Category Archives: Television

TELEVISION: Law & Order: Criminal Intent – Goren and Eames… Back and In Form!

When Law & Order: Criminal Intent’s eighth season premieres on Sunday [USA, 9/8C], Detectives Goren [Vincent D’Onofrio] and Eames [Kathryn Erbe] tackle one of their strangest cases yet.

NUP_102122_0188

It begins with a press conference for Councilman Neil Hayes-Fitzpatrick about allegations of fiscal impropriety and moves into the murder of a drug addict/dealer, whose body winds up atop his girlfriend –and that’s how the police find them. The girl, Stacy, turns out to be the stepdaughter of Neil Hayes-Fitzpatrick [Scott Caan], who is running for mayor. His mother [Kathy Baker] is his campaign manager. Detective Goren notices something odd about the way Stacy behaves around her stepfather, and the episode builds from there to an unexpected conclusion.

As is usual in an L&O:CI episode that features Goren and Eames, it’s Goren’s powers of observation and deductive reasoning that put all the pieces together. Also as usual, it’s Eames whose thoughts seem to inspire Goren – in much the same way that Watson frequently inspired Holmes [forget the Basil Rathbone Holmes movies – in the Conan Doyle stories, Watson was smart, tough and resourceful].

Like the other Law & Order shows, Criminal Intent works best when the storytelling is intelligently developed, and that’s certainly true here. The partnership of Goren and Eames is back on pitch after the weirdness of last season, and they are definitely clicking on all cylinders. There’s even a cameo by Detective Munch [Richard Belzer] that’s on point and provides an unexpected chuckle.

Next week, we’ll take a look at the new guy on the block, Detective Zach Nichols [Jeff Goldblum].

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION: Guiding Light – Doris for the Win!

wedding

“I am here to solemnize the wedding of Frank Cooper and Natalia Rivera.” Wow, solemnize…that’s what every girl dreams of when she thinks about how her wedding day will be described. What a sexy word!! Mayor Doris Wolfe, played brilliantly by the fabulous Orlagh Cassidy, ends up offering to officiate the wedding and does so with style. Hey Orlagh, call me, we’ll do lunch…I’ll wear a hat! Doris is my star for the majority of this episode. I would imagine she feels that she can throw the odds in her new friend Olivia’s favor by oh, I don’t know, speaking of the virtues of marriage and how it is not to be taken lightly or rushed into lightly. Doris gives the “is there any reason you shouldn’t be married” schpeal to Frank and Natalia when suddenly Olivia bursts out with a “NO…body objects right?” causing a laugh throughout the church and further tormenting me. Crystal Chappell may be a Goddess but she’s pushing me right up to the edge of insanity too. I’m jittery and starting to talk to myself, it isn’t pretty.

Doris continues her rant about the sanctity of marriage and how love is never doing what’s expected (watch out Frank…anvil dropping), it endures all, it shouldn’t be entered into thoughtlessly or out of a sense of convenience (oops, another anvil). She’s peppering her every word with enough not so subtle messages trying to shine a guiding light (sorry, I couldn’t resist) over Natalia to lead her out of this deep fog she seems to be lost in. Doris is my hero today. She even fakes a phone call that forces her to stop the wedding! I’m impressed by what an incredible friend she is trying to be to Olivia by attempting to help her do what she refuses to herself…stop Natalia from making the biggest mistake of her life by marring a man she doesn’t love.

Continue reading TELEVISION: Guiding Light – Doris for the Win!

TELEVISION: Heavens to Merg…Guiding Light is Trying to Kill Me!

gl_logo

Tuesday my heart was torn from my chest and tossed into the wood chipper by Crystal Chappell’s performance of Olivia Spencer’s tormented confession of her undying love for Natalia. Today I am unsuccessfully trying to recover from Wednesday’s episode, which picked up right where we left off Tuesday with Olivia and Natalia in the cemetery. Olivia once again professes her deep undying love for Natalia.

At this point Olivia is determined to finally speak the truth, finally say what has tormented and consumed her for so long. She realizes that once she verbalizes what she truly feels that she can never take it back, something that Natalia tries to remind her of and something Olivia is painfully aware of but needs to say it because this could be her last chance to, in her words, “set the record straight.” She’s not sure exactly when things changed but they most certainly did. They started out as rivals, became friends, hell, Natalia gave Olivia her dead husband’s heart! Somewhere between roommates and best friends they turned into a family. Natalia is Emma’s (Olivia’s daughter) other mommy. She and Olivia know each other so well they finish each other’s sentences. They love each other and in that moment you undoubtedly know it, you feel it, you believe it.

Continue reading TELEVISION: Heavens to Merg…Guiding Light is Trying to Kill Me!

