Archive for February, 2009

Friday Night Lights: “Keeping Up Appearances”

27 February 2009
by R.A. Porter

I was mocked tonight for tearing up near the end of this episode. I can’t help it, as I’ve got much love for Billy Riggins. Every time I see that dumb lug bust his ass to help out his ungrateful little brother, I get to thinking maybe there’s hope for humanity after all. I know he’s a fictional character, but he’s also very real. If someone like Billy – filled with contradictions, prone to screw up, abandoned and unloved by his parents – can find enough love to do what he does for Tim, maybe the rest of us have a chance.1

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  1. In the short-term, it means I won’t be working on my orbital death ray tonight. Long-term? Don’t cut me off in traffic and you might all survive. []

Burn Notice: “Sins of Omission”

26 February 2009
by R.A. Porter


Well it wasn’t the right time when we met. It wasn’t the right time when we started dating. It wasn’t the right time when I moved to Miami. No, it was the right time to tell me when she showed up on your front step. Is that about right?

We’re winding down the season and ratcheting up the tension for Michael and friends. First and foremost, Michael needs to deal with the threat Victor poses, so he tells Carla a story, leaving out only the one small detail that her pet has bitten through his leash. He needs Carla to get the suits and sunglasses detail to back off so his hunter can approach, so it’s time to start opening up.

Maybe he should have started that a little bit sooner, at least to Fiona.

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Leverage: “The Second David Job”

24 February 2009
by R.A. Porter


Grifter, hitter, hacker, thief. You were all trying to solve your version of the crime instead of just trying to solve the crime. There’s a reason we work together.

Even amongst critics who enjoy Leverage, it doesn’t get a lot credit for style. Dean Devlin established a house style in the pilot that has been enhanced and codified through this first season that serves the show well, but few bother to note those things it does well. One of them is on display tonight.

The opening scene closely mirrors the opening of last week’s “The First David Job”, all the way down to Nate’s line to Blackpoole: “Are you here to kill me, Ian?” And the crane shot in the closing scene mirrors the same shot of the team scattering in the final scene of the pilot. These callbacks establish a through line from the pilot, through last week’s setbacks, and into next season.

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Charlie Jade news

23 February 2009
by R.A. Porter


Those of you who’ve followed on over from Pop Critics likely already know of my great affection for Charlie Jade and disgust with The SciFi Channel for their mistreatment of this fine noir science fiction. Minimally promoted, and yanked unceremoniously from its Friday timeslot to burnoff theater – Tuesday mornings at 2am – the network had no faith in its audience. Then again, this is the network that shows Ghost Hunters and wrestling instead of science fiction, so no one should be surprised.

But SciFi paid good money for the rights and they intend to get something in return, so on Tuesday March 10, SciFi is running an eight-episode mini-marathon.

You can also head over to Charlie Jade Verse to keep up with all the latest news, listen to episode commentaries from the creators, read reviews, and listen to our Podcast on the show. So if you’ve ever wondered what your humble host sounds like, go listen to me wax poetic about one of my favorite shows.

Battlestar Galactica: “Deadlock”

21 February 2009
by Kari Geltemeyer


“How many dead chicks are out there?”
—Hot Dog

Really? We couldn’t have packed most of the events of this episode into 15 minutes and then moved on to something else? We needed to watch growly Adama stroke the walls of his ship 35,000 times in order to understand what’s at stake if he loses her? We needed to see 35,000 chummy scenes of him bonding with Tigh in order to understand that they are in deep, utterly platonic man love? Which we’ve known for, oh, four or five years now? And ditto the 35,000 times the Final Five (plus Six!) voted on whether to stay or jump ship? Yuck. I don’t mind the talkies, but this one suffered from a serious lack of urgency: a weird stop on forward movement in half the storylines combined with lightspeed narrative unspooling in the other half. So we’ll make this short & sweet & epically crabby, and then you can holler at me in the comments, because the less time I spend thinking about it—and my fear that Tricia Helfer is going to stab herself in the eye with her own cheekbone soon—the better.
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Friday Night Lights: “It Ain’t Easy Being J.D. McCoy”

20 February 2009
by R.A. Porter

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza a hole.

