Fall is nearly here actually!! How do I know? I've actually got to do that whole college thing again. O Joy.
- K-1 is coming to SpikeTV...in 2013. The deal will air live events on SpikeTV and events will now be streamed on Spike.com in the interim. Look I’d be more hype if Spike signed with United Glory since well they actually have the kickboxing talent. Still kickboxing on TV is a fun thing.
- The Dark Towers Movie TV mega production is looking dead once again, despite news that Russell Crowe was interested in the lead as the Gunslinger. Warner Bros. has passed on the project making it the second studio after Universal to do so. Ron Howard was set to direct and produce the show and can still shop the project to other studios. Odds don’t seem good that one would pick it up. UPDATE: apparently Media Rights Capital is now going to take a stab at it. They released Ted this year soon will release Elysium, Neil Blomkamps second movie. Ironically they have a distribution deal with Universal
- So the Office is finally ending. Thank goodness I loved that show for a good while but it hasn’t been good in years and just a little to long in the tooth.
- Dan Harmon did a AMA on Reddit. You can click the link and read it yourself or this link, which is a decent summary of things covered.
- Time to descent back into Anarchy once again with a real teaser for Sons of Anarchy Season 5 premiering Sept 11 on FX. Jimmy Smits has joined the cast as a Latino Gang leader and Harold Perrineau (LOST, The Matrix) will be the villain Damon Pope. Don’t Worry Danny Trejo is still around.
- Jimmy Kimmel gets to go play with the other big (read old) boys of late night comedy. ABC is moving Deadline back an hour in order for Kimmel to have the 11:35 pm slot and duke it out with Leno and Letterman.
- Another week, another bit of Arrow casting news. This time it is for The Huntress Helena Bertinelli, who will be played by Australian actress Jessica De Gouw. Helena is “set on destroying her father’s organized crime empire. But Helena’s blind pursuit of revenge will put her on a collision course with the Arrow.”
- Go to New Mexico and by “meth candy”
- CBS is rebooting Have Gun - Will Travel. David Mamet has been hired to script it as well as direct the pilot. Mamet previously worked on CBS show The Unit.
- This is old news, but I didn’t know it so there. Code Lyoko is coming back for a fifth season! The spin-off fifth season,Code Lyoko Evolution and will be airing in the fall of 2012. Evolution will be a live action / CGI spin off of the original show, featuring the same cast but no longer in animated form. Code Lyoko was a random show I discovered on Cartoon Network after they killed Toonami as a afternoon block. It’s a solid mix of drama and cyberpunk. It is all on Netflix go watch it. There isn’t a US partner for Evolution at this time and the show is French, but you know the internet and all it shouldn’t be THAT hard to find a sub’d version.
- The Parents Television Council is back with a report on TV nudity, it’s on the rise O no. You can read the whole thing here. Personally I don’t give a fuck about the PTC and find them to be nothing more than a annoying group trying to push their views upon me when I don’t want it.
Grimm S2 “The Kiss”
Episode 2 “The Kiss” wraps up the two part season opener for Grimm. Managing to be effective despite the casts icy exterior. Nick’s mother appears out of nowhere and like that is suddenly gone. Julliet, once asleep is now awake. The secret of being a Gimm continues to be a hard cross to bear. So another episode of Grimm.
The Mauvais Dentes is quickly dispatched and now Nick has to investigate his own handy work. How this show handles the action is a bit unwatchable. Quick cuts aren’t anything new. Fight scenes have their own kinetic energy, that the best fights just follow that energy. Grimm doesn't follow the energy. Using quick cuts mixed with short fast cinematography, mixing in some shaky aspects of it just blurs the image. Leaving the viewer with a hazy mess of what could be a cool fight. The same goes for Kelly-Catherine fight. Thanks to some environmental use it isn’t as bad but it still suffers from the same things.
Catherine, the Hexenbiest mother of Adalind, is working all angles by making Renard a purification formula. Only someone pure of heart can wake up Julliet. A rarity these days so they need to do it chemically. It is worse for the person if they aren’t that pure to begin with and since Renard isn’t exactly human, it will be quite painful.
If I were watching the shows prior season, I suppose, the reveal that Captain Renard is the bastard son of monster royalty would be a fun revelation. Or that we get to see him partially transform. Not to toot my own horn but it appeared to be rather obvious he was important. At least we can fill that portion of the wiki out now. Renard goes through a rather painful purification process in order to do Nick a solid and wake up fair Julliet up, with a not so shocking ending. Renard wants to keep Nick around, but for what purpose? To subtly influence the Grimm to taking out the other families so that he can rule everything? If his interactions of his brother are anything it is that he is play the long game.
