Christmas Challenge: Sliders

SLIDERS: 3.12 “Season’s Greedings”

I told myself to review more dramas, and here I am. I’ve got sci-fi under my belt. I went to ol’ 1996 with an episode of Sliders.

Oh, consumerism. That’s what this episode fights in this episode. Ok, well, sure. There’s an actual plot. The team lands in a world that is filled with yuletide cheer — at least at first glance. But when Arturo is left with a child and the mother disappears, it become a case of reuniting mom and son. As it turns out, the mother lives and works in a mall in the sky that holds her captive because of awful debt. Why can’t she pay it off? Well, subliminal messaging keeps making her buy more and more.

Meanwhile, Wade has her own issues. She lands in the mall only to discover that one of the executives there is her own sister — of course, her sister from another world. Her father’s there, too, but neither of them know who she is. In this world, her mother and she died in childbirth; Wade never existed.

It’s a harsh reality for Wade. Seeing her family, even if they’re not the ones she knew, just makes her remember that this Christmas — as with all the others — she won’t be with her family, and she’s left lonely and sad.

But it’s not all unhappy. Wade gets to spend some quality time with her father and reveal the truth to her sister. Fortunately, her sister knew nothing of the subliminal messaging, as Quinn and the crew break open the case, only to get the man in charge arrested and all others freed. And hey, even Mysterious Mother gets the baby back.

What’s probably best about the episode is seeing Arturo as Santa Claus, telling Christmas tales and convincing children that greed and products are bad. It’s a strange position to put Arturo in. I mean, of course, he’s Santa — he’s the largest one of them all. But for a man of science, it’s strange to see the emphasis on miracle and belief come from him. If I recall, Wade was really the most spiritual of them all, but hey, I guess it fit the episode.

Anyway, it was a fun one to watch, so I’m glad I can include it on the list. Plus, Wade, Quinn, and Remy dressed as elves? Who would want to miss that?

Recommendation: Let’s be honest. This is season three of Sliders, when the show starts to go downhill. But hey, at least it’s Christmas. I’d say, if you’re a Sliders fan, go for it. If you’re just looking for Christmas material, there’s more out there.

Thursday Open Thread: DVD Recommendations

Sure, we’ve got our summer series. I mean, Burn Notice and Royal Pains are even premiering tonight, so that should keep you warm (get it? It’s a Hamptons/Miami joke!). But really, I’ve got to have a little more on my plate than just one or two shows a night. What about you?

What TV on DVD show do you recommend people watch this summer?

What show have you been watching that you desperately want people to check out? What show did you just recently discover?

This week, JC discovered Party Down, so that’s definitely been in rotation, but I even caught up with an old episode of Sliders earlier in the week. I must say, Party Down is better–at least when you start out at Sliders season four. I do want to try out Lost now that the series ended (no spoilers please!).

What do I recommend to you? Buffy, of course, but I’ll name some more in the comments.

What about you? What do you like that you want others to love? Or, is there a show you’ve heard about that you wonder if others recommend? Spill it all in the comments. And, once you take a gander through them, maybe check out some of the recommendations!

image from Yahoo! TV

Love the pink bowties.

Vampire Diaries: Betrayal by blood

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: 1.13 “Children of the Damned”

I’m not unaccustomed to flashbacks in vampire shows. After all, I watched both Buffy and Angel. But I must say, what I saw in this episode was actually really great.

I’m not saying other shows haven’t done a good job (though David Boreanaz’s accent was, at times, problematic), but I guess I just wasn’t expecting too much. I just figured Katherine had betrayed Anna at some point, and therefore, she’s bitter.

Everyone’s always bitter.

But it’s more than that. Who’s to say that Elena’s really a target? At this point, you could guess that Anna’s anger might just be aimed at Stefan (hurting Elena hurts Stefan), who did a great deal to put her mother in that tomb, whether he meant to or not. Further, we see now more than ever why there’s friction between Stefan and Damon. It’s not just that Stefan loved the same woman. It’s that Stefan sent this woman to her death.

It was actually pretty sad. Was anyone else surprised about how attached they grew to Katherine? It’s not that she was particularly likable, but for some reason, I still didn’t want her in that church on fire. I even felt for Pearl, as she was taken from the one man who she thought would give her a chance to run, considering his feelings.

