See with eyes unseen

FRINGE: 1.19 “The Road Not Taken”

Wow. Walter just left with The Observer! What does this mean? And is Nina Sharp dead? Who was behind the mask?

I think we can easily say that Fringe is gearing up for a kickass finale. With all the twists and turns here, I think that we’re in for some fantastic surprises.

By the way, isn’t it sweet that Peter made a device so Walter can listed to his ruined records?

Anyway, back to the plot at hand, this episode was all about spontaneous combustion (kinda) and William Bell. And Olivia. Now that Olivia’s tests as a child have been revealed and activated, we’re seeing all sorts of new things from her. For one thing, she is apparently seeing visions. And not happy visions, either. Death. Destruction. The unfun kind.

And they appear to be helping. At least a little. They led them to the other firestarting victim (yes, that was Rose Tyler from Life on Mars, if you’re wondering). To be honest, the episode itself sounded like it was stolen a little bit from Heroes, with a fire starter that needs to control her powers. But the way it’s interweaved with what we’ve already learned–that is something worth watching.

So what’s in store? I have no answers. I believe the hunt for Walter will be on, but why does the Observer want him? And Walter willingly went, which means he knows something he’s not telling us.

I did thoroughly enjoy seeing the interaction between Walter and Olivia, though. His comment about not realizing you’re going crazy–it was sad. My heart really goes out to Walter these days. Now that he’s tapped into his guilt, he seems so much more like a delicate child, not just a crazy man. He needs protection, which makes it so much worse that he left with the Observer. Who knows what he’s going to face.

I don’t really know what else I can really say other than speculation and spoilers. All I know is that in the coming weeks, I don’t think any of us will want to take our eyes off the TV.

ABC serves up sloppy seconds

My God. When will ABC stop?

I believe I’ve mentioned how ABC has turned a one-man adoption agency. If only TV shows were children, we would no longer need foster care.

It’s not that it really bothers me that networks adopt other shows that have been cancelled. I mean, if that were the case, we would have lost the final two seasons of Buffy.

(I guess for some people, that would be a good thing, but I enjoyed season six…and parts of season seven. If only UPN hadn’t adopted Kennedy.)

Anyway, we all remember how ABC has adopted Scrubs for its final season. Of course, then it became a question as to whether it would be its final season. (Sidenote: Is that still up in the air? I certainly hope it’s their final season. As much as I like the show, it’s lived out its time.) And I was fine with that because I figured it was a special case and I knew the creator wanted to sign it off in his way and the writer’s strike really messed with that, so there you go. ABC gets it. We’re happy.

But apparently, ABC won’t stop there. First they get Surviving Suburbia from the CW (I think the jury’s out on whether that’s a good move or not). Now, they have their sights set on The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Now, I’m not a Christine fan. I don’t find anything wrong with it; I just haven’t watched much of it. I think that they’ve got some great characters in it, and that by moving it to Wednesday nights, CBS probably signed its death certificate, but I don’t know enough to really say yes or no. Speculation, that’s all it is.

Well, apparently now ABC wants it. What’s funny is, it’s not cancelled yet. CBS hasn’t made a decision. According to TV Squad, this happened last year, too. And at the last minute, CBS decided not to cancel.

Dude, what’s up with you, ABC? Can’t you come up with your own programming? I mean, you’ve got Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. You don’t have any other creative individuals?

Oh, that’s right. Why be creative when your best shows are cancelled one after the other? Why not just find someone else’s creativity and profit off that?

After the cancellation of Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, and Life on Mars, it’s probably pretty clear that creativity isn’t what ABC’s looking for. So they’re gobbling up other shows, I suppose. Even ones from ten years ago. Cupid, anyone?

Bah. I want some real shows on the air. Not sloppy seconds.

Strangely enough, this wasn’t supposed to be a bitter post. I was just going to share the news. Apparently, though, there’s more to say. Are the networks recently angering you? Are you still annoyed at ABC for your favorite shows’ quick end? Please share.

I can’t be the only one.

Parks and Recreation: It’s the pit.

