Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TV Review Fringe "The Arrival"


Holy Toledo.

Even before Fringe premiered a few weeks ago, media buzz made it a show to watch. Why? For one thing, JJ Abrams, creator of Lost, is part of the team. A fresh television series with a science fiction angle will automatically draw in viewers. Add to it a cast with most being instantly recognized for one work or another, and the result is a guaranteed draw and potential awards hopes.

Since Emmys, Golden Globes, and the like occur for the previous season, chances are slim for nominations. However, a freshman year is time to work out any kinks. Characters may need an adjustment, or plotlines developed out a bit more.

The production crew wisely decided not to start episodes during Emmy week. Returning favorites would divide ratings, since so many are gigantic hits. This year, a couple are heading for a series finale. Stories will be bigger, if not better. Last hurrahs can mean viewership was down already.

After last night's episode, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and the others kept me on the edge of my seat. I wanted to find out what was behind the construction site detonation. Broyles (Lamar Reddick) read my mind, for the team soon arrived to take charge. A large metal object had "arrived", but nobody could explain things. Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), Peter's dad, knows its true significance, but ends up trying to hide it rather than tell the truth.

Those who have always said Walter is off his gourd were partly exonerated. Somehow he got the idea he was supposed to put the thing away for safekeeping. Astrid (Jasika Nicole) got in his way, and ended up unconscious. He tried apologizing later, but she gave him the cold shoulder. Good for her. Actions have consequences.

Now, who is Robert Bishop? The name was on the gravesite where the burial took place. My best guess is a relative of some sort. Grandfather would make the most sense. However, it's equally possible he is more closely related to Peter.

'The Observer' (Michael Cerveris The American Embassy), or bald no-brow dude, reminds me of Where's Waldo. One has to be looking hard to find him in each episode. He has a link to the Bishops, but it has is only partially uncovered.

We miss you Blair Brown! Nina Sharp may only be responsible for conversations with others, but these are a treat. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) gets more of the puzzle pieces each time these two talk. The verbal sparring is well written and nicely delivered.

I have to say, the shocker came at the last minute. Literally. While I won't tell what happened, this might not be unexpected if you have been watching the show from the premiere. I was, but I still felt chills down my spine. Others just might react as Olivia did. Col. Jacobson (Nester Serrano 24, Witchblade) did warn her about getting in over her head....

Next week is a pre-empt, so the continuing saga is going to be on hold for a bit. Although the production staff might not have intended things to happen this way, the breather is appreciated.

also on blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Page Turner"


New York is known for many things. Whether one associates the Big Apple with the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, or a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, lots of possibilities exist for a person's amusement.

What better place, then, to enjoy the warm weather? Throw in a concert by Maroon 5 and the day could practically be called perfect. Leave it to two beer addled dodobrains in the crowd to start a fight. Police in riot gear swarm in to get things under control, but the situation only gets worse. The crime lab has to take over once a woman is found dead.

This episode was milder than what Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) went through after being taken hostage after a bank robbery ("Veritas"). Any intensity came from wondering the fate of Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) after he performed his autopsy and discovered cause of death had come from radiation poisoning. The director did a nice job conveying just how much the new medical examiner means to everyone.

Yes, Dr. Hawkes (Hill Harper) is capable of doing the job. The concern, however, was more personal. Robert Joy has always been fun to watch, adding humor to a world where gritty takes precedence. He brought out everyone's caring side, even Mac's. Quite an accomplishment.

Eddie Cahill, who plays Det. Don Flack, is Mr. Toughie. A good cop, he wants nothings more than to haul in the perp. Only recently has he portrayed the dilemmas faced when the bad guy (or girl) just might not be the most obvious. Thank heavens Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) was with him when questioning a monk. A simple test showed he was the wrong guy. Flack was happy to grab the killer when the time came, though.

Which reminds me. Why in the world would someone draw attention to himself by threatening to sue the cops? Joel Paulson, played expertly by Edward Kerr (SeaQuest DSV, What I Like About You) might have gotten away with homicide if he had simply kept his mouth shut.

Perhaps the best part was the final hospital scene between Flack, Mac, Hawkes, and Sid. These four clearly enjoy each other's company. Professional camraderie helps when it comes to solving crimes.

also published on Blogcritics.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TV Review Eureka "From Fear to Eternity"


Eureka brought its midseason to a bang! Sort of. Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) always suspected trouble afoot when Eva Thorn (Frances Fisher) came to town. Global Dynamics, the research facility where the brightest minds work, needed an uplift. Who better to help than an efficiency expert?

I have to say, Eva did her job. Cutbacks of personnel increased the bottom line. She forgot to consider what people were working on before being told to clear out. Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) disappeared trying to fix an atomic clock when a fired scientist couldn't ("I Do Over"). At least the damage was contained, or Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) and Jack would have vanished too.

When Eva started erasing records of the town's past, citizens took notice. The response she gave was always 'classified'. Frances Fisher almost got into character too well. Refusing to explain only made Jack, Alllison Blake (Salli Richardson Whitfield) and Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) suspicious. They knew it was serious when they discovered an unused bunker had long dead bodies inside.

Only Scifi could have put out Eva's true age as 107 and get away with it. The last survivor out of a team working on an atomic bomb, she tried to erase evidence. If only she had trusted people sooner.

For a show with the ability for many twists and turns, this episode was lackluster. Thorn was telling the truth all along, just not everything. Jack, however, found himself fired by Gen. Mansfield (Barclay Hope Traveler, Smallville, Stargate:Atlantis) for disobeying a direct order to turn over Thorn. Does anybody really believe Colin Ferguson is gone for good?

I don't. Lose the actor in the lead role, the show is over. Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) can be promoted, but her personality makes her a poor fit. No people skills whatsoever. This was only the mid-season finale, so Jack will return. He has to, Zoe (Jordan Hinson) needs her dad. One way or another, Colin will be sheriff again. Perhaps Henry, now mayor, needs a right hand.

It may take a while before Jack is in charge, but the rest of the season should prove interesting. Taggart and Beverly Barlowe just may come back before the finale. I wouldn't be surprised if Thorn ends up dead later on. After all, she has no means of rejunvination now.

on blogcritics.

TV Review Eureka "Here Come the Suns"


Eureka may be known for its scientific work, but the people rally around other items, too. When a mayoral race comes up, more than a few citizens get involved. Zoe (Jordan Hinson), daughter of Jack (Colin Ferguson), wants her boyfriend, Lucas (Vanya Asher) to win. Unreasonable? Maybe. They face some stiff competition, though. Vince (Chris Gauthier), owner of Cafe Diem, throws his hat in the ring.

Perhaps the most qualified person of all is Dr. Herrera (Dean Marshall Stargate:Atlantis, Da Vinci's Inquest), who certainly acts the part. Out of all three candidates, I was prepared for his victory speech. After Eva Thorne (Frances Fisher) backed him, trouble reared its ugly head.

What is it with this woman? She came to town after an internal disaster (A Night at Global Dynamics), but she clearly has a hidden agenda. Frances Fisher is rising to the occasion if villain describes this character best. To be fair, I don't have a problem with a classified duty. After all, a lot of what goes on in Global Dynamics is. Technology, while often useful, can also be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.

The problem lies in 'hidden'. She won't tell anybody what she is trying to do, even Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield). The last time this town has a big secret, the entire lab nearly got killed, along with the sheriff. Oops! By all means, thermal clean a lab. Remove any bodies first. Should they be innocent victims, they can be buried. A trial is a little tricky if the defendants are deceased.

Now then, I wonder how long it will take before Eva finds out Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) got elected sheriff. Zane Donovan (Niall Matter) got pulled into her scheme simply because Henry refused to. He knows how secrets can do more harm than good.

Ferguson and Fisher are adept at portraying two persons on opposite sides. Neither backs down, but they both simply want to keep others out of harm's way. Hearing the protest of 'it's not what you think" sounds false to my ears, and I'm glad to see the disbelief in Colin's face. All Eva needs to do is share a small part and she would be left alone. Good luck with that.

Even the extra sun was not enough to overshadow the storyline which has run through all episodes so far. Enough already. Get the truth out and send Eva packing. This town needs a breath of fresh air, and soon.

also on Blogcritics.

TV Review Eureka "Phased and Confused"


Captain Eureka to the rescue! Uh-oh. Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), the town's sheriff becomes suspicious when a guy with a seriously cheesy supersuit proves not up for the job of hero.

The bigger story was Zoe (Jordan Hinson), Zane Donovan (Niall Matters) and a couple of others trapped in an underground bunker. Eva Thorne (Frances Fisher) knows more about the situation than she will say, but something's rotten in Denmark.

Frances Fisher should be close to an exit. Thank heavens. She has done well with her portrayal of Thorne, whose efficiency masks a dark secret. What makes things worse is pulling Zane into her scheme by not sharing exactly what the 'hotel' is intended to be. I have a feeling her exit will be cheers followed by a sigh of relief. Is she acting alone, or on orders? The question can only be answered by further watching.

Since Jack Carter cares about his job and the people he serves, simply dropping the matter is not an option. Colin has been handling his issue with just the right amount of determination. Jack isn't intimidated easily, and this is no exception. A showdown between Thorne and Carter is going to be a treat to watch.

I do have one small nit. For all Jack's concern about others, he could stand some lessons in warm hugs. They're consistently stiff, even when the embrace is with Zoe.

