Tuesday, November 3, 2015

SUPERGIRL: 5 Things We Learned from Episode "Stronger Together"

Supergirl Stronger Together Episode Review

The second episode of "Supergirl" focused on Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Hank (David Harewood) letting Kara (Melissa Benoist) know that she'd taken the training wheels off of her superheroism a little too early. Like your average 20-something, Kara rolled her eyes at all this concern over her tactics. After all, when you can save a plane from crashing with your bare hands and mad flying skills, what could any mere human possibly teach you?

Since it's still so early in the series, we're discovering lots of new things about the characters and the show itself. Here are 5 Things We Learned from "Stronger Together":

Supergirl Cat Grant Calista Flockhart Kara Melissa Benoist

1. Calista Flockhart is not bad as media mogul Cat Grant. She wasn't an obvious choice as a domineering and successful woman, but she's managing it better than expected. She's haughty, sarcastic, and plays the part as if any woman (including Supergirl) who doesn't live up to her standards is deeply offending her. It's a combination that works.

2. Mehcad Brooks needs to turn down Teh Sexeh. As Jim Olsen, famed Superman photographer and Kat's newest confidante, Brooks is smoldering so much in Kara's direction that it's surprising her hair doesn't catch on fire. Considering the doe-eyed, hair-twirling tone this show has taken so far, Jim looking like he wants to take Kara up against a glass partition where everyone can see them seems a bit...erm...out of place. We know you're hot, dude, you can dial it back a bit.

Alex Danvers Chyler Leigh Supergirl Stronger Together photos screencaps pics

3. Alex is a pretty kickass agent. It's difficult for characters in authority positions to seem impressive when they're standing next to a superhero. So it was nice this week to see how Alex's tactical skills and experience far outweighed the naive Kara's, meaning she has plenty of valuable things to teach her sister, plus she can handle herself in a fight.

4. Alex's relationship with Kara is still a bit of a head-scratcher. In the pilot Alex yells at Kara for saving her life, then tells her to embrace her superhero side, then don't, then do. She talks her through a tough battle, saying she believes in her, and then episode 2 is all about whether Alex actually believes in Kara or not.

There are obviously some layers of secrecy and personality differences that may have kept them at arms-length, but it still feels like their interactions lack the necessary warmth. The actresses supposedly get along well in real life, so it's strange that the two don't seem to have much sisterly chemistry yet on the show.

5. HANK HAS GLOWING RED EYES. Is that ever a good thing? Surely it can't be, considering he doesn't seem to have told anyone about a condition that no amount of Visine can fix. This may also explain his reluctance to have Supergirl in his cool bunker, considering she might be more likely to discover his secret.

Then there's that added revelation that he "used to have" a family, which might be something he and Kara could bond over, if he doesn't turn out to be completely evil.

What things did you learn this week? What were your favorite parts of the episode?

"Supergirl" airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fall 2015 New Shows Have Us Saying..."Meh."

Viewers approach every new fall TV season with excitement. Our DVRs get programmed to bursting, recording every new show that looks remotely interesting alongside our returning faves. Gradually, as the weeks wear on, we find our new faves and discard the shows that didn't win us over. Early cancellations weed out the schedule even when we don't want it to.

This year began with a lot of excitement. So many new dramas and comedies with big names, big ideas, and tons of promise. While it's still early in the new TV season, we can't help feeling a sort of television limbo. Rather than big hits and tragic misses, the series we've tuned in for have been...mostly sorta okay. There's nothing that we immediately want to banish from our DVRs and scrub from our memories, but there are very few shows that hold much excitement for us, either.  


"The Player" -- As far as generating excitement, we're still loving "The Player." The trio of Wesley Snipes, Philip Winchester, and Charity Wakefield light up our small screens in so many smooth and sexy ways. The adventures are fast-paced and entertaining, the stakes are high, and the underlying mystery tying the characters together offers just the right amount of frustrating suspense that has us looking forward to the next installment.

