meet Sookie's cousin, who was mentioned once in the first season as having disappeared, and who doesn't know that Gran's dead.

- Hoyt is pissed that Jessica bit his mom, and drags mom off, which leaves Jessical dangerously unstable, it seems. Back at mama's house, though, she's being so horrible that Hoyt doesn't know what to do with her-- she tells him his dad killed himself, that he was as bad husband, and that she always wanted to go out and just get drunk or go home with someone like anyone else can, but she was always stuck taking care of him. This does not bode well for Hoyt, and I'll be terribly distressed if he doesn't make up with Jessica. We need at least one working relationship in this town.

- Tara's a horrible manipulative bitch to her mother, preying on her god-fearing and devil-fearing, and talks her into letting her go, so Lettie Mae holds LaFayette hostage with the gun, which sets off his stress disorder, and we get the second-best scene in the episode, which was Eric wearing Lettie Mae's going-to-church outfit, bracelets and all. So Tara goes right back into Maryanne's hands on behalf of Eggs, who is an idiot.

- Sookie and LaFayette talk a little about being tricked into being bonded to Eric, which is fun, before the crap with Tara goes down, then they break away and get to Sookie's house, where Sookie is horrified at what she sees. She negotiates various house-of-horror moments, makes it up to Gran's room, and finds Tara The Horrible and Eggs The Annoying smashing up Gran's things and building a nest on the bed around an egg about the size of an ostritch egg, and who know's what's up with that.

- LaFayette, who had gone to distract Terry and Arlene with drugs comes up behind her and he's gone all blackeyed, and we get an episode ending on Sookie's scream, which we haven't had since the first few eps of the first season.

So not the best of eps, but not really all that bad-- just sort of "get on with it already!"-ish. Remember how I said the pacing is weird? It's like they didn't really have enough story to fill this episode, so we got a whole ep of people waiting around for the plot to pick back up, and it won't do that till the next episode. And the coming-together of the two storylines feels a little... sloppy. Sookie went on over to her house after promising she wouldn't, catching Tara didn't really do much, since it was like the third chapter of a Doctor Who serial up in this place and she just got captured again, Maryanne was wandering around not really doing much... So yeah. All we really learned is that she has to think she's called up the God, finally, and that it's devouring her so that she's actually killable. Did we need a whole episode for that?

So here's to hoping the new ep makes sense.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the colony: episode 9

This week, John V finally gets to do something.

We're up past day 30, and the Colonists have been at this for more than a month.It's beyond real to them; they've accepted this world entirely. But food is running very low, water is very low, morale is starting to get dangerously low. They go out to collect water, maybe some fish, and while they're there, a group of religious pilgrims or missionaries comes up the opposite way and asks if they have anything to spare; they say they don't, and the missionaries are fine with that, but John V, who came in with the strongest faith of the group, feels bad just turning them away, and gives them his own personal water. Before they all go their separate ways, a lady comes back and gives him a tin of vienna sausages, and that sets off a religious revival for him.

Later, when two travelers come asking for water, the Colony almost turns them away-- Joey tries to and Mike is all up in arms (and when is he not, really)-- but John V insists, and the girls go along and John C thinks everyone is basically good, and so they give the water and the sausages.

I see where the two are claiming it's a security issue and a survival issue, but they're supposed to be rebuilding society, and I think maybe they should be letting anyone in who can contribute and won't cause more strife than they already have, and it's nice to see someone being generous and helpful for once. We're hoping they get some sort of reward for this, like maybe those two come back and bring them food or another goat or something.

Other things:
We missed an episode a while back, and apparently soap was made, and it was tested and proven good this week.

The water needed to be purified in some way that didn't require boiling, because they've used up all their propaneand boiling it on the wood stove both uses their wood too quickly and takes too damn long, so John C starts work on an ozonater that will greate ozone, pump it into a bucket of water, and turn it from a horrible gray cloudiness to a pristine clear in half an hour per bucket, and that goes swimmingly. Mike helps with the pump, and he's so much better when he has something to do-- his voice is kinder and more level, there's less shouting, he seems way less threatened by the world... if I were there and had the luxury of noticing such things, I'd say we'd just have to keep him useful and busy all the time so he doesn;t have a chance to cause more fights.

Morgan saw the demoralization going on, and decided to fix a record player, which she basically had to rebuild from scratch, and managed to get working again, and when the music started playing, it was amazing. Everyone was dancing and laughing. It was moving, to say the least.

And John C found an old reel-to-reel player and fixed the lamp, and they played old videos without knowing what was on them-- they were old family movies, people on the Santa Monica boardwalk and the beach. It got everyone talking about what they miss for the first time, and sort of bonded them all in sadness. And it was amazing for the study: they talked about it all like it was really gone, like they wouldn't be going back in just over a month. They re re-devoted to saving themselves and culture and civilization, and it revived the need to build that truck and get moving for greener pastures... and it made me worry again about how they'll be able to survive the transition back to teh normal world when they go home.

Next week, someone from John C's family shows up, and they go on another raid for supplies, and it looks like that goes badly-- because this week there was almost no fighting, so they have to make it up next time.

Oh, and there was a comercial for a show where a guy teaches you how to live through any disaster, one massive cultural collapse each episode, and as soon as that hits the Hulu, I'm all over it (though it'll likely go on the other TV blog-- hypothetical is where scifi starts, not where it plays out).

Monday, August 31, 2009

being human: e05 - e06

Oh my god, these last two episodes!

So! Mitchell has turned his back on humanity and is embrasing his vampire ways in an enlightened and helping-the-humans-evolve sort of way. Herrick has him recruiting from the hospital, turning people right before they die, and is constantly telling the other vamps stories about how great he was when he was newer. Mitchell meets an old girlfriend from the 60s and offers her the chance to live forever, and she points out that this is not evolution, it's stagnation; things have to change, people have to die and new people have to be born. It's part of what being human is.

