Posts tagged season 1
The premise of Revolution is simple. One night, all the lights go out. The pilot opens on Ben Matheson coming home to his young family, telling his wife that ‘it’s all gonna turn off’, and then downloading computer files to an external flash drive. Moments later every vaguely electronic device goes kaput, from airplanes to household batteries, leaving the Americas (and presumably the rest of the world) in the dark.
The way the show starts out, it is present day until something blacks out the power and it never comes on again. ‘Twilight’s Billy Burke plays Miles, the uncle of Charlie that may know how to turn the power on, or at least why it stopped working in the first place.
However, the narration in the beginning said that modern medicine isn’t really working without technology… so is Danny just benefiting from a left over inhaler because it doesn’t require a plug, merely a pump action? The good news is for all of the minor quibbles I have over the technology, I never really dwelled on it. I was far more focused on getting to know the characters.
Favreau brings a lot of strong energy to Revolution, giving appropriate weight to moments like that opening sequence and delivering action that is more notable and big than is normal for network TV – a sword fight Miles has with multiple foes is incredibly fun and cool, and instantly helps Burke (bringing the right world-weary vibe to the proceedings) establish that yes, the dad from Twilight can play a kickass hero.
The 15 year gap serves to highlight some differences between the older and younger generations: those who remember the world “before” and the new generation who have never used a computer or watched television. Also by jumping ahead 15 years the bleak desperation of the immediate aftermath of a world plunged into darkness is avoided, in favour a of discovering the new social and political landscape the show has created for its characters.
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In the first half of the two-part First Season finale Professor Pierce (Eric McCormack) is presented with information from a former student (Freddy Rodríguez) suggesting a cover-up and conspiracy surrounding the apparently accidental death of a U.S. Senator. After witnessing the death of the student (which may or may not have actually happened, given his tendency to hallucinate), Pierce finds himself lead down the rabbit hole by a hallucination of JFK (Steven Culp) that involves Greek mythology, a star constellation, a secret society, and a shadowy conspiracy.
Wesley claims that Ryland’s predecessor’s plane was sabotaged, and Crawford, a CEO, is responsible because Paulson chaired a committee that was going to pass a clean energy bill that would’ve cost his company billions. An engineer, Brian, died after he found out about the sabotage, and Wesley thinks it was murder. A reporter believed him, but he drove his car off the road. Wesley gives him an envelope with evidence before an arrow strikes him in the eye. Daniel calls Kate in a panic, but when Probert gets to the scene, there’s no body.
At the same time, viewers were left trying to guess or be surprised by characters that might or might not be hallucinations. Even if there were certain lapses in Pierce’s stability, there was a certain “fun” element to having him see these people around him.
“Shadow” broke the whole concept down and captured the reality, if you will, of that darker side to having schizophrenia and how heartbreaking it is to see someone fold underneath the illness.
Although she wants to believe in her friend Kate (Rachael Leigh Cook) is forced to accept the possibility that Pierce may have hallucinated the entire event, as well as his relationship with the student which she can find no evidence of. Although they can’t find the young man’s body, a little investigation does suggest a crime was committed and that it may have been tied to a dead reporter who was also investigating the death of the Senator.
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The Major Crimes squad investigates when the naked body of a young man is found in a 50 gallon drum marked hazardous waste. It was only found because it fell off a truck as it was being removed. Provenza (G.W. Bailey) leads the investigation. Tao (Michael Paul Chan) offers that the marks on his limbs are rope burns. Provenza becomes concerned after they realize that the drums could be filled with bodies since they are supposed to be hazardous waste and are dumped in a landfill. Sykes (Kearran Giovanni) is given the unenviable task of going through all the drums. Flynn (Tony Dennison) asks if he’s thinking serial killer. Provenza doesn’t know, but he’s worried.
From the moment we learned about the crime of the week until the last scene of the episode, every aspect of Major Crimes was perfection. Brenda Leigh Johnson could not have handled the case any better than Sharon Raydor, and it’s my assessment that the nature of the case needed the likes of Raydor and her willingness to deal with the ugliest dregs of society.
Raydor, Flynn and Provenza go to the Barlow house, but they are met with completely freaked out parents, Brian (Casey Biggs) and Laurie (Kari Coleman). Their son and daughter, Emily, were kidnapped and they’ve been warned not to go to the police. Brian is adamant that they follow directions.
