Tag Archives: 24

More Midseason TV 2017

Didn’t I tell you that there’s a lot of TV to watch? It’s been a month since I last posted about the new shows in January and there have been a whole slew more. TV programmers seem to take more chances on the weird stuff (that’s the sci-fi/fantasy genre to us fans) in midseason, so that means there’s a lot that suits my taste. Let’s jump right in with the good and the bad.

legion-0017Legion

Starting off with a wild card, Legion is the black sheep of the superhero genre (even more than Deadpool). Based on a character from the X-Men family, it’s the story of David Haller, the illegitimate son of Professor X himself. David is heir to vast psychic abilities (way stronger than ol’ pops), but mental illness (aka schizophrenia) puts him a bit out of control. The series (featuring Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens in the title role) doesn’t connect directly to much of the comic book backstory. In the show, David is being treated for schizophrenia in order to control his vast mental powers, but there isn’t much of the rest of the Marvel Comics mutant storyline that remains. Still, it’s a very retro, trippy experience. The show plays around with non-linear storytelling in a way that it’s a challenge to follow what scenes are past, present, or imaginary/delusional. There is a very heavy psychological bent to the script and the audience is struggling along with David’s mental anguish. Nevertheless, it’s far from depressing (partially thanks to Parks and Recreation‘s Aubrey Plaza as David’s asylum-buddy). If this doesn’t sound appealing, and you’re more interested in super-powered action, I promise that by the end of the first episode, there’s a big payoff. Plus, by the second episode, we meet a bunch more characters with abilities that make you feel more like you’re hanging with the X-Men (though why the show does not use any Marvel brand-named characters is beyond me — perhaps it’s because the script-writers wanted to work with different abilities than what’s already on the Marvel roster). In any case, Legion is a very good, grown-up take on the super-powered TV series. I’m excited to follow where it leads.

powerless-dc-comicsPowerless

For an almost opposite experience of the super-hero world, I give you DC’s Powerless. Instead of adding to the variety by way of a head-trip, DC has decided to hit the funny-bone with this workplace comedy set in the DC super-hero universe. Vanessa Hudgens plays Emily, a young manager who moves to Charm City (I think they just made that one up) to take over as director of an R&D division at Wayne Security. The show reminds me a lot of a series called Better Off Ted, which also poked fun at corporate life in an R&D department, but at Wayne Security they invent products to help people cope in a world full of supers (like Joker anti-venom or a wrist device that lights up when it detects a super-villain nearby). Part of the humour of this show is targeted at nerds like me who appreciate the fun had at the expense of comic-book cliches, but the other part is classic workplace humour: fitting in with a new team, pleasing an unworthy boss, etc. This division of Wayne Industries is headed by Van Wayne (played by Firefly‘s nerd-pleasing Alan Tudyk) who is constantly trying to get the attention and kudos of his much more successful cousin, Bruce (who he likes to call “B-Dubs”), and get reassigned to the Gotham office. The cast includes another nerd-friendly name, Danny Pudi from Community, who is actually less weird than he was as Abed. The first couple of episodes were OK, but they had me wondering if they would get the balance right between super-parody and office-comedy. At first they were really leaning on the latter, but by episode 3, I think they really hit the sweet-spot when the team suspected a co-worker of secretly being a super-hero, and when Emily and Van worked on landing a contract with the Atlanteans (who think of Aquaman as a celebrity). This nerd-bait show has a lot of potential and I am laughing more each week. Now if only they’d bring more actual DC characters into the show (even if it’s just for cameos). I’m a little disappointed by all the name-drops when the onscreen supers we actually see in the background are mostly new, poorly-made-up characters. Give me the real DC Comics B-list! Surely they can’t all be reserved for the movies and The CW.

riverdale-header3Riverdale

Another comic book show, though one of a completely different stripe, Riverdale takes the classic Archie comic book series and reinvents it as a moody teen drama that is part Twin Peaks, part 90210 (or The OC or Gossip Girl, even Scream Queens, or plug in your own teen soap). The show playfully reimagines familiar characters such as Archie, the red-headed golden-boy athlete-musician; Betty and Veronica, the blonde-brunette archetype girlfriends; and Jughead, who’s gone from lovable, goofy friend to offbeat, surly hipster. I was not much of an Archie fan, so I don’t know how far afield the TV show has gone, but I suspect that there were no murders in the comics. Taking a cue for Twin Peaks, the show starts out with a murder mystery around who killed Jason Blossom, one half of the town’s spoiled, rich twin elite with his sister Cheryl. The mysteries deepen as secrets all around town start slipping out, most notably Archie’s jail-bait relationship with music teacher Ms. Grundy (who don’t look anything like the old white-haired dowager from the comics I’ve seen)! In typical teen soap style, the kids are all great looking, worldly, socially-savvy, and have the clever way-with-words that a teenager only gets from a staff of intentionally hip screenwriters. All the contrivances aside, I enjoy this kind of a show for all its scandalous twists and playful naughtiness. For those of you who remember its early days, enjoy Riverdale like you enjoyed Twin Peaks before all the bizarre, creepy insanity got the better of it.

apb-dix6jbe2yts-market_maxresAPB

This show had a potentially clever premise that made room for comment on the politics of law enforcement and tech-based business and industry, even while delivering some action-packed police drama. Unfortunately APB is really missing some well-thought-out writing to make that all come together. The show is about a tech billionaire who buys a police precinct in order to get justice after his friend is killed during a corner store robbery. Justin Kirk plays Gideon Reeves, the ego-driven mogul whose R&D division apparently invented all kinds of technology perfect for equipping a police force, including: fast armoured cars, remote-controlled drones, a tracking/mapping system that puts 24‘s CTU to shame, and a smartphone app to keep in touch with the locals. Part of me wishes that the creators of the show would have gone further with the technology, coming up with insanely advanced tech for these officers. As it is, what they’ve got seems only mildly interesting (despite the fact that this CEO seems to be spending all his time tinkering with the equipment himself each week to invent something new). It’s not very futuristic and it doesn’t seem like anyone’s given serious speculative thought to what kind of tech innovations would be useful for a real-world police force. Similarly, if a captain of the tech industry was throwing his corporate might behind a police precinct, there would be armies of staff and infrastructure deployed to make everything work. Instead Reeves himself and his capable data-scientist Ada seem to be the only ones available to help (though now they’ve brought a wrestler-turned-engineer/scientist into the mix). As a show, all success seems to be riding on the back of Justin Kirk, since his¬†cocky maverick is the only interesting character on the show. There’s also Natalie Martinez as Murphy, a supposedly veteran beat cop who Reeves takes under his wing. Sadly she is already tiresome, the way she is always showing Reeves some kind of real-life truth that he can’t buy with all his tech-mogul success. Add to that, they’ve decided to make the mayor and his office into a kind of villain and nemesis to Reeves and his new project. Argh! I hate squandered potential and this show reeks of it. I wouldn’t give much for its chances.