Jack and Lexi do not do much better. The relationship between them is strained, and it carries over into the physical. Jack will hug his sister, but reluctantly. Patting in order to stave off tears is almost an afterthought.

With Emmy Week not far off, Eureka may not have too many episodes left before either a finale or stopping until 2009. Why not straight through? The only problem is a glut of programs flooding airwaves. Between returning faves and fresh works, the competition is fierce!

published on blogcritics.

TV Review Eureka "Show Me the Mummy"


Whether a town is large or smaller than a pinprick, one thing will always remain. Relationships make the difference between a long life and a short, slow death. Eureka is close knit, especially since Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) became sheriff. When Dr. Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) disappeared via atomic clock ("I Do Over"), Jack found himself grappling with memories. However, nobody feels those on the like Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Nathan's wife, who nearly remarried Nathan except for the poof.

For once, science fiction storytelling took a backseat when an Egyptologist, Dr. Sebastian Marx (Zak Santiago) comes to town with a mummy in tow. While overdone, there was a bright spot. Neil Grayston. As Dr. Doug Fargo, he plays an assistant to a Nobel Prize winner. This time was an exception. An unfortunate sip of water put him into Intensive Care. On the edge of my seat, I had to know what the outcome was. You'll have to watch for yourself.

This episode was Ed Quinn's last for now. Although he should be considered gone for good, there is always the possibility of a return down the road.

With a space now open, Zane Donovan (Niall Matter) is heading down a slippery path. Eva Thorn (Frances Fisher) asked for his help with her hotel. No biggie, right? Let's hope Jack doesn't find out. I'd hate to see Zane in jail.

Jack's sister, Lexi (Ever Carradine), also plans to stick around for a while. It may not be too long before her fiance shows up. The interaction between Colin and Ever clicks. They handle the difficulties of a strained sibling relationship nicely. Jack is a nice guy, but Lexi may bring out more of his caring side.

This season has been a bit lackluster. I'm not sure how many episodes are scheduled, but it won't be long before the fall season kicks in and other shows will compete for attention.

Also at Blogcritics.

TV Review Eureka "I Do Over"


It's a wedding, and you're invited! Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson) and Dr. Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn) are getting remarried. After Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) created the fake emergency which sent him to prison ("A Night at Global Dynamics"), Nathan realized just how much he cared for Allison and her son, Kevin.

Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is not happy about the situation, since he has feelings for Allison. However, being the man he is, he plans to stand by her decision. In fact, he even agrees to walk Allison down the aisle.

Science fiction has anything happen. I understand this. There is, however, one caveat. The first part has to be true- science concepts are accurate even if the use is modified to fit a storyline. Character developments and plot twists will always fall into the realm of a writer's imagination, never being true no matter how much viewers or readers may wish otherwise.

How does this week's episode measure up? A little bizarre. The time-space continuum took time to get used to. Jack ended up back in the shower each time the loop restarted. Not every part of his day repeated itself overtly, more implied. Lili (Ever Carradine Commander In Chief ), Jack's sister, came to his home twice yet they only connected emotionally at Cafe Diem. I have to wonder how she knew about Eureka. My best guess is something to do with Duncan, Lili's fiance.

Using an atomic clock in order to fix the atmospheric rift made sense. Henry said Jack couldn't possibly be right, but the Sheriff managed to convince Nathan (Ed Quinn) and Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) the clock was the key to fixing things.

Here's where things got really interesting. Nathan stepped in the clock while Fargo worked outside. The particle accelerator froze Nathan in place, then turned him into stardust.

Is he dead? I'm not 100 % convinced. There is no dust on the floor as if he had vaporized. Dr. Stark's skeleton was not left behind, either. Besides, to believe it means the top research scientist at the town's scientific facility simply went with a poof! Beverly Barlowe (Deborah Farentino) did the same thing once, and her return is not beyond reason. Any intelligent person is raising an eyebrow over Nathan's demise. The biggest reason for my skepticism? Jack would have been free to carry on a relationship with Allison, and Nathan is not about to step aside so easily.

Ed Quinn, btw, is too valuable to lose without a chance of his return at some point. He takes the dark and holds it up as a perfect foil to Colin's human light. The big kahuna of GD, Eva Thorn (Frances Fisher) is not exactly Ms. Nice, but even she is no match for Nathan. Keep watching- the revolving door of this small town has not shut completely!

Previously on Blogcritics.

TV Review Eureka "Best in Faux"


Another day in a small town. Unless, of course, you happen to be Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), Eureka's sheriff. Being the highest member of law enforcement tends to mean you are the first person found during times of crisis. It also involves dealing with members of the public who are quick to let loose when they have some sort of problem. Put single parenthood of top of it and the brew is ripe for things to quickly boil over.

Jack answers the call when a local scientist reports he has had a theft. When Jack and Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra), the deputy sheriff, arrive, they see nothing amiss except the beaker filled with green goop. It's not long before Jack is in the room alone and gets the mess all over his uniform. Thinking the cause might have been an earthquake, he heads off to Global Dynamics for a second opinion.

Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson) says the theory is impossible, since nothing was built until confirmation came of a solid foundation. Besides, there is an even bigger problem looming. A dog show has drawn some fierce competitors. Jack is asked to investigate after the robotic furballs begin to destruct. Answers emerge during the "autopsy" Dr. Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston) performs. It turns out somebody rigged the dogs to test special manmade diamonds. Obviously, the experiment backfired.

Meanwhile, the shake, rattle, and roll of the earth threatens to destroy the wedding between Allison and Dr. Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn). A tunneling device used by Dr. Hood (Alan Ruck Spin City, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) lets Nathan and Jack get to the root of the problem. They take along a dog to help sniff out the source so they can attempt to send flowing liquid away from town. This is easily accomplished. However, Hood tells Jack there is more to come.

Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) has something else to tell Jack. Eva Thorn (Frances Fisher), acting head of Global Dynamics, asked him to check radiation levels in a spot where she would like to see a hotel built. In a roundabout way, Henry is sending out a warning for one of his best friends to take note of.

This was an interesting episode. It set up a storyline which should continue for a bit. Whether or not this means continous remains to be seen. Welcome back, Henry! You kept your promise to Eva, in word if not in deed. Zane Donovan (Niall Matter) was not written into the script, which doesn't mean much. Large cast, somebody's going to be gone from time to time.
It was nice to see Alan Ruck in action, and perhaps Dr. Hood will pop up later.

also on blogcritics.

TV Recap CSI:NY "Turbulence"


Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) deals with all issues when it comes to his job. Being a cop is never easy, but heading up the NYPD crime lab puts one face first in gritty muck. No problem. Mac used to be a Marine - muck is the polite term for what happened to him.

After a homicide occurs on the plane taking Mac to D.C., the stakes get just a little higher in more ways than one. Every other team member is on the ground in New York. Thank heavens for cell phones.

Leave it to the writers to come up with another plane episode. However, the drama was light compared to the season so far. I smiled at Ed Riley (Justin Stilton), who managed to lose his head along with much of his hair.

CSI:NY has consistently created shows which use a theme from current events. They may not be not exact duplicates, but with a twist which suits both location and cast. Overdone? Not always.

In the end, Susan (Michaela McManus Law and Order:SVU) turned out as the biggest surprise. The suspect list was long, with only a few exceptions. Mac eliminated them since whoever did the deed would have to be in close proximity with the victim.

Putting Danny (Carmine GIiovinazzo) and Flack (Eddie Cahill) together was a stroke of genius. These two are practically carbon copies, except Danny is more compasionate. Watching them exchange barbs shows how good the actors are. Street savvy has always been part of their nature, which helps if a gun is about to be fired in one's face.

I realize Nelly is a singer, not actor. He's smart enough to run his club, though, why would he try and outsmart two cops? They weren't dressed like his regular clientele. While the badge was not prominently flashed, Flack is tall enough to pull his jacket back to reveal i.d. at waist level. Anyone sitting could see it easily.

Nelly did better when he and Flack were alone in the interrogation room. The 'confidential informant' should return after a bit, which will be interesting. Considering his line of work, the bits passed on just might bring Flack's sister, Sam (Kathleen Monroe). Both guest stars may take a while for a comeback.

Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) plays ball, who knew? The extracurricular activity could reactivate her love life. As a cop, she's good. She just can't pick men that well. One boyfriend, Frankie (Ed Quinn), tried to kill her and almost succeeded. Drew (Kerr Smith) used her to try and murder Mac. Big mistake.

On Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Veritas"


When we last left Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise), he entered a bank robbery at the request of the perp, Joe (Elias Koteas), to prove he was not responsible for the bank manager's death. Even though the hostages were released, Joe forced Mac to get into an SUV and drive. It took only seconds for Mac to realize he had been set up ("Hostage").

If anyone honestly believed Mac Taylor would be dead in the Season Five premiere, I have pieces of the Brooklyn Bridge for sale. While anything can happen to any character, one rule of television is pretty much understood. Kill off the lead role, and the show is over. Even if the person is replaced, the show will never be the same.

By the time Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) caught up, Mac was soaking wet, staring at the back of the Statue of Liberty. He had no idea how his car ended up in the water, but he was ticked off plenty. Running wouldn't help Joe any.

Hallelujah! Talk about watchable television. Every scene this episode had only increased the tension. The crime lab boss had been hurt, and nothing would stop the team from tracking down the culprit. Speaking of, kudos for adding AJ Buckley and Robert Joy to the opening credits. Both actors lend depth and the occasional leghtheartedness each week, making the inclusion well deserved.