Despite the rather ridiculous plot of wealthy gamblers betting on crime, the show has a lot more wit and unpredictable twists than your average crash-bang action romp. We genuinely hope this show sticks around.

"Heroes Reborn" -- Even the beloved first season of the original "Heroes" had some irritating characters that we dreaded spending time with. This sequel series so far has gifted us with a lot of interesting, likable characters that we actually care about. Miko (Kiki Sukezane) and Ren (Toru Uchikado) may be two of the most awesome, ridiculously adorable characters in TV history.

Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman) is a fantastic focal point, playing at hero but with wiped memories that hide some big secrets about deadly events in the past and the future. We get to revisit and remember some former heroes, and meet new ones with interesting powers. And we're back to the "Save the World" connecting thread, which is what sucked us all in to its predecessor. So far, so good--we're hooked.


"Blindspot" -- We're willing to forgive a lot because of the awesomely unique storyline of a former Navy Seal who wakes up in a duffel bag in Times Square, with amnesia, her body tattooed with an intricate array of mysterious codes and clues to a network of crime. Plus, we love Jaimie Alexander so much. But by the second episode we were already cringing over the show's flaws. Despite the disappointing execution of a fab idea, the show has earned fans with its intriguing hook and recently earned a full season order. The actors seem to be getting a bit more comfortable with each other as the series progresses, and we're hoping some of the eye-rolling plot moments and dumbed-down dialogue improve over time.

"Rosewood" -- This is probably never going to break free of "guilty pleasure" territory, but we need it to step up its game a bit more. The show skates on the amusing heights of positive energy and charm from the Miami-Vice-2.0-wardrobed Morris Chestnut, and the Sherlockian crime-solving can be a lot of fun. The pilot was horrendous, however, with over-the-top scenes of private coroners examining dead bodies in club wear, with no protective clothing or gloves or consideration for all the possible germs they then carried outside on their fashionable outfits.

Subsequent episodes have made a better attempt at reality in that regard, and the family drama provides some touching moments. But despite some entertaining banter with Rosie's police detective collaborator Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz), the writers have made the troubled cop way too abrasive and often gratingly unlikable.  

"Minority Report" -- We're thankful that tough cop Vega's (Meagan Good) cleavage is no longer stealing every scene, but the show has already gotten repetitive with its formula every week. See Dash (Stark Sands) have a vision at an inappropriate time. See him suffer agonizingly as they try to suck further images out of his head. Cue naive adventurer versus jaded, experienced cop banter. Watch our heroes ask the same people for help who express reluctance to help. And on and on we go. A subplot forming with the other precogs has added interest, however, and a hint of the ominous creepiness that helped make the original film so riveting.  

"Grandfathered" -- Sitcoms play with caricatures of course. But this John Stamos vehicle takes it too far. A flashy, suave bachelor restaurant owner meeting a previously unknown-to-him nerdy son and grandchild is a perfect set-up for "Odd Couple" levels of comic conflict. But "Grandfathered" makes Jimmy such an obnoxiously selfish asshole and his son a mortifyingly doe-eyed pathetic dork that we are usually thoroughly disgusted with both of them by the time the "feel good" portion of the program is supposed to kick in. The supporting players have their moments and sometimes the comedy lands well. But it's 50/50 enjoy/hate every week and that will spell doom pretty quickly.

"The Grinder" -- Marginally better than its "Grandfathered" lead-in, this show about a lawyer whose actor brother decides to join the family business at least has some sharper wit. Rob Lowe is supposed to be the main draw as the narcissistic charmer, but Fred Savage steals the show with his wry delivery as the "sensible" brother who resents living in his famous bro's shadow. The series still has its irritating, predictable moments, but so far the relief has been that the "lesser" brother's wife is always supportive instead of a nagging shrew, and the flashy actor brother doesn't always get his way. We're still overall a bit meh about the whole thing, but this one seems to have a bit more potential to stay on the DVR.  

