Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best TV Characters Of The '00s

The decade is almost at a close and it’s time to look back at the last ten years of TV’s best characters. Unlike other lists of the same sort, this one consists only of characters that were introduces within the ‘00s. So, here is Keep Up TV Tome’s list of TV’s best characters for the ‘00s.

‘Admiral William Adama’ BSG
‘Dr. Gaius Baltar’ BSG
‘Leoben Conoy’ BSG
‘Lora Roselyn’ BSG
‘James “Sawyer” Ford’ Lost
‘Dawn Draper’ Mad Men
‘Roger Sterling’ Mad Men
‘Jesse’ Breaking Bad
‘Lew Ashby’ Californiacation
‘Hank Moody’ Californication
‘Wash’ Firefly
‘Gregory House’ House
‘Dexter Morgan’ Dexter
‘Charlie Day’ It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
‘Clay Morrow’ Sons Of Anarchy
‘River’ Firefly
‘Alpha’ Dollhouse
‘Eric Northmen’ True Blood
‘Jonny Drama’ Entourage
‘David Brent’ The Office
‘Seth Bullock’ Deadwood
‘Mr. Wu’ Deadwood
‘Al Swearengen’ Deadwood
‘Trixie’ Deadwood
‘Ellsworth’ Deadwood
‘Sheila Keefe’ Rescue Me
‘Joan Holloway Harris’ Mad Men
‘Walter Bishop’ Fringe
‘Sock’ Reaper
‘Denny Crain’ Boston Legal
‘Alan Shore’ Boston Legal
‘George “Job” Bluth II’ Arrested Development
‘Rodney McKay’ Stargate Atlantis
‘Dean Winchester’ Supernatural
‘Doug Wilson’ Weeds

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brittany Murphy Dies At 32

It was recently announced that actress Brittany Murphy has died from a cardiac arrest at age 32. People can speculate as to why this happened, but as it stands it seems she has died from cardiac arrest. Brittany was reported to have been fired from her last film project and on account of that had been the but end of many late night talk show hosts since then. It is a shame that she passed away, especially around the Holiday season. Condolences all around to her family, friends and fans.

Her Most Memorable Films Were:
Cherry Falls
Just Married
Don't Say A Word
Boys Don't Cry
Sin City

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Best Episodes of Paranormal State | Which Ones & Why

There are few people familiar with Paranormal State, it has a steady cult following and with the new season about to start it will be interesting to see if the show will gain more popularity. It is filmed in a documentary style with narration often provided by the team’s leader, in a kind of overly optimistic narrative usually in regards to the battle of good versus evil. Unlike shows like Ghost Hunters or Ghost Lab, Paranormal State has both a technical way of investigation and a spiritual/religious way of investigation. The show follows the invitations of a paranormal research community that is based out of Penn State University lead by Ryan Buell. The investigators will set up the now traditional array of cameras and sensors in hopes of catching a ghoul on film. On the other side of the investigatory spectrum is the use of mediums and spiritual ceremonies to either expel or release spirits or anything supernatural in nature. That’s what makes Paranormal State much creepier than your average ghost hunting show. The incantations and prayers used to ward off evil spirits along with a medium making claims of being touched by ‘something’ or sensing that something is angry or evil in the room, along with the seemingly authentic fear in the (perhaps gullible) members that make up the team, adds to the show. The most common medium they use on the show is Chip Coffee, who is overly dramatic and gives the most ambiguous readings, though, he is very entertaining… you have to admit that.
Now don’t be confused, this show and its investigations are most likely over dramatized for the purposes of television and the original suspicious activities that led the team to investigate in the first place are usually based off of the fearful ramblings of people who seem ready to believe anything.
There are some episodes of the show which really are spooky and entertaining. These are the episodes I thought were very entertaining and should serve as an introduction to those who have not yet watched an episode of the show.

Mothman: Why the Mothman episode, it’s interesting and the stories given by the town’s people during the episode sound insane, but so may people say they saw the same thing. And how the episode ends off is almost laughable, with Chip Coffee declaring a presence, as usual, but one of pure intelligence. It was creepy and as a skeptic, pretty funny.

The Devil in Syracuse: This episode is all about a demonic possession in a trailer park, and the highlight is when the subject of the investigation and the one being possessed declares, yes declares during the exorcism “Get out of my body!”, need I say more.

Church of the Damned: The Team investigated a condemned Church that is being renovated by a group of people until they are too terrified to continue. The Team finds evidence of devil worship that has been conducted in the abandoned structure. The best part is when Ryan the team leader is ‘attacked’ by something in the Church.

Room & Board: The Team investigates another cabin in the woods but this time the last occupant committed suicide. It is also revealed that the now deceased tenant was a transvestite and a heavy practitioner of occult rituals. This one is kind of funny and kind of sad, but entertaining none the less.

Californication Season Three | The Worst Season With The Best Ending

For the sticklers and crybabies this post will be full of spoilers, so if you are still working on a backlog of previous episodes from season three stop reading, or not. I don’t care, I love to spoil. The most revealing part of the season comes at its end but there is another moment which speaks to the character of out beloved drunken writer of a protagonist Hank Moody that comes in the form of a meal. For a person to claim that they know someone loves them by the fact they are will to make them breakfast is truly telling. Love is an egg in the hole for Hank, made by his lady love Karen. There were other storylines of little consequence played out this season. Starting with…

Hank and Karen: One is in California while the other is in the NYC for at least half of the season allowing Hank to whore about with the ladies of his choosing.
Hank becomes a university professor when he eggs a fellow writer and professor into drinking at a dinner (hosted by his daughter’s BFF’s parents who are also faculty at a local University). Not wise, with what seemed like gentle nudging to have a good time, turns into a full blown and at some point’s fully nude binge drinking extravaganza, forcing the professor into rehab leaving an open spot in the University. Luckily, Hank is there to fill this hole (no pun intended) the professor left in his absents and there is the bulk of season three of Californication.
Various situations revolving around Hank sticking his wee hank into women he shouldn’t be. Those on this bang list for this season, the Dean’s Wife, Hank’s Teaching Aid, A Busty Coed/Stripper who was played by Susan Sarandon’s daughter, and of course Hank’s life long lover.

Sub Plots:

They include Charlie’s professional and private problems, e.g. being seduced by his employer i.e. the lady from Romancing The Stone. He also has to deal with a forgotten Teen heart throb as a client none other than Rick Springfield, who coincidentally was Runkle’s wife’s teen crush. Marcie, Charlie’s soon-to-be divorced wife, actually starts to see Springfield creating a bit of tension between client and agent. There is nothing like fucking Rick ‘the dick’ Springfield banging your estranged wife to put a damper on your mood.
Also, Hank’s daughter has a few storylines of her own, involving drinking mushrooms and a bit of sex. Nothing to mind blowing, Becca essentially is the only thing keeping Hank on the straight and narrow and acts as an anchor for Hank throughout the season and the series as a whole keeping him from straying too far.

The Season itself seemed to rely to heavily on its former glory, in episodes of season three they actually reminisce about long past episodes and the highjinks they committed. That would have been fine, but they never topped those events e.g. The Squirt-er episode, the episode where Hank banged a dinner guest on Karen and her fiancĂ©’s bed only to vomit all over it and a valuable painting, and lets not forget the only other character on this show to out man-whore Hank, Lew Ashby, possible the best character to come out of the series.
(Big Spoilers Beyond This Point)
The Climax of the season came very late, and kind of revealed the season to be a big tease season as a whole, only leading up to the very important game changing final episode. In which, the young miss who seduced Hank in the show’s first episode, only to iconically punch him in the face as she came, returns after a book tour. She was on this whirlwind tour with a book that Hank wrote about their accidental/violent time together and the good times that ensued. The young Miss, Mia Cross, wants to come clean after a year of bullshitting her way through interviews about the book she did not write and could not write, to the media. But by revealing the fact that she and Hank hooked up while she was still of grounding age, could and did destroy his family and land Hank in jail. In great dramatic form, all of these issues come to the surface, compounded by the fact that Hank beat the shit out of Mia’s manager/older boyfriend, leading to his more immediate arrest. But not before Hank could return to his long time lady Karen, to confess his misdeeds. All this happens to occur right before Hank is about to leave the city he despises with the people he loves the most, to go to the city from which Hank is actually from and doesn’t hate. Hank can never have a happy ending and the viewers of this show know that. It’s because we don’t want to see Hank happy; we like to see him in the mud, fucking, punching and the like. At least Hank will have some time to write while in jail.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Steven Seagal | And His New A&E Show Lawman Overview