drew-barrymore-timothy-olyphant-santa-clarita-dietThe Santa Clarita Diet

If you thought Netflix was slowing down, think again. In addition to carrying Riverdale (at least in Canada), it also recently debuted an odd little series featuring Drew Barrymore as a wife, mom, realtor, and kind of a zombie. I wasn’t going to watch it at first because I really hate zombies and most shows and movies about the walking dead, but when I heard that this was a more Desperate Housewives kind of take on the sub-genre, I was intrigued. When one day Sheila doesn’t feel quite well and ends up projectile-vomiting gallons (I mean, they really overdid this part) of disgusting stuff, she finds that she loses her pulse but gains a very positive outlook. You would not think that hilarity would ensue, but as a kind of dark satire of suburban life, the combination is actually pretty fun. I would still love to fast-forward those parts where Sheila chows down on bloody body parts — so much blood and gore — but otherwise I’m enjoying things. Barrymore is alright in a relatively manic role, but it’s really Timothy Olyphant who shines. Joel is taking it all in stride as a supportive husband on the outside, while underneath you know that he’s just holding on to his wits by his fingertips. One of my favourite lines comes from him when they have trouble trying to think of justifiably expendable candidates to kill to feed Shiela’s hunger: “Where are all the single, young Hitlers?” Joel wonders. Absurd, right? Also, their daughter Abby’s disturbing nonchalance about all this (including the apparent victims of her mother’s hunger), and the nerdy neighbour boy who exchanges sci-fi knowledge about the undead for a chance to spend time with Abby, are a hoot as well. I have no idea how far a show like this can go, but if anything is fodder for this kind of parody it’s suburbia. Am I right?

24legacy124 Legacy

I’m happy that there are new shows coming out that are truly new (i.e. not a reinvention or reboot) but do we have room in our hearts for one more attempt at making 24 work? The last time we had Jack Bauer running around, 24: Live Another Day took the franchise global but still lost my interest part way through the shortened series. I think I was just tired of seeing Kiefer Sutherland do the same things, the same plots, the same scenes again. It was starting to feel like self-parody. This new series seems to think that casting a new lead will solve things. Corey Hawkins plays Eric Carter, a former army-ranger who is targeted by a terrorist group after all his former army squad-mates are killed. Helping out Hawkins via his earpiece is Miranda Otto as Rebecca Ingram, the former head of CTU. Once again the clock is ticking, forcing everyone to take very desperate and drastic steps in order to save the day. Jack Bauer’s kind of “there’s no time” decision making is definitely at the heart of Carter’s choices as well. When he needs to come up with two million dollars to ransom a memory stick from his crazy former squad-mate, more logical courses of action give way to a plan to get arrested in order to steal the cash from a secure police evidence facility — Really? No better plans than that? — there’s no time! In the background, other plots are also in motion. CTU is once again a dimly-lit hotbed of potential moles and leaks. Plus, Ingram’s husband (played by Jimmy Smits) is running for office, so there’s that whole political angle coming out. I have to say that seeing the same kind of stories and plots through a new batch of characters does help blow out some of the cobwebs. Muslim terrorists again? Sleeper cells again? Maybe a new story would have helped even more — but there’s no time!

theexpanse_bobbie_draper_03b-0The Expanse

Coming back for its second season is a show that held the hopes of many a Battlestar Galactica fan, that complex, sophisticated sci-fi would actually entertain. I think this show’s still got a way to go to prove that, but after watching several season one episodes twice to get there, I think I am following the story to some degree. Last season saw former Star Helix detective Miller (played by Thomas Jane) and former ship captain Holden (played by Steven Strait) discovering that events in their crazy lives (including many people trying to kill and silence them and their allies) led to the body of Julie Mao, a former operative for the OPA rebel group, who was exposed to a deadly alien organism. In fact, the entire space station they were on was being used as an experiment by forces unknown to test out this “protomolecule” at the expense of thousands of lives. Luckily, Miller, Holden, and the remaining crew of “The Rocinante” spaceship were able to escape (as they had done all through the first season) and now they join forces with Fred Johnson — an OPA leader — to get more answers. Meanwhile, politics on Earth and Mars are starting to boil over as a new troupe of Martian marines are gearing up for conflict. The plot of the show is definitely confusing (I’ve probably made a few errors even in that brief summary) but I guess that’s the price we pay for realism in sci-fi. Obviously we don’t understand all the background and the motives for all the characters, but we want to avoid the contrivance of having it all explained to us in exposition (so we have to pick up the bits and pieces where we can) — and this is all from someone who’s already read the book! I am not the number one fan of space-wars (or any war stories), and frankly it was the Cylons that kept me enjoying BSG, but I think that The Expanse‘s blend of action scene with character-driven dialogue is well-done enough to keep me interested to see how this all plays out. I’m two episodes into the second season (so I’m not quite caught up) but things are really getting interesting.

magicians2The Magicians

The show quickly left behind its Harry Potter comparisons in season one, as its Hogwarts-for-grown-ups storyline gave way to the darker plot of defeating The Beast. Our snipey band of grad-school wizards found themselves shockingly betrayed by one of their own friends/allies as they were gearing up to defeat the “big bad”. Julia shook hands with The Beast in order to get his help to take revenge on an evil trickster god who had raped her and killed her friends. Now the rest of the gang is camped out in Fillory (the Narnia-esque magic realm of this series) preparing to once again face The Beast and Julia. I enjoy some of these Fillory story elements more than the Brakebills stuff. It’s fun to take a deeper look at this broad, magical world. Unsurprisingly, nothing is as innocent as you’d expect. The fictional Fillory books were supposed to be children’s books but the world is not a children’s world — this show is always quick to remind us of that. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the first book that this show is based upon, so I didn’t read any further. Now that we’re in season two I have no idea where the story is heading. Hopefully that will make it even more fun for me. I’ve only watched two episodes of this season so far, but I’m still enjoying it.

p04dgb66Planet Earth II

Finally, I wanted to make brief mention of the latest nature show which proves that even the BBC is not immune to sequel fever. Coming 10 years after its landmark series that brought us some incredible and unique images of nature (I’m still not over those unbelievable crystal caves!), Planet Earth II just started airing in North America (though it’s already long-finished in the UK). In the first episode, there was lots of amazing footage from various islands around the world, including a remote volcanic island near Antarctica where again we get to see the insane lengths to which penguins go to in order to feed their chicks. The visuals are, of course, breathtaking and I look forward to seeing what other wonders the rest of the series holds.