Later, Laurie calls the squad for help. She explains that their children have been missing for a while and that they received a ransom demand which they gave into. It was followed by another after a few days. They paid that as well. So far, they’ve heard nothing since then. Brian asks what she’s doing, and she hangs up.
When first faced with the idea of losing his ranking managerial position over the major crimes division, Provenza wasn’t on board. He was ornery, angry and not afraid to say what he felt about it, even if it was a slight exaggeration. However, Sharon did something that I don’t think even Provenza saw coming. She gave him rope. Not to hang himself, but to lead.
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The Ecstasy and the Agony
Well, it happens with every show. They hit a point in the season when a throw away episode is needed and “The Ecstasy and the Agony” was that episode for Major Crimes. Generally Major Crimes actually has character development, interesting moves between characters, and interesting things to pay attention to during the episodes.
It seems like there are a good number of you who really don’t like the addition of Rusty to the mix. I’m quite enjoying him and his smart ass attitude. He’s a great foil for Sharon Raydor. They both say things with a straight face and then reply similarly and end up staring at each other dumbfounded, as if they can’t believe they’ve found each other. Sharon’s line about how to look Catholic was classic. Even if you weren’t raised as such, certainly you’ve seen the rest of us wearing the mask of guilt.
Raydor is talking to Provenza (G. W. Bailey) and Buzz (Phillip Keane) when Rusty storms over to tell her he’s going to be late. Raydor asks Buzz to drive him to school. Provenza points out that asking a civilian employee to do a personal favor is against the rules. She points out that it’s not a personal favor since going to school is one of the requirements for their material witness. Provenza withdraws his objection and puts in a coffee order. Poor Buzz.
Well, he uses them in this Major Crimes episode. He was the best part of “The Ecstasy and the Agony.” Watching his scenes with series regular, G.W. Bailey, was worth the price of admission. Besides NCIS, Weatherly’s other TV credits include Dark Angel, where he played Logan Cale/Eyes Only; he played opposite Christina Applegate on the NBC sitcom Jesse; he was Theo’s college roommate in an episode of The Cosby Show; and on the daytime front, he was rich hottie Cooper Alden on a soap called Loving. Plus, if you ever get to see Michael appear on a talk show do so. He’s always entertaining.
Perception season 1 continues with episode 8, “Kilimanjaro.” “How bad do you want it?” Daniel asks his class. Ambition drives everyone. He wakes Brian up as he ends class and is surprised later when Lewicki says he turned in a good midterm paper. He brings an accusation of plagiarism to Haley, who points to his other good grades and admits that it does partly have to do with him being a good football player. Their conversation is interrupted by news of a murder on campus.
It’s been a series with plenty of promise that I’ve just been waiting to break out of the typical mold. Which is why “Kilimanjaro” was a fantastic new page. It that set the bar far higher than I had expected, providing an engaging episode from the central case to the side plots that surrounded it. This was a solid outing and probably one of the best of the season.
Pierce first encounters DJ (who looks remarkably like a young Adam Brody) on campus and threatens to fail the brilliant student if he doesn’t turn in his term paper now. Turns out that DJ isn’t actually a student, but is the manifestation of Pierce 25 years earlier – before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Apparently Pierce was “cocky and confident” in his college years – smarter than his teachers, and wanted to be on the cover of Rolling Stone with med school as his back up plan. He wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, and his dreams were pretty much killed with his diagnosis.
Daniel and Lewicki talk to Brian about his paper, and he admits he bought it. He can’t concentrate anymore. Daniel notes a disparity in his pupils, and Brian says he’s been having trouble breathing and headaches. A scan shows he has a subdural hematoma. He’s done with football, meaning the loss of his scholarship, or he risks permanent brain damage. Thanks to TMZ, Kate finds Karl and convinces Irene to let her fly to get him. He claims he didn’t kill Christina. The student brings his paper to Daniel, who says it’s not his work. He wrote it when he was an undergrad. The kid calls Daniel’s life sad and pathetic and tells him his name is DJ—Daniel J. Pierce. He’s Daniel before he forgot how to have a life.
