Sunday, September 26, 2010

Private Practice: Season 4, Episode 1 "Take Two" Season Premiere Review

Private Practice is back to its old stunts, opening with steamy sex scenes, this time with a twist; more out of breath for fans, showing fragmented positions. The only couple from last season that weren't "doing it" were Addison and Sam who had an awkward turn in their relationship, compared with Violet and Pete, Cooper and Charlotte, who were all over each other.

I was happy to have this series back after this long vacation, I actually missed the drama. I feared I would have have lost the connection between each couple as this season started off soft. It related to depressing moments some should live without; couple on their last hope for getting a child, and a guy who needed his brother's organ to keep him alive. Both stories have this saddening appeal to it that makes you either root for those who suffered based on situation, or just blast writers choice of topic.

The first case dealt with the couple who lost their first child because of reckless neglect; a father leaves his child in the car, things heat up and worst case scenario occurs. This situation would have anyone sympathetic, and discouraged to give this couple a second chance, at the same time. Addison claims she was there, that she saw the damage that was done, and could not encourage the same couple to throw away another opportunity to nurture life, only to leave it for dead. The irony of it all was that they recovered and they wanted another child. No one would allow them to adopt, but to ask someone to carry their child full term for the family, someone that could relate, that would work well in their favor. If only Addison was not the 'only' one in the few that could perform the procedure. Frankly, they give Addison too much credit, and so much of Addison's 'great' work has been just about average, they need to give her more out of the ordinary cases to prove her title.

The second case dealt with two brothers; Kevin who has the mind of a toddler and Ryan in need of a kidney. These brothers have been out of contact from each other, simply because Ryan could barely stand raising his mentally-challenged brother. Slightly selfish indeed, but warming knowing that he would die if he did not receive a kidney and Kevin was the convenient sponsor. Makes you think about that distant relative you neglect ever so often, how much you would need them from what ever situation. Still when a relative is sick, you want to do almost anything to make them better, especially if you had the power to do so. Kevin just didn't want his big brother dying when he could do something to prevent it.

Charlotte's only concern was Kevin's condition prohibiting him from making a logical decision that could change his life forever. It did not matter in the end, even if Kevin had not given Ryan the kidney, he would have had the same fate. Surprisingly, even when Ryan was painted as a self centered jerk, who only looked out for himself, he honestly made the effort to change after he got what he wanted from his little brother. It might have been a challenge for him (no pun intended), but he pulled through and did the honorable thing when the kidney was rejected. Even through dying he showed his changed state and his brother was indeed loved.

Aside from the cases which filled in the gaps of the show, each doctor had their own dilemmas surfacing. I especially paid attention to Addison and Sam who gave each other awkward stares and glances along the hallways. It often made each situation tense when they were in the same scene together. The was one thing not consistent with their actions and kept me wondering "What happened after Addison stripped for him?" Sam looked jealous when he saw Addison talking to Pete at Violet and Pete's wedding, as though Addison still had feelings for him. The final scene between them in the tub together was a shocker and would confuse anyone that didn't catch on to their 'hidden' relationship. Why keep the relationship secret at all? Is it that they fear once it's out on the open, it would be vulnerable to 'break-up' moments. Who's idea was it to remain hidden from everyone else, including the audience at the time?

A common factor in the equation would be Violet and Pete's wedding. Cooper had a problem with it partially because he still has feelings for Violet. Even though he and Charlotte have this strong sexual relationship that eventually became emotional, his friendship with Violet is unspoken for. It often makes me remember the moment when Violet stripped for Cooper in order to get the 'must sleep with a best friend' off her list, but that failed soon after, because Cooper did not want to ruin things by it just being sex between them. Violet had her own doubts and while Cooper was elated to run away with her she still had her doubts, and Pete just had to rub his nose all over hers to do the trick and she was ready to get hitched in no time. Still I figured Violet and Pete did move to quickly. Either that or I just didn't feel the same connection between them.

