Tag Archives: SyFy

This Week 9/19 to 9/24

We’ve had a week of discovering just how much my life is ruined by not having internet access. (How much, you ask? SO MUCH.) Anyway. Ducks are in something resembling a row-like formation, approximately, so now here we are: a This Week post for the first time in MONTHS. It’s almost like I’m making a legitimate effort or something.

TONIGHT:
8pm – Eureka on Syfy (season finale!)
10pm – Castle on ABC (season premiere!)
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS (season premiere!)
10pm – The Playboy Club on NBC (series pilot!)

Really, Monday nights at 10? Really? Of course I’m going to be watching Castle, no question there. But it’s the principle of the thing. Also going on tonight: Ashton Kutcher’s Two and a Half Men debut. (Am I the only one who thinks the title should be changed to One and Two Half Men?) AND, two hours later, Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen. Somewhere out there is a marketing genius.

TUESDAY:
8pm – NCIS on CBS (season premiere!)
8pm – Glee on FOX (season premiere!)
9pm – NCIS: LA on CBS (season premiere!)
9pm – New Girl on FOX (series pilot!)
9pm – Ringer on the CW

So I haven’t watched the pilot of Ringer yet…or the finale of Glee. Probably going to watch NCIS prime and then New Girl (just to finally put my morbid curiosity to rest).

WEDNESDAY:

Apparently I’m going to spend Wednesday catching up from Tuesday and Monday. Or maybe I’ll give in to the temptation to watch the pilot of Revenge at 10pm on ABC.

THURSDAY:
8pm – Charlie’s Angels on ABC (series pilot!)
9pm – Person of Interest on CBS (series pilot!)
10pm – Prime Suspect on NBC (series pilot!)

What is Prime Suspect doing on Comedy Thursday? Can anyone explain this?

FRIDAY:
8pm – A Gifted Man on CBS (series pilot!)
9pm – CSI: NY on CBS (season premiere!)
9pm – Fringe on FOX (season premiere!)
9pm – Supernatural on the CW (season premiere!)

I don’t know what CSI: NY is doing on my schedule – I pretty much stopped watching. I don’t know what Fringe is doing on my schedule – I’m now two and a half seasons behind or some damn thing. I do know what Supernatural is doing on my schedule – just finished S4, so as soon as I slam down S5 (so to speak), I’m working it in because that show is freaking awesome.

SATURDAY:

Saturday is not even a day on TV.

And now I have to go do my last Fall is Fun post REALLY REALLY QUICKLY before I end up staying at this Starbucks for an awkwardly long time. Enjoy your week! Premieres, guys! Funandnews!

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Hindsight: The Dresden Files

(Experimenting with a slightly different Hindsight format here, because the precedented format is a bit…excessive for a show that only ran twelve episodes.)

Original Airdates: 2007-2008
Network: Syfy*
Creator: Jim Butcher, Hans Beimler, Robert Hewitt Wolfe

The Dresden Files, based on a series of novels by Jim Butcher, tells the story of Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne), private investigator/police consultant and wizard. His wand is a hockey stick – sometimes a drumstick for smaller jobs – , he fries technology with mere touches, and he is a terrible housekeeper. His best friend is the ghost of an ancient sorcerer called Bob (Terrence Mann). He is the go-to consultant for Chicago detective Connie Murphy (Valerie Cruz) for all things wild, weird, and exceptionally disgusting. Other recurring characters include Murphy’s partner/underling Kirmani (Raoul Bhaneja), magical High Council member Morgan (Conrad Coates), and Inarra Serra’s vampire twin Bianca (Joanne Kelly).

The cases investigated by Dresden and Murphy provide the backbone for most episodes and include such paranormal staples as vampires, werewolves, possession, ancient relics, and magically aided petty theft. There are a few series-long plot arcs involving the death of Harry Dresden’s uncle Justin Morningway (Daniel Kash), Dresden’s own flirtation with black magic and its addictive properties, and of course the unavoidable slow-burning almost-romance between the lead and his female “very close friend.”