A television show with a concept that is so crazy sounding it may actually work.
What if someone was to tell you that Steven Seagal, the Aikido master of action films gone by, had got his own reality show based on his secret life as a town Sheriff? Well, that is exactly what is happening with Seagal’s new A&E show entitled Lawman. In the opening credits the aged action star goes on telling the story of how he became a deputy sheriff and that he chose to keep this fact on the down low for the twenty years he has been doing it. That is right Seagal has been training cops and going on patrol for two decades, all the while making movies like Glitter Man. The show itself is shot not unlike Cops, with camera crews taking up the back seats of the police cars that Seagal and his crew of equally old cops drive around in. The best parts of the show are made great because they are either completely unbelievable or completely surreal. For example, Seagal is a master marksmen, (that’s right he is actually a master marksmen) and in an episode helps one of his fellow cop’s pass his firearms readiness test with a little Zen tutelage a la Steven Seagal. As well, the narration provided by Seagal where he makes claims that his Marshal Arts training has made him a living weapon of sorts and that he can tell what an assailant is going to do before he or she even does it. Any little thing can tip off his highly attuned senses. And whenever that happens in the show the camera will cut to that shift of the foot, glance of the eyes or ask of an autograph. Seagal is an imposing figure standing a whopping 6’ 4”, though he is not exactly in the best shape of his life (he is in his late 50s). Lawman is made very entertaining by the surreal nature of the show, you are watching a man who has been playing a cop for years, as an actual cop busting actual criminals. This show is the best thing Seagal has done since Under Siege.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Enver Gjokaj A.K.A. Victor is the best actor on Dollhouse

Dollhouse has come back after a month long hiatus in November with back to back episodes. And these back to back episodes will continue for another two weeks. Over the short life of this FOX show few of the actors have shown any real aptitude for portraying multiple personalities/characters as the show sort of demands, as the main concept of the show is the taking on of different personalities at any given time. There is one exception to this cast of misfits lead by Eliza Dushku (who is the worst offender of them all, she could not act her way out of a paper bag, let’s be honest), and that actor is Enver Gjokaj. Who? The guy who plays Victor on Dollhouse, Enver Gjokaj even with his awful early attempts at a Russian accent in the first few episodes of the show, his ability to take on other characters really does demonstrate one thing, he is the most versatile and best suited actor in the Dollhouse. For example, in the episodes Belle Chose, The Public Eye and The Left Hand, Gjokaj showed that he could imitate other cast members pretty spot on. In Belle Chose he became one of Echo’s imprints (a fun loving party girl) imitating Dushku’s go-to-character on the show, not afraid to step into the realm of silly Gjokaj managed to pull of this gender/character switch. And again he displayed his acting chops with his almost unsettling impersonation of the character of Topher during the episodes The Public Eye and The Left Hand, where Victor is imprinted with the only other man Topher trusts, himself. Gjokaj impersonated Topher’s speech and mannerisms it bordered on creepy. That just goes to show you how he is the best actor on the show. You would not have seen Serra or one of the no name dolls who are always doing Yoga put in the position of acting like Topher, that is because they are just pretty people. Gjokaj can actually act. Don’t get me wrong there are some lovable characters on Dollhouse, but for a show about identity and the taking on of other personas there isn’t much in terms of diversity of character, that is what makes Gjokaj stand out among the other actors on Dollhouse. Even though this show is on its way out don’t be surprised if you see Gjokaj in another TV show or movie in no time at all.
If you want to see Enver Gjokaj in something else other than Dollhouse, check out Taking Chance. It is a made for TV movie staring Kevin Bacon, and it features Gjokaj as an Iraq veteran.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sons of Anarchy Season 2 Finale - Recap and Highlights

Episode Recap

Leading off from the last episode, Zobelle, his daughter, and Weston are in the town jail with SAMCRO perched outside in wait. Zobelle and his daughter are released for the drug possession because it turns out Zobelle is an FBI informant and untouchable because of it. This is explained by Agent Stahl to the Sheriff, who then inform SAMCRO and Weston. When Zobelle is released, he is given protection by the Mayans holds up in his cigar shop until it is time to catch his flight to safety from the Sons of Anarchy. However, Zobelle’s daughter goes to see her IRA boyfriend before she leaves, but finds him shot to death in his house, and then Gemma walks in and shoots her, and finds Agent Stahl, who shot the boyfriend during an operation to bring in his father. She then pins both murders on Gemma, who then flees town with the Sheriff. Jax kills Weston at a tatoo shop. Meanwhile, as Zobelle is being escorted out of town by the Mayans, SAMCRO ambushes them on the road, sending the Mayans away and Zobelle escaping to a near by ice cream shop to hide behind children as Clay waits for it clear out so he can kill him. Agent Stahls framing of Gemma has repercussions when the IRA father hears that Clays wife killed his son, as he follows Half-Sack back to Tara’s for revenge. He Stabs HAlf-Sack (killing him, probably) and steals Jax’s baby. When hearing of this, the entire club lets Zobelle go as they try to retrieve the baby, but they fail and the baby is stolen.

Episode Highlights

SAMCRO On The Steps And Car of The Police

Showing the type of relationship they have with the police and the type of people they are, the club literally sits outside the police station stalking their prey, Zobelle. they even go so far as to sit and walk all over the sheriff’s squad car as if to say, yes, we are above the law in this town. It’s a little thing they do in every episode, and the variations are becoming pretty entertaining.

It’s The Wild West Out Here

As the town they occupy seems to be a nexus of the universe where its another century where modern rules don‘t apply, there is a scene more reminiscent of westerns where the two biker gangs, the Sons of Anarchy and Mayans, line up their bikes across from each other in a standoff. the Deputy Chief very aptly describes the situation by saying, “It’s the wild west out here”. This show is becoming more Deadwood in style.

Intersecting Murders Between Stahl and Gemma

Agent Stahl’s framing of Gemma looks to be a focal point of next season. Stahl shot an unarmed man in custody and happily pinned it on Gemma. Kind of ironic since Gemma decided to kill Zobelle’s daughter because she went jesus crazy and thought God wanted her to do it, but she ended up getting framed, going on the lamb, and causing the death of Half-Sack and the kidnapping of Jax’s baby.

Road Ambush

This is one of the craziest scenes of the entire series. You’re wondering if their going to pull a terminator when they holster their shotguns to their motorcycles and ride off after the Mayan convoy. Well they don’t, but they still do something equally good. They drive a truck in front of the Mayans, pop out the back, and shoot them off their bikes with a hail of glorious shotgun fire.

Babynapped Irish Style

Damn Irish! It did seem a little over the top even for this show, but you have got to respect the style in which the kidnapping is done. Apparently, the IRA like to go the extreme route of kidnapping. Step one: plan to stab the baby. step two: stab someone else and decide to steel the baby raise as your own. Step three: escape with the baby as killer bikers chase you by finding the nearest speed boat, placing the baby on a pile of rope (because there‘s nothing safer than ran unfastened baby on a speed boat), and drive away. Well, its an imperfect plan, but the execution was perfect.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Overview and Highlights of Sons of Anarchy Season 2 Episode 12

Episode Overview

The SOA begin their plans to take down the White supremacists first by gathering all members and families to the club house, which they have turned into an impenetrable fortress, for their protection. Jax pits the White Supremacists against each other when he tells Weston (Zobelle’s right hand man) about Zobelles business deals with not-so-white- people. The SOA saves the IRA from the ATF, and carries out a master plan to kill Zobelle and wipe out the White Supremacists. With the Sons rearmed, they establish a deal with other rival to help them destroy the White Supremacists and the Mayans.

Episode Highlights

Club House Fortress

Surprising fact about the club house: it turns into a fortress against rival gangs, literally. SAMCRO rounds up their members and affiliates in their club house for protection as they get ready to cull the White Supremacists. Apparently, once they shut a very heavily barricaded gate, the club house turns into a fortress of the medieval kind.

Tara Finds Her Inner Thug

Finally realizing her status in the Sons of Anarchy, Tara chokes and breaks the nose of her hospital supervisor, who was ruining her career as a doctor, telling her she should back off because she knows where her family lives and where to find a few biker thugs for killing.

10 on 10 Fight To The Death

Doing the less practical but more SAMCRO style thing, Jax actually calls out a death match: 10 SAMCRO members against 10 White supremacists in a hand to hand combat fight to the death. Who does that? Of course, the Supremacists don’t intend to follow through on the challenge and bring guns instead, but with the help of a few gangs as back up, they get rid of the guns and have their brawl, but, sadly, nobody died in this so called death match. The SOA won, obviously, but what an event. All the main club members fought, including Clay; ears were bitten off.

