Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Heroes Holds Promise, But Still Bothers

After last week's episode of Heroes, I was sold on the show. It was back on the top of my list as the best show of the new season. The heroes were starting to get together, the story line was moving in a progressive direction, and good things were starting to happen.

I mentioned this to my wife, who doesn't watch much television, but has seen a few episodes of Heroes. She commented that this weeks episode would be a downer. All shows are like that. They stick in one good one for one let down.

I am disappointed in this episode by the last 30 seconds. Mohinder in his narrative states that in evolution there is no morality, only survival of the fittest.

However, he doesn't take into account two things. The first and most important is that we are human beings. The one thing that separates man from animal is that we are moral beings. Accept for a very rare anomaly, every human being has a conscience that teaches them what is right and wrong. And survival of the fittest doesn't always fit the morality we have that murder is wrong.

When D.L. "kills" Niki (I put it in quote marks, because I don't think she is really dead), he was doing it to protect him and his son. He realized that she is the nemesis. D.L. is innocent of the murders (not the theft), and I honestly suspect that he will become one of the good guys.

The second thing that Mohinder doesn't account for is that these genetic changes are the result of man. As we saw with Claire's assailant and her father's intervention, there is some kind of human intervention that is causing these changes. This is not evolution in the true sense of the word.

I will keep watching Heroes. I find it entertaining, but I like it better when the good guys are progressing and the bad guys seem to be failing. Let's just drop the whole evolution theme and I could be happy.

Just as an aside, I think that Peter Petrelli's special ability is to absorb, adopt, borrow the powers of those around him. As proof, he could only fly when he was near Nathan. He can see the future when he is near Isaac. Hiro visited Peter because he was the only person who could simultaneously stop time with him. What are you thoughts?

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Friday Night Lights Are Out

I gave Friday Night Lights a chance. I wanted it to be a success, and honestly for the most part it is a lot better than I had expected.

Kyle Chandler does a far better job playing the role of a coach than I thought he would. He is truly a diverse actor. The trial of balancing coaching and family comes through well, and for that I like this show.

The sense of community in this program is excellent. From the annoying unofficial team sponsor and back seat coach in Mr. Garrity to the senile but loving grandmother who loves to see "my boy" playing football in Mrs. Saracen, the characters are diverse and entertaining.

I am particularly fond of Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) and his struggle to be the first-string quarterback on the number one high school football team in Texas. This all happened to the kid that was always considered to be a distant second string, but was thrust into first string position due to an accident involving the star. I want Matt to succeed and I believe that the writers will make it so. However, I will never find out.

I want to watch the fight that Jason Street (Scott Porter) makes has he tries to overcome his paralysis. Jason was the star quarterback that was hit during the first game of the season, and severed his spinal cord so that he will probably never walk again.

I am interested to see the romance between Matt and Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden), the coach's daughter, develop. Julie hates football players because they are stupid jocks who are interested only in popularity, in her mind. However, I will never know if they get to know each other better.

I will not watch my favorite characters develop because I have turned the show off. As I mentioned when I previewed the show, I would turn this off if teen sex was portrayed.

While specific portrayals of teenage sex weren't shown, there have been at least two allusions to teen sex. In the first episode, Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) was woken up with a hangover by his then girlfriend, Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), who appeared to have slept overnight at his house. In this most recent episode this same Tim Riggins found himself making out with Lila Garrity (Minka Kelly) in her bedroom. The scene ended with them reclining on something, and I can only assume it was her bed.

Teen sex has always been a kicker for me. I was too patient with the program. But I am done with it now. Too bad, because it is actually really quite well written and well produced.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

The Cho Brothers Deserve to Win the Amazing Race

Perhaps one of the main reasons that I love the Amazing Race is because it is pure competition. While, manipulation and stepping on people to get yourself ahead CAN be a part of the game, it doesn't have to be. The Cho brothers proved that in this episode of the Race.

In this episode, the teams were even for all intents and purposes. There was an order to who could climb the ladder first, but still they were within minutes of each other once they got off the ladder.

In this case the Cho brothers were the last team to be allowed to climb the ladder. Thus, the Fast Forward would have been to there advantage. However, they were willing to defer to David and Mary who needed to finish in first to avoid a penalty.