The most interesting topic for me was between Dink and Sam. Dink wants to be a good father to his child, but Naomi isn't giving him the chance to do so. In fact, I was happy to have Naomi in her grandchild's life, for her and Sam to teach Dink the lesson that 'no matter how hard someone else tries, no one should be able to break the bond between a father and his child, or a husband from his wife. Dink learned well from that lesson, for a teenager he still has a lot more to learn. I was also surprised that he and Maya weren't living together. They didn't give much notice as to how Maya lived last season after she got married.

Finally, Cooper and Charlotte have a long way to go before they get married themselves. I believed it would have been more exciting had there been a double wedding, much easier for the wrong names to slip at the alter, because Cooper could have second doubts himself. Sheldon proved to be an essential key and remains upset with Charlotte for ditching him and sat a seat away from Charlotte in the wedding to teach her a lesson; way to go Sheldon. I was surprised that he could not figure out the connection between Addison and Sam sooner, I guess his thoughts are split elsewhere. This was an okay start for a Private Practice Premiere, I look forward to having bigger reveals, topics and subtle relationship scenes.

Picture Courtesy



Three and a Half Stars

Grade B-

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Castle: Season 3, Episode 1 'A Deadly Affair' Season Premiere Review

Castle is back and this time he's taking hostages. Not in so many words, the camera tricks gear our attention to Castle as a suspect on Beckett's case, what are the odds? What if it had been another cop? Castle was in too many places at the same time, what was he thinking? He would solve a case and have Beckett on his side in no time? After Castle left Beckett heart broken last season with more clueless than ever I kind of hoped for a different reunion. A gun to his face was not what I expected so thumbs up to that guessing scene. Obviously we knew Castle didn't commit the crime, the last time he tried to shoot someone his aim was completely off, instead the worst damage Castle could have caused with a gun would be an irritating flesh wound, probably for him to clean up.

I couldn't believe Beckett arrested him for murder. She didn't know who was murdered, why Castle was at the scene above all things. It seemed to perfect to be true, the murderer standing over the dead body right when the cops arrive, even Castle has written better plots himself. I think Beckett enjoyed cuffing him too much and questioning him as though she would have tossed him in jail herself; judge, jury and executioner. Fortunately for Castle he managed to wit himself out of further questions. He came back not only as a suspect in a murder case, but also unavailable, no wonder Beckett got infuriated with him after he kept showing up in her face.

Beckett left Deming last season to explore her feelings for Castle, right before Castle pulled the 'I'm getting back with my ex' wild card. As though he tried to wipe it in Beckett's face 'I can have a relationship just like you'. The words of his ex are still traumatizing "I'll stay on top of him until he finishes his book", I hope she meant figuratively. That must have given Beckett some displeasing images *yuck*. There's still hope, Castle mentions this new relationship, but we haven't seen or heard from this mystery reconnection with his ex. Just wait until Castle finds out when Beckett exactly called it quits with Deming, I'm sure he would see the big picture.

It obvious the writers are stalling, trying to strategize before things get steaming between Beckett and Castle. They are hoping for the perfect moment that would last and hold audience feedback, not something that would disappear as fast as it began. Still you can't take too long for fear of causing the same fan base reaction.

I admire Castle's connection with his family, it's what makes the series complete, his daughter's new boyfriend sounds interesting enough for us not having seen him yet. Did she mention whether or not it was the same guy we met last season? Her prancing around wondering whether or not to call the guy reminded me of a friend of mine. The best advice I gave her "Just call him already!" Ironically he called later that day before she got a chance to call him, but I believe I just wanted to get her to stop talking about him so much. When you're in love. It nice to see Alexis happy, his mother the same.

The case itself was intriguing to begin the season, counterfeit cash, many villains made to fill a piece to the puzzle. Anyone could have done it right? Except for Castle that is, anyway, I found it surprising that Castle didn't show much more of a connection to the woman he was assumed responsible for murder. Castle also got the cold shoulder from Esposito, Ryan and even Montgomery had his issues with Castle.

Castle to Montgomery: "You too!"

