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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Alaric/Damon bromance is back on. Thank God. That's our favorite relationship on this show.

The Vampire Diaries - "Ghost World"

Mason is back to get redemption by helping Tyler. That doesn’t stop him from messing with Damon a little bit though. There's enough kink on this teen show, don't ya think? Finally, after a bit of torture, Mason partners up with Damon to get into the Lockwood cave in search of information that can help Tyler get away from Klaus’ influence. It turns out that the ghosts we see are not in the real, possibly peaceful afterlife yet. They are in limbo because they have unfinished business. All ghosts do, right? Mason is back for Tyler and, as usual, Anna is looking for her mom so that they can both move on together.

Before leaving for the cave, Damon lets Bonnie know that the ghosts are back and they can move physical matter. Bonnie puts her mind and Grimoire to the task of getting rid of them. Now that the ghosts are stronger and more present, other people can see them again. Elena walks in on Jeremy kissing Anna, and she is not pleased. Bonnie figures out that she needs Elena’s necklace to banish the ghosts. Anna has taken it, but Elena convinces Anna to give it up in order to let Jeremy live a normal life. Caroline lets Bonnie know that Jeremy kissed Anna. Bonnie is not pleased. She calls Jeremy out, and it’s safe to say that they are over, at least for now.

The best thing about this episode was that Lexi came back. Elena thought her into reality because Elena read in Stefan’s diaries that Lexi was the one who always brought him back from the ripper state. Lexi knocks Stefan out and locks him up in that chair where Caroline was tortured a few weeks back. It turns out torture and starvation are the way to get a ripper to feel again. Feeling something, whether it is anger, sadness, pain, or something good, is the way to get a ripper to reconnect with his humanity. Lexi uses her vampire/ghost powers to make Stefan feel like he has gone without human blood for years. This speeds up the whole process. Stefan begs Elena to make it stop, but Elena stands firm.

With the help of her ghost grandmother, Bonnie does the spell and removes all of the ghosts from this world. Lexi is in the middle of curing Stefan, but Elena knows how it is done now, so she can take it from here, Elena says. Elena tells Stefan that he has to get his humanity and hope back. She says, “If you don’t, you are going to lose me forever… I won’t love a ghost for the rest of my life.” Elena leaves Stefan to think and starve. Elena was always cool, but she is so much more awesome this season!

Mason finds hieroglyphs in the Lockwood cave. Damon can’t pass far enough into the cave to see them, because it’s vampire-proof. So when Mason disappears, Damon calls Alaric. Damon gives Alaric a lame apology, which Alaric seems to accept. Alaric gets a good look at the cave paintings, but he has no idea what they are. Before Anna goes, she finds her mom. They hug and disappear. Caroline briefly kicks ghost ass to save Mrs. Lockwood. Some vampire ghosts take revenge on the founding families by killing a scholar in front of the whole town.

Best line: "Please tell me that's a recipe for witch cookies."

Episode grade: B+

The Chloroforming Pig Man

The Secret Circle - "Masked"

Jane leaves town for Halloween, leaving Cassie to party on her own. We guess a trip is a better way to get rid of adults on the CW than just killing them. Faye goes to an antique store with Cassie and convinces her to have a party. Rather than say the obvious, “Faye, that shirt you’re wearing is too skimpy to be a bra, let alone a shirt,” Cassie agrees. Seriously, what was that? We’d die of shame wearing that top, even if we were as gorgeous as Faye. The store owner, Calivin, recognizes Cassie. Cassie invites Luke to the party, wanting to make up for ditching him at the school dance. Also, he’s cute.

Adam is upset that Diana broke up with him, because destiny or not, he loves Diana. Cassie tells Adam to fight for Diana. This makes us like Cassie more. Cassie goes back to the antique store to investigate a weird symbol that was on the knife-thing Simone used. Jake magically ruins Cassie’s car and beats her to the store to threaten Calvin, telling him to stay quiet. But, with the help of the internet, Cassie finds out that the symbol has to do with witch hunters. She lets everyone know. Later, the store owner shows up on Ethan’s boat and tells him that Cassie has a right to know the truth about her father, John Blackwell, and all the dark powers she has stored inside her. This sounds promising.