Meanwhile, Annie is haunting Owen, trying to get him to admit what he did, and when they have their showdown, at long last, she's awesome and intimidating and powerful... and Owen isn't scared for more than a minute or two. He yells at her and overpowers her like he did when she was alive, and for a while, she loses all power over anything. She should have gone all poltergiest and scary on him, but she didn't blow a single light or anything, and it's frustrating to watch her getting beat up when that's how she died and she knows better now.

Mitchell finds out what the true plan is: everyone will be recruited whether they want to or not, the whole world gone to vampires except a small numberthat will be kept for food. He finds the first round of human cattle in the basement, and when Herrick finds him there, they hold him against his will.

When George finds out, he shocks Annie out of her stupor to go save him, saying that her friends are her purpose, and if she doesn't care about that, then she really has died. Together, they bust into the funeral home where the vampire base is, and fight their way through to where Mitchell is in the silliest way possible: George hasn't ever really picked a fight before, and Annie is still terrified of everything, but they find Mitchell before the vampires can force him to kill himself, and they get out with Lauren's help. She's been struggling with the lies and the manipulation, she's seen the cattle and fed from them herself, and she can't handle being what she is. She gets them to safety and then begs Mitchell to end her. He was the one who started this, so he should be the one who ends it. After some convincing, he does, and he holds her while she turns to ash and blows away in a really touching and kind of beautiful scene.

They get back home, and with Mitchell and George behind her, Annie faces Owen again, and this time, she won't be intimidated. She just fought off a horde of vampires; he's not nearly so scary as he was. This time, it works, and when she whispers something that only the dead can know to him, he stumbles away, terrified and distraught, and turns himself into the police to protect himself. With that done, the door comes for Annie, and when she's saying goodbye, there's a knock at the door. Mitchell answers it, and Herrick stakes him. Blood's everywhere, George is telling her to just go, that he can handle it, and Annie doesn't know what to do--

And the episode ends and I die. I just keel over, and I stay dead and zombie-like until we get to watch the next episode, because I really don't do well with cliffhangers.

The next episode shows us two years before, when Mitchell and George met: the vamp-thugs were attacking George shortly after he became a vampire and ran off, simply because he was a were and they don't like weres. Mitchell chased them off, and told him to leave, and George said 'What then?' because even then, he knew it'd never end.

Cut back to now, and they've gotten the stake out of Mitchell, but checking him into the hospital was probably a bad idea; he's obviously still alive, but they can't get a pulse on him, and though he's healing way faster than expected, he's not getting better: his body can't make replacement blood for all the blood he lost, and he refuses to feed because every time he does, he loses a little more of himself.

Annie goes home, the farthest she's ever teleported, and finds that the door is gone.

George and Nina have more fights, while he's standing vigil, and he finds out that Herrick's turned the lunch lady. There's a minor throw down in the cafeteria, but George is still too human to kill him.

That night, the Vickar (who's sarcastic and witty and wonderful) is called in to minister to Mitchell because the hospital doesn't think he'll live through the night, and George tries to tell him it's not such a great idea... until Mitchell comes to long enough to tell them that the baddies are in the hospital. George's star of david and the terrified Vickar's Bible quotes are enough to chase off the thugs, but the Vickar takes the reality of their inhumanness pretty badly.

In the morning, Josie goes to see Mitchell and convinces him that she doesn't have long to live, anyway, and he should think of her blood as an organ-donation thing so he can live. He tells her no, but in the end, he does it anyway, and leaves the hospital crying, as the nurse finds Josie dead. Ane he decides that this has to end. He challaenges Herrick to a one-on-one with the understanding that George and Annie are to be left alone regardless of how it goes (because Herrick could kill George outright, and without the boys, Annie's only tie to the world is the house, which he can then burn down). Everyone is unhappy with it, but George takes the chance he's given, and when Annie flips out, Mitchell tells her that she can't understand what it's like-- that when you aren't feeding, you're tortured by everything you've done in perfect, blinding detail, and he doesn't really want to live if it's bad and he has to remember. George convinces Mitchell to let him deliver the news and the location.

Annie doesn't like it, still, and uses her anger-- and the new ability she's discovered to hear the recently head-- to fuel something she can do: she frees all the human cattle and trashes the base. And it's awesome. Really awesome. Her clothes have changed (which is apparently an indicator of her mental state, according to interviews), and she's surrounded by wind. Doors blow open, furniture topples, the vamps have nothing they can use against her, and she's like an angel to the captured.

And I totally called the next part, but it didn't make it any better when it happened.

George tells Herrick directions to his dungeon. It's the night of his change, and he locks the door so that Herrick's trapped, and Herrick goes all threatening and superior and aweful on him, and doesn't even have the decency to feel scared as he watches George change before his eyes-- at least, not until George tells him that saving human lives means he's proving his own humanity, not neglecting it.

Mitchell and Annie try to stop him about the same time that Nina discovers a letter he left for her, breaking up. She's angry enough to follow them down to the basement, and busts in to see waht's up-- and has to be forced back out. She watches George transform, and she doesn't scream or anything, and seeing her manages to calm him, stops his rages dead in their tracks. After he's torn Herrick to shreds, of course.

Afterward, George and Nina are talking, and he finally tells her the truth about what happened to him, and she still hasn't run screaming. Downstairs, Mitchell and Annie are worried that he's been changed by intentionally killing someone, but she seems to be fine. Annie wonders about the door and her purpose, and Mitchell says it's like denying the afterlife let her tap into some new power she didn't know she had. All of them wonder waht happens now, and there's an attempt at a very fragile hope that it's over and they can live in peace. But Nina got scratched in the dungeon, and Owen's been talking to people in jail, and the nameless guy he's explaining everything to calls someone else and says "we've found them"-- and that's how the series ends: uncomfortable, unfinished, and awkward, with more horror to come, but calm now.

