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).