Happy Town: If I had a hammer…

HAPPY TOWN: 1.04 “Slight of Hand”

I’d first like to give a shoutout to that Twitterer who asked Amy Acker if she would have more screen time now that she was kidnapped. I thought that was a strange question, and I thought the answer would, of course, be no. She’s kidnapped. She’s gone. That’s it.

Clearly, this guy was thinking more creatively than I was, because she might just have more screen time after all!

Now, I have to ask, do the masterminds behind this show have a plan at all? I mean, this show is becoming such utter nonsense, and the only think they’re successful at is making sure you don’t trust anyone in the town! I mean, first, there was a murder mystery, but we know who did it now, and he’s not getting punished. Then there was a kidnapping, but hey, she’s back now, too. All because they started looking for the first girl who’s hand appeared on a loaf of bread.

Meanwhile, Chloe/Henley wants her hammer back, which Greggy stole. But hey, he willingly passes it back to her after sex.

I’m sorry, I just really wanted to have faith in a good mystery storyline. Is it that the show thought a general mystery storyline would move too slow for the audience? Is there something in the next few episodes that I’m just missing?

I will say this about last night’s episode, though: It was more interesting than the last one. I very much enjoy any time Sam Neill is on screen, and his riddles are actually kinda fun. If only I knew how he had this information and why riddles were really the way to go with telling the cops about it. Is riddles even the right word?

There was also some great angst as they went through various homes and crime scenes trying to find clues. Why they felt that night would be the best time to return to the scene of the first disappearance, I’m really not sure, but hey, there was some definite tension.

Overall, I did start to question my faith in a lot more of the characters in this episode. Clearly, the mayor has something up her sleeve, and we finally know that Chloe/Henley is in it for the money, though I guess we just have to find out more about her connection with the Sheriff.  I’m really starting to not trust anyone on the police force, though I desperately want to trust the detective who might just blow the entire murder case that Tommy has spent so much time covering up for Big Dave.

But the show still needs work, and I even hear that we might just know who the Magic Man is by episode eight. What route are the writers taking to Happy Town because it’s certainly not any way I’ve seen before.

If I could raspberry ‘Happy Town,’ I would

HAPPY TOWN: 1.03 “Polly Want a Crack at Her”

There is no suspense anymore. Actually, there kinda never was. They should have worked on that. And there’s really very little plot anymore. And finally, other than Dave’s assumption that Friddle was the Magic Man, how does he even fit into all of this? I thought we’d see someone else disappear, for goodness’ sake!…

I’m going to sit through tonight’s episode, sure, but whether I’ll make it to the burn-off in June, well, I just don’t know. If only they had played to their strengths a little more. Where’s Amy Acker and Steven Weber on the screen when you need them?

Those were some quick quotes from my last review of Happy Town. Well, I got one thing that I wanted: someone else disappeared. Of course, we took away one of the key people that I was watching the show for.

Seriously, why is Amy Acker always the one who’s kidnapped. Will the rest of her appearances in the show be like the ones on Drive? Just a still picture on a “Missing” poster?

I should say one thing about this episode: At 10:39 pm, I looked at the clock and said, “Holy crap. We’ve watched forty minutes and nothing’s happened?!” It’s true. Nothing happened until the final five minutes. And sorry, those five minutes might not keep my attention until June. Especially because they got rid of one of my favorite actors.

First, the whole Henley storyline was just stupid. I didn’t care if she hooked up with “Greggy,” as we discovered that he was. And the minute I saw her pull that hammer out of her bag, I knew he’d see it. After all, that’s why I said, outloud, “Why is she doing that while he’s just lying there? He’ll see it.” What a moron.

Second, I’m really fed up with Tommy and Dave. Just arrest him already. Clearly, you think what Dave did was wrong, and even if you didn’t, he killed a man. Take him in. Stop protecting him. The problem is, the show didn’t establish a strong enough bond with Tommy and Dave (in its episode and a half before outing him as the killer) to make Tommy’s protection warranted. Bah. Just lose it.