Here's what I think can / might happen in the next series, being filmed now:
- Annie will continue to self-actualize. She'll probably have to face the door again at some point, but maybe not this next season. She'll become a really kick-ass poltergeist-- and maybe will have to fight to stay human the way the others do, absolute power and all that.
- George and Nina will have to deal with what's happened to Nina; George will undoubtedly feel guilty, because he's good at guilt. Nina... it's hard to say. She has a short temper, but she's also strong enough to face it. But the fact that he wasn't entirely turned might mean something-- she's only partially infected, or she's different than him, or it'll be like finding out whether you've got some horrible disease or something, and there will be weeks of waiting.
- I'd still love Nina's injuries to have been caused by something supernatural; and maybe that'll change her path with the scratches, too.
- Mitchell will try to go off the blood again, and will be even more set against the rest of the vamps, but they won't give up on him. Someone worse will take over, most likely. H thinks they'll recruit Owen, which would be crushing and horrible.
- Hopefully this new guy and whoever he's taking to on the phone will be a new faction entirely-- monster hunters or paranormal investigators or something.
- I want to see the Vickar again. And I still maintain that they need allies in the rest of the world, a support system they can turn to.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

classic who: the deadly assassin

As if there's really any other form of assassin.

So! We finally got the next ep working, and settled in for a good old romp through the Whoniverse... except this one's weird. Sarah Jane's just gone, and he's been called back home with a vision of the President being assassinated as if he's the one doing it, and it's just the Doctor, talking to himself because he has no Companion for four episodes. And really, alot of the third episode could have been gone and it would have been the same story, to whit:

As soon as the Doctor is back on Gallifrey, he's taken prisoner, which he immediately breaks out ofand quickly gets framed-- while trying to stop the assassination, he gets caught up in it and goes wonky, and starts thinking he's in the vision (or something?), and then he's arrested again, and tortured for a bit. Turns out he was aiming for the real killer down amongst the High Council, and set up to take the fall.

Chancellor Goth (who isn't wearing nearly enough eyeliner for that name, and seems to be the only one comfortable in the roll and the clothes), starts a trial, and the Doctor calls on paperwork to get himself entered into the running for the presidency, which buys him time in the trial. He manages to convince Spandrell that he isn't the assassin, despite the evidence, and they turn up various suspiscious clues: The gun's sight was off, so there's no way he could have fired the actual death shot, the person running the camera that should have recorded it is missing, and when he's founf, he's compressed a la the master, the last reels are stollen, there's no record of the Master, and the Doctor's record has been tampered with. And then they hit on the fact that the vision the Doctor had can only be explained by being the result of the Matrix-- the shared memories of thousands of dead Gallifreyans that work together in a computer to predict the future-- rerouted to him so that he'd come play patsy and it wouldn't be recorded.

So the Doctor goes into the Matrix to get the Master, who's all gross and buggy-eyed and somewhat like Mum-Ra now that he's come to the end of his regeneration cycle and is holding himself together and alive by force of will alone, and that's when there's a whole episode of the Doctor stuck in Vietnam. ::sigh:: It's like getting captured and escapingand getting captured again, except there's no Companion to talk it through with, and escaping is replaced with the Doctor sliding down quarry walls. Repeatedly.

Eventually, he stops the one coming after him, and it's Goth! ::dun dun DUN:: He manages to make it out of the Matrix just in time, but Goth is still tied in when the Master tries to kill the Doctor, and he gets the worst of it. The Doctor traces the Matrix connection back to the catacombs, where they find the Master dead, and Goth not there enough to answer their questions, only enough to say that he brought the Master back and couldn't stop him from taking over. And he has a doomsday plan, but he doesn't say what it is before he dies.

Back in the offices, they tell Borusa waht happened, and he tells them a better story that will keep the faith in the Time Lords whole, and orders that the bodies be altered and so on to make the story fit. But the Doctor still wants to know waht the Master had planned, and why it mattered if his patsy was President, The only thing different than being any other Time Lord is access to the symbols of office, which the Doctor realizes are old relics of the sort of power that would let the Master regenerate all over again, and destroy Gallifrey and the Time Lords in the process.

Oh, and, you know, the Master's not dead.

So there's a whole one-on-one where the Master is releasing the Eye of Harmony that's the source of all Gallifrey's power (which has apparently been forgotten by this point), and the Doctor's stopping him. It ends with half the Citadel collapsed, but the world intact, and the Master down a fissure. Spandrell and Engin see the Doctor off, and witness the Master disappearing into time without trying to stop him, and that sort of spoiled the ending for me.

So here's a picture of the Doctor looking shifty in the 'seldom worn ceremonial robes' that they always seem to be wearing:
What I take away from this story are the following details:
- From the beginning, the Doctor was considered a renegade, but Borusa (an old teacher at the Academy) probably likes him anyway.
- Time Lords are, as a whole, pretty dumb. They don't know where their power comes from, they aren't the top of the technological totem pole anymore, and they live for ages and never do anything with it. Also, they're divided into assholes and doddering old men.
- There aren't any Time Ladies at all in this story, which seems odd.
- The Citadel is something like Superman's Fortress of Solitude and something like the Tok'ra crystal bases, and something like a melted freezy-pop.
- The Doctor wears long johns.
- I miss the presence of a Companion, and I'm glad this is the only one without one.
- Goddess above and below, I'm sick of the Master.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the colony: episode 6

This week's ep was all about loss and communication.

Doctor George and Nurse Allison have been dealing with minor injuries, but they've realized that the first aid kit is getting very low and sooner or later, someone's going to need a hospital (some of them have already lost ten to twenty pounds), and so they build a nice clean little infirmary. To stock it, they go make a raid on an abandoned hospital not far from the Sanctuary. They find scads of useful things, scales and oil for the generator and bandages and basic medicines and things-- and George goes missing.