My only question, though, is this: Was Anna a vampire when her mother was killed? Well, I don’t know. She certainly is now–and I must say, I loved watching the realization cross Damon and Stefan’s faces as they realized who Anna really was. But she seemed so much younger in the flashbacks, so it does make me wonder who really turned her. Was it her mother? Or someone else? That’s yet to be discovered, but at least she admitted to turning Logan. Who would have thought that she was the mysterious force behind the mayhem this season? A little girl.

But let’s move back to Stefan. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I’m becoming more and more of a Damon fan. So this, I must ask: Is anyone else getting bored with Stefan? There’s no development there anymore, now that Elena knows all and they’re in their honeymoon face. I’m afraid he’s going to be the next Action-Hero Quinn (Sliders reference) where his main duty is to rush in an save the day in every episode…and that’s about it. I did enjoy his discussion with Alaric, but beyond that, I really just wanted to see someone else on the screen.

Damon, on the other hand, commanded the screen. I adored his time in Elena’s kitchen, spending time with her family and brother (a little like Spike, but without the desperation). His expression when he said he wasn’t compelling Elena to tell the truth was fantastic, and his reaction in discovering that he really couldn’t trust Stefan and Elena was just great. I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

Btw, I totally knew that the book would be in the tomb. Not because the promos showed them digging, but because of the repeated line, “He’ll take it to his grave.” Once? Symbolic. Multiple repetitions? That’s just a play on words telling you where to go.

Finally, Bonnie. I kinda forgot about her dilemma, what with the big Elena cliffhanger ending, but poor Bonnie is held captive as well by Ben! My guess? She’ll be ok. I assume that Ben is kidnapping her so that she can actually say the spell to release the vamps in the tomb, but it’s still an unfortunate situation. Does she have her powers back yet? I can’t recall. But she must have something if she knew to get away from Ben–and as soon as possible!

So a big episode here after I just figured it’d be a lot of filler material. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

Recap Review: Sliders, “Fever”

SLIDERS: 1.02 “Fever”

I love Sliders. Well, I love Sliders up until the point that it because way too sci-fi and the creativity was lost. Actually, that was right around we lost the first of the four main characters on the show. To be fair, I haven’t actually seen most of seasons four and five, but I hear that’s probably a good idea. You tell me.

Anyway, “Fever” from season one is probably one of my favorite episodes. Actually, I have nine favorites from season one. (That’s a joke.) But really, “Fever” is one of those stand-out episodes. And no, it’s not just because the Quinn-Wade ‘shipper in me was buzzing. It’s actually a damn good premise.

A world without penicillin. Who would have imagined? Well, clearly the writers. In this world, there is no cure…yet. But until then, everyone has the Q, and everyone is dying. Sanitation is the number one word there, and if someone sees you coughing, well, you’ll most likely be taken from any public place you’ve entered.

I started thinking about this episode yesterday, when I was riding on the train next to a woman who couldn’t stop coughing. This was right after a discussion of whether sick people should be allowed on planes.

It’s kind of silly to consider that what’s going on today–the fear of swine flu and other illnesses–has got us sanitizing before we shake hands in church (and after, of course) and that as I sat on that train, I really wondered if it was worth being ultimately rude and moving to the other side of the train if I was just getting off in one stop anyway. The fact that we’re considering banning people from public places if they sneeze or cough the wrong way.

Sure, we’ve got penicillin, but could the world become the dimension Quinn and crew fell into? Arrested for illness and taken to special facilities to control it. Others going into hiding just so they can die in dignity? At least we’re not searching for Patient Zero yet…are we?

Ok, deep issues aside, the episode’s not as scary as it seems and definitely worth the watch. Do I really think that the physicist Maximilian Arturo could create a base version of penicillin? No. But you’re believing they’re traveling through dimensions, so suspend your disbelief for this one, too.

The episode overall just had such a sense of creativity and ambition. It really showed where the show could go. If one small thing changed, look how the entire world could develop?

Thursday Open Thread: Alcohol, Drugs, and Other Stuff

As a TV viewer, we’ve seen it all. I mean, we’ve seen people get killed, kidnapped, participate in dance competitions, flop in those dance competitions, and much much more. Heck, I’ve even seen a team of four different people jump in a wormhole to go to another dimension.

But the best part of watching all these scenarios is seeing them with, let’s say, impaired judgment. And that really brings us to our open thread!