After giving that, "Don't think you can get away with breaking my little girl's heart" stare. Esposito and Ryan had the same stares, but it more resembled "I'm going to kick your butt for hurting my sister!"

Esposito: "Put the gun down stupid!"

He must have had serious issues with Castle, can't really blame them either, Castle should have called! Glad to have him back though I think it would take him a while to fit back in completely. Beckett did stall revealing a clue, just so Castle would claim the glory himself and win the deal to stay, so there's still hope.



Four and a Half Stars

Grade B+

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Hellcats: Season 1 Episode 2 'I Say a Little Prayer' Review

What happens when things go wild. There's no surprise like that in this series, since for some strange reason I keep thinking about wild cats flipping about. Maybe it's the analogy to cats, but that still does not explain Marti's quick rise to stardom. Marti is embarrassed by her mom, but I also believe she owes Alice a great deal of gratitude for the stunt she pulled bringing her mother to qualifiers. After all, if she can't out-stand this obstacle, what does that mean for all the other challenges she could face, would she ban them as well from entering her life. The only part I was concerned about was Alice's intentions. She doesn't like being at the bottom, she seems to be a useless cheerleader; causing trouble without the cheer.

Aside from Marti's mom problems which seemed to more adolescent to mention, Savannah had a side to her that was more intriguing. The moment Savannah approached her rival from Memphis Christian college, it surprised me how calm and hopeful she was, as though her rival was some past good friend. Unknown to us at the time, was that her rival was indeed her sister. Sort of a sob story, the moment Savannah transferred schools, was the same moment her family disowned her, and I believe her sister felt the same way about Savannah's life change. It seemed more like she felt abandoned by her sister; typical 'you left me alone with the crazy parents', way to rebel for the sanity of it all.

The one thing I appreciated was how well they delivered the "Religious Family" theme. Other shows have either stressed too hard on the matter, or barely even touched the surface of it, hoping not to offend anyone in the process, but it is believable that Savannah held on to her family's beliefs, but took her own part of life still holding on to them. Savannah has only changed in the image of her parents, which make them a bit unfair parents. It's almost sad watching Savannah's mother treat her as though she were someone she met on the street. Savannah has managed to be the person her parents want her to be, but they probably wouldn't even see it themselves, pity.

I was happy that Savannah took the time to pray for her sister, even though her parents did everything to anger her, there was nothing putting her down and she made the appropriate choice in the end. Savannah mentioned that her parents thought she was drinking and parting every night, when it's quite the contrary. Her parents have more or less given up on her, but that doesn't mean she has lost her family, and Marti has become a new addition.

The Coach (Vanessa Lodge) has become a topic of interest, her and her ex boyfriend, who's history has been deliberately left out from the audience so far. I believe the football stunt the ex pulled was a bit cheesy. His attempts to impress her have been misleading most times, and meeting the boyfriend has given him some power since the boyfriend doesn't know he's the ex. A bit complicated, but things could have been corrected had she just introduced her boyfriend without ignoring the obvious. It was unfair to the boyfriend to be deceived, I don't think he would take it well when he finds out that the guy he's been so impressed by once dated his girlfriend. I only hope he hears it from her.

Still aside from the chaos and drama, we still have Alice trying to sabotage, but she seemed to be on the low after her team won qualifiers. I was happy to have Marti make amends with her mother and correct things with the owner of the building. Lewis and Marti have this connection thing going on, he always wants to sneak a dance with her. Not to mention this sudden turn for Savannah to date Marti's best friend Dan. I wonder if that would cause any problems in the future? Lets just hope for the best.



Four Stars

Grade B-

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The Mentalist: Season 3, Episode 1 "Red Sky at Night" Season Premiere Review

Welcome back Jane, ready for new cases and in full shape of mind. Actually Jane seemed more out of it, slightly distant and not at his old comedic self. I knew something was wrong when we didn't see Jane either sleeping on or playing off his trusty couch. His job was less interesting a topic and he preferred staring into space, as opposed to figuring out whether Katrina was captured or not.