Zobelle Almost Killed

With all of the SOA’s plans, they still did not pull off the culling. Zobelle narrowly escapes death by confessing to Drug possession to the police. It also produced an interesting situation as deputy hale has to stop the murders being planned by the SOA and the Sheriff.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Gift Ideas | TV DVD Box Set Style, The Ten Best For That Special Someone

The Christmas Season is almost upon us and we could all use some ideas for DVD stoking stuffers. So why not go with a television series on DVD. There are so many shows that are now available on DVD, it gets a little to narrow down your options. This is a list of ten television shows that are worth a spot of you or a loved one’s DVD rack. Starting with…

10. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is set in…Philadelphia the city of brotherly love, which is where irony only starts with this madly satirical comedy surrounding a group of friends that own and operate an Irish style pub. Each episode begins with a simple premise which also acts as the episodes title, such as The Gang Finds A Dumpster Baby or Charlie Goes American. Unlike most comedies this show is willing to take every episode to it’s most outrageous conclusion. By doing that the show can climb to the highest heights of hilarity and the lowest lows of shock comedy.
The shows politically incorrectness is tangible as the cast reminisce about the awful things that they have done or are in fact planning on doing. In a kind of Seinfeld meets South Park mix, this show appeals to the darker/morally numbed sensibilities of TV viewers. If you can allow yourself to follow the insanity in each episode you will literally piss yourself laughing. The character Charlie is a personal favorite of mine, as a glue huffing, dyslexic, wild card who’s personal grooming habits are always in question. Watch this show and be happy.
The best season was their third, and is filled with their darkest humor.
9. Supernatural
Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as Sam and Dean Winchester. After their mother was killed by a demon, their father trains them to become hunters of supernatural monsters of every variety. The story is centered on their search for their missing father as they fight evil spirits along the way. Created by the same person responsible for the X-Files, Supernatural shares the same elements that made it great. Brothers investigating supernatural event, from town to town, from motel to motel. The great thing about is that the episodes are oriented at creating a horror feel. They often use concepts from horror movies and turn them into episodes. It’s dark, action packed, and filled with some funny witty dialogue. Something to notice is that it doesn’t use the most recent poplar songs as its sound track. There is nothing but classic rock all the time, and it works. As much as it seems like it reuses ideas from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the X-Files, it really makes it its own and does great things with it. This is show worth a look and a spot on the mantle, and the best season out of the five they have had was the third or first, depending on your personal inklings.

8. Smallville
Smallville follows the adventures of a young Clark Kent in the early years before dawning the cape as superman. Clark Kent deals with his budding superpowers and a friendship with a young Lex Luthor while dealing with super powered aliens and meteor freaks in his home town of Smallville. Now this has been on for 9 seasons now, and it’s good for a very odd reason, a lot of it’s good, a lot of it’s bad, but even the bad stuff is entertaining. This show is simply a guilty pleasure that you cannot get enough of. Ah, it’s a real Cinderella story this one. Eight seasons, the last three of which were supposed to be series enders, but everybody realized that they couldn’t let this show go. There is a reason behind a show lasting nearly a decade. It looks good, the people are pretty, the special effects and action are entertaining, and the superman mythology is interesting. It’s really become an entity in itself since it’s one of the few shows that have gone through massive changes over the years without hurting it. Smallville has gone through plot and cast changes that would hurt any other show, cutting just about every main character but superman, losing its original formula, but it has surprisingly made it better. Now moving into its ninth season, Smallville is now better than it has ever been before. There aren’t many shows that can last this long and get better along the way.
It’s been on forever, but out of all its nine seasons their eighth was their best.
7. Rescue Me

Angry Irish Firefighters, this could be the title of the underappreciated FX show. The show surrounds the lives the men making up a fire house in New York City. This is not a third watch though where the drama is as canned and flat as the acting. This drama is a well written and engaging program, with the characters really having a life of their own on the screen. The main character in the show is the always angry, alcoholic Tommy Gavin. He is one of the most interesting characters currently on TV battling with his addictions and posttraumatic stress from 9/11, Tommy still fights fires even though he is very possibly mad. You see he see dead people… that’s cheap, none the less it is a main part of the show that Tommy can not only see the people that he has lost but he can carry on full conversations with them. The only catch is that he can only see them when he is on the booze. It may seem out dated to have a show about firefighters dealing with their experiences of 9/11 but Rescue Me manages to keep it fresh and exciting, always funny dialogue in the fire house and constant emotional conflicts in the bottle make this show worth watching for anyone looking for a engaging Television.
Go with the first season of this show it is a classic, very dark and very funny.
6. Sons of Anarchy
The Sons of Anarchy is a dramatic exploration of a motorcycle club based out of a small California town. In this town the Sons of Anarchy (or SAM CROW as they are often referred to as) run guns, porn, stolen goods and pretty well anything of value within the town limits. The town sheriff rests comfortably in the pocket of the club and allows the group to come and go as they please as long they keep their exploits at a subtle level. What you can expect from this show is a Soprano’s meets the Hells Angels type feel. As a cable show it can go that extra mile in terms of violence and content, who wouldn’t want to watch some badass bikers shoot up a rival biker club and then hit a brothel? First and foremost, this show has a very gritty feel to it. Examples range from the castration of a pedophile, to a former club member being forced to have his club tattoo burned off with a blowtorch (a signature grim reaper back tattoo all sons must bare). Every episode has something new to offer, the dynamic between members is much more caviler than what you may have seen in other organized crime type shows, members of the club playfully banter with one another. Special attention is given to the newest recruit to the club lovingly referred to by the sons as ‘one nut’ given his special disability of an obvious nature, courtesy of a recent tour in Iraq. The sons even have an agreement with the IRA as suppliers of AK 47’s which caused many interesting moments throughout the first season, like when the IRA contact was injured in a bar shoot out and injured as in shot in the ass and not being able to go to a hospital because he was currently wanted in the USA for being a terrorist…sort of thing. The show really surrounds the character of Jax a lifer within the club and the son of one of the forming members of the Sons of Anarchy. Jax’s coming to terms with the birth of his crack baby…you heard me crack baby, his wife in the show is a junky, and the return of an old flame only compound his already wavering belief in the so called anarchist mission of the motorcycle club. Looking for guidance Jax turns to a manifesto written by his now long dead father which is all about the ideology that the Sons of Anarchy was founded on, and has long since been abandoned for more violent and self-serving ideals. This show is a grower; it should only get better as time goes on as we learn more about the characters and their circumstances.
This show has almost finished its third seasons, but the second is by far the best season so far.
5. Firefly
Joss Whedon’s Firefly is an action-adventure western/sc-fi. It chronicles the lives of the crew of Serenity (the firefly class ship). It is set 500 years in the future, when humanity leaves earth and colonizes various planets. Shortly after a civil war between the Alliance and the brown coats, the unified government and the Independents, the crew of the ship Serenity, lead by Captain Malcolm Reynolds, attempts to maintain a life on Serenity by taking any job that pays enough.
Firefly is sort of the passion project of Joss Whedon that he made after Buffy the Vampire Slayer and before Dollhouse. It was canceled before its time, which ultimately made Whedon die inside and ruined him for Dollhouse. It’s an interesting concept: cowboys in space. All the elements that Whedon excels at are seen here, a descent story, character driven, and especially witty dialogue, and this is something that seems to be missing in today’s television.
Whedon seems to have somewhat taken the story for Firefly from Clint Eastwood’s western The Outlaw Josey Whales. I have no idea people cannot see the connection; just put Eastwood in space and it’s the same thing. This isn’t a bad thing because it had an interesting concept. It featured Eastwood as a confederate soldier on the run from the Union army immediately after the fall of the Confederacy. The twist is that the confederate soldier is the good guy and the Union is bad. Why? Because Josey Whales isn’t fighting for slavery; he’s fighting for his own freedom. In it Eastwood’s character goes on the run from the Union and encounters people, outcasts who have been wronged by the Union society, who join him and create a home for themselves on a farm in a ghost town. Whedon uses the same idea in Firefly by making Malcolm Reynolds a soldier who lost in the fight for independence against the Alliance and makes a home for himself along with his crew in the sci-fi version of a ghost town, a ship in space.If you know Whedon, it’s all about the dialogue. Firefly is serious when it needs to be and witty the rest of the time. What Whedon shows in Firefly is that the action shouldn’t be the only entertaining part of a show, you need good dialogue to keep it entertaining the entire time, and this show has that. Last but not least is the early performance by Summer Glau as River. Before she played creepy/crazy fem-bot on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, she was doing it better on Firefly. It is also where you will find the origination of the camera zoom-in. Before Battlestar Galactica used the zoom-in to distinguish their space battles, Firefly did it first and probably inspired its use in Galactica.
As there was only the one season...
4. Kitchen Confidential
Chefs, funny actors, and an amoral sensibility make up this show that ranks at number 4. Kitchen Confidential is a single camera comedy which follows a down and out, alcoholic, and drug using chef (Jack Bourdain) who loses his career but is given a second chance as the new head chef at a restaurant where he must deal with his equally misfit staff, along with the antagonistic owner’s daughter who hopes to see him fail.
It had a short run, but Kitchen Confidential will stay in your memory as the surprisingly funny dark comedy that shocks the funny into you. The notable performance is of the egotistical and competitive head chef played by Bradley Cooper. It’s also the last place you can see the guy who played Xander on Buffy the vampire slayer being funny. Now, I did say it’s dark, but how dark? Let’s put it this way: does killing a few fluffy rabbits sound dark? Does attempting to kill a man by feeding him extremely decadent food that will explode his heart sound dark? Yes it does, but it’s also damn funny. So if you like to watch a dark comedy about chefs, check this one out.
There was only one season, but it’s a perfect fit for a dark humored friend.
3. Battlestar Galactica
A remake of a terrible 70’s science fiction show Battlestar Galactica has changed the game for all future science fiction. Set in a futuristic universe where the enemy of the human race is a race of self-aware robots called Cylons which were in fact created by humans. The show which began with a movie length mini-series about how the Cylons returned to their place of origin and annihilated the human race, destroying all but a few survivors. With all of the worlds which the humans inhabit in this story destroyed and rendered uninhabitable. The remaining survivors led by a President dying from cancer and a Battlestar Captain acting as the only line of defense from the incessant attacks of the Cylon fleet.
As a show the quality of the acting and stories which made up this instant classic is unmatched in the realm of science fiction. This show became for many viewers a touch tone for current social commentary such as the use of torture, religious extremists, and the survival of a Democracy during a time of paranoia and fear. The visual effects in this series are movie quality but they just act as a backdrop for the drama of the show. At its hart this show is less of a sci-fi and more of a drama set in a fictional world. If you have not watched Battlestar Galactica then you have missed out on a thought provoking and insightful program which just so happens to be really entertaining. Some people have spent many an hour trying to decipher the hidden meaning in each episode of the show and the idea that anyone can be a Cylon in human form only adds to the paranoia of an already suspicious viewer. This show is worth the watch. The only problem with this show is that one cannot be a casual viewer since each episode relies so heavily upon the previous one, each episode building upon the others. And because of this if you want to start watching the show, you have to start at the beginning.
Out of all four of its seasons the first was by far the best.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
In a nut shell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is about a young woman who in supernaturally endowed with strength and speed in order to fight the forces of darkness. With her trusty sidekicks aka the Scoobies Buffy battles her way through a plethora of demons, monsters, x boyfriends, and of course vampires. Set in the small fictional town of Sunnydale CA. home of the hell mouth; a portal to the netherworld which is conveniently located beneath Buffy and the gangs base of operations, the high school library. This is where the final member of the Scoobies can be found for the most part during the first three seasons of the show, Buffy’s watcher/father figure Giles.
Now most people have heard about this show and many just leer at the fans of this show like some kind of sideshow act. On the surface of the show it is….well silly. The star of the show and apparent savior of the show is a 90 pound girl who can beat up… I’m sorry…is destined to beat up the evil of the world. Therein is the draw. The show’s visual and thematically oddness is made not believable but watchable, very watchable. Like most within the fantasy genre, the stories that make up the show are extreme and abstract. They provide a coloured window into the more sensitive topics of the real world, such as how things in a relationship change when things get physical.
In terms of simple viewing pleasure Buffy the Vampire Slayer has what you need. The lovability of the characters of the show and the playful and witty dialogue they all engage in at every turn, whether it be during a fight to the death or at the cafeteria lunch table. If you are looking for a mythology to get caught up in and have the ability to suspend your sense of reality and enjoy a fantastic show, then rent the first couple of seasons of the show.
The fourth season is the best in my opinion, but that’s just me.
1. Freaks and Geeks
Mainly a high school show set in the 80’s focusing on the lives of the out cast of schools social strata, the title characters…the freaks & geeks. Not exactly the freshest sounding idea for a TV show, high school, teenaged angst, boy meets girl, whatever sounds like 90210 in but in bizarreo world. Not so much, the stories that actually make up the foundation for this show have a cynical feel and real feel that cause you to be involved in the characters and stories that make up the series. Why is this show number one on this list? First off, I am listing these shows in terms of surprise at their quality and ability to entertain and for me Freaks and Greeks was a great surprise. Having heard of the show before but never giving it much attention it was only last year that I actually rented the one and only season. Partially due to the success of Jud Apatow the guy who made 40 Year Old Virgin, Knock up, etc; comedies that are actually funny. Not funny ha ha more like funny “I just pissed myself” kind of funny, which seems to be becoming more and more rare. The reason this show was so good has much to do with the cast, relative un-knows in the late 90’s James Franco, Seth Rogan, Linda Cardellini, just to name a few.
There is only one season so enjoy. Hope this list helped in your holidays search. Happy Hoidays!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Swan Song Of Mininova.org | The End Of An Era and Centralized File Sharing Sites

