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.