Hitting the reset button on Juliet is a bit cliche by any standard of storytelling. It does make sense for this to happen in a show about monster hunting so there is that.
Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe needs more things to do in every episode. He is the only bit of comedic and fresh air, along with Bree Turner as Rosalee. It certainly isn’t coming from David Giuntoli. Grimm takes everything very seriously and that isn’t very fun or enjoyable to watch. Seriousness isn’t a problem but when the lead is pretty wooden and sleepy it doesn't exactly make for captivating TV.
The added wrinkle that Kelly is becoming more of a liability by murdering everyone couldn't last, but she will more than certainly be back. Having mom around all the time now wouldn’t work either, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is about as cold as ice in the role. Now that she has been written off for a couple episodes, destroying those Coins of Zakynthosm, im sure she will pop back in by seasons end.
With that story over it looks like we might get back to a more normal Grimm with the addition of the re-courting of Julliet. There are some things that aren’t doing it for me, but the Grimm is mostly watchable.
C I’m just not completely taken by this show
The Inbetweeners S1 Ep01 "First Day" SERIES PREMIERE
First impressions are a hard thing to get right, making the matter harder, you can’t take it back once you’ve screwed it up. The first impression taken from the trailer for the US remake of the UK comedy was: this looks soulless and unfunny. And why should it? The Inbetweeners is airing on MTV, while certainly a bastion of pop culture, for better or worse, isn’t exactly known for good scripted content. Sure they have Awkward on now, but this isn’t the first U.K. export to land at MTVs shores. There was that terrible version of Skins that was a thing for a couple of weeks.
As far as second impressions go Inbetweeners does a much better job showing exactly what it is. A quickly paced high school comedy that is juvenile, but who isn’t at the age.
Will had it all. A Mom and Dad, good prep school background, snazzy closes. Than his Dad ran off with his secretary and Mom can’t afford those good prep school prices. Off to public school it is. All I wanted in High School was to fit in and have a fairly good social group, and I did. All anyone wants is to be accepted or fit in. These are the trials that face young Will(Joey Pollari)
What if the only one who accepts you are those dweebs in between the cool nerds and the wall eaters? Never the less Simon(Bubba Lewis), Jay(Zack Pearlman), and Neil(Mark L. Young ) is who he ends up with. Together they will struggle to impress girls, attempt to get laid, and drink bad but not cheap booze together.
Inbetweeners moves fast with the banter of the group and plot of the episode. Girls like rebels, what is more rebellious than to skip school...and hang out with two year olds at a park? Some expensive but terrible booze later, Simon finds himself spray painting the girl of his dreams a love note on her driveway. And then barfing on her hours later.
This show looked soulless and unfunny. It isn’t, while saying it has a soul seems a bit of a leap, it certainly is funny. From the various possible escapades of the sex obsessed Jay, to whether or not Niels father is gay. There is a certain level of honesty to what they are going through.
B+ First Impressions are a Bitch best to make sure you make a good Second and THIRD one.
It Came From My Instant Queue: Sports Night S2 Ep5-8
These four episodes are a nice pair of two part arcs. After meeting a psychiatrist at a bar Dan begins questioning his personality. While Dana is forced to deal with yet another steroid scandal, but this time it’s personal.
Dan takes center stage with a look his personality, thanks to a meeting with a girl in the bar. Dan has always been the helpful friend to banter with and give quasi wise advice in times of need. One of the more obvious features to Dan is his attempt to get anyone and everyone to like him. Now why is that? That isn’t really explained but it has something to do with his parents and the death of his little brother (see Ep2 The Apology).
Watching The Newsroom at the sametime and having seen the Sorkinisms Supercut the show gave me a chuckle as Dan interrupts psychiatrist lady mid session. Much like Episode 08 “The Blackout Part 1: Tragedy Porn”.
Seeing Dan try and not flirt but only go more crazy over these two episodes was enjoyable.
“Kyle Whitaker's Got Two Sacks” “The Reunion”
One of the things I’m glad Sorkin didn’t do with Sports Night is make them report on real events. There was a Y2K episode and this shit is already pretty 90’s as it is. Still they do report on fictionalized things that may or may not mirror actual events, much like Law & Order. This time the fictional story is about a steroid bust in the NFL.
Now this might make my cynical, but I don’t give a fuck about steroids or PEDs. In the end I’m pretty sure that at least 80% or more professional athletes are on PEDs of some kind and they have more than enough money to beat the test. That said PEDs are still clearly against the rules so don’t do them.
