The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

Archive for the ‘TV Thoughts’ Category

Another, more entertaining recap of LOST

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Here’s a spoof of two guys having to explain LOST to their girlfriends in five minutes:

Written by the bee dub

February 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Posted in TV Thoughts

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LOST returns: An awesome, quick recap

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It’s finally here. The last season of LOST begins this week. Even for the most hardcore fans, it can be hard keeping the sprawling storyline straight. It’s also been a while since it was last on air so if you want a quick refresher, here is this awesome and easy way to get back up to speed.

Written by the bee dub

January 31, 2010 at 6:12 am

Burn Notice returns tonight

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Starts tonight at 9 (Eastern Time). Sweet. May have to miss the beginning of the NBA Finals to catch it. So now Michael is no longer protected by the mysterious organization that was trying to recruit him, leaving him vulnerable to the police whenever he breaks the law – which would make for a good drinking game if you’re into that kind of thing.

Written by the bee dub

June 4, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Southland: Old formula, new faces

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An ensemble-based cop show is nothing new. Neither is a cop show filled with characters struggling with professional and personal hardships that begin to intertwine. Nevertheless, this show is very well executed and has more potential than any other new ‘big four’ network show I’ve seen in a while.

Mostly we follow Officer Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie), a ‘rich kid’ who leaves Harvard to become a cop. Why? He’s got a tortured past, of course. Initially he’s mocked incessantly by his partner, the more experienced Officer John Cooper (Michael Cudlitz). Cooper initially shows his disdain for Sherman by calling him ‘Spago’ (in reference to the Wolfgang Puck hipster restaurant), a hilarious put down from a person who just cannot understand why a person of privilege would ever choose the life of a cop. They’re often working closely with two beat cops in another car, Officer ‘Chickie’ Brown (Arija Barekis) and the very-troubled, boozed-up Officer Dewey (an unbelievably good C. Thomas Howell).

Sherman earns respect by warning Dewey that the perp Dewey’s corralling hasn’t been searched and then gunning the perp down after the perp pulls out a concealed handgun and fires some shot into Dewey. Sherman clearly knows how to handle a firearm, learned with practice at the Beverly Hills Gun Club in his younger years. Cooper never calls him ‘Spago’ after that.

Detective Lydia Adams (the always excellent Regina King) and Detective Russell Clarke (Tom Everett Scott) make up one investigative team. Scott will never look like a cop to me and his troubled marriage has made up one of the less engaging storylines of this first mini-season. Detective Sammy Bryant (an underrated Shawn Hatosy) and Detective Nate Moretta (Kevin Alejandro) make up the other. Bryant is married to an erratic, neurotic type who seemingly becomes more and more annoying with every episode.

Detective Russell Clarke lives right across from Detective Dan Salinger (Michael McGrady). Salinger’s obsession with overprotecting his teenage daughter makes for one of the least fulfilling storylines of the series. He also has an on-again, off-again thing going with a local TV reporter, despite his marriage. This only makes him seem cooler in the eyes of his daughter.

We gather on the steps like this everyday. It's perfectly natural.

We gather on the steps like this every morning. It's perfectly natural.

This show makes it clear it wants to be a gritty, not-so-sunny take on the life of LA law enforcement. Just watch the opening sequence and it’s clear you’re in for a nice, big serving of bittersweet. There isn’t much about this show that breaks into unexplored territory. Yet everything about this show works. From the moment you hear the notes of the opening song to the way they flow from storyline to storyline, this show has hit the ground running right from the start. The dialogue is crisp. The action is compelling. The cases they’re trying to solve often stoke just enough moral indignation from the viewer that you want to see it solved.

I do think the show is falling into the cliche trap and would do well to try to break out into its own territory a bit. Everyone’s troubled. Everyone’s complicated. Yeah, we get it. The personal lives of the cops needs the most refreshing in my opinion. All the marriages are screwy. Ok. Yet all the spouses are there for the cops when it counts. Double Ok. Wait, actually it seems like all the cops are caught in the same difficult marriage. Hmm…

But every actor playing a cop does a great job with the material they’re given. I think Scott does the weakest job with Detective Clarke and his marriage. Maybe it’s the material but his character seems to have the least depth and dimension, despite his marital woes. C. Thomas Howell is a revelation as his out-of-control Officer Dewey is a character we’ve seen in other forms on other shows, but he does it so well. Just the bug-eyed look he gets on his face alone makes you think this guy is capable if anything. I think Shawn Hatosy does a great job as Detective Bryant, his frustrations and humanity seem to come right through the screen.

