Movable Type 3.2
August 31, 2010
Vampire Diaries Stars Thank Fans
As I mentioned in Morning Coffee, season one of The Vampire Diaries comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. The three stars of the show, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, and Paul Wesley, have released a video thanking fans for their support:
This sort of thing shouldn't be rare, but I feel like it kind of is. Stars of various sorts often thank fans in interviews and speeches, but I can't think of many examples of this sort of dedicated thank you that isn't part of a larger interview. Good for them!
The Gates 1.7: "Digging the Dirt"
"If something seems too good to be true, that's probably because it is." Someone actually uttered that line in this episode, apparently without any sort of irony or self-awareness. And the real secret of the Gates is "love"? Really, Robert H. Wolfe? I'm disappointed in you. More after the jump . . .
This episode was okay, actually, if not great. I feel like this show keeps doing the minimum it needs to do to keep me watching, without actually making me get into it.
Nick: Poor thing, having vampire nightmares. I suppose it makes sense that he'd react to Frank's threats by trying to dig up something on Frank, but I was hoping he'd try to be less immediately corruptible or something. Immediately jumping to digging up graves seems like a little much. But he caught the murderer! Too bad both the victim and murderer were people we didn't really care about. (Yes, procedurals work that way all the time, but this isn't a procedural.)
Dylan: He made a Castle reference! Aww. I'm liking him more and more. I want to learn more about his background. And I love that he's talking about the problem of needing different identities every decade or so!
Claire: She's really much more interesting when Christian's around. Sigh.
Sarah: Get over it! Everywhere has cliques! I can't figure out why she's so determined to make everyone like each other, especially since they've all known each other longer than she's known any of them.
Devon: I couldn't figure out why she immediately started talking about Harrison when asked about Frank, even though Nick didn't ask that. And . . . she's dating online. Um, okay! Oh, she's looking for some specific type of supernatural guy, it seems. Ew, to find ingredients for her products? Gross! I wonder what the secret ingredient in her tea is? Whatever it is seems to help her compel people to tell her things. And she's obviously up to some sort of evil, but I can't tell if it's just general mayhem or a specific Evil Plan.
Andie: The poor thing is really having trouble coping. Too bad her mom isn't around to help.
Charlie: So sweet coming to Andie's defense. Too bad he's up against werewolves. But Brett was pretty cute with Andie at the end, too.
Haven 1.5: "Ball and Chain"
Be careful who you make out with, after the jump.
Mystery of the Week: A woman named Helena sleeps with people and then they age really quickly and die. But then Audrey and Nathan figure out that the woman has an accelerated pregnancy as the man ages, and when she holds her baby, the man dies. I feel like I've seen this plot before, but I can't quite put my finger on where. There was something sort of similar on Fringe. Anyway, it was serviceable enough. At least poor Duke got to be a victim this time instead of a suspect.
Lucy mystery: Audrey brings it up to the old brothers, but doesn't get anywhere. Apparently we need to have fifteen seconds of discussion of this every week just so we don't forget about it.
Audrey: Apparently going to crime scenes is her hobby. No, Audrey, we already know that you read teen vampire novels.
Duke: He's actually running the restaurant! How cute. And he's so dedicated to making Audrey relax. Aww. I loved the "It's so sweet that you still say making out" line. It will be interesting to see whether this weird unexpected fatherhood affects him in the future at all.
Nathan: He golfs! Audrey and I both find this amusing. And he's also adorable with babies. I just love him more and more.
The triangle: It's simmering along pleasantly. The tension between the two guys makes it all the more fun. It's nice to see Nathan reluctantly help Duke, though, and they obviously don't really hate each other. Oh, boys. Be nice.
The Event Is Coming
Are you confused about the new NBC show The Event? Well, yeah, so is everyone else. But look! Over at TheTelevixen, I've checked out some of the clues you can find on the various official show sites. Take a look!
Morning Coffee (8/31/10)
Happy Vampire Diaries release day! Season one comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray today, so you just have time to pick it up and catch up for the next season, which starts September 9! Do it! In other news, the President is giving an Oval Office address tonight, the Dancing with the Stars cast list is out, and so is Meghan McCain's book. Also, I have learned from Emmy-related interviews that Glee's Mike O'Malley is from New Hampshire. And Cory Monteith is ridiculously adorable, but we knew that already. Welcome to Tuesday!
The Glee cast doesn't get royalties from their albums? Crazy.
Slate is doing a book club of the Hunger Games series.
August 30, 2010
Haven 1.4: "Consumed"
Rotting cows and more, after the jump!
Mystery of the week: Various local food products at various farms are suddenly disgustingly rotting, and Audrey and Nathan trace it all to a family restaurant about to be reopened by a pair of brothers. (And it's somehow acid doing the rotting.) There's all sort of family intrigue, and one of the brothers ends up dead. It turns out that when one of the brothers gets upset, anything he eats turns all gross and rotten. Except the actual murder wasn't supernatural at all - the victim's sous chef/girlfriend poisoned him because she was upset about him leaving.
Audrey: Her attempts to fit in with the Haven community are cute. She gets annoyed at everyone saying she looks "nice," but I thought that the dress she ended up buying at the old guys' advice didn't really look very nice at all. She makes a few noises about trying to find out more about Lucy, but that whole mystery isn't really addressed in this episode.
Duke: He's still obnoxious and flirty and weirdly likeable, and apparently he's somehow involved in basically everything in town. His background with the restaurant family was intense, but since he's set up as a regular, I never really suspect him of anything bad. He does have a badly hidden vulnerable side that almost, but not quite, makes me want Audrey to consider him instead of Nathan. And hey, he winds up with a restaurant at the end! Nifty!
Nathan: He adorably gave Audrey some stuff including a plaid shirt and boots to help her fit in, and reacted well to her joke about how real Haven residents squint a lot and leave out half their words. Aww, a self-aware laconic New Englander! Could I love him more? Doubtful. It's also rather interesting how he reinforces the idea that The Troubles are just stories, to keep people from finding out what's going on.
The Gates 1.6: "Jurisdiction"
Oh, yeah, this show. Anyone still watching? I'm going to try to catch up on reviews this week . . .
Barbara's murder: Vampire! Dylan has to confess to Nick that there are other vampires around. Claire suspects Christian. The police are officially calling the cause of death "ritualistic fetishism," which I love. And the investigation taught us how vampires are created in this world: They feed from a victim to the point of death and then give the victim some of their own vamp blood. The victim's ex-husband, by the way, is Mayor Lockwood of The Vampire Diaries, and her ex-girlfriend/business partner is a vampire who is mysteriously taken before Nick can finish questioning her. But it turns out it was the ex-husband, after all, and sort of an accident. Hm. Rather a letdown.
Dylan and Nick: The bromance continues apace. I love it. We'll see if the threats from Frank bring them closer together or not.
Christian/Claire/Dylan: Ooh, Christian and Dylan are old friends! That makes this triangle much more interesting.
PTA: It really isn't all that odd that there are cliques, Sarah. The fact that one of the cliques is full of vampires is odd, sure, but the cliques themselves aren't as noteworthy or mysterious as Sarah seems to think.
Vanessa/Frank/Devon: We got some more of the back story here, although I can't say I see why Frank is such a great catch. Devon is saying she's fine, but clearly she's doing something creepy with those masks . . .
Andie: Take your medicine, young lady! She and Charlie are so freaking CUTE. You know, when she's not draining the life force out of him.
Emmy Awards Opening Number!
The whole ceremony was pretty good, but honestly, the high point was the opening. This was just . . . amazing. There are no words. Watch it.
Morning Coffee (8/30/10)
Good morning! Happy Monday! I'm pretending to be cheerful, can you tell? I had a busy weekend and was up late watching the Emmys last night. And it's going to be in the nineties all week and I could barely convince myself to get out of bed because I didn't even want to think about wearing any of my summer clothes, as I am READY FOR FALL NOW. So basically I have nothing for you this morning. Oh! Except for this: A Castle story at TheTelevixen. I promise I will have lots of links to interesting/funny Emmy commentary tomorrow to make up for it.
August 29, 2010
Emmy Live Blog!
We'll try to get started by 6:30 Eastern. Feel free to add your own comments!
Emmy Coverage Info and Links
First - I will be blogging tonight in the form of a CoverItLive chat, so you can come and chat along in real time! And it's also just easier for me than republishing the post over and over. The post with the chat will appear above this one. I'll probably put it up there now, with a start time of 6:30 Eastern. I may start a little early if I get home earlier, but we'll see. I'll be doing some Advanced TiVo Hijinks to see as much of the red carpet shows as possible, and then watching the ceremony live.
Second - need more Emmy liveblogs and coverage? Here are a few sites I'll be reading:
August 28, 2010
First Look at Bones Season 6!
Over at TheTelevixen, I have the first preview for the new season of Bones along with a few other fun Bones videos. Head on over, Bones fans!
Morning Coffee (8/28/10)
Happy Saturday! I'm off to Connecticut for a quick visit with my family. Have a great weekend! See you Sunday night for the Emmy Awards live blog!
I haven't tried Google Voice merged with Gmail yet, but I'm intrigued.
I don't watch Degrassi, but I keep wanting to, so you should read what my friend Erin said about the finale the other night.
Presented without comment, because I'm not really sure what to say: John Cusack is playing Edgar Allan Poe.
Yglesias is somewhat perplexed by Maine's Fort Knox. The fact that it doesn't seem odd to me probably just means I'm a New Englander.
August 27, 2010
What I Want This Season: The Mentalist
This is one in a series of posts about what I'd like to happen this upcoming season on various returning shows. You can assume that there will be spoilers through last season, but I won't include any spoilers I might or might not have read about the upcoming season. These posts are just about what I WANT.
This is another procedural in which I tend to like the standalone episodes better than the arc ones. Huh.
Jane and Red John: I sort of want the Red John thing to just get wrapped up already so Jane can get on with his life. Because . . .
Jane and Lisbon: At the end of the first season, Jane made a huge step by killing the bad guy because Lisbon's safety was more important to him than his ongoing quest for Red John. But after that leap, their relationship didn't progress much in the second season. So I'm hoping it picks up again in the third.
Rigsby and Van Pelt: I loved them together, so I hope they continue to at least circle around each other, even if they don't actually get back together for a while.
Cho: He's great and can stay just as he is, as far as I'm concerned.
The new boss: What's her name, Hightower? Her move of making Lisbon responsible for Jane's actions was brilliant, because Jane will (usually) try to protect Lisbon even when he doesn't care about himself. And I couldn't really blame her for breaking up Rigsby and Van Pelt, as she was just following rules. So I hope she continues to throw these interesting knots into the team dynamic.
Programming Note: Emmy Awards Live Blog!
Since a few people have asked - I will indeed be live blogging the Emmy awards on Sunday! Whether I blog some of the red carpet depends on what time I get home from a quick trip, but I'll definitely be around for the actual ceremony.
Question: If I made it more like a chat so you all could comment as we go, would anyone be interested? Or should I just do it as a normal post updated over and over?
Rubicon 1.5: "Connect the Dots"
There are dots! Being connected! Ooooh. Read on . . .
We start with Will walking down a street, as he so often does, but he's actually intercepted by Ed! Who is not in his house! Will finds this surprising and keeps asking if Ed's okay, but Ed claims to just want to help. After hearing about Bloom, he keeps telling Will to check "the whitepapers." Tech specs? That's what whitepapers means to me, but I assume he's talking about something else.
Tanya wears dark glasses, and Kale watches her. He then goes to Will and weirdly recites an order about attending Mrs. Spangler's charity event before getting to the real purpose of his visit, which is asking for Will's "read" on Tanya, Will has clearly never thought about her before. Hee. He tells Kale he'll look into it, and then goes to the library and receives directions to the mysterious whitepapers, and he finds something in the catalog called "The Houston Problem" that David was working on. But it's empty! The librarian is concerned.