When they saw that Dustin and Kandice were going to go for the Fast Forward, they lied in order to help David and Mary. So, this begs the questions of how come I would find this lie to be okay. The answer is simple. They didn't lie to get themselves ahead. They lied to help another team.

Their manipulation worked in both ways. Dustin and Kandice believed the Chos and they decided to stick with the detour. All were shocked when the Chos returned. However, I think it is because they knew that strong competitors were back in the race with them.

As far as I am concerned the Cho brothers deserve this game. They have done more for other teams than any other team. It has perhaps been the reason that they have been in the "back pack" for so long.

Now that we are down to six teams, I think that it is time for me to make my final predictions about the final three. Based on past games and looking at finish line positions, I have to honestly say that David and Mary are the next ones gone. I don't want to admit it. However, it is just in the numbers.

After David and Mary are eliminated, then the numbers point to Lyn and Karlyn. I hate to send them home too. I think that they have been great competitors. However, the number just don't put them in the competition.

So, that leaves four that can be in the final three. This one is tough. Dustin and Kandice have been doing well the past couple of episode, and Tyler and James haven't been doing so well. I can't think that this will stay the same. Past seasons has shown that the leading teams always bounce back and the poorer teams always fall behind. With that in mind, my final three will Erwin and Godwin, Tyler and James, and Rob and Kimberly.

Finally, I am going to go against the numbers and say that Erwin and Godwin will win. I just like them so much I am going to put my good name on the line for them. A stupid mistake I make every year, but hopefully, I can be right for once.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

The Nine Pushes Values, But Keeps My Interest

I intentionally left The Nine off of my fall preview list. I just wasn't sure how this show would play out. While the concept interested me, and the characters intrigued me, I just wasn't sure if it was going to be a good show.

I have been watching The Nine on ABC's online video broadcaster, and I have to admit that it has intrigued me. Mostly, I have been intrigued by the father-daughter relationship in this show.

If you haven't watched The Nine before, it is about nine people who had the unfortunate coincidence of sharing the experience of a bank robbery gone wrong that turns into 52-hour hostage situation. During this standoff two people die, one is the bank guard and the other is a bank teller.

The plot for this show is to see how the relationships of these nine people develop after they are freed. Not all of the relationships are headed in a positive direction after the incident, but they are all closer than before.

As I mentioned, one of the most intriguing relationships is that of the father and daughter. The daughter, Felicia Jones (Dana Davis), comes into the bank to ask her dad, Malcom Jones (Chi McBride), if she can borrow the car. While there she uses the bathroom and exits only to find out that the bank is being held hostage.

Well, Felicia is traumatized by the incident. She can't remember what happened, and she even begins to believe that the standoff was her fault. I won't tell anymore in case you haven't caught any of this show. However, I can say that it is very heart warming and wonderful.

Another interesting character is Egan Foote (with and e, at the end of the Foote and not the beginning of Egan). Foote (John Billingsley) came to the bank to get a loan for a boat, but his wife wouldn't approve. However, before he leaves he goes to the restroom where he contemplates suicide, but it prevented because he is startled by someone who comes in. He drops the gun in the toilet. However, he is still caught in the standoff.

Foote ends up becoming the hero of the story. Perhaps his true motive is an attempt to commit suicide by the criminal. That hasn't been revealed yet.

The interesting development is that Footes' life changes completely. He uses his new found fame to renew his life and take on the things he has always wanted to do. I am still waiting to find out if he buys the boat.

This show pushes the moral boundaries in that Dr. Jeremy Kates (Scott Wolf) tries to kill one of the criminals who was injured and is now housed in his hospital. While eventually he reveals to Nick Cavanaugh (Tim Daly), who is a police officer, that he tried to kill the criminal, they both conspire to hide it if possible.

This really bothers me. I know that I can't understand what it must have been like, but I sure would hope that I would have a stronger backbone than to kill someone, and then to hide it afterwards.

One saving theme is that in the most recent episode, there was a very pro-life message. Lizzie Miller (Jessica Collins) is pregnant with Cavanaugh's child, and she contemplates abortion. However, after a false alarm that she might lose the baby, she realizes that the child is life, and that she can't get rid of the baby.