Even as I write this, new shows are popping up (including the HBO series Big Little Lies, created by David E. Kelly (of The Practice) and featuring amazing stars like Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Alexander Skarsgard; Also The Good Fight — the sequel series to The Good Wife) and I cannot keep up, but it’s never a dull moment on TV now, is it?

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2010 TV Characters: Love and Hate

Characters I Loved

Danny “Danno” Williams, the awesome update of the theme song, and the amazing computer table are the three things that make the new reboot of Hawaii Five-O a cool show. Danno’s over-stated sarcasm, his love for all things New Jersey over Honolulu, and his refusal to trade his tie-and-dress-shoes attire for the aloha shirts and flip-flops is what makes him a loveable young curmudgeon who still gets to book the bad guys.

Amy Farrah Fowler (The Big Bang Theory) continues to be a riot as the new girl on the Big Bang block. To think that someone could actually out-Sheldon Sheldon is too funny! I hope they loosen her up a bit, but who knows if that’s possible…

Everyone loves evil vixens, but Katherine Pierce has been especially good at stirring things up in Mystic Falls. She’s delightfully scheming, bitchy and flirty all at the same time. Then there’s her vampire progeny, Caroline Forbes, who used to be just another blonde teen princess, but who knew that she could become strong, trustworthy, and deep just by becoming a vampire. The scenes where she tried to patch things up with her mom, the sheriff, were heart-breaking.

Brittany Pierce (Glee) is like Ralph Wiggum in the body of a hot blonde cheerleader. Though her believing in Santa Claus might have pushed her precious-meter a bit high, generally I wait eagerly to hear what hilarious comment comes out of her mouth each episode. Too bad about her choice of boyfriend Artie (see below), though she seems to bring out the best in him.

Everybody loves Kalinda (The Good Wife) … well not everybody, but bad ol’ Blake is on my naughty list (see below). She’s smart, sexy, and kind of unscrupulous in a do-right kind of way. She’s the best private investigator and I think we’re just glad she’s on our side, right?

Every time River Song (Doctor Who) makes an appearance, I just want her to spill all of her “spoilers” about The Doctor, but I’m not sure I want her to lose any of her enchanting mystique.

You might not know Kenzi, the delightful, street-wise young protege of sexy succubus Bo from Lost Girl, but she’s a non-stop font of snappy dialogue and sass. Similarly, you might not have watched lukewarm sitcom Better With You, but if you did, you might find loveable lug Casey endearing in his off-beat dimness.

Finally, the entire cast of Modern Family is worthy of TV love (in fact, I should probably name this category after them), but this time I honour the character who’s come the furthest this season: Haley Dunphy. She could have coasted along on mean-girl cliches, but instead she became a nice sister (especially when she got excited teaching little sis Alex how to be cool) and loving daughter (when she tried to talk her mom, Claire, out of cheating on doofus husband Phil with the pizza boy — a hilarious misunderstanding).

Characters I Hated

Lo, how the mighty have fallen! Sue Sylvester (Glee) was on my “love” list last year, but I can’t stand the way she hasn’t changed or grown at all. Her snarky quips are getting tired, and the less about the Grinch or her marrying herself, the better. I also reserve some loathing for Artie Abrams, a most pathetic guy (in no way because of his wheelchair) who tries to be cool, rapping, etc., but is still a huge nerd (and not the good kind). While I love to see my fellow Asian on screen, Mike Chang really needs another skill besides pop-and-lock, and while he’s at it, he could use a few more facial expressions too.

It’s tragic that I can’t stand watching episodes of The Office solely because of Michael Scott. His ignorance and selfishness know no bounds and while they were compensated in the past by his love for his colleagues and a good heart. Lately, he’s just become so petty, whiney and mean that the only time I’m coming back to Scranton Business Park is when they replace him.

Dr. Cal Lightman (Lie To Me) is almost like a more serious, non-sitcom version Michael Scott. Self-involved, smug, and insufferable, I constantly want to whack him over the head. Plus he treats everyone around him so condescendingly, I don’t care if he gets the job done.

Dana Walsh (24) was a tragic waste of actress Katee Sackhoff. She’s the only character on this list who I hate because the character makes no sense. First she’s all panicky and flustered for being blackmailed about her hicktown past, but then it turns out she’s a cold-blooded killer and conspirator with international terrorists? Whatever. Stupid character.

I’ll give Julianne Giacomelli (Being Erica) some credit for improvement in season 3, but she’s just so plastic and weird. I don’t “heart” her at all.

For a show that I love, like The Good Wife, you’d think that I would love all the characters. Strangely, there are actually many that I hate: Grace & Zach Florrick (the ridiculously needy and foolishly unsavvy teen children of public-eye parents who should know better), Blake Calamar (What’s the deal with this guy? Look what he’s done to our beloved Kalinda!), Cary Agos (How could smarmy, self-serving and boring all be wrapped up in a single character?) and Becca (She may be pretty, but all her scheming makes me want to smack her).

Fall TV 2010 – New Drama

In a year with so many simultaneous premieres, and new series going up against old favourites for survival, there’s bound to be some quick casualties. In fact, there have already been two series gone after only two episodes. I can’t say that I’m in love with any yet, but I guess it’s still early.