STRENGTHS:

1) Paul Blackthorne
How good is Paul Blackthorne, exactly? I-was-so-impressed-that-I-went-and-looked-him-up-and-realized-he-is-someone-I’d-seen-before-who-I’d-already-been-really-impressed-by-but-I-didn’t-notice-because-the-character-was-so-different-from-the-previous-times good. He embodies the semi-slobby Chicagoan hero so completely, you’d never know he was actually a Brit. Nevermind the Brit who played the awesomely villainous Stephen Saunders of 24‘s Day 3. Blackthorne has a great ability for both comedy and emotion, physical and verbal. And he has the hallmark ability that assures my admiration for any actor, male or female: he convinces me that he is attractive, even when I don’t particularly think he is. Even when the other elements of the series get dull-verging-on-irritating, Paul Blackthorne’s performance maintains my interest.

2) Settings
The environments for this show are of an immense quality, exterior locations and interior dressed sets both. When the action or writing failed to hold my complete attention, just looking at the details and completeness of sets like Harry Dresden’s lab was more than enough to occupy me. Everything (or everywhere, rather) felt completely formed and perfectly suited to the purpose and mood of the locations and the scenes taking place within them. Neither costumes nor special effects are particularly worth mentioning for this series, but the settings give The Dresden Files a level of visual success worthy of note.

3) Solidity
In a very real way, The Dresden Files hits the ground running. There’s no toddler period where the actors and characters struggle to establish relationships with each other and with the story. You know who Harry Dresden is the moment he introduces himself, and you know that he knows himself as well. Even before you learn that Bob is a ghost, and long before it is explained that he was Harry’s teacher, you understand the relationship between the two of them. The series was lucky in that way, because at least there was no time in only twelve episodes wasted on a concerted effort to make old friends act like that’s what they are in a way that the audience believes. I believed from the beginning, and that’s pretty rare when you get right down to it.

WEAKNESSES

1) Episodes
The biggest struggle for me in watching this series was the fact that, of only twelve episodes, three of them were The Vampire Episode and The Werewolf Episode and The Ghost Episode. And, the really unfortunate part, none of these took particularly creative forms. The vampires are dull and predictable, cousins of the Buffyverse breed but without the teeth, so to speak. And when the Twilight werewolves rank as more inventive and interesting, well… Fact is, the format of American television requires a formula of 3/4 filler and 1/4 story. The story portion of The Dresden Files is great, absolutely. But it fails fairly epically at filler. And you can’t get ratings to continue on for more story when your filler sucks, nor is anyone going to care enough to try and help you.

2) Comprehensibility
This is maybe the unfortunate consequence of a few things coming together in a less-than-ideal way. The original pilot for The Dresden Files was actually cut down into Episode 8, which pushed a lot of exposition so far back that by the time it got to the audience, everyone with half a brain had put the bits together through pure intuition and also the scattered details that were desperately thrown into earlier episodes to make up for the fact that the entire set up of the world and story got thrown off. But even taking those things into account, there was just a lot that needed to be explained earlier and more clearly. Often I complain that series overcompensate for potential stupidity on the part of their viewers. It is the opposite case for The Dresden Files. It would be lovely to just have some linear presentation of basic facts. When Bob says “Did you remember your wand?” I’d like to not have to go “Wait. Is that the hockey stick? Or was it a drumstick? What?” until the object in question starts shooting blue lightning.

3) Fluff
Perhaps the greatest fault of the series is that it does not at any point demand to be taken seriously. If it was not explained that Harry Dresden has a dark past and dark addition to black magic, we would have no idea, simply because the sort of intensity implied in that situation is never presented. We don’t see Dresden struggle with it – or, at the very least, not in any way that for even the briefest moment we worry he might succumb to his sinful side. Asking the audience to worry about Dresden’s struggle with the darkside is like asking someone to be afraid for their life in a lasertag arena. It’s a pretty simple concept that The Dresden Files fails to realize: no risk, no reward (no renewal).

