How I Met Your Mother – 6.04: Subway Wars

October 15, 2010

“Face, huh?  That’s your weirdest nickname for boobs yet.” -Ted

Oh shit, did they just combine two of my favorite shows?  In this episode, How I Met Your Mother meets The Amazing Race, as each of the gang competes in a race from the bar to a steakhouse in an attempt to prove who knows how to get around NYC the best.

Like The Amazing Race, I think what I loved about this episode is that it was a really fantastic combination of simplicity and complexity.  The concept behind the episode was very simple (first one to the finish line gets the prize!), yet the execution was ambitious in scale and actually managed to pull it off quite well.  The episode takes us through the subways, on a bus, and down the streets of New York, all while keeping an exciting pace and summing up the action with a giant map with the characters’ faces on their location.  At the same time, the writers manage to elevate the episode past a simple slapstick episode about mad dashing by peeling back a layer on the characters a bit.  It’s revealed that the sudden need for competition between the friends actually stems from frustrations they were feeling with their day-to-day lives: Ted receiving a single poor review on his page, Robin being jealous of her new co-host, and Lily and Marshall having difficulty conceiving their child.  Of course, they all manage to confront their own insecurities by the end of the episode, but the journey to self-discovery is thrilling, inventive, and hilarious.  There’s only so much you can do with a 23-minute episode of primetime television, and yet, they really managed to fill this one to the limit by packing in an action-packed storyline, a decent amount of character development, and some heart-warming moments.  In the end, Robin wins the race and Lily and Marshall come to terms with the fact that getting pregnant may take some time and that they should enjoy their final moments of non-parenthood while they still can.

Barney’s always been the selfish and self-centered one of the group (at least, more so than the others), and in watching the series, it’s not hard to wonder why the rest of the group puts up with him (even in this episode, Lily jokes about trying to ditch Barney by all moving away).  Even though Barney’s at his most hilarious when he’s being his most self-centered, it’s nice to be reminded every now and then that deep down, he truly is friends with the rest of the group.  Moments away from crossing the finish line, Barney recognizes Robin’s need for a win that day and lets her win by tackling Ted right at the end of the race, allowing her to truly feel like a New Yorker.  Barney is the closest that the show gets to a one-dimensional character, and because it’s a bit rarer than with the rest of the group, it’s especially fun to see the moments when Barney shows a bit of humanity and courtesy for others.


Nikita – 1.05: The Guardian

October 15, 2010

“You can either help me, or I can tell Percy what you’ve been doing after hours in the video conference room….with the girls of Amsterdam?” –Michael

Though I’ve enjoyed watching this series (it’s a good piece of fluff action), ever since the second episode, I was having doubts as to how long the mission-of-the-week format would be able to sustain itself.  Thus, I was pretty pleasantly surprised to find that the latest episode finally delivered on the hints at an overarching storyline that the show has been sprinkling throughout the series.  In the premiere episode, we learned that the head of the black ops government division (appropriately named “Division”) that Nikita has been trying to take down had set up a failsafe to protect himself from ever being replaced or otherwise removed from his position: a series of Black Boxes hidden in safe places around the world containing data on every corrupt mission that Division had carried out over the years.  If anything ever happened to him, he would expose the secrets, thus destroying the credibility of the government and the nation.  A bit of Mutually Assured Destruction, if you will.  In order to take out Division without putting the nation’s global presence at risk, Nikita would have to locate and get rid of these Black Boxes first.  After only being briefly mentioned a few times since the premiere episode, the first of the boxes finally made an appearance in this episode, as well as introducing a new character: Owen Elliot, an operative designated as guardian of one of the boxes.  Over the course of the episode, Nikita manages to track down the box and even successfully convinces Owen to turn against Division (not too difficult, agents of Division end up killing Owen’s girlfriend in order to retrieve the Black Box from him).  With a new character in the mix and the hunt for the boxes officially on, I am left excited and looking forward to the ramifications these latest events will have on the series.  Obviously, they can’t all be storyline-related episodes, and I’m sure we’ll get back to a few individual episodes soon enough, but just a small taste this early on in the series leaves me very satisfied and at least shows that the writers are thinking ahead to more complex threads.