The Event

The one series that has positioned itself as the 24/Lost successor is The Event. It has the ongoing mystery and multi-faceted story arc of Lost, and the action-filled style of 24. Initially it’s about a guy and his girlfriend who go on a vacation, but it’s also about how he hijacks a plane, and about how she mysteriously disappears. It’s also about the President of the United States and a mysterious group of government prisoners (who may be aliens). This show comes at its story from many angles and different character perspectives and keeps jumping back and forth in time (not literally, like Flashforward or Lost did, but the story is not told in chronological sequence). So far it’s OK. It lacks the dramatic depth that Lost had, but at least a lot of the “wows” are being revealed rapidly (there’s only been 2 episodes so far and we seem to know a lot). It has the thrill and suspense of 24, but Jason Ritter’s Sean Walker doesn’t hold a candle to Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. I hope the show doesn’t burn itself out too quickly. It didn’t grab me nearly as much as Flashforward did last year, and that series didn’t even make it past a single season…

Hawaii Five-O

Another hype-worthy show is the remake of the old tropical cop show, Hawaii Five-O. It wasn’t high on my watch list (I’m not a fan of police drama, and I didn’t watch the original), but it’s produced by Alias and Fringe producers Alex Kurtzmann and Robert Orci, and features former Lostie Daniel Dae Kim, and former Cylon Grace Park, so it’s got to be doing something right. Despite having extremely wooden actor Alex O’Loughlin as the lead, it’s enjoyably watchable — owing in no small part to the surprising performance of Scott Caan as the sarcastic Danny “Danno” Williams. He’s a regular Bruce Willis. As a unit, the characters work well and function more like a special ops team than a bunch of cops. Top it all off with a super-catchy update on the classic theme music and you can’t go wrong.

Nikita

Another remake, Nikita features Maggie Q as the titular assassin who is trying to take down the black ops government division (cleverly named “Division”) who once employed/controlled/misused her. Despite many similarities, this show is no Alias. The acting is second rate and the characters are lacking in dimension. Nevertheless, for those of us who love the spy/assassin genre, it’s better than nothing.

Undercovers

From uber-creator JJ Abrams, this show is another player in the TV spy game. It features a couple who are both former spies dusted off on occasion for special missions. So far, the two leads (Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe as Samantha and Steven Bloom) are charming and fun, but I’m hoping they will get past the cutesy bickering and develop into something more interesting to watch. Gerald McRaney isn’t bad either, as their crotchety handler Carlton Shaw. As much as I enjoy watching the show, they need to make it feel like these characters might be in real danger, otherwise there’s less suspense and less thrill. Apparently they’re still trying to decide between resembling Alias or Chuck

The Whole Truth, The Defenders, Outlaw

As usual, there are a slew of new legal dramas this year. The premise behind The Whole Truth is Rob Morrow as the defense attorney and Maura Tierney as the prosecutor used to date, so they have some kind of history and rivalry. It’s an OK premise, but this show really dumbs things down (summations recap the testimony and we get to watch little snippets of what we already saw moments earlier). Plus, there’s always a little turning point in each episode (like on Law & Order) where we shift perspectives from one side to the other — no big whoop, really. The Defenders casts unlikely actors Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell as partners in a Las Vegas law firm. The intent seems to be highlighting how fun/decadent Vegas can be, and how unconventional lawyers do well there. Belushi does pretty well, but I just don’t find the show that appealing. Finally, Outlaw has Jimmy Smits playing a Supreme Court justice who steps down in order to be able to represent the individual in need (rather than just the bigger picture). This series seems to be a male-centred version of last season’s legal hit, The Good Wife. There’s a preachy feel to this show (which it unsuccessfully tries to undercut by making Smits’s character kind of irreverent). My guess is that none of these series will make it.

Lone Star, My Generation

Speaking of shows that didn’t make it, Lone Star was touted by many critics as the best new show of the season, but it was also the first to get the axe. There’s no tears coming from me. I was bored with the first episode about a Texas con man who has two lives with two women and two “jobs” who tries to go semi-straight. The tone of the show is subdued, and the style is a bit like an independent movie. Despite the charismatic performance of lead, James Wolk, I didn’t care for his kind of anti-hero. On the other hand, I was a more disappointed with the elimination of My Generation. It’s a realistic mockumentary of nine (too-attractive) young people from the same fictional high school revisited 10 years later. I think the documentary style is pretty well-used, but sadly the stories are all very cliche and soapy. I find myself predicting a lot of what’s going to happen in future episodes. Despite the fact that there probably won’t be any more, I won’t miss knowing if I would have been right.

No Ordinary Family

The concept is simple: an American family discovers that they have superhuman powers. The premiere was fun. A lot of it focused on the dad (played by Michael Chiklis) learning about his new powers of invulnerability and strength, and mom (played by Julie Benz) dealing with her super-speed. Already we know that the struggle is going to be with their fractured family life (which seems really contrived; they all seem to get along well until someone reminds us of how mom’s never around or the kids start to bicker. It’s really heavy-handed and obvious.) I don’t know what they’re going to do about their powers, either. So far this show reminds me a lot of the early episodes of Heroes (but without the realism), so this series could go in many different directions.

Lost Girl

A little-known series that I’ve been enjoying is Lost Girl, from Canada’s Showcase network. An attractive, sassy woman named Bo, finds out that her abilities to manipulate and seduce people and draw strength from energies (often resulting in their deaths) comes from the fact that she’s a Fae (i.e., supernatural, non-human being) and that the Fae are all around us. Despite being given the opportunity to enter their secret world, Bo decides to stay with her sidekick Kenzie and become a private investigator among the humans. I’m enjoying the whole supernatural demi-monde of the series, but it’s no Buffy or Angel. Still, I hope it sticks around long enough to fill that void.

Returning dramas next post …

TV Season Wrap-Up 2010

Spoiler alert: If you are still catching up on some of these shows, please don’t read this post as I may be revealing some of the twists or surprise endings.

Series Finales

Leading up to the last episode of Lost, questions about the Island, the flashes-sideways, Jacob and the Man in Black, and so much of the mythology had been building up throughout the season. I had wondered why the show’s creators kept introducing more questions while answering so few. Surprisingly, the finale chose to answer almost none of them. Instead, as each character’s eyes were opened to their lives on the Island, we caught flashes from the show’s six seasons. The episode ended with the memorial service for Jack’s father Christian, but the whole thing was a memorial to the series. It seemed disappointing to introduce so many mysterious elements without the intention of paying-off with some answers, but the ending felt surprisingly satisfying because it focused on the characters and how far they had come over the course of the show. Similarly, 24 was coming to the climax of an uneven season (and an uneven run overall), where many things didn’t seem to make sense (Really? Dana Walsh is responsible for both evil plots?). As Jack started to go off the deep end, the show became surprisingly exciting. He became like the Terminator as he took down his hit list one after another. The show really drew on its strength: making Jack the moral centre. Even if he’s making people spill their guts (literally). or stabbing them with fireplace pokers, even when he has to assassinate the President of Russia and destroy the President of the USA, we still believe that they deserve it and Jack is doing the right thing. I especially enjoyed the intimate ending between Chloe and Jack where in their goodbyes you can see how far they have come together (and we along with them).

