Major Crimes is about to enter its fourth season on TNT – not too shabby for a spinoff show; especially when the mothership was Kyra Sedgwick showcase The Closer.
Although Major Crimes also has a spectacular female lead in Mary McDonnell’s Captain Sharon Raydor, the biggest difference between it and its predecessor is that more weight is placed on the shoulders of the rest of the ensemble (most of whom came over from The Closer). One thing that links the two shows inextricably is charming, vicious psychopath Philip Stroh – who has a big presence in Major Crimes’ third season.
Darn that Kyra Sedgwick, she looks good even wearing yellow crime scene tape!
It seems like season five of The Closer had just begun airing on TNT, but it was actually over a year ago with the first episode Products of Discovery premiering on June 8th, 2009. Guess time flies when your LA’s top Deputy Chief of police, solving crimes and in your spare time learning to deal with a teenager!
Looking over the synopsis for The Closer: The Complete Fifth Season from the DVD release home page, tells us that at work, L.A. Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) is a woman in charge. But at home…well, that’s another story. As a cop, Brenda takes on everything from a corpse that comes COD to a serial killer to Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), an internal affairs officer as tough as she is. As a civilian, Brenda loses one family member aka her beloved cat and gains another: her surly niece Charlie. Brenda can outsmart, outmaneuver and out a killer. But handling a teenager is another matter.
Following the big reveal – Ellen Tigh as the final Cylon – I was privileged to take part in a teleconference with Ronald D. Moore and Ellen Tigh, herself, Kate Vernon. The conversation on touched many things, including why Dualla, and a shocking new theory was submitted by one of the panel of journalists. In short, it was a blast.
“…You are one of a small number of trusted BSG enthusiasts with whom we are sharing a review copy.”
While that statement from the letter that accompanies the mid-season premiere of BSG [Sci Fi, Fridays, 10/9C], Sometimes a Great Notion, doesn’t exactly hurt my ego, it does come with some hefty caveats. I can’t give away a couple of HUGE plot points – like they’d have to tell me that in the first place – and then there’s the scene that has been withheld from screener in the interests of maintaining “the secrecy surrounding an extremely sensitive reveal” [which only guarantees that I’ll be in front of my TV for the premiere – but I’d have been there anyway, the ep is that good].
What’s left? Forty-two minutes of pretty frakkin’ awesome stuff! [Remember, I saw it without commercials.] Which means you should set your TiVo for an extra three minutes or so…
In the past, I’ve been known to complain about episodes that are way too talky and slow – episodes where it’s all about exposition, or recapitulation of themes that maybe didn’t need to be recapitulated – or about the Messiah Baltar [James Callis] and his harem. Well, Sometimes a Great Notion is a talky episode – the one burst of unexpected violence [not counting a fist fight in one of the Galactica’s corridors as a major character walks by] is one of things I can’t talk about – but even without the violence, so much happens here that it will be one of the best television episodes of 2009 [and that’s without the missing scene]!
The episode begins mere moments after the conclusion of Revelations with the various human and Cylon characters wandering about in a daze. The only one who is actively doing something, really, is Starbuck [Katie Sackhoff], who is looking for something. Before the teaser is over, there have been answers to at least a couple of major questions, including one about the Final Five – not to mention… but that would be too much to say here…
Essentially, Sometimes a Great Notion is about what happens when your biggest and best hopes and dreams are dangled before your eyes then ripped ruthlessly away. Some of the responses are dire [see HUGE plot point #2] while some are just there – a kind enervation. Then there are those who see the situation not as an invalidation of their hopes and dreams, but an opportunity to be completely free from any expectations, or prophecies. The characters who fall into these categories might not necessarily be the ones you’ll be expecting.
Written by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson [they wrote Revelations – every resolution of a cliffhanger should be written by the same writer[s] who did the cliffhanger] and directed by Michael Nankin, Sometimes a Great Notion is an amazing example of how a mostly violence-free episode should be done. Nankin’s pacing is best described as deliberate – just slow enough that we can pick up on the many subtleties of the episode [watch the reactions of the crew in the background after the announcement is made about the state of the Earth] – even as we watch the main characters fall apart, go into shock, or buck up and decide to keep going forward.
The bleached palette of the bleak Earth scenes contrast with the much warmer palette aboard the Galactica [warmer tones that make that one burst of violence even more mind-boggling]. It’s partly because of contrasts such as these that we buy into most of the responses to the news about the Earth – though, as in real life, some will never be understood. Though I haven’t said much about the Cylons who allied themselves with the humans, they, too, are caught up in the situation with an equally wide range of reactions – especially Leoben [Callum Keith Rennie] and D’Anna [Lucy Lawless].
Because of the missing scene, I can’t give Sometimes a Great Notion an unqualified A+ – but it is close to perfect as it can be without that scene [and I can’t wait to see what it is!].
Finally, we will learn the fate of Earth; discover the identity of the Final Cylon Model and maybe even find out who wrote the Galacticaverse version of All Along the Watchtower – and what the infamous Last Supper, Galactica-style, means!
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.
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.
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!]