And then there’s Georgia’s dad and his boyfriend. Boy, did this bore me. I really didn’t care about any of these characters, except maybe Georgia, who just kept reiterating that her dad didn’t hit her and that just got tired. Dude, I know her dad didn’t do it, and I didn’t want to believe her. Bah.

I don’t know what to say. The last episode moved way too fast for its own good and this episode moved way too slow. I feel like we were in a slow episode 5 or 17 in a 22-episode season–you know, one of those filler episodes. It didn’t warrant the surprise ending, and it certainly needed to move faster to grab a third episode slot. Bah.

I might have to have a whole separate post on “How to fix Happy Town.” Maybe on another day. Sigh.

Happy Town: First impressions

HAPPY TOWN: 1.01 “The Pilot”

Terrible things are being said about the new show Happy Town. I’ll start this post by indicating that I’ve only seen the pilot, and I’ve been told that episodes two and three go downhill from here, but I’m basically a blank slate here, so these are my first impressions.

So far, it’s not bad. It’s actually pretty ok. I think there are points that might need some work (we’ll get to that), but I’m certainly intrigued. It is one of those shows, though, that I’m not sure if it can last past one season (though after those reviews, who’s to say it will). The problem with starting a show with a mystery is that once the mystery had ended, where do you go next? With a show like Desperate Housewives, you just bring in new characters and find more gossip, but with a show so rooted in a single event in the past, I’m not sure it will have that option.

I like the cast. I didn’t even know Steven Weber was in the series, but I like that he is. Sam Neill is, of course, a perfectly creepy choice. And like I’ve said before, I’ll follow Amy Acker anywhere. Even to Happy Town.

And the widows were a great addition. Nice comedic relief. Now, if I could only figure out why all these Minnesotans had Southern accents…

Moving on, I’ll also say that I was intrigued. What is going on in this happy little town? Who is Chloe? Why is the sheriff (Pops) acting so strange?

But beyond that, we’ve got a little work to be had. The scene where the wife found out her husband was murdered? Way too over the top (and why wouldn’t they take her somewhere private?). The death scene? Eep. But what was terrible is how they found the body. Why would the murderer take the stake out of his head? And why would the body’s eyes be open? Seriously, just have someone swing a foam bat at your forehead. Trust me, you’ll shut your eyes, and those things don’t even hurt.

And as for the mystery of Chloe, did we learn too much too soon? I think the two strange references of Chloe–especially the one that references her teeth or mouth–were great. They should have stopped it at that. Once Pops kept going on and on about it, I started to feel like they were beating a dead horse.

Plus, finding out that the newest arrival was Chloe, well, that just didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to feel like she was an innocent bystander for a few more episodes before discovering (with a surprise!) that she had something up her sleeve. I actually believed her as a weirdo girl who would use her inheritance to open a soy candle shop.

Finally, the scene where Pops chopped off his hand. That would have been fantastic, if that scene hadn’t been promoted months and months ago. It’s disappointing to have that spoiled.

But ultimately, I’m still intrigued, and I am going to see the next few episodes (if only just to see what was so bad about them). I will say that I did start out hoping for the best for the show, and now I’m expecting the worst, so who knows what bias I’m carrying into the episodes, but we’ll see.

What did you think?

Two things I’m watching this week

In case you’re tired of the same ol’, same ol’, this week has some brand new things you can check out–and trust me, I will be.

First thing’s first, we’ve got a brand-new One Tree Hill tonight to start us off with the final four episodes of the season. Since this show’s on the bubble and this might be your last chance to watch, I’d highly suggest you do so–and then let the CW know about it. (Twitter’s always a great way to do that.)

image from poptower.com

Now sure, this show is certainly one of the most over-the-top series on TV (excluding some reality shows), but the promo certainly is tantalizing. Come on, Skills punching Mouth for kissing his (ex?) girlfriend (could this be what sends Antwon Tanner to jail Skills away for good?), a psycho tennis player wanting to steal Clay from Quinn…and that’s just the new stuff! I’m looking forward to it; you should, too.