On November 26th 2009 Mininova.org, the infamous torrent site submitted to a Dutch courts ruling and became a content distribution only service. The Dutch court determined that the website must create a file filtering system that would not allow copyright material to be posted on their site. But, due to the nature of the torrent system and creative uploaders ability to manipulate titles, copyright materials were still getting onto the site making it impossible for the site to continue as it was. The site is not closed for business altogether you can still go to the site and look at the bones of what was and all of the legally uploaded material the site has to offer. Launched January 19th 2005 Mininova.org was considered the premier torrent site world wide, offering literally millions upon millions of torrent to be shared by the public to the public. What separated Mininova.org from other file sharing middlemen was the fact that it did not require a registration to download torrents thereby allowing for a certain level of anonymity for the users, as well as the ‘cleanliness’ of the site free from malware and pornography. Most importantly, Mininova.org in its existence posed one of the truly important questions of our modern age; to what extent can one own an idea? For large corporations and the governments they influence with their financial will the answer is to no limit. The implications of these opposed mentalities are yet to be seen.
As the giant has fallen what is to become of the file sharing community around the globe? The history of file sharing has been a hot topic since the Napster debacle, when large publishing houses and musicians (most notably Metallica) took aim at the software company for copyright infringement. But this crackdown on the software based file sharing systems only brought about the next evolution in file sharing, namely torrents. A file Torrent is a small program that operates in conjunction to a vast network of other torrent users, in essence by going after centralized file sharing software programs such as Napster the only logical set was to decentralize the system, thus giving birth to the popularity of torrents. Funny fact, the little program that could or the torrent was first created to distribute John Mayor bootlegs. Who know it would take on such an important role as a file sharing tool back when it was spreading around “Your Body Is A Wonderland”.
What is next then in this ever evolving field of file sharing? Perhaps it will be as simple as another reincarnation of a Mininova.org, a clone with the same features as the original but based out of another country. Or maybe something completely different will arise to replace the fallen giant, a kind of system or technique more adaptive and simple than any other method that has ever come before. One without a head to cut off, or a business to bankrupt, one completely independent of any possible regulation. Pushing the fringe and free thinkers further away will only create an abyss the law cannot contain.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sons of Anarchy Season 2 Episode 11 Runthrough

Episode Overview

Upon hearing of Gemma’s assault, Clay makes a visit to Jax for a mutual apology between the two, and are now reunited and set on destroying the White Supremacists together. The plan: kill them all. Both of them tell the other members of Gemma at a club meeting, and, although some of the members are all for cutting some heads off right away, Clay and Jax decide to play it smart this time. First, Clay needs to repair their relationship with the IRA so they weapons to take on their enemy, but before that can happen, all the members need to dip into their personal gun stalk. Gemma seduces Tig, which leads him to tell Opie of he and Clay’s mistaken murder of his wife. Opie, realizing that it was ATF Agent Stahl’s fault for setting him up, decides to follow her for some pay back. Along the way, he sees Chibs walk out of a meeting with her, in which he refused to sell out the IRA and be a rat. Opie finally confronts Agent Stahl only to show mercy and let her live. Meanwhile, as Jax tries to track Opie, he sees Zobelle (White Supremacist leader) dealing with a very Mexican gang, Mayans. Clay repairs the relationship with the IRA; Opie forgives Clay and Tig; Opie’s dad tries to shoot Clay; Chibs tells the truth about his dealings with the ATF and is also forgiven; the episode ends with Clay proving his love for Gemma by having some old-person lovin.

Episode Highlights

Big Reveals

It all happens in this episode. They’ve got it all. There have been some big secrets building in this season that are all revealed in this episode: Clay and Tig’s murder of Opie’s wife, Chibs’s dealings with the ATF, Gemma’s rape, Zobelle’s secret relationship with the Mayans. It was all out in the open, and it was fantastic. Gemma’s reveal started a chain reaction of truth that played flawlessly.

Unbelievable Clemency

If there was ever an episode that set this show apart from all others and cements itself as a show to watch, it’s this one. There is far more clemency in a show like this than any other of its kind, and it actually seems realistic in its own world. The Sons of Anarchy would probably be compared to the likes of The Sopranos and The Shield, but here is the difference: they actually forgive people in the Sons of Anarchy. In other shows, something like being a rat and killing someone’s wife means you die. Here, it’s a completely different situation. For all of their betrayals, murders, and attempted murders, everything was forgiven, and ironically cleansed the entire club. That is one unorthodox series.