Jake meets his boss and preps for witch killing. We see that Luke is one of the witch hunters. Bad luck, Cassie. For Halloween, Luke dons a pig mask, Faye is a sexy Little Red Riding Hood, Cassie is a sexy bumblebee, Melissa is a sexy Hermione Granger, and Diana is a vampire, but it’s not that sexy. Those fake teeth were bulky and weird. The girls are smarter than they look; they suspect that Jake is up to something. At the party, Faye distracts Jake by trying to seduce him in Cassie’s room, but it doesn’t work, and Faye notices that he has changed. The distraction gave Cassie the time to snoop in all of Jake’s stuff in Nick’s room. Jake walks in just as Cassie finds a knife with the witch hunter symbol on it. Faye bursts in and ends the awkward moment.

Downstairs, Cassie gets a call from Calvin. Calvin tells her nothing helpful before he is interrupted by Jake. Calvin tells Jake that Cassie has tons of dark magic and she needs to be warned in order to control it. Jake kills Calvin. We can’t say the poor little guy wasn’t warned… Meanwhile, Luke abducts all the witches, takes them to the docks, and ties them up inside a circle that is supposed to contain their powers. Jake warns his boss that things might not go well for them, because Cassie has more juice than they thought she did. Jake’s boss didn’t listen.

When Luke is about to kill Cassie, she shrieks and he bursts into flames. The witches escape, but they still don’t know that Jake is with the witch hunters. Cassie receives mail from Calvin that might explain about her father and her magic. Jane goes to visit Henry, but he is all dead because of Dawn. The body kept really well though. She didn’t even look like she was smelling something bad. Jane gets Henry’s crystal from its hiding place and tries to do magic on him, but someone knocks her out and takes the crystal.

This episode gets a good grade for Cassie setting someone on fire alone. Come on. That was awesome.

Episode grade: B

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spock Stewart’s Home Crafts, Including Bats and Carved Pumpkins

American Horror Story - "Halloween I"

We get to see Patrick and Chad, the gay couple who lived in the Murder House before the Harmons. Chad is played by Zachary Quinto, and he has gone Full Gay. We will never look at young Spock the same way again. Of course Quinto had to come out of the closet before his American Horror Story role aired. This was extra-convincing and catty. Of course, we should all keep in mind that Eric Stonestreet (Cam on Modern Family) is straight. You never can tell.

Quinto was really good and funny in this episode. He was….dare we say…fabulous. Patrick was played by a guy who looked a lot like a poor man's Eric on True Blood. Chad and Patrick did not kill each other, it turns out. Even though Patrick was cheating on Chad with a young man, they didn’t hate each other or go crazy. It seems they were killed by The Gimp near Halloween 2010.

With the flashback over, we have Marcy letting the Harmons know that they are never going to sell the house unless they get new decorations for the house and make it more inviting. SO the Harmons hire a “fluffer,” a young gay man Marcy knows. This man’s job will be to redecorate and set the house up to receive trick-or-treaters on Halloween. This is not the definition of “fluffer” that we are familiar with. Who shows up to fluff? Chad, bringing Patrick.

Constance is jealous when she finds Travis reading to Addie. Constance tells Addie that she won’t share her boy toy. Addie tells Constance that she wants to be a pretty girl for Halloween. "You'll go as Snoopy again," Constance says, flatly. So Addie goes to Violet and Violet puts makeup on her. Constance freaks and forces Addie to wash it off, but she later buys Addie a rubber mask with hair to put over her head. The mask is of an attractive girl’s face, but of course it’s hella creepy.

Violet and Tate (the characters that Ryan Murphy jokingly called “America’s feel-good Romeo and Juliet couple") hang out in the basement, and Tate puts on the Gimp suit to scare Violet. Does this mean that Tate is the murderous Gimp? Or did he just take the suit out of the trash and the ghost has his own? Is Tate the father of Vivien’s baby? Or something? CONFUSION. For the record, one of us does not at all think that Tate was the Gimp in the pilot.

Ben agrees to see Tate as a patient outside of the Murder House. Tate tells Violet more of the story about the abortion doctor and his wife. The boyfriend of one of the doctor’s patients stole the doctor’s baby and dismembers it. When the cops bring back the remains, the doctor plays Frankenstein with them. Violet doesn’t believe Tate.

Patrick makes a pass at Ben, offering to suck his D, and proving himself as the real fluffer. This is not a family show, is it? On Halloween, Chad insults Vivien and Ben’s costumes and overreacts that Ben didn’t buy the right kind of apples for the bobbing display. Tantrums are thrown and Viv kicks the gay couple out of the house. Then Vivien tells Ben that she saw Hayden’s number on their phone records. Ben nearly smooths things over, but then he gets a call from Hayden’s cell. At that moment, Vivien feels the baby kicking and rushes off to the hospital with Ben.

