‘Being Human’ goes to a dark place

BEING HUMAN: 1.01 “There Goes the Neighborhood, Part 1” (series premiere)

Now that Merlin‘s back on the air, I’ve been watching a lot more Syfy. This means I’m seeing a lot more commercials for the new show Being Human (mainly because Syfy airs the same commercials over and over and over again — kinda like the CW). Anyway, it looked interesting, and while I’m sick of the whole vampire/werewolf storylines, they tossed in a ghost and their roommates, so it was somewhat different. Different enough, anyway, to tell me to watch it.

Plus, the trailers had humor! Who wouldn’t want to watch if there was some dry humor involved?

Well, perhaps it was that humor that made me a bit blindsided to what the show would really turn out to be because it sure started in a very dark place. Poor werewolf Josh woke up next to a deer that he tore into more ravenously than Twilight‘s Edward could even imagine, and a fun date turned into one bloody mess for vampire Aidan. Blood, blood, blood. Gore, gore, gore.

Which makes it that much more interesting to see that these two work in a hospital. If anything, I would think that the blood there would cause them to go all monster-like, but they seem to have a handle on it in the workplace. And it explains why they’re friends. What we don’t know yet is how Aidan and Josh discovered each other’s identities (and I’m looking forward to finding that out). Anyway, in order to help each other remain guiltless and murderless, they agree to move in together. It’s like Friends, with cravings.

And a ghost, actually, who I feel didn’t get utilized much in this first episode. I actually worry what we’ll really do with her. Is she really going to be trapped in that house? (My guess is that with Josh’s panicked message, she’s going to find herself finally a useful part of the show.) But ultimately, she’s not really trying to “be human” as the other two are, so I’m a little disappointed that such a fun character — and she does seem fun — might not have much use in the series.

Back to Aidan and Josh, I appreciate that they both have their own backgrounds and secrets. Aidan’s certainly is horrifying, and I just wonder what Bishop is really up to. (By the way, why, after playing a peaceful man in Lost is Mark Pellegrino constantly cast as an evil guy now? He’s got that look, I guess.) And I called the minute that his sister followed him into the room that Josh’s sister would get locked in there. Personally, I hope he eats her. She kinda annoys me, despite the fact that she’s not acting out of the norm at all and her complaints to her disappearing brother are completely justified.

Anyway, it was a good start to the series, and I certainly have my questions, but I did wish for something a little lighter. I wonder if the heaviness of life and death will always be a focal point of  the show — and if it is, if it can really be sustainable. I guess we’ll have to see, though. You know, if we make it through Part 2 alive.

Muah-ah-ah-ah! [That’s, you know, evil laughter.]

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Good news, genre fans!

image courtesy ABC

Call it coincidence if you like, but my theory is that the stars have aligned for sci-fi and fantasy to return to the airwaves.  After long hiatuses, we’re about to see the return of V, Merlin, and Doctor Who.

V, off the air since November, returns under the direction of a new showrunner.  Maureen Ryan has had great coverage the last few days, so let me just point you over to her.  I shared her reservations about the show’s first four episodes last fall (here are my posts if you want to relive the snark), but she actually has me excited for V‘s return tonight.  Cool!

Merlin‘s first season aired on NBC last summer, but since the peacock network seems incapable of recognizing anything good these days, they’ve given it up — season two begins this Friday on SyFy.  The show is hardly the Arthurian legend you grew up with, but I think it’s good fun and I’m definitely ready for more.

Doctor Who returns this Saturday if you’re in the UK (or, you know, use bit torrent).  In the US, the TARDIS will arrive two weeks later: April 17 on BBC America.  Expect new stars and new writers, but the same old lovably insane alien time traveler.  After the generally disappointing specials we got last year instead of a regular season, this has me very excited.

Honorable mention (shows for nerds, shows about nerds — it fits, right?):  Glee comes back April 13!  I don’t love that both Glee and V have moved to Tuesday nights, but there we are.  I’ve heard all sorts of exciting hints about what’s to come — an all Madonna episode, Idina Menzel guest starring, Neil Patrick Harris guest starring, Joss Whedon directing — so I’m hoping that this show has shed the Baby Drama and is ready to shoot for the stars.

And a last note, genre fans:  I don’t cover Castle because it would turn into this big list of “hey, that bit was funny, and this thing was really clever” (um, sort of the way my How I Met Your Mother posts do) but I do love a good mystery from time to time.  Last night’s solution to the cliffhanger was great… but did you catch the Firefly reference near the end?

Alice, the conclusion

image from syfy.com

ALICE, PART II

I want more! Please, please, please?