On the other hand, it still kinda bothers me every time they cut to Alex alone in the computer lab chatting with Nikita and providing her with intel.  Is that thing just open to the trainees like all the time?  And why doesn’t their firewall or monitoring software catch her conversations?  I realize a show like this isn’t exactly striving for completely convincing reality, but those scenes really paint Division as a not that tightly run ship to me.  I suppose a show that had the trainees on lockdown and constant surveillance wouldn’t be the most fun show, but still, at least make it look like there’s some decent amount of security in that underground bunker, or wherever they are.

Community – 2.03: The Psychology Of Letting Go

October 14, 2010

“Yeah, you’re both sooooo different….skinny bitches.” – Shirley

Like any good episode, this one featured a lot of good snappy lines, some great visual gags, and some very welcome returning guest stars (John Oliver and Patton Oswalt).  One of the main storylines involved Annie and Britta teaming up to raise money to help out the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with conflict occurring when they get into an argument on their methods of collecting donations.  Britta takes the perhaps less appealing route of yelling at passersby and trying to guilt them into donating money, while Annie decides to…shall we say, use her feminine charms in order to get people (boys) to donate.  The ensuing argument/fight between them is totally in character for both of them (Britta accuses Annie of whoring out their gender), but I did like the fact that their conflict also had an undercurrent of residual bitterness the two might have had with the unsatisfying conclusion to the Annie-Britta-Jeff triangle.  Though the wrapping up of this storyline in the episode may have been a bit ham-fisted (the lengthy apologies they give each other are a bit too all-encompassing and don’t seem particularly genuine), I did appreciate the fact that they tried to at least incorporate any loose threads there were with the first season cliffhanger.  Not the best execution, but I give them credit for trying.  Plus, y’know, chicks wrestling in oil.  They’ve got that going for them too.

There was also a scene where the two of them go into the whole imitating-but-really-insulting-each-other routine.  I loved that after all the names and insults they hurled at each other, the comment that ended up hitting too close to home for Britta was about “waking up an hour early every morning to slightly curl my hair.”

There was another storyline that involved Pierce and Troy dealing with the death of Pierce’s mother (Troy is disturbed, Pierce is in denial thanks to promises made by his cult) and Jeff coming to terms with his own dwindling mortality.  With these 5 characters taking up the lion’s share of the episode, there really wasn’t a lot of time for Shirley and Abed in this episode.  However, they were pretty brilliantly dealt with.  Though she didn’t get a lot of screentime, Shirley made the most of it by coming in every now and then to subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) hint that she wants to be part of Annie and Britta’s plans (“Yay for having fun in pairs!”)  Failing at this, she instead starts to turn the two against each other.  A small touch, but a nice running thread to have for her in an episode that doesn’t have a lot of room for her.  The real stroke of brilliance, however, was allowing Abed to have an entire silent storyline to himself in the background of scenes running through the whole episode.  In the cold open, he’s shown talking to a pregnant woman, and the interactions with her and her boyfriend continue throughout the show, culminating in Abed delivering the baby himself when she goes into labor.  At the end, when Shirley asks what he’s been up to, he nonchalantly responds “nothing much.”  Awesome.  Community is just chock full of little details like this that really reward the viewer for paying attention, and it’s one of many reasons why I love the show so much.

