Donning ‘The Cape’

THE CAPE: 1.01 “Pilot”
THE CAPE: 1.02 “Tarot”

Before launching into my review, I should make sure you know a few things. First, I’m a girl. Second, I’m not someone who watches a ton of action films, let alone superhero movies, though I did watch both of Christian Bale’s Batman movies and I used to watch Batman cartoons. What does this mean? Basically, if you’re a pro at identifying what makes a cool superhero show or movie “cool,” you might disagree with what I have to say. But as someone who’s been moderately exposed to the genre, here goes…

I didn’t have the highest of expectations going into The Cape. In fact, I was desperately disappointed with the promos, hollering at the screen, “Show Summer Glau! Show Summer Glau!” Yes, she was the reason I was curious, and for some reason, I also felt that she was the reason that anyone would check out the show.

But settling into the pilot, I was quite surprised. It had an intriguing premise. Maybe not the fact that our protagonist was framed for a crime and presumed dead, but the fact that our leading villain “owned” the police through privatization. Now, we can move forward assuming not that the police department is incompetent, but instead that they’re blinded by hierarchy. It sets up quite a scary scenario for the series to live into.

What blinded me was the circus troupe that Vince landed himself in. I have to admit; I was rather skeptical when he fell into this motley crew. But it makes sense how he found his skillset, getting it from these people. I think I would have believed it more if they had been outcast citizens, not the bank robbers they turned out to be, but eventually my disbelief was suspended, and I let it go.

Let’s move on to the main villain, Chess. I’m not entirely sure yet what I think of the leader of Ark, and it took me the entire episode to figure out what silhouettes were in his eyes. That effort could have been saved if they had done a quick closeup of his eyes. Right now, while I think he’s successful at the malicious vibe, I don’t really see how I will be bothered by him all season long. It’s really his minions that get the job done, and I understand that Vince will be fighting them throughout the season (at least, I assume), but how threatening can a guy in a suit really be week after week?

Then there’s Orwell, who, of course, I want to like. And I do, though hesitantly. Right now, Orwell’s straddling the intersection of benevolent benefactor, super-techie, shy underdog, and badass. That’s not settling right for me yet. Perhaps it’s to keep her a mystery, I’m not sure. But I felt more for her when she was left alone in her lair, of sorts, as she closed down her tech displays, emphasizing her loneliness. I want to know more about why she’s hidden, and while I know Summer Glau is awesome in stiletto heels kicking some jerk in the face, I want to see more of the vulnerable side that makes her not want to be seen.

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Dollhouse: The truth about Senator Perrin

KT wants active politicians, but not quite like this…

DOLLHOUSE:  2.05 “The Public Eye”
DOLLHOUSE:  2.06 “The Left Hand”

I’m going to assume that most of you watched these two back to back, like I did, and treat them as a unit — ’cause if I try too hard to pick apart what happened in the each half, I’ll probably confuse us all. So!  Deep breath.

Espionage.  I love complex plots, and I love twists, and this one’s a doozy.  Rossum’s plan seems to be to get Senator Perrin in place, get him to investigate Rossum and the Dollhouse, then clear Rossum of all charges, having gained the reputation and high profile status that in future will make him able to push legislation that will favor Rossum — possibly even able to make a bid for the presidency.  Eek.

And despite the best efforts of a whole bunch of people, I think that’s generally what we saw.  By denouncing Madeleine Costley as a mental patient and the Dollhouse as a conspiracy of Rossum’s competitors, Perrin becomes the clever investigator who figured things out and Rossum is seen as the victim of slander.  Wow.

The peek into Rossum and Dollhouse’s internal politicking is fascinating and a little bit intoxicating with the wide open spaces of what we don’t know:  goals, protocols, past relationships.  It becomes very clear that there are some serious trust issues within the organization.  If Rossum’s Mr. Harding had trusted Adelle with even a portion of the truth, she and the rest of the LA Dolhouse would have left well enough alone.  If she had not clashed with Mr. Harding in “Belonging” over Sierra, Adelle might have trusted him and left well enough alone.  I love how such a self-contained episode as “Belonging” sets off a big chain of events here.

The effect is to create a tussle between the LA Dollhouse and the Washington, D.C. Dollhouse — the latter still trusts Rossum, the former doesn’t (at least at the moment, and snippets of “Epitaph One” suggest that this trend will continue).  The rivalry between the Houses and the immediate antagonism between Adelle and her D.C. counterpart makes me wonder how much of that is corporate culture and how much might be the result of past dealings between the two.

As usual, Echo and Ballard are wild cards.  By the end Ballard is entirely AWOL, and Echo’s statement about her bad guys being less bad than Daniel Perrin’s bad guys is as close as she comes to loyalty.  After a lot of running around, we leave her wandering the streets of D.C. without her GPS chip.  So Adelle thinks Echo can practically handle herself?  That went well.  As we well know, Sierra and Madeleine are not the only dolls Adelle has a soft spot for.