BEST EPISODE: “Birds of a Feather”

http://www.hulu.com/embed/FVkwav-D_WHxPKiDnnCKDg

This episode became the pilot for the series after “Storm Front” was cut in half and shuffled back to the end of the series, and it made a great first introduction. This is the one episode where concrete storytelling and innovation really worked. We see Harry Dresden as an adult and as a child echoed in an adult. We also get not one, but two pretty original magical creatures, the skinwalkers and the anthropomorphized crows (the speaking voice of the latter is possibly my favorite thing that happened over the entire course of the series because it is just so perfectly done). It’s a successful episode, especially as a pilot, because it really does inspire curiosity and induce you to watch more of the series. Not least because it implies a future storyline (one that never comes to fruition, but still).

WORST EPISODE: “Bad Blood”

http://www.hulu.com/embed/qrIMzde6LPevASXoyKGl2w

aka, The Vampire Episode. The concept is tired, the vampires are uninteresting, the end is predictable…as is much of the middle. If there are any great one-liners or jokes to redeem this episode, I’ve forgotten about them. The episode isn’t terrible, but it is pretty boring. If you have ever seen any episode of any series remotely involving any creature vaguely reminiscent of a vampire, you have seen “Bad Blood.” Ditto if you’ve ever seen something involving gang/turf/drug conflicts and scantily clad women.

There’s an uncomfortable dichotomy to my opinion of The Dresden Files. I enjoyed it so much while I was watching, but I wasn’t disappointed when I hit the last episode and that was all. I really struggled to come up with three “strengths” of this show that were in fact strong enough to incorporate into this post. Not because the series is bad, but because there is almost nothing fantastic enough to be worth mention.

The mark of a great series is often that, when it ends, no matter how much there has been of it, you still want more. A few excellent elements aside, there’s nothing to make me wish for more of this show. I’m curious about the books, maybe, but mostly because I’m hoping the television series didn’t do them justice and that they contain the meaty story I was missing all twelve episodes. I don’t say this to discourage anyone from watching; this half-season is worth watching. It lives out its welcome exactly, without leaving too early or staying too long. And maybe that’s the secret to a different sort of great television.

*When The Dresden Files aired, the network was still branded as Sci-Fi.

This Week 3/7 to 3/12

So yeah. I guess I’m back.

I’ve spent the last…however long its been…mostly hacking away at my To-Watch list of old. Progress so far: Seasons 1 and 2 of Damages, Seasons 1-3 of Dexter, rewatching Season1 of Dollhouse, attempting to watch The 4400, and then also watching hours and hours of Whose Line Is It Anyway. Next up is Season 1 of The Closer, and I’m very excited.

BUT. Time goes on. New things air. And I try to keep up, or at least catch up.

MONDAY:
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family
8pm – The Event on ABC (2-hour midseason return!)
9pm – The Chicago Code on FOX
9pm – Being Human on SyFy

Of these four, I’m only current on The Event, and that’s only because there haven’t been any new episodes since my Great Catch Up of early January. Actually, I haven’t even started The Chicago Code yet. But people I trust tell me I should, so.

TUESDAY:
8pm – Glee on FOX
10pm – White Collar on USA

GWYNETH PALTROW IS BACK ON GLEE!!! (Which reminds me. I finally caught back up on Glee after my period of disenchantment. And I LOVE IT again. Good times.)

WEDNESDAY:
10pm – Justified on FX

Question for Wednesday: is Mr. Sunshine worth watching? I’ve been curious.

THURSDAY:
9pm – Bones on FOX
10pm – Facing Kate on USA

This week on Bones: continuation of the “sniper arc” I keep hearing about. What makes that actually exciting: Arnold Vosloo!