Ok, so that’s an oldie but goody, but what if you want something really new? A premiere, perhaps? Well, how about Happy Town, the newest drama from ABC that premieres this Wednesday at 10/9c?

image from about.com

Now, if you haven’t heard the basic premise, don’t let the name deceive you. This town has seen a fair bit of darkness, including a series of unsolved kidnappings years before. When a new crime hits the town, everyone’s out to find out who the illusive “Magic Man” is.

I can’t wait to see this one. It’s just dark enough to pique my interest, and it’s got a great cast to boot! I’ll follow Amy Acker anywhere, really, with or without her Dollhouse scars. I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

So what do you think? Is there anything else you’re planning on watching this week? Other than the new episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, of course, but I figure that’s a given. Haha.

It’s Summer-time in the ‘Dollhouse’

I know you all heard the rumors that Joss Whedon was trying to get Summer Glau to be in an episode of Dollhouse. And I’m sure a lot of your were all for it (after all, I was).

Well, Joss Whedon seems to have one-upped you. Not only is she appearing in an episode, but Summer Glau is joining the cast of Dollhouse as a recurring character. Summer will play Bennett, a Dollhouse employee who shares a secret past with Echo.

It looks like we’ve got a good number of badass yet talented brunettes in the cast now: Eliza Dushku, Amy Acker, Summer Glau. And those are just naming the obvious!

So what do you think? Are you ready to see Summer in Dollhouse? Are you disappointed she’s not a doll? Though, honestly, who’s really to say she’s not after we outed Whiskey…

Anyway, looks like we’ve got an exciting season ahead of us. Don’t forget, the new season starts on Friday, September 25, at 9:00. Take that, Friday night death slot.

image from reporter.blogs.com

image from reporter.blogs.com

Dollhouse: The future is dark

KT and Raked take on the unaired episode of Dollhouse, and without intention, actually have different points to make about the stellar episode. Check out KT’s post, and Raked’s is below.

DOLLHOUSE: 1.13 “Epitaph One”

Bear with me. I wrote this entire post last night, only to have it disappear from my drafts. Sigh.

I knew a little about this episode before it aired–that it was in the future in an apocalyptic time. For some reason, I misunderstood the idea of “apocalyptic,” because I thought it was more of a wartime area of the world and less widespread. Boy, was I wrong.

Imprinting has caused a war in the world, and we have our very own Felicia Day trying to find a safe haven. As much as I was looking forward to seeing Felicia Day in this episode, I can’t say she was the standout actor in the episode. That honor gets split between Amy Acker and Fran Kranz, for the reasons I’m about to say below.

It’s amazing what Joss Whedon does to Amy Acker. We all saw her transformation in Angel, playing basically the polar opposite of the role she was originally cast. Here again she’s playing two roles: Dr. Claire Saunders and Whiskey. And really, she was brilliant.

Haunting. So haunting. I mean, just imagine that to save herself–and any others that came by–she gave up her sanity to become Whiskey. Knowing that she would actually have lost her sanity long ago, she gave up the only person (well, imprint) that she’s ever known. And even Whiskey seemed scarred by the loneliness. The way she stood by herself in that room. The hollowness in her eyes. She’d been beaten down.

And the end. Somehow, Amy Acker can be so haunting and beautiful at the same time. When she gassed the Dollhouse, then just sat there to watch and let herself die, too. I mean, that one last image was just so beautiful. But the sadness that came with that image was almost tangible.

But what about Fran Kranz? If you know my Dollhouse posts, you know that while I enjoy Topher, I don’t necessarily think all that much of him. I mean, he’s fine.  He’s the humor of the show, of course. So far, we haven’t seen all that much else of him.

Until this episode. Man, when he is in his bunker, of sorts. The craziness he showed–regressing to a childlike state. It was heartbreaking. And sadly, even then, he couldn’t turn his mind off. It continued on as he circled round and round and realized that you could imprint the masses–quicker, faster, more efficiently! As his mind revealed more and more that the technology could do…and then he realized the cause of the world today, and how he played a part of it. It was intense and heartbreaking. It was an amazing scene. And to see that Adelle even had a reaction to it–she with the coldest heart of all–you couldn’t imagine what they must have gone through for her to change so drastically.