The search for him for hours, and can't find any sign of him, take all the stuff back, and then go looking again, and finally rule that he just isn't there, that he's been kidnapped or has gotten lost. There's all the stages of grief, and then they start doing something about it. Allison and Mike make a huge SOS sign and hang it like a billboard on the roof. Joey finishes the bed of the truck and they install the water tank that will allow them to bring water with them. Vlad builds fireworks to use like flares. And John C and Morgan start building a transmitter, a really old kind like they used to use on ships in the Atlantic in 1900, called a spark-gap transmitter. It shorts out the power, but they fix it and John C puts it on a battery so it won't do that again. Morgan rigs a reciever out of wire, a plastic jar, a phone reciever and an alligator clip, and that's one of the coolest things I've seen. Then she amplifies it with an old TV, and it gets cooler. And they work. The fireworks don't, but they've got the ability to transmit morse code in a way that people can pick up, and if George is out there, he can find his way home.

But over the credits, there was a voiceover where he basically said goodbye, so hopes are low now-- though he did say he's going to try everything in his power to get back. I wonder if something called him away from the show? I wonder if he knew ahead of time that he was leaving? He didn't have anything really dramatic to do, but he was a level head in a group of hotheads, and it was nice to have him around. It'll be scarier without him, though; how much can a trauma nurse do? Could she do surgery if she needed to? Maybe Amy, who was in Peace Corps will be able to do more; Allison is the Doctor now, and she'll need a Nurse if anything goes seriously wrong.

So now they're even more visible than they were, and they are getting low on resources and protein, and the stress is getting to them. The previews from next week don't tell us a great deal about anything other than that there'll be more yelling.

Here's what the offical site has to say about George:
"George grew up as an athletic, popular kid in Tampa, Florida to a family of doctors. After majoring in Marine Biology at University of Florida and considering a career as a marine mammal veterinarian, he decided to go to medical school because he liked to take care of people even more than animals. Medically trained in Tennessee and New Orleans, George is fond of traveling and has discovered a pleasant benefit to his job: he can do it anywhere. George is a thinker and doesn’t act before considering consequences of his actions because if he makes a mistake at work, someone could die. He is a strong fisherman, can start a fire and hunt. George returned to New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to provide care in makeshift medical units."

being human: s01 e04

In this picture, Mitchell looks an aweful lot like Henry, doesn't he? But henry had hair that could be splict.

Goddess, this episode did it's darnedst to kill me. Right in the face. Tore out my heart, and then killed me in the face.

Mitchell defends a kid from bullies, and they become fast friends-- the kid reminds him of his young, human self, and he wishes someone would have stuck up for him. The mom's fine with it, he needs a father figure and a friend. And then Mitchell lets him borrow a DVD, but it's the wrong one in the case-- it's the snuff film from last ep, but the mom doesn't know that, all she knows is that there's a picture of a naked guy, all aroused and grinding, and then dead, and she assumes that Mitchell is a perv. And the townsfolk turn on them.

Meanwhile, George is trying to have a relationship with Nina, and he's scared that she wants the Wolf, but she's relieved that he's not always like that. But when things go south in the neighborhood, George crawls back into his hole and won't talk to her and breaks up with her, and it's terrible, because she's trying and she can't understand waht could be so horrible about him that he'd rather she thinks he's a pedophile.

Annie's gone poltergeist, but she can't control it, and even the thought of seeing Owen again makes all the lights in the house explode. When he does come by, she subliminally affects Jenny, and creeps out Owen, which makes him show his real self. He tells the boys they have to leave at the end of next month, and Annie burns off all her old harded pictures; he's taken everything from her, but he's not taking her boys or her house.

The cops, of course, are headed up by the vampires, and they basically tell Mitchell that if he turns his back on them permanently, they'll let this get all out of hand and he'll never live it down.

The kid in question, Bernie, tries to appologise to Mitchell, and the neighbors misunderstand and start a fight, and when Bernie's running back to his mom, Mitchell isn't fast enough, and he gets hit by a car. Because the dying nurses weren't heartrending enough, now they have to kill kids. The shock sends George to Nina's house, where he tells her what happens, and she calms him down, and they come back around to the secrets; he isn't ready to tell her what his is, and she makes them even by showing him some horrible scars and saying that she won't tell him, either. Everyone has secrets.

Mitchell goes into the hospital and confesses to Bernie's mom (Fleur, even though with her accent, it sounds like Flerr) what he is, and gives her the choice: let Bernie die in a coma, or let him help them by saving Bernie. It looks like she lets him die, but then when they're at the train station, she appologises to Mitchell, and Bernie comes up behind them, pale and cold, but not dead. He tells Fleur that she needs to stay with him, keep him good, implying that she needs to keep him human, and then he leaves them. Again. Like he did with Lauren, and like he couldn't do with deadnurse, and like he promised not to do again. And then he goes back to Herrick, and rejoins the nest.


Every interpretation along the way was the wrong one, every choice was for the worse. I don't know if I can handle it if it keeps going like that.

But it did have the best line: "I'm not suggesting we wear chastity rings like American kids, and don't shag because we're mental, just that we take it slow."

I'm liking Annie the poltergiest, but I hope she doesn't turn bad, and I hope resolving her anger doesn't set her free; the show would have to find a new ghost. I'm not liking Mitchell giving up on humanity and leaving another offspring behind; it's so nihilistic, and he was the one who wanted to regain his humanity so badly. I'm loving George making it work with Nina, even if every single thing he says is the wrong thing, and his awkwardness knows no bounds-- and I still think that if anyone can handle what they are, it's Nina. Maybe her scars even came from something supernatural that she hasn't faced yet (which would be flippin' awesome, and would really tie the room together-- I mean, the plot together). And telling her would go miles toward building some trust in George, since he lost everything and doesn't even trust himself. There can't be many episodes left; this is getting really tough.

Monday, August 24, 2009

being human: s01 e03

Yay for this show! It's intersting right off the bat and stays that way. Good for us.