The Event – 1.03: Protect Them From The Truth

October 7, 2010

“Do you know how many people use ‘password’ as their password?” – Sean

Some more stuff happened this week.  Sean escapes the custody of the FBI agents that arrested him and tries to sneak into an FBI office in order to track down information about his girlfriend’s kidnappers, only to get caught and taken into custody again.  Some federal agents try to seize him after they realize he may be connected to what’s going on with the aliens, but he manages to escape with the help of one of the FBI agents (who starts to become suspicious of the federal agents after they, y’know, try and kill everyone at the office).  One of the alien captives agrees to spill the beans about the aliens’ schemes and the whereabouts of the aliens who aren’t captive, only to get stabbed to death by his girlfriend moments before he can say anything (in order to ensure the safety of her people).  Also, Sean’s girlfriend, Leila, kinda gets knocked around a bit by her captor, Vicky.  Not much really on that particular plot thread, but I guess it’s nice to know that she’s still alive or something.  Oh yeah, and the passengers of the plane that disappeared were presumed to be dead (their unconscious, unmoving bodies found in the middle of the desert where the plane crashed), but it turns out that every single last one of them is alive and is regaining consciousness at the end of the episode.

I say all this with a certain amount of detachment and brevity (summing up an hour’s worth of activity into about 3 sentences), but the truth is, I’m still having a lot of fun with this show since last week.  The intrigue and the mystery and the suspense have been kicked up a notch ever since the plane so mysteriously disappeared from the Miami sky, and it’s kept me excited and wondering what will happen next.  However, I am beginning to realize that after spending so much time time providing a decent amount of background in the pilot episode, we’ve been going through some pretty shallow waters in the pursuit of keeping viewers watching the show week after week.  It’s been a lot more exciting than how it started out, but it’s beginning to feel like we’ve been running non-stop without taking a moment to catch our breath.  Besides Sean, the only characters we’ve really spent any amount of decent time with so far is the president and Sophia, both of whom have spent most of their time standing off with each other.  We have a decent amount of semi-interesting characters to play around with, but other than the predicament they currently find themselves in, we don’t know a whole lot about them.  Leila taunts Vicky by claiming that Sean will never stop looking for her.  Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but it doesn’t add a whole lot to his character.  He loves his girlfriend, he’s a good and kind-hearted man, and he’ll never give up.  Wow, that’s like... every generic action hero ever!  Sean’s a likable guy!  Let’s find out a little bit more about him and what makes him tick!  We get a few hints, like when he saves the very same FBI agent that arrested him in the last episode from a fiery car crash at the beginning of this episode, but overall we spend most of the time running or dealing with the current plot twist.  It’s a minor complaint from a show that is being billed as a big suspense thriller show anyways, and we’re way early in the show’s run, so it’s not like it’ll never ever be addressed, but it’s what was running through my mind as I watched the latest episode.  I’m going to start complaining if we go into the winter hiatus and we still barely know anything about our little main character, but for now, I’m just bringing it up as a point of interest.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, this show so far seems a bit like 24, providing us with constant twists and thrills to keep us invested, rather than perhaps something like Battlestar Galactica, which did a fantastic job melding both the suspense and the deep character storylines (well, for the first couple seasons anyways).  And that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all.  I loved 24!  Maybe this is a show that just deals with suspenseful twists and turns designed to keep the viewer excited and guessing.  It’s working so far; who’s to say that it shouldn’t keep working?

The Amazing Race – 17.02: A Kiss Saves The Day

October 5, 2010

“Wow, look at all the trash” – Chad

This week, I’m reminded of the harsh realities of…well, reality TV, in that you may like some or even a lot of the people you see on the screen, but a lot of time, they’ll be eliminated in favor of people that you cannot stand.  It’s a good thing that this season of The Amazing Race is filled with a ton of surprisingly pleasant teams, but the writing was on the wall for Andie/Jenna last week when they struggle with the first leg and came in 9th.  I was hoping they had at least one more episode left in them, but in the busy streets of Ghana, we bid goodbye to them this week.  In terms of team relations, The Amazing Race has always done a pretty good job in introducing a new and interesting team dynamic into the mix every couple seasons, and the relationship between Andie and Jenna was one of the most interesting I’ve seen over the years: a recently reunited mother and the daughter she decided to give up for adoption.  It’s always difficult to maintain an air of pleasantness on a competition as demanding and taxing as the race, and I had my concerns as to whether or not the relationship between the two would degrade over time.  We’ve seen long-term relationships go sour over the course of the race, so it seemed like it would be even more difficult with people who barely knew each other.  Running around the world isn’t exactly the best backdrop for trying to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in 21 years.  And yet, even when things got difficult between the two on the two legs they shared of the race, they were never anything but patient and understanding with each other.  I do hope they are able to take the time they’ll have together sequestered until the end of the race to get to know each other better.  They really look amazingly like each other, and I can only imagine how they had reacted to this revelation the first time they met.  It’s an odd story to be told in the format of a reality competition series, but for the brief time we were allowed to witness it, I was actually pretty touched by it.  I hope those two make it in the long run.