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

New Renewals and Poll Results

What a busy Friday night we had! First, of course, we heard that Dollhouse has been renewed, though the formal announcement won’t be until Monday. Joss Whedon has commented on the renewal, and it’s true! This was a really big long-shot here, and I’m very surprised that they said yes, but I’m happy!

Not only that, but Castle was renewed. Plus, Amy Acker’s new pilot Happy Town has been picked up. It’s been a very nice weekend for the Whedonverse.

The only downside to me is that Scrubs was also renewed. I really wanted this show to rest in peace after its fantastic finale. Others aren’t quite as disappointed as I am–at least it’s a funny show–but I just think such a great finale as only a season finale (especially since Sarah Chalke and Zach Braff will be around for six episodes) is just a waste, and I’m afraid that the following season will just bring it down from such a high note.

Anyway…at least people aren’t out of jobs.

So what about my poll? I figure I should post my results now, seeing as some of our “bubble shows” have just been renewed. Keep in mind, these aren’t very representative or true to life. Forcing people to choose only one show when so many people are worried about bubble shows makes one tend to vote for their favorite shows on the bubble. Plus, with grabbing only my readers, my readers on Twitter, and my personal friends on Facebook, you don’t get exactly a perfect sampling of the populate. But it was still fun.

So let’s look first at the complete list of shows suggested for coming back in the fall (click on each graph to see a larger version):

All Shows AnsweredAs you can see, Dollhouse and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were the top two, followed by Chuck. I think that’s not a huge surprise–especially since so many people I’m connected to are in the Whedonverse.

What surprised me is that next up are some shows that have been long gone. I mean, multiple votes for All in the Family? Seriously? But it’s good to know that Castle and How I Met Your Mother are up there, too (again, shows from the ‘verse).

But let’s look at this more realistically. I’m going to take out the shows that have been long gone and cancelled. Here we go:

A Better LookSo, now you see that our Whedonverse shows really are on top. And then come some good favorites. Honestly, I’m surprised that Lost didn’t get more votes, but like I said, I think people were more worried about the bubble shows. I did get a lot of people saying that they chose one show to save but would choose How I Met Your Mother overall. That’s nice.

It’s good to see The Unusuals on there, too, but I’m disappointed that more people didn’t say Kings. Kings on Twitter are really trying as hard as they can to spread the word about renewal. I wish it was a little stronger!

Show TypesFinally, just to prove I’m not crazy, here’s how it breaks down with shows that were on the bubble at the time of the poll, shows that were safe or already renewed, and the long gone.

All that purple means that people really care about their bubble shows. But then again, there were a lot this year. I mean, even Bones was on the bubble (has that been renewed yet?Update: Just got renewed!).

Anyway, the poll was fun. Let me know if there are any other poll suggestions you have. Next year, this should be even more fun. Who knows what shows will be on the air then? And maybe more people will be on Twitter or reading this blog so I can get a better sampling!

And thanks to everyone who participated!

UPDATE: Just heard via Twitter that The Unusuals was not renewed. I’m heartbroken. :-( Why, ABC, why?

Stop trying to freak me out!

So the big question is this: Will Dollhouse be renewed for a second season?

Well, will it? Will it??

Only FOX knows. I know that the series seems to be hitting its stride, and while I’m loving it, I’ve read some other bloggers who are still not convinced. I know that Joss Whedon is DAH MAN, but apparently other bloggers think that he’s God and he’s not living up to his full potential.

With Easter coming up, I’m not analyzing that too much.

But anyway, people seem to have insanely high expectations. Now, to me, I think the twists and turns of the show are clearly awesome. I don’t know entirely what’s coming next. Others, apparently, want a miracle. I don’t know what will convince them that this show is still awesome.

But at least they’re still watching and still writing. I guess the question is whether the numbers are high enough to make Dollhouse come back to another season.

But we know all that! Where’s the news there?

