Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reviews: Torchwood & Jericho

Review: Torchwood, Episode 2.5, "Adam"

Cath Tregenna, you are not the weakest link. Her background as a playwright makes her an ideal writer of character-driven stories that further develop who those characters are. She succeeds once again, but this time she tears the scabs off of old emotional wounds and pours salt into them, forcing Captain Jack to give up something very precious to save the day. As promised, we learn more about Jack's past, but we also learn more about each team member and the emotional scars they hide. Tregenna's emotionally gripping script is matched by the quality of the acting. This may be her finest work on the show yet.

Review: Torchwood, Episode 2.6, "Reset"

J.C. Wilsher, best known as the creator of the police drama Between the Lines, serves up a fun but suspenseful story where investigation and undercover work are key ingredients. Compared to the darkness of "Adam", "Reset" is much lighter in tone. At least until the final scene, which ends the episode like a punch to the gut. Also, a certain character appears in the episode, namely...

Warning: spoilers below, please highlight the white space with your mouse to read them.

...Martha Jones, former companion of the Tenth Doctor! Squee! Martha has earned her medical degree and now serves as a medical officer for UNIT, a position she was recommended for by the Doctor himself. I love Martha and I'm so happy to see her again, more confident than ever due to her experiences traveling in a blue police box. Many references to the Doctor are made by Martha and Jack, including an explanation to one of the others that they "served under the same Doctor."

As for the gut punch, it's seeing Owen being shot dead. I knew something bad would happen, because earlier he finally accepts Toshiko's offer of a date. However, considering revelations about Owen in last season's "Combat" and the heavy presence of weevils in the preview of next week's episode, I have a hunch that his death may not be permanent.

Review: Jericho, Episode 2.1, "Reconstruction"

As fans know, the opening titles are set to morse code that spells out a different message each week. This episode's was so appropriate for a show that was canceled only to be revived due to fan support: "We're baaack". Indeed, they are. The second season premiere hits like gangbusters, rectifying the first season's cliffhanger ending and setting up the new ground rules for the town of Jericho. I like where it's going.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Well, it looks like the Star Trek prequel film won't be out this Christmas. Its release date has been moved to May 8, 2009 to take advantage of what Paramount believes will be a better time of the year for a big genre film.

Of course, the film will still have major competition: X-Men Origins: Wolverine is planned to open a week earlier and The Da Vinci Code prequel Angels & Demons will open a week after Star Trek. But still, summer is a better time for a big film and it will give the film more time in post-production, which could result in a bigger hit and a better film.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jericho returns for a second season tonight (10pm, CBS). The little show that could was poorly scheduled during its first season and then unceremoniously canceled, but a massive and creative campaign by fans produced the miracle of the network agreeing to bring it back for a second season of seven episodes (more of a mini-season really). Now it's up to fans to watch and get other people to watch, because good ratings may lead to a third season. I command you to watch! Because, you know, I really want a third season.

To paraphrase a certain fictional Cuban bandleader: "Lost, you got some splainin' to do!" I love the fourth season so far, but it seems that each season raises far more questions than it answers, and this one is no exception. At the end of the sixth and final season, the creators better have one hell of an explanation for all this.

Speaking of said bandleader, I see that there's now an I Love Lucy: The Complete Series DVD box set available that contains all six seasons of the show plus all three seasons of its successor, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Little known fact: I'm a huge fan of I Love Lucy. Back in the early 1980s, local independent station KSTW (now the local affiliate of the CW network) broadcast episodes every weekday at noon (I think they may have even shown two episodes back to back), so over the course of several years I saw every episode. Mostly during the summer when school was out, but there were also a few times when I sneaked out of school early so I could go home and watch it.

And just remember, the success of I Love Lucy made Desilu Productions into major players in television, and it was Desilu (and its president/CEO, Lucille Ball) who gave Gene Roddenberry a development deal that resulted in Star Trek.

Torchwood will have two new episodes broadcast back to back in the UK tomorrow, both of which sound like they're going to be really good, and it's probably six weeks or so until the new season of Doctor Who begins. Hooray for new computers that allow me to download torrents and burn them to DVD!

My mission to re-watch the entire runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel on DVD is going smoothly (thanks to my possession of a box set that contains all seven seasons of the former and another that has all five seasons of the latter). I'm two thirds of the way through the second season of Buffy right now. The first season reminded me of the initial season of another show I recently re-watched, Justice League, in how it didn't always work, but you could see how the creators were trying to do something new and learning from their mistakes as they went, leading to great second seasons.

And how many others agree with me that Willow was the hottest female character on Buffy? I can't be the only one who appreciates cute geek girls.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Steve Gerber, co-creator of Howard the Duck among many accomplishments, died yesterday at the age of 60.