Team meeting time! Back to Yuri Popovich and George Beck. Again, no one knows anything. Tanya gives a weird little speech about how they should forget about Yuri and focus on George. Will tells her to write up an analysis, and this is obviously some sort of test for Tanya.
Katherine sits in a limo - that is not moving - going over her finances with a finance guy. I have no idea why she's sitting in the limo, but hey, she's not wandering around a house! The guy wants her to sell MRQ, that company that Tom left her right before he died. She refuses, and then discusses it with someone over the phone as she walks around some sort of urban park. I'm just happy she's outdoors.
Ed sits on his stairs in his pajamas as he rips apart phone books and calls hotels asking for Donald Bloom. Will shows up with pizza and Ed tells him that Bloom is staying at the Waldorf, and clearly has a bit of a hubris issue because he's staying under his own name. Will tells Ed about the Mysterious Missing Whitepaper. Ed seems to be going vaguely crazy as he gives a speech about finding the dots and connecting the dots and understanding the dots. "What's the connection? What's the narrative?" I don't know, Ed. I don't know.
Will follows Bloom around for a while, and there are a lot of escalators involved. Clever guy. Eventually Bloom goes and meets someone at a restaurant. It's Kale! I think. Bloom complains that Kale's man - Will, I suppose? - is causing trouble and making them do all sorts of complicated things all over the world. Then they have this big long conversation about whether they have girlfriends or have to pay for women, and it's kind of hilarious. Bloom is all nostalgic about the good old days, but Kale points out that they were killing people. Apparently that was part of the fun for Bloom.
Will shows up at Maggie's office and just sort of stands there until she asks what's wrong. He gets really really close as he asks for everything she knows about Kale. She gets all flustered that's Will's on to whatever her weird agreement with Kale, but he's actually asking about David. He keeps looking like he might kiss her in this scene, and there's all sorts of weird tension, but of course he doesn't. And of course he refuses to tell her why he's all worked up. The music is very dire and the camera is very zoomed and I suddenly feel like I'm in the middle of, I don't know, an Elizabeth Bowen novel.
Kale walks into Spangler's office and he's asking about David too! He wants to know if the loose ends were tied up. "Do you know something I don't?" "No I do not." Then yes, the loose ends are tied up. Now that we have that nonsense out of the way, we're back on about the wife's charity event, because obviously that's what's important here. I hope this is like Gossip Girl and the entire cast ends up at a big gala at the end of the episode. As Kale leaves the office, we see that Spangler is shredding the Mysterious Missing Whitepaper.
Time for another team meeting! Tanya is giving her analysis, and the guys are rather ripping her apart. Oh, I guess this is some sort of practice for pitching this to Spangler. Then Will goes down to see NotHal, who starts the conversation with "No. Whatever it is, no." Smart guy. But Will trades on their years of friendship to make NotHal do a database search for Bloom and Kale, and I'm a dork so I'm excited that we get to see how the search operators work. Anyway, NotHal comes up with a CIA case number, but if he opens it, They will know, so he doesn't.
Will runs into Tanya on his way down from the room, and she yells at him about letting Miles and Grant be hard on her. Good for her! Is Will setting her up to fail? No, he thinks she's right about George. Would it have killed him to say that in front of the others? Apparently. Instead, he launches into a speech about Good Fear and Bad Fear. Apparently Bad Fear means you shouldn't work at API. Well, that was an encouraging speech, Will.
Will shows up at Ed's house, but Ed doesn't answer his door, so of course Will lets himself in. It's unlocked? Really? That seems unlikely, unless it's supposed to show us that Ed is going nuts. There are notes taped up all over the walls. Ed goes on and on about various connections and some of it makes sense and some of it doesn't, and then Will finally interrupts and tells him that they have to stand down because they had the wrong Donald Bloom, and it's actually an engineering student in Oregon. What is? I mean, I know Will's lying to make Ed stop his investigation, but I'm not sure who he's saying is an engineering student. They guy who flew in? Huh. Ed takes this in and then crumples to the floor, crying, and sobs that David was his best friend. Will looks close to tears as well.
Oh good, now we're at the charity event! Where's Lily van der Woodsen? Will wanders around and, hey, he runs into Katherine! Maybe these plot lines will eventually intersect! They introduce themselves and make small talk about vodka and then she wanders off. Well, that was a let down. Will wanders around and comes upon Spangler in a dark room with James Wheeler and R.C. Gilbert. He's meeting the whole secret society! Spangler gives him all sorts of praise, asks if he's enjoying the party, and then calls him a liar when he says he is. Charming! And Will wanders out again. Interesting things keep almost happening, but then they don't! As he leaves, someone else comes in and says the squalls have been shipped and will be on site in a week. I don't even know what that means, or who this person is, although he looks somewhat familiar.
Will stands by himself in the middle of the party, accompanied by an overwrought cello, and Kale appears and snarks about it. Then he says that Donald Bloom is an old friend, and then recommends that Will stay with analysis and stop trying to gather his own information, and is all vaguely threatening and ominous.
Tanya pitches her idea to Will, Spangler, and Kale. She does a good job and Spangler goes for it. Yay Tanya! Of course, then she immediately goes and pours something from a flash into her glass and looks vaguely miserable about everything.
Spangler has a clandestine meeting with one of the tails from the previous episode, and Bloom is there too. They hear a recording of Will telling Ed to stand down, so either Will or Ed or both are bugged. Spangler tells the tail to concentrate on Katherine now. They all leave separately, and we see that Kale has been watching the building, or one of them, from outside.
Katherine visits the MRQ building and meets Harold, who is in charge. She finally asks someone what the company actually does, anyway, and is told that they "used to make clothes, not very successfully." Uh, okay! What are you doing NOW, then? She asks to be alone, and figures out that the code to the filing cabinet is their anniversary. Aww. She finds a newspaper clipping about a professor's death being ruled a suicide.
Kale stands in a dark room. Will stands at the edge of the dark room, and eventually knocks and is asked in, because apparently Kale wants to talk about what life was like before electricity. Darkness! Shadows! Just like this show! Kale says that Tanya did well and shows Will new intelligence that backs up Tanya's theory, and Will charmingly replies by saying they should put her name on the list for drug testing. Kale is rather apathetic about that, and just wants to know what George is up to.
Will sits at his kitchen table taking notes on bunches of index cards that are spread out all over the floor. He's using a Sharpie, which seems inconvenient, and is barefoot, which for some reason I find cute. He puts down a card that says "James Wheeler" and has a big question mark. Indeed. The music is extremely intense as Will stares at his cards and moves some of them by fractions of inches. Then there's some sort of loud noise - I can't quite tell if it's on the soundtrack or if Will can actually hear it - and Will abruptly stands up. It didn't quite sound like a gunshot, but I can't be sure. Will looks alarmed, in any case, so I suppose I am too.
Next week: Will finds out his home is bugged! I am now COMPLETELY into this show. I hope someone else is too, because I want it to stick around.
Song of the Day: "Uprising"
By request from Rachel, as she pointed out that it's the perfect song for Mockingjay . . .
Royal Pains 2.12: "Open Up Your Yenta Mouth and Say Ah"
That's a really long episode title. Anyway! Season finale time! Royal Pains will actually be coming back in January, which seems odd, because it's such a summery show. Will it still be set in the summer, or will we get to see the Hamptons in the off-season? But first, season finale thoughts, after the jump . . .
Patient of the Week: AJ has an ankle problem and falls in Hank's lap. Literally. Then she continues to annoy me for the rest of the episode. And then she collapses, so I feel bad for being annoyed. She makes this so hard for me. This storyline did, however, reinforce how great Hank is, so that's something. Ah! She's Boris's spy. That makes sense, then. Still annoying.
Boris: Far-away meeting! Wants Hank to give him something to keep him going! Jill thinks something's wrong! Oh, good, he got Marissa out! Ooh, she's pregnant! He doesn't know! I have lots of exclamation points!
Lawson family: Dad is moving in with Ms. Newberg - but then he starts having panic attacks. He says they're being he's nervous about living with someone, but Evan thinks there's something else going on, involving the creepy man from the parking lot. Aha! He's spying on Boris. I KNEW I never liked the father. At least the boys aren't in trouble.
Evan: He's starting to be remarkably self-perceptive about his relationship with his dad, and he and Paige are really quite cute together.
Divya: Of course Adam gets sick so they can get thrown back together. Lots of vague mystery illnesses going around this week. I do like Adam, but I don't like the way they're handling this storyline. I just don't think Divya would kiss someone like that. She might be tempted, but . . . no. She's just too professional, for one thing. I did like the nice moment of Divya/Jill friendship at the end, though.
Jill: Her ambush of Hank was pretty adorable, but of course she wanted to talk about Boris. I love the chemistry she has with Hank, so I want them to either get back together, or spend a lot of time together as friends and dance around getting back together.
Overall, this was a somewhat slow finale until the end, when it suddenly all made sense AND was way more interesting than I'd expected! Good job, show!
Billy Joel Songs I Want on Glee
Glee got the rights to use Billy Joel songs, and TWoP has a list of songs they should use. Here are my ideas; some are the same as TWoP's and some are different. Disclaimer: I realize that I am totally biased toward Will, Finn, and Rachel. I would happily just listen to/watch them forever. But I tried to work a few other characters into this as well.
Edited to add: Alyssa points me to "Vienna," which I'm not sure I'd ever heard. But she's right - it's marvelous, and would be a good Will-to-Rachel song.
"The Stranger" - This feels like a Kurt song to me, for some reason.
"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" - Tailor-made for some sort of "Will and Terri run into each other" scene, no?
"Just the Way You Are" - Hmm. Will to Emma, maybe? This could be practically anyone, really. Oh! No! Wait! Finn should try to be more . . . whatever . . . to be like Jesse, and Rachel should sing this.
"My Life" - I agree with TWoP that this would be good for Quinn this season.
"You May Be Right" - This song has Puck written all over it.
"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" - Oh, come on. This is practically a reactionary music class in a song. OBVIOUSLY Will will sing this to the club.
"Tell Her About It" - I'd like a nice ensemble number of Will and the boys all advising each other on their various girl problems. On second thought, this would probably be the best Billy Joel option for Mercedes's voice. She can lecture the boys about how they're being dumb.
"Uptown Girl" - Finn to Rachel, obvs.
"A Matter of Trust" - This actually fits Finn and Rachel pretty well. Duet please!
"This Is the Time" - I think Will would do a nice job of this. (I LOVE this song.)
"We Didn't Start the Fire" - How about an Artie-led ensemble number?
"And So It Goes" - This seems suited to Tina, actually.
Morning Coffee (8/27/10)
I know TGIF is a cliche, but . . . seriously. Although my weekend is going to be busier than my week, so I'm not sure exactly what I'm so excited about. Still. Friday. Yay.
io9 has an interesting review of Mockingjay.
The list of Emmy presenters is looking pretty exciting.
I am not the only one having nightmares about Thursdays at eight.
Here are TWoP's Ten Worst New Shows of Fall. Let's not discuss how many are on my to-watch list anyway. (Okay, seven. But I only actually want to like two of them - Hellcats and Outlaw. I'll be perfectly happy to watch the pilots of the others, post about how awful they are, and never think about them again.)
August 26, 2010
"Isobel" - What are they thinking?
The CW is showing the "Isobel" episode of The Vampire Diaries tonight, so I dug this up from an e-mail I wrote to a friend. She'd asked me to interpret the three main characters' facial expressions after Isobel's announcement that Damon is in love with Elena. So here's what I decided they were thinking. (This is meant to be funny, and just one interpretation, obviously!)
