Friday, February 29, 2008

Unstuck in Time

Last week’s Lost was a slight let down compared to the previous week’s mind-blowing Sayid centered episode. However, last night’s awesome Desmond episode more than made up for it. Desmond’s last episode was one of the best of last season, if for no other reason than the introduction of time travel possibilities on/from the island. Last night’s episode went even further.

While flying on the helicopter, Desmond suddenly flashed to eight years ago, when he was in the army. Unlike most “flashbacks,” however, Desmond seemed to actually travel from 2004 in the helicopter to 1996. When he returned, he had no memory of anything that happened in the last eight years, or the island. This led to a lot of confusion, twists, and time travel philosophy – all of which resulted in a great episode. There was little focus on the actual island, but it didn’t really matter.

Something is clearly up with this guy. We already know he is a little “off” and have seen hints of his memory problems. Now, we learned that this is probably the result of time travel himself. After the current Faraday instructed Desmond to find him in the past, we learned that his past self has a perfectly working memory and seems quite smart. He even wondered why his future self wouldn’t remember Desmond. I am guessing that Desmond’s visit led him to start experimenting with time himself, resulting in the memory gaps.

The Black Rock
In 1996, we saw that Charles Windmore was buying a journal from the first mate of the Black Rock. Since this is the boat sitting on the middle of the island, we know it probably contains secrets about all the weirdness of the island. More interestingly, the previous owner was the Hanso family. This explains why Hanso founded Dharma to experiment on the island. It also suggests that Windmore had started looking for the island as well, and is probably responsible for the team on the boat. I don’t know if this explains who Ben is working for exactly, but it certainly answers a lot of questions.

Happy Ending
The last three episodes of Lost have ended with some type of “twist” at the end, along with reveals about the future. This episode had a simple happy ending. After past Desmond begged past Penny to give him her phone number, future Desmond was able to call her. Since we know Penny has been looking for Desmond for the last three years, and we know that Desmond has considered her his “constant” even before he was told that term. So, the fact that they connected at the end was really a beautiful moment.

The Time Thing
Two weeks ago, we were given hints that time moves differently off the island than on. Yesterday, it was revealed that off the island is December 24, 2004, the same time as on the island. However, it took a day and a half for the helicopter to get to the boat, even though the flight didn’t take that long. Also, Faraday pointed out that the Losties perception of time might not match reality. My new theory is that TIME is the same on and off the island, but some type of force field around the island causes it to take awhile to get there.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Turn for the Better

Tuesday’s Jerricho finally sucked me back into the show. It took a few episodes, but it felt like the show was really getting back to its core idea; a show about a town struggling to make its own way when disaster strikes. The first few episodes of the second season seemed like a completely different show – the new government was running the town, the electricity was back on, and the citizens of Jerricho were no longer struggling just to find food. There were storylines introduced about various government conspiracies, but they did not involve most members of the cast, and I just couldn’t bring myself to care.

Tuesday, made me care again. The plot focused on the Hudson Virus, the deadly virus spreading west towards Jerricho. Jennings and Rall, who is running things, did not want this information out and tried to destroy the supply of the vaccine that Dale had tracked down. This is when the show felt real to me, because it is when Jake and the other main characters bonded together to steal the vaccine back and administer it secretly.

I also really enjoyed the emotional scenes with Bonnie and Stanley. It was so sweet to see him tell her how he just wanted her to be happy, and to see Bonnie excited, and yet ambivalent about leaving home. The follow up scene, where Mimi promised Bonnie she would take care of Stanley almost made me tear up. Of course, this means that Bonnie is probably leaving for a while and I’ll miss seeing one of the best characters. But, it is almost worth it to see those scenes. It is rare to see families that just honestly care about each in a real way, and not overly sappy/corny.