"Limitless" -- We were promised Bradley Cooper would remain a part of the series based on his feature film, but so far he's only turned up in the pilot--then they've replayed that same footage in every episode that follows. Jake McDorman does a good job of believably portraying both halves of his character Brian, the affable loser musician who's always between jobs and the ridiculously brilliant and suave FBI liaison whose sudden brain power comes from a dangerous drug. It's mildly entertaining during the investigations, but all the secrets and lies and threats between the characters has already become exhausting.  

"Quantico" -- This drama had a promising premise about new FBI recruits going through tough physical and emotional training together, and then finding out one of them is a terrorist who executes a devastating attack. Priyanka Chopra plays the innocent recruit the whole mess gets pinned on, and while she's fine at playing sexy and athletic, her attempts at emotion are pretty cringe-worthy. She's often not helped by the writing, which heaps on corny dialogue and melodrama. The characters get a bit more interesting over time as we continually learn that people are not at all what they seem, even when you've done extensive background checks on them. The mystery and manhunt is enough to keep us interested right now, but the show fits well inside our ongoing theme of wasted potential in new shows.

What do you think of the new season? Any new favorites, or is it all just "meh" material to you?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

'The Player' -- Always Bet on Black

The Player starring Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester

I just couldn't resist using Wesley Snipes' famous line from "Passenger 57" to talk about his new show, "The Player." When initial news of this pilot came out, the plot line was one of the most absurd pitches out there. A group of filthy rich people bet big money on serious crimes--and whether "the player" will stop that crime and/or get killed in the process. Snipes plays Mr. Johnson, the pit boss over this little operation. And Charity Wakefield plays Cassandra, the dealer.

Philip Winchester Alex Kane The Player pics

Philip Winchester, whom some of you may know from "Strike Back" or "Fringe," was a fave of mine from his short-lived series "Crusoe." His former-military-man-turned-security-expert Alex is recruited to be "The Player," and he is as I remembered, a complete stud with just the right amount of sly charm.

Snipes gets to be a cool, smooth, enigmatic operator who's a total badass under those expensive suits. He also has an unexpected scene where he creates a hilarious fake persona that earns laughs, but also displays a bit chillingly how much power he has. And Wakefield infuses ice queen Cassandra with a surprising hint of warmth and affection for Alex--and not in a cliche, oh of course she's in love with him, way--there's an interesting level of meaningful earnestness in her performance.

Charity Wakefield Cassandra The Player pilot pics images screencaps

And "The Player" is actually pretty damn good. Yes, the plot is still totally crazy, but the show does a good job of talking its way around it. It lays the premise in right away, gives Alex good motivation for taking part in the insanity, and then rolls right into the action. It also gives us a solid hero to root for. The bettors don't give a crap about collateral damage, it's all a game to them. Alex is the guy who will care about the innocents, and we'll be cheering for him to succeed even while a bunch of faceless assholes are betting against him.

Alex on The Player Philip Winchester photos pics images

The series premiere also took an element of the show that totally angered me, a typical device that so often gets series/movies like this started. I'll keep this non-spoilery, but there's a twist at the end that totally relieved me of that anger, and which added a brilliant "WTF?" angle to the mystery of who Johnson and Cassandra really are.

So put this one on your DVR schedule, peeps. It's great popcorn television, and a respite from all the typical cop shows. Plus it's great to have Snipes bringing his welcome brand of Awesomeness into our lives each week.

"The Player" airs Thursday nights on NBC, at 10/9c.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pick of the Day: 'Vulture' Tackles "Another Damn Cop Show" 'Minority Report'

Fans had high hopes for "Minority Report," but so far the show has adapted a lot of the glitz and not much of the atmosphere of the original film. Dash (Stark Sands) gives us a likable sweet guy character, but the writing puts him more in the dopey-newb-who-freaks-out-with-painful-visions category than ethereal, sensitive medium who sees scraps of future crimes but is helpless to stop it.