Putting 'crime scene investigation' onto CSI:NY was a stroke of genius. It reminds viewers (and award scouts) what goes into the hour long drama. Perhaps these changes will set up trophy glory (hint hint).

Watching Eddie Cahill and Kathleen Munroe interact as brother and sister had a solid ring of truth. They may be tied together by blood, but they're not very close. Knowing his sister might have played a part in nearly getting Mac killed only brought Flack pain, but he did his job anyway. Flack knows from long experience people just might be telling the truth. I felt for him when Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) questioned Sam. All Flack could do was stand outside and listen.

Kathleen Munroe is supposed to be a recurring guest star. Perhaps Flack became a cop in part to prevent others from getting into trouble like her. Only time will tell if I'm right.

Adam gained a backbone! While he didn't break the law, he knew Mac should have gotten the info on Sam first. He told Mac later, but it didn't exactly help. AJ Buckley showed off a bit more range as he stated his choice (and would be made again if the opportunity arose) had nothing to do with disrespect. Gary kept silent, but he understood the fortitude behind the words. The trembling Adam was gone, replaced by a more mature young man.

This season is sure to be full of surprises, as usual. The only way to discover them all is to keep watching.

Previously on Blogcritics.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

TV Review Eureka "What About Bob?"


In Eureka, just about anything can happen at any given time. Those who live in town are used to the odd and unique. After all, the world's best scientists gather in Global Dynamics, the research facility which has a direct link to the Pentagon. Between Eva Thorn (Frances Fisher The Edge of Night), the acting head, Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson), Dr. Nathan Stark (Ed Quinn), and other staff members, their biggest concern is not what goes wrong inside the facility. It's what affects the rest of the town.

Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) to the rescue! The former U.S. Marshal turned small town sheriff finds himself in a new adventure after getting a call about a missing researcher. Bob Nob (name not available) of may not be the most liked member of his eco-team, but his disappearance rings alarm bells. The project was a self-sustaining environment in an underground biodome.

The engaged Dr. Blake (Nathan again) and Jack are sent in to try and fix matters. 'Clean suits' protect them and the lab team both from contamination. Leave it to Zane Donovan (Niall Matters) to use a holgram for correct measurements. I have to say, the talk about nakedness was a clever bit of writing. No graphic nudity here, either, just general shots focused above the waist. Perfect!

Watching the drama play out via a hacked computer system back in Cafe Diem are Zoe Carter(Jordan Hinson), Dr. Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston), the cafe's owner Vincent (Chris Gauthier), and the rest of the town's youth. They get to see Bob Nob found, complete with DNA gone wrong. Suffice it to say dormant parts are taking evolution backwards to its most primitive state.

It doesn't take long before Jack figures out the cause is most likely human, but the culprit is the last person one might think.

This seems to be a season of taking personal responsibility. What I find unbelievable is Jack not slapping cuffs on the wrongdoers. Or at least standing as someone else does. Henry's back in town! It will be interesting to see if he turns out even more devious than Eva. Nathan Stark now has some serious competition, although he seems more dark than evil. All that's left is to see which one gets sent to Mars....

also published on Blogcritics

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Music Review Justice League New Frontier


Justice League The New Frontier is the soundtrack from the DC Universe Animated Original Movie of the same name, based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke. As the soundtrack title implies, the concept is very different than other projects using these characters.

When Cooke wrote the story, he set it during the 1950's and early 1960's. A distrustful government still needed the aid of superheroes to fight off one of the greatest threats known to mankind. People not endowed with powers beyond what anyone could imagine were also not keen on the trust idea.

Michael Goguen, Supervising Producer for the movie version, ran with the idea. He put the League members into a fictionalized motley band not yet formed into the fighting team people still talk about today.

"Main Titles" is the opening piece. Kevin Manthei, the composer and a performer, did a decent job portraying the battle which is the main storyline. For some reason, the first few notes reminded me of Peter and the Wolf. Once those passed, the overtones told me I was in for a bumpy ride!

"The Centre/Hal Shot Down" continues the dark theme. Since no song on this recording has any lyrics, one does not understand if the Centre is an entity or human. Ominous horn music leads me to believe who or whatever this is, an evil presence lurks. Considering the rest of the work has Hal Jordan, a military test pilot, plunging to Earth after a plane attack, it's clear the Centre does not take prisoners.

The sky is not the only place experiencing trouble. "The Flash Saves Las Vegas" is one of my favorite works. It puts the fast-footed crimefighter in the city where just about anything goes. He does not have much time to get his work done, but that detail is a mere pittance for someone who can run faster than time. The marcatos set up the race, while the flute shows off effortlessness of action.

The saxophone on "J'onn Becomes John/Church Brawl" sets up a film noir scene nicely. One thinks of Raymond Chandler and the detective Sam Spade during this tune. Yes, there is a slight bit of dark mixed in, but what else would be music to a cop's ears? I get the impression John is called to break up a fight which has broken out at church after someone got offended at the sermon, and someone else took offense.

Not everything is overcast. "Carol & Hal Banter" proves even a hard driven military man is capable of having more in his life than just planes. Cello notes reflect Hal, while a mixture of cymbals and piano are testament to just how entrancing Carol is.

Yes, brass and woodwinds are potent. There is never a question concerning the mission's intensity. A trumpet, played by Jeff Bunnell, acts as a clarion for the triumphs both big and small.

I can speak for the depth of this CD, but I imagine others might be inspired to purchase the DVD after looking over the voice talents. David Boreanaz and Neil Patrick Harris share the screen with Lucy Lawless and Kyra Sedgwick, among others. Miguel Ferrer, of Crossing Jordan fame, adds a sense of gravitas by playing the detective John Jones.

Book Review Havana Nocturne


Havana Nocturne How The Mob Owned Cuba And Then Lost It To The Revolution, by T.J. English, is a compelling story about life in Cuba when the Mob took control of life, from day to day politics to nighttime activities, both legal and less than. By history's standards, the time span took place over a couple of decades. The United States has been in existence longer by many, many, more years. Be that as it may, the effects can still be felt around the world.

First things first. Although the "Havana Mob" involves people most would refer to as gangsters, the center of operation came from the land of sugar and rum. Bugsy Siegel stuck his head in the door, but died violently for his involvement with a woman less than highly respected by his peers. Lucky Luciano stayed a bit longer, until the United States forced Cuba to send him packing in exile to Italy. How? By threatening sanctions so severe that Cuba really didn't have any choice but to do as ordered if they wanted to maintain relations.

The Havana Mob mostly made their money through nightclubs and casinos. Needless to say, tourism and celebrities who wanted to experience pure pleasure by spending endlessly helped matters considerably. Mambo was also part of the draw.

Some of the names attached to the nightlife are well known. JFK, for example. Sinatra. Ginger Rogers and Desi Arnaz took the opportunity to perform. While English is careful about suggesting how much these performers understood about the men running certain establishments, conspiracy theorists might find more fuel for their fires.

There is clear evidence local government bought into the notion of financial prosperity if they allowed the illegal gambling and sex trade businessmen to continue without running afoul of the law. Some people would call the regular payoff a bribe. Readers can decide for themselves whether or not they agree with the term.

However, a group of citizens decided to try and take matters into their own hands. Chief among these were Che Guevera and a zealot named Fidel Castro. Although formal schooling never quite worked out, the desire for a revolutionary change could not be easily extinguished. Protests were too great in number and too loud to be dismissed.

T. J. English does an impressive job of conveying the exact state of Cuba's union back then. The glittery nightlife is tempered with the violence of doing business when taking the law into one's own hands.

Emmy Nods 2008


The 2008 Emmy Nominations are out! While many are typical suspects, some surprises were added. Cable television shoved forward with hot shows and performances. A few, however, were fresh faces.

Outstanding Drama Series saw most nominations for Mad Men, the smash hit about advertising. Legal and medical themes were evident, as Boston Legal, Damages, Dexter, and House got nods. Lost rounded out the pack.

The Outstanding Comedy Series category saw 30 Rock as having most votes. Two and a Half Men and The Office led primetime shows, with Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm finishing the group.

Bryan Cranston garnered his first Emmy nod as Oustanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Breaking Bad, a story of a meth maker. However, Hugh Laurie of House, James Spader of Boston Legal, and Michael C. Hall from Dexter will make him sweat. Not to mention two more. Gabriel Bryne of In Treatment and Jon Hamm of Mad Men.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Tony Shaloub from Monk challenges Charlie Sheen Two and a Half Men, Alec Baldwin 30 Rock, and Steve Carell The Office. Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies was also nominated.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Glenn Close Damages steps up, but Sally Field of Brothers and Sisters, Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order:Special Victims Unit, Holly Hunter from Saving Grace, and Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer will make things tough.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series has prior winners. Tina Fey of 30 Rock battles with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in The New Adventures of Old Christine, Christina Applegate of Samantha Who?, America Ferrera of Ugly Betty, and Mary-Louise Parker from Weeds.

Ted Danson shares his race for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series with Zeljko Ivanek,for Damages. William Shatner tries again for Boston Legal, while John Slattery of Mad Men and Michael Emerson of Lost hope he loses.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series contender Jon Cryer Two and a Half Men has double trouble since Kevin Dillion and Jeremy Piven are nominated from Entourage. Rainn Wilson The Office gets to challenge Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother.