Well, the news is that actors from the show seem to be signing on for other pilots and projects. We heard a while ago about how Amy Acker has signed on to be in Happy Town. But she’s more of a minor character in Dollhouse (though many people would prefer she be bigger, including myself). She can either easily disappear or she can possibly juggle both.

But what about our favorite Agent Ballard, Tahmoh Penikett, who has signed on to be in SyFy’s Riverworld, according to TV Squad? It’d be hard to have the show without him. TV Squad suggests,

This is either a sign that Dollhouse is destined for only one season or Tahmoh Penikett’s character of Paul Ballard is not going to survive beyond the first season. I’m hoping it is more of the latter than the former.

Personally, I don’t think it’s that easy. I have full faith that SyFy is going to have some weird filming schedule so that he can do both. Or, since it’s a movie event, he’ll just be missing in action during the show’s usual filming hiatus.

So my point is to stop trying to freak me out! I have full faith that Dollhouse can and will return. We just need to make sure the numbers reflect its popularity. I mean, it’s still got larger DVR numbers (well, as far as I’ve heard), so there is an interest.

Hi, I’m Raked, and I’m pro-Dollhouse. I have faith.

DISCLAIMER: Sorry if this was a large jumbled post. I just get very up in arms when I think of possible cancelation of wonderful shows. And if you didn’t notice now, please note that all the references to faith alluded to George Michael and the recent cancelation of Eli Stone.

This is letting go.

DOLLHOUSE: 1.08 “Needs”

KT is off getting hitched this weekend, which means we’ve only got one Dollhouse post for you. Now’s the time tell us whether you prefer one or two (or KT over Raked, either/or!).

As far as last night’s episode goes, it looks like there were a lot of mixed reviews. Some people loved it and some people hated it. I, for one, quite enjoyed it.

It reminded me of Buffy‘s “Showtime” in season 7, where you found out after the fact who came up with the plan–and that it was, in fact, a plan the entire time. Only this time, we got hints and clues, but it was only in the end that we found out that our very own good doctor is the one that realized that the dolls needed closure, and that this would be the best way to allow it, as frightening as it could be.

What I liked the most about the episode, though, was that it wasn’t just a story about Echo. In fact, I almost found Echo’s storyline to be the least intriguing until you found out that she did find some information in that manila folder–information that she then tried to share with Ballard via phone. I also liked her encounter with Topher, but it was Topher’s fear that got me more intrigued than anything in that scene. The fact that one small error–if a mind isn’t 100% completely wiped–could kill someone by making their head implode. The science must be exact.

Of course, in his case, it wasn’t wiped at all, which made the imposion that much worse, but fortunately, we didn’t have to see that.

More so, it was the development of Sierra, Victor, and November that had me the most intrigued. And the fact that there is more than just one reason that you end up as a doll, other than crossing the company. The scariest of all was in the case of Sierra, who was sold into the Dollhouse just so she could later be hired as a sex slave–all because she wouldn’t sleep with the man in the first place. I was very excited to hear that Vincent Ventresca would be in this episode–I’m a fan of Boston Common–but after seeing him, I’m horrified. This all just made Sierra’s storyline so much sadder, considering how she’s been hurt sexually, even after becoming a doll.

But then there’s the other side. Those who really do volunteer, like in the case of November. This was just heartbreaking to see, that she had a daughter who was dead. She went on such a powerful search, only to end up at a gravesite. We can only assume that she joined the Dollhouse to escape the pain. (Of course, there’s always time for Whedon to tell us otherwise–that maybe her daughter was killed for a sinister reason that landed her in the Dollhouse before or after the death.)

And then there’s love. Tonight’s episode was really the first episode that we could really start a culture of shippers out there, namely for Victor and Sierra. But can love surpass memory? It’s hard to tell. In one sense, it seemed that it could. After numorous wipes, Victor still has feelings for Sierra, and Sierra notices that he waits for her every night in the pods. Just the way that Victor remembered her and that his love was his unrequited need.