PARKS AND RECREATION: 1.01 “The Pilot”

I should preface my post with saying that I went into this show with a negative attitude. I really wasn’t enthusiastic about it. I just felt like it was another Office, and to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Amy Poehler.

I’m not saying I don’t like Amy Poehler, but I’m not a huge fan like many others out there.

But my lackluster attitude was greeted with a lackluster show. I should mention that I broke my usual rules and actually read a review before it aired, so I knew a little of what to expect. And they were dead on.

Basically, it’s The Office with less funny. I find that one of the weakest characters that can be made in television is the “pissed off guy.” You know that character that’s just mean and angry but you never find out why? It’s a one-dimensional guy, and you’re just supposed to accept that he’s just always pissed off. And he’s funny that way. Or a major obstacle that way.

An example of a pissed off guy that comes to mind is Gene from Life on Mars. He’s just pissed off. And it’s funny and serious at the same time. Of course, as the show went on. you found out that he had more dimension. But that’s why there was weakness at the beginning of the series. He was just playing the pissed off guy.

I’m not saying that Tom in Parks and Recreation is completely the pissed off guy, but he’s pretty close. He has no levels. He’s just there and bored and rather mean. He’s irritated that he gets put on different tasks. He’s a pissed off version of Jim from The Office. But see, we knew why Jim was bored–or at least he had quips about it. We’ve got nothing here.

Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider him pissed off except that he’s placed next to Amy Poehler, who’s the happiest person on earth. And I don’t mind watching her, if it felt like she had more material to work with.

Not that the plot was bad. I think that they found a decent plot for this show. I’ve heard people wonder if it can last that long, though, with this plot. I think it eventually can. If you’ve ever seen any public repair projects, there are always problems and delays (hell, I’m from the city of the Big Dig). So it can go on, but will it grow stale?

And what about Rashida Jones? I enjoyed her in the show, though she seemed rather flatline. I mean, we’ve seen her in other movies and TV shows, and we know she has some sort of range. Again, I think it comes back to weak material. There was nothing that really grabbed me about her. And honestly, she said she’s a nurse, and the only reason they gave you to believe that is because she wore scrubs once. I mean, for someone who is basically a caretaker of someone with two broken legs, you’d think that’d be brought up.

And what about her boyfriend–he’s the typical jerk, another weak character in TV. I can’t imagine why such a beautiful girl is with such a jerk. It’s not the same dynamic as Pam and Roy. I mean, Pam’s attractive, but she’s shy. And at times, you could see a soft side to Roy–or at least believe that if they were engaged for three years, maybe the shine has worn off but they’re comfortable. But they had a townie feel and you believed it. I didn’t believe Rashida’s relationship.

The highlight of the episode was seeing Loudon Wainwright III’s cameo. If he appears in every episode, I’ll keep watching. But I don’t think we’re that lucky.

A cat, a cop, and a hooker walk into a precinct…

THE UNUSUALS: 1.01 “The Pilot”

Thank you for bringing Amber Tamblyn back to television. I’ve been a huge fan since Joan of Arcadia (and yes, I’m still bitter about that cancellation).

Last night’s The Unusuals was a hit, in my opinion. It was nutty, it was serious, and it was intriguing. It’s all about secrets, and what you know might not be the whole story.

We start with Shraegar’s promotion, bringing her to a brand-new precinct with no time to even change out of her undercover hooker attire. Enter our cast of unusuals, who each have their own stories that, hey, Shraegar is secretly hired to find out.

Enter intrigue. It’s not just about getting to know her new coworkers. She needs to know what’s going on beneath the surface, especially with her new partner. We already know some stuff: theft, cancer, 42-year-old death. It seems like not that bad a gig, except for the fact that her predecessor seemed to have the same job and was found dead in a park.

But the show’s not as dark as it sounds. I mean, sure, there’s investigating a death, but then we had Banks and Delahoy trapping a suspected feline-killer in a cop car with cats in order to get a confession. There’s the comedic aspect as well.

Personally, I have to give the show kudos. It’s hard to have a successful pilot when there are so many characters to keep up with. Sure, at the end of the day I had to look on IMDB to remember their names, but they actually did a great job of distinguishing people as three-dimensional characters without confusion or leaving a man behind. That takes talent.