Red John has taken a toll on his life, and it seems as though he wishes he didn't have his abilities. He didn't like playing mind games and simply doing a good job for the police anymore. It seemed almost pointless when those he loves are harmed in the process. When he feels as though, no matter how much good he does, his family would not come back and more people would end up getting hurt. If only he were smart enough to make it all go away, and find some way to make him live without fear of losing everyone around him.

Jane feels more alone than he ever has before and it is amazing that Lisbon knows him well enough. She knows he's not just okay according to the words she relayed to Hightower. Speaking of which, Hightower actually answers to someone and isn't all badass as she comes off. This new guy Gale Bertram, seems as though he would be pulling a lot of strings. Look at how Hightower bows her head slightly around him, I didn't think she was afraid of anything, or anyone.

Still, around all the confusion of cases and issues surrounding Jane resistance to do his job, it all came down to Jane in the end. From the first sight of the dead body, I expected Jane to make his witty remarks and comment on something he saw that was extraordinary, or simply unnoticeable to someone who was not observing, but nothing happened. The only excitement the audience got then was the dead rat analogy. Jane is the only one who stands up to authority, because he knows he doesn't really work for anyone, and people need him.

Standing up to Bertram took guts in Lisbon's view, since she tried to avoid eye contact while Jane called him a jerk (not in so many words). When his bodyguard (yeah right - errand boy) tried to stop Jane, and Jane mentioned a dead rat in his pocket if he ever tried to stop him again, I am certain our minds flipped to the scene where the dead rat was revealed by the cameras and caught Jane's attention on the sidewalk-somewhat. I remember thinking, did Jane really hold a rat in his hand? He was daring enough, and just as crazy to do it.

The culprit behind the murder was smart enough to concoct an entire plan to kill a man just to ruin his get away plan by falling for a diamond ruse; he surely caught his hand in the cookie jar. To think the girl Lisbon used to guilt Jane into taking the case was part of the puzzle behind the murder of her father. Surely it was uncool beating up the step dad in front of the family, but the solution is not murder, so long as Jane is in the picture to set his elaborate schemes. Truly disappointing and sad for a family to lose two father figures.

I somehow suspected Bertram since Jane kept hassling him, I guess he just didn't like him as much, but it still doesn't clear him for being the least bit dirty. I am just happy that Jane has Lisbon in his life. She allows him to conduct his experiments and accept blame when they go wrong, but I believe that she is giving him time to heal, however long it takes. As for Cho, Van Pelt and Rigsby; Cho had his hands filled with an incredible actress who apparently made a fortune in crying scenes, because she sure fooled Cho long enough for him to beg for a replacement watchdog. To imagine how calm she became when Jane was on to her. Rigsby and Van Pelt still have feelings for each other, but aren't acting on them just yet. Talk about 16cents from Van Pelt for information, pretty cheap don't you think (tsk tsk). I hope Jane finds the peace he needs, sooner rather than later.



Four Stars

Grade B-

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Smallville: Season 10, Episode 1 "Lazarus" Season Premiere Review

I have to be honest, this episode was not a Premiere WOW. First of all they not only blew it with the "Clark is Superman" cliche, but most importantly, they began this series announcing the "Final Season of Smallville". Truly Disappointing, as I am certain most would share my view.

On a realistic note, I was a bit disappointed in this premiere. Not so much because of the 'Finale', but the Chloe not outliving the series notice, the constant Oliver beat ups (abuse, for no apparent reason for viewers), the Clark attempt to fool Lois by not revealing his secret to her, the poor attempt for Lois to allow Clark his moments of "superhero" time when she was not looking, and finally, the Clark becoming Superman stressed to hard to impress leading to Johnathon being scripted into a Clark suppressed dreamed state.

I would not begin to mention the poor Luthor "going to take over the world" reveal, I believe it would have been more convincing had Michael Rosenbaum made a surprise guest appearance, but what a pathetic way to kill of Luthor, even if it were a clone. Did he even die when Clark left him? It seemed as though, had the cameras stuck around a little longer, his eyes would have opened and the traditional "villain laughter" would have been screened "Muaahh hahahah ehemmmm" (dramatic pause).