Damon: Damn it! She got me! I thought I was being so clever with the whole I-have-no-feelings ruse. I should have realized that the fact that she's the girl in question's mother AND my ex would have made the
Stefan: No he's not. He's a monster. He's not in love. He couldn't be. Nope. Wait. Darn it. He totally is. How did I let that happen? What's wrong with me? Will she fall for him? Of course she will. Everyone falls for him. I practically fall for him. Why can't the nice guy ever get the girl? What should I do? Should I fight him? No! Wait! I'll mope about it, because that will annoy Damon way more than fighting would!
Elena: Wait, WHAT? He WHAT? No way! That's ridiculous! Isn't it? ISN'T IT? Maybe it isn't. OMG. But I love Stefan! But Damon's so pretty, and he does the Eye Thing! And he's really nice for a psychopathic serial killer! But wait! I love Stefan! And PEOPLE, my BROTHER was KIDNAPPED and I just met my EVIL VAMPIRE MOTHER and I CANNOT DEAL with anything else right now. So let's just pretend none of us heard that and carry on. Right? Okay? Let's do that . . . OMGWTFBBQ I CANNOT STOP LOOKING AT HIM.
What I Want This Season: How I Met Your Mother
This is one in a series of posts about what I'd like to happen this upcoming season on various returning shows. You can assume that there will be spoilers through last season, but I won't include any spoilers I might or might not have read about the upcoming season. These posts are just about what I WANT.
Speaking of shows that were a mess last season! Let's hope this one gets back on track.
Ted (and the mother): I'm in the "just meet the mother already and get on with it" camp. I don't think the show would have to end or anything once the mother appears. Just get it over with.
Robin and Barney: I would like for them to get back together, please, show.
Ted and Lily: I don't necessarily think Lily has to get pregnant immediately, but I hope they don't forget about that plotline and it stays a main thing. I think this is one show that would actually not be ruined by a baby, eventually.
Rubicon 1.4: "The Outsider"
Will actually took a train to another city in this episode, so I guess I have to stop claiming that nothing happens on this show. What actually happens, after the jump . . .
Okay, now they're just messing with us. This episode started with VERY intense classical music set to a montage of - Will making and eating breakfast. Really. But then it became clear that the classical music was actually on the radio, so I guess that's okay. Will sees a neighbor looking at him from the facing building, and sees her again at the end of the episode, and sort of waves. I have no idea whether that's important, so I'm just throwing it out there.
Will meets Spangler at the train station to go to Washington, and they have a conversation about Friedman's column about Sudan that's just like the conversations about vampires I have with my boss every morning. No, really. When they get to Washington, Spangler picks up a copy of the Post to "study the local flora and fauna," which I found unexpectedly hilarious. He then gives Will a very long lecture about proper briefcases, and even WIll seemed bemused that the show was taking so much time for Spangler's opinions on this. But anyway, it seems they are actually there to nurture allies in the intelligence community for API. They have lots of meetings, some of which Will isn't even allowed to attend, and some of which are in a room with President Obama's picture on the wall. Nice touch, show! At one point, they bring up that list of cities from the first episode, but remember how they decided it was Cameron's itinerary? Now they think it's an Al Qaeda itinerary. Make up your minds, people! After their Trip of Bonding, Spangler praises Will for managing not to speak, and buys him a proper briefcase. Will is much more surprised by that than I am. Spangler seems to avoid questions about his children, and talks about his father instead. And it seems that what Spangler likes about his life of secrets and spies is the chance to be solitary. Okay then.
While in Washington, Will has a covert meeting in a parking garage, because those always go well. I always expect someone to be run over and/or roofied and kidnapped, but either of those options would be too action-packed for this show, so instead he meets that "Daniel" from last episode, about the list of names. Once again, Will's getting someone to do work off the record that he could have done perfectly legitimately if he would just do the paperwork. The list of names is mostly CIA people, but Daniel couldn't find one name. Most are dead or retired; the only one that seems interesting is Donald Bloom. Daniel hands Will a bunch of files and then takes them back.
While Will is gone, his team has to decide whether to take out a guy in Indonesia. Tanya helpfully calls the guy they're researching a "bad guy" and an "al Qaeda rock star. It seems that the team needs to decide whether the chance to take out this guy is worth also blowing up a bunch of civilians. Apparently it's harder this time because last time they had WIll and David and no girls. Because obviously only girls are concerned about killing innocent civilians. This is obviously all here just to show the team having to Work Together and Make a Decision Without Will, so I'm not going into too much detail. Tanya takes pills, there's a MILF joke, and then they eventually decide to go ahead with the assassination and then get drunk together.
Elsewhere, Katherine wanders around a house, because that's basically all she ever does. She receives a box of evidence from the police, including bloody clothes and something small - maybe Tom's wedding ring? It makes her cry, understandably. It also contains his cell phone, which has a cryptic message from Wheeler. "If you keep this up, you know what's going to happen." Obviously, Katherine's response to this is to go wander around the Super Secret Townhouse some more. I have no idea why she thinks the Chinese restaurant menu she finds is important enough to make her go there and order takeout, but hey! She's going somewhere other than a house! So I'm in favor. She gets the restaurant lady to look up Tom's order history and finds that Wheeler used his credit card for an order at the townhouse, so was lying about not knowing about it. Are you shocked? I'm not.
Eventually, Will makes it back to the office and practically his first action is to put his new briefcase in a corner and block it with the globe/hidden chessboard. That's gratitude! He has another very vaguely suggestive and/or cute moment with Maggie, in which Will says "Nice to see you." Gasp. Anyway, Miles found out that Donald Bloom might be in New York. Kale says Spangler thinks Will has potential, but doesn't seem to agree. Tanya is annoyed that they can't even find out whether the assassination was successful. And at the end of the episode, we're back to Yuri and Beck, and even Will is barely paying attention.
Bonus Song of the Day: Ian Somerhalder Victory Song
I mentioned earlier that Ian Somerhalder's Damon Salvatore won the Sexiest Beast contest at Entertainment Weekly. Well, that led to this: his costar Matt Davis, who plays history teacher/vampire slayer Alaric on the show, wrote and recorded him a song, and it is HILARIOUS:
Royal Pains 2.11: "Big Whoop"
Evan's cute when he's upset. Keep reading . . .
Patients of the Week: Stanley of the video games and recurring colds is actually a process server. Huh.
Phillips family: Emily has to come in to consult, of course, and the fact that the doctors don't know what the other is doing certainly doesn't help. And everyone has whooping cough! Whee. I didn't realize that was one of the things that people delayed vaccinating for. Hmph.
Clinic: Shut down! Jill is quite cleverly using Boris's name to bluff, and Evan is proud. And the lawsuit was dropped. But Boris is mad.
Emily: The URL thing is pretty clever, and standard. But Evan's reaction to Hank and Emily being together was completely hilarious. Poor thing feels so betrayed. He and Divya plotting together to get Emily and Hank apart is great.
Lawson dad: There's some sort of intrigue going on, but what the heck is it? Who knows! I think he said "letterhead" and "signature" to the guy at the parks department at the end.
TV Stars Singing in the Shower
This is really just . . . ridiculously adorable.
Morning Coffee (8/26/10)
Happy Thursday! Votes are still being counted in Alaska, but in hotter news, the votes are tallied for EW's Sexiest Beast Contest, and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) of The Vampire Diaries officially beat Edward Cullen of Twilight in the finals. Good job, Internet! Real vampires have sex and kill people and do not sparkle. I'm glad we've learned this. And individual roles aside, Somerhalder is obviously much more attractive than Pattinson. So.
If you need evidence of that, check out these new Vampire Diaries season two cast portraits. No big news here, just, you know, pretty people are pretty. My favorite, of course, involves a waistcoat and bookcases.
A lot of people say a lot of things about fandom and fan communities, but they really can make incredible things happen.
Notice: Tonight is the season finale of Royal Pains. Set your DVRs accordingly.
Would you like to see Brennan seeing Booth's new girlfriend? here you go.
FiveThirtyEight is now at the Times.
I've always thought public proposals were really awful.
The eternal question: What killed Mozart?
August 25, 2010
What I Want This Season: Private Practice
This is one in a series of posts about what I'd like to happen this upcoming season on various returning shows. You can assume that there will be spoilers through last season, but I won't include any spoilers I might or might not have read about the upcoming season. These posts are just about what I WANT.
. . . I don't even know. This show is such a mess at this point. THEY KILLED DELL. I don't know how they can make it better. Okay. Let's see.
Addison (and Sam): I really do like Addison and her WASPiness, so I'd like to see more of that side of her. This thing with Sam has had such a build-up. I hope there's some decent payoff.
Violet (and Pete and Lucas): Violet was pretty awful last season. I'd like to see her redeem herself somewhat and make a go of things with her family.
Betsey: Poor little orphan! I'd sort of like to see Addison adopt her, but I'm afraid Naomi will.
Naomi: Get over yourself and fix your relationship with your daughter, Naomi!
Maya: I'd like to see more of how she does with the baby and her new life.
Charlotte and Cooper: I love them together, so I hope they get married already and make it work.
Sheldon, Fife, Amelia: Apparently I have no strong feelings about them, although I am looking forward to Amelia's crossover(s) with her brother, also known as McDreamy of Grey's Anatomy.
Rubicon 1.3: "Keep the Ends Out"
At the beginning of this episode, they did a little recap of the "conspiracy" so far, so perhaps the things they mentioned are the things that are important for us to keep in mind. If this is true, Nigeria doesn't matter, and Yuri might not either. So there's that. Thoughts on this episode after the jump . . .
We start with what passes for intrigue on this show - Will walks down the street with a newspaper! Someone might be following him! He - gasp - pretends to tie his shoe, but it's not really untied! Hey, he has blue Converse, just like me. Anyway, he's on his way to meet David's widow (and his mother-in-law), Joan, who is there to pick up David's things. Will seems shocked that Joan has never seen David's office, but I'm not. The security guard takes Joan's cell phone and "any other electronics." Have we seen this with the other characters? Hey, is this why they have so many papers all the time? Because no electronics are allowed? Hmm.
Anyway, Joan continues to be astonished about her husband's Super Secret Office and mutters stuff about "Church and State" for a while, implying that David kept his home and work lives separate. She eventually tells Will that her son Even wants to see him, and even though Evan becomes a big part of this episode, we never really figure out what his deal is. He's in Vermont, in some sort of institution, maybe. He wants the bike his dad gave Will, and there's a lot of sibling rivalry and "I'm his real son" stuff, but Will realizes pretty quickly that he should just give the bike to Evan.
But first, Will takes apart the bike, because he realizes that maybe, you know, David gave it to him for a reason. He doesn't find anything, and then FINALLY looks at the manual, where he finds a picture of a young Evan on the bike. There is now tape on the seat that wasn't there in the picture, so he takes it off and finds a list of ten-digit numbers - and a gun in the seat! He brings it to Ed and gets, instead of answers, a lesson in his own wife's family history, which seemed a little odd. Also odd: we're supposed to think Will, who knows everything about everything, doesn't know who John Wayne is. Oh, and Ed thinks David was murdered. Personally, I'm not entirely convinced David is dead at all. Anyway. After considering a bunch of options (phone numbers, ISBNs), Will decides that the numbers have something to do with dates of baseball games, so he goes and wakes up poor Ed again. They figure out that the numbers lead to . . . the pitchers of games on those dates? Maybe? It's a little unclear. Wouldn't there be several games on some of the dates? How would they know which ones they were looking for? Later on, Will has a series of names, presumably from this code, and asks a "Daniel Burns" to run them through his database. There is, of course, more of the "I could get fired for doing this for you!" stuff.
Meanwhile, Will has an actual job where he's supposed to be doing actual work involving Yuri and Beck and all that. Except it WAS a test, as I'd guessed, to see if he'd say he could get results more quickly than he actually could, or something. But I guess they still have to do the work. Tanya seems to be the only one of the team who actually produces much, while Miles watches an airport security video over and over and Grant continues to be obnoxious. They all stop to discuss the five worst presidents in history, much to my delight. Miles stays at the office all night, and it seems that he's separated from his wife and hiding it from his coworkers. Poor guy.