In contrast, Heroes was so far off the rails that when it ended, I was happy to see it put out of its misery (please don’t do the two-hour tie-things-up movie, NBC!) I had forgotten the show as it had once been when it was in my top five (and it seems that the creators had too). Nothing made sense, the characters had become horribly irrelevant and annoying. Plot twists (which used to be such an amazing part of this show) were nonsensical. This last season’s carnival story arc proved that the creators had no idea what to do with this show. As much as I’d love it if they gave the show one more shot to try to turn it into what it could have been, I have no faith that another season would have helped. FlashForward was the opposite in my eyes. I know that many have criticized its first (and only) season for many of the same reasons that I just lambasted Heroes, but I was always interested in its story and I’m pretty sad that the series won’t get the chance to make good. I still want to know about the shadow organization causing the blackouts. At least we got some closure with the finale catching up to the events of everyone’s flash forwards. They left us with a second blackout and a teaser of a much longer flash forward for which we’ll never know the outcome. Maybe it’s for the best. Once we learned that the future could be changed, the flashes seemed to lose some of their power.

New Shows

Maybe I should be more cautious about my quick love for new series (especially after the tragedy that was Heroes) but this season debuted some of my favourite shows. Modern Family is a hilarious and heart-felt series that everyone should watch. It filled a space in my viewing roster that The Cosby Show and Family Ties had once occupied. The season finale where Claire frets over getting everyone together for a family portrait is a great piece of sitcomery, where good writing and acting bring out the humour and joy in a relatively ordinary situation.

The Vampire Diaries was one of the surprises of the season. I had written off the series as an overwrought teen show with tiresome vampire fantasy elements (I was getting Twilight-fatigue), but what turned it around was a good balance between suspense and melodrama. Yes, there’s still a lot of the mopey teen angst which most adults would roll their eyes at, but with frequent introduction of new characters and numerous twists in the story about the town vs the vampires, the show’s pace is blazing fast. The season finale left us wondering whether Jeremy had become a vampire (I don’t care) and what will happen with Catherine back in town (I’m curious to find out the true relationship between Catherine and Elena; but I’m not interested in any more of Catherine posing as her).The other surprise was The Good Wife. This show had not even been in my viewing roster (though there was a permanent spot for legal drama that went unfilled). A show about the disgraced wife of a fallen state attorney starring Julianna Marguiles did not appeal to me. However, when bloggers and tv pundits started raving about it, I’m glad I decided to check it out. Despite a season of enjoying title-character Alicia Florick (with trusty scene-stealing sidekick Kalinda) handling interesting cases while maintaining her chaotic family life, I was not very interested in the finale cliffhanger. I didn’t care whether she chose her husband, Peter, or her boss, Will. Neither men seem to be good enough for her. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for next season.

Glee, still has a couple episodes yet to air, but I have enjoyed this show so much! It’s mostly for the splashy performances, but some of the drama and comedy are also great. I have especially enjoyed side-character Brittany, with her one liners — she’s become the cheerleader version of Ralph Wiggum. I hope they don’t run out of songs or story too soon. Plus, I’d love to see some character turnover. Hmmmm … is it too soon to watch them do Bad Romance again?

Ongoing Shows

So happy that Medium will be back (and not Ghost Whisperer). The season finale took a cue from Lost and FlashForward to show us a possible future if Allison died — quite an emotional episode. It reminded me why I love this show (not that I needed reminding). Fringe went where I didn’t think it was going to go this season — into the emotional lives of the characters. Walter Bishop has become one of the best-written characters on TV, and John Noble’s acting is top-notch. The season-ending foray into the alternate universe was thrilling, but a bit quick. It hinted at so much more than there was time to deliver. It boiled down to another cop-fugitive chase story with the alternates hunting for our Olivia and Walter. I wished it had been more about the overall plot of invasion or whatever it is that Walternate is planning. Also, having come off of The Vampire Diaries’s Catherine-Elena switcheroo, alternate-Olivia’s posing as our Olivia was a total non-surprise. I’m actually more interested in how Olivia’s going to get back to our universe (but I guess she’s done it before).

Castle is non-stop cop-show fun all carried on the charm of leading man Nathan Fillion and the chemistry of the cast (which makes being a detective look like so much fun!). I am not interested in the will-they-won’t-they love quadrangle drama between Castle and Beckett. I just want them to get back to the cases and the banter. Supernatural had a great finale. After getting used to the Whedonverse’s annual apocalpytaganzas, I didn’t realize that the final fight to defeat Satan himself at Armageddon could be so low-key. It was a really touching ending and the cliffhanger of Sam coming back from Hell is a bit of a tease, but I’m actually more eager to see how they reinvent the series next season. Chuck is definitely getting good at game-changing. When the show first started, little did we suspect that the Bartowskis were almost as much a family of operatives as the Bristows (from my beloved show, Alias). While the season-ending call to Chuck’s mysterious mom does not hold a candle to Sydney Bristow’s cliffhanging encounter with hers, I’m still pretty intrigued about where they’re going to take this (and I’m just glad that we get another season of a very fun show). Speaking of fun, how great was Mayim Bialik as Sheldon’s computer-matched mate on The Big Bang Theory?! (“Tepid water, please” — She slays me!) I’m glad that Penny and Leonard are still over, but I want Penny and Sheldon back. Their interplay from opposite ends of the spectrum was comic gold.

I was so happy with this season that I was sad to see it end so soon. Nevertheless, summer is here with its sunny days and fresh air … who am I kidding? Bring on True Blood, Burn Notice, Drop Dead Diva, White Collar, Lie To Me, and Psych!

2010: Is it midseason already?

While the movie box office is still suffering from after-effects of the Hollywood writers’ strike, those unhappy times are a distant memory to the TV networks who are rushing to fill our DVRs with new content. Most of our favourite series made a quick return after the holidays, bringing with them some new (Caprica) and returning (24 and Lost) series as the TV midseason officially begins.

24

By now we’ve already watch 5 tension-filled hours of Jack Bauer trying to survive another day of assassination attempts, insider plots, nuclear threats, hi-tech spy-tech, and not having to deal with food, water, or restrooms. While this season sees Bauer and CTU relocated to the Big Apple, things have started kind of in the same way they always do. Fans will be happy to know that we’ve even got our requisite severed appendage (a thumb) out of the way. Katee Sackhoff and Freddie Prinze Jr. have joined the cast as CTU’s “it” couple. I’m hoping they will rise to the Tony and Michele legacy, but so far they’ve just been playing CTU Ken and CTU Barbie (I’m especially disappointed with the formidable Sackhoff in such a wimpy role). Nevertheless, once the plot started kicking into high-gear (assassination attempt #1), we got a taste of some of that ole 24 magic. Let’s hope the remaining hours will prove this to be an exciting “day” for us all.