The conspiracy side of the story, finally started getting interesting, since Robert Hawkins started interacting with Jennings and Rall. It seemed to raise the stakes a little, by letting that happen, and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes. However, that probably won’t be too far – ratings this season have been terrible, which means there is no way CBS is going to renew it for more than seven episodes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back From the Apocalypse

When Jericho premiered a year and a half ago, I was a huge fan. But by the middle of the season, it seemed like the most interesting events had already happened. Judging by the ratings, I was not alone in losing interest in the show. Yes, some episodes had good moments, but as a whole I stopped caring. By the time it was cancelled last spring, I was almost relieved. It gave me an excuse to stop watching. Even though the cliffhanger had intrigued me, it was still not enough to really want a new season.

But, as everyone knows by now, the cancellation didn’t stick. Fans sent in nuts, and the show came back from the dead. Since those campaigns never work, I feel like the show has to succeed now, or any future save our show campaigns will be laughed at even more. So, I watch the new season opener the other night. I wanted to get back into it, but I just could not bring myself to care. A conclusion to the cliffhanger was rushed out and some new exposition set up a new storyline. The explanation to what I thought was most interesting - the new version of an American flag hanging – was the most rushed of all, and explained with a few sentences about how a new government was formed after the attacks. After that, I just couldn’t bring myself to care anymore.

A government contractor all over the town is rebuilding things. This total overrides the original idea of the show about a small town closed off out of nuclear attacks. Some general-type commanding everyone is much less interesting than an isolated town deciding what laws to follow and how to enforce them on their own.

The few highlights included the scenes with Mimi and Stanley. Those two had the subplot, mostly made up of pure character scenes. They were as entertaining as ever. I did miss Bonnie, and hope she is not totally erased. I also enjoyed Heather’s scenes, and was glad she was back. Her character was always one of the most likable, and I hope if Jericho continues, she ends up with Jake (instead of Emily who makes me crazy). The last highlight – a character eating peanuts. Of course.

Friday, February 8, 2008

More Questions

I can’t quite decide what I thought of last night’s Lost. I definitely enjoyed it, but it was a little bit of a let down after last week’s incredible premiere. The show didn’t reveal another member of the Oceanic Six, instead focusing on who I guess are four new cast members – the people from the freighter who are there to “rescue” everyone. The show took a slightly different approach, showing four flashback scenes of each person. It felt a little odd, but in the end I think it worked. There is probably not much else we need to know about any of them. Plus, they were able to work in some new strange details about the flight/island.

  • The “rescuers” revealed that their primary goal is to find Ben - presumably, to hurt him. This is fine by me, and I am sure most of the characters on the show. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t just hand him over and then ask for a ride. Ben tried to save himself by showing that he knows all about the team who landed on the island. I almost expected him to reveal he knew everything because Jacob told him or some other mystical reason. However, the real answer was much more interesting – he has a man on their boat. I wonder just how much contact Ben has with the outside world. The new characters had a picture of him. Was it from on the island, or has he left it at some point?
  • Abaddon, who we were introduced to last week is revealed to be “in charge” of the rescue mission. However, last week Hurley didn’t recognize him, so obviously he does not reveal himself to the passengers, and does not get what he is looking for. Otherwise, he would not need to bug Hurley in the future. So what happened?
  • Naomi was supposed to be in charge of getting the rest of the team in and out. What exactly did she know that the others didn’t? And how is her death going to affect the “mission?”
  • In the past, Charlotte found a polar bear skeleton with a Dharma collar – in Tunisia. Does this mean Dharma had other locations where they were testing? Does she work for whatever Dharma is now? They could be their to get revenge on Ben. The gas mask that Dan had in his bag was very similar to the one Ben wore when he helped kill the original Dharma. But how would anyone off the island know that?
  • The remains of Oceanic 815 were found in the Indian Ocean? That seems like the wrong place for a plane flying from Australia to L.A. So, how did whatever the plane is get there. And how did the rescuers know that Flight 815 was connected to the island they were looking for?

Hopefully, I will get some of the answers revealed in the remaining episodes. If
not, I hope each episode is still exciting enough to simply enjoy the die.