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The Greater Fool
Frustration is the overwhelming feeling coming out of watching the entire first season of The Newsroom. Frustration because it has so much potential to be great and yet it overburdens itself, it is an example of writer Aaron Sorkin biting off far too much. What worked was all the stuff about the newsroom, the crafting of a news show, the behind the scenes politics of corporations and the up front politics of our recent history. For an outside viewer, it was of great interest to me seeing the differences between media in the US and the UK.
This entire season of “The Newsroom” was in the can before any of it aired on television, and some critics of the show have suggested that if it hadn’t been, Aaron Sorkin might have had the opportunity to course-correct in response to some of the complaints. I don’t think that’s the case. First, “Studio 60″ — for which Sorkin took nearly as much grief as he has for this show — was still in production when the response to it went south, and for the most part none of the things people were complaining about changed. Second, Sorkin respectfully but strongly disagreed with most of “The Newsroom” complaints when he appeared at press tour a few weeks ago.
The romantic elements, while a touch cheesy — especially the contrived but admittedly hilarious scene with Maggie scolding and shouting at a bus of Sex and the City fans — also reached an important pivotal point. Many, including Rainn Wilson, have compared the Don-Maggie-Jim love triangle to the Jim-Pam-Roy subplot from the early days of The Office. Hell, even The Newsroom’s Jim bares a slight resemblance to John Krasinski’s Jim, not to mention the same name.
“The Greater Fool” is the name of the scorched-earth article Brian Banner published about Will in New York. When he reads it, Will OD’s on anti-depressants, gives himself a bleeding ulcer, is rushed to the hospital and thinks about quitting the show. (This also gives MacKenzie a chance to be typically bonkers — will Sorkin never give her a moment’s peace?) I’m never one for floating plot points that will obviously never happen, but Will’s self-doubt is a chance for many wide-eyed “Please no!” moments from the cast as they contemplate the end of it all.
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The Law of Contagion
This week’s episode of Saving Hope, “The Law of Contagion,” centered on a potential outbreak virus spreading through the hospital. A man was brought in off a plane, complaining of symptoms that seemed like appendicitis. But then he died in the operating room and the doctors learned he’d passed through Mumbai where a medical alert had just been issued. Another passenger from the plane got sick as well as the first doctor who treated him at Hope Zion. Both of them also died.
Patient zero was Carlos Garcia, complaining of abdominal pain after returning home from a trip to Mumbai. Alex suspected a ruptured appendix but couldn’t find anything wrong in surgery. Garcia’s vitals crashed on the operating table, leaving Alex unable to explain why she lost him. The answer wasn’t good news. A report came in about an outbreak of coronavirus in Mumbai. You know, like SARS? Fearing the worst, Alex convinced Brian and Dana to shut down the OR.
In the meantime, for the second major story, the hospital is dealing with a very serious issue – a possible contagion brought in by a patient. When a patient presents with serious abdominal pain, then dies on the operating table, no one is sure why. The discovery that he had traveled from a city where an outbreak of a SARS like virus was recently reported makes it clear not only why he died, but also how potentially serious the problem they are facing has become. The problem is that the hospital administrator resists locking down the hospital for fear of bad publicity.
Charlie was really confused, but then it turned out that Charlie had buried the memory of the accident and he’d been there too, in the backseat and he watched them die. It was traumatic and sad, but seriously, what was the point? It sort of woke Charlie up, or at least it made him open his eyes and roll over so when Alex saw that he’d moved she had fresh hope that he was going to wake up. But tuxedo-Charlie just seemed sad.
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Major Crimes starts with the nightmare scene of a large SUV swerving in traffic before crashing into a crowd of people waiting to get into a club. Video footage from bystander’s phones show the driver stumbling out of the car and being beaten by the crowd before a bouncer stops it. Provenza (G. W. Bailey) tells Buzz (Phillip Keane) to stop the video. He asks if the paramedics smelled any alcohol on the driver’s breath, but that seems a no go. There is a handbag in the car, but it’s zipped. Flynn (Tony Denison) suggests that maybe it spilled its contents in the crash, but as three people were killed and nine were injured, Provenza says they should do things by the book and declare détente with Raydor (Mary McDonnell) considering the seriousness of the case.
“Medical Causes” contained one of the most gruesome cases I’ve seen portrayed on television in quite some time. And it was so easy to imagine it happening.