Burn Notice

As much as I love Michael Westen (aka the new MacGyver) I’m starting to lose track of his overall story arc (do we know who burned him or not?). The midseason premiere brings a welcome guest in Tyne Daly, for a wonderful Cagney & Lacey reunion (I didn’t watch that show, but these two actresses have great chemistry) and some dynamite acting from Sharon Gless. Unfortunately, the A-plot also brought back Michael’s southern-hick-thug cover identity. I hope this season will take the burn-notice story to a new, more interesting place, and that Michael will get some shiny new cover personae.

Human Target

Mark Valley (remember him as Agent Dunham’s villainous partner from Fringe) stars as a mystery man, action figure, bodyguard who goes from week to week secretly righting wrongs and doing his own missions. It’s too early to tell what the overall premise of the series is, but for a viewer there’s no shortage of adrenaline and action. Chi McBride (fondly missed as the dour Emerson Cod from Pushing Daisies) and Jackie Earl Haley (recently not-seen as the masked vigilante Rorschach from the Watchmen film) team up as the side-kicks/ backup/ helpers. Though this show is fun, I think it still needs some time to find its tone: sometimes funny, sometimes cynical, sometimes explosive is all OK as long as it’s carried out right. So far I’m not still not buying it, though, but I’m giving this show a chance (no pun intended — ‘cos Chance is the name of Valley’s character).

Life Unexpected

We’ve seen the gradual extinction of the down-to-earth situation dramas with the overly-clever dialogue (think Dawson’s Creek or the Gilmore Girls). This show puts together a couple of radio personalities (played by Shiri Appleby and Kerr Smith), a slacker bar owner (played by Kristoffer Polaha), and the biological daughter that comes back into their lives. I quite enjoy the zingy dialogue, the occasional cultural references, and the likable cast. To enjoy this show I’ll even endure the parents-as-adolescents/ adolescents-as-grownups theme that has been done to death.

The Deep End

I love lawyer shows, so I’m going to give this one a chance, even though the life-antics of a bunch of bed-hopping pretty boys and girls is not my kind of show. Add to that the overly-intense Billy Zane as their unscrupulous and domineering overlord and this show is going to get tiresome quickly. Unless it can show some evidence of quality, I think this one will get quickly dismissed (…. like what I did there … with the legal puns?)

Caprica

So far they’ve only aired the pilot double-episode of this BSG prequel (which was already released on DVD a while back). The tone is dark, having dealt with terrorism, the urban underbelly, and questionable social and scientific ethics. Supposedly the series will be more soap than sci-fi, and they’ve already played the “inventing the Cylons” card, but I love how fleshed-out the futuristic world seems to be (and I love the greeter/security robot at the Graysons’), so I’m hoping that there will still be a lot of sci-fi elements to make this show more than just a new millennium’s Falcon Crest (Oops! I did it again!) Kidding aside, if Ron Moore can bring the same kind of high-calibre drama that he brought to BSG, this is going to be another amazing series.

Archer

I’m still not sure what to think of this animated spy satire for adults. I am really enjoying some of the characters, including the petty, self-absorbed title character, Sterling Archer, but the episodes have not really grabbed me so far. They seem kind of thinly-scripted and too much focus is placed on the comparison of the ISIS agency to a normal office.

If these shows aren’t enough, (as the promos keep reming us) Lost’s final season is just around the corner, and if that’s not enough, there’s only a few more months until Glee returns (Yay!).

2009 Love and Hate: TV Characters

One of the things that have made this TV season so enjoyable is the many memorable characters that have cropped up. I’ve listed those that I’ve loved this year, who I can’t wait to see and who really add a unique and refreshing element to the moments when they appear on screen. Of course, not all characters can be so likable, and sometimes even characters who were once the best just languish and become tired. I made a list of those as well.

My Most Loved TV Characters

Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) is still a laugh-riot. Loved his growing friendship with Penny, and also his rivalries with fellow scientist Kripke and Wil Wheaton.

Manny Delgado (Modern Family) – The little latin cherub who thinks that he’s older, wiser, more mature than he really is … his interactions with his jaded step-dad (played by Ed O’Neil) are hilarious and tender. Honourable mention to Manny’s step-son’s life partner Cameron Tucker, who takes the swishy gay stereotype and works it in a completely endearing way.

Abed (Community) is very odd yet everyone likes him and wants to take care of him. You never know what he’s going to say next (but it’s probably a movie quote). Honourable mention to Shirley, the mother hen of their study group: a timid but sassy black woman brimming with warmth.

Walter Bishop (Fringe) is no less of a mad scientist than last season, but we’ve seen a lot of his vulnerabilities and regrets. He’s more than a series of inappropriately humourous moments, but a fleshed-out (albeit still very eccentric) character.

Rick Castle (Castle) oozes so much charisma and charm that that’s what he should be selling instead of crime novels. He sense of humour make every grisly murder case seem like a day at Disneyland. Honourable mention to his daughter Alexis, who is the smartest and sweetest teenager on TV (and there are many!) who keeps her arrested-development father grounded and accountable while still being true to her own age.

Jane Bingham (Drop Dead Diva) is another likable, warm-hearted character that just lights up an episode. Equal parts perky (which comes from the blond aspiring model in her) and savvy (which is her normal legal-eagle persona), how can you not root for her to win every case?

Miles Straume (Lost) really stepped out of his shell this season. Sure, everyone loves the roguish Sawyer, or the teddy-bear Hurley, but Miles was originally just the grumpy and sarcastic member of the expedition that came to the island. Now he and Hurley are volleying quips (and bonding over their shared ability to speak to the dead), and he’s even gotten to enjoy a little temporal paradox by meeting his own father and younger self in the past. How can you top that?

Sue Sylvester (Glee) is everyone’s favourite love-hate relationship, with heartless putdowns and off-the-wall warnings aimed at her many enemies. Though tempered a bit by a heart-melting scene with her mentally-challenged sister, the otherwise hard-as-nails gym teacher is the most “delicious” (to use Sue’s own vernacular) villain on TV.

Topher Brink (Dollhouse) is like a smart alec gone awry. He’s smarter than everyone else, and he knows it. Nevertheless, without his humourously obnoxious cleverness to lighten the mood, the Dollhouse would have collapsed under the weight of its own dourness.