Sandra Oh will go after Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series along with Chandra Wilson are nominated for Gray's Anatomy. Candice Bergen continues the Boston Legal run. Rachel Griffiths Brothers and Sisters and Dianne Wiest In Treatment round out the women.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series might be better known as "The Battle of The Blondes". Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live, Jean Smart in Samantha Who?, and Kristin Chenoweth for Pushing Daisies have competition as Holland Taylor Two and a Half Men and Vanessa Williams in Ugly Betty want the top honor.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program is the usual fare.The Amazing Race, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway already know people watch. But winning is nice.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program Host is a new category. Ryan Seacrest from American Idol goes against Tom Bergeron of Dancing With The Stars, Heidi Klum with Project Runway, Howie Mandel in Deal Or No Deal. Jeff Probst for Survivor is a no-brainer.

Outstanding Reality Program goes to: Antiques Roadshow, Dirty Jobs, Extreme Makeover, Intervention, or Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.

Big Name Guest Stars are numerous, even if shows are not. Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series puts Steve Buscemi, Will Arnett, Tim Conway, plus Rip Torn as nominees for 30 Rock. Shelley Berman is from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Outstanding Guest Actress n a Comedy Series brings forth Kathryn Joosten as well as Polly Bergen working on Desperate Housewives. Elaine Stritch, Carrie Fisher, and Edie Falco want the statuette after appearing in 30 Rock. Sarah Silverman is nominated for Monk.

The Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series competitors don't need the award since they are already household names. Robin Williams for Law and Order:Special Victims Unit is up against Robert Morse in Mad Men, Glynn Thurman hopes In Treatment will better Stanley Tucci ER or Oliver Platt Nip/Tuck. Charles Durning rounds out the list with Rescue Me.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series include Ellen Burstyn for Big Love, with Diahann Carroll portraying Burke's mom in Gray's Anatomy. Sharon Gless was chosen for Nip/Tuck. Anjelica Huston played a psychic in Medium. Cynthia Nixon took a dramatic turn during Law and Order:Special Victims Unit.

What's the difference this year? One word: cable. I'm not talking about standard channels, although House is a contender. Showtime has both programs and lead actors nominated. HBO could potentially take home Emmys, but only for one show. The acting nods are for supporting cast members. Controversy also helped send forth nods. Think about it: a drug dealer, a serial killer, interracial dating, therapy for those with screwed up lives. Even sex crimes made the list. With categories spread out a bit, the chances increase for a more even handed distribution.

Who's takes home gold? Tune in Sept. 21st on ABC to find out!

Also printed on Blogcritics.

TV Review Doctor Who Season 4 Finale "Journey's End"


The Season Four Finale of Doctor Who should be renamed as Doctor Whoa! Hang on to your hat, you ain't seen nothing yet! Even Sci-fi fans may have been shocked, despite being told more or less what was going to happen midway through the run.

In fairness, nothing was definite. Which doesn't excuse the promos for the episode's part two. A glance may have shown serious plot points which were major contributors to the storyline. Why watch then? SciFi Channel should have known better.

One simply had to know the fate of Earth. Or rather, the multiple planets affected once the stars began to disappear and day turned into night. The Doctor (David Tennant) knew things were amiss, but he also understood the Daleks were more powerful than the best he could handle. His response? Nothing, for history cannot be altered. This frustrated Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) who knew Earth would be destroyed.

Fortunately, an effort mounted to change The Doctor's mind. More than a few companions teamed up to help. Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) brought things full circle. She knew she could understand the technical aspects better than Donna. Besides, a prophecy had long ago predicted her return.

World War III is perhaps the best equivalent of what happens when one messes with the Dalek, especially when the leader supposedly died. Therefore, extra help is required. Bring in the Torchwood team! Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and some of his cadre come to the rescue, along with Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman). In yet another nice touch, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) also comes.

Even though the departure of Miss Noble was advertised for several episodes (not the smartest move) the way she went surprised me. I'll let you see for yourselves.

A few viewers might think the episode is overloaded with all of the former companions on top of the greatest threat. Wisely, the show itself was ninety minutes, just like the season opener. Already, there is Internet chatter of a new season.

Personally, I can see why so many enjoy this show. Even though I have not seen the past three seasons, I had fun viewing the Timelord and his companion weekly. Speaking of, there is a chance (don't quote me) the woman who played Dr. Corday on ER is the next companion.

Glad I watched? Yes, to not do so is something I would have regretted. Still, I found myself trembling and in tears long after the closing credits rolled. It was that powerful.

Also can be read on Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Hostage"


Talk about starting your day with a bang! A bank holdup sends Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) racing to the scene along with SWAT. To nobody's surprise, there is a typical list of demands. What turns out to be unexpected is the asking for a CSI team to prove the dead body in the vault is someone else's fault.

Needless to say, Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinse) steps in. He wants a hostage released, and the man complies. Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) arrives shortly afterwards. Flack gets her up to date, but this is an untypical way to process evidence. Complicating matters is HRT Coomander Jackson (Roger Aaron Brown) the person in charge of getting everybody out, alive. Gung ho for action, he is not listening to Flack and Stella pleading for patience.

Inside the bank, Mac is doing his best to take control to avoid a bloodbath. He persuades "Joe" (Elias Koteas American Dad!) to send in a portable CT scanner so Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) and Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) can aid in a virtual autopsy. Since Mac previously sent them crime scene photos, they can tell exactly where to dig for bullets.

Somehow, both widowmakers entered the body at the same spot. knows Something is amiss, but help is needed to figure things out. Stella goes to the Department of Homeland Security where Brett Dunbar (Adam Baldwin Chuck) introduces her to a Kriss Super V.

Back at the lab, Adam Ross (AJ Buckley) examines a hair Mac slid in and sent along with the bullets. No hit in CODIS, the national database for DNA. This figures, Joe is clearly an amateur.

Mac soon realizes Joe is telling the truth about not being involved in the initial death. However, this does not explain much. Several phone calls suggest another person played a bigger role. Joe mentions a home invasion, with those responsible taking his family hostage unless he retreived a cell phone left at the bank. They both end up leaving the scene in an SUV. After Mac gets a news chopper to fly off, a glance in the rearview mirror spells trouble. Joe left a bullet in his gun. Could his sob story to Mac have been a lie?

Holy smoking guns, Batman! Due to a cliffhanger storyline, there is plenty to uncover. Joe may not mastermind, but he could be more involved. Mac is hardly stupid, but he might be too quick to sympathize.
Nice to see you, Adam! This DNA expert not only tests hair, but knows to look and check out who NYPD deals with. Sid and Hawkes working together is a fun touch. They help in the best way they know.
CSI:NY will begin its fifth season in September. First up is the conclusion to this episode, and a few things can be stated for sure. Gary Sinise is the lead actor, so he should come out intact. Lose the lead, lose the show. Internet rumor is suggesting someone closely related to a team member might have a part. Yes, I know who. This gives me an idea. Filming of three episodes will take place before the cast goes on hiatus. This can change information originally given, so I have to wonder if a certain guest star may return....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

TV Review CSI:NY "Taxi"


New Yorkers always have an opinion, and this time is no exception. For weeks, a serial killer has yet to be caught. Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) feels heat from all sides. Considering it's only one person, citizens are not sympathetic.

The problem partly comes from the killer's assumed character, a cab driver. Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) and Det. Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier) close, but to no avail.

The dead man is from New Jersey, which brings Quinn Shelby (Kristen Dalton) on board. She and Mac both applied to head the crime lab. Mac needs all help he can get. When Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) completes his autopsy, he says the latest victim does not fit with the others. He died due to mistaken identity. The true cabbie killer remains at large.

Jordan Gates (Jessalyn Gilsig Nip/Tuck), the mayor's top security person, finds Mac and Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) to demand how information withheld by the police turned up on a blog. She tells Mac if his department leaked, she cannot help.

Mac confronts Reed Garrett (Kyle Gallner Big Love), who wrote the post. Reed is the son Mac's late wife, Claire, gave up for adoption years ago. The relationship has been awkward, but now egos clash. Mac thinks what Reed wrote led to murder. Reed is being careful, but does not understand about confirming before printing.

Quinn gets a warrant for Reed's arrest if he does not share his source. Mac has an hour before she uses it. When Reed does not come to the new meeting, Mac goes to his apartment. The backpack left behind says something's amiss, big time! Could Reed be a victim of the cabbie killer?

It takes a while, but Mac and his team manage to find where Reed is held prisoner. The killer gets away, but not for long. A deranged man calling himself Charon was killing those he thought deserved it.

Finally! This should have ended already, but at least the storyline is over. The heart stopping capture was solid CSI NY style. Any trial will be difficult to defend with the mountain of evidence.
Kyle Gallner and Gary Sinise make a terrific team. All they truly have in common is a deceased woman, but they are pretty close in personalities. Both have a point - Reed should have ethics of a higher caliber, but Mac needs to be more tolerant. It's nice to see he cares. He fights crime because those who commit it broke the law, and require justice.
I do have a question, though - why did the promos for this episode say Reed was Mac's son? It's not true. Someone should have caught the error before it got on the air.
Truth came as a shock to Quinn and Jordan over Reed. Why? At least Quinn had a reason; she knows emotions can impair professionalism. It wasn't any of Jordan's business, which Stella implied.
Angell and Flack are partners? This could be interesting....

prior published on blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Personal Foul"


Everybody needs time to have fun outside of work. Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) decide to take a break from dead bodies and attend a basketball game. It's not long before crime says hello.

