Archive for August, 2009

Unexpected programming interruption

27 August 2009
by R.A. Porter

indianhead-testpatternI’ve been dealing with a few matters in the real world and they’ve caused me to trim a little of my writing. Here and Sketch War have been the hardest hit of late. Sorry.

I hope to get back on track in the next week or so, catching up on the summer shows I review and prepping us for the fall schedule. I’ll even try backfilling the reviews I’ve skipped but I make no promises about that.

And if you don’t hear from me before Monday with a preview of Greek…suffice it to say TheWife and I have become huge fans, always should have been fans, and have inhaled the first two seasons. The premiere is this coming Monday on ABC Family: don’t miss it.

TNT Adds two episodes of Leverage to summer schedule

18 August 2009
by R.A. Porter

leverage

Good news to fans of the con! More crime-y goodness. More below.

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Mad Men: “Out of Town”

17 August 2009
by R.A. Porter

madmens03e01If season two of Mad Men was about long-term bonds and understandings coming to an end, this season looks to be the chaotic aftermath of that. Under conditions of extreme pressure and energy, novel forms blink into and out of existence, quantum states superimpose, and out of the soup new structures crystallize. This is true of societies and communities in the macro world as much as it is true of particles in the subatomic world. Don is doting husband and father/seducer. Joan is counting down the days till she’s gone/manipulating the office with her usual aplomb. The Brits are in charge/are hopelessly out of their league.

First, let’s get the big mystery out of the way…based on the way Betty’s belly looks I’d say we’ve jumped forward about eight months from the end of season two. Enough time for Don and Betty to have come to yet another in their long string of accommodations, for things at Sterling-Cooper to still be in flux, for Harry1 to be much more important, and for Bert to have acquired a lovely piece of tentacle porn to keep his Rothko company. But just little enough time that we can watch as the new world order begins to emerge.

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Saving Grace sets date for conclusion

15 August 2009
by R.A. Porter

savinggrace
As much as I love Holly Hunter, I never did get into Saving Grace. However, I know some of my readers are fans and will be saddened by this news.

TNT will conclude the fascinating journey of Oklahoma City Police Det. Grace Hanadarko in 2010, when the network’s groundbreaking original series SAVING GRACE will come to an end. SAVING GRACE will wrap up with a nine-episode run planned for next summer. The provocative drama stars Oscar® winner Holly Hunter (The Piano), who this year received the second of two consecutive Emmy® nominations for her no-holds-barred performance. Hunter also serves as executive producer of SAVING GRACE, along with show creator Nancy Miller (Any Day Now), Gary A. Randall (Any Day Now, Leaving L.A.) and Artie Mandelberg (Leaving L.A., Mr. & Mrs. Smith). For its current summer run, which ends Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), the show has averaged more than 3.5 million viewers and ranks first in its time period among viewers, households, adults 25-54 and women 25-54.

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Leverage: “The Three Days of the Hunter Job”

12 August 2009
by R.A. Porter

leverages2e05

This episode was all kinds of wonderful. From Hardison’s wig to Parker’s awkward interactions with people to the tongue-in-cheek homages to the great thrillers of the ’70s, from start to finish: fun. By switching up roles in an effort to allow Sophie to seek some comfort and excitement after her breakup, everyone got a chance to use some of the skills they’ve been developing in their ongoing effort to become more well rounded thieves and grifters. We’ve seen more of this, extending back to the latter episodes of the first season, and each time the writers have found a way to make it interesting. Sophie isn’t a master planner and never will be; it would be far more boring if she slipped into Nate’s role without some trouble. Likewise Parker scamming and Eliot playing computer geek.

If I were to complain about anything it would be that Eliot didn’t struggle enough finding information on Hardison’s interrogator and that Nate seems too comfortable in the midst of a grift. The weight rests on Beth Riesgraf’s shoulders to be the awkward, uncomfortable one when playing a role; I’d like to see a little more of that from everyone but Sophie.

That small grumble aside, this was good.

Edit: I wrote my review off the screener. I should have waited. During the episode, TNT had cross-promotion of Raising the Bar with *Nancy Grace*. An hour in which Leverage bashes her loosely fictionalized stand-in and they put her smug face right there in the middle of it!

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Burn Notice: “Long Way Back”

6 August 2009
by R.A. Porter

burns3e09

For two seasons, I’ve found myself in the awkward position of complaining when my second favorite event on the annual sports calendar comes around because USA would preempt Burn Notice for two weeks. When USA lost the broadcast rights to the US Open to ESPN, the knowledge that Michael, Sam, and Fi wouldn’t be interrupted was the only comfort. You see, ESPN does shitty tennis coverage whereas USA has done kickass work for twenty years.

And then I found out the summer finale was in August anyway. Aarrrrgggh!

Alright. That’s out of my system. The gang will be back in January-ish so tonight’s episode, the episodes I have saved on the Tivo, and seasons one and two are all I’ve got to tide me over. Will it be enough?

Tonight’s episode alone might do it.

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Leverage: “The Fairy Godparents Job”

5 August 2009
by R.A. Porter

leverages2e04

We talk all the time but it never feels like you’re actually sharing anything. As great as you are, there’s always a mask. I just don’t know who you really are, Katherine.

Bernie Goddamn Madoff. He takes our money, insults our legal system, makes the sick sicker, and the poor poorer. Turns out he (or someone just like him) also treats his stepson like crap and plots to kill hapless FBI agents. Special Agents Taggert and McSweeten return for their third appearance on Leverage and almost get killed for their efforts.1

Tonight the team stretches itself thin as it steals a school. That’s a tough one but they succeed because Nate knows the one true rule of dealing with the rich and powerful: force them to doubt their mastery. By holding himself out as a recognized authority with a book and method that is well known and revered, he challenges the fuming parents to risk looking ignorant by standing up to him. It’s a basic trick of the conman, salesman, hustler, and writer and works best against the people who should be the least credulous. After that, the rest is gravy.

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  1. If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at this great interview with Gerald Downey and Rick Overton, who play the agents, in ifMagazine. []
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