Throughout the episode, Will knows he's being followed, and eventually confronts the guy and gets beaten up. His boss later introduces him to the guy who beat him up - it turns out he's FBI and was tailing Will as part of a security check for his promotion or something. Worst tail ever, FBI! Will later realizes that someone else is still following him, so he goes home and loads David's gun. Very slowly. That second tail meets a guy at a laundromat and the guy calls . . . someone . . . to report that Will is still digging.
In other news we might or might not care about, Maggie is walking her daughter home from school (which seemed weird because the previous scene had taken place on a Sunday, but I guess it was supposed to be the next day) when she was surprised by Sophie's father. Her ex-husband? Current, estranged husband? Something. Sophie is happy to see her dad, but Maggie is not. She winds up confiding in Kale, which really makes me want to know what kind of influence or hold Kale has over her, exactly. Kale tells her not to let the guy - Craig, I think - back into her life. She later has a cute and awkward moment with Will in which Will manages to answer an obscure question about bears, because obviously he knows everything ever. Are they trying to set up a romantic thing between Will and Maggie? Maybe.
Elsewhere - Katherine! Remember her? She's in bed, and then Wheeler calls and convinces her to have dinner with him, and for a minute I thought maybe they'd been having an affair before her husband died, but no, I think that's too exciting for this show. So. They have dinner. They hear "the most depressing song ever written" but I didn't catch what it was - anyone know? Then Wheeler goes to the Super Secret Townhouse and steals an old picture of kids on a beach. Why? No idea.
I kind of can't believe I'm writing this much about this show. It's still moving glacially slowly, and it seems somewhat scattered - the Nigeria thing wasn't mentioned this episode, and the Sudan was, with no details. Nothing more about Vanderbilts or hyacinths or Graham Greene. I'm still not at all sure whether the whole Beck thing has anything to do with the main plot of the show. But I'm enjoying it enough to stick with it and find out.
Royal Pains 2.10: "Whole Lotto Love"
I used the words "cute" and "adorable" a lot of times in this description. Ah well. It was a cute episode! Read on . . .
Patients of the Week: The lotto winners from North Dakota were awfully cute, and I like the combination medicine/financial planning package. I'm very glad there was no flesh-eating bacteria. Eww. It was SO appropriate that the guy had gout.
Tally's illness was not necessarily all that interesting in and of itself, and probably just a way to get Divya and Adam together. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Adam is charming enough, I guess, and it makes sense for Divya to have some second thoughts about her arranged marriage, but . . . I don't know. I'm not feeling it.
Lawson family: Oh, the dad is back. Sigh. The surprise party for Evan was cute, though, and it was nice to see a bunch of the old patients back again. Does the dad have ulterior motives? Is he trying to forge Boris's signature? Sigh again.
Evan and Paige: They seem to be a real couple now, and they're completely adorable. And Evan's actually being responsible! And working! And Paige saves the day by tweeting about the party! Aww!
Boris: He's back! Yay! But poor Marissa was arrested, presumably for trying to defect.
Hank and Jill and Emily: The awkwardness with Jill was cute. Did we even see Emily in this episode? Ginnie setting up Hank and Jill was adorable.
The Dream Shall Never Die
I can't believe it's been a year already. I also can't believe it's only been a year.
"For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.
Morning Coffee (8/25/10)
Good morning! Who else has a Mockingjay hangover today? I read the whole thing last night, and it made me cry. Books never make me cry! Short non-spoilery take: It wasn't perfect, but it was really good, and the trilogy feels complete. I'll have a full review coming for you probably on Monday, so as to avoid spoiling more than necessary, and to give myself some time to think about it all. And maybe reread.
In real world news, I'm trying to catch up on yesterday's primary results, as I only half paid attention to them on Twitter as I was reading last night. We woke up to the somewhat surprising news that Miller is winning in Alaska, at least so far. Huh. Also, I'm expecting a lot of fun "Meek" headlines, and maybe a "Great Scott!" or two. Don't let me down, headline writers!
The Washington Monthly really, really likes my alma mater.
Linking to myself, all classy-like: Angela Sarafyan has been cast in a major recurring role on The Good Guys.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Actually all about sandwiches.
August 24, 2010
What I Want This Season: Castle
Castle is another procedural in which I don't think there's a compelling need for an ongoing connection between the cases investigated. Well, now that I've said that, I'd like to have more of Castle trying to investigate Beckett's mother's murder, or his own father's identity. But I don't really feel like they have to do that, or anything.
Castle and Beckett: I'm usually okay with the "Will they or won't they?" thing being dragged out forever, but this is one show that I think could actually have a lot of fun with the characters getting together. I'd like them to start dating, very cautiously. They should have an awkward first date and both be happy that they get called away to investigate something, and then they can have a casual dinner together afterward and agree it's more "them," and then maybe a kiss? I'd like them to make progress on this, but slowly.
Alexis: I loooove Alexis, so I always want more of her. I'd specifically like to see some more of her relationship with Beckett develop, as they have a nice dynamic. And I love when she takes care of her dad.
Martha: She should just be her hilarious self, obviously.
Ryan, Esposito, and Parish: I'd like to see more of these characters and their backgrounds and lives. I've always thought that Castle didn't do as well with supporting characters (other than the family) than some other procedurals do, so I'd like them to work on that.
My Boys 4.6: "Hanger Management"
The boys are having a domino effect of new chapters in their lives. What are they changing? Read on . . .
Kenny is an organizer! Love it. His new chapter is going to be a closet organizing business. He tries to clean out PJ's closet but she doesn't want to get rid of anything, so it doesn't go so well. He eventually gets the closet prettified, but he really wants to unpack Bobby's stuff. PJ's worried about Bobby moving away for grad school, so she won't let Kenny unpack anything. Also, it takes three whole days for Mike to make the obvious "coming out of the closet" joke.
Brendan is moving out! Will they ever explain why they call him "Brando" even though his name is not "Brandon"? Apparently not. Sorry, I digress. Everyone is doubting that he will actually move out because he always says he will and doesn't, but hasn't he moved in and out a few times over the course of the show? Whatever. He starts packing, or planning to pack, but gets bogged down in looking at his stuff. I sympathize, Brendan. Happens to me all the time.
Bobby's thinking about going to medical school! Nifty. You'd think he would have done that before he lost all his money, but anyway. PJ's doctor friend tells him about how med school will ruin his life, so then he's much less sure about the whole thing. So he goes to talk to an old professor about going into academia, and is told to run far away. So he talks to a lawyer and decides he wants to go to law school.
Mike is . . . watching the World Cup? Okay. That's not so much a new chapter. Stephanie is pulled in by the cute guys, of course.
At the end of the episode, the group is stunned to discover that Brendan has actually moved out - and he used Bobby's boxes to do so, which means that Kenny at least somewhat unpacked Bobby's things. PJ freaks out about this until Bobby finally makes her talk about what's actually bothering her, which is, of course, the idea of him moving away to go to school. He immediately reassures her that he's not going anywhere, and picked law school partially so he could stay in Chicago with her. So this is yet another example of PJ refusing to talk about an issue and Bobby being perfect in every way. I hope we get some sort of variation on that soon.
Overall, this episode was better than some others this season. The characters actually grew and progressed, and hopefully those changes will stick. And PJ and Bobby are still adorable together. Let's hope the show keeps them together for good this time.
Song of the Day: "Half of My Heart"
This has been stuck in my head for DAYS.
Royal Pains 2.9: "Frenemies"
Evan goes hunting, so I'm sure we can guess how THAT will turn out. Read on for more . . .
Patients of the Week: I like how the fisherman reappears periodically, and the poor guy now has an ankle injury. And of course the sick kid is Dr. Blair's son. Poor thing. I liked that there ended up being something really wrong, rather than just allergies or the kid faking it.
The clinic: I'm not entirely clear on what the issue was that the hospital had with the clinic, actually. Blair seems a little more human after this episode, though.
Evan: His "worst morning of my life" about the fish was adorable. Paige the fake girlfriend is back! I sort of like her, and I LOVE Evan with her, and Divya and Hank reacting to how Evan reacts to her. "They grow up so fast!" The whole hunting thing was pretty ridiculous, but I loved that the dogs were named Patton and MacArthur. OF COURSE there was a hunting accident, and I felt so badly for him when the father offered to pay him NOT to see Paige. It was really nice of him to cover for the father shooting him, though. And he got a real date out of the deal! Awww.
Hank and Emily: They're really rather cute together, and I like Emily's intimacy issues. But I still want Hank with Jill. Now that Jill is starting to figure out what's going on, so it should be interesting to see how she reacts. And will Emily actually try to steal all their patients? I guess we'll find out!
A word on Camille Saroyan
After a conversation with Alyssa last night, I realized that my comments about Cam on Bones may have come across incorrectly yesterday. I didn't mean that I don't like Cam or don't think she's an important character. I love Cam! And more importantly, I think she's a vital part of the team dynamic, both as far as how they actually work to solve their cases within the show and how the cast melds on the show. I didn't mean that I didn't want her around as much. What I was thinking, but didn't really manage to say, was that I want her to continue to be a big part of the show, but don't have anything specific in mind that I want to happen to her the way I do for some of the other characters.
Morning Coffee (8/24/10)
Happy Mockingjay Day! If you don't know what that means, you should get yourself to your nearest library or bookstore and pick up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Mockingjay is the final book in this amazing trilogy, and my copy from Amazon should be appearing at any moment. So that's what I'll be doing tonight.
Tiger Woods is now divorced, if you care about that for some reason. And I feel like we should all leave poor Fantasia alone.
You absolutely must see what Alan Cumming wore to the Creative Arts Emmys.
I almost always dislike discomfort comedy.
There's a new hot werewolf in town on The Vampire Diaries.
Look, I'm not the only one who can't tell Rubicon Will and Glee Will apart! They've got good Rubicon recaps, too.
Vampire-Diaries.net is publishing a series of guest essays leading up to the season premiere. I thought this first one was really good: The Salvatore Brothers: The Ties That Bind.
August 23, 2010
What I Want This Season: Bones
The team went their separate ways for a year in the season finale, so obviously I want them to all get back together quickly, and I think I'd like a minimum of drama in that process. On this show, I like the relationship arcs but I don't particularly care about the case arcs. I'd be fine with victim-of-the-week while the relationships evolve and progress.
Booth and Brennan: After Booth made himself so vulnerable last season, I'd sort of like him to get a break for a little while. Brennan needs to process everything and work past some of her issues, and ultimately I'd like it to get to a point at which she decides to pursue him and not vice versa.
Angela and Hodgins: I'm glad they're finally married, and I hope they can continue to have interesting plotlines without any "Will they break up?" drama. Specifically, they both have some trust and secrecy issues to work through, and I'd like to see Angela come to terms with Hodgins's wealth and his attitudes toward it.
Sweets and Daisy: Meh. I love Sweets, and Daisy is okay but I'm not particularly invested in this relationship either way. I want Sweets to have interesting things to do but I don't really care whether Daisy's involved.
Cam: I like her but don't necessarily care whether she has huge plotlines or not. I do like the motherhood stuff, so more of that would be fine.
Interns of the week: I like them all, so I hope they continue to rotate.
Rubicon 1.2: "The First Day of School"
I think I forgot to mention this last time, but is anyone else completely distracted by how much Will (James Badge Dale) looks like Matthew Morrison of Glee? No? Just me? Anyway, more substantive thoughts after the jump . . .
I'm finding this show difficult to write about because I'm actually pretty fascinated by it, except that nothing happens. Or things happen, but it's completely unclear which if any of them are important. There are a lot of long looks and awkward movements and cryptic statements. Hyacinths! Graham Greene! Ferries! Vanderbilt! Nigeria! Any of those words could be important. Or not. Who knows?