Violet is told not to answer the door (“But it’s Halloween!”), so when Addie rings the doorbell to show Violet the pretty mask, Violet doesn’t answer. Addie ends up getting hit by a car. Constance pushes the paramedics away in order to get Addie back to the Murder House before she dies. It must be true that if you die on the Murder House property, you can come back as a ghost. Poor Addie.

Moira has a creepy scene where she visits her dying mother and pulls the plug, as it were. The mom’s ghost asks Moira to come with her to the afterlife, but Moira sadly tells her mother that she can’t. At the hospital, the nurse looks at the sonogram and sees that the baby is a LOT bigger than it should be after eight weeks. She takes a closer look and keels over, fainting.

Meanwhile, Larry Harvey shows up, banging on the door and screaming for Ben to come out and give him a thousand dollars. Violet calls her parents, perplexed. Then tell her to keep the door locked and not to call the police. We see the Gimp standing behind Violet. When Ben and Vivien return, Violet is nowhere to be found. The doorbell rings and Ben opens it to find a dirty, pale Hayden.

This show is crazypants. And we are entertained.

Episode grade: A-

This show is hilarious

America's Next Top Model - "Kathy Griffin"

This episode was such a train wreck. But it brought us many laughs and much entertainment. Proving even further that this show should never be taken seriously as a model-finding vehicle, the photo shoot was inspired by Nene Leakes and Snooki what’s-her-last-name-probably-something-Italian (other blogger's note: everyone knows she's not Italian. She's Chilean. Duh). We shake our heads and chuckle. Bianca even brings a pickle on set for her Snooki portrayal. If this show wants to become quality, rather than just entertaining, it should focus more on high fashion, trends, and what models actually do instead of these cartoonish shenanigans. It's a little unfair that some of these girls could have been punished for not watching Jersey Shore.

Lisa was the star of the episode. We always liked her a little bit, but this episode proved that she’s not just a hot mess. She made some astute observations about both Bianca and Shannon. She said that she admires Shannon’s faith, but that she sells herself short. True. Shannon puts herself in a pure, Christian box, not realizing that Christians come in all personalities. Christian is not a brand, Shannon. She’s fitting a cookie-cutter mold when Tyra saw some fun fire in her back in her season. Lisa also pointed out that Bianca is just scared all the time. That’s true as well.

Then Lisa rocked and won the challenge, and she was the loosest in her photo shoot (and that’s a good thing, not a slutty thing). Sometimes you look crazy when you let yourself go, but sometimes not taking yourself too seriously helps you take risks, have fun, and be memorable. We don’t suggest peeing in a diaper again, but, generally, Lisa is pretty smart. The challenge involved the girls making their own perfumes, naming, and promoting them. They also had to splash around in a bathtub in a way fitting their personality.

Of course Lisa excelled at this, because she’s basically a kid in the bathtub of life. She laughed loudly, yet innocently, and splashed onlookers. Bianca decided that because Beyonce and Kanye West don’t get in bathtubs, she wasn’t going to either. This secured herself a place in the bottom three. Rule #1 of Top Model: You need to hop on Tyra Banks’ crazy train. None of her ideas are below you. The only ego in the room should be Tyra’s. Nigel knows this. He got in a bathtub. It wasn’t as hot as we would have imagined though, because he kept his suit on.

We were disappointed with Bianca’s elimination. It’s true that Kayla lost her appeal this season, so we were ready to see her go, even though she was an early favorite. Kayla can sure take a good picture though. Bianca had a lot of drama left in her. We liked her observation that she liked Alexandria on her cycle, but getting to know her in person made Bianca understand why girls have a problem with Alexandria. It’s easy to love difficult people from afar. But you don’t want to live with them. Bianca remarked, “That girl can work a nerve.”

Allison named her fragrance “Honey Blood,” Alexandria named hers “Diamondatrix” (HAHAHAHAHA), and Shannon named hers “Smitten,” because she thought that name sounded trustworthy. Why does good have to be lame, Shannon? That is a good fragrance name though. It’s the reasoning behind it that’s lame. The special guests this week were Eva Pigford and Kathy Griffin. They were fine/boring. It shouldn’t have been Bianca. Whyyyyyy?

Episode grade: A

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homeland renewed for a second season!

Rejoice, or they will hunt you down.

New Show: Touch

Fox. Midseason

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland (24)

Plot: Centers on a father who discovers his autistic, mute son can actually predict events before they happen.