Well, that was anti-climactic

That was my reaction to the first episode of Survivor: Fans v. Favorites. For weeks CBS has been promoting how Johnny Fairplay is going to be back, and how is the guy who told “the biggest lie in Survivor history,” etc, etc, etc. Then last night, not only is he the first person voted off, but he asked to be voted off? I didn’t quite believe him when he started talking about wanted to be near his pregnant girlfriend. It seemed very fake. For awhile I thought he was going along with Parvati’s scheme to fake out the other half of the team. But in the end he was voted off and he didn’t seem upset about it. The whole thing felt very staged, actually.

Other than that, not much happened. We barely saw the “fans” team. I don’t think I even know any of their names yet. I just picked up on the one woman who has been called “the crazy lady” by her teammates. I can already tell she is going to be annoying, but I literally did not see enough of that team to get an impression on anyone else.

The focus, was really on the favorites, which was a little annoying. I thought it was funny when they all were introduced and only half of them got real welcomes. The rest were polite applause as the fans tried to remember who they were and why they were there. Again, I’ll ask, Eliza? Amanda? Really? I liked both of them, but they seem like odd choices.

All the time spent on the favorites, showed how their tribe is already split. There is an alliance of Ami, Eliza, Jonathon, and Yau Man (who I am already rooting for), and an alliance of James, Parvati, Ozzy, and Amanda (who I am already annoyed by). I didn’t mind Amanda and Ozzy so much last time but the fact that they are already coupling and are so buddy-buddy with James and Parvati (who are also coupling) troubles me. We didn’t see much of Cirie, which I thought was weird. I hope it is not a bad sign, since I think she is a great contestant. Next week, I am sure she will become the swing vote and whatever alliance she chooses will point the game in one direction or another.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In a prison of boredom

I feel like an awful fan, because I have completely lost track of everything that is going on on Prison Break. I was already a little lost in November when the show went on hiatus. Now, that it is back, I have not been able to get back on track. This is probably a sign that I don’t really care that much about the show. But while watching, all I could think about was how I have seen everything before and never gotten pay off. It makes it difficult to stay focused.

Two weeks ago the show had a cliffhanger where Sofia found a suitcase in Whistler’s closet. I don’t think we ever found out what was in it, but she seems a little doubtful about trusting him. I guess that was supposed to be building tension to the cliffhanger? But, it really just confused me.

The rest of the story is just more of the same. Michael is digging a tunnel and there are now enough people breaking out of Sona with him to form a baseball team. I did laugh when Michael reported to Lincoln how many people have to come with him. But it all just reminds me of season one, when the same thing happened. I am sure this will result the same way – way too many characters on the run in different places.

I also realized at the end, I have no idea what the full plan is. Did they reveal it and I just missed it? All I know is they are digging halfway out and then need something else to happen. But I can’t quite figure out what, and I can’t quite bring myself to care. I am sure something will happen to get some people out, and something else will happen to stop others, and it will continue on and on forever. After so many set backs and so many new plans it is hard to keep caring.

Wildly Unrealistic

The writers of Wildfire must have heard my pleas from the other week looking for some Kris/Dani interaction because there has been a ton of it the past two weeks. I loved their conversation where they both admitted not having a lot of female friends in the past, and was pleased to see Dani supporting Kris even though Jean and Pablo are still angry at her for the match race. It is a little surprising, since Dani lost a lot from that race when she wasn’t even involved. However, she has seemed to move on and it shows character growth, so I am okay with it.

In the premiere, I was pretty neutral towards Juinor’s new girlfriend, but now I am starting to dislike her. She rolled her eyes along with Juinor when they were discussing their controlling fathers, but didn’t seem to have any problem with the wedding announcement or the politicians being invited to the wedding. That is definitely a bad sign when it comes to her relationship with Juinor. She also didn’t initially support Juinor’s desire to invest in the wind turbine, which was obviously done in a way to contrast her with Kris. Kris fairly quickly encouraged Juinor to take a risk for what he thought was right, and I think the idea was to show she was better suited to Juinor’s “free spirit.” As I have said, there is no way the show is going to let Juinor go off and marry someone else, and I think this is setting that up.