After Dugan Scott collapses center court, no one in the stands looks away. Flack senses something is amiss, and he and Danny head down for a closer look. Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) later tells Danny and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) death was due to belladonna poisoning.

A color changing lipstick turns out to be the game changer. One of the cheerleaders, Paula Tolomeo, wanted revenge for a past humiliation.

Meanwhile, Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) have a stickier situation. A corpse lies in a fountain, and it looks like the killer cabbie's work! This makes the fifth victim to die. Eventually, another is uncovered. This is NOT good.

Mac holds a press conference since media speculation has citizens worried. Reed Garrett (Kyle Gallner Big Love) is there, and he asks if Mac would take a cab. The answer is no, the killer must be caught first. This ticks off Jordan Gates (Jessalyn Gilsig Nip/Tuck), the mayor's criminal justice coordinator. She points out this is one person, and cabs are critical. Mac says people can get around if need be.
Back at the lab, he tells Stella and Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) everyone is going to work as much as it takes to get this perpetrator whether that means working double shifts, overtime, etc.
The cabbie as killer is an interesting angle, but the storyline has continued beyond what's reasonable. Next week is the second to last season episode. Catch this person already! I'm tempted to think Jordan is behind it all. Yes, it's far fetched, but....
Reed has come into his own! He has a job to do, but so does Mac. Okay, Reed may have not mentioned Mac by name. HOWEVER. He must have phrased things so readers would understand. Mac's warning about not taking a risk was a wise one, since killers read too.
Rikki Sandoval (Jacqueline Pinol Lincoln Heights) is moving away, out of Danny's life. This is a good thing, but Lindsay is perhaps not best for him.

Also published on Blogcritics.

TV review CSI:NY "Personal Foul"


Everybody needs time to have fun outside of work. Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) decide to take a break from dead bodies and attend a basketball game. It's not long before crime says hello.

After Dugan Scott collapses center court, no one in the stands looks away. Flack senses something is amiss, and he and Danny head down for a closer look. Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) later tells Danny and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) death was due to belladonna poisoning.

A color changing lipstick turns out to be the game changer. One of the cheerleaders, Paula Tolomeo, wanted revenge for a past humiliation.

Meanwhile, Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) have a stickier situation. A corpse lies in a fountain, and it looks like the killer cabbie's work! This makes the fifth victim to die. Eventually, another is uncovered. This is NOT good.

Mac holds a press conference since media speculation has citizens worried. Reed Garrett (Kyle Gallner Big Love) is there, and he asks if Mac would take a cab. The answer is no, the killer must be caught first. This ticks off Jordan Gates (Jessalyn Gilsig Nip/Tuck), the mayor's criminal justice coordinator. She points out this is one person, and cabs are critical. Mac says people can get around if need be.
Back at the lab, he tells Stella and Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) everyone is going to work as much as it takes to get this perpetrator whether that means working double shifts, overtime, etc.
The cabbie as killer is an interesting angle, but the storyline has continued beyond what's reasonable. Next week is the second to last season episode. Catch this person already! I'm tempted to think Jordan is behind it all. Yes, it's far fetched, but....
Reed has come into his own! He has a job to do, but so does Mac. Okay, Reed may have not mentioned Mac by name. HOWEVER. He must have phrased things so readers would understand. Mac's warning about not taking a risk was a wise one, since killers read too.
Rikki Sandoval (Jacqueline Pinol Lincoln Heights) is moving away, out of Danny's life. This is a good thing, but Lindsay is perhaps not best for him.

TV Review CSI:NY "Admissions"


After a prep school guidance counselor dies while monitoring a dance, Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) has a messy crime scene and too many suspects. Considering death took place in a chemistry lab, a student just might be responsible. Mac and Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) are long time investigators. They know the first thing is know who found the corpse. When they simultaneously ask, Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) points out they might be partners too often.

Meanwhile. Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) process the body. Due to chemical spillage, Robert Greggs (Paul Keeley) is hardly pristine. Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) later says Greggs died from ingesting acid.

Adam Ross (AJ Buckley), the quirky but brilliant technician, puts the pictures from the students cell phones together on the same computer screen. This just might be the evidence needed to crack the case.

Which Mac needs now. A serial killer posing as a cabdriver ("Like Water for Murder") is on the loose, but too people with ties to the school want him to solve their interest as a higher priority. Having Deputy Inspector Gerrard (Carmen Argenziano The Young and the Restless)'s daughter attending cranks up the tension.

When Mac and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) talk to Natalie (Kelen Coleman), they feel certain she knows more telling. Girard stops the interview before they can learn much.

Lindsay and Mac talk to Natalie one more time. This time, Gerrard is in the room. When Natalie speaks to Lindsay alone, Mac and Girard soon hear a painful admission. The boy she had been dating a few times got her drunk, then slipped a date rape drug in her drink. The admission is agonizing for both father and daughter.

More shocks follow. He isn't a teenager, but 32! This was an elaborate setup to find teenage girls for sexual molestation. A sexual predator, Frank, (Ayre Gross The Riches) was the mastermind, but neither man has any remorse. The guidance counselor was killed after Natalie told him what happened to her. She wanted to ensure no other girl got hurt.

Not long afterwards, a shot rings out in an interrogation room. Cops race towards the sound. Gerrard is found standing over the body of his daughter's rapist. Only evidence processing will decide homicide. Gerrard's career is likely over.

Talk about back to basics! Adam returned to add technical savvy and comedic moments. Referring to Abott and Costello was a nice touch. Sid should know better than to believe Mac's 'live autopsy' comment, but his grimace worked.
Gary Sinise is adept at both tough and tender, and proved it. A killer is running around NY, but higher ups want his current case solved first. Mac's frustration added just the right notes, and he understands he should get angry only when his bosses aren't looking.
Gerrard showed a side not seen before, a caring father. He and Gary acted and reacted like two brick walls hitting, while still leaving bricks attached. Mac Taylor is not completely heartless, and so he understands taking action. Writers were smart to let him pick up Gerrard's gun. I do think, however, Mac is too close to do any actual processing.

also published on Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Like Water For Murder"


A body on the beach might be cause for concern, but the addition of a dead shark takes the latest case for Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and his team to a new level. When Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) noticed strangulation marks, he knew this would not be a simply death by chomp.

Back at the lab, Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) confirms the strangling. He also mentions carbon monoxide played a part.After another death in like manner, Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) adds a piece to the puzzle. Both women were real estate agents Stella had sought out the first, Chrissy Watson (Kelly Bellini), after Stella's apartment buillding caught fire ("Right Next Door").

Quinn Shelby (Kristin Dalton The Dead Zone)arrives, checking out the lab for re-accreditation. The case at hand has to come first, inspection or not. Someone has killed twice, and must be stopped before another falls prey.

Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Det. Lindsay Monroe process evidence. They have yet to discuss the state of their relationship. Danny asks if they could rent a movie, but Lindsay leaves the lab without giving him an answer. Quinn notices and mentions it to Mac.

This is the only cause for professional concern. She tells him the team surpassed expectations. Quinn's presence becomes invaluable when she is able to tie in an old case to Mac's. Stella and Mac figure out the killer targets people prominently advertising professional services.

After a fourth body turns up, Mac tips off Reed Garrett (Kyle Gallner Big Love), who works for a city paper. Rather than a column, Reed has a blog. He writes up a piece on his PDA for instant publication while Mac and Flack decide all deaths are definitely linked.

Okay, story concepts must be slow. This has been done before, with Shane Casey. The difference is the cops knew who he was before he escaped from custody ("Hung Out to Dry"). The killer is a cabbie, but that's all which is known. Did the chocolatier do it? It certainly doesn't make sense. Could be a woman....
The visual image of the killings was unsettling. However, no gore helped.
Mac and Quinn kissed? How charming! If Lindsay were ever to leave, Quinn replace nicely. The dialogue between her and Sid was solid. Ever better were the conversations by Reed and Mac. I have a feeling Reed will be useful.

Alson published on Blogcritics.
Due to programming purposes, this story is not over yet. The shortest time viewers could see the end of this is two weeks. Less than ten episodes finish out the season, and this was the third.

Friday, April 11, 2008

TV Review CSI:NY "Right Next Door"


After processing an accident, Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) reminds Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) she has been working a lot of overtime recently. Homicide Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) assures her they have control, and Stella heads home to her apartment building for a long rest.

It doesn't take long before she starts coughing. Yelling in the hallway jerks her awake, and Stella realizes a fire has broken out. Once the fire department lets people back inside, the enormity hits hard. Mac soon arrives with a cup of coffee and a warm hug. They both understand what could have been lost.

Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) assist in the effort to figure out the fire. Flack tells them arson is suspected, and a corpse has been found in the ashes. Due to incineration, there is not much to work with. However, an ID is found nearby for Sean Nolan (Ron Melendez General Hospital: Night Shift). Flack discovers a history of arson, which makes Sean the prime suspect. He is ruled out, but questions remain.

Lindsay calls Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), who says if there is anything he can do for Stella, he will. The abruptness of his tone confuses Lindsay, but he hangs up before he can question him. She doesn't realize he has had an overnight visitor - Rikki Sandoval (Jacqueline Pino Lincoln Heights), the mother of Ruben, Danny's young neighbor, who died during a bodega robbery. Danny felt responsible when it happened, since he was supposed to watch Ruben at the time.

Only now have Danny and Lindsay gotten to talk about it. Lindsay is upset Danny did not try and share his feelings with her. After all, she lived through seeing several friends die ("Silent Night"). Worse yet, she fell in love with Danny. Now she has to walk away from the relationship.

