Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lost -- "The Variable"

Daniel Faraday Jeremy Davies Lost The Variable screencaps images photos pictures screengrabsDaniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) tries to change time and lives on Lost.

*SPOILER ALERT* Tonight's Lost episode, "The Variable", brings our favorite crazy time-traveling scientist Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) back into the fold. And he's got a surprising new revelation--he thinks he truly can change time. He now considers people variables, who can make different decisions and change the outcome of events.

This is in contrast to his mother, Eloise Hawking (Fionnula Flanagan), who's apparently been drilling the idea of "destiny" into Daniel's head from the moment he was a small child. If you didn't feel sorry for Daniel before, you will now, as we see how strongly his mother manipulated his life and nearly crushed him with her expectations.

We also see Daniel in the past with severe memory loss due to his time travel experiments. Once again his mother controls his direction, convincing him to take his benefactor Widmore's (Alan Dale) invitation to find the mysterious island that might heal him.

More revelations are in store as we discover that not only was Eloise an Other like Widmore, but Widmore is Daniel's father.

Jack Shephard Matthew Fox Lost The Variable shooting gun screencaps images pictures photos stills caps screengrabsBack in the future, which is the past, but not their past--well, you know what I mean--Daniel tries to enlist our Lost heroes to help him find his mother on the island. Only Jack and Kate go with him, though Juliet gives him the gate code against Sawyer's wishes. Sawyer, Juliet, Hurley, and Miles get ready to set off for the beach to hide out--since they can't keep Phil locked in the closet forever.

Things don't go well as Daniel, Jack, and Kate get involved in a shootout with suspicious Dharma security and barely get away alive. That same security barges in on Sawyer (LaFleur) to find out where he's been, and discover the captive Phil. Hurley and Miles are outside the building, but Juliet and Sawyer are caught.

On their jungle trek, Daniel tries to convince Jack and Kate to go along with his plan to prevent the building of the hatch, and the button pressing, and Desmond's lack of button pressing that led to their plane crash. His plan? To set off a hydrogen bomb. Brilliant, yes?

So, as per usual, everything has hit the fan on Lost.

Davies once again puts in a moving performance, breaking our hearts as he once again tearfully tries to warn a young Charlotte of impending danger. And in a final cruel blow, he gets shot by his own mother when he tries to find her in the Others' camp. His dying realization is that she knew this would happen all along, and sent him anyway.


Watch Lost on ABC Wednesday nights at 9/8c.

PHOTOS: Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Matthew Fox as Jack Shephard, Lost "The Variable" screencaps, c2009 ABC Studios.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chuck Me!

Chuck Bartowski Zachary Levi John Casey Adam Baldwin Chuck Versus the Ring finale final episodeChuck (Zachary Levi) gives Casey (Adam Baldwin) a "man hug" on Chuck.

Tonight's season finale of Chuck, "Chuck Versus the Ring" was aptly named. Like LOTR: Return of the King, this finale had about three separate endings, with various forms of cliffhangers and jaw droppers.

*SPOILER ALERT* To be honest, last week I thought "Chuck Versus the Colonel" was the final episode, what with Chuck getting the Intersect out of his head and vowing to lead a normal life. That was just the beginning of the roller coaster ride, however, as evil genius Ted Roark (Chevy Chase) turns up at Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) and Ellie's (Sarah Lancaster) wedding to threaten the entire day. To add insult to injury, Chuck finds out that Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) is going to be partnering up with Bryce Larkin (Matthew Bomer) on her next mission.

As per usual, Chuck's spy games destroy his sister Ellie's wedding. What I've always liked about Chuck, though, is the heart behind the show. In this episode, everyone rallies around Chuck. Whether they know his reasons for needing help or not, Morgan, Lester, Jeff, Casey, Sarah, Awesome, and even Bryce do the right thing to save Chuck and subsequently save Ellie.

I've particularly liked the arc over this season with Casey, as he's grown to respect Chuck and actually display a modicum of warmth toward him. We get to see Casey as more than just a robot warrior--what he has are actually a lot of good qualities like loyalty and honor. He never stops being Casey, though, as he gives Chuck his personal number "in case of emergency" and tells him he better only use it if "his fingers on fire while he's dialing".