This week, Mitchel decides that Anie needs to 'meet someone with the same condition' after he finds her tearing up the house and tells them that they're only days away from when she was supposed to get married, and introduces her to Gilbert, who died the same year she was born and is stuck forever with Unfortunate 80s Hair. He takes her to see her grave, and imparts what knowledge he feels she should know, trying to convince her that she can go anywhere and do anything now, but what she gets out of it is that she needs to resolve whatever issues are keeping her on this plain. At first, she thinks that it's because she never got to be a wife, and she starts haunting Owen's house, picking up after him, ironing his shirts, finding his keys, cooking for him. Which doesn't work, and I'm glad of that because it's so unfeminist. But when she's following him around, he comes to fix the pipes in the house, which have been acting up since the first episode and are worse now, she witnesses him pulling a lacy thong out of the drain, and remembers that they'd had a fight-- that he pushed her down the stairs and killed her-- and that doesn't free her either. But it's Gilbert who's there to comfort her, and somewhere along the line, he fell for her, which was his resolution, and she watches him passing on (which is reminiscent of Dead Like Me a little, especially since Nina looks a little like Ellen Muth). I was starting to like Gilbert, and it would have been nice to keep him around and expand their circle of people on their side / explore his story that ended with him being dead so he could be the right age twenty two years later to fall for a fellow ghost, but, hey. Can't win them all.

So now she knows that the love of her life killed her, and she still hasn't passed on. Mitchel seems to be caring about her more than he thinks he does, and the house seems to be a part of her, the pipes acting as her subconscious, and as that point was stated explicitly in the show, I hope it gets explored more, because she's not really a person anymore, and she could be the house as well as herself.

Meanwhile, Mitchel has also set up George with Nina the Nurse, and George cooks dinner for her, and things progress up to the bedroom... where he starts scratching at her back and biting on her and spooks himself. It's very close to the full moon, and he can't control his animalistics, and since he can't explain what's actually wrong, he basically tells her he has a dysfunction (thought I think if anyone could handle it, it'd be her). This leads to her talking to him very seriously about all the things they could do other than have actual sex, and that gets him all riled up, as he's on his way to the Change when she waylays him, and he boinks her good and then leaves her grinning and flees to the woods, which he can't explain to her and which we haven't seen him have to face yet. I think it'd be awesome if he could manage to make it work; he's trying the hardest to be a normal person, after all. And it would be helpful to have someone in the medical profession on their side.

Meanwhile meanwhile, Lauren has come to the hospital to tell Mitchel that the video from last ep was forced-- the Big Bads made her seduce that dude with the tramp stamp and film her killing him, hoping that she could be bait to lure Mitchel back into their vampire politics. He convinces her to try to go clean, but she doesn't do very well, and when he gives in and lets her have some of his blood, that only makes her a junkie. Bloodbank doesen't help either, and she takes it that he isn't helping her enough, which drives her, half-crazy with hunger, out into the street, where Creepyface from the first episode is waiting for her, and she goes off with him before Mitchel can find her. Bummer. But she's weak and I don't like her much, at least not yet.

So we learned that Owen isn't all that great a guy, that Annie is possibly tied into the house now and that she's as scared to move on as she is to stay forever, Mitchel is getting used to her being around, George is capable of controlling himself enough to not eat someone he's having sex with, and young vampires are weak. The scenes for next week showed them getting found out-- or, at least that's what the comercials make it look like, but that's not the last episode, so something else has to happen. Like Annie finally coming into her power as a ghost! Excellent!

I'm getting a bit tired of vampires always being embroiled in politics-- especially while watching True Blood at the same time-- and that's one of the reasons I liked Blood Ties so much; Henry couldn't care less about other vamps most of the time, and they're pathologically solitary, something alot of these other shows could use. But this show doesn't worry about that too much, and it's a third or fourth-string plotline at best, which keeps it bearable. I do like, however, when Mitchel's trying his best to be human, which always seems to be outside in the cold, smoking a cigarrette, like last ep when he was on the stoop with Annie, talking to George and laughing, and this ep when he was being charming and evasive with Nina.

true blood: s02 e10 new world in my view

Soon, this season will be done, and I'm starting to miss it already. Also, I think they took too long to get to this point, but it's getting exciting enough that I can deal with it-- I just wish they'd split it up better between dallas and home so that this ending part had as much attention given to it as the beginning part.

The episode starts moments after the end of the last one; Sookie is in that cute little gingham dress, walking down the hall, though H noted that she'd taken the time to straight-iron her hair. She goes into a room, and finds Eric, covered in blood-tears, devistated by the loss of Godric, and comforts him by kissing his cheeks (in much the way a fish might), which he takes as an invitation, and then they start making out (where he's trying hard to sell it and she's sort of bumping into him with her mouth). Out come the fangs, and she touches them, then offers her neck--

--and wakes up in the car, moments from home, with Bill in a coffin in the back. And then I feel bad for Bill, because he doesn't even know what's going on, and his love scenes with her are more convincing (which I'd be willing to bet are so because she's actually dating him in real life and is uncomfortable making out with anyone else, even on screen; though I think Eric is hotter, and I wish those scenes were better).

So anyway, they're finally coming home, and they find the whole town trashed, graffittied, full of lunatics screaming about the coming god and how they have to find Sam, and they go home and find it completely transformed, which really should have pissed Sookie off more. Seriously. This is, like, four days after her grandma died and she goes away for a minute and comes back to this? Why isn't she raging mad? And the mess includes a massive man made out of meat and plants and dead things, and she's not ready to light things on fire with her mind? Maryann is there, and she tells Sookie it's her house now, and when she tries to attack Sook, our little telepath reads her mind and finds out that she's the monster that attacked her in the woods and killed all those people. Convenient, that. Not having to figure stuff out or anything. But then she gets all glowy in the hand and bran-zaps Maryann, which amuses and confuses her more than it stops her. And somewhere in here, Bill jumps and drains Maryann, but it's horrible black blood and it makes him foam at the mouth and vomit, and she actually kind of likes it. And then there's several scenes of Bill vomiting profusely as they head over to LaFayette's to help with the tied-up and posessed Tara.