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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.

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Demi Lovato: Single-handedly ruining royalty


Yes. Yes, I did. I did watch Disney Channel’s original movie Princess Protection Program. And I must say this: I don’t think Selena Gomez can be in anything where she is not adorable.

Of course, she was being compared to Demi Lovato, who was horrendous, so then again, maybe Selena wasn’t as stellar as you’d think. But anyway, I did want to give Selena Gomez props. Because the rest of this post might be painful.

I’ll admit this openly. I’ve seen–repeatedly–The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2. Demi Lovato is no Anne Hathaway. In fact, Demi Lovato plays royalty the same way Summer Glau played Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: as a robot. Of course, Summer Glau was supposed to be a robot.

You doubt me? Think about when she was bowling. She tossed the bowl down the lane, then stood there and watched with no expression as people cheered around her and the pins came down. Considering how interested she was in winning (she did ask, after all), you’d think she’d have some expression when the pins hit the floor.

Further, I felt like this was a very forced, yet stereotypical, way of playing a princess. Would you really imagine that today princesses don’t dress themselves? I mean, even Mia picked out her own clothes in The Princess Diaries 2, let alone put them on.

I must also say that the story itself was a bit weak. I mean, someone wants to take over the crown–a crown that a 16-year-old will take over in a month. Um, seriously? First, they’ll really  have her rule at 16? That’s a recipe for disaster, especially if she can’t even dress herself. Plus, once she flees, who’s to say that this guy wouldn’t just through a coup and take over? What’s the 16-year-old going to really do?

Moreover, the end. There wasn’t time to add five extra minutes to explain how Carter’s father knew to hop in that helicopter and save the day? And I certainly don’t want to analyze the real legal actions of claiming that he was being arrested internationally for kidnapping. She was willingly going with him, for one thing. Add in how complicated international relations are and the hows and whys and processes of actually arresting a visiting foreigner–yeah, it’s much more complicated than they showed.

A few other notes:

  • If you’re going to throw a sword at someone’s head, don’t miss. It’s much easier to hit the person in the head than to get it through the rings of a crown.
  • Why wouldn’t her mother just go with her? I guess that was to prevent the whole coup thing I mention above, but really, she ended up kidnapped and in prison anyway. What’s the difference?
  • Ok, so there’s a Princess Protection Program. Original premise for a movie, but really? There are that many princesses that need protection? Taking a quick glance at Yahoo Answers, it looks like there are only 28 monarchies left, so could a program really be run? Whether this is accurate or not, you’re really looking at the number of possible princesses that are in danger at one time. That can’t be all that high.
  • So they’re in Louisiana, right? I’m sorry, Disney. But Louisiana has an African American population of about 33.5%, and I think I saw one African American student at that school. Um, what?
  • Dear, Jamie Chung. I’m very sorry you had to go from Samurai Girl to this. And by the way, how old are you? You play 20-something a few years ago and 16 now? Wow.
  • Little red-headed squeaky girl: Sometimes your voice was high, annoying, and squeaky. Sometimes it wasn’t.
  • Did anyone else think that Rosie overreacted to the blackmail? I mean, she was going to hand over the crown (oh yeah, the pool scene made no sense), and then they would leave her alone about her secret. So why did she have to go back? That would helped nothing.

Overall, the movie was probably cute for a young audience. It did, overall, have a good, positive message. And I do ask that of the Disney Channel movies that I see. So that’s good.

But on a true level, it needed some work. And perhaps a better person than Demi Lovato. Disney, just because two people are best friends and they’re your new up-and-comer, that doesn’t mean you need to make them the poster child for any new project you do.

I thought you learned this with the failed TV show that is JONAS.

It’s hot in here. Must be Summer.

BIG BANG THEORY: 2.17 “The Terminator Decoupling”

I wonder what celebrities act like when they meet in real like. Like, for some reason I just assume that all the Whedon alums just meet and talk about their Whedon experiences. “You were in Firefly? I was in Dr. Horrible!”

Of course, I’m sure this doesn’t really happen. It’s just the websites that mush them all together that makes me think this way. But after last night’s episode, I’m starting to wonder more and more. Specifically, how much of Howard, Leonard, and Raj’s interactions with Summer Glau were true to life.

I bet Leonard’s was. Unless he’s just a tool in real life. But I’d like to believe none of these people are.

Anyway, it was a fun episode. As soon as they hit the train, I knew Penny would be in the episode via telecommute–aka, a phone. I did appreciate that every time that Sheldon got mad, Leonard had to take the phone away to pacify (by the way, did anyone check what Leonard was reading? I’m curious what a nerdy physicist reads in his spare time).

The interactions with Summer Glau were great. Of course, Howard was going to be super geeky and creepy (I certainly wouldn’t want him hitting on me), but Raj was a pleasant surprise. I was hoping and hoping that Howard wouldn’t ruin his “M. Knight Charmalarmalon,” but of course, how could he resist? Summer’s face at Raj retreated with his tail between his legs was great.