Overall, I’ll keep watching. I think this was a great series opener and we definitely have a lot to learn. Like will Banks make it to 43? How did Delahoy survive those bullets (he seems very capable at avoiding certain death, ignoring that whole cancer thing)? And does Shraeger have more to hide?

Plus, I see kindred spirit in Banks. Maybe it’s because I’m paranoid or just the fact that he can actually pull off a bullet-proof vest 24/7, but I really like him. There’s this vulnerability I’m instantly loving and want to befriend.

Anyway, I’m looking foward to seeing more. And hey, if they had to get rid of Life on Mars (bitterness, bitterness), at least they replaced it with something decent, and not more reality TV.

I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.

LIFE ON MARS: 1.17 “Life Is a Rock” (Series Finale)

I have to agree with Harvey Keitel: Jason O’Mara’s the one I’ll miss most of all. I’m in a terrible state of general depression because this show has ended. And because I’ve spent the last 12+ hours analyzing it since it ended.

I should probably warn you that if you haven’t watched quite yet, I’m now going to spill the spoiler ending that we all witnessed last night.

You have to take into account that this show as probably not meant to end this way. True, they might have been leading up to a “Spaceman” discovery (after all, there were a number of Mars rovers throughout the series), but they probably had to trim down a story arc into the last two episodes, so it probably wasn’t meant to be quite so sudden.

So what’d you think of the end? It was definitely a surprise. I knew they wouldn’t got the British route. That just seemed too…I can’t say predictable because many people don’t know what happens. But an American audience wouldn’t accept it, and if you looked it up on the Internet, you’ve just spoiled an ending. They had to be original.

But what’d you think? Certainly original. In the end, Sam “Spaceman” Tyler was indeed a spaceman–an astronaut in 2035. And you were there. And you and you. If you didn’t catch that Harvey Keitel’s quote above was from The Wizard of Oz, you’d certainly notice it then. In the end, Gene turned out to be Sam’s–2B’s–father. The rest were friends and coworkers. And Windy, as we guessed, was not real. She was a machine.

If you’re following The Wizard of Oz references, by the way, you might notice that the wind took Dorothy to Oz, much like Windy guided Sam wherever he went.

So in the end, it was kinda a happy ending, right? Life was but a dream. 2B took on the personal of a 2008 cop–sort of a virtual reality while the team headed to Mars (how appropriate)–but a meteor shower caused a glitch that made Sam go back to 1973 with his 2008 “memories.” Windy, our favorite figment of our imagination was actually the mechanism keeping Sam alive.

Here we got our answer. Just as Detective Morgan said. But then again, is it a happy ending? All that we knew was lost. The characters that were do strongly developed–the ones that we and Sam both grew to love–are not the ones left in the end. It wasn’t so much that he hopped back into 2008 and had to track down the elderly versions of his friends. And the option to stay in 1973 isn’t available either.

It all just disappeared. I shouldn’t be surprised, you know. There was always that option that he was in a coma in 2008, and he’d just wake up someday to find out it all wasn’t real. I should be happy to know that in some way, those people are still alive, even if they look different, have different jobs, talk differently, and are in 2035.

But they aren’t really alive, are they? The big moment–Annie and Sam’s kiss–disappeared. Sam’s in love with Annie, but Annie isn’t the one standing in front of him in 2035. Did those feelings disappear with the dream? It certainly didn’t seem like it.

So it almost feels that all that we saw develop was lost. I was watery-eyed when No Nuts was finally promoted. We knew it would happen, but it was certainly great nonetheless. And I’m sure as cheesy as it was, even the guys were happy to see them get together in the viewing audience.

But I guess in the end, Ray was kinda right. All that Sam was looking to–some being above that could help him get home–wasn’t there. It was all machinery that took a wrong turn. He lives on a rock.  That’s really the only stability he had.

I think maybe that interpretation was too dark, though. In the end, 2B could go after the Annie brunette, and they could have their happy ending. Or he could always go back to sleep in his 1973 fantasy. And the fact that his father is Gene, aka Major Tom, not a murderous that was killed in front of him, well, that just makes it all the better. And hey, he was right: You’ve gotta make a home wherever you land.