The Reaction of the Club to Gemma’s Assault
Opie: “what do we do?”
Chibs: “we get bloody, and we chop their God damn heads off!”
Entire club: “YA!”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sons of Anarchy S02E10 "Balm" - Overview and Highlights

Jax has set in motion a vote to determine if he goes Nomad and leaves the club. Clay finds a source of bullets in a "Native American" community and helps them sell there shrooms in exchange for bullets, which first requires Half-sack and Tig to test them. Meanwhile, the SOA's resident Scotsman, Chibbs, is released from the hospital and, upon hearing of Jax's intention to leave the club, makes a visit to the IRA and their leader, who happens to have banished him from the IRA and stole his family in the past. Jax finds the absent club members to either get their vote or proxy them since leaving the club requires a unanimous vote from all members. Chibbs is approached by the ATF to have him to sell out the IRA, and he ultimately agrees in return for the down fall of his IRA enemy, the safety of his family in protective custody, and the ceasing of the ATF's surveillance of the SOA. Jax is given the go ahead to leave the SOA, but Gemma brings Jax and Clay back together by telling them about her assault by the white supremacists. Episode HighlightsShroom CrazyBefore the SOA can pass on the shrooms to the local sellers, some good testing must be done, and Half-sack and Tig are the volunteers. These aren't your common trippy shrooms. It's the good stuff, and that means they make you go shit crazy for the whole day sitting in a trance or literally wallowing in mud. Jimmy O and Chibbs The head of the IRA makes an interesting character for the show as a menacing character and source of back story between Chibbs and him. Apparently Chibbs was an IRA member back in the day and was banished by Jimmy O, who also took his family and loves to rub it in his face by talking about impure thoughts of his daughter. Chibbs ends up snitching to the ATF because of it. Clay and Jax Together AgainAs an ironic twist, the rape of Gemma that was meant to destroy SAMCRO actually saves it. Once Jax voted to leave the club, Gemma decides to talk about the deed to make him stay, and it works. Jax and Clay are now on the same side and probably about to kill, maim, and castrate the white supremacists.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Supernatural Fans and Their Fandom: Fringe Fans Versus Week-To-Week Fans... Anyone up for some LARPing?

It seems that Supernatural has cornered the market in fan oriented satirical content. The past few episodes have been centered around the fan fanatics, the one with the network competition and the newest revolving around an actual Supernatural convention. Why is this? Is it that the Supernatural fans demand more than other fans basis or is it that the creators of the show have the most hate towards its fans than any other fans in the history of television. It is well know that the fan fiction and the fans in general of Supernatural have a reputation of being sticklers for details and continuity.
There are a few sects of Supernatural fans. The fan fiction type fans that write about homoerotic intrigue involving Dean and Sam in some sort of incestuous man love scenario. The LARPers (Live Action Roll Playing) who dress up as Sam and Dean and pretend to solve mysteries together and the run of the mill fanatical fan who has the signature chest tattoo the two main characters bare, the one that is supposed to protect them from possession and all kinds of bullshit like that.
Why is it that the writers of Supernatural have such a ridiculous opinion about their shows fans? One might say it is all in good fun but what about the none ridiculous fans of the show the ones who don’t LARP and don’t fantasize about homoerotic interactions between Sam and Dean, the ones who just enjoy the simple pleasures of an X-Files-centric show brimming with paranormal fun? They seem to be lumped into the rest of the fans who just kind of watch week-to-week and avoid the whole extracurricular activities. Maybe the fringe fans are like the ones depicted in these episodes but not so much for everyone else. So, are you a fringe fan or just a week-to-week type of viewer?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

V Pilot S01E01 | A V-licious Start To The Series

V, a revamp of a mid 80’s mini-series of the same title, has returned to the small screen. In the pilot we are introduced to an eclectic group of characters, human or otherwise. In the episode the aliens have landed or so to speak, they are actually hovering over a large number of cities. The only landing the ‘visitors’ seem to be doing is when they are providing free healthcare to cities below them or just to show up and look pretty. After the Firefly hotty Morena Baccarin’s giant head appears on the underbelly of the visitors ships speaks a few calming words of peace and friendship, the separate stories begin to take shape. There are five different storylines being explored in the V pilot: one of an FBI agent tracking terrorists, one of her son being lured into the V organization, one of a Catholic priest who has been running out of communion wafers ever since the V arrived, a news reporter (more like a teleprompter reader) who has fallen into the good graces of the leader of the V Anna, on account of his lack of journalistic ethics, the last in this web of stories is that of the visitor/in-love-with-a-human Morris Chestnut who can only be described as an alien with some loyalty issues. That is a lot of story. That being said, the story itself is not that hard to follow. It is straight forward enough; aliens have come to earth under the guise of friendship and E.T. like cuteness in order to execute some sort of diabolical plan. It turns out that the visitors have been on earth longer than a few months and have been working subversively to undermine the stability of Earth e.g. terrorism, religious extremism, the economic downturn, unnecessary wars, the death of the electric car, global warming, the disappearance of wild salmon, Californian wildfires, the balloon boy, Glen Beck etc. All of these things are a part of the master plan design by the visitors in an attempt to destabilize the earth and its governments.
Although the show is a rehash of the original from the 80s, it is actually very original and entertaining. The theme is paranoia and devotion, as people build a resistance while conscious that aliens are disguised as humans among them and the godlike devotion the world has for the Visitors. Morena Baccarin is great as the villain, portraying a very menacing, emotionless, and attractive representative of the Visitors. There is an integration of the original concepts of the series while incorporating the socioeconomic issues of the present. Nothing is so over the top like Fringe and Battlestar Galactica, with esoteric science and alien detecting methods. The aliens are still reptiles wearing human suits, and the only way to tell if someone is human or a visitor is to cut through the skin behind the ear until you see skull or reptile skin. How simple and awesome.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sons Of Anarchy S02 E07 Overview

The Sons of Anarchy are imprisoned after raiding a church and must seek protection as the prison is stacked with white supremacists who intend to kill them. Meanwhile, Gemma works on getting bail for their release and ATF Agent June Stahl, a past enemy of the club, comes back to town. In return for protection, Clay has a member get pimped out to set up an untouchable inmate to be killed and Opie set up a lady snitch for drug charges. Opie’s mother gives him his children just as has to do the job, so Gemma takes care of them. The untouchable inmate is taken care of successfully, but a member gets stabbed right after by the white supremacists. Opie goes to a porn actress he knows to get drugs from her dealer, and he gets them and places them in the snitches car, but the cop he sends to bust the snitch gets shot by her instead. Agent Stahl pays a visit to Clay and Jax in prison to try and get them give up their IRA partners for immunity, and even riles Clay into brawling with Jax. In the end, neither Clay nor Jax accept her proposal and end up being released because Gemma convinced a generous benefactor to post bail. The episode ends with club members heading to the club house while Jax goes in another direction, signaling the rift between Jax, Clay, and the club members.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Destination Truth: A Paranormal Reality Show That Can Laugh At Itself

There are many reality shows currently on television but few have combined the fun of hunting monsters and ghosts with a travel show. That is what you get when you watch Destination Truth, a Sy-Fy original series. In it the host Josh Gates travels around the world to find proof of some local monster legends, or that is the obligatory ‘serious’ premise for the show. The fact is this show in all of its high ambitions is more about how different people around the world create and maintain myths. Whether it is in Tai Land or deep in the jungles of Africa the first thing Josh and his crew look for is people. The people provide the story and the camera crew goes out and tries to find it, even if it is a giant raping bat. That is right in one episode. This crew of monster hunters came across a story of a giant bat creature that raped a man in the night, or so the story went. As unlikely as it is that these intrepid adventurers will ever find a Yeti or Sea monster does not seem to matter. It’s all about the journey, and with the mostly funny, sometimes snarky comments made by Josh, the host/producer of the show, the entertainment is always there.

In some more serious supernatural shows where they look for things that any rational person would dismiss, you find the source of the entertainment. Making comments about the nonsense that you are seeing on the screen. ‘Maybe that noise you heard was the wind?’ or ‘Isn’t it more likely that you are seeing dust particles on your cameras then some disembodied spirit?’. Moments like this are filled in for the most part by the host of Destination Truth. And what is better TV watching? Seeing a bunch of people lurk around a small ‘hunted’ inn somewhere in nowhere USA or watching a group of people running around a jungle in the middle of Africa looking for an Ape Man, which even the investigators’ would be surprised to find. However, some of the better episodes of Destination Truth do actually revolve around looking for ghosts… but they are looking for ghosts. The thing is, the crew of Destination Truth does not seem to have the nerves of steel that other ghost hunters’ do that have a TV show. During one of their investigations’ that the Truth-ers were on, the team members took turns staying inside of a shack where paranormal activity was said to have taken place. That did not last long though, at the height of the investigation one of the male members of the team when girlishly screaming from the spooky shack after hearing what could best be described as… a noise, albeit a loud one. Also, during the search for a giant anaconda, yes like the one from the movie Anaconda, one of the crew members has a bit of a melt down over his fear of snakes. He begins to tell a story about some childhood trauma revolving around snakes only to be interrupted by the host of the show, where Josh the host said that because of the childhood trauma ‘you now dress as a snake and fight crime’. Or the time the crew was in Africa and tried to talk a local land owner into not sacrificing a chicken to appease the spirits that live in his woods. Luckily, the chicken did not die that night, but it is in these situations that the best parts of the show are revealed. While other pseudo-investigatory shows try and legitimize themselves through seriousness, Destination Truth in its own way has found a solid middle ground where they can have an adventure and look for something they will never find, but in the end entertainment is still had.