I don’t know what it is about Regina King but she always seems to disappear into a role despite the fact that she is so recognizable, and her efforts here are no exception. She’s got a challenging relationship with her mother and has a hard time opening up to potential suitors. That’s a real challenge for female cop characters on TV. It seems they’re either shut off from the possibility of romance or they’re sleeping with everyone. It would be nice if they could find some middle ground for her character.

This show started off with a seven-episode mini season and got picked up for the fall. The ‘season finale’ for the seven-episode run ended with a cliffhanger involving Detective Clarke. You can catch the episodes on hulu.com if you want to acquainted before new episodes begin again. If you’re looking for a new show, it’s one worth a look.

http://www.hulu.com/southland

Written by the bee dub

May 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm

LOST: Jump the shark part 2

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I just finished watching the finale and boy, what a letdown. It was the TV equivalent of a cup of slightly less than room-temperature coffee.

Frankly, I gave the show too much credit for having two good episodes in a row before tonight’s finale.

Sadly, I’m in it until the end. I have to know what the explanation for everything is so I’ll keep watching through the last season when it picks up again. But this show has clearly jumped the shark. Jacob’s identity was obvious way too early. The plotlines seem desperate. It’s just a big, fat mess of bad television.

I don’t even have the energy to write about it. Right now I feel like I just ate a lot of bread for two hours looking for the meat in between.

Written by the bee dub

May 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

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LOST: I have to admit, I’m watching again

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So there I was, cruising along and keeping up with LOST episodes online.

But then a couple of weeks ago I got a curious itch to watch the show as it aired and I scratched it, big time. That last two episodes have been a much needed return to old form. First of all, everyone’s got guns again and people are shooting at each other. I realized how much that adds to the excitement and danger that the island represents. The time we spent watching characters trying to pick up their lives on the mainland was like watching bad community theater. I am now able to set aside any issues and just immerse myself in the current story, which is what I felt the show had lost for the last ten to fifteen episodes.

I still have some gripes. The fact that some folks are in the present and others in the past still feels a bit like bad 70’s TV. There’s still the looming, inevitable soap-opera angle that hangs over Sawyer, Julia, Jack and Kate. Ben Linus has lost his menace which really makes him pretty pointless as a character – I realize that he’s bound to regain some later but he seems almost pathetic now. Watching Jin and Sun determined to reunite through time is also a little painful.

But I’m engrossed once again and am anxious to see the next episode. Like they’ve done so many times in the past, this show has rebounded strong. It just took them a lot longer than it has before to show a return to brilliance. It almost feels as if they spent a lot of episodes killing time, as if they knew how they want the show to end but that storyline wasn’t going to take enough episodes that they agreed to so then we ended up with USDA Grade C filler.

Filler is never good. Not in bologna. Not on a music CD. And certainly not on episodic TV. Two episodes does not establish that the show is as good as it once was. But it’s nice to see some signs of life.

Written by the bee dub

May 11, 2009 at 2:36 pm

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LOST: Plain and simple

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To put it bluntly and somewhat mildly, the show just pretty much sucks now. The plot twists they’re using just aren’t interesting anymore. So some people got sucked off the plane into the past? Others are still in the present? Jack’s dad is alive and well. Benjamin Linus has brought Sayeed a sandwich while still a child. Kate, Jack and Hurley are going to pretend to be new recruits and join Dharma?

Who gives a fuck?! I’ll be tracking the episodes just because I still want to know what happens. I need the final answers about the island and whatnot. But if I wasn’t so invested from watching EVERY SINGLE EPISODE up to this point, I would clearly be walking away. Too bad, this show was really something for a while.

Written by the bee dub

March 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Posted in TV Thoughts

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