I will keep watching. Probably online and on my schedule, but I will keep watching. I hope that the moral high road is continued to be followed.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Amazing Race Opts for Marking Over Begging

Not to beat a dead horse, but I missed it again. I really don't like this Sunday Schedule. I guess, I could fork out the dough for a DVR, but I have to say, up until now the VCR has worked great.

So, in order to get my The Amazing Race fix, I turned to what little video I could watch on-line. Trust me it wasn't really worth my effort, but it is the best I am going to get this week.

One of the videos that I watched showed Tyler and James asking an Australian man and woman for some money. Now, I don't know the detail surrounding their "need" to beg. But it seems that I heard about another team begging for money this week too.

The Australian man politely gave a lecture to Tyler and James about what true poverty is. They were respectfully considerate of the lecture. Their reaction to the Australian man has helped them to go up a notch in my book.

As one of the people who has watched the Race from its first season, I am not a big fan of the changes that they make to the original concept. When I first heard about it I did like the "handicapping" of contestants who came in last when they were not eliminated. However, when I realized that these were American's who come from the richest country in the world begging from people from poorer countries, I was really bothered by that.

So, when I heard that there would be changes this season, I was nervous about what they might be. However, when David and Mary came in last and the new secret was revealed, I was happy.

Instead of taking away all of their supplies and all of their money, David and Mary are marked. This means that they have to come in first in order to guarantee that they won't be eliminated. Or they have to arrive at the next pit stop at least 30 minutes faster than the last team.

This eliminates the need for begging, and this still "handicaps" the losing team that didn't get eliminated. This is definitely one change that I see value in. This is one change that I can honestly agree with. It is the responsible thing to do. Now tell your contestants that the only way they should resort to begging is if they have NO money. This begging to win a million really doesn't help to improve the American reputation.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Fall Preview: 1 vs. 100

It's hard to believe that I am still doing fall previews and we are 2 weeks into October. Well, the truth of it is that NBC didn't have 1 vs. 100 on its original line up for fall. I am guessing that they were waiting to see if Deal or No Deal was still going to have the same draw as it did last season.

If you would have asked me 9 months ago if I thought that Deal or No Deal was going to be a success, I would have told you no. I honestly thought that it would be too gimmicky and just not very entertaining. However, I would have been wrong.

With that in mind, I now look at 1 vs. 100. And honestly the jury is still out. Can NBC succeed with two game shows in their line up? We have seen that the prime time game show if done right can be a great success. But based on past shows, I think that they have limited life.

So, the question still remains, can two prime time game shows survive?

The concept of 1 vs. 100 is that one contestant takes on 100 contestants. As long as the one contestant keeps answering the questions right, then he continues on. If he eliminates all 100 competitors then he wins $1,000,000.

After each question he has the opportunity to take the money that he has won and quit. However, he can also risk it all by taking on the "mob." With each person eliminated from the mob the cash prize goes up.

Also, the mob may consist of anyone. The premier will at the least have Ken Jennings from Jeopardy fame and some Deal or No Deal models. So, you never know who are going up against. You can also get a "lifeline" which appears to be polling the mob to see what the most common answer is.

The other part of the answer to the big question of will two game shows survive is the host. Howie Mandell makes Deal or No Deal what it is. Except for his annoying "let's-go-to-commercial" bits, Howie seems to have just the right timing and personality to bring Deal or No Deal up a notch.

Can Bob Sagat do it? I don't know. I still see him as the dad of the Olsen twins and punching out those terrible jokes on the original America's Funniest Videos. This is really where I find myself stumped with this show.

One of the things I like about this show is that perhaps it will bring back some fun "family" entertainment to Friday nights. Maybe I am too nostalgic for the old days of TGIF. But for me it seems that Friday should be a day for parents and younger children to relax before the weekend. So, with Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100 maybe NBC will have some must see TV in our house.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jin and Sun Keep Me Interested in Lost

The only reason that I even turned Lost on three years ago was the hopes of hearing a little Korean. Having lived in Korea and studied Korean for two years, I always love anything Korean. The only reason you will ever see me watching a M*A*S*H rerun is because I hope to hear some Korean.

That said I have to say that I have really come to love both of the Koreans on Lost. Jin-soo Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim) and Sun Kwon (Yunjin Kim) have really become my favorite characters on the show.