Seeing Dana happy for once and not angry, whiny, was fun. Huffman hasn’t gotten to act that jovial in recent episodes. That all comes to the end as she reads the names Casey got after a trip to Ohio. Earlier in the episode beaming with pride that her brother got two sacks, and subsequently tried to show everyone how he did it. Everyone says Sorkins shows are about the relationships of the characters and “The Reunion” was a good example of quickly putting together a brother sister relationship.
The lack of William H. Macy in these episodes is a bummer. At least we didn’t get a constant reminder of Danas incredibly stupid dating plan.
Strike Back S2 Ep3 “Episode 3”
Strike Back works in the two part format. Part 1 the team gets sent off to some African place, characterization are given, a little bit of action, and boobs, because, it’s cinemax, and cliff hangar. The inverse is true for the Part 2 episodes though not quite in that order.
The very public assassination of a character's wife would definitely be notable enough to bring up when talking about the episode. Yet, I did not, it totally slipped my mind. Stonebridges wife was assassinated by the brother of the SAS recruit who went crazy in episode 1. The show is pushing the point home that Stonebridge is beginning to crack, and that the death of his wife isn’t helping. His psych evaluation is almost corny in how cold and robotic it all is from the editing to Philip Winchester’s acting. Cold as it is though there is tension and it finally cracks when Stonebridge headbutts a mirror.
Enough about the fraying mental state of Stonebridge. Him and Damien Scott are sent off to pick up those triggers the crew lost in the season opener. A radical cleric has sold them to yet another radical, who happens to have the funds to do something with them. Things go awry when the CIA end up bombing the very spot Section 20 believes the triggers are. The concussive force of bombs probably aren’t the best thing for the mental health of Stonebridge. Worse for him Damien gets captured. Missions can never go perfectly in a show like this but hopefully the trope of “squadmate gets captured” isn’t used week in and week out.
Damiens captors are far more hospitable than last weeks, they are being trained by the CIA. In comes mysterious blonde from his past who gives us our obligatory sex scene of the week. I have no problem with sexposition but it has to be better than what happened here. Why dose he just end up screwing her after saying no? Random sex in general never works for me since most of the time it is a random sex scene that goes counter to whatever emotions and actions was just going on. This is cinemax but cmon.
We didn’t get to see topless women in that scene though. This is fulfilled by a nice check in with Conrad Knox’s (Charles Dance) hit squad who are after the triggers. Jessica Kohl comes out of the pool and admires the shiny expensive sniper rifle the much older Karl Matlock. Together they are like an older wolf and cub and have a nice discussion of the life they lead. Matlock is looking to finally get out, having to much “blood and sunshine,”. The much younger Kohl doesn't yet have those demons.
The courier is picked up by the Tuareg, nomadic pastoralist run in a matrilineal society. They aren’t able to fully flesh out the ins and outs of the culture but are an interesting bit of flavoring. Their leader is just going to auction the courier off, might as well make the most money possible. Things of course go awry and the Tuareg are pulled into the Section 20s business.
Even with this being the Part 1 episode and the literally explosive cliffhanger there was a fair bit of action. Who ever they have shooting and planning it is doing an excellent job. It isn’t crazy frenetic but with what they have Strike Back does a excellent job. Mixing the action in with the more character focused nature of this episode makes it extremely watchable, even if it doesn't exactly work as a piece of episodic television.
B+ They get the Tureg people right but right in a totally bad sex scene don’t change Strike Back.
The Newsroom S1 Ep10 "The Greater Fool" Season Finale
Half way through Newsroom I was annoyed. Season finales are about bringing all the storylines to a head blowing them off and building to the next season. Newsroom gets the latter half right. The other half, it couldn’t have done right, those were season long problems . Stakes do not mean anything if you do not care about the characters. So when the righteous News Night team seems defeated halfway through it fell flat. Despite all this though I am left with a feeling of hope for season 2 and that same kind of fire found in “We Just Decided To”.
A greater fool is what Will is called by Brian Brenner and his contemporaries interviewed in that piece from “The Blackout”. The greater fool according to Sloan Sabbith is the patsy the economist rely on in order to make a profit. The guy who thinks he can conquer where others have failed. Add another check to the Don Quixote box. This whole shows fantastical take on the news is that. Than Sorkins adds in a comment about how America was founded by these “fools” and we get a rousing speech and I’m left with the above reaction.
Now that Sorkin has thoroughly established this show as fantasyland perhaps in season 2 it will go more into the mode of Sports Night: be about the characters not the news. There isn’t any reason the show can’t find a balance between that. The politics of the show even I agree with them most of the time feels like cheap heat. It is, politics is one of the three things you don’t discuss openly, how dare a show do it!