What is your most memorable under-the-influence moments on TV?

When did you most enjoy seeing your favorite character acting out of character? This includes all performance-enhancing (or degrading) substances that might have influence on a character in a given episode, such as alcohol, narcotics…caffeine pills (oh yeah, you know Jessie would be called out).

But that’s not all. What about spells? Potions? I’d have to admit that Joss Whedon has given us some other “impaired” moments when he’s just taken memories away–all because of miscast spell. Talk about acting out of character.

So share them below. I’m so excited…to see what you have to say!

Fringe Season Finale: The geek-dar is pulsing

FRINGE: 1.20 “There’s More than One of Everything”

You wanted answers? They gave you answers. And boy were they neat.

If you didn’t narrow down that Peter was from another dimension before seeing his grave, they sure did get you there. That’s right, Walter’s son–his real son–died at age 7. He said that he went into a different universe to get something he lost, and that is the Peter we’ve come to know.

My assumption is that the original Peter died from illness at 7. Walter has said a few times that Peter was a sickly child, and he’s also made vast attempts to check Peter’s health now. Clearly, he’s hoping that this Peter won’t have the same fate.

But wasn’t it heartbreaking to see Walter try to reach out to Peter, hoping this one collected coins, just as his dead son did? It was so sad.

And I’m so glad it’s this instead of the idea that Peter is a clone of Walter, which was a rumor that was spreading. I think this idea is much more intriguing, seeing as now we get to find out even more about this Peter, the deceased Peter, and the possible ramifications of what this means for everyone.

Meanwhile, in the end we have Olivia stuck in said alternate reality. I knew something was up with Nina’s phone call. There were about 15 key phraser that you never fall for, the last one being, “Come alone.” But it does bring us to an intriguing turn, doesn’t it.

The entire episode, I was geeking out. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a Sliders fan. (Well, at least the first seasons.) The fact that there are other worlds that are on the same time continuum as ours, but something slightly different happened in history to make it different. In this case, we see that the alternate reality left the Twin Towers pristine.

My only geek complaint is that to accept the possibility of other dimensions, you have to accept the idea that there are an infinite number of these dimensions (hence the entire plot of Sliders). So it bugged me to know that Walter and Mr. Jones seemed to be focusing all their attention on this one–the one that William Bell was presiding in. However, maybe they’re just smarter than Quinn and narrowed down coordinates from the get-go.

Man, wouldn’t it have been awesome if the story hadn’t leaked that Leonard Nimoy would be William Bell? His appearance would have been that much more stunning.

Overall, fantastic episode. I think we’re really moving on this, and I can’t wait until fall to see where it’s going. Will Olivia get back? Will we end up in a world with multiple Walters, Olivias, and Peters?

And how will Peter react when he ultimately finds out the truth?

Goosebumps already.

Twilight News and Vampire Open Thread(ish)!

I was a very bad Raked last night, and I only watched 20 minutes of TV. That means The Unusuals and Scrubs are both living in my TiVo, so you’ll have to wait on those.

Found out today that there’s a new director for Twilight‘s third movie, Eclipse. It’s official this time. I know you all were hoping for Drew Barrymore, but no. I believe I identified that as a publicity stunt (and I still think it was), but it looks like now it will be…

[drumroll please]

David Slade! Who is David Slade? Well, he directed 30 Days of Night and Hard Candy. Nope, I didn’t see either of those. But apparently horror and monsters are not exactly new to him, so there you go. Read all about it.

Why do all these Twilight directors keep hopping around? I mean, we know why the first director left: money or timing or probably money. But now we have New Moon‘s Chris Weitz leaving after that movie’s said and done. Maybe it’s so that you’re not only known to be in the vampire genre.

And what about the vampire genre? Seems to be huge now, eh? First there was Buffy, then Angel. Moonlight had a short life right after Angel, and now TV has True Blood. Add in the CW’s plan to make a series from L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries, and you’re all set (personally, I’d much prefer a movie or series based on her Secret Circle, but that’s just me).

And of course Twilight. But those aren’t the only books. I’m not going to spend time running down the entire list (there are too many), but even the guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is going to be coming out with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (not kidding).

So what about vampires? Here’s where the “open thread” comes in, even though I kinda sorta chose a topic for discussion. I want to hear your thoughts.

