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.