Thursday, October 18, 2007

Private Practice

I am starting to get annoyed with "Private Practice." For every good moments the show has, there is another five bad ones. And I know it is only a few episodes in, but the characters have not shown any developments. In fact, Addison has shown backwards movement. When she was on "Grey's Anatomy," Addison was one of my favorite characters. On her own spin-off she is becoming my least favorite. This is mainly because of the aforementioned backwards development. She spent most of Wednesday's episode upset about her co-workers not RSVPing to a party she decided to throw. I somehow can't see the old Addison getting so worked up about it. An even worse moments, was when she felt "inspired" by Sam's motivating talk on the mind-body connection. I guess this was supposed to be showing her feeling happy and learning to relax, but it had the opposite effect, the scene was almost painful to watch.

Addison was also dealing with the main "patient-of-the-week" a young woman who escaped from the hospital psych ward and wanted everyone to believe she was really sick. Of course, she was. Of course, Addion figured it out. After the past couple week's medical cases, this one felt flat.

Later, Addison revisited the story that originally brought her to L.A., her desire to get pregnant. On one hand, this did feel a little authentic and I liked how Kate Walsh played the scene. And it did make up for the oddness of Naomi (the fertility speacilist) refusing to try and help. Although, Naomi's explanation seemed out of character. Why would she think she needed to protect Addison by lying to her? She is supposed to be a doctor, right? But on the other hand, I really don't want to see them head down the road of giving Addison a baby or having her get pregnant. So it would really be better to just cut the whole story out.

Meanwhile, the character I do like, Cooper, has been getting better stories. I really liked his interaction with the ten-year-old who realized he was gay. I think children realizing their sexual identity at a young age is something worth exploring. I also like that Cooper is consistantly shown as being good with kids. What was probably supposed to be a "reveal" was that he is also in love with Violet. This wasn't really a surprise, even though, I originally thought these characters were supposed to be siblings, I have grown to like their "friendship." But before I can get behind a "ship" of these two, they need to let Violet GET OVER HER EX. Seriously, four epsides of a grown woman crying over an old boyfriend? Even if some people are like that in real life, they are not someone I want to watch on television. It is getting really old. If the writers can acomplish that, then I could get into watching Violet/Cooper enough to stick with the show. Unfortunatelty, with her ex's new wife admiting that Alan "talks about her," and coming to the clinic to scope Violet out it doesn't look like that is happening.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Coming up Daisies

I enjoyed the second episode of “Pushing Daisies” a lot more than the first. I think it has something to do with all the positive reviews I had read coming into it that had me expecting a great show. Nothing could really live up to that hype, so I was a little disappointed. However, once I knew what I was getting, I was able to enjoy it.

At its root, “Pushing Daisies” is really just another detective procedural. Just with magic. The main character, Ned, brings people back from the dead, has sixty seconds to find out how they died, and then kills them again. If that sounds like it could get old, Wednesday’s episode showed many variations on how a character can react to this happening to them, and of having different levels of knowledge. The case in last night’s episode was half standard story (guy finds out new kind of car will hurt people and kills to cover it up and profit) and half charming style (said new car is powered by flowers). This charm is what “Daisies” thrives in. In addition to the flower-powered car, the episode included a character breaking out in song and the main character being saved by knitting needles. The way the show embraces this silly yet sweet scenarios creates something that is completely entertaining. No one will ever take the cases on the show seriously, but will likely enjoy the fairy tale style of the whodunit.

Now, at its heart, “Daisies” is a love story. After bringing back his childhood sweetheart Ned is unable to touch her without killing her. This leads to situations such as kissing through plastic body bags, high-fiving with plastic flowers, and using wooden monkeys to mimic a kiss. While this might seem silly on another show, here it fits right in with the charming style – and the two actors have the right amount of chemistry to make it work, anmd the two parts of the show fit together as a delightful hour of entertainment.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Family Time

I have become addicted to ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters.” Besides the great cast, there is something about how the writers manage to combine humorous moments with serious and heartbreaking ones. In Sunday’s episode the show had some hysterical scenes, such as Kevin and Sarah both answering their phones at the same time and clearly, hearing the same news at the same time. Phone calls on television shows are often hard to pull off, but this show does it so well. It manages to capture the family dynamic of news traveling fast and family banter/squabbling perfectly. Another fabulous scene (again, involving phone calls) was Kitty, Nora, and Kevin listening to the conservative radio host bash them, cumulating with Kitty calling in to talk to him, moments after she had told her brother and mother to not do the very same thing. I loved how upset Kitty got when she realized Kevin had gone too far and called Abraham Lincoln gay. The best part, was at the end when two seconds after hanging up, Robert’s name came up on the caller ID – obviously calling to yell at Kitty for the situation she created.

On the flip side, there were some great serious moments worked into the episode. The scene with Joe telling Sarah he really wanted a divorce was so quiet and simple, but Rachel Griffith played it so well, that the scene was elevated to a much higher level. Obviously, the scenes with Justin coming home after his injury were also on the dramatic side. As soon as I realized Justin was injured I knew there was going to be a struggle with him trying to stay off painkillers because of his previous addiction. Judging by the closing scene of last night, this is going to be a challenge for him. I don’t want to spend weeks watching someone in pain, but I also don’t want Justin to fall off the wagon, so I am interested in where the writers take this.