The other thing I took away from this episode is how much of the race is dependent on taxi luck.  Since you spend most of your time being transported by taxis to each destination, a lot of your success on the race depends on getting a taxi driver who knows what he or she is doing.  One team had a taxi that eventually stalled while trying to get to their first location, causing them to drop to last place.  In another instance, several teams that were already pretty far behind the rest of the pack all had taxi drivers that didn’t know the location of their next destination, causing all three of them to overshoot the location by quite a bit.  On the flip side, Nat/Kat’s taxi driver (who was among the teams behind the rest of the pack) eventually grew some courage and managed to pass several teams en route to the pit stop of the leg, boosting them from being somewhere near the end to about the middle of the pack.  It kinda sucks that a large portion of the race is out of your control, and it doesn’t always make for the most satisfying television, especially when it is the cause of the elimination (not that it necessarily was in this particular case), but it is just an inherent part of the race that there is not really a good way to get around.  C’est la vie, I suppose.

Who I’m rooting for: Pretty much the same as last week.  Everyone except Chad/Stephenie and Nick/Vicki. I think next week will be the turning point in which I start to pick out my favorites in the field, but for now, I’m having a lot of fun just watching everyone have fun on the race.

Who will win: I suppose it’s easy to get swayed by them after their display of sheer endurance from last week and the way they excelled at something they already know how to do this week (hocking goods), but this week I change my prediction to Brook/Claire, the home shopping channel hosts that got whacked in the face with a watermelon last week.  They have a certain tenacity about them that is unbelievable.  I still predict that it is a female/female’s team to take it this year, even if it isn’t these two.

30 Rock – 5.02: When It Rains, It Pours

October 4, 2010

“Remember, the backflip is 90% confidence” – Jack

In this episode, there were two major sequences that were essentially thinly veiled ways to give the writers the freedom to just go off and write a bunch of one-liners for the two actors on the show who best deliver one liners.  In one sequence, Jack tapes a series of video messages to his unborn son in the event that he dies before he’s fully grown.  In the other, Tracy needs a way to get to the hospital for free in order to be with his wife when she gives birth, and out of all the taxis in New York, finds himself in the Cash Cab.  Perhaps not the hardest way to write an episode in the world (although I think the Cash Cab plot turn was a particular stroke of genius), but it did make for quite possibly the funniest episode 30 Rock has had in several seasons.  Casting away the requirements of needing to work through the building up and resolution of an actual plot, the show instead spent a good portion of the episode allowing Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin to be their effortlessly hilarious selves, and it absolutely worked like a charm.  Jack gives his son some of the most insane advice that a father could ever give his son (“The secret to a strong, healthy head of hair is Dove…blood.”), while Tracy rattles off answers to trivia questions while giving way too much insight to his own twisted history (“The capital of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dabhi.  I know that because if I go back there, I’ll be executed.”).  The laughs just kept coming, one after another.