The secret lab with Tess and the cloned Lex's were a bit overdone, maybe I bought the crazy lady from last season conducting some experiment on Tess, probably plastic surgery or some crazy ruse, but why carry her to the Lex lab unless she were one of them herself, or part of some twisted equation? The clones were either to old, to young and in this case to mean for Tess and his only solution to rule the earth would be to kill the other Lex's and be to only one standing, especially since he was dying. He literally gave new meaning to 'going out with a bang'. Too bad Clark surpassed his expectations, or was that part of the plan.

I found it difficult to focus past the fallacy when compared to the reality of it all. Where does Johnathon go in the equation, and what kind of alter plain was Clark into; between life and death? I was happy to have Lois run to Clark's rescue in the beginning, but believe me, as soon she reached his body I kept shouting "Pull out the knife!" and when she didn't, even while she stood in the rain and kept crying, we felt her pain. Clark fell from many stories, the mere fact that he was still breathing would be extraordinary. After "The Blur" planted that kiss on Lois, she suddenly saw things clearly for the first time, but couldn't she have "pulled that knife out sooner, come on!" So while we have Clark revealing his powers unknowingly to Lois, and Lois pretending to find a pen that felt a little too gullible for Clark.

Jor El was a huge part to play in the boy becoming a man strategy. Clark still had mans desires and inhibitions, pride and anger. It is a promising journey for Clark, but there were so many of the 'unexplained' going on that a lot of things did not make sense, and anyone could get lost five minutes into this season, or not having seen the previous seasons. Chloe's rebellious break to sacrifice her life using the 'Doctor Fate' analogy and swapping herself for Ollie was impulsive, even for Chloe.

Was Lois' trip to Africa for real? Standing in the middle of the dessert smiling seemed so made up and more part of Clark's dreamlike scenario. I just hope this isn't the last of Clois scenes. I imagine Lois would leave after Lex said she was his weakness, to try and even the odds for Clark.

Maybe all would make sense once the pieces start coming together and the Finale draws nearer. Believe me I was not expecting the final season announcement, it was saddening more or less, so I expected nothing but the best for fans. Still, there is a lot more waiting to happen, according to the Carpenters 'We've only just begun'.



Three Stars

Grade C-

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Parenthood: Season 2, Episode 1 "I Hear You, I See You" Season Premiere Review

Since the Series Premiere I decided I must review this series, but I preferred to get to know each character first before I began. There are so many characters to follow in this dram packed series. It is filled with family issues, teenage dilemmas and basically every obstacle faced in life has partially begun to be debated in this value themed picture. We come across issues like; affair, teenage rivalry (crushes, boyfriend drama, sex, lies, deception), rebellious teenagers, challenged toddlers, brilliant toddlers, school life, marriage, divorce, single parenthood, all dipped in the dilemmas that come with being a family, like any family the list would go on and on.

The 'Pilot' premise focused on these large groups of different family groupings, stemming from the same family root. Now I could not believe that they were all related and it was troublesome figuring out who was related to whom, but when I grasped that concept, the strong bonds wrapped in the middle, filled with some imperfect cracks painted the true picture for me.
'Parenthood' brings each storyline to home, and makes you go through each challenge with them. Be it Sarah's struggle to stand on her two feet and find a lasting job that would bring in the cash, Adam's strain to be the big brother, husband, father and exemplar, Haddie and Amber's struggle to get along, Crosby's novelty to fatherhood, Julia's urge to be a better mother, and Camille and Zeek struggle to hold their marriage, the struggle is one familiar to us all.