Honestly, I think I could write a treatise if I actually analyzed this show in its entirety. And maybe I will. There will be a DVD release. I especially want to reread Gulliver’s Travels and compare to the show. After all, everything in that show seems to have some double meaning, right?

I guess in the end it’s hard to see it go. Not just because we’re saying good-bye to a show that rightfully belongs on the air, but because we’re saying good-bye to characters we’ve seen grow and develop into their best. Characters that were never really there at all.

This week’s a good one, for good and bad reasons

How odd. Such a big week coming at the end of March or the beginning of April. Shows ending. Shows coming back. And not even May Sweeps to boot!

First, let’s look at what’s coming back. Greek starts back up tonight. Sadly, the show seems to conflict with an already busy Monday lineup. I’m undecided whether I’ll be watching. I never finished last season either, so not sure what’s happening. If anyone out there fills me in, maybe I’ll drop in on the premiere. I do enjoy the show.

My real excitement lies in My Boys, which is back tomorrow night! Will Bobby get married? Will he and PJ get together? Will they even be friends? This is always a fun show, so I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Now for the bad news. Wednesday, one of my favorite shows ends. That’s right. It’s the series finale of Life on Mars. And you best be watching. I’d love to hear your predictions. Do you think it’s really nano robots like the last episode suggested? Will he go home? Will he stay? Personally, I don’t think they’re going the British route–I don’t even think the American audience would accept that. I don’t know the reason that he’s there, but I have a feeling he’ll end up with the choice to go back or stay, and he’ll choose to stay, therefore also staying with Annie. But maybe they’ll change it up and surprise me. Tha’d be nice. Anyway, I’m definitely looking forward to it, though I’ll be horribly, horribly depressed once it finishes up.

And then the bitter sweet. At long last on Thursday we’ll see the final episode of ER. I’ve been TiVoing the last few episodes, and I haven’t seen any of them yet, but I might go ahead and watch the show live on Thursday night. And if you haven’t heard, Alexis Bledel is going to be on this episode–I’m picturing a full circle effect like when it was Carter’s first day, this time with her. It should be good, I’d imagine. After all, it has a lot to live up to, and I can’t imagine they would fail.

Anyway, this week of TV has definite ups and downs, so be sure to check out the old, the new, and the (soon-to-be) gone.

When reality breaks down

LIFE ON MARS: 1.16 “Everyone Knows Its Windy”

What a strange headline, considering that our leading man of Life on Mars isn’t exactly in the most stellar relationship with reality to begin with. But this past Wednesday, reality did seem to break down on our Sam.

The frustration and lamentation that this show is ending is bearing down hard on me, I must say. On the one hand, I don’t think this episode would have been in existence–at least not yet–if it weren’t ending, but this episode really showed how great this show can be. Perception and belief play a huge part in our daily lives, and when you don’t even know what’s real, how can your perceptions be true?

This week there was a murder. Wait–let’s backtrack. What we thought was a murder (or two) last week turned out to be plumb luck. Chris and Ray were both shot in point blank range. Fortunately, Ray was merely grazed, but Chris had a rough ride. Have no fear: Our sympathetic kill lives to see the last episode. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he’s fine.

But it doesn’t mean our police squad is. Jimmy McManus finds himself big and dead, and the police squad is the number one suspect. Most of all, Sam seems to be the killer. Or does he?

Sam has an alibi. Well, sorta. Man, I could kick myself for being such a slacker in my Life on Mars posts back when it started, because somewhere in the second and third episode, I told JC  (and he will agree that I said this!) that Windy wasn’t real. I think in the third episode, there was something amiss. Something about how she just happened to show up in the most opportune moment that make me think she wasn’t real.

And now? Well, I guess ultimately we don’t really know for sure, but there seems to be something telling us that, no, Windy’s not a real person. She’s a figment of Sam’s imagination. Ironic, eh? Since this entire 1973 could be a figment of his imagination, as Annie so blatantly put it when she said, “If you don’t think I’m real, then you won’t care when I jump with you” (or something to that effect).