FRIDAY:
9pm – CSI: NY on CBS
9pm – Fringe on FOX

I really need to catch up on Fringe. I miss it.

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Zach Galifianakis and Jessie J.) on NBC

In Big Screen Brain news, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau. Expect a review in the next couple of days.

My Favorite Guest Actors – Issue 2

I’m pulling this feature out of the deep recesses of early Melted Brain because, well, writing reviews takes thinking and that’s hard so I don’t want to but I do want to post something so this is the best I could come up with. These men (yes, all men this time – I don’t know why, but I have a hard time remembering or getting really attached to female guest actors) are some of my very very favorite guest actors. They’ve all appeared on several of my favorite shows and, I’ll be honest, they all have that capacity to be excellently creepy. I am nothing if not consistent in my tastes. Here we go!

Arnold Vosloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He tends to be cast as “The Middle Eastern Guy” and it is in that capacity that he has appeared on several of my favorite shows. Most notably, he played the slipperiest, trickiest, most difficult-to-find-nevermind-kill main 24 villain, Habib Marwan, on Day 4. He has also appeared on Chuck and NCIS and, most recently, on Bones (and that role is being reprised soon as the touted “sniper arc” moves forward). Generally, it is versatility that impresses me in an actor. But that isn’t really what gives Arnold Vosloo his appeal. Instead, what most impresses me about his various performances is the consistent steadiness in his carriage. No matter what he is doing or saying, there is always a certain element of…class, I guess you could call it. Nervousness and wavering are just not in his vocabulary and, really, it’s that steadiness that makes him so appealing and intimidating as a villain. And there is nothing better than an effortlessly intimidating villain. Except for maybe an effortlessly intimidating might-not-actually-be-a-villain, which is also an archetype he plays.

Mark Pellegrino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This actor has a peculiar talent for portraying both innocuous benevolence and brute violence…often in the same character. The two best examples of this disparity are Jacob of Lost and Paul of Dexter. He is totally believable as a loving father/guardian type, as well as an abusive power-hungry sonofoabitch, and somehow he even carries off the transition between those two elements. It is thoroughly amazing. But, it is a little sad that he is being more and more typecast in that sort of role – other recent examples include appearances on Supernatural and Being Human. Though losing the opportunity to seem him anywhere at anytime would be sad, I would love to see Mark Pellegrino get his own show – preferably something that gives him a chance to show off a bit more versatility.

Titus Welliver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving right along to Mark Pellegrino’s opposite number from Lost, The Man In Black. Fittingly enough, he is somewhat the opposite as an actor. Titus Welliver shares the talent for straddling two seemingly incompatible personality traits within the same character. For him, the combination seems to be enigmatic menace and almost sissyish emotionality. My favorite role of his is Kyle Hollis from Life, a murderer-for-hire turned evangelist. It was the brief clip of that character’s preaching hellfire and damnation that really sold me on this man’s talent. That talent is yet another point chalked up on the board for “Reasons Why I Should Start Watching The Good Wife.” Also, he gets major bonus points in my affections for having one of the coolest names ever.

Tony Todd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Todd is a bamf, straight up. The man is basically built to play menacing characters. He’s also got one of those excellent, excellent voices. He has played characters on both sides of the moral spectrum, but I definitely prefer his villains. He played General Juma on Day 7 of 24 and was pretty much solely responsible for what I consider to be the best (and by “best” I mean “most terrifying and exhilarating and adrenaline-rushy”) fifteen minutes of the season, possibly of the series. I’ll be totally honest and admit that he’s not my favorite because of his range, or even because of his talent. It’s pretty much just because he plays awesome villains and/or intimidating authority figures and any appearance he makes is sure to be good times.