Some might think that my love for them has to do with their Korean roots. And honestly, that does help a lot. However, that is not my main reason for enjoying these two characters.

My main reason for loving them is that they are still married.

They have been through a lot. They have defied an overprotective father (perhaps that is too gentle a description). They survived infidelity (that might be because Jin doesn't know about it yet). They put up with some very tough lows, and they are still married.

Most of the time television portrays marriage as impossible. Excluding comedies, try and think of one main character who is married and it appears that marriage will be a success. Accept for Jin and Sun, I can't think of one. Well, there is Johnston and Gail Green from Jericho, but that show is in its first season, so give it some time.

This episode truly revealed that Jin and Sun are in it for the long haul. They have been through worse than this island can throw at them, and they will survive.

It seems that just about when I am ready to give up on Lost, they bring Jin and Sun together and I am renewed in my hope for the show. Perhaps if the island can heal physical problems, maybe it can heal emotional problems too.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

The Amazing Race Entertains with Great Challenges

It's a few episodes into The Race this season, and so far the challenges are excellent, the contestants aren't what I would like, but the show is still worth watching. Maybe my bias for the show is coming out in that last part, but it really is the best unscripted drama on television.

My first real criticism of the show is the time change. I just can't seem to remember to set my VCR to record this show. If I do have it set, then inevitably my kids will take the blank out of the VCR to watch their own video, or I never remember to put a tape in. I really would love for it to be moved back to Tuesday or Wednesday. Actually, while I am playing program director for CBS, I would just put it on Thursday after Survivor.

So far I think that they have put together some very unique, fun and challenging detours and road blocks. In the first episode, climbing the wall was harder than it looked. Sure there is talk that some "cheating" was going on with the ropes, but the challenge isn't to get up the rope in a specific way, it is just to get over the wall. I don't care how they got over, just doing it was awesome.

The challenge that took them into the Vietnam War memorial and specifically to John McCain's flight uniform was moving. I have to give my kudos to Godwin and Erwin for taking the time to honor the men who fought, were held captive, and died in the war. They have now moved way up on my likeability chart.

In this week's episode, the sampan challenge was awesome. But I don't understand one thing. Do that many people in the world really not know how to row a boat? I probably spent way too much time in the Boy Scouts. Or, they just have a requirement for all unscripted dramas that you don't know how to row a boat. Probably the former, but could be the latter.

The people are still missing something. Peter and Sarah have really turned me off. If you will remember my first post about this season, you will note that I said nothing about Sarah's mechanical leg. It's because that was less important to me than her having competed in Iron Man competitions.

With that said, in episode two, which I didn't watch (I read the recap), I was really bothered by their using her disability to try and earn money. Come on. Don't tell me that you can win this race even with a disability, then try and manipulate the win through your disability. They did the same thing in episode one when they tried to get a taxi. That just doesn't sound Iron Man like.

In this episode, I think we are learning that the problem is more with Peter than Sarah. Peter was the one to tell Sarah to pull out the handicap placard, and she seemed bothered by it. If you ask my advice Sarah, dump Peter while you can.

David and Mary have won me over again. Sure she yells at him a bit, but I think it is more the frustration of the game, and not at her husband. While, they will probably remain in the "backpack" for a while, I suspect I will genuinely love them as a team.

I also love Lyn and Karlyn. They are putting up a good fight. They are in it until the end. They don't let any challenge get them down, and they are doing the best that they can.

While the people aren't as fun as contestants in past seasons, they are growing on me. I look forward to seeing them compete. I am not going to make any further predictions just yet, but I have to say that Erwin and Godwin are moving into my top three, and hopefully, they will replace my prediction of Peter and Sarah.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lost Premier Leaves With Wanting

I understand that perhaps the biggest question at the end of season 2 of Lost was what is going to happen to Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), and Sawyer (Josh Holloway). Are they going to be killed? Will they be held captive? What will the others do with them?

Well, the season premier answered that. However, the show just wasn't all that interesting.

So we learned that Jack is going to try and trick his way out of a cell. We knew that.

We learned that Sawyer can push buttons to get a fish biscuit. Big deal.

We learned that Kate looks pretty after a show and in an immodest dress. Duh.

Sorry, but this episode just wasn't as great as last season. If this is the precursor of things to come, I just might pass.