Essentially, Destination Truth has what many other paranormal realty shows lack, simplicity and adventure. Other shows such as UFO Hunter, Ghost Hunters and even Monster Hunters (all of these shows really exist) fall short in terms of entertainment. They become dull and some of the investigations are conducted in an unprofessional manner. This unprofessional behavior would be fine if the cast of the show itself were not so serious… they are looking for space ships and boogiemen, how serious can you be when conducting such an investigation? Destination Truth may have its occasional dull episodes, for the most part though it’s entertaining. Even though the other shows mentioned like to focus on particular areas the crew, ghosts or monsters and UFOs, Destination Truth takes on both, ghouls and monsters alike and investigate them in a more interesting way than the shows that have made those particular things the focus of their shows. It is hard to put your finger on what makes Destination Truth better than other paranormal shows but one thing is for certain it is one of the best shows on the Sy-Fy channel, partly because of the lightheartedness of the show and of course the wild locations that the crew visits.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

SGU The First Episodes | Thoughts and Highlights and Low Points

Our introduction to the new Stargate crew consists of three episodes that make up the pilot, all entitled Air. Air part one takes place on the Icarus base and earth. Part two takes place mainly on the ancient ship Destiny and part three is where the meat of the story is laid bare. In the show Civilians and Military people are collected for an important mission on another planet. On it there is a power source that can engage the ninth chevron on the Stargate, which takes a Stargate traveler to a location never before discovered. The story unfolds in a fractured manner for the first two parts with the scenes switching between past and present, possibly to hide the fact that what is going on is rather dull. After the Icarus base is populated with its characters it is not long until they have to rush through the Stargate and onto the ancient ship Destiny. About 80 people make it through the Stargate onto the ship, and from then on the show turns into one about survival. The rest of part two is taken up by the pressing matter of air abroad the ship or lack there of, (this issue persists through the third episode as well). All of the ancient systems have been taxed beyond their designed life span and have begun to break down. Most importantly the air filters are poisoning the atmosphere due to corrosion. With time running out, the new crew of the Destiny has to make some tough choices costing them a crew member. In a lackluster moment where a California politician makes the ultimate sacrifice, locking himself into an area of the ship which is the main cause of air lose on the ship. Maybe they had Arnold in mind when they wrote that scene.
What separates this show from the former Stargate shows, SG1 and SGA is that there was almost no action in the pilot episode. In both of these former shows the pilot sort of set the tone for what highlights are to come. However, in SGU’s pilot the action is trivial and consists of a battle between the Icarus base and a Stargate Command ship in orbit fighting off some sort of random enemy attacking above the base. Later, in the third part of the pilot, members of the crew travel to a desert world where they need to find material to fix their Air problem. This is where the show starts to get interesting. During this mission to the desert planet which looked amazing, the ‘away team’ fights about almost every decision that is made and there is even a bit of a mutiny ending in someone being shot in the arm while trying to go through the Stargate. Meanwhile on board the ship, two crew members trade places with other people back on Earth by using these crazy little ancient stones; that allow you to do such a thing. Then a revelation, it seems that by having this technology to trade places the writers of the show have created a story telling device that will allow for characters who should not be able to interact with the Destiny crew to take over another persons body and engaged with the crew. This is a great idea, this way there can be a number of people who can come to this lost ship and visit with the crew simply by using one of these little magic stones.

There are few highlights in these two episodes. The character that plays the gamer turned
ancient technical consultant was the least boring followed closely by Rush, the crazy scientist. The rest of the characters that populate the show are quite transparent but have some Lost like connections that are sure to be revealed over the season. But who cares? What this show is trying to do is combine Battlestar Galactica with Stargate. What made Battlestar Galactic so good though was that the actors were engaging and the story was fascinating; the end of the human race and all of the drama that comes with it. That is what BSG was all about. SGU reminds me of Star Trek Voyager, there is little urgency and the drama seems to fall flat when it is supposed to be at its height. In the end, only time will tell if this new addition to the syfy universe will amount to anything more than a run of the mill space ship show.


§ Here is a fun fact. Something that separates this show from the other ones is a sex scene to make it more gritty and mature and like Battlestar Galactica.

§ One member of the team is recruited for being able to crack an ancient code that was planted in an online game similar to World of Warcraft. Is anyone else thinking Starfighter right now?

§ Lou Diamond Philips ends up not being dead and will make periodic returns to the Destiny in someone else’s body.

§ The incorporation of a floating camera that is used both as a way to check what is on the other side of an unknown Stargate Address and as a new way to shoot the show itself, through floating camera ball angles.

§ Fun Fact: For the two hour premier we learn that the Destiny is an ancient ship that began its journey in the Milky Way only to progress unmanned trough an unknown amount of others. This ship followed another unmanned ship that creates Stargates and plants them onto recently located planets. Other features of this ship are: it has many areas that are partly exposed to space and it stops at the previously mentioned newly located plants for twelve hours stints.

The Low Points:

The shows pace is slower than that of the older SG shows. Making it hard to get too excited about watching the next installment.

The attempts at tension leaves the viewer simply board.

It comes off as a poor man’s version of Battlestar Galactica.

Did not get to see Lou Diamond Philips die, because he is still alive in the show .

Before seeing the pilot we here at Keep Up TV Tome had a few unfounded and a few rightfully assumed plot points that we thought we ascertained from the clips offered in the middle of the summer as a sort of tease.
1) We were under the impression that the Icarus base was powered by the sun. Wrong. It was powered by an unstable planetary core and that is why the bases’ team has to flee to Destiny because the planet is going to explode.
2) We thought that Lou Diamond Philips was going to die tragically saving either the Destiny or fighting for the Icarus base. Didn’t happen, he just kind of disappeared after the firefight with the hostile ships.
3) It was not the testing of the ninth chevron that made the planet explode it just kind of blew up.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sons of Anarchy | Season Two | Episode Three Recap

Main Plot:
The White Supremacists have come to the town of Charming and they brought meth. More accurately, the leader of the White Supremacist who masks his agenda in a nice suit in his yet to be opened cigar shop has provided the funds to the local Nords; another white power group that has a history of cooking meth in and around Charming. The ‘No Drugs in Charming’ position of the SOA is in part why they are tolerated and some what praised in the town among the locals. The club then goes to work in nipping the meth problem in the bud, by first interrogating the dealer who set up shop out side of the town’s mill. After a short and painful encounter with the SOA the dealer tells them where the cook house is. In true form, the SOA assemble in a military style assault of the Nords’ Meth house, resulting in a bloodless encounter but ending in a boom.
Gemma and Clay: Gemma is still dealing with her rape. Tensions mount with Clay and Gemma. Because Clay is still unaware of the attack, he is beginning to lose his patience with Gemma, who he thinks is just shaken from a car accident.

Jax and Doctor Tera: Terra worries about about porn actress after Jax, and Gemma suggest a throw down to claim her territory. Instead, Terra just has her way with him in front of her in a public bathroom.

Opie: During the raid on the Nords’ Opie nearly blows himself up with the meth house in a risky manner of setting the charges. A similar thing happened during a firefight with the Mayans earlier in the season where Opie tried taking on the Mayans in a kind of kamikaze run at the other gang members.

The Adult Film Industry in Charming:
The newly acquired partnership between the SOA and a local adult film production company starts to get rocky when Clay gives one of his guys, Bobby A.K.A. Elvis (impersonator), the bookkeeper position for the production company. It turns out that Lou-Anne, owner of the production company has been keeping two books in order to keep the SOA from digging to deeply into her pockets. Bobby lets Luanne know that he is going to have to bring this up in a Club meeting and Luanne, the classy woman that she is, reminds Bobby, in hope of clemency, what her specialty was while she still worked in front of the camera… in the clearest way possible.
Note: The latest adult film to come out of the new partnership between the SOA and Luanne’s production company wrapped during this episode. The fictional adult film was a wink and a nod to a popular AMC show, Mad Men. During the shooting of this fictional adult film, one adult film actors addressing the other a Mr. Draper, along with the 50’s era set and costumes it was clearly referring to Mad Men.

The would-be Sheriff Hale and the White Supremacists: With lines being drawn between White Hate and the SOA in Charming the club concocts a plan to see where Deputy Sheriff Hale’s loyalties lie. Before the SOA blew up the meth house they gave the law a chance to do its job. Jax approached Deputy Hale and informed him of the meth house’s location asking him to check it out. If the Deputy did nothing then he is in concert with White Hate; if he raids the house then he is still uncompromised. Deputy Hale shows up at the cook house and has an informative confrontation with the Nord’s local leader (Skinner from the X-Files). The Skin-Man hands the Deputy a coupon for the grand opening of a new cigar shop opening in downtown Charming, the one owned by Ethan Zobelle (White Collar + White Hate = Ethan Zobelle). This is news to the Deputy and he has a meeting with Zobelle about the use of meth to increase his control over the town. In the end though, Deputy Hale becomes complicit and allows Zobelle to continue his meth venture in order to bring down the SOA once and for all. All that Hale did though is affirm to the SOA that he can not be trusted and is in concert with the White Supremacists.