But, okay, let's try to sort through some of the more tangible elements that may or may not be important. But wait, first, I had sympathy for the security guard making the girl take off her sunglasses, because all the characters on this show look alike. It took me this entire episode to get a handle on Maggie and Tanya and which is which, and I still have no idea who's who among the older guys. Thank goodness Will, Miles, and Grant all look different, or I'd be completely sunk.
So. It's Will's first day as boss! Replacing his father-in-law! Shockingly, there's tension. His team seems to be composed of Miles, Tanya, and Grant. (Is Maggie on another team? Or is she an admin or something? I couldn't figure this out, but I think it's the latter.) Miles and Tanya seem generally decent, but Grant is either an awful person or really has something against Will. And Tanya. I guess we'll find out. Maybe. Miles is obsessed with Nigeria, and Maggie is informing on the group, possibly as a way of keeping her kid safe. Or something. Oh, and there's also tension with Will's higher-ups, and he's late for his first team leader meeting. Last episode, someone made a big deal about him never being late for anything since his wife and child died on September 11, so is it supposed to be Extremely Significant that he was late for this meeting? Or did they just forget about the never late thing?
Will's bosses want him working on this thing about a guy named Yuri, who has ties with ex-KGB people, as though the fact that his name is Yuri hadn't told us that already. He was photographed with a German guy named Beck. There are bank accounts involved. And money. And Hezbollah and missiles, maybe. I don't know. I also don't know if the Yuri thing is actually important or if it was just designed to distract Will from the Great Crossword Mystery. Or maybe it's some kind of test of him as a boss. Or something else entirely.
Speaking of the Great Crossword Mystery, Will has not been distracted from it. He has a guy who he calls Hal (but whose name is actually Mason, I think) working on it, and apparently NotHal could get fired for doing this for him because it's unauthorized, and it's all very cloak-and-dagger for some unexplained reason. NotHal finds a similar Crossword Thing in 1983, and David's friend Ed tells Will that he and David did it and it was supposed to be a "go" code. So presumably this new one is the same thing. NotHal decides it was a trigger for revenge killings of Hezbollah people. Wait, does that mean Yuri was actually involved? Hm.
Ed also tells Will that the code Will found in David's typewriter is an old-school book code, and that made me happy, because I've actually heard of that! Both people have a book and use the code to specify a page/line/word/letter, and the letters together spell out the message. Will realizes quickly that the book in question is probably the one David gave him right before he died (and speaking of which, what ever happened to the motorcycle and the "drive away" message?). The message ends up being "They hide in plain sight." Uh, thanks, David. That was enlightening.
People are following Will throughout the episode, which he sometimes seems to know and sometimes doesn't. And someone bumps into him and then he almost gets hit by a taxi, which might or might not have been an accident. But he seems fairly unconcerned. At the end, one of the people watching him is all "Why are we watching this guy?" so maybe they too are amazed by how little happens on this show.
Elsewhere, Miranda Richardson is back! Yay! At the reading of her husband's will, she discovers that he changed his will a week before he died to leave her one of his companies, and she is suspicious. And then she discovers that he also left her a townhouse she didn't know he had, so she's REALLY suspicious. She thinks he was cheating, and is looking all over for clues, and finds a four-leaf clover, which leads back that secret society, of course. Oh, and the "fourth branch of government" idea, which apparently Will and NotHal forgot about in the whole "The crossword is a go code!" thing. Hmmm.
Oh, random thought: Maggie's daughter's name seems to be Sophia, which means wisdom. That could be meaningful! Who knows?
This show is still deadly boring and completely riveting at the same time. Somehow. It's a marvel.
Royal Pains 2.8: "The Hankover"
It sounds like the season finale of Royal Pains is this Thursday, so I caught up over the weekend and will post about an episode a day this week, with the finale post going up on Friday. Continue after the jump . . .
Patient of the Week: Apparently Hank waited twenty years to fix the past with this bully from junior high, and Emily speaks for us all when she says "First of all, really?" Of course Karma the exotic dancer is the one to fulfill Hank's need for revenge by kicking the guy. The sword in the sinus was quite disturbing, really.
Jill and the clinic: Test case with the dislocated shoulder. The treatment seemed much more complicated than I remember it being when I dislocated my shoulder.
Divya's engagement: The bridal tea looked fun to me, personally, but I suppose I can see how Jill and Divya were bored. Their night on the town was fun, but of course the whole taxi/diabetes thing was a little far-fetched. What are the odds that they would happen upon Aristotle when he was one doughnut away from a coma? Hmph.
I loved how the perfect sister actually had this awful double life, but it turned out that Raj was basically perfect. Awww. Also, Evan being all concerned about Divya is so cute. I know I say this every week, but I love their friendship.
Hank and Emily: Gah. Emily is somewhat charming, but Hank should be with Jill. Obviously.
I am extremely excited to announce that I am now the newest contributor at TheTelevixen.com. I'll be covering Bones, Castle, and The Event for them this season - writing weekly recaps as well as news and other stories that might come up. This means that I probably won't write much about those particular shows here, but I'll give you links to my stories over there. First up - Castle Season 3 Sneak Peek and More! (Also, check out my nifty new headshot at the bottom of that story.)
Morning Coffee (8/23/10)
Ah, Monday, we meet again. But it's raining and only going to be 64 out! I'm so happy!
Vampire Diaries fans MUST read this: Super Sekrit Adventures of a Hot History-Teachin’ Vampire Slayer
On GMA, a whole high school football team is sick and it's a big mystery. Hmm.
Here's the other TWoP gallery that goes with the one I posted yesterday: Fall TV Preview: Best and Worst New Shows
E! has a Fall Movie Preview Gallery.
August 22, 2010
Morning Coffee (8/22/10)
The Creative Arts Emmys were last night, and Sepinwall has a nice write-up. I am apparently one of the few who thinks that Neil Patrick Harris absolutely earned his win for Glee (although O'Malley was, of course, very good as well). And I agree with Sepinwall that it's disappointing that we'll miss out on the fun little writer videos in the big ceremony next weekend.
This new promo for Lone Star is notable for the complete lack of political or business intrigue or references to oil. But it's pretty!
TWoP Gallery: Fall TV Preview: Returning Favorites
Here's an interesting look at Tom Welling and Hellcats.
August 21, 2010
Castle Fall Promo
I haven't written much about Castle - I didn't even have a category for it until now - but it's a reliably enjoyable show, and maybe someday I'll write out my whole theory about how the first season basically had the plot of a romance novel. But in the meantime, here's a promo for the new season!
Morning Coffee (8/21/10)
Happy Saturday! GMA is all about bears again, so I'm going to assume there's not much going on in the world. Now the guy who owns the bear who killed someone is calling PETA a bunch of terrorists. Good times.
Ooh, look! You can now preorder the Vampire Diaries soundtrack!
Here's the Scott Simon story that made me cry yesterday.
NPR's Linda Holmes says exactly what I've been thinking about the Starbucks bagel outrage. If you order a bagel, being asked whether you want something on it is not crazy, people. I think if you ordered a bagel in a diner you'd be asked that. And I have given into the fact that I'm one of those people who orders things like "venti non-fat no whip no foam cinnamon dolce latte," and you know why? Because that way I get exactly what I want. What the heck is wrong with that?
August 20, 2010
Vampire Diaries Season 2 Trailer!
The CW finally put out a full-length trailer, and it's pretty awesome:
Trailer: Love and Other Drugs
Another rom-com that looks decent! It's an epidemic!
Playboy falls for real for a free spirit who doesn't want him. Not the most original storyline, maybe, but fine if it's well done. I like both Hathaway and Gyllenhaal, and it will be nice to see them less miserable together than they were in Brokeback Mountain. And the supporting cast includes Oliver Platt and Scott Cohen!
18 to Life
How do people not like this? It's charming! And adorable! And Canadian! I just caught up on the first four episodes, and while I don't think it's a show I'll be writing about every week or anything, I definitely enjoyed it. The two leads are sympathetic and likeable and act their age, and they also do a good job of playing people who have known each other since childhood. Sure, they "getting married on a dare" thing is silly, but they clearly care about each other, and I found myself really rooting for them to make the unlikely marriage work. (And as a bonus, their families are both HILARIOUS and real, somehow, all at once.)
Update: After I wrote this but before I posted it, the CW pulled the show from its schedule. Sigh. I'm hoping for DVD...
Morning Coffee (8/20/10)
Hey, look, it's Friday! My excitement for the week: there was a bear in my driveway when I got home last night! I think that's the first time I've seen one in the wild. Also, the cheese puffs came out well. I know you were concerned.
Scott Simon just made me cry on Morning Edition, talking about his daughters, but the audio isn't online yet so I'll look it up and post it over the weekend.
I continue to be completely astonished the Katrina Swett's slogan seems to be "Swett: It's not just her name." Um, okay.
Because of my inexplicable fondness for 7th Heaven alums, I was happy to see that Stephen Collins will be on Brothers and Sisters.
Elizabeth Gilbert's ex: classier than she'll ever be; cancels book deal.
August 19, 2010
Lessons from South Pacific
Last night, I watched the troops leaving Iraq on MSNBC and then turned to PBS to watch South Pacific live from Lincoln Center. I feel like I should have some profound comment about this, about war as entertainment, but I was too caught up in the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein and instead was left wondering, yet again, why people bother writing musicals anymore, because they were just that good.
Both of my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein shows are about World War II, actually - the other, of course, is The Sound of Music - and now that I think about it, my two favorite movies are too (The Sound of Music, again, and White Christmas). Of all the mystery shows I love, my favorite is Foyle's War - again, set during the War. Some of this is likely particular to me, and my influences, as my father and aunt love anything WWII, and my favorite movies are two of my mother's favorite movies.
But it's not just me. It's undeniable that that war led to great art, both at the time and afterward, and still captures our cultural imagination, even now. In sixty years, will our grandchildren be watching movies about the war in Iraq and loving them like this? I suppose it's possible, as impossible as it is to imagine right now. Who are this war's Rodgers and Hammerstein, this war's Irving Berlin?
To tie in another current event, the ridiculous "Ground Zero" "mosque" controversy keeps bringing to mind this song:
And because I thoroughly regret not seeing Matthew Morrison as Cable, here he is singing some more, shirtless:
Trailer: How Do You Know
First: It bothers me to no end that there does not seem to be a question mark at the end of the title of How Do You Know.
But if we try to get past that: This looks pretty good! To quote Jezebel's headline, "Gimmick-Free RomCom Gives Us Some Hope." No one's traveling across the world or working through an entire cookbook or anything. They're just, you know, people, trying to live their lives and figure out what they want. It actually looks pretty serious for a comedy, but not all weepy and overemotional. Refreshing! (Plus: Paul Rudd!)
Rubicon 1.1: "Gone in the Teeth"
I know everyone else in the universe watched this as a preview or online, but I didn't. And then - bonus! - I waited two weeks to watch it at all, so this post is really timely. But if you want to know what I thought, keep reading . . .
I'm getting the impression from, you know, Twitter and various headlines I've glimpsed that people are mostly not liking this show, and maybe finding it boring. Boring! I'd like to say that I can't imagine why they would think that, but I suppose I can. I mean, depressed guys in sweaters doing crossword puzzles is BASICALLY my idea of the perfect TV show, but I guess that may not be a popular opinion. Really, though, this is exactly the sort of thing I like. Spies! Codes! Figuring things out! Conspiracies! Chess!
Aesthetically, too, I like it - it's dark and moody and snowy and wet, and again, I suppose I can see why it would not be for all viewers. But it went very well with my knitting and giant mug of tea. The setting is contemporary, but it felt old-fashioned compared to other tech-focused spy shows like Covert Affairs; everything seems to be paper-based, with books and newspapers and, God help us, card catalogs abounding. It's probably not very realistic but I'm not sure I care. (And that globe-with-hidden-chess-set? I totally want that, even though I don't really play chess.) The music fits the rest of the aesthetics, with lots of overwrought cellos.