Okay, maybe I am not used to the heroes of the show being helpless. Maybe I should give more credit to the development. However, for the season premier I would have liked to see what is going on with the Hurley and the rest of the survivors. At least from the previews for next week I gather that more entertainment is going to happen next week.

Why didn't ABC leave is in a loop for another week and open with what I believe episode two is going to be? Maybe there is something in this episode that needed to be revealed. However, I can't believe it was that important.

I do have to say, that it was interesting that we learned that the others seem to have a very civilized culture in a small modern day community. How did that come about? And it was revealed that they are likely "left overs" from the Dharma Project. And that was worth learning. But there was nothing more to this episode.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Friday Night Lights Shines With Some Dim Moments

As I have commented in the past, I was both excited and hesitant about yesterday's premier of Friday Night Lights. I was excited because I was looking forward to seeing Kyle Chandler back in a starring role. I was hesitant because I figured that this show would be a miss when it came to production. But bigger than that, I was nervous that this show would push the line when it comes to values.

Chandler did a great job. We can see that Coach Taylor is a strong, silent personality that will guide his team by example more than by yelling. I think that he will do a great job. He will be different from most coaches we have seen on television before. That will add to the nature of this show.

I was concerned as I watched this that it was moving too slowly. And honestly the first 15 minutes were tiring. However, it really picked up after the game started. It became a very intense and wonderful half hour of television.

As I have admitted in the past, I am not a football fan. However, this show managed to put team support, love of the game, and rooting for the losing team high on my list for at least that half hour.

However, my second major concern with this show is still aching at me. This episode managed to show teens in situations were it appeared that there was drinking and sex.

Don't get me wrong both of these things happen in our society. However, television glamorizing it doesn't help these huge moral and health problems. Television used to have an unwritten no-teen-sex policy.

The only saving grace and the reason that I might be watching again next week will be because Coach Taylor managed on two separate incidents to let the teens know that this wasn't going to happen on his watch.

The first incident was when Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) came to practice half drunk. Coach put him through the wringer. He let him know what it feels like to be the other team's whipping boy, by having some tackle practice with Tim as the tackle dummy.

The sexual incident was simply Coach's walking between a couple that was getting too close during a community party celebrating the up coming first game of the season. Both of these were a little too subtle for my tastes. However, I also think that they are very fitting for Coach's character. I look forward to further such interventions.

I haven't committed to this show for the whole season yet. These concerns of mine are still there, and based on next weeks episode preview, I might be writing a different article next week. However, I like it so far. I just hope that NBC doesn't lose me next week.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How I Met Your ... Oh Bother

My only interest in ever watching How I Met Your Mother, is because it stars Doogie Howser. I am probably dating myself by indicating that I actually liked the show, but it was just right for a kid like me and a kid my age.

When I first heard of How I Met Your Mother, I knew that I wasn't going to watch much of it. Even Neil Patrick Harris wouldn't be a big enough draw. Mostly I wasn't interested in this show because it was a Friends wannabe and I never was a fan of Friends.

Well, I tuned in today enough to find out why I don't care for this show. And I will give you one guess.

It's a three-letter word starting with s.

I couldn't believe that they could actually put that many sexual comments, references, or innuendo in one 15-minute time period. I didn't count them. But when the man and woman came out of the public bathroom together, and he had to zip up his cargo pant leg, I had enough.

I turned it off.

I thought about turning it back on just to write a better review of the show. But I think that I have seen enough.

Honestly, in the 15 minutes that I watched, I really didn't see anything funny. This is supposed to be a sitcom, right?

I guess if you find "dirty" jokes to be funny, then you might have enjoyed this show. However, I am very much of the mind set that sexual humor is used only by thouse who can't come up with something original.

I guess network television hasn't had an original thought for a long time. When was that last time you turned on a family friendly sitcom? I honestly can't remember. I think that George Lopez might fit the bill, but I haven't watched the show enough to really say.

When it comes to acting, How I Met Your Mother may be done well enough. However, the writing needed a lot of work. I honestly found my self lost in the fray. Perhaps it was the distraction from wincing at every other line. But I just couldn't get into the show.

I don't regret never having watched this show before, and I am sure to never turn it on again. Even Doogie Howser wouldn't try and medicate this show into life.

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