Monday, September 21, 2009

FlashForward Pilot Review

A great concept can’t save this lacklustre version of Lost. FlashForward has been the most anticipate series of fall 2009. Critics have been buzzing about the pilot episode for a while now, and they have proclaimed it the new Lost. Some people may expect that mean it’s as good as Lost, or the pilot episode was as surprisingly as Lost was when it surprisingly debuted with a great pilot and lots of followers. But when you see the first episode of FlashForward, you realize it’s not the new Lost, it was just meant to copy it. The very first scene is a flat out copy of Lost’s. Stunned people awaken in a daze to find a catastrophe around them and rush to help those in trouble. I thought: very familiar, if only they had a plane crash, a polar bear, and a dinosaur (there was a dinosaur in that first episode of Lost, believe that). Then there is the mystery of the flashforward, a world-wide event where every person on the planet blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 second, during which they see their futures, set at the same date and time, April 29th, 2010 10pm. . When it’s all over, a group of people, FBI agents in this case, investigate this mystery. On top of that, there is a strange person, probably a part of a larger group, who is captured on camera awake during the event and curiously calm about it. So there is this mysterious event, a similar opener, a mysterious group they also call the others. You see by the end of the episode, you realize that Flash forward was meant to have all the elements of Lost that made it popular, but their version falls short. It has the details but lacks the essence, so to say.

So what is wrong with it, you might ask? Well, for a show centered on a mystery, there is nothing that makes you excited about solving it. It’s not very exciting to watch people discuss calmly what’s happening in the episode instead of doing something, which is what a TV series is supposed to be all about, if I’m not mistaken. There is a feeling that the producers of this show failed to make the show as interesting as it could be with such a great concept. When something as big as a global black out happens, the importance of that needs to be shown. However, what they did produce was, let’s just say, anti-climactic. Basically, they show various people pass out during their activities and wake to find the inevitable chaos and harm a global blackout would obviously cause. It turned out a little tamer than the sublime chaos there should be in such an extreme circumstance.

FlashForward Pilot Episode Recap

The episode opens with the lead character (officer Mark Benford) awaking in his crashed upside down vehicle. He exits to find chaos in the street, every car stopped or crashed, fires, burning buildings, injured people, and everyone experiencing the same wonder and surprise. Cut to the beginning of the day, before the events of the opening sequence. The lead and the rest of the main cast begin the day. Bedford says goodbye to his wife and daughter as he heads off, greeting the family babysitter on his way out. Another man stands on the dock of a beach that seems intent on killing himself with a visible gun. Bedford attends his AA meeting while listening to another member speak of his daughter who was killed in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Bedford’s the babysitter fools around with her boyfriend. Bedford and his partner tail a suspected terrorist on her way to supposedly detonate a dirty bomb in the capital. A car chase ensues during which the agents’ car slides toward an oncoming truck, but suddenly they and everyone on the planet blackout. A multitude of fragmented and hazy flashes appear depicting each person’s future. At this point, time catches up to the point of the intro scene.

Awaking from the blackout, one man finds himself stuck hanging precariously from atop of a power pole, the babysitter finds herself on the ground and rushes to see if Bedford’s daughter is fine only to find her saying all good days are gone, and (as it was shown before) Bedford emerges from his flipped car. Bedford has a vision of himself looking at a board of leads and drinking right before a group with guns storms in with the seeming intent to kill him.

Upon finding that his family is fine, Bedford returns to FBI headquarters and has a meeting with his peers. They discuss what happened to them and reveal the visions they saw, which they conclude are visions of the future which lasted exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds and were set at the same date and time, six months from now, April 29th, 2010 10pm. (And it happened to every person on the planet, or so they think.) Each character contemplates the meaning of what they saw in their vision. Bedford thinks his vision relates to whoever was behind the event and believes it is the key to finding them. His partner saw nothing during his blackout and believes he must be dead in the future. Bedford then meets with his sponsor to discuss his apparent future drinking and death and how much he does not want that to happen; however, his sponsor goes on to tell him he saw himself finding his presumed dead daughter and says he wishes his future will come true. Our protagonist returns home to wife. She tells him that her vision was her with another man. He tells her what they saw is not necessarily going to happen. Later he goes outside and is visited by his daughter, who gives him a homemade bracelet to wear (the very same bracelet he saw himself wearing in his vision). Meanwhile, Demetri (partner of Bedford’s character) is back at their office looking at videos of the blackout and finds one where there is a man awake walking through a stadium of unconscious people.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sons of Anarchy: Recap of Season 2 Episode 2

After the rape and assault of Gemma by the white supremacists in the previous episode, she is found by the sheriff but refuses to go to a hospital because then people will know what happened to her. Instead they go to Jax’s girl friend for treatment. Back at the SOA club house, passed out members and strippers are strewn about the bar (of course, this is a regular morning). Clay is called by the Mayan leader looking for some guns to take out the One-Niners for killing a member (the one Clay actually had killed), but he refuses because he says there is too much heat from the ATF. You see, Jax posed the body of the Mayans’ murdered man showing the One-Niners sign, instead of the SOA A that was originally carved into the gang members chest by a SOA member looking for some payback. Jax did all of this without the rest of the clubs knowledge or approval. Meanwhile, the sheriff crashing Gemma’s car to help cover up her assault with a car accident. Later as Clay sells some guns to the One-Niners to “mend some fences”, the sheriff tells him of Gemma’s “car accident”, so the entire club heads to the hospital to see her. At the same time, Gemma goes to the hospital under the pretences of bringing Jax’s baby there for tests. The sheriff then tells her about the car crash he staged as a cover up and that the entire club is waiting for her. She tells him that they can never know about what really happened to her because it was only meant to hurt Clay and Jax and will have failed if she keeps it secret.

At the hospital, the sheriff tells the Sons of Anarchy that the ATF raided Luanne’s studio and ceased her assets (she is the local porn producer, wife of a jailed SAMCRO member, and friend to Gemma). Jax goes to handle it while Clay stays with Gemma, and the white supremacists realize that she did not talk when they see Clay playing with the baby at the hospital. Jax finds out that a porn director named Georgie (Tom Arnold) is bullying Luanne’s actors into working for him and stealing her business, so Jax tells him back off or there will be trouble. But Georgie, as an act of defiance against the warning of the SOA, beats up one of Luanne’s girls, so Jax and the gang thrash Georgie and his people with bats until he “convinces” Georgie to back off. SAMCRO then decides to become partners with Luanne: she gets protection from the club and the use of their warehouse as a studio, and they get 50 percent of the business. While Clay is doing a gun drop with the One-Niners, they are ambushed by the Mayans. One member of SAMCRO gets shot in the shoulder and the Mayans get away with the guns. It is revealed to the audience that the Mayans were tipped off by the leader of the white supremacists. Back at the club house, Clay confronts Jax and warns him that he will lose the respect of his peers if he does things for himself instead of the club. It ends with Jax sitting on the roof with his mother, smoking up.

Highlights Of The Episode

War was not waged with the Supremacists. It might have been expect after Gemma was brutally attacked by the White Supremacists that Clay and Jax would retaliate with bloody results. But keeping with the shows character of not being predictable, Gemma stays silent for the good of Clay, Jax, and SAMCRO.

SAMCRO gets into the adult film industry. It seems like the club is going to find new work every episode until the heat from the ATF dies down. The latest just happens to be in the adult film industry. I guess they are trying to class up this show.

The Neo-Nazi’s get hypocritical. Although the Neo-Nazi’s/White Supremacists came to the town and threatened SAMCRO because they wanted to stop them from dealings with the non-white gangs, the leader secretly helped the Mayans steal weapons from the Sons of Anarchy, and seem to have a secret business relationship. Neo-Nazi’s, cant you even stick to your word?
Clay knocks Jax off his high horse. Jax has always seemed like the guy who wants to achieve the ideal of the Sons of Anarchy that the club forgot about. But in his decision to frame the One-Niners for the death of a Mayan member to get back at Clay, Jax actually seems like the petty guy rather than the guy with high ideals. Clay makes the clear cut argument that he always looks out for the well being of the club ahead of himself while Jax did something for the reason of pissing off Clay.

Awesome Quote

Jax holding Georgie down with a bat: “If you so much as send a friendly text to any of Luanne’s girls, your next movie...Conseco does Georgie.”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Funny Thing About The Cast Of Vampire Diaries... They Likes To Flash

According to the Los Angeles Times, stars of Vampire Diaries were arrested for flashing. It seems that they were flashing motorists from the ledge of an overhead bridge in Forsyth, Georgia. One of the flashers happened to be the lead actress of the show and three others from the supporting cast. Five actresses, four of which were in main cast, and a camera man were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The alleged report is that motorists called 911 complaining of female flashers once they had gotten an eye full of the cast. When approached by the police, they claimed that they were shooting a promo for the vampire series. The camera man paid a $4,000 fine for the charges.