Like we noted with "Blindspot," there seems a reluctance on the part of new series writers to draw anything out and let a mystery build. It's all flash-bang-boom in an effort to keep viewers engaged. With such a phenomenal big screen property as its source, "Minority Report" has to do better. Focusing more on the precogs rather than all the tough cop fanfare would be a good start.

In two entertaining pieces, "Vulture" magazine covers many of the problems inherent in the new series, including creating a future world that doesn't ask the existential questions it should. We can't believe that they never mentioned one of the main characters of the show, however: Meagan Good's cleavage.

As feisty law enforcement officer Lara Vega, Good's sole purpose seems to strut through scenes like a model on a runway, jackets worn specifically to highlight gravity and ninja-warrior-action-defying boobs. Show a little respect, "Minority Report." A woman can be strong and sexy without having to do her job in stupidly inappropriate outfits. Ugh.
"Besides Sands's performance as Dash, a likably frazzled ingenue who hurls himself bravely into action but has no physical skills to speak of, the production design is the best (maybe only) reason to watch "Minority Report." READ MORE HERE.
Also check out the "Vulture" recap of Episode 2.

"Lost" Writers Bringing Jack Ryan To the Small Screen

I admit that "Lost" honcho Carlton Cuse and producer Michael Bay bringing Jack Ryan to the small screen makes me a tad apprehensive. The good news is that veteran Marine Graham Roland is also on the scene for this new project for Amazon. In addition to "Lost," Roland has also written/produced for "Fringe," "The Returned," and "Almost Human," that cancelled-too-soon gem starring Michael Ealy, Karl Urban, and Lili Taylor.

The new series won't follow the books exactly, either, providing a "contemporary" take on the character. This sounds suspiciously like a case of drawing viewers in with an established product but basically giving them an entirely new show with a few characters that have the same names.

Though Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine have all portrayed Jack Ryan on the big screen, Harrison Ford is always the guy I think of when you mention the character. Specifically "Clear and Present Danger," which is chock full of good actors, including an uber blond Willem Dafoe and sexy Joaquim de Almeida. Amazon's going to have to make good casting choices to get me on board.

What do you all think? Will you tune in for the latest incarnation of Jack Ryan?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pick of the Day: "After Gotham" Reviews "Knock, Knock"

"Gotham" episode "Knock, Knock," definitely delved into darker territory this week. As someone who's more a fan of atmospheric psychological drama than scenes of mass murder and gushing blood, it was a little disturbing to see a general reaction to this episode as "Most violent ever = Best episode ever!"

So it was pretty cool to find this online webcast, "After Gotham," that gets three geek guys together to dissect the entire episode and actually explain what made this a strong installment of a show that has struggled to find its exact voice. Deserved props are given to actor Cameron Monaghan as a possible-Joker, and the trio's initial reaction to the mention of Barbara (Erin Richards) hilariously sums up how I've felt about the character.

The webcast also goes over the show's comic book origins, parallels, contrasts, and recs for relevant issues. It's good stuff for "Gotham" fans, and my Night Session webcast partner Courtney Massey will be happy to know that we're not the only ones who have trouble wrapping up an episode.

Plus, there's a Christopher Walken impression. There's no beating that.

If you're looking for more "Gotham" wrap-up goodness, IGN has a good review on this second episode of the season, including an insightful take on why no Penguin this week was a very good thing.

The Trouble with 'Blindspot'

Blindspot pilot Jaimie Alexander as Jane Doe

We're two episodes in to "Blindspot" and it's clear that this new series suffers from the same difficulties that shows like "Castle" and "Scorpion" struggle mightily with. That is, how do you insert a character into a situation they have absolutely no business being in?

Jaimie Alexander stars as Jane Doe, a woman found naked in a duffel bag in the middle of Times Square. She has amnesia, and is covered head-to-toe in mysteriously intricate tattoos. One of these markings spells out the name, "Kurt Weller FBI." This unknown woman is soon paired up with Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) in an effort to solve the clues she has written all over her.