A bunch of happy revelers waiting in line to get into a nightclub were plowed down by an SUV. The crime itself was a bit of a letdown. It was the most cliche of incidents and that was something we weren’t often subjected to before Raydor took over Major Crimes.
Flynn arrives at the hospital with the warrant and the bag and he and Sanchez go through it. They discover the driver is Dr. Leslie Nolan. There are no drugs nor alcohol in the bag. Raydor arrives with Rusty (Graham Patrick Martin) in tow. Rusty is unhappy about being up at 6 in the morning, but no one cares. Raydor and Sanchez go into talk to Leslie.
Along the way, we were given a lot more insight into the new dynamics of Major Crimes. Thankfully, Taylor was absent, thereby making it a rather pleasant experience outside the horror of the crime of the week.
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The Blackout, Part 2: Mock Debate
In the penultimate episode of the season, we’re left with a big question mark: Will ACN get to host the Republican Primaries debate? After ditching News Night 2.0 to ensure a sizable viewing audience for the debate, the team is left wondering if all their hard work was a waste of time. Will the RNC guys see that Will’s honest, hard-nosed approach to moderating the debate is the best one for all parties involved. Based on the way the episode ended, it appears that the ACN crew has lost this one. Or did they?
It doesn’t help that “The Blackout, Part 2: Armed And Fabulous” devotes the lion’s share of its time to the weakest aspect of the show, i.e. the relationship stuff. With the season nearing the finish, Sorkin has to shit or get off the pot on Will and Mac and the Jim/Don/Maggie love triangle. And shit he does, sending Will to therapy to gain some understanding over why he can’t get over Mac’s betrayal and why he’s so intent on punishing her that he’s brought back Mac’s ex (Paul Schneider) to write an exclusive story about “News Night 2.0.” Things are even more complicated with the younger trio, because Maggie’s roommate Lisa (Kelen Coleman) makes it a quartet: Lisa has feelings for Jim but can see that there’s something between him and Maggie. But neither Jim nor Maggie seem capable of honestly discussing their feelings for each other because they’re adorably frazzled in exactly the same way. And really, who cares?
When everyone gets fiercely behind the idea, punching the air and screaming “YEAH!” like a football team, the power comes back on. Yet again, Mac gets humiliated in front of her staff. And therefore the tantalising prospect of watching the News Night team do the show on the fly (and probably fail while doing so) was washed away. Thankfully, this week The Newsroom does actually show that the News Night team isn’t totally infallible and Sorkin has learnt that it is okay to have characters that fail once in a while.
You know what, “The Newsroom”? I don’t like being right all the time. I’m asking you to surprise me, to impress me, to whip out an excellent television series when I’m not expecting it. That didn’t happen this week. “The Blackout Part 2: Mock Debate” fell prey to exactly the storytelling issues I predicted last week. The very concept of the show took down your attempt at a big two-part episode, making both it and the very series seem extra pointless as a result.
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Perception continues with episode 6, “Lovesick.” Daniel asks his class if free will exists. Neuroscientific data suggests it’s an illusion. As his class leaves, Haley finds Daniel to make sure he’s attending a gala because the widow of someone who verbally promised funding will be there and is a fan of Daniel’s. He refuses.
Like anyone that has suffered from depression (or known someone that has), obviously four hours and a day in the hospital are not enough to treat this major disease, and the kid ends up committing suicide. His doctor is found days later shot in the head. Is it a murder of revenge? It’s up to Moretti to find out!
It’s funny because for the first half of this episode, the case seemed pretty cookie cutter in development. Somebody killed the therapist out of revenge or anger, etc. and Pierce would simply have to figure out who. Sure, there was the ploy of “staying inside the circle” with respect to the insurance company and bonus money the therapist received, but there’s no way either Pierce or Moretti could pass up actually solving a case. They just love it too much.
After being authorized to “go outside the circle” based on Pierce’s findings in Dr. Corvis’ medicaljournals, Moretti and Pierce question several of the good doctor’s other patients, mainly those that were diagnosed with “transferential dopamine deficiency” which isn’t actually something a person can be diagnosed with because it’s not actually a real thing. However, Corvis was treating patients with a new drug that wasn’t released on the market yet for said issues.
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