This Episode Premiere brings last season's issues to the forefront and continues on a new spin. Amber was hardly screened, but Haddie's learning to drive and a mother becoming over obsessive does bring back memories for most. Was she probably as controlling? Probably! It always seems that way until you have children of your own. This show brings you to think about real life situations and each character is almost perfect in their role that may be certain you were watching someone else's life right before you, experiencing each detail with them. For a first time, we got into the heart of what Adam does for a living, we knew he invented stuff, but we didn't know the strain on him from his boss, or even who his boss was at all. William Baldwin's guest appearance as Gordon Flint was interesting at best, its uncanny how closely the Baldwin brothers are so much that you can't tell them apart, without a trained eye.

The dilemma's dealt with this time:
How to repair a leak, without breaking everything else?
How to tell your brother he stole your idea for his job without making him or yourself feel bad for outing him on the matter?
How to tell your father in law he sucks at something, without crossing that family line?
How to keep your family away from the job and keep the boss from walking in on them every second of the day?
How to convince your boss why you should keep your job, when family is taking first preference?
How to control and already difficult situation when a promise was broken?
How to tell your baby mama you want her and your son home without trampling on her career dreams?
How to keep yourself from falling for someone else?

The list goes on again, it encourages us to decide 'if we were in that situation, how would we handle it, or how we should have handled that very same situation'.

The final 'How to' relates to Crosby and his strange fondness for Gaby; Max's sitter. I guess the writers were pulling Jasmine away, just to give Crosby enough time to grow closer to Gaby; at least those are my suspicions.

Thumbs up to "Max Burkholder" for his representation of Max that must not be an easy role for a child to play. He seems so convincing for his audience. This show may have many Emmy's its way without question. The values are too true to go unnoticed.

In the mean while, I look forward to the next episode, within an hour, I am astonished the amount of material they get with each second. Truly Moving.



Five Stars

Grade A

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Hellcats: Season 1, Episode 1 'A World Full of Strangers' Pilot Premiere Review

Marti Perkins; definitely not the typical character you would come across often on screen. Her best friend Dan isn't bad either. So we now have a series we can cheer for, and it isn't cheesy. The moment I saw the previews for 'Hellcats', I followed it until the premiere, and this Pilot was impressive, not to the extent of a complete jaw dropper, but it still got there.

This is the story of a girl, completely against cheer leading as a sport. She has a load of responsibility for her age, she has to pay her bills keep her grades up in her law class and most importantly ride her bicycle to school to conserve gas. Almost touching if there wasn't for the high school themed rivalry, and a bit of comedy twisted in the mix. Marti has a lot to balance in her life and her mother doesn't make things easier; messing up the bills and leaving a leap of faith in the lawyers department after the school cut her scholarship.

The heart rendering plot lines is what keeps this show going, not to mention the attractive character appeals; like Lewis (The cheerleader hunk) and Derrick (The boyfriend coach mate), who Alice quoted as "Seeing better lookers in her life". Alice herself seems like she's full of life and herself, she is purely a lot to handle and hold on the top of a pyramid, which is where Marti came in. Although Marti and cheer leading had its issues, she smoothed things out for herself, which I don't believe was as traumatizing as she made it out to be. Renting videos like "Bring it On" was only for the humor appeal, because Marti had the moves down, her coordination was her own style. Chop it out to Alyson Michalka (Marti) for her well worked body in that cheer-o-audition. Was that all on her, or did she insert some stunt doubles? If it was all Michalka, then I'm impressed, those moves were seriously tricky if you weren't trained for it. Her background in gymnastics does lend its credibility and enhance her character

Speaking on about some hotties of this series, Dan (Marti's BFF) sure gripped some decent screen time, and his chemistry with Marti is impeccable, but I doubt the writers would stretch on anything more than a deep friendship. I would like to get more into his background as well. Alice's background is a curiosity appeal as well. She seems so cold:
Alice: "I know who you are I voted against you, I was overruled. Democracy's a bitch"
Marti: "Apparently so are you"

At first believed Savannah would have been Marti's rival, but Alice took that role without hesitation. The moment she saw Marti it was like some sort of shiver came over her and intimidation became a game. What else explains her removing Marti's robe from the bathroom? That would teach Marti to always have a spear hidden somewhere. Then again, what other excuse would she have for Lewis to drop his towel that was one for the ladies?