There was another plot in the episode that involved Liz Lemon actually getting some attention for her feminine side when the everyday men in her life started noticing that she’s actually become somewhat attractive, due to having a newfound confidence and happiness in her new relationship.  Though it wasn’t as funny as the rest of the episode, it was notable in that it finally got us off the overly used gag of Liz Lemon being a sad sack and a slob all the time.  Liz managed to use her new feminine wiles to not only get her way, but to even play matchmaker and set up a new couple amongst the video editors!  As hilarious as pathetic Liz Lemon is, seeing that side of her too often makes the show seem too much like a simple cartoon.  Much like seeing business-savvy Jenna was a breath of fresh air last week, so too was successful and confident Liz Lemon of this week.

Between this episode and the last, things are really really looking up for the future of this show.  Things feel fresh and newly funny again and this episode had the spirit and energy of episodes from the first couple seasons.  Jack’s sequence in this episode, in particular, was reminiscent of the season 1 episode that showed a series of bloopers during the filming of the instructional video on slipping in positive mentions (or “pos-mens”) corporate products into NBC shows.  Oh yeah, and the very welcome return of Dr. Spaceman.  Truly inspired madness.  Hello show, I think I’m in love with you again.

Survivor: Nicaragua – 21.03: Glitter In Their Eyes

October 1, 2010

“It’s not little league where every kid gets to play X amount of innings.” – Tyrone

Alright, it’s episode 3, and we’re now starting to figure out who some of the more obnoxious players are this time around.  First and foremost is Naonka, who spent most of her time last week expressing her distaste for “Fabio” and in general just being unpleasant to some people without having really been given a good reason to.  In general, I like to avoid being openly rude to people unless they’ve personally wronged me, but apparently having dumb hair is enough to send Naonka off on a tirade.  This week, on top on continuing her interviews in which she spews venom for the people she doesn’t like on her tribe, she takes it one step further by getting in a small physical altercation.  Specifically, pretty much wrestling someone to the ground over fishing out a note to the hidden immunity idol hidden in a fruit basket that was won during the challenge.  Oh yeah, and the person she wrestled only has one leg.

There’s a lot of different ways to think about this.  The fact of the matter is that Kelly B (the owner of only one leg) is in fact a pretty stellar athlete and is probably somewhat capable of handling herself when someone is wrestling her to the ground.  It is also a fact that this is a game for a million dollars, and you need to do pretty much anything you can to give yourself an advantage in the game, or at the very least deny your opponents any advantage they can find, even if they only have one leg.  I’m sure I would normally find the incident relatively meaningless if it was anyone else who had wrestled Kelly to the ground.  In this case, however, since it’s the most obnoxious and hateful of the contestants that got involved, it’s really easy to say “wow, that Naonka sure is a bitch.”  Which she totally is.  Honestly, I can understand when you’re spending so much time with a small group of people how one might be inclined to just not like certain people, but as far as we’ve been shown, Naonka has no good reason for having such hatred for these people, and yet spends so much of her confessional time disparaging them.  Sadly, because she’s currently in the majority alliance on her tribe, she’ll be around for a bit longer.  Hopefully her poor attitude will start to spill out on to people in her alliance, causing the tribe to vote her off (of course, the younger tribe will have to lose a challenge for that to happen, which might not happen for a while).

Meanwhile, the older tribe begins to have issues with some obnoxious people of their own.  Thankfully, no one is nearly as bad as Naonka on the older tribe.  Still, Jimmy T is definitely starting to grate with his insistence on being seen as an authority figure.  That dude is seriously rocking some superiority complex, first complaining that no one is listening to his great ideas around camp, and then whining that he’s being wasted during the challenges by not being allowed a chance to perform a task.  I’m sure the guy is a good leader and athlete, but dude needs to dial it down a notch.  On the other hand, though I started out liking him, Marty’s ego is starting to get the better of him.  He hasn’t gone into full-on douche mode quite yet, but I can see it slowly emerging.  His motivation for wanting to vote out the current de facto leader of the tribe, Jimmy Johnson, was to both take out a viable threat and to install himself as the leader of the tribe.  Sure enough, he got his way and Jimmy Johnson was voted out of the game.  Next week, there’s almost certainly going to be a showdown of egos as Jimmy T and Marty attempt to assert themselves as the leader of the tribe.  That won’t go well.