Adam Ross (AJ Buckley), a CSI technician, helps crack the case wide open. He does a chemical analysis of a note Stella found behind her dresser. It is a link to the people living next door. Mac, Stella, and Flack rush to a rooftop where two children are sound asleep.

Both Bailey O'Dell (Destiny Grace Whitlock October Road) and Austin Tanner (Austin Reed Whitlock) were abducted by Bonnie Dillard (Kimberly Quinn Two and a Half Men, House M.D.) who thought she could do a better job of raising them than their parents.

Clearly, the production team of CSI:NY is making up for time lost during the writers strike. Not only did an extra death get put in at the start, the Ruben Sandoval storyline popped up again. A little cluttered, if you ask me. Perhaps the best thing is to see Lindsay and Danny start the road to breakup. These two have never been the best team in the world. In fact, the only intimacy they've had is sex after a game of pool ("Snow Day"). Rikki slept with Danny because she knows he feels guilty? Sheesh, talk about disappointing.
I realize Mac and Stella are close, but I would have liked to see Flack come through the door to Stella's apartment. For this reason - the impression has been Flack joining the force because law enforcement runs in his family rather than helping people.
Nice to see Adam again! He and Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) always provide the comic bits during the show. The elevator scene was a decent touch, but the relief at not seeing Stella hurt showed off AJ Buckley's acting chops.

Also published on Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "DOA for a Day"


When Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and his team last tried chasing down a professional hitman ("Down the Rabbit Hole"), surprises came at every turn. For starters, the person they were looking for ended up being female. She was good, very good! Mac nearly caught her, but she escaped. Mac had to be reminded of serial killer Shane Casey since he sensed he was being closely watched ("Hung Out to Dry").

NYPD decides to inform the public about the situation on Crime Catchers, a show which lets people call in a tip anonymously. This works, and Mac, Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes), Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill), along with Det. Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier) take a trip out to an abandoned warehouse. They take the precaution of Kevlar vests. After all, their suspect has killed a politician already.

They find their woman, dead. Mac confirms it is indeed her. Processing the scene is simple enough, but the multiple computer screens give Mac an idea. Adam Ross (AJ Buckley) soon arrives to go through the hard drives.

When the team realizes the victim is someone else, more questions remain. When Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), checks with Missing Person, he discovers the victim is Katie Mann, a staff member working for the Mayor.

A sting is set up using SWAT, Angell, and the FBI. When the hitwoman is spooked, she takes off running. Mac races after her, letting everyone know where he's going. The last time he went after a suspect by himself, Caly Dobson jumped off a skyscraper roof ("Past Imperfect").

Before everyone else can step in, Mac has won a firefight with Suspect X. He gets her to tell him what it feels like to kill another, and she says she always felt she was sending her victim to a higher place.

After she dies, Mac asks Jordan Gates (Jossalyn Gilsap Heroes, Nip/Tuck) to come to his office. SHE was next on the hit list, her ex-husband wanting vengeance. Mac puts his arm around her in comfort as the episode fades to black.

Talk about coming back with a bang! I was so thankful the episode which kicked off this storyline was shown the week before to help my memory. Once repeats start, this episode is going to be on my watch list.

AJ Buckley was listed as a 'special guest star' AGAIN. This boggles my mind. Is he really doing the show a favor by appearing? He mentioned a potential raise, so could he be joining the regular cast next season?.... BTW, there is one.

Danny and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) appear to be on the outs. Ever since Ruben Sandoval died ("Child's Play"), Danny has been struggling. More than one team member has noticed, but nothing more has been said.

Spring is in the air, and a couple of items are worth noting. Mac seems to have hit it off with Jordan. Only time will tell if anything happens. Flack and Angell are bonding, and they work well together. Hint, Hint....

Book Review Murder in Mayberry by Mary and Jack Branson


When Ann Branson of Madisonville, Kentucky, was violently killed, the incident quickly became the talk of the town. Even though family members were shocked, more than anything they wanted to find out who would take someone else's life.

Ann's nephew, Jack Branson, was particularly eager. He knew better than anyone not to focus on obvious answers. From his standpoint as a former U.S. Treasury agent, the most unlikely suspect had to be considered. It's not uncommon for homicide victims to know the killer in some fashion. The possibilities are endless - the next door neighbor, a professional colleague, or perhaps the co chair of the community aid society.
Murder in Mayberry talks about the agonizing search for a killer to be brought to justice. Written by Jack Branson and his wife, Mary Kinney Branson, it offers a personal perspective on having a family member die of unnatural causes.

Perusing this novel, my heart went out to the Madisonville police. The last time they handled a violent death was twenty years prior. No matter how much they wanted to see the case solved, a lack of experience doesn't help.

One of the biggest surprises of all is the killer. Early suspicion opened the door to his being considered a prime suspect, but he was not the only one. Any proof was circumstantial at best, meaning a trial could show just how worthless it was. Worse things were to come before an arrest could be made.

Such as a flight to another country. In a spectacular move, this person fled to Costa Rica. Extradition for those accused of capital crimes would only be granted if the death penalty was taken off the table and parole was on. No prison term for the rest of one's natural life would be considered.

As stories go, this is an interesting one. The facts are laid out for the reader to see in clear and concise fashion. Every avenue is explored when it comes to figuring out whodunit. Will people be on the edges of their seats as they go through chapters? Probably not. However, getting to know the Branson family and the citizens of Madisonville is worth the cost of the book itself.

Also published on Blogcritics.

Book Review The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith


Alexander McCall Smith, known far and wide for his multiple book series, has added to readers' collections with The Good Husband of Zebra Drive. The Ladies of the No. 1 Detective Agency now deal with far more investigations than they bargained for, with a few personal dilemmas thrown in.

Precious Ramotswe, the No. 1 of the agency, is hired by a cousin to look into some unexplained hospital deaths. As an administrator, he fully understands the cessation of life is a necessary evil. It's one of the realities of working in medicine. What troubles him are three patients dying on the same day and time. Although Precious would like to believe otherwise, one cause may just be someone with medical training. Could an 'angel of death' be lurking among the ward? Few want to discuss the possibility - making it even more likely. Still, there are other choices.

When she figures the mystery out, readers will be in for a surprise! It's not who one might reasonably expect.

This is not the only concern Precious is trying to handle. Grace Makutsi, whose secretarial skills are valuable to the agency, has to decide whether or not to leave. Since she has gotten engaged, there is a time coming when she is not going to need her own income.

Meanwhile, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, husband of Mma Ramotswe, is looking for a change from his regular duties as owner of the garage. As it sits rights next to the detective agency, he gets his wish after a woman comes to the agency wanting help in reining in a wayward husband. Since he is the only person around at the time, he easily figures out the steps necessary for a solution. Easy enough, right? Find who the other woman is, and convince her to step aside. Unless you happen to have no training whatsoever....

I have a quibble with this book. This is well written, drawing readers into the plot while showing just how beautiful Botswana can be. I could picture the dirt roads standing between lush, trees resplendent with individual leaves. My ears also caught the bells dangling from around the necks of cattle, signaling a nearby presence. However, was the use of 'that' needed so often? Most sentences work just fine without putting it in. For example, in the sentence "Most wives fondly hoped that their husbands dreamed about them, but they did not.", it can easily be left behind without losing context.

This is a novel for one of the lazy days with the reader in a hammock while sipping a cold glass of lemonade. Each chapter should be slowly absorbed in thoughtful silence. While I was not ecstatic over the book, McCall Smith is an author who is effective at getting his point across.

previously published here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Book Review Things I Have Learned In My LIfe So Far by Stefan Sagmeister


When I first opened the package containing Things I have Learned In My Life So Far, by Stefan Sagmeister, I quickly realized it was different from what I am used to reviewing. However, my experience with unique has come into play before.

Sagmeister made a name for himself as a graphic artist. Clients would hire him to design brochures and the like for advertising purposes. If they needed a picture for their annual fundraiser, they knew just who to call.

When he decided to take a year's sabbatical from commerical work to see what would happen, he kept a daily diary. It wasn't long before he noticed what he wrote would be best displayed in public for others to see and apply in their own lives.

To describe Sagmeister's work as a novel would be misleading. It is more like an object of art. The contents were my first hint. Rather than a bound novel which reads cover to cover (for most of us, anyway), a selection of pamphlets falls out of the box. They represent the process of creating his displays. There is a story behind each one, shared with readers.

Those who think on the right side of their brains, or creatively, are going to especially enjoy the cover. It takes the author's face and creates a template. By slipping a pamphlet behind, the image is immediately changed.

Which booklet stood out to me the most? I think it's the one which talked about "Over Time I Get Used To Everything And Start Taking It For Granted". This happened in New York with a variety of mediums. After Stefan sat on a windowsill and dangled his feet out, people mistook him for a jumper. Oops! The police were called, but Stefan managed to leave the scene before he got into trouble.

I also liked "Starting A Charity Is Surprisingly Easy". I was reminded my help can always be used by somebody. Sagmeister and his friends made a difference in the lives of homeless people by handing out bags of stuff twice a month. A student in one of the artist's art classes came up with a way to thank garbage collectors for what they do.

This book is an intriguing look at the things all of us value. Even if one disagrees with the concept or an individual saying, there is something to be said for Sagmeister's vision in sharing with the world.