Meanwhile, Sam and Andy are trying to figure out what to do when they get a call from Arlene begging for help at the bar-- and Sam's dumb enough to let his soft little heart lead him there, where he gets jumped and locks himself in the freezer. Everyone tires to get them out, but Terry realizes that he can't go anywhere, so it's mission accomplished, and sends readheaded drunk lady to call Maryann, but she gets distracted along the way. So Maryanne doesn't know that they've cornered him. I'm still tired of this mess with the orgies and the black eyes and such, but I really love that Terry gets to be strong and leader-like; he's the most reasonable of the people taken over, and that's a nice switch from him being the least reasonable of the normals.

Sookie and Bill arrive at LaFayette's and try to get Tara to come back to herself; her mother's praying helps a little, but it takes Sookie and Bill double-whammying her with glamour and telepathy to get through the wall Maryann put up, and she remembers all the crazy shit that she did, and wakes up. I'm assuming that Maryann's power works by getting people to do this stuff and not letting them remember so that they won't fight back. So Tara's back, but now they know what they're up against.

Jason arrives at the bar and quickly ruins a chainsaw, which is probably his best weapon, and uses a nailgun to hold Arlene hostage, which gets Terry to call everyone off, and he gets the boys out of the fridge... and then they all get jumped again. This time, Sam gives himself over in hopes that letting them have him will save the town (thought I doubt that), and they drag him out to tie him to a car in the parking lot and prep him for sacrifice-- or maybe sacrifice him on the spot without Maryann. He's saved when the god they're calling arrives... in the form of Jason Stackhouse in a gas mask with a police light behind him and a flare in each hand. They're all messed up enough to belive it's him, and when Sam asks them to smite him, and he obligingly goes 'I smite you!' and Sam collapses into a pile of clothes, well, that's a pretty neat way out. And it works. Everyone leaves. Which comfuses Jason and Andy, but there's no time to explain, and we get to see Sam's butt. Hee.

Bill figures out what Maryann is and what she's doing because of that book he was reading in the twenties (which is why that scene was there), but he doesn't know what to do to stop her. He might know someone who can, though, and he goes to find that someone, leaving Sookie with Tara and making her promise to stay clear of her house. Which I'm sure she'll totally keep. In the next scene, Bill's at a placial estate, which was apparently not that far from Bon Temps, and he gets in to see the Queen, and all we see is a bare foot with blood dripping down. She's probably just eating messily or something, but it'd be awesome if someone offed her and the vampire politics are worse than we thought. Probably not, though, as the casting is already known, and it's not a nobody. ::sigh::

Oh! And meanwhile, Hoyt and Jessica have been trying to contain Hoyt's mom, and she's as messed up as the rest of the town, with her hair all big and spewing all kinds of viscious hate, which makes Jessica more and more mad-- until she attacks Mama Fortenberry. Which will be interesting for Hoyt next episode, I'm sure.

But see what I mean? This all happens back to back to back, practically all at once, and it would have been nice if they'd come home a few episodes earlier and this could be spread out some. We could have done without some of Stan's posturing, and without as much Lorena, and we didn't really need all those flashbacks, now did we? And soon the season will be over, and I'll have to wait until next year to see more Eric, and so see how that gets resovled, because I like Bill and I want the resolution to be fair to all three of them. Also: How are they going to defeat a god? And how are they going to beat that next season?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

being human: s01 e01-e02

She's never really ephemeral like this.

Anyway. We'd heard of this show, of course, through our various fandoms: vampire shows, BBC imports, Dr Who actors. Didn't know much about it, though. So when we got the fancy cable, and we found it on the On Demand, and when the latest episode of Doctor Whos Day (The Deadly Assasin) failed to work, we decided to see what it was all about.

And we liked it. All three of us.

Here's the deal: A fairly new werewolf lives with a hundred-year-old vampire, and the house they've moved into is inhabited by a ghost-- of the landlord's fiancee, who died fairly recently, and hasn't been visible to anyone until they move in. In the first episode, she's learning how to interact with the world again, and can sometimes be visible to normal people (if they're expecting to see someone there, like when she accepts the pizza order and stuff), and she can pick things up and move them around and so on. Meanwhile, the vampire has accidentally turned someone they worlked with (at the hospital), and is trying to go off the blood, feeling guilty about killing someone in true brooding vampire fashion, and the werewolf is about to turn, but his usual safe house is being renovated and he has to be locked inside his own house, where he trashes everything.

In the second episode, Marshal the Vamp has to deal with Lauren, the babyvamp that he made, who wants everything to be chaotic and wants him to take responsibility for what he did to her, while also having to deal with the mysterious plans of the rest of the vampires, who seem to be everywhere and look like they're getting tired of hiding in plain view. He decided to choose people over his own kind, and that means he's also decided to get to know the neighbors, to act more like a normal human-- and to go out on a date with a nurse, which ends badly for several reasons. Meanwhile again, George the Were has met a man named Tully (the same who was Shakespeare on Doctor Who, if you're keeping track), who promises to teach him how to handle being a were, how to outsmart his own animalistic self, how to embrace the strength and the raw power of it in his human life as well as his wolf life-- and turns out to be the one who turned him to begin with, wanting to get George on his side to build a pack to replace the life he lost. He starts out by charming everyone, and ends up by damn near molesting Annie the Ghost and entirely alienating George.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

It's got an interesting set up. George is a fairly standard Were, but he's such a sweet, awkward, timid guy that it's entirely alien to him. Marshal is a strange sort of vamp who seems to be free of alot of the curse part-- he can eat normal food, he can go out in the sun for at least short times-- but he's sort of addicted to the blood, and he doesn't age or die, so it's a constant struggle to not attack people. Even though he wants to. And Annie's tied to the house more by fear of the world and what's in it than by any metaphysical bonds, and can go through walls and disappear, but in general is trying to act like she's still alive, even though she can't eat or sleep or change her clothes or anything, and I'm willing to bet her death wasn't as accidental and innocent as we're led to believe. I'd like to see her embrace her ghostliness and poltergeist out, even if it's just once, though; it'd be awesome if she could blow out the windows or posess someone.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

movie: inkheart

I haven't read the book, but if the parts of the movie that work are any indication, I think I want to. If the parts of the movie that don't work are any indication... Well, I hope the book hangs together better.