Callum Keith Rennie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I’m being totally honest, I should probably start off this paragraph by being straightforward and admitting that, yes, part of the reason I enjoy Callum Keith Rennie so much is because he is attractive. But seriously, mostly I love him because he plays excellent creepers. My favorite role of his so far is probably Leoben of Battlestar Galactica because, thanks to the chance to bounce of the sheer brilliance of Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck, he got to dig his heels way deep in and explore that delicious moral gray area. His character from 24 (yes, 24 again), Vladimir Laitanan is a close second, but that’s probably because not only do I love charming-but-terrifying, I really love Russians. I was going to say “He’s another who I’d love to see have his own show.” But then I went to imdb and found out that he DOES – he plays the lead role, a detective with multiple personality disorder, in a Canadian show called Shattered. Guess what just jumped to the top five in my Need To Watch list.

This Week 1/31 to 2/5

My top priority for this week: first season of Dexter!! Everything else will have to wait.

MONDAY:
8pm – Chuck on NBC
8pm – Human Target on FOX
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family
9pm – The Cape on NBC
9pm – Lie to Me on FOX
9pm – Being Human on SyFy
10pm – Harry’s Law on NBC

Need to actually watch the first couple episodes of Harry’s Law.

TUESDAY:
8pm – NCIS on CBS
9pm – NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS
10pm – White Collar on USA

WEDNESDAY:
9pm – Human Target on FOX
10pm – Face Off on SyFy

Two new Human Target episodes in one week? Really?

THURSDAY:
8pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW
9pm – Nikita on the CW
9pm – Bones on FOX
10pm – Fairly Legal on USA

First Glance on Fairly Legal is in the works.

FRIDAY:
9pm – Fringe on FOX
10pm – CSI: NY on CBS

Man, I really ought to catch up on Fringe one of these days.

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Dana Carvey and Linkin Park) on NBC

This Week 1/24 to 1/29

Coming this week from Melted Brain: one Big Screen Brain, three (maybe four) First Glances, and one Oh THAT Guy. I just need to figure out when to write them all.

ANYWAY. SCHEDULE.

MONDAY:
8pm – Chuck on NBC
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family
9pm – The Cape on NBC
9pm – Lie to Me on FOX
9pm – Being Human on SyFy
10pm – Castle on ABC

New Castle! My week is horribly sad when it doesn’t start with a good hour of snarky crimesolving.

TUESDAY:
10pm – White Collar on USA

Dear Tuesday,
Suck less.
Love,
Melted Brain

WEDNESDAY:
10pm – Blue Bloods on CBS
10pm – Face Off on SyFy

Blue Bloods has been upgraded from Fridays. I guess that means it’s doing well. And, reminder, Face Off is a special effects makeup competition show.

THURSDAY:
8pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW
9pm – Nikita on the CW
9pm – Bones on FOX
10pm – Fairly Legal on USA

FRIDAY:
9pm – Fringe on FOX

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Jesse Eisenberg and Nicki Minaj) on NBC

Now THERE is an SNL lineup I am dying to miss. Also on NBC: US Championship Figure Skating, Ladies Free Skate. (Looks like I’ll be getting a call from my grandmother later this week…)

This Week 1/17 to 1/22

Well, the Golden Globes are tonight. I’ll see about doing a post on that. Maybe. For now, the schedule for the coming week. Woo.

MONDAY:
8pm – Chuck on NBC (midseason return!)
8pm – House on FOX
8pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family
9pm – The Cape on NBC
9pm – Lie to Me on FOX
9pm – Being Human on SyFy (series pilot!)
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS
10pm – Harry’s Law on NBC (series pilot!)

I should probably just take House off of my schedule. I’m not watching it and, from what I hear, that’s not a terrible loss.

TUESDAY:
8pm – NCIS on CBS
9pm – NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS
10pm – Southland on TNT
10pm – White Collar on USA

I have now removed V, Detroit 1-8-7, and No Ordinary Family from my schedule. Because, honestly, it just isn’t gonna happen. Ever.