And with that unguarded, completely vulnerable moment, Herc and the Riggins boys know what’s at stake. This isn’t about Jason making money; it’s about Jason being a father. The reaction shot of Herc was a given, as Kevin Rankin brings such a sweetness to his role Herc would obviously be taken by Jason opening himself up like that. The more significant shot for me was of Billy. Billy knows what a loving, doting, caring father is: he just has to look in the negative space around his own deadbeat dad. Billy’s not going to be screwing around on this project anymore, even if it means putting up with Jason’s work list.

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Burn Notice: “Truth and Reconciliation”

19 February 2009
by R.A. Porter


You know why I think your father wired the car the way he did? Because I think he thought if he was the only one who could fix it that we’d always need him. Be more useful, you know. Part of the family.

After the incredible highs of last week, we could expect this week’s episode to let up on the gas a little, but what Burn Notice does so well is mix more introspective episodes with the ones that go boom. An episode where the CotW revolves around a father seeking vengeance for his murdered daughter is a good time to step back, examine relationships, and add resonance to all the characters. In counterpoint, Madeline shows she can be self-sufficient, changing the dynamic of her relationship with Michael in interesting ways.

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Leverage: “The First David Job”

17 February 2009
by R.A. Porter


His cover’s blown. Faces of his people have been sent to every law enforcement agency in the state. We’ve taken their money, their base of operations, and now Nate Ford will never, ever, get his revenge. They will do the only smart thing to do. They’ll scatter.

Leverage rarely plays around much with time, generally running straight through from beginning to end with only occasional detours for con explication or character asides. Tonight is a little different. We open in the present with a completely blitzed Nathan crashing a party dedicating a new museum wing to his old boss at IYS, Ian Blackpool. Offering to sell Blackpool something, we finally realize this is a con when he calls over Sophie, posing as Portia, a representative from the Vatican. We also realize Nate is not as drunk as he appears, at least not as incapacitated.

Jumping back to two weeks earlier, we get the setup – an intervention for Nate, who wants them “not to get hung up on the alcoholic” part of him being a functioning alcoholic. But since this is a Leverage-style intervention, the team just wants to help Nate get revenge.1

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  1. Good for Nate. He didn’t have to say, “no, no, no.” []

Flight of the Conchords: “Unnatural Love”

17 February 2009
by Kari Geltemeyer


Saturday. We open on Murray driving the boys to a disco club. Why? Nobody’s saying. But we are all loving it. Except for Jemaine, who’d rather go watch a video, and Bret, who would prefer “a sleep,” and thus they are both crouching down in the backseat and looking horrified when Murray pulls up to the curb and drops them off with Dave. Dave isn’t so wild about it, either, especially when the Conchords crowd him on the dance floor. To wit: “You guys are dorkin’ up my vibe with all the dicks. We need to spread the dicks out a little bit, create some lady space.” Maybe the two best lines ever written, and we haven’t even wrapped up the credits yet.
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Battlestar Galactica: “No Exit”

14 February 2009
by Kari Geltemeyer


“I think we have to accept who we are.”
—Admiral William Adama

“You are not a mistake. If you could just accept yourself as what you are.”
—Ellen Tigh

“I need to be something.”
—Kara Thrace

“Saul, stay with the fleet. It’s all starting to happen, it’s the miracle, right here, it’s a gift from the angels. Stay with the fleet!”
—Samuel T. Anders

I’ve watched this episode three times now: once as it aired, while I practically fermented in a stew of hatred; once with Ronald D. Moore as my personal guide, where for the first time I hated him, too; and once at a rate of approximately one scene per hour, during which I typed out nearly every line of dialogue spoken by Anders, Cavil, and Ellen, and it was that third time that I actually fell in love. And in addition to finding that I no longer absorb information as quickly as I once did, here’s what I think I learned. Forgive the mess of my own brain dump, and feel free to correct any of it in the comments. And may the force be with you all.
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