TELEVISION: Crystal Chappell is a Goddess

Crystal Chappell

I realize that is a bold statement to make and an even bolder headline to lead off with but when it’s the most accurate way to describe one of the finest actresses in television today I say go big or go home. But maybe that’s just me.

If you’ve been following the current Guiding Light storyline with Crystal Chappell (Olivia Spencer) and Jessica Leccia (Natalia Rivera) as Otalia, then you are well aware that yesterday’s episode and what transpired. It was the beginning of the heartbreaking admission of love, from Olivia actually TO Natalia; we have all been waiting so patiently for. Natalia and Frank have hastily moved the wedding up because Rafe was released early for good behavior but only for a week before he heads to a halfway house to finish out his time. So Olivia steps in and within a few hours throws together a wedding and begins to move out of the farmhouse (aka the Farmhouse of Love).

It’s not until towards the end of the episode that things begin to really heat up and where my bold yet accurate headline comes into play. We cut to Olivia (Chappell) at the cemetery near the church placing long stem red roses at the base of Gus’s headstone. She’s trying to tell him about how his gift of a heart was actually a gift of life, a family and a great love…Natalia’s love. She blames him for giving her this great love because now she doesn’t know what to do with it. She’s going to stand next to Natalia and watch her marry someone else, losing her forever. Olivia comes to the realization that she has learned to truly love someone unselfishly. While confessing her feelings to Gus, Natalia shows up to make peace with Gus so she can move on and start a new life. She see’s Olivia and after a few minutes of the two of them discussing how it is the right thing to move on and how each of them are about to embark on a new life, Olivia begins to break down. She can no longer contain her overwhelming emotions. Her love for Natalia over comes her and she begins to passionately cry devastating tears. Natalia pushes Olivia to tell her why she is so upset and though Olivia tries desperately to move past her feelings, her raw emotions finally over take her and she screams out in frustration “I’m in love with you!”

Continue reading TELEVISION: Crystal Chappell is a Goddess

TELEVISION: CSI’s A Space Oddity Goes Where No Crime Lab Has Gone Before!

On Thursday evening [CBS, 10/9C], CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will go where it has never gone before – a science fiction convention. Hodges [Wallace Langham] and Wendy [Liz Vassey] are attending WhatIfItCon when they run into each other. She’s dressed as Yeoman Malloy from Astro Quest, a Star Trek-like classic SF series, while he’s carrying a very tricorder-like prop from the show. Before they can get over their amazement at encountering each other in such unlikely circumstances, the dead body of Jonathan Danson [Reg Rogers] is discovered in the captain’s chair on a replica AQ set constructed for the con.

CSI - Space Oddity

When it’s discovered that Danson’s downbeat re-imagining of the series caused a major uproar, suddenly the list of possible suspects increases exponentially. Dr. Penelope Russell [Battlestar Galactica’s Kate Vernon], who is making a documentary on the AQ phenomenon; Melinda Carver Jaime Ray Newman], Danson’s financier, and one particular trio of fans would seem to be the most likely candidates, but can anyone else be ruled out?

The title A Space Oddity works on three levels: it serves as a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Pace Odyssey [as parodied by Mad Magazine]; it was the title of David Bowie’s third album – the one that made him a rock star, and it reflects on the sometimes overly zealous way fans can fixate on a beloved series/movie/novel. On yet another level, it could be a reference to an imagined romance between Hodges and Wendy, in an Astro Quest setting… And wait until you see the reference to the Klingon language! Don’t blink, though, or you’ll miss Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore’s cameo.

Written by Galactica veterans David Weddle and Bradley Thompson [from a story by Naren Shankar], A Space Oddity is a well constructed mystery that makes use of fannish temperament, professional jealousy, and even the set of the Astro Quest bridge to full advantage. The romantic imaginings of Hodges and Wendy make a fun counterpoint to the grimmer aspects of the mystery – and you will not believe what classic Star Trek phrase ends the teaser… Michael Nankin [another Galactica veteran] deftly weaves the dark, the prosaic and the humorous of the episode together to create an entertaining CSI investigation.

Final Grade: A-

TV NEWS: SANCTUARY BEGINS PRODUCTION ON SEASON 2

sanctuary_poster.jpg

I’m posting this SyFy story about Sanctuary being picked up for another season because I felt like the series producer and star Amanda Tapping and I bonded over a long weekend in Denver last year. She’s cool people peoples. I even ran into her in the ladies room at the Airport for some further bonding time. I promise I wasn’t stalking her, I just looked up from the sink and there she was. So in reality she was stalking me. Anywho, here’s the official press release.