Who I’m rooting for: I still like Brenda, and I’m going to add Kelly B, if for no other reason that I want to see that bitch Naonka go down.

Who will win: Tough call, as the people who are thinking strategically about the game are also putting giant targets on their back.  At this point, since I think Marty is going to be voted off somewhere down the line due to emerging as too strong of a leader, I’m going to go back to my original quasi-random guess of Yve. She seems to be liked by a lot of people on her tribe, which could go a long way during the later stages of the game.

No Ordinary Family – 1.01: Pilot

September 30, 2010

“What every secret crime-fighter needs: a lair…with wi-fi” – George

Hot off the heels of the cancellation of Heroes, another show tries to make a name for itself in the superhero genre.  Taking a cue from The Incredibles, No Ordinary Family is about a family whose plane crashes while vacationing in South America.  When they get back, they slowly but surely come to the realization that they all have super powers.  Perhaps not the most convincing origin story (the only explanation given is that the lake they crash landed in was full of “sparks” or “shines” or whatever), but nonetheless, super powers afterward.  Jim, the patriarch, discovers he has some weird combination of super strength, relative invulnerability, and the ability to jump really high and really far.  The mom, Stephanie, can run real fast, the daughter, Daphne, can read minds, and previously learning disabled son JJ now has super intelligence.

It sounds like it could be an interesting premise, and the show gets some points for having a very lighthearted and introspective feel to it (as opposed to the poorly executed foreboding doom and gloom feel of the later seasons of Heroes), but overall, I don’t get a sense that the producers really knows where the show is going.  By the end of the first episode, we’ve discovered some neat applications for everybody’s new super powers (Mom can now spend more time with the family since she can get anywhere instantly), but I wasn’t left with any kind of curiosity as to how the show would proceed from there, which is not the most promising sign.  Jim’s always wanted to make a difference, and with his newfound powers, he can now fight crime on the street.  Yay?  Admirable, but it’s just not very exciting and doesn’t do a good job of filling up an hour of television.  Also, the problems of the family seem to be the same problems that every family goes through:  it’s tough to balance time for everything in everyone’s lives, kids and parents are drifting apart as everyone grows up, parents feel not completely fulfilled, etc etc etc.  I feel bad for the family, but honestly, your problems are just the same as everybody else’s.  Also, I just don’t see how superpowers are supposed to fix them.

At the end of the episode, they attempt to up the ante by revealing that there are others out there with similar powers, and there even seems to be something akin to an evil organization.  Worse, one of the evil conspirators just happens to be the family’s marriage counselor!  The problem is, the bit at the end felt way too tacked on, almost like an afterthought.  I appreciate the notice that yes, there is something deeper going and there are more mysteries to uncover, but there’s really not that much to get excited over, since no indication of any of their insidious plans are given.  Much like the premiere of The Event, there just isn’t a lot that happens in this hour of television.  There are some interesting and likable characters, but I’m just wasn’t very compelled by their story in the premiere.  At the end of the day, I feel like this is an interesting premise, but that there’s not much more to it then that.  It is by far the most disappointing of the new shows I’ve tried to pick up this year.  I’m willing to give it at least one more shot, but it better pick up the pace like The Event did, or I’m going to be dropping this one.