The one downer note was how much Terminator was brought up. I know that the point was to plug it as much as possible (I think the two shows, while on different networks, are produced by the same company or something), but I was wishing for more Serenity and Firefly comments. I only heard one.

I know. I’m a Whedon nerd. And I rock it.

In other news, the pickup line (aka, my headline) was amazing. I wish I had a name like that, just so it could be used in such a great pickup line. If someone comes up with a great pickup line for Raked–yes, the name Raked–I’ll do some special callout to you or something. It’ll be something awesome. Try me.

I loved Big Bang Theory last night

BIG BANG THEORY: 2.16 “The Cushion Saturation”

Contrary to Heroes, I actually thoroughly enjoyed Big Bang last night. Not that this is a huge surprise. What I appreciated is that there were two distinct storylines (in my book, equally important), and I enjoyed them both.

First, Howard. The fact that Howard actually finds someone to sleep with (his fifth, not counting prostitutes) is fantastic. And even though she’s a pushy one, they seem to fit together well. I mean, she even yells to his mom–which to most people would be a deal-breaker and humiating. Sure, she holds certain things over his head to continue their…arrangement…but after an initial hesitation, Howard’s over it and moves on to the fun stuff.

Meanwhile, Penny accidentally shoots Sheldon’s seat cushion with a paintball gun.

Now, at first, when we introduced the idea that Penny was sitting in Sheldon’s seat again, despite the fact that he wasn’t goign to be in the apartment, I was a little dismayed. How many times do we need to bring it up, and when will Penny catch on?

But then we realize the purpose. It’s just to reintroduce this idea–show the viewers why it’s such a big deal that paint is on his seat. And then after that, everything just goes great.

Now, I knew once he got his cushion back, he wouldn’t be satisfied. Little did I know that we would get to hear a fantastic story about how Leonard has fooled Sheldon for two years after Sheldon’s favorite Chinese restaurant has closed. 4,000 containers from the previous restaurant stored in the back of his car? Priceless!

But I also enjoyed Sheldon’s attempt to find a new chair while the old was gone. Sure, it was over the top, but Sheldon’s just that kind of guy. It was a nice touch.

Kudos on the ep, guys. And guess what. If IMDB is correct, it looks like a certain Summer Glau will be appearing next week!

Dollhouse Premiere: A Conversation

Raked and KT join forces to have a conversation about the hottest show premiering this February (possibly in 2009), Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Because KT’s in a different time zone, she’s watching it an hour after Raked, which might explain some of the mis-matches of time.

JC joined the fun by watching, but he took this hour to watch Battlestar. You’ll notice he’s mentioned, though!

DOLLHOUSE: 1.01 “Ghost”

KT: Are you loving it? 😀
Raked: Hi there, I did love it.
KT: Yay!! Terminator just ended here.
Raked: I’m rewatching along with you. 🙂 Yay Tivo.
KT: “You ever try to clean an actual slate?” I like it.  🙂
Raked: Ah, you’ve started now?
KT: 😀
Raked: I caught up with you.
KT: I didn’t expect to get a scene with Echo entering into her contract. This is a neat touch. I figured it would start more in medias res.
KT: …Like this bit with the motorcycles!
Raked: Totally, and it really makes you wonder what brought her here. Doesn’t sounds like her choice at all.
Raked: Which is definitely intriguing.
KT: Or like it was something she saw as a last resort. One she didn’t really want to take. But yeah, I’m sure Joss will go back to that sooner or later.
Raked: Don’t deserve? Trying to help? Definitely killer lines.
KT: Absolutely. So were there really a lot fewer commercials than a regular show?
Raked: There are commercial breaks, just only one that’s longer than 90 seconds.
KT: Very nice.
Raked: Agreed. Very Fringe.
KT: I’m watching Echo react to being given a necklace. I almost expected her to say she wasn’t allowed to accept it.
Raked: But she doesn’t know, silly.
KT: True. But that could have been part of her treatment. Like how she knew to go to the black van.
KT: Wow, that is a really short skirt. Hey, kimono girl.
Raked: It was her shirt. She was wearing it as a shirt when she was motorcycle girl.
KT: Ohhh.
KT: That was cute how she was dishing with the Dollhouse handlers.
KT: Ooh, the Dollhouse set is gorgeous. I’d like a resort that looked like that.
Raked: I know, it reminds me a wee bit of Wolfram and Hart a little. Let me know when you get to the theme, I’m curious of your take.
KT: Totally does.
KT: They’re kidnapping the cute little girl right now. Here’s the theme.
Raked: I wonder what show they were talking about.
KT: Me too!
KT: Interesting theme. A mix of serene and haunting, sort of. And the show name at the end, the way it gradually focused, kind of looked like a horror movie font.

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