The one downside of last night was that it appears as though Tommy is being set up to fall for the new office manager Lena. Tommy has never been my favorite character, for no reason other than he didn’t have a storyline until halfway through last season – when everyone else had already become so much more fleshed out. So, a more dramatic plot with adultery seems shoehorned in. However, the show didn’t introduce Lena, establish her as a friend of Rebecca’s, and hire her for the vineyard for no reason.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hospital Show Addiction

Once I start watching a show, I tend to watch it until the end. Many shows end a lot sooner than I would like. But others start to lose quality in their later seasons and out of some weird sense of loyalty I keep watching. This is the case with two Thursday night dramas.

First, is "Grey's Anatomy." Like almost everyone else, I loved Grey's when it premiered. But by the beginning of its third season, I started to get a little annoyed with the characters. By last spring, I was completely hating the show, yet, I still tuned in when the fourth season started last week. Now, with the second episode of the fourth season I am feeling the same way. The McDreamy/Meredith relationship has reached the point where they have had more bad times than good, and still act like they are fated to be together. It is hard to root for a couple who met a year ago, spent most of it with other people, and never seem to be happy when they are together. Last week, the show tried to acknowledge this by portraying Derek as "addicted" to Meredith even though she is bad for him. This same episode tried to use Mrs. Burke to illustrate how Meredith/McDreamy are different than the Christina/Burke relationship, or at least how Burke is different from Derek. This is becacuse he was willing to leave Christina for not loving him "enough" - something Derek can't do the same to Meredith. Personally, I thought this a little anti-female. I understand the concept, but it comes off as though a woman with any type of issue is bad and will just hurt men. Meanwhile the men on this show are given a free pass for any behavior and still considered desirable.

The other major storyline on Grey's is of course, the George/Izzie affair. I don't know what to say about it that hasn't already been said by others. The relationship came out of nowhere and feels more like it was put in for the soap opera effect than any real character development. One minute Izzie was mourning over Denny and the next she was in love with George. One minute George was in love with Meredith, than he was in love with Callie, now he wants Izzie? This problem is especially annoying when we are reminded only a year has passed since the series started. It is a bit like when the 20th hour of "24" rolls around, and you remember everything has been in one day. If three years had actually passed since Grey's started, all the relationships would be slightly believable. When it happens in one year, it is ridiculous. At this point, the only slightly interesting thing on Grey's are Alex and Bailey. So of course, they are given nothing to do.

The second show I watch out of obligation is "ER." This is a show that ran out of original stories, good characters, and shock value years ago. Everything I see on it has been done before. A main character in the hospital fighting for their life? Dozens of times. A new chief trying to improve the mediocre ER? This has not only happened several times in recent seasons, it has been a major plotline before. A sick kid who is dying? Again, dozens of times. It is almost hard to even get depressed about it. And yet, like with Grey's Anatomy, I keep watching every Thursday.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Private Practive

I was one of the few people that liked the "Private Practice" when they did the special episode of Grey's last spring. But I wasn't too happy with the official pilot last week. It seemed like there was no new material. Wednesday seemed like the first regular episode, and the first time to really judge how good it was. The judgement? I pretty much hated it. Addison was my favorite character on "Grey's Anatomy" but somewhere all her good qualities seemed to disappear when she left Seattle Grace.

Last night did have some great moments with the baby switching storyline. The last scene where the two mother's switched babies, almost brought me to tears. However, that was the only good part about the episode, which does not give me confidence for the future of the show. Everything with the main cast, was a cross between annoyance and boredom. There is potential to the characters, they could easily be fixed with some better writing. But it doesn't seem like that is happened. Violet and Cooper have great chemistry, but she spends too much time whining about her ex boyfriend to do anything else interesting. She just ends up seeming weak. Pete spends all his time in what is supposed to be "fun bickering," but really both he and Addison just come across as immature.

I'm willing to watch for another week to see where the characters go, but if it isn't up, I may have to stop watching. Or at least pray for cancellation so Addison can go back to "Grey's Anatomy."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


“Heroes” tends to tell its stories in segments. Last year it took several episodes before most of the main characters even met. By the end of the year, everything was intersecting. Now, we are starting over, which is good and bad.

As usual, everything with the Bennet family was fabulous. I especially loved Claire cutting off her toe and watching it grow back – it was gross, but an extremely cool effect. I enjoy how Claire manages to find “special” things to argue with her parents about, instead of typical teenager stuff. For instance, her talking to HRG about if she should test her powers and try to do good with them. It is things like that, transferring a universal concept (like disagreeing with your father) to this extra level that is both weird and awesome. The one thing with Claire, I am undecided on, is her classmate/love interest. He seems a little like Zach from last season, but with a power and extra aggressiveness added in. Personally, I would prefer they bring back Zach rather than shoehorn in a new “hero.”

Hiro stuck in seventeenth century Japan is still working. It doesn’t tie in with the rest of the show, but the combination of Kensei’s sarcasm and Hiro’s excitement is hysterical. It wasn’t a surprise that Hiro would fulfill some of the heroic deeds Kensei is known for, but seeing him figure it out is just plain fun television.

Other high points from last night include HRG being reunited with the Haitian and Angela Petrelli figuring out Parkman was reading her mind. I would still like to learn more about the Haitian’s true motives and loyalty. The few scenes with Mohindar pretending to get his memory erased (or actually getting it erased) were not really enough to fill anything in. However, I am pleased just to see the character again. As for Mrs. Petelli, she is a fabulous villain and the fact that she knows more about the heroes than anyone else makes her an intriguing character.

Low points from the episode include the twins from Hondorus and Peter. The twins are annoying simply because we don’t know enough about them. Yes, she has a freaky power, but at this point they fall in the category of knowing less than the viewers, which is never fun. As for Peter, he is my favorite character and his fight scene in the bar was great. However, I don’t like amnesia stories. They fall into that same category of a character of knowing less than the viewers.