Was jumping off that roof the way to get back home? Or a ploy by the real killer to get Sam out of the way? Was Agent Morgan really the man on the phone? Certainly, that couldn’t have been in the police file. But is he part of the group keeping him in 1973? Sam was the only one who could hear the references to 2008 (the joke about the fourth Raiders of the Lost Ark movie was great). Sam was also not in the most stable state of mind, which means that what he hears might not necessarily be what was truly being said.

But then again. as we’ve learned from Life on Mars, they don’t share things unless they need it. So it looks like maybe the agent did have a part. I just can’t imagine that Sam missed his chance to go home. I have a feeling home was not his destination if he had jumped.

So what is it? Nano robots? Something gone sour that was implanted in Sam’s head? At this point, do we really want Sam to go home?

Sigh. Lamentation is kicking in. Next week’s the last episode, so I guess we’ll get our answers then. I hope you watch. I suppose I’ll close it with a final thought from Entertainment Weekly about the finale last week:

Will Sam make it back to the present? And how ticked off will he be to discover they canceled his show while he was gone?

Methinks, probably just as pissed as the fans.

And then for the shocking ending!

LIFE ON MARS: 1.15 “All the Young Dudes”

I hope you didn’t turn off Life on Mars mid-show. I really really hope you didn’t. Because the ending was something to see.

I have to give it up to JC this week. Once again, he’s reminded me that the show is coming on when I’ve completely forgotten. Shout out to ABC for helping us forget about this little gem by moving it to a new night. [end sarcasm]

Anyway, last night we got to see Sam sport an Irish accent. Now, for those of you who don’t know, Jason O’Mara was born and raised in Dublin. That means, he has a real live Irish accent.

BUT I’ve heard people say that last night his accent was atrocious. So let’s analyze! Perhaps America has diminished his accent. Perhaps the director wanted him to have a “New-Yorker-faking-an-Irish-accent” accent. Perhaps critics are too picky.

Who cares! He’s from Ireland and that’s enough for me. Before the episode aired, I thought he was undercover in a Russian neighborhood (don’t know why I thought this) so Irish over Russian accents do me well. Plus, he’s 100% better than David Boreanaz was in Angel and Buffy, so I think we’re set.

The main plot itself didn’t sway me all that much. I felt bad for Annie, considering that we still have those unanswered feelings between these two–and then Sam went and slept with his old babysitter. Boo. Why can’t these crazy kids just get together?

However, we did meet Sam’s mom again, and I did appreciate that she remembered him as Skywalker (which I’d forgotten). And his talk with his younger self was interesting, just seeing the way the boy was changing as he grows older. Perhaps this is foreshadowing if Sam does make it home, considering that the world could be completely different based on this one conversation.

Speaking of, only two episodes left of this great show. Once again, let’s thank ABC for that.

But the end was the most shocking. I knew something must’ve been amiss with them following that car. I knew one would get shot. I did not think they both would, or so many times. Leaving them lying there, helpless, on the ground, I really wondering what happens next week. Supposedly, at least one is rushed to the hospital, but I can’t imagine they both make it through.

Who will it be? Chris: the sympathetic kill? Or Ray? Ray’s a bigger character, but that discussion of heaven could be his good-bye speech.

Either way, how can we possibly wrap this all up in two episodes?

Stewardesses or flight attendants?

LIFE ON MARS: 1.14 “Coffee, Tea, or Annie”

I had a flight this past weekend and after watching this week’s Life on Mars, boy, how the times have changed. Now, you get a seat, a seatbelt, a snooty flight attendant who won’t help you put your rolling suitcase in an overhead bin (I’m short, it’s hard), and you have to pay for a soda. Back then, you get polite service, a blanket handed to you, and if you want to pay for something, it’s sexual favors!

Not that I wanted that on my last flight.

Of course, there is the little problem of murder, but really, what could you do?

Obviously, the episode last night had its flaws. Mainly plot holes. Like how the New York police department had jurisdiction in the air. (Or the money to put people in the air.) Or how Annie’s mike when out, yet it was back on when the dudes in the car heard a scream. Or even that Annie looked just like the girl who was murdered.