Structurally “The Greater Fool” tries to go all Memento, jumping back and forth between a broadcast and the events leading to it. Now from the start previews showed Leona Lansing telling Will he is fired. It lacked context so it could've been after this great broadcast Will does. Only it wouldn’t have mattered. Will is one of the better done characters of the show but the threats never felt big and just fell flat. Besides it’s all for not on Leona’s part anyway, her son tricked into admitting to wiretapping. The good guys win in the end with a bit of trickery. How clever of them.
Then there is the Jim-Lisa-Don-Maggie-Sloan thing. Yes Olivia Munn is added to that mess. Making it some other geometric shape. Jim is a nice guy and doesn't want to sabotage Don trying to make it work with Maggie, because he is a nice guy. Don also wants to be a nice guy despite being made out to be the opposite. Both of these guys care more about appearances than “true happiness” one of the other things this show ham-fistedly hammered home. It is wrong to be with someone you don’t really love. So that polygon is much the same as it was when it began.
Only, can’t you learn to love them or something though? To make matters worse Maggie admits her feelings about Jim to a bunch of Sex and the City tourists, whom Jim is among. God, the relationships in the show are so juvenile and handled with such kid gloves. These are complex emotions and feelings and cutting out midway through in an attempt to build tension, or resolution is equally childish.
By replacing Jim-Lisa-Don-Maggie-Sloan with Will-Mackanize you would get the same summation about that mess to.
Despite the constant outbursts from Mackenzie week after week the scene in the hospital with Will was well done.
The finale for The Newsroom is a great example of the best and worsts of this show. On the good side you have the fantastical take on the news and a rousing call to action with hope sprinkled in. On the other side you have most of the characters in this show made out to have the emotional ranges of a teaspoon. Sorkin is really damn lucky he can right the “big speech” well 90% of the time and at least knows someone that has the perfect song for every moment. “Fix You” was the right call even if it was heavy handed.
Despite my normal cynicism about most things season one of Newsroom leaves me feeling hopeful for season 2.
B- Even if Newsroom isn’t the greatest thing since The West Wing it is still shown in the middle of a barren Summer which means I’ll be back next year.
Copper S1 Ep02 “Husbands and Fathers”
The premiere of Copper was solid but in no way amazing. The same is true for “Husbands And Fathers”. Even without the case of the week the same over written dialog and like it’s lead is not as clever as it thinks it is hurts what could be a decent show.
Detective Corcoran, or Corky as he is (in)effectually referred to by everyone else. It is made fully clear what exactly drives Corcoran. While he was off fighting in Gettysburg his wife and child were murdered and the army didn’t even let him go home. It isn’t surprising then that he is so protective of Little Orphan Annie. He is clearly a smart person perhaps to smart.
Take his plan to get justice for Annie's sister. After having his leg broken by pinkerton thugs and being shot up with opiates from Mr. Freeman. Uses Little Orphan Annie as bait to lure Haverford back to the Contessas whore house. The whole thing played out like it was a dream sequence since it was so crazy. Despite a broken leg is able to overpower Haverford,hold him down, then get Annie to stab him to death. Which probably is a bit much for a 10 year old girl who is revealed to have been forcibly married at that age. Following that lure the Contessa in and stabbing her as well. And for the grand finale, jumping into a trailer filled with kind of soft things. All of this with a broken leg strapped to a board.
In the next scene, he begins seeing his dead daughter. It’s an interesting layer to a relatively bland character. At the same time, the daughter looked creepy as hell.
Copper is a BBCA show and certainly looks the part. All of the high class characters are stiff and lifeless save for the flamboyant Kevin. The only other coloful character is the good Doctor Freemen. This isn’t a full on British costume and when it goes into that mode, it kills any sort of “gritty’ or life this show has.
The show moves into soap opera territory with the introduction of Mr. Morehouse, father to Robert Morehouse. With his nefarious plan to buy all of Five Points. He is so dry and shown so ominously he could have been the faceless Alistair Crane from Passions. All decked out with his suit and mutton chops. With a new case coming next week it all will eventually point back to him.
The ghetto dirty New York police work may not be the most interesting, but has more promise than the bigger social implications and drama surrounding the various minorities in New York at the time. The show seems to be trying to become two shows at the same time. On one end you have a detective drama, on the other a social drama in 1880’s New York, these two things do not mix well at this point.
C I’ll stick around with Sunday night getting lighter now without Newsroom. It sure isn’t Luther.