Book Review The Dead Guy Interviews by Michael A. Stussser


The Dead Guy Interviews Conversations with 45 of the Most Accomplished, Notorious, and Deceased Personalities in History, by Michael A. Stusser, is a satirical look at those who died but left their mark on the world. These are folks who will be spoken of for generations to come.

Give the author credit for doing homework. Prior to each chat, a brief history is given as to why the person in question should be remembered. This is extremely helpful. Some celebrities are more known than others.

The table of contents is also useful. Since people are listed in alphabetical order, one can easily find those interviews most interested in rather than having to sift through other junk first.

It should be noted, however, to take things with salt. Stusser deviates from what actually happened during an interviewee's lifetime and gets down to what modern day readers want to know. At least, what he imagines most care about.

Frida Kahlo, the Mexico City artist equally famous for her work as well as politics, is asked if she ever considered shaving her monobrow. The response is classic Khalo, a failure to answer useless questions of an impertinent reporter who does not recognize her true importance.

Cleopatra is more accepting. As a woman, she understands herself well enough to entice the writer with seduction. The tactic works, as the reaction is felt throughout.

Isadora Duncan gleefully talks about her death by strangulation. In a way, she left this world with the same joie de vivre as when she entered. Although she died at the hands of her own scarf, the visual image is crystal clear.

Abraham Lincoln, our 12th President, discusses his love life. Being a politician, though, he cannot help but bring up his time (albeit shortlived) in office. Yes, the assassination is mentioned. Conspiracy theorists will have more fodder to play with.

Oscar Wilde, perhaps best remembered for The Importance of Being Earnest, recalls how his life was turned upside down by those who didn't understand him. Laws to protect decency made certain relationships illegal, which put many a man in a difficult spot.

Offbeat? Yes. Different? Very. That being said, this book is one you pick up and read anyway. Each interview is self contained, so selections do not overlap. It can be read all at once, or a bit at a time.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What he said


And this guy is in public relations?

Okay, his comment should not have been uttered aloud. Now. Does he have an idea of what he is referring to? I

Friday, February 15, 2008

CSI:NY "Playing With Matches"


In the Big Apple, an elite group of first responders exists. The "Boys in Blue", or NYPD, is well known as being one of the best in law enforcement. On the other hand, FDNY has produced some high quality blaze battlers, including Steve Buscemi, famous for such films as Reservoir Dogs. Yoo-hoo casting directors! Talk about a guest star....

During a race to a call, Engine 3 learns about people possibly trapped. This is nothing they haven't prepared for through hours of training. What they don't expect is the body which smacks up against the windshield. The impact is so great, a spider's web of damage covers most.

It takes no time at all for Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise), head of the evidence roundup team, to be called in by Det. Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier) for help. He is wise enough not to tackle this on his own, so Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) comes along for the ride. Soon, Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) arrives too.

When a patch is discovered nearby, the case takes a strange twist. The design resembles one worn by Alan Shepard on Mercury 3. Mac is quick to quote, "Houston, we have a problem". I have to hand it to the writers to have Gary Sinise utter a sly salute to Apollo 13. The victim is wearing a suit of sorts, leading the detectives to consider the role of outer space.

Back at the lab, Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) tells Mac his victim died of smoke inhalation when toxic fumes filled his helmet, A meat thermometer was also discovered during autopsy, which accounted for the stab wound. Since rate of impact was approximately eighty miles per hour, Sid surmises a re-entry to the earth's atmosphere has something to do with the case. When Mac just looks at him, Sid mildly says he is not a forensic expert.

Kendall Novak (Bess Wohl), an in-house lab technician, helps by suggesting a more reasonable explanation. She thinks the victim might have been street luging, which is exactly what it sounds like. Accelerant increased the rate of speed so homemade sleds on wheels flew down a hill. When Messer and Angell attend a competition, they find "Mercury" (Jason Chambers Human Weapon). He admits to the stabbing, but claims innocence as to the death.

A luge professional, Sandra 'Concrete Cowgirl' Polk (Nicole Marie Lenz), owns of the suit. She wanted to help the victim take a step further in his career, since he seemed to have a talent. Eventually, she is cleared of wrongdoing. The death is determined to be accidental.

Meanwhile, Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) and Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) are asked by Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) for an assistafter Vanessa Matlin's corpse floats out of an automatic toilet. Needless to say, this will be one for office annals! Although water hinders processing, Stella gets a lead from CODIS, the DNA database. She tells Mac she has an even bigger bombshell. There is a match, but the suspect is incarcerated.

Mac remembers Seth Riggin (Reid Scott My Boys) was found guilty of another's death, yet he has always proclaimed his innocence. Chances of a wrongful conviction are not high, but Stella mentions two people could have the same DNA. Mac is irked, but knows she has a point. The next order of business is chatting with Seth.

As Stella checks out Seth's cell, Mac talks to him. Seth is planning to appeal his conviction. Mac is confronted with evidence opening the door to reasonable doubt. Soon afterwards, he revisits Seth and says evidence will soon prove he played a part of Vanessa's death, albeit a small one. The original sentence is another matter altogether.

This episode was the last filmed before writers went on strike. I have to admit, this was a good place to stop. Gary Sinise got to experience perhaps not being right about nabbing a bad guy. As Seth said, the jury can look at the same stuff and see a completely different conclusion. Melina held her ground well, not letting Stella be intimidated by her boss and friend. Of all team members, she is the one he should be listening to most.
Sid's deadpan delivery of "I'm just a pathologist" was icing on the cake. He was quick to let Mac know the bizarre is sometimes the right conclusion. After the 'fairy on her shoulder' led to Peter Pan and an arrest("Happily Never After"), Mac can only raise an eyebrow. Robert Joy is to be commended for his acting prowess.
Kendall was, for once, on her own without Adam. It worked much better. Having Bess Wohl and AJ Buckley compete gets tiresome to watch.

Music Review The Blind Boys of Alabama Down in New Orleans


Previously posted on Blogcritics.

When the Blind Boys of Alabama decided to record with a new CD, they considered details. Only the best would do for the four time Grammy winners. While a number of places could have been picked, Louisiana won. And so, The Blind Boys of Alabama Down in New Orleans began birth.

As a pick-me-up down in the home of crayfish and Connick Jr., this makes sense. After all, much can be said for the rich music history. Where else would funerals be highlighted by a parade?

Wisely, gospel tunes are backed by New Orleans natives. David Torkanowsky (piano) joins Roland Guerin on bass along with Shannon Powell (drums). Special guests are Allen Toussaint, the pianist/producer who made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the Hot 8 Brass Band, whose emphasis on horns is undeniable. This last choice was smart, since they are one of the city's 'most vital young acts'.

There is something for all on this CD. A spiritual overtone is evident. For some, both words and music hit listeners with a sledgehammer. A few are more subtle.

"Free at Last" focuses on the message of a cultural and political icon. Dr. Martin Luther King is being introduced to a new generation of listeners in one of the biggest forms of mass media. Music will endure no matter what happens in the world, whether or not events take place on a regular basis. Even someone who has never heard of The Blind Boys or Dr. King is drawn in with sassy opening notes. Using a clever move, the most memorable line from Dr. King's speech is penned as lyrics.

""Make a Better World" brings in The Hot 8 Brass Band for the first time. This song is a departure from what one might expect from typical gospel fare. Earl King, now deceased, wrote this as a still a message which people all around the world should learn. While I agree with the concept per se, the song itself did not resonate with as much impact as the previous selection.

"You Got To Move", to me, epitomizes New Orleans sound. While not discussing saints, this toe tapping song reminds those who understand man's common condition. Death does not discern between class, race, religion, sex, or anything else.

"Down by the Riverside" combines the talents of Allen Toussaint and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. They set off vocals nicely, but the words are interesting. I have to wonder if they discuss anti war on purpose in light of today's political era.

"How I Got Over" is one of the two songs associated with the late singer Mahalia Jackson. A little slower than the more peppy songs, it bears a listen. While none of us are guaranteed a life of ease, there is a way to get through one's troubles.

When I decided to write up The Blind Boys of Alabama, I knew little about their work. However. This CD isn't bad! Whether I enjoyed a particular song or not, the overall effect was a good one. Kudos have to be given out for performing in New Orleans. While there may or may not be a portion of the proceeds given to rebuilding efforts, the reminder of just how special the town is nice to see.

Book Review The Con Artist of Catalina Island A McAfee Twins Mystery


Previously published here.

The Con Artist of Catalina Island A McAfee Twins Christmas Novel, by Jennifer Colt, brings the identical sibling private eyes back into the hearts and minds of readers. Kerry and Terry McAfee may look exactly alike, but the resemblance stops on the physical level. Kerry is the brains while Terry has a wild child running through her veins. Even though it cost her a stint in prison for doing drugs, she and Kerry are family. Period. This time, it will take everything they've got to solve this holiday mystery.

Wouldn't you know it, relatives pull them into their latest case. After Cousin Robert lands in the ICU after a freak accident, the twins rush to the hospital. Aunt Reba chooses the stressful moment to drop a bombshell. It's clear a place to get away from day-to-day life would help soothe nerves. Catalina Island seems perfect.

Paradise turns into a mirage when the twins book themselves into a hotel room. It seems the previous occupants had a war of words. No big deal? It's not, except that the newlywed bride now appears to be missing. When a dead body turns up, things get sticky. A case of mistaken identity is the last straw. The twins must figure out what really happened before they can get back to the business of being related.