Angie Bolen (Desperate Housewives) brings some much needed fresh air to Wisteria Lane (even if it’s the air of suspicion). Her no-holding-back Italian attitude really plays well against the other wives in the neighbourhood (especially now that Gabrielle is as white-washed as all the others). Let’s hope the writers don’t deflate her — if she’s still around after her mysteries are revealed (see “Katherine Mayfair” below.)

My Most Hated TV Characters

Terri Schuester (Glee) should be loathed not just for her shrillness and general annoyance, but also for how reprehensible her whole baby-switching plot was. If only we had seen something redeeming about her, but instead we only feel entirely relieved when Will got away from her. Dishonourable mention goes to Terri’s sister Kendra who is the worst wife, mother, and woman I have ever seen. Now we see where younger sis gets it all from!

Vicki Donovan (The Vampire Diaries) was so pathetically self-destructive that I’m glad she got attacked, bitten, turned, then staked (yay!). Anything to free her two (Yes, two!) boyfriends and devoted brother (not to mention the audience) from the mess that was Vicki is OK by me.

Katherine Mayfair (Desperate Housewives) was so great two seasons ago when she had a mysterious secret and also the passive-aggressive gumption to go toe-to-toe with the other housewives. Since she fell in love with Mike Delfino (and he left her for Susan), she’s been sliding straight down the slope to the nuthouse. She was a former favourite of mine and deserved so much better. Dishonourable mention to fellow great-character-turned-lame, Lafayette Reynolds (True Blood) who was sensational, sassy, and strong until he was kept as a slave to murderous vampires after which his post-traumatic stress left him a frightened, spent husk.

Matt Parkman (Heroes) was only one of any number of characters I could have chosen from Heroes (the series with the meteoric plummet). The whole “Sylar’s in my head” story could have been an incredibly interesting dramatic duel. Instead, Matt became a drunk and (as Sylar kept reminding us) a bore. When he sacrificed himself to stop Sylar, I was delighted for his demise. Of course, I felt similar schadenfreude when Claire’s wimpy roommate couldn’t take the adventurous lifestyle and fled. Gretchen was such a limp character, so if she didn’t have any powers, I didn’t know why they should bother with her at all.

Sgt. Ronald Greer (Stargate: Universe) is the kind of person I hate in real life: bad attitude, trouble-maker, constantly threatening others and pushing people around. I get that SG:U is meant to be gritty and full of conflict, but they should have left Greer stranded on a planet long ago.

Tyler Evans (V) is the exact opposite of the smartest and sweetest teenager on TV. He’s stupidly naive, falling head over heels for the alien ruler’s daughter (though she is incredibly cute). He’s a terrible son: defying and lying to his freedom-fighting FBI mom. He seems like a surly teen stereotype. Hopefully his special destiny is to become a snack to the Vs.

Olivia Taylor (24) was an implausible character from the get-go. Her mother (the president) was a wonderful example of strength and grace in time of crisis, but she was blind to the ridiculously selfish, manipulative, unethical, devious, and all round terrible woman her daughter was. I was so happy when she eventually learned the truth.

Stuart Radzinsky, Roger Linus & Phil (Lost) — I can’t watch scenes of that self-righteous, pompous uber-nerd Radzinsky without the hatred boiling up like a smoke monster. Roger Linus was such a terrible father and all round wretched person, that it’s no wonder little Ben turned out how he did. And Phil was just such a thick-eyebrowed loser that even the island (or at least the magnetism) wanted to see him dead.¬† Why did the Dharma Initiative recruit the most detestable people?

Senor Chang (Community) is the kind of teacher everyone always fearx: capricious, whacko, and kind of a jerk. Plus he likes to yell! I am even more sad that he’s one of the few Chinese characters on prime time TV and yet I wish he would get fired already.

Sorry to be such a hater on all these characters, but it sure was cathartic to get it out there. Don’t worry. They’re all fictional; they don’t have any feelings. Let’s wish them all gone by next year’s list. Hopefully you agree with some of my list of loves and hates, but if you don’t that’s fine — bring on the comments!

The Tivo Has Spoken – Alvin’s 2009 TV Scorecard

Now that the TV season is over, what did I think of all the series I watched this year? A lot of times it comes down to what I watched first (Medium, Supernatural, Lost, Privileged, Pushing Daisies) and last (Smallville, Cupid) on my Tivo.

We hardly knew ye… (New shows cancelled.)

Privileged – Definitely one of the saddest cancellations of the season. To my amazement, I kept watching this show first on my Tivo before it even finished recording. I had no idea that the story of a bunch of rich girls would be so appealing to me (and not because of any Paris Hilton-esque antics, either). 4 out of 5

Kings – Remaining episodes to be burned off in June. I would have been a cult follower of this show if it had kept going. This alternate-history, allegorical take on the Saul and David story from the Bible was such a great concept and the characters were all becoming interesting. Really too bad. 4 out of 5

The Middleman – Another short-lived but so cool/fun series about secret agents fighting the bizarre. The dialogue was witty and clever, pop culture references were teeming, and so much hilarity to enjoy. When will the next comedy-sci-fi-spy show comes along? 4.5 out of 5

Cupid – An sappy and saccharin romantic-comedy TV show that is saved by some clever writing and charming performances (though it’s still too much on the sweet side for me). 3.5 out of 5

My Own Worst Enemy – Another sad cancellation. I could always use more spies on TV. Christian Slater was good as a sleeper agent in his own mind. It’s unfortunate that our accommodations weren’t better. 4 out of 5

Welcome aboard! (New shows that lived.)