SCI FI’s groundbreaking hit original series Sanctuary, the first TV show based on an online series to be picked up for a second season, began production last week in Vancouver. Slated to return this fall, the one-hour drama’s 13-episode second season will include the addition of Agam Darshi as Kate Freelander. Witty and sarcastic with a gift for persuasion, Kate Freelander is a swindler, con artist and thief who finds herself in an uneasy alliance with Dr. Magnus after her business relationship with the Cabal goes sour. Agam has appeared in such television programs as The L-Word, Supernatural, Criminal Minds, Dead Zone, Stargate Atlantis, CTV’s Custody and the Lifetime Original Movie The Haunting on Sorority Row. Her feature film credits include Final Destination 3, Snakes on a Plane, and in this fall’s highly anticipated 2012 from director Roland Emmerich.

For its first season, Sanctuary delivered a 1.9 HH rating 2.43 million total viewers including 1.42 million Adults 25-54 and 1.08 Adults 18-49. More than 3 million viewers tuned in to the premiere of Sanctuary on October 3, 2008 making it the highest rated original series premiere and the best performance for a first-season SCI FI scripted original series since Eureka’s first season in 2006. Sanctuary follows the adventures of the beautiful, enigmatic and always surprising Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping), a brilliant scientist who holds the secrets of a clandestine population — a group of strange and sometimes terrifying beings that hide among humans. Along with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), they seek to protect these threatened phenomena as well as unlock the mysteries behind their existence. Sanctuary blazes the television landscape by shooting almost entirely on green screen and is the first television series in North America to use the RED camera exclusively.

TELEVISION: The CW and all the repeats

cw-logo.png

Ok, The CW is really starting to tick me off. It’s as if I’m living in the early 90s when Networks thought it was a fantastic idea to film 20 episodes of a show and then stretch them out over the course of 8 or 9 months. What the buck (I’m trying to cut back on my profanity) is going on? They had a long break between December to February, came back aired 3 weeks worth of new episodes, went away again for several weeks came back and just aired 2 weeks in a row of new stuff and now they are on break AGAIN??? What the heck. This is crap, all of their shows are based on momentum and they aren’t good enough to keep screwing around with people. I’ve already completely lost interest in 90210, One Tree Hill and now Gossip Girl. I’m finding it hard to stay hooked on Supernatural and Smallville both of which have been really strong this season but the scheduling is frustrating the heck out of me. I’m ready to give up on The CW completely and just watch everything on Blu-ray. It’s been my goto Network but I can take so much of these annoying repeats – especially when they repeat episodes that aired just a few freaking weeks ago! And why is 90210 on Tuesday AND Wednesday repeating the same episode. As it is, I seriously doubt I’m going to return at all if there’s yet another break. Just run the shows in order and plan for mid-season replacements like any other normal network. Who is running this station? A trained monkey could do a better job.

TELEVISION: SCI FI Casts Allison Scagliotti in Warehouse 13

The SCI FI Channel’s newest sci-fi/fantasy series, Warehouse 13, has added Allison Scagliotti [Drake & Josh] to its cast which already includes regulars Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek and CCH Pounder.

01

In the series – which focuses on two FBI agents who are assigned to a massive storage facility for “strange artifacts, mysterious relics and supernatural souvenirs” – Scagliotti will play Claudia Donovan, a young, hip, brilliant techno-whiz who cracks the facility’s security in search of Rubinek’s character, Artie. Her natural aptitude for science and technology enable her to figure out and manipulate many of the facility’s pieces in order to help the team.

Artie is the caretaker of the Warehouse, while Pete [McClintock] and Myka [Kelly] are the FBI agents who are charged with finding and securing new objects to cache there.

Warehouse 13 premieres with a two-hour episode on July 7th, 2009, at 9/8 Central.

Television: Tori Spelling’s Donna Martin Returns to 90210

Original series alumi Tori Spelling returns to the all new CW Network updated version of 90210 and she’s bringing Diablo Cody with her.

90210

TORI SPELLING AND DIABLO CODY (OSCAR-WINNING WRITER OF “JUNO”) guest star in an all new episode titled “Okaeri, Donna!”

WEST BEV STUDENTS VOLUNTEER WITH HABITAT FOR HUMANITY — Kelly (Jennie Garth) and Silver (Jessica Stroup) are surprised when Donna (guest star Tori Spelling) shows up at their door, straight off a plane from Japan.  Annie (Shenae Grimes) and Dixon (Tristan Wilds) decide to spend their spring break on a road trip to visit someone from Dixon’s past, while Ethan (Dustin Milligan) decides to step out of his bubble and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.  Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) joins the Habitat build after learning that Liam (Matt Lanter) is also attending, but is clearly out of her comfort zone.  While Kelly and Donna are dining on sushi, Diablo Cody (guest starring as herself) convinces Donna to design a dress for her for a red carpet event.  Stuart Gillard directed the episode written by Jennie Snyder Urman & Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair.

