Which one looks like a super soldier?
I’m going to forego my usual prohibition on spoilers in the opening paragraph so stop reading if you’re looking to defer your inevitable disappointment is the Coulson question. Turns out that the secret of his resurrection was that he was… resurrected. I can understand why this might shock and disturb Coulson, but the audience figured that much out weeks ago and for the big reveal to be so thoroughly unimaginative is just an insult. I thought that I was beyond being disappointed in this show but “The Magical Place” managed to slither beneath the incredibly low bar I’d set. On a better series I’d be waiting for the other shoe to drop, but this is what passes for intrigue on SHIELD. Continue reading
I try to avoid doing much armchair quarterbacking in these reviews. For me, focusing on what a story could’ve/should’ve been means missing the point of criticism. Narratives ought to be examined for what they are, not measured against some hypothetical ideal. And yet, all that being said, this episode is such a well executed failure that I can’t help but think about how it could’ve succeeded. Writing, acting, directing, music, pretty much every part of this story ranged from good to great. Given the stakes involved, this should’ve been the seminal episode for the season. And yet it falls flat. Much as I can forgive and forget the ineptitude of the top half of the season, I can’t pretend that it made me care about any of these characters. The emotional stakes in this episode just don’t feel earned, and that’s a real shame give the quality workmanship on display. In light of this, I can’t help but deliver a retroactive rewrite for the series thus far. Continue reading
Our accents are totally realistic, aren't they?
Every now and then, amidst the drudgery of season one, an episode comes along that demonstrates some of Angel’s potential. “Somnambulist” isn’t a great episode by any stretch, but it does give Angel a (much needed) personal connection to the villain and (even better) it demonstrates how absolutely kickass this show’s action can be. It’s a fact of biology that stuntmen tend to be more durable than stuntwomen and so it’s natural to expect Angel to surpass Buffy in this category, an expectation that’s been sadly thwarted until now. Of course, great fight scenes alone don’t make an episode but, as I mentioned, our hero has a clear motivation to fight this villain and, combined with an actual good use of detective Lockely, this makes for a solidly entertaining hour of television. Continue reading
How blue should I go with this joke?
Just one episode after Mad Men finally found some emotional weight, it returns to the cold detachment that’s characterized its other 90%. To be fair, one can’t expect a show to deliver that much intensity every week; efforts to have the payoff without the buildup can only yield train wrecks (like True Blood), but I really thought my new way of looking at this series would yield some more investment in what’s going on. Sadly, Mad Men, it’s not me, it’s you. Stories involving emotionally detached characters are only really interesting when they’re about emotional detachment. Roger’s health, Don’s career, Pete’s ambitions, the Drapers’ marriage… none of these things make good fodder for a narrative when I’m not invested in the characters. Continue reading
One might expect Kima’s shooting to be a game-changer. It’s generally safe to assume that when a main character gets shot, the others will not simply go back to their normal routine. “The Hunt” does an excellent job playing into those expectations but, by the end, we’re reminded that this game never changes. Continue reading
Wow. “I Hate These People” was the finest episode of Damages thus far, which is saying a lot considering how excellent it’s been. The conclusion was shocking, momentous, and gut-wrenching enough for this to have been the season finale Continue reading
“Scarecrow” addresses many of the complaints I’ve had about Supernatural while simultaneously generating some new ones. Continue reading
It’s difficult to pinpoint where the shift is in “Truth Be Told.” Confronting his past in room 103 has rattled Dexter, but he’s still in control. He’s more preoccupied than ever with understanding his past, but he’s the one driving the story arc. That’s changed by episode’s end. Continue reading
The X-Files makes for a weird sort of procedural, with the agents focusing on discovering what phenomenon is at play rather than whodunit. “Fire” is the first time the paranormal’s taken a back seat Continue reading
Half way through season one and I wish I could say this series has found its rhythm. Sadly, Keith’s case of the week (which I’ll be referring to as “CoW” from now on) is a rather generic buddy-cop team up with Sherriff Lam while Veronica’s CoW resonates with what’s going on in her personal life… two/three episodes ago? Continue reading