But so what? It was unbelievable! If you’ll notice, we’ve put a guy from 2008 into 1973. That’s believable? Let’s roll with the punches.

I thought last night’s episode was great. I mean, it had some great one-liners (you know I’m a sucker for one-liners), and they really played with the Annie/Sam relationship. And Sam’s future. Was it just me or was Annie on the cover of that magazine at the end. Is Annie Sam’s guardian angel?

What blew me away, though, was how much Annie looked like Kate Hudson in that wig. Did anyone else notice this?

Anyway, it was just a fun episode. If you weren’t laughing, you clearly weren’t watching the show. I was intrigued and entertained–what a cop show should really be (take that, CSI!).

An episode like this really makes me sad again that the show is being cancelled. I think that something that can entertain, even if it’s not perfect, is something that needs to remain. Maybe the imperfections hold a purpose. Or maybe they don’t even matter. But I think something that doesn’t have to hammer down a point every episode–this plot hole means this! Sam is trying to find out why he’s there! Pay attention to this moment!–is actually successful. I mean, you’re still wondering why but you’re enjoying. And hey, isn’t that what Sam’s doing?

One last thing: Kudos to JC for reminding me that this was on last night. Once again, the change in timeslot has killed a show for me. I would have spent last night doing something frivolous, like sleeping.

My, oh, my! When will the reruns end?

It’s painful, honestly. Like last night. I sit down to watch some quality TV, and all that’s on is reruns. Well, unless I want to watch many reality series, which you know I never do (some exceptions do apply). Scrubs: rerun. Fringe: not even on (though if it was, I’m sure it’d be a rerun). Yes, Reaper was new, and kudos on that, but that’s only one hour out of many!

So what’s the deal? Why start a show back up in mid-January just to have it full of reruns through February and March? Well, it bugs me. I just assume that if you’re going to have us wait, why not make a winter hiatus longer as opposed to sticking two hiatuses (sp?) in one season. I mean, if you make a strong-enough cliffhanger in December, you’ll bring people back in February if they want to watch it long enough. Right now, we’re left with a sub-par last episode and we’re just waiting. Waiting.

I mean, think about it. I didn’t even care that The Office came back because I was so tired of waiting!

Sure, there are the new shows. The Dollhouses and the Reapers. But what about our faves?

Well, I’m here to tell you that they will come back! One day! Hopefully soon. Let’s take a look at some of our missing members in the Raked panel.

One Tree Hill: Back next week, folks! And it looks like a good one. But then again, they always seem to have very effective promos with tamer episodes. Hopefully, this one stands out. Looks like there’s trouble in paradise with Peyton and the baby.

Fringe: This one, we’ll have to wait a while. This isn’t back until April 7. Just under a month. This breaks my heart, actually. I’m afraid that people really will forget about this little gem, but what can you do? Blame FOX. Always, always blame FOX. (Of course, they did have to move production from NYC to Vancouver. Maybe that was the holdup.)

Scrubs: In the grand tradition of confusing the hell out of Scrubs fans, Scrubs is new next week! On Wednesday. At 8:00. That’s right. It’s moving from Tuesdays at 9:00 to Wednesdays at 8:00. If you’re following along on Mapquest, this poor show has switched time zones all over the continental NBC and is now island hopping on ABC’s archipelago.

Bones: New tomorrow! Sadly, since it moved from Wednesday night, I keep forgetting this is on. Fortunately, it’s been reruns! Therefore, it’s back and better than ever–or at least I’m hoping. It’s a procedural that I like, though, so I can’t really complain. It’ll be good either way, I predict.

Those might be the only ones that I’ve really been waiting on. I know there are other shows stuck in the rerun rut that Raked doesn’t cover, so if you want to know those dates, just drop me a comment below (the red box loves you).

As for newbies, don’t forget to catch The Unusuals on April 8. As excited as I am for it, it saddens me that it means Life on Mars will be finished by April 1.

If you don’t mind, I think we need to hold hands and whine.