WEDNESDAY:

Oh great. American Idol is starting again. (Bones marathon on TNT or NCIS marathon on USA? I think so.)

THURSDAY:
9pm – Bones on FOX (midseason return!)
10pm – Fairly Legal on USA (series pilot!)

Thank goodness for this Thursday!

FRIDAY:
9pm – Fringe on FOX (midseason return!)

…you’ve got to be shitting me. Fringe‘s Friday Death Slot premiere is titled “Firefly“? Can we spell “death sentence”? Jesus.

SATURDAY:

Nothing new is airing.

Tis the Midseason

It’s that time again. Midseason return/premiere schedule. Go!

Monday January 3
8:00pm – Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Castle on ABC (midseason return!)
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS (midseason return!)

Hey, I could actually catch up on time to watch PLL! But that really doesn’t matter because I’m mostly just SUPER jazzed about more Castle.

Tuesday January 4
8:00pm – No Ordinary Family on ABC (midseason return!)
9:00pm – V on ABC (season premiere!)
10:00pm – Detroit 1-8-7 on ABC (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Southland on TNT (season premiere!)

…I probably will not actually watch anyof these. But I thought I’d include them just for kicks. (Question: Should I be watching No Ordinary Family?)

Wednesday January 5
8:00pm – Human Target on FOX (midseason return!)

Happy half-birthday to me!

Friday January 7
9:00pm – CSI: NY on CBS (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Blue Bloods on CBS (midseason return!)

Sunday January 9
9:00pm – The Cape on NBC (2-hour series pilot!)
9:30pm – Episodes on Showtime (series pilot!)
10:00pm – Shameless on Showtime (series pilot!)

Not gonna lie, all three of these shows look semi-ridiculous. The Cape is about a cop who gets framed and goes all caped vigilante on his city and, honestly, it looks even stupider than it sounds. Episodes is about Matt LeBlanc (playing himself) ruining the marriage of a British couple. And Shameless is just the newest in a long line of excellent British shows being stolen for and ruined on American television.

Monday January 10
9:00pm – Lie to Me on FOX (midseason return!)

Tuesday January 11
8:00pm – NCIS on CBS (midseason return!)
9:00pm – NCIS: Los Angeles on CBS (midseason return!)
10:00pm – Lights Out on FX (series pilot!)

In Lights Out, a former heavy-weight boxing champ starts working as a debt collector to make ends meet. Doesn’t pique my interest, but FX’s original series track record is pretty good and so should this be.

Wednesday January 12
10:00pm – Off the Map on ABC (series pilot!)

Basically it’s Grey’s Anatomy, but without indoor plumbing.

Monday January 17
8:00pm – Chuck on NBC (midseason return!)
8:00pm – House on FOX (midseason return!)
9:00pm – Being Human on SyFy (series pilot!)
10:00pm – Harry’s Law on NBC (series pilot!)

Being Human is another of those ripped-off Brit shows. Harry’s Law is a legal drama with an incredible cast that will most likely be at least fairly decent…but, frankly, I’d just rather have The Whole Truth back. (Oh, wait, wrong network…) Also…I can totally catch up on Chuck by this day…right?

Tuesday January 18
10:00pm – White Collar on USA (midseason return!)

I’m getting the impression that this show has only gotten better. I should work on catching up at some point.

Thursday January 20
8:00pm – Bones on FOX (midseason return!)
8:30pm – Perfect Couples on NBC (series pilot!)
10:00pm – Fairly Legal on USA (series pilot!)

Perfect Couples comes from minds behind 30 Rock and Friends. Fairly Legal stars Sarah Shahi and Michael Trucco and I have been waiting for it for two years. So guess which of these two shows is the one I’m going to be watching.

Friday January 21
9:00pm – Fringe on FOX (midseason return!)

Oh shit guys, Fringe has been relegated to the Friday Death Slot.

Wednesday January 26
10:00pm – Face Off on SyFy (series pilot!)