This first episode was rife with little moments clearly designed to set up the characters. Some of these were annoyingly simplistic: Will can figure out crosswords and reads about string theory, so he's smart! One of the characters (Grant? I think?) tells Tanya that bringing the doughnuts to the meeting is her most important duty, so we are to know that her job is lower on the totem pole and he is kind of an ass. I liked the subtlety of the newspapers - characters read what looks like the New York Times or the Post depending on who they are, and really, the choice between those two says a lot.
I guess I haven't really mentioned the plot, but I'm not sure we know enough about it yet to say much. There's some sort of conspiracy, perhaps involving a secret fourth branch of government, and it seems that in his new position Will will try to discover what's going on and/or be recruited to join in. Good times! It's not yet entirely clear who's on which side, or who the bad guys are, or what anyone is actually trying to do, but I'll be patient. That's the fun of the slow-burn spy show, after all.
Morning Coffee (8/19/10)
Good morning! It's Thursday, somehow, even though I was convinced I had another day to figure out what I'm bringing to a party on Friday. (I think the answer is cheese puffs.)
Last night, the last U.S. combat troops left Iraq. Thank God.
Dear Bill Binnie, You're going to have to come up with a better way to attack the Union Leader than by saying they don't like you because they're a bunch of communists, because no one will believe that. (For non-locals: That's the big conservative paper in the state. Not communist. At all.)
The Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block will be touring together. Oh my.
SOMEONE recently asked me what new show Michael Trucco (Anders from BSG) was going to be on, and I couldn't remember, but! I have found it! It's USA's Finding Kate. Of course, now I don't remember who asked. Anyway, information about new seasons of many of your favorite USA shows is at the same link, although In Plain Sight is a glaring omission.
Teri Polo (of Sports Night and The West Wing) will be on Law & Order: LA, so I suppose my streak of ignoring Law & Order shows is at an end.
Things like this are why I read Hello!: Princess Anne: The Early Years
August 18, 2010
Gossip Girl Season Four Trailer!
I will go ahead and agree with Everyone Else on the Internet that Gossip Girl had some serious issues last season, but this promo makes me rather excited for September . . .
I don't tend to review picture books very often, but Kathy Brodsky is a local-ish author and her publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of her new book, Purrsnikitty. It's a simple rhyming story about a cat and its family, and it's designed to teach children about sibling rivalry as well as pet care. Now, I will admit that I am skeptical about children's books with stated purposes like this; they can, of course, be useful in certain situations, but they're often not that good just as books. I was pleasantly surprised with Purrsnikitty in that respect: the "lesson" comes in when a new puppy joins the family and the cat must learn to get along with it, but I actually thought this conflict was resolved a little too quickly. I would have liked to see more dog vs. cat antics. Other than that, the story was good. My favorite moment was when the cat wondered why his family brought home a puppy and not something fun like a mouse. I cringed when I saw that there were "discussion questions" at the end, but they're not bad! Many are simple and factual - "Do you have a cat?" "Are you the oldest, youngest or middle child in your family?" - and a few are more abstract - "What would life be like without any brothers or sisters?"
The story is written in rhyming verse, about four lines to each two-page spread. There are a few places where the rhymes don't quite work, and the meter isn't perfect, so you might trip over your tongue when reading it aloud. (Or you might be less stuck on perfect iambs than I am and it won't bother you at all.) The language is clear while still using some fun words like "prance" and "humungous." I quite liked the illustrations - they're stylized but don't make the cat look too cutesy or cartoony. (I am picky about my cat illustrations.) I especially love the rich texture, and my favorite is one image of the dog and cat snuggling on a pillow next to a pair of boots while snow falls on a snowman outside the window.
You can find Purrsnikitty and Brodsky's other books at her site. I didn't have any actual children handy so I don't have any age-appropriate reactions, but I've sent the book off to a friend with kids in hopes that she'll review it as well. I'll give you a link if she does!
Song of the Day: "Then I Kissed Her"
(Yes, basically the same song as yesterday. But I didn't even know this existed until I started looking for yesterday's! Wow.)
Melissa & Joey
I was very proud of myself for watching a new should THE NIGHT IT PREMIERED and writing about it immediately to have a post up the next day. Except . . . I really didn't like Melissa and Joey. Or, more precisely, I sat through seven minutes of Melissa and Joey before deciding I couldn't be bothered. As I've said many times, I don't tend to be a sitcom fan, so I'm probably just not the right audience for this. But I found it thoroughly unfunny, and I don't have the sentimental attachment to Melissa Joan Hart (a.k.a. Sabrina and Clarissa) or Joey Lawrence (of, um, Blossom, I guess? And other stuff?) that's making others give it more of a chance. I mean, there was nothing OBJECTIONABLE in the seven minutes I watched. If this is your sort of show, you will probably like it. If that makes sense. I just couldn't convince myself to be interested.
Morning Coffee (8/18/10)
Hello, Wednesday. We're still on the mosque story? Really? I'm curious how many of the out-of-state people protesting actually know how separate something is that's a block or two away. And now even Paul Hodes is against it. Sigh. His statement made it sound like he thought it was literally right at the site. Gaaaah.
Check your eggs! There's a recall.
In better news, Dr. Laura is off the air! In order to, um, regain her first amendment rights. Okay then. And on GMA, GSteph is talking to Karl Rove, which always makes me giggle. Wait, we're STILL going on about Eat, Pray, Love? Jennifer Aniston will be live on GMA tomorrow, and perhaps that will be the end of it.
EW's Sexy Beast poll is down to the finals: Damon Salvatore vs. Edward Cullen. Any thinking person can see that Damon must win, as, for one thing, he is a vampire who does not sparkle and reads Anne Rice. Go vote for him!
And here's the cover art for the first of the Vampire Diaries prequel novels.
August 17, 2010
Blog Recommendation: Frog and Toad Are Still Friends
I know I've linked to Beck at Frog and Toad Are Still Friends on occasion, but I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you that you really should be reading her on a regular basis. Yes, she's a mom and writes about her kids frequently, but don't let that stop you if you don't have kids. She's a great writer but in a quiet, practical way, not that showy froofy way blogs sometimes are, and she writes about things like character and the passage of time and why Eat, Pray, Love has an awful message, and it's all very refreshing, somehow. Warning: Her posts often make me laugh and cry within the space of a few paragraphs. Go read her!
I love the Keep Calm and Carry On poster with the passion that I reserve for all things British and old-fashioned, so I was delighted to walk into a British import store a few weeks ago and see a tea towel version of it on display. I wanted one, of course, and I could think of at least five people for whom it would make a perfect Christmas gift. But it turned out they were SOLD OUT and wouldn't even sell me the one they had on display. Instead, they offered me an apron at tea towel price, which was fine, but not exactly what I wanted. But here it is!
I couldn't come up with any wall space in the kitchen to hang it on, so I just went with a bunch of strong magnets on the side of the fridge. I can take it down easily enough when I want to actually use it, and in the meantime, it's nice to glance up and see it there in such big bold letters. Words to live by, really.
My Boys 4.5: "The NTO"
UGH, the ever-popular "One person thinks there's a relationship issue and the other doesn't notice" plot. Sigh. Continue for more . . .
P.J. and Bobby: Just talk to each other, people! Actually, my annoyance is reserved for P.J., as Bobby behaved pretty much perfectly throughout the episode. I mean, sure, he could have been a tad more observant, but you don't try to subtly seduce a guy while he's playing a video game! Everyone knows that! Sigh. I did like their talk at the end, and I do appreciate that the show is letting them work through things as a couple instead of just breaking them up, but this plotline was rather worn.
Brendan and the sister: Heeee. I loved how the sister was the embodiment of Brendan's nightmare date. His dating adventures are probably my favorite ongoing subplot. I also liked how Kenny was convinced that Steph would be mad about Brendan not liking the sister, but she totally wasn't.
Kenny and Mike: Once again, Bobby as the voice of reason! I can't imagine how these people functioned before he joined the group.
Morning Coffee (8/17/10)
Good morning, and happy Tuesday! I'm getting sick of this "Ground Zero" "mosque" story. Freedom of religion. That's it. I don't get why this is even a question. (Never mind that it's not actually at Ground Zero, is actually a cultural center, etc.) And wait, why are we still having Harold Ford on TV as an expert on . . . something? Anyway! Moving on.
Melissa and Joey premieres on ABC Family tonight, if you're interested.
Your Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be Rooney Mara.
In case you were wondering, I am really, really done with this hot weather thing.
Now GMA is going on and on about "kids today" and references they do or don't know. "They don't know regular coffee!" Um, I doubt that. Calm down, everyone.
And NOW we're on to this story about a father who became a bank robber so his kids could keep going to private school and have designer clothes. Clearly he is Robin Hood! Uh, no. Really? People are on his side with this? The mind boggles.
August 16, 2010
One Sheet of Cookies
One of my favorite birthday gifts was a TARDIS cookie jar. (Thanks, Jack and Caitlin!) I tried to take a picture of mine but it came out poorly, so I will send you over to ThinkGeek to admire it. Anyway, I obviously needed to make it some cookies. I didn't want tons, because I live alone and I wasn't really feeling up to making dozens to bring in to work or whatever. So I adapted a family recipe to make a dozen big cookies, plus a little extra dough for eating raw.
Small Batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup (one stick) softened butter
1. Preheat oven to 350. Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
2. Cream butter and sugar.
3. Mix in dry ingredients, then vanilla and egg.
4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. (Confession: my walnuts were whole and I am lazy so I just broke them up with my fingers as I was adding them.)
5. Divide dough into twelve lumps and place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. (No, really.)
6. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until light brown (or however cooked you like them).
There you can see the cookies as well as my new dishes and glasses I got with birthday money and gift cards! These cookies come out puffy and chewy, and the salt on top gives them a nice little bite. Enjoy! (And if you make them, let me know how the recipe works out for you!)
I've gotten this question a few times recently, so I figured I might as well answer it publicly. I am happy to accept review copies of books, screener DVDs, etc. If you send me something and it's in any way within the realms of my various interests, I will do my absolute best to review it. (Things happen, sometimes. You know. But it is certainly my intention to review anything I receive.) Sending me something for free does not guarantee a POSITIVE review, though. I try to be as fair as possible, regardless of how I acquired an item.
If you'd like to send something, e-mail me and I'll send you an address. If the volume picks up, I'll get a P.O. box or something, but it would be a waste of money at this point. Thanks!
My Boys 4.4: "Be a Man!"
(Sorry for the lack of a morning coffee post today, but I'm home sick, so I got up, e-mailed my boss, fed the cat, and went back to bed. But now I'm up again!)
This season is still not particularly grabbing me, but now that I think about it, I rather liked most of this episode. More after the jump . . .
I did not like:
My two favorite lines, both to Brendan:
August 14, 2010
Morning Coffee (8/14/10)
Good morning, and happy V-J Day! It's Saturday. Thank goodness. And the President finally came out in support of the "Ground Zero Mosque" (which is not actually at Ground Zero), so good for him.
Dear Ben Quayle, If your father was vice president, you might want to come up with a different plan to run on than being an "outsider." (I'm totally giving him a pass on the kid thing, though. They're his nieces! That's fine.)
Would you like some production stills from the season two premiere of The Vampire Diaries? Of course you would.
My boss has suddenly started blogging.
This Slate story about the Japanese economy and percent of adults depending on their parents is fascinating. And scary.
This Julia Roberts death watch piece raised a bunch of interesting points, but mostly left me with the question, "Whatever happened to Meg Ryan?" And then the desire to watch You've Got Mail. (I just consulted IMDb and I'm still wondering what happened to Meg Ryan, as they don't list anything in production or even rumored for her, and that's practically unheard of for major names.)