The pilot did a decent job of putting Jane on the scene of an investigation, as her suddenly recalled multilingualism came in handy for interrogating witnesses. We also got a taste of the uber dangerous fighting skills this woman has when she intervened in a domestic abuse situation.

Now she's going to be along for the ride as they pursue every clue, with Weller telling his boss Mayfair (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) that "It's clear she can handle herself." Well, yes, that's true. Which means she could also kill everyone around her the moment they turn their back on her. Some of the team have reservations about her tagging along, but the resistance is futile. We've got so much kicking ass to do, ain't nobody got time for actual FBI procedure!!

To be fair, Jane sitting in a lab each week, waiting to see what her tattoos reveal probably wouldn't be that riveting. It just seems like there was a bit of a rush in throwing her out in the field, despite her obvious trauma and the lack of evidence of who she really is.

Although that might also be solved lickety-split. Weller's dad was apparently accused of kidnapping and killing a young girl when Weller himself was a kid. This week we find out that Jane might be that long-missing girl. This is a fascinating twist, but if it's the truth, that's really giving up on a big chunk of the mystery awfully quick.

Blindspot Jaimie Alexander Jane Doe Kurt Weller FBI Sullivan Stapleton pics photos screencaps pilot series reviews

Does no one have any patience anymore? The WHOLE PREMISE of this show was all of the mystery surrounding Jane and her origins. But two weeks in and she's already having very clear visions of her past life, the guy who made her a deadly weapon is popping up around town, and we might know her identity next week.

Obviously there are a lot of tattoos still to get through, but this all feels like a rush to just get to a mystery-tattoo-of-the-week format and that would be a real shame with such a juicy premise. Alexander is a wonderful choice for this role, able to convey serious strength and vulnerability all at once, and perfectly capable of seeming dangerous/crazy/deadly. I'd hate for her to be wasted on a show that promises way more than it delivers.

What did you think of "Blindspot"? Are you seeing the flaws, or just enjoying the awesome Girl Power?

"Blindspot" airs on NBC, Mondays at 10/9c.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

'The Vampire Diaries' Without Elena -- Is This Really a Bad Thing?

Nina Dobrev Elena Gilbert The Vampire Diaries black sexy cocktail cutout dress pics images photos

By now you've heard that Nina Dobrev is leaving "The Vampire Diaries" at the end of this season. Considering the fact that Ian Somerhalder (Damon) and Paul Wesley (Stefan) have signed on for Season 7, this makes plotting the series a bit difficult. After all, the series began as a "destined to be together forever" romance between Elena and Stefan. Then it turned into a epic love triangle. And then the "destined to be together forever" Elena and Damon.

Okay, so the show has already turned some of its own mythology on its head. But another issue is that Elena has, for the most part, been the conscience this bloodbath of a show sorely needs. She's also part of that whole doppelganger business that has been a constant thread on "TVD." We can only hope that the writers will at least grace us with some sort of an end for Elena that doesn't completely destroy the point of all we've been through.

(Ooops on this promo pic...^^^) 

All of that said, is "The Vampire Diaries" without Elena really so dire? You have to admit, once Katherine was done away with, Dobrev was left with the less interesting character to play. As much as this show needs a moral center, Elena could make that morality seems so whiny and insufferable. Which was partially the writing and partially Dobrev's "huffy spoiled girl" sort of delivery.

I was more disturbed by Caroline (Candice Accola) going dark, because how dare they ruin my perky, sunshine-y, order-keeping Caro? I'd rather see her and Bon-Bon being the high-road-takers on this show, though it looks like Bonnie may have fallen off the good girl wagon as well. So what's good about Elena leaving?

1. Sultry Seductive Salvatore. Whatever Elena's fate, be it death or return to human form or something else, we don't need to see a grieving Damon. And please, no flipping the humanity switch. We've had enough of that to last a vampire lifetime. Ugh.

No, if Damon is going to be single again, let us enjoy our seductive, ridiculously confident, arched-eyebrow Damon. We want to swoon. We want him to go after unattainable women again, so we can watch him work his sexy magic hardcore. If "The Vampire Diaries" only lasts another year, let it be a year's worth of Damon-inspired drool. Thank you.