Normally I avoid competition/reality shows like the plague. But a competition/reality show about special effects makeup? Hell yes!

Thursday January 27
8:00pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW (midseason return!)
9:00pm – Nikita on the CW (midseason return!)

Monday February 7
9:00pm – The Chicago Code on FOX (series pilot!)

It’s just another cop show, but it’s shot on location in Chicago and really wants to be the next hardxcoreawesome thing.

Tuesday February 8
8:00pm – Glee on FOX (midseason return!)

Wednesday February 9
9:30pm – Mr. Sunshine on ABC
10:00pm – Justified on FX

Mr. Sunshine sounds like an awful everyman semi-comedy indie film come to television. But more glamourous because, well, that’s just how it works.

Monday February 28
10:00pm – The Event on NBC (midseason return!)

Tuesday March 29
9:00pm – Body of Proof on ABC (series pilot!)

Crime procedural slash personal drama centered around an M.E. It could easily be interesting and fun. It could just as easily be awful and boring.

Wednesday April 6
9:30pm – Breaking In on FOX (series pilot!)

Oh look, Christian Slater‘s back. Again. Trying to make it as a television leading man. Again.

Wednesday April 13
10:00 – Happy Endings on ABC (series pilot!)

It’s another of these melodramedies about attractive young people and their romantic shenanigans. But I will admit, it has a pretty good cast.

Merry Christmas Special

I did not grow up watching all those stop-motion animation Christmas television movie specials that are actually horrible but no-one wants to say so because they grew up with them and have thus assigned a huge amount of sentimental value. ALSO, my family has never been big on Christmas movies. I think I’ve seen It’s A Wonderful Life once, ever. Likewise Miracle on 34th Street until last night when channel flipping landed me on AMC. White Christmas is a different story because it’s an early-fifties era musical and that was basically my childhood. But I digress. Point is, I don’t watch real Christmas specials.

Unluckily for me, television series really like to make their own special holiday episodes.

Luckily for all of us, this gives me review fodder.

So, without further ado, a quick review of four of this year’s Christmas Special Episodes.

Human Target: “The Other Side of the Mall”

Dear Human Target,

If you’re going to do a Christmas episode, maybe don’t revolve the whole thing around how much the main character hates Christmas. It kind of ruins things. It’s bad enough to do a holiday-themed episode. You could at least make an effort to get into the spirit a little. Funny as it is to send the team down light-vomited suburban holiday lane to the tune of “Where are we?” “Hell.”, the whole thing just ends up lame. Also, semi-metal rock n’ roll riff Christmas carols? You have ruined ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Forever’…and it wasn’t that good to begin with. Thanks for that.

Love,
Melted Brain

Best quotes: “Wow. You’re an excellent whistler.” and “You are what we in the custodial arts like to call…a douche.”

Glee: “A Very Glee Christmas”

My expectations for this episode were really low, so I guess you could say they’ve been fulfilled. Basically, I found the lack of inspiration embarrassing. Least original Christmas special ever. And all the more disappointing because Glee is capable of doing better when it actually tries. But not this year. Glee seems to be having some major writing problems this year and is getting worse by the episode and I could go on, but that’s not really the point right now. So, let me break this review down into pros and cons…and I’ll try to come up with an even number of each, because it’s only fair:

GOOD:
1) Brittany still believes in Santa Claus: Touche, Glee. If there is anything to make me at least accept a Christmassy Christmas special filled with Christmassy Christmas spirit…Brittany believing in Santa and the whole club teaming up to make her time magical is it. AWWWWWWWW.
2) Coach Beiste: This was actually just a good episode thing in general. I’m really pleased she’s becoming incorporated into the show in general. Dot Jones is a much better element than Coach Tanaka (Peter Gallagher) ever was. And the Arty-slash-Brittany gift? AWWWWWWWW.
3) Baby It’s Cold Outside: On behalf of fangirls everywhere, thank you. I don’t care that the script had to take a completely ridiculous and unnecessary side trip. I will bet you any amount of money this is the most popular part of the episode. (But I still feel the need to remark: Chris Colfer singing the low part in a duet with another dude is frickin’ weird.)