Gail Collins is wonderful, as usual, on the legislative maneuverings involved in getting women the vote.
August 13, 2010
New Yorker Cover Puzzles
Did you know that the New Yorker has GAMES on their Web site? No? Neither did I! But they do! I suppose this is the kind of thing that appeals to a rather narrow audience, but I surely cannot be the only one to squeal with delight upon discovery of online jigsaw puzzles of New Yorker covers. The application is pretty well done, and the third level is actually pretty tough. Have fun!
STOP IT, New Hampshire.
What's gotten into people? It must be the heat wave. A Democratic state rep has resigned after making a comment on Facebook about whether Sarah Palin would be more successful as a martyr. He is not to be confused with the Democratic candidate for state rep who dropped out of the race after wishing for Palin's death in - you guessed it - a Facebook comment. I am embarrassed on behalf of my state. I swear we're usually a lot more reasonable and nicer than this, folks. Really, there are two issues here:
1. It is never, ever okay to wish someone dead. Just no. Well, personally, I believe that it is morally wrong to even privately wish harm to anyone, but it is certainly not acceptable to do so publicly. I mean, really. Manners, people!
2. And more generally, how long is it going to take people to learn that anything you say online will eventually get out? These incidents both took place on Facebook. Don't put anything on Facebook you don't want to be public! This is not a difficult concept! Sigh.
Pretty Little Liars 1.10: "Keep Your Friends Close"
Overall: The big reveal at the end was pretty anticlimactic; I think at this point I'm almost more interested in the various subplots than in Alison's killer. Clearly we're supposed to think Ian is the killer. (Right? That's who that was in the video at the end? I almost couldn't tell.) Is he also A? That seems . . . unlikely. And not that great of a payoff, since he's so minor a character. I suppose I had problems with individual elements, but overall, the show was definitely interesting enough to make me want to tune in when it comes back in January.
Hanna: Mona's birthday, blah blah. Hanna being torn between Mona and the girls is nice but resolved way too quickly. Her mother's stealing money? Really? Sigh. Her big binoculars were kind of hilarious, but it was less hilarious that she got hit by a car. I'm assuming she survives, though, as she's a main character and all. But we'll see!
Spencer: Aww, trying to do the right thing with Melissa. I love Spencer and her neurotic ways. Aria's "You're a freak and I love you" line to her was classic.
Aria: I am still SO TORN about this Ezra thing. Which I suppose means that the show is doing its job correctly. I guess I still want her with Ezra, despite my better judgment.
Emily: Yay, her dad is actually back! I was afraid something was going to happen. But he seemed kind of creepy, no? Maybe I am overreacting. The thing with Toby in the car was JUST LIKE the Veronica Mars season one finale, and I STILL look in my back seat every time I get in the car because of that. Eeeeek.
Which fall shows are you excited about?
People keep asking me if there will be any new fall shows worth watching. The real answer, of course, is "Probably, but it's too soon to tell." But I wrote about five that look promising over at Alyssa's place this morning. I'll try more than that, of course, because you never know what will end up grabbing your attention. Or being inexplicably awful. Or being great but getting cancelled immediately anyway. So it's good to keep your options open at the beginning of the season. How about you? What are you planning to try?
Morning Coffee (8/13/10)
Happy Friday! We've made it! It's Friday, I already exercised today, I'm wearing a new shirt, and I have lunch plans with one friend and dinner plans with another, so I've decided it will be a good day. This was not, however, helped by coming downstairs to find
Happy birthday, Caitlin!
Are you a nursing mother? Beck is doing a giveaway you should look at.
Did we know that Madonna is writing and directing a movie about Wallis Simpson? That's fairly exciting.
TV Guide has a handy Fall TV calendar.
August 12, 2010
App Recommendation: Slate
Slate debuted an iPad app this week, and since they're one of my favorite sites on the entire Internet (no, really), I was eager to try it out. And I'm happy to report that it's pretty great! The design is clean and intuitive, and there's a lot of content - articles, podcasts, and videos. The Slatest is right on the main page, which is nice, because I always forget to go over to the Slate site to read it. Now that I think about it, I always forget to watch the videos, too, so really, I have high hopes for this app increasing my Slate consumption. Also: If you download articles, you can read them offline later. There are some ads, but hey, it's free! My two quibbles with the app: I'd like to see more extensive archives available; hopefully they'll add them. And it needs a search box!
Persons Unknown Will Remain Unknown
I'm sorry, guys. I just can't do it. I've actually watched two more episodes than I wrote about here, in hopes that not having to write would make it more enjoyable, but no. I Just. Don't. Care. And there are so many other shows I actually want to watch, and books to read, etc. I can't bring myself to spend more time on this show.
I have learned my lesson: in the fall, the only shows I'm actually stating I'll write about every week are Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries. I'll pick some other shows to write about based on what had interesting episodes in a given week, and maybe do a roundup post on the weekend with quick thoughts about whatever else struck me as noteworthy.
Haven 1.3: "Harmony"
I didn't like this episode quite as much as the previous ones. Find out why after the jump...
For some reason, the asylum storyline just wasn't as compelling as the other supernatural events we've seen so far in the town of Haven. I had trouble getting attached to any of the characters involved, which I suppose is for the best, as they've now sailed off into the wild blue yonder. Some reviewers have said that it seemed irresponsible to let them go wreak havoc elsewhere, but I thought it was pretty clear that the guy was only going to play his magic music where no one else could hear him, so I was okay with that. But I wanted a little more about why it was happening in the first place.
One good thing, though, was that Duke is back! I love him, but I really love the interplay between Duke and Nathan, and I hope we find out some of the background of that eventually. Duke's "Does she know you're not a real boy?" line was great. So far, at least, I want Audrey to end up with Nathan, but I'm looking forward to a delightful triangle with Duke in the meantime. I don't even care all that much about the mystery of Audrey's mother, but I assume that will get more interesting as we go. And yay, she got a name clue at the end!
Royal Pains 2.7: "Comfort's Overrated"
Will I ever actually catch up on this show? Maybe...
Patient(s) of the week: Weird couples everywhere! These were all fine but not particularly memorable. As I've said before, I do like it when the group is dealing with multiple patients in one week, because it just feels more real.
Evan: The faux beau thing was funny, and very him. Oh, poor Evan.
Divya: Her uncertainties involving her dress and ring were interesting, and I'm curious to see how this will all play out. I wish she could get married but still stay in the Hamptons, because a look at the beginning of that marriage would be great if the show did it correctly.
Hank/Jill: I like the idea of Hank running the clinic. More of them together, please! (Either as a couple or just interacting.)
Morning Coffee (8/12/10)
Happy Thursday! It's only supposed to be in the seventies here today, which is pretty exciting. Have I mentioned how ready I am for fall? Sigh.
GMA is still on the flight attendant thing. STOP IT. I DO NOT CARE WHAT HIS EX-WIFE HAS TO SAY. I also think we should leave poor Fantasia alone. And apparently we have another Eat, Pray, Love interview coming up. Charming. Something I actually sort of care about: The comic strip Cathy is ending. Sad.
I was about to say that I was mad at Netflix because I sent a disc back last Thursday and another on Monday and they hadn't received either, but I just got e-mails saying they got them. Obviously just mentally threatening to complain about them worked.
How walkable is your neighborhood? Find out at Walkscore. My address? NINE out of 100. My parents? ZERO. Sigh.
August 11, 2010
App Recommendation: New York Times Crosswords
I've been a crossword puzzle enthusiast for years, and I will admit that I was skeptical of whether doing them on the iPad could be as satisfying as using an actual pencil. And - it's not, honestly. But it's close, and this app is a great way to get each day's Times puzzle without actually buying the newspaper. For $19.99 a year, you can also get an archive of years' worth of puzzles - endless entertainment! When you finish the current day's puzzle, you can submit your score and be ranked online with the other puzzlers. The interface itself took a little getting used to, but I've grown to like it, and it's pretty easy to use after a little practice.
Trailer: Vampires Suck
I am usually not one for spoof movies, but this looks brilliant.
Song of the Day: "Secret"
Here's the Pretty Little Liars theme that keeps getting stuck in my head . . .
Pretty Little Liars 1.9: "The Perfect Storm"
And the penultimate episode . . . very dark and stormy!
The Alison/A mystery: Yay for Spencer's mom pointing out how crazy the cops are being! That was awesome. Lucas's shoes at the end are clearly supposed to imply that he is involved. Hmm.
Spencer: Her mother is rather odd-looking. I never noticed before. But yay, Alex is back! And the deep dark secret between him and Spencer's mom turns out to be something that just shows what a decent guy Alex is. And aww, her mom likes him. They are SO CUTE together.
Emily: Was she burying something? What? Or was she actually the one vandalizing the memorial? That doesn't seem like something she'd do. The flashbacks to her interactions with Ali were cute, and yay, Maya wasn't in this one!
Hanna: Are they doing something with her mom and Aria's dad? Interesting. This character has changed SO much. Perhaps too much to be believable. But I do like her as friends with Lucas, for whatever reason. Even if he might be A. Or something.
Aria: She sings! She was cute with Noel, but then Fitz appeared in the doorway all wet like Mr. Darcy, and I swooned. But I was also happy when she agreed to go out with Noel at the end. I am fickle. Fitz's scene with Aria's mom was awkwardly adorable.
Pretty Little Liars 1.8: "Please, Do Talk About Me When I'm Gone"
Okay, I'm writing this Tuesday night as I try to catch up in time for the finale, so let's get going.
Ali: Wow, I really don't like her. But I guess I do get the popular mean girl appeal. I can't say I'm particularly sad that she's dead, though. I was immediately suspicious of her brother. We'll see. The memorial service was awfully anti-climactic, after all that. And even all the little speeches still didn't convince me that Alison wasn't an awful person.
The A mystery: Did A even make an appearance until the very end? (Maybe?)
Hanna: Lucas is so adorable, and Sean is really awful. They should be a little more complicated for the triangle to make any sense. The money plot made sense, but was clearly just an excuse for her to spend time with Lucas. Also, in the pizza scene, her house looked completely different than it ever had before.
Emily: Did we even KNOW that her dad was in Afghanistan? Weird. Anyway, the stuff with Maya is fine, but I'm getting a little bored of it. Please progress, storyline!
Spencer: Her own storyline has been pushed into the background with all the memorial-planning stuff. I'd like to see more of her family issues, and/or Alex. Her interactions with Jason were interesting, though, so maybe that could go somewhere. There was an oblique reference to Ali being afraid of her, which may or may not be related to something in the books. (Trying not to spoil here.)
Aria: Oh, poor thing. And I wish the show would actually give her something interesting to do so I could stop saying "Oh poor thing" about her every week. I also miss Ezra. Bring back the pretty English teacher! Noel seemed okay in general, though. Most of the guys on this show are pretty decent people.
Morning Coffee (8/11/10)
Happy Wednesday. Yesterday was primary day in a few states, which means that Linda McMahon is now on my TV. This is sad. In other news, I'm not so into this flight attendant story. Meh. I mean, sure, it was funny, but why are we calling him a hero? I don't get it.
I've been playing with my schedule a little - this week I'm trying staying up later and getting up at six instead of five. But then I don't have time to do as much as I want in the morning. Perhaps I'll try 5:30.
Last night was the summer finale of Pretty Little Liars, but I didn't quite get through the whole thing, so the reviews will be a bit behind. You'll get posts about episodes eight and nine today, though.
Wait. MORE JULIA ROBERTS on GMA? It really is Eat, Pray, Love week. Stop the madness! And now we're back to SEXLESS MARRIAGE WEEK. Good Lord.
Denny's has put mozzarella sticks in grilled cheese sandwiches. Whoa.
People don't talk about character much these days. But my friend Beck does! Over here.
August 10, 2010
I forgot to mention . . .