I liked the movie for it's promise and it's premise: a few people in the world can read things out of stories and make them real in our world, and they retain the characters and abilities they had in their own worlds. One of these people lost his wife when he read something out of a book and she was traded for it, because there always has to be a trade, and for the last nine years, he's been looking for a new copy of the book so he can try reading her out of it. This is awesome.

And then there's Paul Bettany, who is always great, playing a character that should be perfect for him, but because of the screen adaptation? The editing? Something, he motivations are shaky at best and contradictory at worst, and this fun character is all over the damn place and never really changes. His arc is more of a wobbly loop? I want to reedit his part. Badly.

The daughter (Meggie? Maggy?) should have been better, too. A feisty girl who never knew her mother and grew up roaming Europe, who wants to be a writer and is supposed to be good at it? So little of that comes through, because she's mostly crying and being captured. She's so integral to the end, but she never really gets any volition of her own. Even when she's righting hte wrongs, even when she's editing the world for herself, it's because someone else told her to. And that disappoints me. And why is there so little trading / magical recoil when she reads? Does she just do it better, and they forgot to mention the fact, or is that another plot hole?

I do like Alladin the Flying Squirrel, but it's more because he's the only one aware of how cool all this is who isn't a greasy badguy. And where did 'you like her, don't you?' come from? The two minutes they sat next to each other in the car?

Rhyssa is dull. The Aunt is lovely and cranky and colorful, and then has nothing to do, though it looks like they wanted her to like the stuttering reader. Capricorn is not really all that threatening, and overacts. The henchmen are interchangable and disposable. The Shadow looks awesome, probably the best thing in the movie (except maybe the gorgeous settings), but doesn't do much and doesn't manage to convey what, exactly, lets it 'flay the skin off your bones' as was threatened. And if these are the characters the author created, I have trouble believing that it's all that great a book-- and I do so want to believe. Because there's something beautiful about the idea that our favorite worlds could be real, that we could meet our literary children and go on adventures with them, that they can develop lives and opinions of their own, and, best of all, that the sad endings might be different this time around (which is an eternal hope of mine). It makes me sad that it falls short of these good ideas, and then the DVD, at least this one, doesn't even have deleted scenes that might make the plot work better. Or even a scene that shows Dustfinger using his ever-present bag that we decided was holding all the plot-plugs to fill all the plot-holes.

So yeah. The movie has plenty of space for me to rewrite it, which is a plus. But the plot holes that require me to write them are too numerous, which is a minus. The ideas are great, which is a plus. But the character development is either not there, or reduced to one-liners that come from nowhere and don't replace lettin gus experience people changing, which is bad. So I'm going to find the book. And here's hoping there's a director's cut somewhere that makes more sense.

Also, Brendan Frazer obviously sold his soul for eternal youth, and it's getting a little disturbing now that he's started playing adult characters with kids who look roughly the same age. And if he's a great reader, why can't he read more naturally?

Monday, August 17, 2009

movie: ponyo

What a sweet movie. I was unaware that goodfish looked like weird little girls in dresses, but from beginning to end, it was sweet, non-threatening, quirky, and beautiful-- entirely gorgeous. If you're going into this expecting Princess Mononoke, though, be warned-- it's much closer to My Neighbor Totoro in theme and complexity. Which is fine; it's a kid's story, and I'm glad it'll be around when I have kids.

It's (very) loosely based on The Little Mermaid, but when I say 'loosely', I mean it's like they took the extreme basic ideas and ran with them. A girl of the sea who wants to be a human? Check. A dad who doesn't want her to? Check. A supernatural sea-woman with magical powers? Check. Seafoam if she fails? Check. Everything else is new. And sweet. And there's alot going on, but the primary POV characters are five years old, and most of it doesn't really affect them so much as it affects the world around them.

Ponyo is a little goldfish who gets lost and washes up on shore, where she's rescued by a little boy named Sasuke. While with him, he cuts his finger, which she heals with a lick, but tasting human blood starts a transformation-- it unlocks all the primal power inside her, knocks nature out of balance, and lets her have capricious five-year-old control over the magics. It means she can will herself into having arms and legs and being a girl (although whenever she uses magic, she looks more like a frog muppet with chicken legs), and then she and her hundreds of sisters can cause a horrible tsunami that almost wipes out the town while she goes in search of Sasuke. Because she's fallen in love with him, in that entirely pure way that only kids can love. Most of the rest of the movie is them being kids while they look for Sasuke's mom and have adventures in cuteness; Ponyo's dad flips out a little at the imbalance in nature, but her mom, a huge magical sea goddess, finds it sweet and amusing, and convinces him to let it play out. They save Sasuke's mom and all the old ladies she's in charge of, and give the kids a choice: If Sasuke will love her as a girl or a fish, she'll be allowed to make the choice between the two, but she can't be both like she is now. She, of course, chooses him, and everything's fine.

Favorite parts:
- on the radio to Sasuke's dad on the ship: "HAM!"
- during her transformation: "TEETH!"
- when she finds him and wraps herself around his head and stays there.
- when teh tide is up to his door, and while they're figuring out what to do, an octopus is sidling into the house.
- "For milk!" and the Angry Baby.
- the theme song, which I want to sing to my kids. When I have them.

true blood: s02 e08 i will rise up

The episode opens right when Bill is telling Lorena to bug off, and Luke is about to hit the trigger-- and goes immediately into the explosion, then it's aftermath without even a little lingering on the blowing up, which seems out of character with the show's love of lingering carnage. Maybe there just wasn't space.