Lewis: Yo this looked crooked to you; I think I may have slept on it wrong"

I would give Hellcats bonus for hilarity. I guess that was the least he owed to Marti, after his clear crush on her, I hope it's sincere; I still haven't pegged his character yet. After being involved with Alice, his clarity may be a bit off, but then again they did break up, so there is genuine hope. That does explain Alice's burst from intimidation to jealousy, to watch her title be shoved under the carpet and have Marti claim her moments.

I did enjoy Marti's relationship with her mom; she seems to truly love her, even though I believe the story as to why she would not invite her mom to qualifiers. The embarrassment is something you would not want to relive, but you can also grow from it. This is a new turn for Ashley Tisdale, from "High School Musical", she brings a certain twist to Savannah I admire. Savannah is truly the good listener, except for Alice's eve's dropping tendencies, a good way to get back at Marti for her success was to invite her mother to qualifiers, after all revenge is like a sucker punch to the face, let's hope her game doesn't backfire and Alice loses everything, not that it would matter.



Four Stars

Grade B-

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Life Unexpected: Season 2, Episode 1 "Ocean Uncharted" Premiere Review

Cate: "I am sorry this is a two person show, we cannot have three 'Co-hosts' Co means two! Doesn't it?"
Kelly (aka new co host): "Actually it means with, Co means with"

That's right Cate you sure told her off, I guess the co doesn't really matter, you just didn't want to do the show 'with' her, it just didn't come off that way.Still I actually liked Kelly, she seemed a bit crazy in her own way, with her strong beliefs, it's uncanny. There should be room for new characters, speaking of which Julia is new, and Ryan seems the most familiar with her.

As we meet a new season, 'Life Unexpected' makes some changes in the Lux-Cate-Baze and Ryan shuffle we were left off with.

Last season, Cate and Ryan tied the knot, right after Baze ran in to stop the "I do's". Leave that one up for horrible timing, but things have changed for Lux mostly. Tasha wasn't introduced and her home life seems behind her, and she is ready to meet no possibilities for herself.

I have to admit that last season, I was completely annoyed with Cate. Something about her voice made me feel like yelling at the screen trying to tell her off. She was always arguing with Baze, manipulating Ryan and being the worst example for Lux. I still believe that Lux is young, no matter how many adult decisions she had to make in her life, she is still growing up. So when Cate and Ryan gave her the go ahead to visit Bug, they should have known she was going to do more than just gave him souvenirs or maybe that word stood for something else, when the next scene cut between Lux half naked on Bug's bed.

Bug and Lux grew apart last season, which is probably why Lux was hesitant to accept his proposal. Marriage is a deep commitment, and being engaged meant that Lux would have to commit to life with Bug. It was almost as if she were reverting back to the person she once was and it scared to think about it. She wants to be sixteen, just long enough to enjoy her youth. I always enjoyed Bug's commitment to her, but he always tried to make up the rules without understanding where Lux's frame of mind was.

I was shocked that the writers chose to have Lux accompany Ryan and Cate on their honeymoon, I wonder how much action they got. It could explain why, the moment they were alone, they couldn't keep their hands off of each other. I don't think they are the happily married type, since they have unresolved issue, unwilling to share the responsibility between themselves. Cate has her secrets and now Ryan has his. Was the 'Julia' name familiar to you, it just came out off no where and now it is implied that Ryan may have had an affair before he got married.

I hope these story lines don't have my head spinning this season. Lux already has her share, kissing the professor, but who blames her, he's hot and looks about two years older than her, I also thought his license was fake. I guess this means we would get more into the school life of Lux. There is still the feeling of deja-vu with this same storyline, those familiar with 'Pretty Little Liars' doesn't this remind you a bit of the Aria and Ezra spectacle? Who knows.

Baze was the only decent one for me this round, despite his slip in judgment right before he slept with his new bartender, who later set his bar to fire. I mostly enjoyed Baze's reconnection with his father and his heroism when he thought Lux was in the bar. I wonder what Cate would have done in that scenario. It only highlights the imperfections and human tendencies in Baze and causes me to resent Ryan.