  • Are you a Twilight fan? Books? Movie?
  • Best vampire series out there–TV or otherwise. (I’m personally curious about True Blood, as I don’t have HBO and have never seen it.)
  • Who’s your vampy hottie? Spike, Angel, Edward?
  • Are you even a vampire fan? What monster gets your mojo going?
  • Do you hate me now that I just said “vampy” and “mojo”?
  • And who’s your vote to kill them all! (I immediately think Buffy, but there’s Faith, werewolves, Mr. Sunlight, jealous ex…)

Anyway, have at it. Just click on that pretty red box below (scroll, it’s down there), and let me know. Like I said, I’m curious about True Blood, and I never saw Moonlight, so both of those would be good to hear about.

And anyone who remembers Sliders‘ episode “Stoker” gets a gold star. Though, really, I hope none of you out there do. It was a pretty bad episode.

Stupid stupid SyFy

I feel as though I should be recapping a show. Perhaps I should write about Kings last night (though I’m a wee bit trying to con JC into that one, more up his alley). Or catching up on Heroes and writing about last week (it’ll be a double post, methinks, reviewing last week’s and tonight’s episodes just found out it’s a rerun tonight, which gives me plenty of catchup time!).

I could write some stuff about Bones or 30 Rock, since I did catch up on those, but I don’t really know what to say about 30 Rock except that I think we all have our Liz Lemon pyro moments–just without the action. Bones, however, was exceptionally boring to me this week, so why even dwell on it?

So instead, I’m going to tell you a story about a network. And this network had a brand. And a following. And this network’s name was Sci Fi.

It made sense, this Sci Fi Channel, as it normally showed shows that were of the science fiction nature. And sure it branched out, as all wee tykes must do when they grow up.

And just as all wee tykes do when they grow up, they make stupid decisions in their teenage years. The network, which started up in 1992, is reaching the delicate age of 15, and with it, it’s changing its name.

To SyFy.

That’s right. Same name. Different spelling. Apparently, Sci Fi is too limiting to the network, and they want something that can help brand themselves a little better and allow them to expand their programming. You can read all about it here.

Now I’m not saying it’s stupid, but it is. I mean, if you’ve branded yourself in one way and want to change it, it’s a pretty big risk. Add to it the fact that you’re still called the same network name when spoken audibly (pronounced the same way, people), and it’s just dumb.

I don’t know. I always like Sci Fi with it’s reruns of Sliders and Firefly and its bad horror movies on Saturday morning. Horror movies aren’t science fiction, and they still fit in well.

I should probably mention that I don’t think this changes the programming, except that they can expand it, but maybe that’s yet to be seen, and we can’t draw conclusions yet.

But hey, what can you do? What’s your opinion? Are you for the new SyFy? Or do you want SyFy bye-bye?

Christmas Episodes for a Merry Christmas

To go along with my Non-Christmas Christmas Favorites, I’ve compiled a list of favorite Christmas episodes. Now, this is hard. And I don’t know how I did. I think in the end, it all came out a wee bit random, except for three of them that I knew just had to make the list. I think you’ll recognize one in particular.

But it was hard. With old sitcoms, there are a ton. Especially when by “old sitcoms” I mean the 1980s and 1990s. And the other thing is that I probably don’t remember a ton when I was little and since some haven’t been in syndication, I’m probably missing some killer episodes. And I’m skipping a lot of favorites that involve people dressing up as Santa and elves–there are just too many to keep up with. I mean, even Sliders had an episode where they dressed up like elves.

So first, some honorable mentions. As much as people would hurt to hear it, I have to call out Lizzie McGuire‘s “Xtreme Xmas”; I mean, it ended with Steven Tyler singing in a Christmas parade! Plus, there’s The Office‘s “Christmas Party” (not to be confused with this year’s terrible episode for Christmas). And The X-Files‘ “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas.” Enjoyable. Oh, and there’s the Home Improvement where they misspell “Noel” as “Leon.”

Now, for my favorites:

5. Eight Simple Rules: “All I Want for Christmas”

Why this episode? Katey Sagal sings. I love it when she sings. But the episode in general is great: Bridget deciding what is a fair gift for Kyle. Kerry trying to get puppies adopted. And Rory wanting…a chemistry set for a change. Meanwhile, Paul just tries to get everyone to come together for Christmas–the one thing teenagers don’t want. Very true to life, even for a sitcom (well, except maybe for everyone trying to help adopt dogs, but it’s still sweet).