Click on the photo below to check out the 90210 stills gallery from the episode which will air on the CW Network at 9PM EST on Tuesday April 14th with an encore on Wednesday April 15th at 9PM EST.

90210

All still images are Copyright 2009 to The CW Network.

TELEVISION: Harper’s Island – Ten Little Indians at a Wedding!

On Thursday nights, from April 9 to July 2, CBS is running Harper’s Island [10/9C], a 13-episode “mystery event.” The tagline is, “27 miles off the coast of Seattle seven years ago, six people were murdered by John Wakefield. They were the first murders in the history of the island… they won’t be the last…”

Harpers_Island

The mini-series’ premiere sets up a situation that resembles a mash-up of Agatha Christie, David Lynch, Dynasty, and the slasher movie series of your choice… There are characters that last less than ten minutes into the premiere and characters that make it to just before the closing credits – and we are promised that at least one more will die every week. Is there a connection to the Wakefield murders? If so, why?

There are stock characters – The Groom [Henry Dunn, played by Christopher Gorham], The Biker Chick [Nikki Bolton, played by Ali Liebert], Malcolm Ross [The Hustler, played by Chris Gauthier], and Madison Allen [The Flower Girl, or The Spooky Girl, played by Cassandra Sawtelli], among others; and a complicated set of relationships that connect them all. One of the most important is that Henry worked on the island for the wealthy Wellington family – and his bride, Trish [Katie Cassidy], is the youngest daughter of that clan. Part of the fun will be seeing how the stock characters are fleshed out, and what ways they begin to diverge from the usual stereotypes [or whether they’ll last long enough to diverge…].

The murders that get the series going utilize different methods, so we know that the killer isn’t locked into a pattern, which makes him more dangerous and unpredictable. One thing that both murders have in common is that the victims are aware of their deaths – no rendering unconscious – which makes the killer more than just dangerous. He/she/ot is a deliberate, sadistic, creative person.

Harper’s Island underwent some casting changes following the release of a sizzle reel to critics, last fall. As a result, the tone has changed a bit. This version doesn’t seem quite as subtly creepy and vacillates between light and frothy and deeply dark and creepy.

Despite a solid cast of quality TV character players [Cassidy, Gorham, Harry Hamlin, Victor Webster, Jim Beaver and Richard Burgi, among others], the premiere is not as effective as the sizzle reel, but it’s still intriguing. I suspect that Harper’s Island will be a love or hate it series. Despite its flaws, I’m loving it – and suspect that, as the series progresses, the tone will settle in.

Final Grade: B

TELEVISION: Southland – NYPD Blue in L.A.?

Southland [NBC, Thursday, 10/9C] introduces an excellent ensemble cast in a series about the cops who have to deal with the chaos that is the L.A. district, Southland. The premiere, Unknown Trouble, follows several arcs, but more weight is given to rookie officer/rich kid Ben Sherman [Ben McKenzie] and his veteran partner, John Cooper [Michael Cudlitz], whom you’ll recognize, though this might be the first time you’ve had a chance to put the face and name together] – who starts their day by telling Sherman that if he does things the way he was taught at the academy, he’ll be toast.

Cast

Over the course of a rough day, Unknown Trouble follows the disappearance of a ten-year old girl, investigated by detectives Lydia Adams [Regina King] and Russell Clarke [Tom Everett Scott]; the drive-by shooting of an unaffiliated black boy, investigated by gang detectives Nate Moretta [Kevin Alejandro] and Sammy Bryant [Shawn Hatosy], and the titular unknown trouble, which draws Sherman and Cooper – who have already had to deal with a DB [you’ll know when you see it]. Also factoring into the events of the day include Detective Daniel “Sal” Salinger, who oversees the gang detectives, and officer Chickie Brown [Arija Bareikis], who wants to be the first woman accepted into SWAT.

Like NYPD Blue, Southland features explicit violence and a lot of bleeped language. It also deals in what can be presumed to be a more authentic take on the lives of the officers and detectives whom it follows. Unlike NYPD Blue, Southland doesn’t hit you over the head with long, jittery handheld shots – though there doesn’t seem to be an overload of steadicam work, either. Unknown Trouble also seems to be setting up a look for the series – there’s a yellowish tint to everything that implies heat, smog and age.

Also unlike NYPD Blue, Southland doesn’t just look at the lives of the police and their families; it also takes us into the lives of the criminals and victims and their families. It’s an ambitious effort and the premiere goes a long way to establishing the breadth of its scope. There may be some question of the balance between all the various arcs, but given that the series is just getting started, there’s time to figure that out. As long as the characters remain intriguing, it should be interesting to see how things pan out.

Final Grade: B