Speculation on the Flashing:

Why would all of the women from the Vampire Diaries Cast flash their breasts? Is this a calculated move on their part to create buzz around the show or are these girls just looking to have some fun. Maybe, Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild fame showed up at the set with some t-shirts that “need to be earned”. My point is, does anyone have pictures of this event and could you please send them to me here at IAMKIDDING@gmail.com. Thank you.
No, I am just kidding. In all seriousness everyone loves breasts and these lovely young starlets were just giving the male demographic something to drool over. Think about it, the premises of the show surrounds vampires, diaries and high school, not exactly UFC pay-per-view. So, how would you try and pull in some male viewers to a show aimed at young women. It seems Machiavellian to me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Vampire Diaries Review

Pilot Episode Run Through
The first episode of Vampire Diaries started off promising. It opens on a dark highway where a traveling couple hits a person concealed by a mysterious fog. They stop and check on him only to be viciously murdered by their would-be hit and run victim, with fangs and all. But the excitement winds down from there. Following the intro, Elena (the female lead) leaves her home for school and has a strong fearful reaction to a near car incident as they drive to school, because she lost her parents in a car crash. Elena meets Sefan at school. She sees him again by the cemetery she visits to write her diary on her parents' grave after being frightened away by a suddenly emerging ominous fog, a crow, and an unseen man. The sound track is descent, featuring songs by the Silversun Pickups and the White Stripes within the first ten minutes. They chat, arrive at her house; she tells him to come in without really inviting him, but he's a vampire so he cannot enter. More than half way through the episode, the two hang out several more time, but finally meet at a party in the woods. The good music continues. Stefan's face distorts because he gets blood lusty. He leaves, but a girl gets attacked by a vampire while he's gone. It does not look good for Stefan. He takes off for his home. There he finds his vampire brother Damon, who is revealed to be the killer, and the fog and crow guy. He came for Elaina, who is a dead ringer for an old love, and to fulfill his promise to torment Stefan forever. They fight and Stefan loses because he is weak from no longer drinking human blood. Finally the episode ends with Elena writing about her day and then being visited by Stefan, and it ends with him entering the house.

Thoughts on Vampire Diaries
The entire episode, save for the final ten minutes, is all foreplay and no action. Not even foreplay, more like soft nuzzling. As I was watching the episode, I thought about the sound track and how it looked promising. There were some decent songs throughout, some MGMT, White Lies, and Silversun Pickups. The sound track to a TV show is always important because the right use of music can portray the emotion of a scene and generally make the show more enjoyable. You don't really want to hear footsteps and background all the time. The music here, however, is not used to improve the episode, but rather to hide the lag. The episode must have had around ten tracks. That is a lot for any show. The reason for this is obvious. Every scene has nothing happening, so they put a track in every scene to make it seem interesting. I guess all this just proves that the producers of the show knew there was not much substance the show. The two leads simply meat with each other throughout the episode to flirt. Nothing dramatic happens. By the end they just continue to see each other. There is definitely no witty dialogue to fill the void. Nothing happened that wasn't already seen in the trail for the show, and that's kind of sad. The mistake may have been that it seemed like Dawsons Creek. If you are going to have a show about vampires, then you might as well use them to create drama or action instead of have them linger in the background. Some Pilots are made to grab people's attention, but this definitely was not one of those. Maybe it is one of those shows that promises excitement in the future, but if it doesn't actually offer that then why is it even on television. Here is hoping it delivers on its promise because based on the pilot this is not looking very good.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sons of Anarchy – Season 2 Plot Developments

The second season of the Sons of Anarchy has begun and it looks to be a good one. Here is a run-through of the latest plot developments seen in the premier episode.

SAMCRO Needs New Work

Because of the developments of last season, mainly the DEA being on their backs, the Sons of Anarchy are forced to change their business from selling guns to running guns. They can no longer buy guns whole sale, assemble them themselves, and sell them in house because the DEA would tale them back to their gun stores. Now they must run guns for their IRA customers to keep the business going.

Clay Frames a Guy and Has Him Killed

In the after math of last season’s accidental murder of Opie’s wife, which was meant to be the assassination of Opie ordered by Clay, which no one knows about except Jax and Opie’s father, Clay allows Opie to kill the man he framed for the murder.

Jax Keeps Clay’s Secret to Save SAMCRO

Jax keeps Clay’s secret and allows Opie to believe he killed his wife’s killer to save SAMCRO and give him peace of mind. Knowing that Clay’s betrayal would destroy the club and Opie, he plays along, and secretly begins to plot his reformation of the club and overthrow of Clay.

A New Threat Enters the Town

A new and more powerful group of Neo-Nazis enters the town to take on the Sons of Anarchy. Recruited by the brother of the deputy sheriff to remove the biker presence from his town, this group seeks to shut down all business with non-white people. They confront Clay at a welcome home party for a jailed and recently released member. In a tense standoff, the Arians demand that SAMCRO stop selling guns to the ethnic gangs and only sell to white people. However, Clay does not take kindly to threats, so he tells them that the Sons of Anarchy do what they want when they want, pull their guns, and tell them to leave.

A Possible Gang War is Started

In the end of the episode, after being dismissed and insulted by Clay, the Neo-Nazis take and assault Gemma (Clay’s wife and Jax’s mother). They tell her to get Clay to only sell guns to who they tell him to or they will assault her again. This could lead to an all out war between the Sons of Anarchy and the Neo-Nazis.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall 2009 New Show Preview

The word is out. Everybody is in agreement on the top new shows of the fall 2009 pilots. But are these shows really worthy of being looked at? What people don’t realize, or maybe they don’t want to, is that hardly any new shows ever survive. Studios are relying on tried and true shows, popular long running series, such as lost and 24. The reason is that there is a drought in regard to both quality shows and viewership. The new show concepts aren’t so good, and the ones that are good don’t get watched, and get canceled. So here are some predictions on these so called best shows. What looks good, and what is going to make the cut?

Modern Family
This mockumentary is a comedy centered on the lives of three eccentric families: a gay family, a straight family, and a multi-cultural family. It has been described as the new Arrested Development, but it seems like an even more short lived comedy. It is somewhat funny, but it will lose your interest due to its slow pace and lack of laugh out loud scenes. It does not look like it will survive one season.

It’s a remake of the 80’s miniseries about aliens who come to earth with the appearance of good intentions but instead plot to eat humans and take the earth’s resources. The concept sounds very promising, very original, but TV shows about aliens coming to earth have a bad track record, especially one’s where the aliens have a mysterious and insidious ulterior motive that characters fight to prove and reveal to the world. Does anyone remember Earth Final Conflict? Not everything can be X-Files. This show seems far too hyped to have any real substance. The hope is that this will turn out to be good show, but it seems like it was made vie for Lost’s position, now entering its final season. You see there is no more good sci-fi now that Battlestar Galactica is gone, and their soon won’t be any mystery/fantasy when Lost ends, and V is going to fill that void. This is why V looks to be a very mediocre show that will get picked up since viewers will probably flock to it when they cannot get their weekly fix.

Vampire Diaries
A story about two vampire brothers who fall in love with the same high school girl and compete for her. It looks to be moderately watchable, yet will be extremely successful. Twilight is a hit of epic proportions, and this show looks like the TV equivalent. Vampires are in this year, and Vampire Diaries will cash in on this. Before Twilight and True blood became popular, the vampire genre was always relegated to the fringe viewer, but it has become much more popular with many other demographics. This will probably be the most successful broadcast television show about vampires.

This is the only show really worth a mention. You think it’s going to be a silly song and dance show, but it’s really a lot than that. Its Freaks and Geeks meets Hamlet II. People will come for the singing, but they will stay for the substance.

Sons of Tucson
Got to love the Sock. Starring the man who played the very memorable Sock from the not so hit TV show Reaper, this show has some talent. But shows about a crazy scenario where some kids pay some guy to act like their dad wears thin too easily. Unless you have the attention span of a goldfish you will get bored of this show within the first season.

It is about a lawyer attending a community college who has always lied and manipulated to succeed in life (which includes forging a fake law degree and pretending to know Spanish to seduce a student looking to pass a Spanish test). That is until he forms a study group of many crazy people, and finds that he can’t succeed in college without the community that is his study group. It is actually a pretty funny show. The comedy is dark and very strange. But it seems like it is the type to be over looked, so it will be cancelled.

Flash Forward
One day, everyone on the planet blacks out for exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds and sees their futures. After that, a law enforcement agency must find out why this future and why this freak occurrence has happened (or going to happen). This is another show nipping the heels of Lost, but the setting is wrong, and the premise does not make a lot of sense. Everyone has been raving about this show. It is supposed to the new Lost. However, people are only saying this because the pilot looked great, and there is no doubt it looks great. But that was just the pilot. The pilot should be great; it was expensive, had high production value, and did something new and surreal. That is not what the show will be like though. It is a tough show to pull off, and it was only meant to take the spot of Lost. I for one do not believe this will be as great a hit as people think. It will decline in interest over time, and the most it could hope for is a second season and no further. In the worst case, it will not survive the first season.

Past Life
Will survive, but shouldn’t. What a weak concept for a show. This really looks like a bad one. Detectives solve past crimes by extracting information from the reincarnations of the victims. Lame! But this show looks like could get same success as Ghost Whisperer.

Parenthood is a one hour long dramedy about a modern family dealing with modern problems, with funny and dramatic results. This could possibly survive for a while but ultimately never become a hit and then fade out of existence. Oh yes, this will fail, and should fail.

Cougar Town
This is a show brought to us by the creators of Scrubs. The cast is unappealing, and the comedy style of scrubs has gotten tired after eight seasons and shouldn’t continue in a new show. Plus, Courtney Cox is in it, and no person from friends has made a hit show.