Category Archives: TV Reviews

The Tellybox: Doctor Who – "Stolen Earth": Companions and Continuity

                  Doctor and Companions

 

A week may be a long time in politics, but for the millions of fans of Doctor Who, this coming week is likely to be a very long week in the Who-verse.    I’m not going to spoil that "To Be Continued" cliff-hanger (and boy, what a cliff-hanger!) at the end of series 4’s penultimate episode "Stolen Earth"; it’s too brilliant a piece of television to want to give the game away.  Just watch it and enjoy the episode when it comes your way and gasp along with the rest of the audience.   There is no trailer for next week either, so the producers really are keeping everything tightly under their Welsh hats.

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TELEVISION: In Plain Sight by Sheldon Wiebe

I suppose it was inevitable that someone would devise a series like In Plain Sight [ISA 10/9C], about the trials and tribulations of a U.S. Federal Marshall who works with the Witness Protection Program. Such a series means that we have a widely varied series of people who have only one thing in common: somebody wants them dead… Mary Shannon [Mary McCormack] and her partner, Marshall Mann [Frederick Weller] are the marshals in question and it’s she who is focal point of the series.

Mary is a brusque, sarcastic bulldozer of woman, though you wouldn’t know it to look at her – but once she starts talking… Her partner is maybe as smart as her but he’s considerably more laid back. This is because he doesn’t have to deal with her deranged family – mother, Jinx [Lesley Anne Warren] and younger sister, Brandy [Nicole Hiltz]. Neither is employed – though Jinx tries her hand at an Avon lady-type job in the premiere. Then there’s Mary’s overworked boss, Stan McQueen [Invisible Man’s Paul Ben-Victor], who is usually not sure he wants to know about her cases – as long as they work out.

in-plain-sight

In the premiere, In Plain Sight, we meet Mary on a reasonably good day [which is to say she hasn’t had to tear a strip off anyone… yet]. That’s before she has to deal with Frankie Amato and his family. Frankie was caught red-handed after a hit and turned informant to stay out of jail. The problem comes when Frankie’s son is killed – after the family was placed in the program. “Hoosier Daddy” finds Mary dealing with a ten-year old boy who witnessed his mother’s murder and agrees to testify against the killer[s] – the kicker being that his father is one of them! In Iris Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, she has to deal with a black family whose patriarch refuses to follow the rules because he worked hard to become what he is – no matter what danger that might put his family in.

The series is terrific when it deals with Mary’s job. The people she works with, and the people she has to place in new lives, are all fascinating. These parts of the show are well written, move briskly and have some marvelous – if black – humor. Where the show loses steam, is with Mary’s family – and her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Raphael [Christian de la Fuente]. Jinx is so badly written that even I, who love Lesley Anne Warren, want to see her die horribly. Brandy is Jinx, only younger. If an intelligent thought were to cross either woman’s mind, she’d have a seizure! Raphael is, so far, just eye candy for the female audience, and the only thing we know about him is that he’s good in bed – but is man enough to “have a headache” when he doesn’t feel like performing.

If Mary’s family gets a little – okay, a lot – more depth, maybe the show will be wonderful. At the moment, the fun quotient is about sixty-forty – enough to recommend it, but not quite wholeheartedly.

Final Grade: C+

Battlestar Galactica: Escape Velocity – The Day After The Day After

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Escape Velocity opens with Chief Tyrol given a poignant eulogy at Cally’s funeral and ends with Gaius Baltar in a [for him] most unusual position. In between, this is one of Galactica’s most intense episodes – even though there are no great Cylon battles or even much action at all.

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Earth Day Inspires Green Programming on the Documentary Channel!

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This evening, beginning with Earth, Wind & Fire at 7/6C, the Documentary Channel will be airing five consecutive hours of documentaries that deal with alternative power sources; the effect of pollution on nature; the encroachment of development on the Amazonian rain forest, and the possibility of demand exceeding production of “cheap oil.”

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Battlestar Galactica: The Ties That Bind – The Next Day

callie

Civil unrest; civil war; a potential for mutiny and character death – this week’s Battlestar Galactica episode, The Ties That Bind, is picking up the pace. Outside of Cavil’s response to last week’s little fracas with the Centurions, did anyone see any of this happening? Spoilers follow.

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Battlestar Galactica: Six of One – The Day After

Lee's Farewell Salute

After a rather ho-hum premiere, Battlestar Galactica seems to be moving back in the right direction. Where He That Believeth In Me tended to rehash the season three finale without adding much to the running story – except for the development of the Starbuck-Roslin situation – Six of One is almost chockfull o’ stuff.

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Battlestar Galactica: He That Believeth in Me – The Day After

Sam, Lee & Kara

Battlestar Galactica may be the best SF series, start to finish, ever produced for television. Even so, after sleeping on it, I have to say that the final season opener left me cold. [SPOILERS beyond this point!]

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The Wire’s Final Season Unfolds on HBO

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HBO’s wildly popular “The Wire” started its fifth and final season last week. The riveting series, dedicated to the intersection of Baltimore’s gritty drug world, police intervention and political turmoil, had a slow, cautious start.

Over the years, “The Wire” became a well-respected series by fans. Clearly the network’s underdog, the series rose to unprecedented popularity, as viewers tuned in every week and insisted that the network keep the show on despite their on-off-again battle with canceling the show.

The Wire’s fourth season focused mainly on the youth and their street life, home life and education. At the height of the season, one of the key young characters, Michael Lee, joined the team of known drug lord Marlo Stanfield.

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Breaking Bad: Darkly Comic Drama From X-Files Vet Vince Gilligan!

Breaking Bad Review EclipseMagazine.com Television 

You’re a high school chemistry teacher with a family and a mortgage. After inquiring if you’ve ever been a smoker [always a bad sign], your doctor tells you you have six months to a year to live – lung cancer. You’ve always taken the safe course, but this throws you. What do you do? That’s the subject of Breaking Bad [Sunday, 109C], AMC’s new darkly comic drama from X-Files veteran, Vince Gilligan.

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Reality Series Gotti’s Way Ends on an Emotional, Redundant Note

One who is a fan of Hip Hop music will immediately recognize the name Irv Gotti. In the rare case of not knowing who this music biz impresario is, here is the skinny. Irv Gotti, whose birth name is Irving Lorenzo, rose to fame after forming a once bustling record label, Murder Inc. There, he was the overseer of the careers of Ja Rule, Ashanti and a number of others. Producing countless hits, Irv Gotti’s imprint became a household name.

Then, in 2003, Irv and his imprint ran into legal trouble, when his offices were raided by the FBI due to allegations of a business association with a known drug kingpin. In late 2005, Irv was acquitted and went back to business as usual, so he thought. Continue reading Reality Series Gotti’s Way Ends on an Emotional, Redundant Note