Why didn't Ryan quit after Cate was booted out of the station? It seemed like he was almost relieved, as her husband it was either Cate stayed or the station lost them both. I guess alternatives like that when there are girls like Julia in his face, don't come around so often.

Now we are looking forward to what's next, there was so many topics explored in this single episode, which explains the review length, but let's hope things stay strong in the end. Later Bug, I hope to see you some time later down the road.



Four Stars

Grade B-

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Nikita: Season 1 Episode 1 "Pilot" Series Premiere Review

As a La Femme Nikita fan, I was a bit curious into the approach to this new premise "Nikita". I was skeptical at first, I didn't think anything could compare to "La Femme Nikita" and it still didn't. Peta Wilson has left difficult shoes to fill. So without "La Femme Nikita" in mind, I tried to view this one objectively, but it made it difficult for me in the beginning. I like to give every series a chance and there were some interesting new plots that would sustain my interest into the next episode.
Still there were moments that resembled the older versions that came off very cheesy.
Running the operation through a new recruit; Alex was unexpected, but "Nikita's" storyline was a bit off.

Nikita stumbles upon her step-dad's door step and confines him to his home. There is an implication of abuse in her past with him, at least something that caused her to run away from home. Based on her memory, "Division" aka "La Femme Nikita's" "Section" equivalent, told her she killed someone she could not remember and gave her a second life. Somewhere down the road they turned on her and she remained in hiding for three years. She fell in love with a non-operative; Daniel, and Division killed him.

There were so many linked parallels between these similar series that made it impossible for any "La Femme Nikita" fan to ignore. The acting was mediocre, but for some reason Nikita could not measure up to her predecessors. The most time Nikita was portrayed in bikini wears, the first being in a dream-like-nightmare of hers. She, for the sake of vengeance is on the verge of bringing the Division that took her life away from her.

On a basic note, for those not into the Nikita themed series and movies upheld before, watching this series for the first time would add to an interesting taste for a Thursday evening. Those who missed out on Alias themed spy shows, could take a look at this to past time, or recollect on old memories. The action scenes in particular were phenomenal to an extent and there were some interesting characters that would capture your interest.

For those familiar to the older editions, Birkhoff, Michael and Nikita were the recurring roles, while Amanda played the role of Madeline and Percy for Operations. The status remains unchanged, if we were to make a somewhat link to "La Femme Nikita", Shane West as Michael does not compare to Roy Dupuis' divide and conquer version. In fact the connection that was supposed to be between Nikita and Michael was like an outed fire, if there was ever a real fire burning. For the pilot, there wasn't much to pull your interest, except for the action scenes, which in itself has been executed before. Still the "Cleaner" guy who remains a puzzle and wasn't truly elaborated before, stroke a curiosity. The slaughter scenes with him were further than simple, more complex than average; which painted him as the blood thirsty villain. Nikita deliberately avoided a fight scene with him, which was fair enough a strong theme going for "Nikita".

Slight difference in character, this Birkhoff seems a bit squeamish, close enough to a weasel. He showed no remorse before he tried to assassinate Nikita. They obviously formed some relationship when they worked together, but Division comes first, and he fears them more. Another character that was not introduced was Walter; the handler of the weapons. We have some new characters like Jaden, comes off as a threat in the beginning, but it appears as though she and Alex would become friends, probably even close.

The most interesting plot that was unexpected was Alex and Nikita knowing each other, and forming what looks like a pact to bring down Division together. Still it wasn't enough for a pilot; there were too many cheesy plots that I fear may question its future as a long lasting series. it is something to watch in the mean while, not as cutting edge.

For the guys, having Maggie Q in her undies would have probably distracted them long enough to neglect everything else. For me, her best scene was when she woke up from her nightmare in her coat, seemed so simple, yet pulled off with finesse. Everything else was like a deja-vu pilot.

Still hoping for the best.



Three Stars

Grade C+

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