2. Bonnie on Center Stage. Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Damon stuck in limbo and then Kai's (Chris Wood) witchy "Groundhog Day" prison was one of the best storylines "TVD" has ever had. We got to see Bonnie using her wits (and wit), magic, courage, and intense will to deal with her loathsome frenemy, a psycho killer, and then surviving on her own.

Sometimes there's so much twisting, turning, backstabbing, and violence on the show that you get numb. Graham sucked us into Bonnie's plight so well, and it was refreshing to actually give a damn about a character's fate. Now that her powers seem to be at pretty epic levels, it's exciting to think there's room in the show to let her take center stage more often.

I also loved the unexpected friendship and chemistry that developed between Bonnie and Damon. If Damon's sultry self decides to set his eyes on Bonnie...well...there will be no argument from me. That whole love/hate thing they have going could make for some really powerful angry sex. Just sayin'.

3. Brotherly Love. With so many storylines and so many characters, the brothers Salvatore get separated a lot. The thread of their sibling bond is always there in some form, but it would be nice to get some serious dynamic duo time going on. With the Elena stuff bonding them but now behind them, they could move on to something more entertaining. There's got to be some fun mystery to tackle in their decades of history, and maybe Mommy Dearest is going to provide that. Wherever the story takes them, let's have them do it together.

What do you think, "TVD" fans? Is the show pointless without Elena? Or are you excited to see what such a big change will bring to the series?

"The Vampire Diaries" returns to TV with the remainder of Season 6 on Thursday, April 16, on the CW.

Friday, March 6, 2015

'Downton Abbey' -- Has Lady Mary Regressed Too Far?

With the American run of "Downton Abbey" now over, we've got some time to reflect on our favorite characters before we're graced with Season 6. With the introduction of a new suitor (Matthew Goode, ZOMG YES PLEASE), I couldn't help wondering about where exactly Mary (Michelle Dockery) is headed, and if we'll still like her when she gets there.

When the series premiered, Mary was one, tough, snobby customer. When she got over herself and bonded with Matthew, and eventually happily married him, we were treated to a kinder, fairer, gentler Mary. She evolved as a person. She was still intelligent, and witty, and entertainingly haughty. In fact, she got to use her intellect to take a larger role in her own destiny, and that was a hugely satisfying turn in the narrative.

This season, however, feels like a slide backward into the Mary of Olde. I appreciated her modern stance of getting to know Tony Gillingham (Tom Cullen) in the biblical sense before marrying, and I was glad she realized he was not quite the partner she needed in life. But then she toyed with him unnecessarily afterward, which seemed unfair considering the worst thing he'd done was love and want to marry her. Sure, he was a bit domineering, but so are a lot of guys in that time period.

When you've got the scathing Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden) telling you essentially to stop playing with your food, you know you've got a serious problem. It's starting to feel like she'll never be able to take any man seriously. Which is maybe what all this torture is about.

The reason Mary rejected Tony in the first place was because she was still not ready to move on after Matthew. Though she says she is now, I'm not entirely convinced. It's going to take a lot to live up to her late husband's memory, and that's got to leave her feeling frustrated and lonely.

Those feelings of loneliness led Mary to one of her harshest comments this season, when she said she wasn't so concerned that Tom (Allen Leech) and Rose (Lily James) were leaving her alone--but that they were leaving her alone with Edith (Laura Carmichael). This was, of course, said right in front of her sister.

This is the worst regression that Mary's slid into. Her nastier encounters with Edith were many years ago, and it seems like they both should have moved past it by now. There certainly doesn't seem to be any reason for the verbal abuse Mary has laid onto her sister all season.

You would think Mary would be a bit sympathetic when Edith's fiance died, but apparently since she herself didn't care about him, no one should. And all the subtle digs about "I'm the mother here" to Edith have been particularly damaging. Season 6 MUST include Mary finally finding out Edith's secret--and hopefully, not being a horrible, horrible person about it.