The Event – 1.02: To Keep Us Safe

September 29, 2010

“They have a hidden agenda, sir.  I know it in my bones.” – Sterling

See, The Event? Was that so hard?  Just show a few things actually happening, and you’re suddenly a million times more interesting!  After spending an hour with the show last week and pretty much only seeing a vanishing plane, I was ready to give up on this show if it didn’t get more interesting fast.  Truth be told, I was sorta looking forward to getting the time back, or at least being able to invest it in a different show.  Instead, The Event decided that it finally wants to peel back a few more layers and actually show us a few things.  The plane reappears and crash lands in Arizona, some weird black helicopters descend on the plane and basically kill everyone dead, and Sean manages to get away from the crash site, only to wind up in a hospital and under the custody of the police.  Seems he is wanted for the murder of Greg, one of the two new friends that he and his girlfriend met on the cruise ship a week ago.  Sean is innocent, of course, but the people who did murder Greg also are holding Sean’s missing girlfriend, Leila, hostage.  Oh yeah, and that other new friend they met on the cruise ship, Vicky?  Yeah, she’s in cahoots with the kidnappers/murderers, who were also the ones that convinced Leila’s dad to hijack the plane and attempt to kill the president with it.

Meanwhile, we learn a bit more about the 97 prisoners kept in Russia that the president had just found out about in the last episode (he was planning on holding a press conference announcing their existence and freeing them from captivity).  It turns out, they were discovered nearly 70 years ago, and are aliens!  Or rather, they’re humanoids that are similar to us, but possess significant differences in their DNA sequence.  Everyone involved in this particular conspiracy seems to believe that this means that they are extraterrestrial, but I’m more inclined to believe that this might mean they are a highly evolved version of the human.  I’d put my money on an upcoming revelation that the 97 prisoners were actually time travelers, and not aliens.  Either way, we learn a few things about them this episode: there’s more than just the 97 in captivity (some of the original group discovered by the government managed to avoid capture), they are responsible for what happened to that plane, and the director of National Intelligence, Sterling, believes they’re hiding something.  They go really out of the way to make it seem like this Sterling guy is obsessed with proving that the aliens are hostile.  We don’t know anything about the aliens.  For all we know, they might as well be trying to enslave all of humanity.  Yet based on Sterling’s creep factor and the fact that he described knowing something because he “feels it in his bones,” I’m inclined to side with the aliens.  That Sterling guy is just bad news, and there’s going to be some upcoming twist involving that is going to further paint his character in a bad light.  I know it in my bones.

One thing about the show that is getting very distracting, though, is its need to constantly give us some backstory on the current scene by showing a lengthy flashback sequence, complete with “_____ YEARS AGO” caption.  I understand that there are a lot of details they’re trying to fill in along the way, but literally having one per act is going overboard.  The rate at which the show jumps us back in time the wide ranges of times in which we flash back to make the show feel very unfocused, a bit like we’re getting the story told by someone who has severe ADD.  We start out simple and reasonable enough with “TEN DAYS AGO”, then 10 minutes later, we’ve escalated to “ELEVEN YEARS AGO.”  By the time we hit “NOVEMBER 2ND, 1944”, I had to laugh.  It was getting absolutely ridiculous, almost to the point of self-parody.  I get that they’re trying to keep us on our toes by bouncing us around the storyline, but it’s honestly much more distracting at this point than it is exciting.  I would have much preferred a smaller number of flashbacks, all limited to relatively the same timeframe.

So we’ve got a lot of different factions at work here: there’s the aliens, the government that has the aliens captive, the extremist group trying to kill the president for some reason, the non-captive aliens that may or may not be trying to free the captives (they even have a mole on the inside, Agent Lee), and the people caught in the middle of it all, like Sean or his kidnapped girlfriend.  Last week was a very uneven and unexciting introduction to the series, and it would have gone a long way to incorporate some of the scenes from this second episode into the first.  I wasn’t sure if I would be keeping this show on my TV schedule (apparently so did a lot of other people, ratings are down from last week), but I’m glad I at least stuck it out through this week, as things look much more promising for the show.  Unlike last time, I’m actually looking forward to seeing how some of the new developments will be addressed or resolved.  We’ll see how long The Event can keep this pace and momentum.

Premieres coming to an end…

September 28, 2010

With season and series premieres coming to an end, I will likely not be commenting on every single episode of every show I watch going forward, due to a combination of lack of time and the fact that  there is not always something noteworthy to say about each episode.  I’ll write an entry if I feel I have something worth writing down.