Turns out that Fulcrum agents threatening his sister's life is the equivalent of "fingers on fire" and Casey brings a whole team in to save the day--after Bryce and Sarah buy him enough time to get in to save the say. So good guys win all around on "Chuck Versus the Ring".

So we think. Chuck uses his government send-off check to throw Ellie a new and improved beach wedding, and Bryce figures out that Sarah's not coming with him after all. It seems like happily ever after until we see a rogue agent kill the captive Roark and all of Casey's men--only sparing Casey's life to repay Casey saving his life once. Turns out the agent's not Fulcrum, so who is he?

When Bryce gets kidnapped, Chuck, Sarah, and Casey spring into action to try and save him. Bryce gets fatally wounded, and tells Chuck to destroy the new Intersect. Chuck does destroy it, but not before he re-downloads. Bryce had said something to Chuck's father earlier about some new upgrades to the Intersect, and we get to see them in action here as Chuck amazingly kicks the butt of everyone in the room with his new kung fu moves. Which leads to the episode's best line, when a stunned Casey mutters "Chuck me!"

So, there you have it...a mysterious powerful organization that's not Fulcrum, Sarah showing Chuck some love, Chuck back to being the Intersect but with new mad spy skills? Oh yeah. Awesome.

And pleaaase tell me that they dragged Bryce offscreen so he can possibly have yet one more back-from-the-dead moment? And no, this is not entirely because he is so incredibly hot that it's tough not to whimper embarrassingly every time he's on screen. Matthew Bomer really makes for an incredible spy of James Bond levels--he's handsome, suave, and his killer skills when it comes to getting out of tight situations are amazing to watch. Bomer has speed and agility and grace that totally sells his character as a super spy. It's like the screen just jumps to life the moment he starts spinning, kicking, and shooting his way out of impossible odds.

If Bomer doesn't come back, please give this man his own show. Or movie. Or something. He deserves it.

And please bring Chuck back. This geek love spy show is a joyful spot in what's quickly becoming the dark sludge of reality show/procedural show primetime TV.

Honorable mention: The second best quote has to come from Awesome's dad, played by the awesome Bruce Boxleitner. Staring up at the altar as Jeff and Lester rock out "Mr. Roboto", he asks, "Why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian ruin the wedding?"

PHOTO: Casey and Chuck man hug, "Chuck Versus the Ring" screencap, Chuck, c2009 NBC.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Law & Order: Criminal Intent -- "Rock Star"

Jeff Goldblum Detective Zack Nichols Law and Order Criminal Intent CI Rockstar

Tonight was the long-awaited introduction of Jeff Goldblum to the Law & Order: Criminal Intent TV show on USA. I seem to remember a few rumors circulating that the episodes with Goldblum weren't coming together right, and the premiere of CI kept getting pushed back. These rumors were denied by the network of course.

Having now seen the episode, I can see where there might have been some trouble finding their footing. This has nothing to do with Goldblum, whom I've always enjoyed onscreen. The problem is the introduction of another quirky CI detective, who is tall, and works with a small woman partner who is the sensible one. They had to try and create a character that wasn't just a lame rip-off of Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio), and a duo that wasn't a rip-off of Goren and Eames (Kathryn Erbe).

Tonight's Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode, "Rock Star", was a solid episode. Detectives Wheeler (Julianne Nicholson) and Nichols (Goldblum) find themselves investigating not one, but two murders of young aspiring artists living in a sort of hostel/commune in a building that should probably be condemned. With a group of wannabes all vying for attention and grasping at fame, with an almost-famous musician as their slumlord/talent manager, there is plenty of drama and motives to go around for the killings. Neither the detectives nor us know who's responsible until the very end of the episode.

For me, the jury's still out on how this new pairing of Nichols and Wheeler will go. Right now Goldblum's Nichols seems to be a little more spacey and whimsical, and not quite as aggressive as Goran can be. I enjoy the way he knows all sorts of pop culture references, both new and old. He seems quickly able to adapt to each person's frame of reference, making them feel like he's hip to what their experience is like. That's a helpful trait when trying to get information out of people.

With a missing seven years in his career, however, they're leaving room for some possible dark corners in Nichols' life. Personally, I'd rather find out that he's been visiting odd tourist attractions like the world's largest ball of string, or something along those lines. I'd prefer it if he didn't have a tortured past, as that's Goren's realm.