While the joy of Mary's character has always been her sharp tongue and wry commentary on everyone and everything, it has its limits. While her treatment of her dopey male suitors may be forgivable, her harping on Edith really needs to soften up in future. There was a glimmer of hope in the nursery during the finale, when Tom and the sisters joined hands and fondly remembered Sybil together. Surely they can find SOME sort of common ground as the two remaining siblings in the family.

What do you think, "Downton Abbey" fans? Has Mary regressed too far into meanness or is that just the way you like her?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

'The Mentalist' Finale -- Why Am I So Disappointed?

"The Mentalist" fans have been waiting for Patrick Jane to find happiness from the very beginning, and we all hoped it might be with Teresa Lisbon. So when the series finale ended [SPOILER ALERT] with a wedding and baby news, many longtime fans were ecstatic. While I was pleased to have a happily-ever-after with no painful twist for our lovely duo, it still didn't strike me as a worthy ending to seven seasons of romantic tension.
For one thing, that romantic tension seems to have slipped away in this final season. Way back in 2010, I was deeply moved by a moment when Jane and Lisbon merely touched hands. There was a huge well of emotion in Jane back then, and Lisbon seemed this perfect steady and compassionate soul that could meet all that emotion unflinchingly.

When the writers finally allowed our couple to be an actual couple, they decided to make them as chaste as possible. Suddenly Jane and Lisbon were sitting on park benches and smiling sweetly at each other, like a teenage couple in a wholesome 1950s TV show. The chemistry between them seemed totally zapped, their romantic moments always a little awkward. When we got to the big reveal that Lisbon was pregnant, I actually for a moment wondered how that had happened.

The first half of the finale, and the pursuit of a serial killer, was entertaining in a vacuum. At this point it didn't seem right to dredge up the past so keenly, with Jane as a faux psychic drawing out the killer, which once again turned out to be an extremely dangerous idea. Though I didn't appreciate the heavy-handed parallels to the start of the series, it was good to see Jane being the resourceful, insanely clever and calm Jane we know so well.

When the serial killer somehow survived a GINORMOUS EXPLOSION AND FIREBALLS, though, things got a bit ridiculous. They at least gave him some serious burns on one side of his body, but he strolled around town buying supplies, with no one reacting particularly strongly. When Jane and Lisbon discovered that the killer was still alive, they decided to trick him by GOING TO A REMOTE LOCATION and ditching all of the FBI protection, and friends and family Lisbon invited to their wedding. Um, okay.

Of course, they end up catching the killer and then go on their merry, marrying way. Somehow they get all the wedding guests over to Jane's new creepy shack in the woods, to celebrate amongst the weeds and mosquitoes. Magically they got a mansion-sized dance floor and electricity for twinkling lights into the middle of nowhere in time for the reception. Never mind all the catering and lovely flowers that Abbott paid for back at his gorgeous home. It's only money, right?

If they'd wanted to illustrate Jane's carefree nature and Lisbon's willingness to go along, I would have rather they eloped to some lovely island paradise and got married on the beach. They could have had a party with their friends either before or after they wed, in order to give us that joyful reunion. And the serial killer should have stayed blown up; all that faux drama just got in the way of the happy ending.

And there were some definite happy moments. Cho helping Lisbon pick out a wedding dress seemed sweet but crazy at first, until we realized he was the perfect person to give a truthful, straight-to-the-point opinion. The deadpan delivery of determinations like "snow cone" just made it all the funnier.

I'm totally blaming him for the bad dress she ended up with, though. We've seen Lisbon be va-va-voom before, and something a little more dramatic would have suited her better. This get-up seemed plain and kind of dumpy, and I don't know what was up with that netted headpiece.

We should forgive our fave stoic agent, however. Cho was also great with Wylie, literally smacking some sense into him and asking the kid to stay on instead of hiding in some new desk job. A Cho-led FBI force with Wylie on board--we would totally watch that spin-off show.