Dollhouse – I went from “OK” to “love the show” in 6 short episodes. This series was high-concept (the adventures of programmable human “dolls”?) and risky (super-creator Joss Whedon has not had the best mainstream track record lately), so I am so glad that Echo and friends are returning next year. The show is inventive and fun — I need it to succeed. 4.5 out of 5

Castle – Meaningless crime-solving fun; grisly-yet-humourous comfort food. Nathan Fillion is top-notch as the seethingly charming crime novelist turned police consultant and his chemistry with Stana Katic is really starting to work. Way to successfully launch another personality-based procedural! 3.5 out of 5

Fringe – An X-Files clone that took a leap into the world of the weird and soared on the wonderful off-kilter charm of the best new character on TV: Walter Bishop — the mad scientist. Plus, even in the first season, the ongoing story arc paid off pretty well (even without answering many questions). My only hope is that next season, Agent Olivia Dunham will unclench a bit. 4 out of 5

Lie To Me – Surprising that this is the first show to come along and sprinkle the pixie dust of psychology onto the humdrum criminal procedural. I’m loving all the tips about human expressions. The show is still fresh, for now… we’ll see next year. 4 out of 5

Better Off Ted – Love this show (didn’t at first) especially for the satire of Big Corporate. I’m glad it’s coming back. As satires go, it’s the perfect companion to Big Bang Theory. 4.5 out of 5

Parks and Recreation – New show has its moments. It’s still not doing much to satirize politics, and I’m not sure we need to see another clueless leader on TV and the characters are still not that interesting, but it might pick up in season two. 3 out of 5

Legend of the Seeker – I never expect much from this show, but it delivers a weekly dose of light “sword and sorcery” fantasy (which is not that easy to come by anymore). Worthy Xena successor. 3.5 out of 5

True Blood – Another series from last summer, which helped cement my love for the vampire genre. I was put off by the “white trash” aspect at first, but it secretly developed interesting characters and an intriguing and mysterious mythology that I really enjoy. 4 out of 5

Star Wars: Clone Wars – The series was so much better than the feature movie. It’s a kids series, but the stories are well written and once you get used to the marionette style animation, it’s an excellent show. 4 out of 5

Sanctuary – I had high hopes for this sci-fi, monster show, but it’s definitely a mixed bag: some total stinker episodes. I am hoping that its next season will shake things up a bit. 3.5 out of 5

Leverage – Awesome new show. A team of thieves take on “robin hood” cases to help the downtrodden by swindling the rich and oppressive. Cool, no? I love the little undercover bits — it reminds me of the 80s version of Mission Impossible. Fun characters and lots of great plot twists (though I could use less of the emotional-baggage moments). 4.5 out of 5

Merlin – Camelot: The younger years. Another light fantasy show with a splash of camp. I hope the stories will become a bit more complex next season. 3.5 out of 5

Wolverine and the X-Men – Another animated show worth mentioning. This show does a great job of integrating multiple story arcs as well (it probably does a much better job than the recent Hugh Jackman movie). It’s great to see so many cool comic-book characters on screen, but also there’s a bit of complexity to the stories as well (Take notes Merlin!) 4 out of 5

Middle Ground (some good some bad)

How I Met Your Mother – Sadly getting a bit bored of this show. The Robin-Barney thing is blah — give us something fun and shocking a la Robin Sparkles (or how about some hints about the dang Mother!) 3.5 out of 5

Reaper – Loved the show for its blend of humour and supernatural mythology, but it is also really getting sadly tiresome. I won’t miss it next fall. 3 out of 5

Simpsons – Continues to be OK (love the new opening sequence from the Simpsons Movie). Too bad they seem to be recycling stories. 3 out of 5

Scrubs – You could feel the show coming to an end, everyone’s growing out of their roles. I do like the new interns this season — wish they’d come along earlier. The season finale was well done, but I don’t know who will be the centre of the show next year without JD. 4 out of 5

Smallville – My lowest priority show. It’s not super-bad (no pun intended), but it’s just not taking me anywhere all that interesting. 3 out of 5

The Office – I wasn’t so crazy about the Michael Scott Paper Company storyline, and Ryan has become such a total dweeb. PB & J have become an exercise in delayed gratification. I can’t believe that Dwight is actually my highlight. 3.5 out of 5

30 Rock – All I can say is that it’s become a looney rather than funny show (though there are plenty of hilariously crazy moments). Can we get back to Liz’s life? or how about back to what goes on behind-the-scenes of a sketch comedy show, eh? 3.5 out of 5

Primeval – This dinosaur show was always less than awesome. Killing lead character Prof. Cutter was ridiculous (especially after eliminating another lead character last season). Plus now let’s mess with the formula all over the place by dealing with evil politicians instead of monsters. Going downhill, anyone? 3 out of 5

Little Mosque On The Prairie – I’m surprisingly comfortable with these characters (especially side-characters Fatima and Babur). The romantic melodrama is getting a bit thick though. I’m sad that Rayann and JJ didn’t marry. 3.5 out of 5

Psych – Though not much changes on this show, James Roday is infectiously fun as psychic detective Shawn Spencer. 4 out of 5

Cream of the Crop (my favourites)

Medium – To sleep perchance to dream – That’s all Allison does, but I just do not get tired of it. I think they have gone amazingly far with the concept while still staying true to the formula. This show has not faltered, and I love it as much as I did from the start. 5 out of 5

Desperate Housewives – Psycho Dave was a lame villain, and last year’s wonderful Katherine has been de-clawed, but the 5-year time jump did give the show some needed energy. Too bad Edie’s gone though. This was only a middling season. I hope next year’s story arc will be more juicy. 4 out of 5

Chuck – Lotta fun this season, though the Buy More gang are almost becoming a separate show as Chuck ups his spy game. I don’t think they can tease the romantic tension between Sarah and Chuck for too much longer though. 4.5 out of 5

Big Bang Theory – Geeks humour continues to be a very rich vein of hilarity, but Sheldon’s inflexibility is getting a bit tired. Let’s just declare him an android already! That would explain everything. 5 out of 5

24 – Way to recover from the last horrible season by sticking to what works: strong president, bigger and bigger villains (“You think it’s over? I’m just a cog”), Jack in mortal danger, surprise traitors. 4 out of 5

Heroes – Even Superman could not have done a better job of pulling out of a deadly nosedive. I am actually eager to watch this show again. Hooray for Baby Touch ‘n Go! 4 out of 5

Lost – Wilder, weirder, and so much fun! This season of time-shifting; returning from death; speaking with the dead; smoke monster mythology; and all kinds of good stuff. I would not miss a single moment. But now we need to wait until Jan. to find out what happened to the entire timeline — aargh! 5 out of 5

Supernatural – Take note Dan Brown, this is how you do Angels and Demons! The mythology has gone in such an interesting direction. Plus there were a few good humour episodes this season as well. These demon-hunting brothers can do no wrong. I’m sad if next season is truly going to be the last. 5 out of 5

Burn Notice – It’s been a while — almost starting up again. This show is always solid spy fun. 4 out of 5

Battlestar Galactica – With the exception of a very unsatisfying finale, this series has been awesome from beginning to end. The civil war, the rediscovery of the final five, so many interesting plots… 5 out of 5

Pushing Daisies – I’m incredibly sad for the loss of this refreshing series. I loved the various characters that the main four guys meet on the way. There is nothing else like it. I miss the show already. 4.5 out of 5

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