I liked Julianne Nicholson fine when she was on the short-lived Law & Order spinoff Conviction. I've never felt she was a good fit for this role, though, but maybe it's the pixie haircut throwing me off. She's just a little too much Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby and it doesn't suit the tough cop image at all. Her character is also something of a wet noodle, so it's a bit tough to get invested in her from week to week. The good news is the dynamic between her character and Nichols seems to be better than what she had with Logan (Chris Noth).

So I'm reserving judgment on the new team on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I'm excited to see Goldblum back in action, and hope that they'll keep his character interesting and on the lighter side.

Tune in to Law and Order: Criminal Intent on USA Sunday nights at 9/8c.

PHOTOS: Jeff Goldblum as Detective Zack Nichols, Julianne Nicholson as Detective Megan Wheeler, Law & Order: Criminal Intent screencap, c2009 Wolf Films, NBC (USA).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kings Gets Moved to Summer Graveyard

Christopher Egan Ian McShane King Silas David Shepherd photos images screencaps screengrabs stills Kings David Goliath
Looks like Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone will have Kings for company this summer. I sat down tonight to watch the new episode of Kings, "Brotherhood", only to find myself looking at a rerun of Law & Order: SVU. The local TV guide said it would be there. IMDB said it would be there. Unfortunately, NBC decided Kings didn't perform well enough in its one showing on Saturday, so they shuffled it off to summer oblivion.

Susannah Thompson Queen Rose Kings screencaps images photos picturesSaturday night is typically a dumping ground for reruns, so why do they care what the ratings are? I can bet a decent portion of people hoping to tune in to Kings last week did so on Sunday. Whenever a show switches timeslots, it takes people a week or so to catch up. Now we tune in on Saturday, and the show is gone.

So, after a mere five episodes, we have to wait almost two months to pick up where we left off. I'm sure a two month layoff will really help the ratings come summer. Not that Kings has a chance of being renewed, the writing's pretty much on the wall at this point. It just seems that if you're looking for eyeballs for advertisers, you'd not want to lose the diehard audience Kings does have by shutting them out for a long hiatus.

Christopher Egan Sebastian Stan David Shepherd Prince Jack Kings screencaps images photos picturesReally, NBC never gave Kings a chance. The promos were too vague, and once the big hype was done, there were few commercials airing for the show. Kings' original Thursday timeslot was given to Southland, and Kings was pushed to Sunday. And then to Saturday. And then to nowhere. A commenter on TV Series Finale blames it on a change in NBC management. I wouldn't be surprised at all if politics were involved, because purposely killing an expensive and ambitious show before it's even begun? That's more spite than sense.

The glorious Kings will return on Saturday night, June 13, at 8/7c. You can always refresh your memory when the time comes with my blog on episode 5, "Judgment Day".

In the meantime, NBC offers you Saturday reruns of Law & Order: SVU, Southland, and Law & Order. Because, you know, we don't get enough of cop and lawyer shows the rest of the week.

PHOTOS: Ian McShane as King Silas, Christopher Egan as David Shepherd, Susannah Thompson as Queen Rose, and Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack on Kings, screencaps c2009 UMS, NBC.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Say Yes to the Dress -- How Vain Can You Go?

Tonight's episode of Say Yes to the Dress, "Hot Dresses, Cold Feet", had me wondering: how important is personal vanity in relation to the rest of your wedding? Most of this particular Say Yes to the Dress episode focused on brides who found and fell in love with dresses that were drastically out of their price range.

This is the sort of thing that happens all the time in life. You set a budget for a house, but when you start looking at the houses in that price range, you realize you're going to have to spend more to get what you want. Same with cars, or shoes, or appliances. The one thing they all have in common, however, is that they last (hopefully) a long time. So if you spend a little more than you'd planned, it's worth it if it means you'll be happier and have something of higher quality that lasts a lot longer. You could wear those shoes for five years, drive that car for ten, and live in that house for 30 years.