All in all I'm happy that Jane and Lisbon are together, but I sure would have loved something that resonated with deeper emotions. But considering the tears and cheers I've seen on Twitter, maybe I'm just too cynical.

What did you think of the series finale, "Mentalist" fans? Loved every minute, or did you feel a bit let down as well?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

'Gotham' -- We Want to Eat This Jim / Leslie Pairing with a Spoon

Jim Gordon Ben McKenzie Dr. Leslie Thompkins Morena Baccarin snuggle canoodling Gotham
Seriously. Look at them. They're adorable.

When "Gotham" first appeared on TV, I lamented two things about the show's lead. One was the fact that the show wasn't making full use of actor Ben McKenzie's good-guy aura and warmth, and two, that Jim Gordon's girlfriend Barbara (Erin Richards) wasn't worthy. As the season has progressed, the series has better found its tone and given us a likable hero--and an awesome new girlfriend.

Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) had some lovely flirtations back in Arkham, but we couldn't quite enjoy it because we weren't sure if she was a psychopath or not. (Just a minor issue.) Now that those suspicions are hopefully out of the way, we get an interesting, feisty partner for Jim to contend with. And now that she's the chief medical examiner, they get to flirt every day at work, too.

Jim Gordon smile happy Gotham Blind Fortune Teller episode pics screengrabs

It's tough not to love the interactions between these two. They are practically beaming at one another, wonderfully conveying that giddy feeling you have when you begin a relationship with someone and you can't believe how well it's going. Jim keeps trying to be all gruff and manly and stoic, but Leslie continues to surprise him in all sorts of ways. This turns him into a grinning, "aw shucks" pile of adorableness that is delightful to watch.

In "The Blind Fortune Teller," Leslie invites Jim on a date to the circus. He thinks it's a weird idea, but he dives in and ends up totally enjoying himself.

Jim Gordon Dr. Leslie Thompkins Gotham date circus

Of course no date in Gotham can be normal. A fight breaks out between the dueling families of the circus, out of which we'll eventually get Batman's boy wonder Robin. But for now, there's an altercation...and what turns out is also a murder...to solve.

(Check out: Why FOX's 'Gotham' Deserves A Season 2)

Leslie turns out to be very helpful to the cause, since the performers are more willing to open up to doctors than cops. She convinces Jim that she can do even more, and he keeps her involved throughout all the steps of the case. Even when she decides to follow up a lead from the circus psychic.

This is the only part that worries me. The fact that Leslie is interested in Jim's work, in solving crimes, is a good thing. She can be an integral part of his life. That's what Barbara claimed she wanted but then totally balked at. But Leslie seems a little crazily invested, to the point of only letting Jim have two bites of her home-cooked dinner before dragging him into the woods to follow a hunch.

I'm not sure if "Gotham" is just making her quirky, or if they're setting this couple up to fail so Barbara can work her way back in. Please no. So far that doesn't seem to be the case, as drug-addled Babs can't even rise to the level of street kids--who advise her to dress classy for her "accidental" meeting with Jim. "Like you've just gone sailing," Cat and Ivy suggest.

Leslie Jim make-out session kissing passionately Gotham Ben McKenzie Morena Baccarin blue dress gray suit pics

Maybe Barbara's been sailing in a cocktail dress and stiletto heels, who knows. But she gets an eyeful of Jim/Leslie canoodling that quickly squashes any idea to woo him back, no matter what she's wearing.

And we get an eyeful as well, and it's good stuff. Jim and Leslie make for a very affectionate, playful, and sexy couple. Please please please let us have more of this in "Gotham."

Gotham Leslie laugh Morena Baccarin Jim smile Ben McKenzie

Gotham Blind Fortune Teller Leslie Jim hold hands

Lovey dovey Jim Gordon Ben McKenzie loving eyes smile pics

Morena Baccarin Ben McKenzie Leslie Jim kiss snogging make out pics photos images screencaps


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