4. Full House: “Our Very First Christmas Show”

I’m sure a lot of people out there know what it’s like: getting stuck in an airport for Christmas. But they make the best of it, and since it’s early in the show’s lifetime, it’s actually funny. Plus, Santa even arrives and gives everyone presents in the end. Sweet. And the old school computer add just that old touch.

3. Scrubs: “My Own Personal Jesus”

I get the impression that the first Christmas episode of any show is always the best. But this one’s great, mostly because of Turk’s religious journey throughout. It really has the feel of, well, Christmas–along with some fantastic Scrubs jokes.

4. The West Wing: “In Excelsis Deo”

While all the West Wing is getting ready for the holidays (including having the President sneak out of the White House to buy presents), Toby finds himself caring for a late veteran who is found in a park. The message is bittersweet, and I love hearing the story of Mrs. Landingham’s sons, even if it is so sad. It’s just such a great message at the time of Christmas to make your heart feel.

5. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: “The Christmas Show”

You know this one would make it on here. Not only is it hilarious (Nazi Santa?) but it reaches out to all those who suffered with Katrina in New Orleans. The final song of the show is just so beautiful. (Again, courtesy of YouTube–and they even took out the spoken parts for you.)

I found the gateway

LIFE ON MARS: 1.04 “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows”

So this episode was…how should I describe it? There were corrupt club owners/loan sharks. There were corrupt cops (as usual). There was Jim Croce. And of course, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll.

Most of all, there was Sam’s mom. Now, I’ve heard that we’re still following the British version of the show pretty much step by step here, so this isn’t new for the series. But I’m still surprised we’ve brought in Sam’s family so early. I guess we’re to assume that Sam’s purpose is to set his mother straight after all these years?

How heartbreaking! To know all your parents’ flaws when your memory of childhood was so–flawless. Well, until Sam’s father leaves, that is. But his mother never had any flaws that we knew of…till now.

But I feel like that’s a lame answer: Sam’s in 1973 to help his mom. There’s got to be more than that.

The question is whether Sam was there the entire time–in his past, too. We noticed that her crying scene in the end was the same as what Sam remembered. Does that mean 2008 Sam was there, preventing his mother from prostitution, in his own memory without his knowing it? Or does his changing history really not make too much of a difference? She would be crying either way, based on what she did or didn’t do. Maybe he wasn’t there afterall.

I’m personally still wondering what’s brought him here. He mentioned in this episode the idea of alternate dimensions (when he mentioned the physics book in his apartment), which reminded me of Sliders. Now, from what I know of alternate dimensions, the time is the same, wherever you are. (“Same planet, different dimesions–I found the gateway!”)

But Sliders, in its third season, showed a loophole. In “The Guardian,” Quinn and his fellow sliders find themselves in the late 1970s or early 1980s–breaking the bounds of the idea of alternate dimensions. It SHOULD BE the same year as when they slid, in this case, the 1990s. But here’s the trick: In this reality, time moves slightly slower so it’s technically the same time, but an earlier year.

Why do I bring this up? In this alternate reality, Quinn was able to meet and help his younger self, preventing a traumatic experience.

Are we finding similarities now? Sam and young Sam–can they meet? Generally, you’d think that if you met yourself in the past, the world might implode. Heck, if you change ANYTHING about your past, you might find yourself disappearing, like in Back to the Future (or even one episode of Hannah Montana).

If we can find the loophole, maybe he’s just changing some other kid’s life. Some other kid who grew up just like himself.

This is all just speculation, and of course, we wouldn’t know if any of this is possible or true until we see if Sam meets himself. We know he’s seen himself, but his younger self hasn’t seen him yet.

But let’s move backwards. If it is an alternate dimension, then why is he there? We haven’t quite gotten an answer, and if he’s not changing his own past, why would it matter if he’s changing someone else’s on another dimension?

In the end, we’re still looking for answers. But to me, it’s awesome to have the opportunity to related today’s new shows to a favorite like Sliders (well, seasons 1 and 2 anyway). And it’s awesome to go back to wondering at the end of every episode.

So what do you think? Honestly, I wonder if alternate dimension is too far-fetched, but it’s fun to think about.