UNDECIDED:
Island of Misfit Toys: Great echo back to the early days…but so saccharine I wanted to cry.

BAD:
1) The Jew Problem: Puck decorating a Christmas tree? JEWFAIL. Rachel singing not just one, but two Christmas numbers? JEWFAIL. The fact that the Glee Club has two Jews very obsessed with being Jewish could have been a jumping off point for making a Christmas episode with some actual valuable social commentary the like of which Glee supposedly is still capable of. But NO. No. Instead let’s just ignore that. Because Christmas is too commercially dominant for us to do anything else. I mean, it’s not as if there are any Jews in showbiz or anything.
2) The Sue plot: I am embarrassed by how lame this was. Sue as the Grinch. Really. Wow. Let’s talk about low-hanging fruit from the obvious tree.
3) The end: And of course, how else could this episode possibly have ended but with a hair joke. Wow. Merry fucking Christmas to you too, Glee. Motherfuckers.

Best quotes: “This year, Glee Club’s going full-Santa *CRAZYEYES*” and Schue’s ideas for Sue-mas gifts (1 – robot dog, 2 – a soul)

Leverage: “The Ho Ho Ho Job”

Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about this episode. It just wasn’t that noteworthy. It was an average episode of Leverage, but with Santa. And not even very much Santa. Yes, yes, Parker’s obsession with Christmas was kind of cute fun. But that was about it. Christmas in the mall. Wa. Hoo.

Eureka: “O Little Town”

The whole “telling a tale of Christmas past” is a bit heavy-handed. BUT, Eureka is beyond tongue-in-cheek enough to handle it. The episode works because it’s a totally standard episode of Eureka…it just happens to take place during Christmas. We get Taggart back, which is awesome. There is nothing funnier than a gangly Australian trying to explain Santa Claus with science. Except for maybe  an ENORMOUS ROLLING CHRISTMAS BALL ORNAMENT. (YESSS.) The can of Christmas cheer was excessively creepy, but the episode ended on not just the right key, but the right note exactly. Kids who go “That’s way too sappy…but good story” is the perfect sappy holiday touch that doesn’t make the audience want to die. And, final note: I usually don’t approve of changing of credits/opener to incorporate holiday decor, but Sheriff Carter in an elf/Santa/whatever-that-was costume? Admittedly pretty hysterical

Best quotes: “Tell me about it. I had to ice my hot toddies.”

 

 

Merry Christmas from Melted Brain.

This Week 12/6 to 12/12

I am watching the Rizzoli & Isles marathon on TNT all day. That is a fun thing. A less fun thing: no new episodes until summer. LAME. (But at least it’s been renewed!)

Tonight:
10pm – Castle on ABC
10pm – Hawaii Five-0 on CBS

Castle is back!!!! Also, lack of new Chuck means that catching up isn’t becoming any more daunting, which is nice.

TUESDAY:
8pm – Glee on FOX
9pm – Eureka on SyFy

A Glee Christmas special? I’m very afraid.

WEDNESDAY:
8pm – Human Target on FOX
10pm – The Whole Truth on ABC

The Whole Truth has been cancelled, actually. But I guess we get a few more episodes.

THURSDAY:
8pm – Bones on FOX
8pm – The Vampire Diaries on the CW
9pm – Fringe on FOX
9pm – Nikita on the CW

FRIDAY:

Nothing new is airing.

SATURDAY:
11:30pm – Saturday Night Live (Paul Rudd & Paul McCartney) on NBC

SUNDAY:
9pm – Leverage on TNT

Shows that can totally pull off a three-episode Christmas special: Leverage.