I'm guest-blogging for Alyssa Rosenberg while she's on vacation. So far I've written about why adults should read YA, why schoolchildren should read historical fiction, and what I think should happen on Glee. My co-guest-bloggers have some great stuff up too. But you're all reading Alyssa's blog already anyway, right? Right.
Trailer: Easy A
I hadn't even heard of this movie until I saw the preview at both Charlie St. Cloud and The Kids Are All Right. Oh, and maybe then Eclipse. Anyway:
The main character looks like a strong and interesting but fairly realistic teen girl, and it seems hilarious, unless they put all the funny bits in the trailer. (I especially liked the father's line about strippers for governors.) The cast is solid, and I'm always a sucker for a good Hawthorne/Lady GaGa mashup. September 17. Can't wait!
Royal Pains 2.6: "In Vino Veritas"
I apparently have little to say about this episode, as I watched it a while ago and took all of four notes and couldn't be bothered to write them up. So. Here goes.
Patient of the week: Tucker's back! Yay! I'm always happy to see him, and I wish they'd make him a regular. Other than that . . . eh. It was fine.
Pregnancy test hijinks: This whole storyline was completely predictable, but they made it more interesting than I'd expected, so that's something. The boys were so sweet with Divya when they thought she was pregnant. I was disappointed that it wasn't used to further the Hank/Jill story at all, though - I didn't want Jill to actually be pregnant, but it was something of a cop-out that Hank didn't have to deal with the possibility.
Evan and Divya: Awww. I'm actually still NOT shipping them, which is rare for me, but I really love their friendship and the way the show is letting that develop.
Lawson family: I'm still consistently annoyed by the father, but it still gives the brothers a chance to be cute together, so . . . whatever.
Pretty Little Liars 1.7: "The Homecoming Hangover"
This week, we learned that everyone lies, courtesy of one of Rosewood's weirdly high number of cops. The storylines are becoming more intertwined, so it's getting harder to break things down girl by girl, but I'll try...
The A mystery: It was obviously too easy for it to be Toby, but it was interesting to watch as the girls focused on other things while that primary mystery faded a bit for an episode. I'm starting to really look forward to seeing where the show will go after the A issue is finally resolved.
Emily: I wasn't surprised that she made it, as I figured they wouldn't kill off one of the main characters. Her reactions in this episode all seemed fairly realistic, but I thought her mother's response was way overblown - unless her mother also has something to hide, which, on this show, is a definite possibility.
Hanna: She's become a much better friend and all-around nicer person over these past few episodes. I was really impressed by the way she was relating to both Emily and Lucas in this one. The old Hanna never would have given Lucas the time of day.
Aria: First - I like Sean better with Aria than with Hanna, I think. And poor Aria, with Ezra vanishing like that, in the middle of the stuff with her parents. But she was a little meaner than necessary to Sean, I thought.
Spencer: She didn't wash her hands before she started touching the fruit!! Um, anyway. She and Alex are adorable together, and I hope those crazy kids make a go of it. And I'm glad someone finally mentioned being annoyed that she got out of the essay thing so easily!
Morning Coffee (8/10/10)
Happy Tuesday. It's going to be 90 and humid today, and I am just so done with this. My lunch group usually eats outside, but I've had enough. I think I will boycott that until the temperature falls. And hey, if I eat at my desk, I can read more random blogs and find exciting links for you. See what I do for you??
An oddly high proportion of the news this morning is coming from Alaska. Most amusing: Levi Johnston wants to run for mayor of Wasilla and have a reality show about it. Honestly, I would probably make an exception to my no-reality-TV rule for this, because it sounds like a wonderful trainwreck. Bad news from Alaska: there was a plane crash and former Sen. Ted Stevens may have been on board.
GMA has been talking about a woman who was having sex with her teen daughter's friends, and I am a horrible person, because my first thought was that it sounded like the plot of a CW show. Their "how not to spend thousands of dollars on back-to-school clothes" stories are getting annoying, because, you know, you can just not spend thousands of dollars on back-to-school clothes. Ooh, Javier Bardem is going to be on later. I'm bored of what seems to be Official Eat Pray Love Week, but I'll take Bardem over Roberts any day. I'm trying to decide whether I should bother actually finishing that book. (I started it a few years ago.)
A Pop-Tarts store and cafe?? Yes please.
Social Media Monopoly is completely awesome and I wish I could actually buy a copy.
August 09, 2010
My cousin Gail's salon, G Salon in North Haven, CT, was named one of Elle magazine's Top 100 Salons in the Country. Congratulations, Gail! We're so proud of you! And if any of you readers are in the area, I definitely recommend it!
Pretty Little Liars 1.6: "There's No Place Like Homecoming"
Ooh, a dance! Yay! My excitement about school dance episodes on TV shows is entirely out of proportion to my feelings toward actual dances when I was in school, if you were wondering. More after the jump . . .
The A mystery: IN the fortune cookies? That seems much more logistically difficult than practically anything else that's happened.
Hanna: Oh, Mona! I'd practically forgotten about her. She clearly wants to be Blair Waldorf. Anyway, I like that Hanna is starting to get nicer, because it makes her character much more sympathetic.
Aria: She didn't have much to do in this one. The situation with Ezra is still tough, but at least they're both more or less acting like grown-ups now. And it was nice to see her having fun with people her own age.
Emily: I still want her to have more of a personality, but the actress is doing a good job of showing how conflicted the character is about her sexuality. I think they made Toby almost too sympathetic here, because I had a hard time buying it when he got all creepy. And I don't believe that Emily is dead, if only because I'm pretty sure the actress is still on the show.
Spencer: I liked watching her be the control freak having to run things. And I like Alex and his floofy hair, so I hope she manages to repair things with him. Melissa is pretty much pure evil at this point, which makes her a boring character. And why wasn't there more fallout with Spencer's parents about the essay?
Pretty Little Liars 1.5: "Reality Bites Me"
Okay, the summer finale of Pretty Little Liars is tomorrow, so let's see if I can do two episodes a day and catch up . . .
The A mystery: The video of the four of them together implied that it couldn't be any of them, unless the camera was somehow set up in the closet like a surveillance camera. I still don't think Jenna could do all this stuff, but she was being randomly mysterious again/still, and I suppose Jenna and Toby could be doing it together.
Aria: Poor thing, blaming herself for her parents' situation. I like the way that's playing out so far, and her interactions with her brother. Ezra is adorable, but a short story reading? Really? Who does that? Aria's being a little obvious in public, and she's way too oblivious to the legal issues about her age. It doesn't matter if you're mature, Aria. That's not the point. I like that Ezra's friend saw right through them. I felt bad for Aria about the phone/text issue, but Ezra was reasonable not to believe her that she didn't tell.
Hanna: Sean is being ridiculously nice. She's afraid of children? She has to wear scrubs to hand out lollipops? Whatever. There was way too much random lurking around the medical building.
Spencer: I'm really shocked that she told her father about the essay. Her reaction to the whole tennis "cheating" thing seemed way out of proportion. It's not like it was a tournament or something. Now that she's confessed about the essay, I hope we can move on from that storyline, because it's getting boring. Alex the tennis guy is cute, so I hope he sticks around.
Emily: I like the development of her relationship with Toby, even if it did seem like they were in science lab for about three days straight. No Maya in this episode, huh?
My Boys 4.3: "Mike-Fest"
I'm pretty underwhelmed by this season so far. This third episode had a bunch of different plots going but it was still somehow slow and a little boring. Plot breakdown after the jump...
Mike's birthday: I think Mike is an underused character, so I was happy to see the show focus on him, but this plot wasn't particularly interesting or revealing. And the actor really doesn't look 43, although apparently he's actually 46. Huh.
Bobby's money: I wonder if this was inserted just to get rid of the "Bobby is rich" conceit that they never really use anyway? Hm. It did at least prompt him and PJ to move in, at least temporarily, so there's potential there.
Stephanie's movie: The way things went with the movie producer was completely predictable. But at least it gave us a chance to see Steph and Kenny function as a couple, and I liked what it did with that.
Brendan's girl: More "Brendan is clueless." Meh.
Morning Coffee (8/9/10)
Hey, it's 8/9/10! Fun. And, of course, it's Monday. My vacation was great but today I'm back to work, so we'll be getting back into the swing of things around here within the next few days. At the moment, Julia Roberts is on Good Morning America talking about her lofty sense of destiny, and I have to say, that's not particularly endearing, Ms. Roberts.
Last night were the Teen Choice Awards (although they're not on TV until tonight, which is dumb, because anyone who cares has been spoiled), and you can see a gallery of the winners here. I haven't looked through the whole thing yet, but a bunch of my favorites won, and I'm particularly happy that Damon Salvatore took "Best Villain" from Sue Sylvester. Of course, this probably means that my tastes are immature, but whatever. Go Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries!
August 02, 2010
Review: Charlie St. Cloud
(Most posts this week are coming to you from my iPad, and I'm still getting used to the spell correct, so please let me know if you notice any typos.)
Honestly, I would never have guessed I'd make a point of going to see a Zac Efron movie on opening night. I hadn't even really planned on going to this one. But a few entertainment writers I follow on Twitter were extremely excited about it, and it was a Friday night at the beginning of my vacation, so I figured hey, why not? And truthfully? I pretty much loved it.
I don't want to spoil anyone, because the plot was more surprising than I'd anticipated. So if you click through to read the rest of this review, you will, I hope, be spoiled on nothing that the previews didn't already make obvious. If you don't want even that level of detail, here's the really short version: it was good! Better than I'd expected! And Zac Efron is pretty! And can actually act!
Okay, the slightly longer version! First: the plot. There were flaws. And some gaping holes. I will not try to get around that. I don't want to go into too much detail, so let's just say that I was more or less able to turn off my brain and just go with it while I was watching, but when I started thinking about it afterward, things didn't quite add up. Here's a non-spoilery example: As you see in the trailers, the main character, Charlie, plays catch with his dead brother Sam. But how does this WORK? He seems to be using a real, not ghostly, baseball, so how does it get thrown back to him? Therre are a bunch of logistical issues like that, and a few of them do get in the way of the plot.
I'm not sure I'd seen Efron in anything since High School Musical, and I'm pleased to report that he's grown up quite nicely, both in that he's now a good-looking adult, and can also actually act! I was pretty neutral about him before this, but I was impressed enough by this role that I will now make a point of following his career. Some critics have complained about the movie pandering to its audience by featuring Charlie wet and/or shirtless more often than may be strictly necessary, but I choose to see this as a feature rather than a flaw.
The rest of the cast was solid as well. The young actor who plays Sam does a good job of keeping the character appealing and realistic, if a bit precocious. (I am often annoyed by precocious kids in movies, but I was not here.) the female lead is believable as both a sailor and a romantic object, and Charlie's slightly frantic British friend/coworker provides some nice comic relief.
One more nit I have to pick: I spent most of the movie assuming they were somewhere on the coast of Massachusetts, and that seems to be the case, although their version of Quincy bears little resemblence to the parts of the actual Quincy, MA I've seen. But one character questions another's obsession with "the team from Boston" - the Red Sox - and that made so little sense that I started questioning whether I'd completely misunderstood the setting. If you want to make a Boston-area kid's baseball loyalties seem noteworthy or odd, make him interested in some other team. No one would even bother commenting on an 11-year-old MA boy collecting Red Sox cards.
A few people have asked if the movie made me cry. It did not, but then, I rarely cry at movies - the last time I remember crying in the theater was at Serenity. But this one did make me choke up a bit, so if you are the sort to cry at movies, you will probably cry at this one. Even when the plot fell apart logistically, it held together emotionally, and it was a genuinely affecting story without becoming a generic tear-jerker. The sincerity of the story and themes overcame the sometimes clumsy writing, and really, if all else fails, Zac Efron alternately sailing and emoting makes for a thoroughly enjoyable movie-going experience.