But a wedding dress? It's for one day. As one bride put it, her $6000 dress means she would be spending $1000 an hour for a dress. If you're a model or actress and make a $1000 an hour, this might not be a big deal. But many of the brides on Say Yes to the Dress are people of simple means. Is it worth putting your parents in debt for ten years just so you can have a designer wedding gown? Is your vanity that important? Luckily this woman felt $3000 over budget was not the right move.

Another bride, however, chose a dress that was $1200 over her original budget. Her mother said she'd work three jobs if she had to to get the dress. The voiceover told us that her mother walked to work every day instead of taking public transportation to help pay for the dress. Seriously? You made your mother, who raised you, and gave you everything, walk to work (surely a good distance if she was taking public transportation before)--just so you can have the dress the salesperson talked you into?

Of course often the parents on Say Yes to the Dress are the enablers, encouraging the brides that they deserve "whatever they want". Yes, it's nice that parents love their children and want them to be happy. But it doesn't serve them well in life if they think it's okay to put everyone else in financial jeopardy just so they can get what they want.

Some of the Kleinfelds consultants told one of the brides to just take the cash out of the rest of the wedding--skimp on the flowers, the menu, or invite less guests. That's right Aunt Ruth, you're not invited to the wedding because the bride wanted a more expensive dress.

Really, how vain can you go?

Say Yes to the Dress airs on TLC Friday nights at 10/9c.

PHOTO: Dresses at Kleinfelds bridal salon, Say Yes to the Dress, c2009 Discovery Travel and Living.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Air Dates for Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, and Dirty Sexy Money

Eli Stone George Michael Jonny Lee Miller screencaps images photos singing pictures screengrabs stillsThat's right, in just a little over a month you'll be able to tune in to ABC every Saturday night at 10/9c to catch the remaining episodes of Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money.

May 30, June 6, June 13: The last three episodes of Pushing Daisies.

June 20, June 27, July 4, July 11: The final four episodes of Eli Stone (which promises to include an actual finale).

July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8: The last four episodes of Dirty Sexy Money.

It's still a shock that ABC managed to kill four critically acclaimed and quality primetime TV shows (including the late and lamented Life on Mars) in a single season, but hey, at least so far they're making good on their promise to actually let us see the final episodes of our beloved TV series.

(Thanks to Zap2It for the scheduling info.)

PHOTO: George Michael performs in one of Eli Stone's dance number visions on Eli Stone, screencap c2009 ABC Studios.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Renewed and Cancelled TV Shows

With official news of the fall schedule not arriving until next month's upfronts, all the TV sites are filled with speculation about what primetime TV shows will be renewed and which will be cancelled.

USA Today has a handy dandy grid to let you know who's in and who's out and who's on the bubble. It's not too hard to figure out that powerhouse shows like the CSI franchises, the Law & Order series, and the new powerhouse The Mentalist will be coming back. And a lot of shows with lower ratings are already officially cancelled, like Life on Mars, Crusoe, and Eli Stone (the four remaining episodes will be burned off this summer.)

What leads to speculation are all the shows in the middle, that have low ratings but great critical acclaim, or middling ratings that show potential, or just network faves that will be given another shot.

Some shows that have had questionmarks around them this season are in USA Today's renewed or as-good-as column, like Bones and Big Bang Theory. I wasn't surprised (though saddened) to see Cupid, Castle, and Better Off Ted in the "on the bubble" category, but pretty shocked to see Medium, Rules of Engagement, and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Granted, a lot of these shows that are on the bubble are all on the same freakin' night, including the lovable geek TV show Chuck. I want to know who the genius was that decided to put Chuck on against Big Bang Theory? Talk about canceling each other out! Why not put Chuck against Ghost Whisperer or any other show with a completely different target audience? Then both networks win their demo for the night.

It's still looking like Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse are dead. reports that Fox won't be airing Dollhouse's last episode, and there's a whole tangled explanation of why not. Honestly, I didn't care that much for Dollhouse, but it still feels like Firefly all over again. Whedon and Fox need to part ways permanently, because obviously they can't make beautiful music together.

PHOTO: Simon Baker as Patrick Jane on the popular CBS series The Mentalist, screencap c2009 Warner Bros. Television, CBS.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In Plain Sight -- New Season Premiere Tonight

Mary's back! With Kings moving to Saturday night, I was worried about Sundays becoming dull, but turns out we've got In Plain Sight returning tonight to USA. What could be better than a sassy, wise-cracking, tough US Marshall who helps a wide range of victims and criminals adapt to life in the federal witness protection program?

Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) is one of the fantastic new breed of woman characters on television--smart, independent, sexy, and a little rough around the edges. She kicks down doors, wrangles runaways, and makes bad decisions, and we love her for it. We love her even more when she's verbally sparring with her intellectual, much finer-edged partner Marshall Mann--that's right, he's U.S. Marshall Marshall, an ongoing joke that's used just sparingly enough to remain funny.

Frederick Weller plays Marshall with a nice bit of dry wit and stubborness. Marshall's got more sensitivity than Mary, but he's snarky enough to keep her on her toes. (In case you were wondering, Frederick is first cousin to actor Peter Weller, who you may remember as RoboCop or from a recent stint on 24. There's definitely a resemblance between the Wellers, with the sharp features and deep set eyes, and they're both compelling presences on the screen.

But I digress. In Plain Sight does a nice job balancing the cop drama and the drama of Mary's home life. The show has some comedic elements, but it's not afraid to go to the darker places. Mary has a difficult past and dysfunctional family relationships, and isn't so good at the romance and commitment part of life.

Tune in to see Mary and Marshall spring back into action this season on In Plain Sight. Oh, and did I mention, Mary has a really hot on-again off-again boyfriend Raphael? You can't say no to hot Chilean actor Cristián de la Fuente, you really can't. But somehow Mary can...

In Plain Sight season 2 premieres tonight on USA, at 10/9c.

Kings -- "Judgment Day"

*SPOILER ALERT* Last night's Kings episode "Judgment Day" had lots of angsty David (Christopher Egan), and lots of angry Prince Jack (Sebastian Stan). With the upcoming furor of Judgment Day, when King Silas (Ian McShane) reconsiders ten cases that were already ruled on by the courts, Prince Jack's plotting reaches epic heights as he does his best to ruin his rival.

Using his mouthpiece Katrina Ghent (Leslie Bibb), one of the ministers appointed by the King, Prince Jack ensures that David's brother gets the full sentence for treason. Prince Jack first pits David and Princess Michelle (Allison Miller) against one another for the tenth slot on Judgment Day's roster, and then offers David a deal--if he speaks publicly against the King, then Ghent will influence the court to show leniency.

To both Jack's and Katrina's surprise, David won't participate in political dealings, even to save his brother. In that way, he's just like his brother--who wouldn't recant his principles either. Jack is furious, but Katrina is impressed. She spurns Jack's advances, and insults him to boot, and then goes to speak to the King--subtly letting him know about David's honor.

The princess Michelle confronts her brother Jack when she realizes he has orchestrated all of this to ruin David. She accuses him of playing with a man's life for spite, but he counters that it's for his own life. He fears her and David marrying, ascending to the throne and leaving him out in the cold. Once again Sebastian Stan does a marvelous job of showing Jack's desperation--he's done horrible, cruel things, but out of his own fear and agony.

One of the best scenes in the episode comes when the King tells David that he has spared his brother's life--and given him a 6 month sentence. The extremes of the sentence, he said, allowed him the right to intervene with his divine wisdom. In a burst of emotion, David hugs him, catching King Silas completely by surprise. The lamb amongst all of the lions, David may change this family yet.

Watch Kings on its new day, Saturdays on NBC at 8/7c.

PHOTO: Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack, Kings screencap c2009 Universal Media Studios (UMS), NBC.

Saturday, April 18, 2009 Exiles, Fired Bloggers, Employees, Refugees, and Rebels

Welcome to the new TV News and Reviews blog. I used to reside at, but after speaking up in the private forums about recent policy and payment changes, I found myself locked out of my own account.

Turns out I was not alone. You can find some very enlightening threads on the exiled bloggers by visiting MsTerri's LOST blog, Hospitalera's blog, and the Just Flitting blog.

You can also click on any of the blogroll links to the right to visit other blogging exiles like me. It's a delightful and varied bunch of skilled bloggers, who as you may have guessed, aren't afraid to speak their mind.

Even if it means getting thrown out. :)

So, onward and upward, as they say. Welcome to my new home and I hope to bring you just as much TV News and Reviews goodness as I have before. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

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