I adored this mini-series, and I’ve already told JC it’s on my DVD wishlist. Did you hear that, Syfy?

I should say this, though. I felt that this part of the mini-series was a little rushed. I feel like we had a fantastic, drawn-out setup in the first half, and this half was just trying to conclude all of that. I mean, we only got to see one more Wonderland character–the Caterpillar.

And I loved that part. I loved seeing all those in their units that were reflecting what Alice experienced in the book. And his disappearing act? Wonderful.

But personally, I would have loved to see this as a three-part event. I would have liked to see them try to get the Carpenter to meet Alice, instead of his sudden appearance (though the reveal of his being Alice’s father was fantastic). I would have liked to see a little more of Alice as a child.

And personally, I would have loved to see the Hatter turn a little dark. I had mentioned in the comments of my review of Part I that he looked a bit rabbit-like to me. Honestly, until just about the last 15 minutes–right after he punched Mad March, actually (which, by the way, just seemed a little too easy in my tastes, though I loved seeing them reunite, knowing they were in the tea party together back in the day)–I thought he was going to turn on Alice. Even just turn for a moment and then have a change of heart. There was just this connection between Mad March, the White Rabbit Organization, and his rabbit-like features that made me curious.

In the end, I’m glad he was good, and I adored the ending. Honestly, the way he so openly but secretly expressed his feelings for Alice was just so heartwarming. His “finally” at the end was just fantastic.

And you know who else was heartwarming and fantastic? Charlie, the White Knight. I’ve always had a soft spot for the White Knight, and just finding out how he felt about his cowardice… And his idea to set up the deceased soldiers to trick the suits–that was great. For a moment there, I thought he really did die in that war, and I was heartbroken. But seeing him in the end, that was just fantastic. I’m so glad he got such a large role in this mini-series.

Overall, though, I adored it. I know I’ve already said that, but I really did. The fantastical nature. The way it twisted and turned what we’ve always known about Wonderland. The fact that the good guys won. That’s so great.

And what do you think about Hatter joining her in the real world, calling himself David? A happy ending nonetheless, but you know Alice couldn’t stay in Wonderland forever. After all, the Alice of legend couldn’t.

And what about Alice of legend? Did anyone notice that Alice was actually only gone an hour, when it was days in Wonderland? Now, I’m not doing the calculations right now in my head, but that kind of time alignment might just mean that the Alice we know could very well have been in Wonderland as a child–even if it was 150 years ago in Wonderland’s time. And just that thought makes me happy.

Alice, of legend

image from Syfy.com

ALICE, PART I

I adore anything related to Alice in Wonderland. It’s honestly one of my favorite stories. Well, second favorite. My favorite it Through the Looking-Glass (And What Alice Found There). Are you getting a hint here?

So last night, I cuddled up on the couch with my worn copy of the book, ready to watch Syfy’s Alice. This was a fantastic (and fantastical) television experience.

It’s 150 years after the legendary Alice came across Wonderland, and she’s the one who caused the entire house of cards to come tumbling down. Now the world’s a big casino, run by the Queen of Hearts who wants a world of instant gratifications–so much so that she’s taking humans–“oysters”–from the other world and draining them of common human emotions and selling them as tea.

But today, this Alice falls through the looking-glass and ends up in the new Wonderland–many, many stories up and ready to be pounced upon because she’s got the ring of Wonderland, given to her by her boyfriend Jack Chase (well, is that really who he is?).

I don’t want to give too much away because if you haven’t seen it, you really need to. They’re airing the first part tonight (7:00 EST) before the second part sums up the story (9:oo EST).

But let’s get what I loved out there in the open. As someone who adores everything Wonderland, this was clearly a story that I couldn’t help but be intrigued by. It just got, well, curiouser and curiouser.

We meet our traditional Wonderland characters–the Mad Hatter, the White Knight, the Dodo, and of course the Queen of Hearts and White Rabbit. But each of these characters aren’t what we know. It’s been 150 years, and the land is not what we know. They’ve transformed by circumstances, and it’s a turn on the traditional story that I love.

I sat perched on my seat trying to identify who each character was, and I loved how while these were new versions of the characters, they had the defining characteristics that put you back in the story and played with the remembrance of the children’s story.

Add in the beautiful, yet crumbling scenary–and the super-creepy half-mechanical assassin of “Mad March,” what I assume to be the headless March Hare–and you’ve got so much intrigue that you can’t help but be drawn into the story.

But that’s not all. Suddenly, Alice’s pursuit of Jack Chase has become a voyage into her own past–seeing her as a child, analyzing her father’s disappearance. How do the two relate? Well, you’ll have to watch and see.

[Read more after the jump!] Continue reading

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.

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?