So Bill busts in and finds that Sookie's mostly fine because Eric jumped in front of her and then fell on top of her, and goes to beat up the Soldiers who are lingering outside long enough to go 'oh shit' and then flee-- and he sends them back with the message to remember that the vamps could have killed them all and instead let them live. Meanwhile, Eric's dying, and he has Sookie suck the bullets out, and Sookie's dumb enough to do it. It's like a scene from some hentai: "Oh, my shoulder! Oh, there's one in my chest!" I totally expected "Oh, there's one a little lower...". Maybe Bill just came back before that point. And pointed out that Eric was a liar, and now Sookie's swallowed some of his blood, and now Bill's sharing space in her head with Eric, who is taller and older and stronger, and not nearly as much as a poor divided sap. Poor poor Bill. Where did all your spark go? Did you leave it at home when you went to Dallas?

Sookie has the decency to be grossed out, and Bill carefully explains that she'll always be tied to him, he'll always be able to feel her (which she realizes means he'll always know where she is and what she's doing), and that she shouldn't be surprised if she starts feeling attracted to Eric, because that's one of the side effects. They didn't make that leap, but his face sort of looked like he didn't want to tell her that part, which I'm assuming was because it was Eric, but I'm going to say it's because he knows that the implication is that she fell in love with him because she'd had his blood, and he knew that Eric's blood was stronger.

Then Sookie has really realistic sex dreams where she's laying in bed with Eric, and he's holding her hand trying to convince her she'd make a great vamp, and they're both naked and his hair is tousseled and he's smiling and she doesn't think he's scary at all. And Lorena keeps interupting and pointing out that she's already forgotten about Bill. She wakes up and goes to where Jason's staying, and they have a much-needed talk where they agree to grow up and be good to eachother because they're all they have left.

While all this is going on, Godric's getting everyone back to the hotel, to safety, and getting in trouble with Nan Flanders, who is a raging bitch with slicked-back hair and black clothes when she's not on TV. Godric feels responsible for everything that happened, and when Nan makes him not!Sheriff, he steps down gracefully and appoints Isabelle as his replacement. Which Eric doesn't like at all, and he demands that Godric fight back, as does Isabelle, and he won't-- he has ammends to make.

Sookie tells Bill she has to go see what's up, and won't let him go with her because it's almost dawn, and I'm going to assume she has some idea of what Godric's got planned. Bill's back in that stupid bathrobe, and lets her go, but his dallas-wimpiness is almost mitigated by the look of amazed love on his face as he realizes that she feels obligated because she has a good heart. So she's up on the roof just in time to see Eric begging Godric to go back inside, and then demanding, and then saying he'll Meet the Sun with him, and Godric saying that 2000 years is enough and he won't go back inside and Eric doesn't have the ability to make him, but he does have the ability to be sure Eric won't stay. Which he does, lovingly and tenderly, while Eric is on his knees, crying, and it's all pretty intense. His voice goes all squeeky and he stops speaking in English, and he begs, and-- wow. I'm sure he's going to be extra tough from now on, to make up for being seen crying and for losing his maker. Which happens right after Eric leaves. Sookie stays, and is afraid for Godric, and stays with him the whole time so he doesn't have to be alone. And he evaporates. Much faster than Bill did, so maybe there's a drying out that happens with age, if not a purification.

And that's the close.

Then, there's the story back in Bon Temps where Jessica and Hoyt are talking about what they'll do now that she's forever virginal, and they decide to deal with it. She's sure there must be something that can be done, because she can't have been the only virgin turned, and he says he'll go along with whatever she thinks is right. He won't let anything get in their way, and he wants her to meet his mom. But it's almost Dawn, and she has to sleep, and since he can't go with her, he sings to her so she knows he's still there.

I love these two.

Later, he tells his mom that he wants her to meet Jessica, and if she's not nice to her, he'll leave and never come back-- but being scared only makes his mom worse, and he confronts her with all the horrible things she's said and done and asks why she's so full of hate. She doesn't have a decent answer. But she does go to dinner with them, even though everything Jessica says gets a glare, and eventually they get into a fight where she points out that Jessica can't ever give him babies-- and Jessica runs out and Hoyt says he's never coming back, which leads his mother to drinking.

Meanwhile, in the other half of the story that I'm more than done with, Tara and Eggs wake up all bruised and again can't remember anything. Tara's getting really freaked and tired of blacking out, and Maryanne gets pissed that she won't just accept the gift of letting go and merging with diety.

Everyone's been getting arrested and thrown in jail for weird little misdemeanors, and they're all getting stranger and more wild the more they throw in that cell, but they've kept Sam separate, and when Maryanne comes looking for him, he becomes a fly and buggers off. This makes Maryanne even more pissed, and she goes to the bar looking for him, bringing the wind and the god!voice with her, and demand to know where Sam is, but no one knows. So she goes home and plays tequila-strip-poker with Tara and Eggs. Until LaFayette and Lettie Mae show up, trying to stage an intervention (earlier, LaFayette saw her bruises and assumed (rightly, but in the wrong context) that Eggs was to blame and they had a big ol' fight), and things go downhill. Maryanne tries to tempt Lettie Mae with vodka, while drunk!Tara is a bitch, but Lettie holds out and LaFayette takes over, and then there's fighting ::sigh:: But eventually, LaFayette just picks up Tara, creepy black eyes and all, and throws her in the car, and they make a getaway.

I'm so ready for this crap to be over.

But this part did have a very sweet scene where Terry's not looking at Arlene, and she starts crying and asks him to not be mad at her, and he says he isn't, and is happy at the idea that they had sex because it's been so long he doesn't remember the last time he did. And then they're both happy, even though neither remembers what happened, and they're about to kiss when some crazy woman demands her food and ruins it. The townsfolk are awful right now, and I can't wait until everyone gets back in one story and it gets sorted out. But I'm glad Terry gets to smile and be sweet. Even if this is like a different, suckier show without Sookie and Bill involved.

There's only a few more episodes, and it's looking pretty intense!