When relatives and business are put into the same sentence, there is almost certainly bound to be trouble. Leave it to Cousin Robert, and the 'almost' gets tossed into the sea. Remember that long held family secret? It ceases to be once Robert gets wind of it. Not content with holding it between relations, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Holiday stress is promptly increased ten times over.

This book is almost too rich a read. Robert and Reba play a larger role than is perhaps strictly necessary. While the storyline opened up a new layer of depth, I thought it a little distracting. Toss in some international intrigue and thought-provoking questions are raised.

Speaking of, I have a quibble regarding terminology. When we first meet two minor players, they are introduced as deputies. Later on, they get referred to as sheriffs. Last time I checked, those roles are hardly interchangeable. A deputy ranks below a sheriff, as a vice president is under a commander-in-chief.

CSI:NY "All in the Family"


Previously published here.

When Emily Miller buys flowers, she never expects to be killed by a bullet. It's not long before Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) uses Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) to help find a solution. A tooth tells Hawkes there might be another victim. Two seconds later, this is confirmed.

Det. Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier Two and a Half Men) is already on scene when they arrive. She tells them deceased number two is Judge Julio Riverton (Roy Werner Power Rangers Time Force, Renegade). Unfortunately, Madison (Ashlee Gillepsie 7th Heaven), his daughter, was the one to discover his body. After she and the two young men with her, Charlie (Greg Mikurak) , and Jake (Jericho), are questioned, lab results help them pinpoint the killer.

Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) gives Mac and Stella a strange cause of death. The judge was bludgeoned instead of simply being shot. This is odd, since a bullet would have been faster.

An arrest is made. Jake beat the judge while Charlie watched. The act was in retaliation for being in the foster care system when they were younger. Mac reminds them their impulsive act left two dead, a woman without a parent, and no future for either of them.

Meanwhile, Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) raises an alarm for Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) when he doesn't show for work. She covers with Mac, but gets Flack to find out what the story is.

Once the super at Danny's apartment building lets Flack in, a quick look around sheds light on things. A program for Ruben Sandoval, Danny's young neighbor, is nearby. It doesn't take much to figure out Ruben's death has been affecting Danny's work. However, Flack eventually finds his friend. What Danny tells him, though, is chilling.

Rickie (Jacqueline Pinol Lincoln Heights, Resurrection Blvd), Ruben's grieving mother, discovered the man responsible for the robbery, Ollie Barnes (Al Santos The Help, Grosse Pointe), has gotten out of prison. Somebody else killed her son, but she is not letting truth stop her revenge. Danny unwittingly helps her when she steals his gun.

It takes both detectives before Rikki is found. Danny manages to persuade her to not go through with her plan, but Ollie cannot leave without calling her a foul name. Flack has to pull Danny off before the situation gets worse.

Danny eventually brings her in for booking. Flack is there to help smooth things over, and tells Danny he needs to stop blaming himself. Danny doesn't know how, and leaves.

This was not a one hour episode, rather, it turned into two half hour shows back to back. I never truly believed the substory. Why would a mother go after someone who didn't kill her child? Whoops! Ollie Barnes was harsh in his judgment, but I understand his thinking.
Lindsay stinks when it comes to cover ups. Mac was smart enough to pick up on it. My only thought as to why he didn't question her more closely was Danny's emotional state. He's too consumed with guilt to be effective.
Flack, on the other hand, has never been one for gut wrenching emotion. He's like Mac in a sense. He had enough forethought to not put Rickie in jail, but perhaps he and Jessica Angell need a soul shattering moment....

CSI:NY "Happily Never After"


Ever thought you lived in a land of fantasy? Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and his team face situations like that every day. Since the cases usually involve a dead person, they rely on homicide detectives Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) and Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier) for an assist.

After a hotel owner is found buried under an ice castle, Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) finds the scene compromised by the presence of a snow machine. Suffice it to say any prints keep blowing away. However, there is no shortage of suspects considering the victim is Fiona Chisolm (Hannah Sussman NYPD Blue). Employees didn't like her, and neither did most of the public.

Only when liquid nitrogen tanks, used to create artificial snow, are examined closely does the solution come. Felix (Robert Cicchini Six Feet Under, 24), a chestnut cart operator, was angry since Fiona wanted to take away his license. Confronting her led to a physical altercation. She landed on the tank with a heay degree of force. The tank's nozzle embedded in her chest and froze her heart.

When Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) and Flack arrest Felix, he denies having killed Fiona. True. However, he learns a bigger lesson about the aftermath of revenge than the one he was trying to teach his victim. In the end, Fiona leaves her hotel to her employees and her dog, Otto, comes home to his new loving family. Hmmm..... sounds familiar.

Mac has the most interesting case of the day. A woman wearing only a nightgown is crushed between a bus and a taxi. Along for the ride is Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), still reeling from the death of his young neighbor ("Child's Play).

Angell tries comforting him by saying anyone would take the death of a child hard. She has no idea what the full story is, so Danny makes sure she understands this was a ten year old boy with a name and a face.

"Wendy" written on blue paint across the victim's chest is the first sign of an unusual case. Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) tells Mac cause of death is a weapon not unlike a hook. Are you getting the references yet?

Adam Ross (AJ Buckley) helps the case along when his testing shows traces of a hallucinogenic called 'Foxy". Think LSD on a very bad trip indeed. Mac and Danny get another piece of the puzzle when they visit a mortgage firm where the victim's brother works.

Leslie Wright (Leah Rachel) died in part from the aftereffects of Foxy. When she was sufficently 'out of it', Tyler Bennett (Kevin G. Schmidt Clubhouse) took unfair advantage. She realized what was going on, and threatened to tell. Tyler killed her to prevent it.

This was a fun episode! Two different cases, but both with fairy tale shoutouts. My favorite line? When Sid told Mac, "Maybe you're looking for Captain Hook?", The unmistakable wince on Mac's face was classic Sinise. Although I have a hard time emotionally when Mac goes into strident mode (I know, job requirement sometimes, still), it's nice to see his human side.
Once again, Carmine showed off his acting chops. While not responsible for Ruben's death, his grief is palpable. Danny is smart enough not to do anything rash, but his colleagues are keeping an eye on him. Kudos to the writers for having Danny team with Mac on the next case he handled.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Golden Globes 2008 - A recap for those who were not watching


Previously published here.
Due to the writers' strike, certain changes happened to entertainment. Part of the problem, I believe, comes out not understanding compromise. Writers want compensation for contributions. Fair enough. After all, actors onscreen rely on a script. Otherwise, how would they know what to say?

I can hear readers already. What about theatre training? Improvisation uses games with individual rules. Props, for example, has actors form teams and make as many uses out of a piece of equipment as possible. Questions Only, is exactly what it says. The actors converse without using declarative sentences (harder than it sounds).

Television and movies are another ball game. The script is very specific, especially on those episodes where current events or specific topics play a role. Think about cop shows. Fiction? Of course. However, real life pokes its head in occasionally. Law and Order (Sam Waterson and company) is perhaps best known.

Production companies look out for the bottom line. Personally, I don't have a problem with actors making huge salaries. A popular character means someone will watch next week.

Double the writers' paycheck? Maybe not. This is unreasonable, which any writer knows. More people are to be paid than a handful of unhappies. SO - what they are asking is that salaries reflect changing technology. People purchase DVD's of favorite programs. Full episodes aired online still use a script.

Now, when award shows are cancelled because writers are complaining about unfair treatment, people pay attention. This is especially true for those nominated for the first time and never gave acceptance speeches.

NBC, scheduled to air the Golden Globes this year, compromised by having Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell announce winners in a live event.

Best Picture Drama went to Atonement. This was the only award it received. Best Actor Drama was Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood, followed by Julie Christie in Away From Her.

Best Picture Musical or Comedy went to Sweeney Todd. On the subject, could someone explain why Across the Universe and Charlie Wilson's War were part of this category? Comedy is an odd fit.

Johhny Depp's singing and acting helped him secure a win from Sweeney Todd. A newcomer, Marian Cotillard, won Best Actress Musical or Comedy for La Vie En Rose, the story of Edith Piaf.

Those who won Supporting catagories ensured there was not any sweep. Javier Bardem won as an actor for No Country for Old Men. Cate Blanchett won by being Bob Dylan in I'm Not There.

The Best Director went to Julian Schnabel with the work he did on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Ratatouille scooped up Best Animated Film.

On the television side, the awards were a bit more expected. Not all, though. Considering most are up for SAG's, I doubt the losers are too upset.

Mad Men took home Best Drama Series. Jon Hamm took home a Globe as Best Actor from the same show. Those who enjoy the work of Michael C. Hall Dexter or Hugh Laurie House were probably shocked. I thought it was nice to see, myself. Both Hall and Laurie have been previously nominated for acting accolades (2008 Golden Globe nod to Hall for time #2, Laurie has WON the Emmy). Glenn Close won Best Actress Drama for Damages.

Samantha Morton won Best Supporting Actress Drama for Longford. Jeremy Piven won Supporting Actor as Ari Gold in Entourage. No surprise, three actors from the HBO smash series were nominated.

Best Series Musical or Comedy went to Extras. Cable shows continued their run of awards with Best Actor Comedy David Duchovny winning for Californication. Btw, the clip shown of him pantless proves he needs them. I would have chosen Lee Pace Pushing Daisies, but next year....Tina Fey won Best Actress Comedy for 30 Rock.

Although the hour only allowed for a handful of winners to be announced, interested readers can go to for a complete list.