But then again, after they went back to their doll states, Victor didn’t wait for Sierra anymore. He went straight to his pod and went to sleep. It was almost heartbreaking in its simplicity.

I must say, though, that this episode did have some fantastic shots and moments. As much as it was advertised in the promo, the mass exodus of the dolls, along with Echos fall to slumber, was really intriguing.

Speaking of, I really hope we get more of Amy Acker’s Dr. Saunders. Her speech at the end, about how Echo was really releasing all of the dolls to a terrible place as opposed to freedom was really a turning point in that character. She clearly sees these dolls as children, things she should care for and protect. But she also sees it as it is. They’re fragile, so what really is freedom to her? Is she pro dolls or not? I really hope to see her develop.

Was blind but now she sees…everything? Part 2.

Looks like this episode brought out a lot of thought in Raked and KT, so we’ve got a two-parter post on our hands! Read below for the second half, aka, KT’s thoughts.

DOLLHOUSE: 3.05 “True Believer”

KT:

That was a fun hour of television, but analytically, I’m of two minds.

Nitpick:  Echo went through what Saunders described as “brain surgery” and is ready to go in 24 hours?  No recovery time there?  And how exactly was that camera implanted in her eye such that a good smack to the head knocked it out of alignment or knocked the connection loose or whatever it did.  I know a little bit about Lasix and cateract surgery and how the eye works, and it wasn’t helping me.  The technology in this episode required a lot of disbelief suspension.

On the other hand, I thought that Eliza Dushku did a great job as the blind religious fanatic.  I’ve heard complaints that all her characters are too much like Faith, and I thought this was a good departure from that.  That said, once she regained her sight, the persona seemed too… normal.  I think the script was as much to blame (maybe more) as the acting, but she seemed to lose the “I know I am the chosen of God” kind of inner glow that helps to make that kind of fanatical character interesting, regardless of blindness.

Nitpick:  It remains unclear to me why Jonas was collecting that stash of weapons.  Yes, he foresaw problems with outsiders, but he also seemed very protective of his flock’s innocence.  I’m not convinced that he would ask them to take up arms.  So… why all the guns, exactly?

On the other hand, finding that the cult really is benign and has been set up by a lawman with a grudge was a nice twist.  As an extension of Raked’s comment about impressions being dangerous, I think we’re also looking at the danger of taking things too literally or too simplistically.  The scrawl on the back of the grocery list was not what it appeared to be, and Jonas’s reliance on the literal truth of the Old Testament story only worsened a dangerous situation.

Sadly, the way the ATF agent went about satisfying his grudge only seemed to prove what Jonas had been saying about the wickedness of the outside world.  The clear parallel this week is between the compound and the Dollhouse:  each is a bastion of innocence, security, and serenity for its inhabitants, but is run by folks who are far more worldly.  Folks who are no strangers to breaking the law — only difference is that Jonas was caught and did time whereas the Dollhouse has friends in high places.  Like this Senator person.  Want to bet that he’s one of the people leaning on Ballard’s higher ups, trying to get him to drop this Dollhouse business.

But in both the compound and the Dollhouse, there’s trouble in paradise.  We’ve seen Echo and Sierra start to bond, but now perhaps we’ve seen why Victor is our third “bison” — he’s got a crush on Sierra.  (And really, who can blame him?  She’s adorable.)

Which is all very well, but the scenes between Topher and Saunders bugged the heck out of me.  Topher clearly has all the emotional maturity of a thirteen-year-old.  “Man reaction,” seriously?  Do he and Saunders have a romantic past that makes this so awkward?  And I’m starting to wonder if she’s part Vulcan for all the emotion she shows.  I don’t mind that, if there’s a character reason for her to be that way, but I want to know what it is!  I saw season 5 of Angel, so I know it’s not that Amy Acker is a poor actress.

Speaking of Paul, his catching up to the scene of Echo’s latest escapade was an improvement in the effort to bring the two plots together, but it also kind of felt like a cross over episode of Dollhouse and The Paul Ballard Show.  Maybe next week (guessing from the promo) will start to pull these threads together.