My one real complaint is this whole idea that Wildfire is going to make a miraculous recovery because Kris shows up. Now, I know that that is the point of the show. Kris has a bond with Wildfire and can get him to run faster than anyone else, blah, blah, blah. But seriously? That scene at the end where Wildfire jumped over a fence to get to Kris when he could barely walk the day before? A little too crazy for my taste. It was probably supposed to make me feel good, but I just rolled my eyes.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Visions of Silliness

I am not going to compare Eli Stone to Ally McBeal. That is way too easy a comparison and I like to think I am above it. There were some obvious similarities, what with the show centering on a young lawyer who starts having hallucinations. However, the Ally similarities were not why I didn't like this show. I actually DID like Ally McBeal for the first few seasons, but I was not impressed with Eli Stone.

The problem was that the show didn't seem to know what side of the fence it was on. It spent a great deal of time establishing that Eli's visions had some kind of meaning and were guiding him on what case to take. But only halfway through the pilot, they throw in his medical diagnosis of the aneurysm. I know they did that whole thing with the acupuncturist talking about how there are two reasons for everything, the scientific and the divine, but the whole thing felt rushed to make a point. The concept may have worked better if Eli was having visions and others suggesting he was a prophet for several episodes, and THEN get the aneurysm diagnosis. It would make him questioning the cause of his visions more powerful.

My second problem with the show was the trial itself. There was all sorts of press about the medical community protesting the case the show was presenting - about how vaccine's can cause autism. This is apparently something that is medically unproven. But aside from that, I had an issue with how Eli tried the case. He actually said in his closing that the jury should decide the verdict based on their faith even though he didn't prove anything. That seems like something that should not be said on a lawyer show.

There were some positive moments. I enjoyed the mother's joke about how the autistic boy was Eli's son - "Yeah, I was pregnant for eight years." Plus, anything with Victor Garbor is worth watching. However, I will never be able to see him without thinking of SpyDaddy - not that that's such a bad thing.

I'll probably keep watching, simply because there is not a whole lot to look forward to on television these days. If it improves, it could become an enjoyable show. If not, it will be my first sacrifice once the writers' strike is over and my usual shows are back on.

Lost and Wondering

Lost is probably one of the most complicated shows to blog about. This is mainly because there are a thousand different sites out there that write thousands of words analyzing every single line of dialog, studying screen captures of every second, finding metaphors in every characters' name. I think people spend more time picking each episode apart than people in my college literature classes spent analyzing novels.

Because of my general opinion that Lost is only enjoyable if you look at it like a fun escapist hour, this is not going to be one of those blog entries. I just don't find it as fulfilling as some do. When Alias, another JJ Abrams show, was at its peak, I did the over analyzing thing. And at the end of the day, it all came down to nothing. Even though JJ isn't writing Lost anymore, I still don't want to get too involved in a show that promises more mystery than it can probably answer.

All that being said, the premiere last night was certainly one of the top episodes - absolutely higher than last years opening episode. Season three was a let down at many levels, but the introduction of flash forwards in the finale made up for that. Season four started where that one left off, and while it hasn't answered any previous questions, it asked enough new ones that I don't care what the monster is at the moment. To summarize:

  • Who are the Oceanic Six? Or the rest of them, as the case may be?
  • Why did the leave some people on the island? And more importantly, why does the public think they are dead?
  • Why does Jack go from fairly together in his post island life to wanting to go back like he did in the finale last year?
  • If Hurley went with Locke, how does he end up "rescued" with Jack and Kate?
  • Who the hell is Jacob and why does his house seem to move? And why can only some people see him?
  • Who was the person Hurley saw in the cabin?

And what is actually most present in my mind -
  • is Desmond ever going to give Claire the note Charlie wrote before he died?