Why We Are Excited: The way his son predicts things and the premise behind that is actually really unique and interesting. One of us loves to read about the precision of the universe and the formulas that keep us all alive, so this is right up her alley. We love the idea of an emotionally rich show with a child actor who doesn’t talk. Let’s face it: usually when they talk, it’s not very good acting and it pulls us out of the fiction. Also, Kiefer brings a gravity and urgency to his roles that could keep this grounded and make us feel like it all really matters. Plus, the trailer is pretty sweet.

Why We Are Not Excited: There’s a chance this could become another procedural and really not take the viewer anywhere.


Anticipation Score: 8/10
Be sure to click on the "##Upcoming Shows## link in the cloud so you can stay apprised. And let us know if you think you will be watching any of them!

The X-Factor De-Fluffed

Don't have time for a two-and-a-half X-Factor live show? Just watch all the performances along with a news recap here. Drew, Melanie, and Chris are still on it, so we are happy. Last night marked the first live show and the top 17 were whittled down to a top 12. Yikes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The return of Charlie Trout

We’re watching Gossip Girl again, and we are all caught up. Shut up and stop laughing. When you’ve watched all of your shows for the week and you hear that an old one got decent again, how could you not check it out? And it DID get good again. Since we’ve been gone, Dan’s book came out and it featured Serena as a Paris Hilton type, Nathan as a gay half-Eric, Rufus as a trophy husband, Blair as the love of Dan’s life, and the return of Charlie Trout, who kills himself and gives Chuck a wake-up call. No one is too happy. Serena is upset that she wasn’t Dan’s love interest in the book, and she also thinks her portrayal will affect how she is seen at work. She works for a film production company and is doing a decent job. Dan gave her the movie rights though. After she pretty much made him. This season is going to let Serena do something conniving and wrong? Yay!

We feel bad for Dan. One of us has a family that would be ripe for a very hilarious book, and the family members even comment sometimes that she will write a book loosely based on them. But she would never do it, because people are too sensitive. The family freaks when she makes a snarky comment at dinner! A whole book? They’d set her on fire and push her in the family pool. Poor Dan didn’t even want this book to come out. Also, Rufus is exactly what Dan said, so why is he mad? Rufus IS a washed-up musician who married Lily. Rufus was all, “I can’t believe that’s how you see me.” Ummm. That’s how you are. That’s how you see you.

Chuck is starting to grow up. No, for real y'all. Also, it’s not boring. We used to think, “Chuck can never open up, heal from his problems and become a decent guy, because it would ruin the character.” But this season is showing us that the Charlie Trout life can only go on so long before you burn out and get help, or end up destroying yourself. Watching Chuck grieve the loss of Blair and his wasted life has turned out to be just as interesting as watching him be a bad boy.

Nate is being the bad boy right now. He’s back into cougars and the latest one is Elizabeth Hurley, a journalist who wants to create a new Web site to rival Gossip Girl, and she has Nate to help her. Finally, Nate has something to do on this show! We also saw the return of Ivy/Charlie, who is back to enjoy the rich life she’s been missing. Elizabeth Hurley knows that Ivy isn’t who she says she is, so Ivy has to dig up dirt on the Upper East Side to keep Hurley on her good side. Ivy is a villain and hopefully the show knows that. She’s a liar for profit, and while her doe-eyed baby face can look sympathetic, her actions are not sympathetic. We can just see Serena forgiving and adopting her when her secret gets out. We can’t wait to see the story behind the Bart Bass file and Elizabeth Hurley (her character’s name is Diana Payne).

Blair looks fantastic this season. No wonder she is shunning the lonely boy’s romantic advances. With the hair he is sporting this season, he is hardly worthy. Yes, Blair is pregnant (so is Dorota, but who cares), and she is still marrying the prince. Her main conflicts this season so far are with Prince Louis’ controlling family. At first, Prince Louis seemed reluctant to take Blair’s side in small issues. He finally came around. We like this about him, because we truly believe that one of the most common downfalls of marriage is a spouse not leaving home, emotionally and mentally. You have to take your spouse’s side, make your own family, and not let your parents interfere. There’s only room for two adult minds under one roof. To mess with that ruins both trust and intimacy. It’s not like we think the trust is fully there is this case to begin with though. Blair’s baby daddy is likely Chuck, and Prince Louis is close to finding out the child’s paternity (if he hasn’t already).

The show has also gotten rid of the dead weight. We already knew that Vanessa was gone, but so is Eric! He never brought much in the way of good storylines. Now he is on Revenge, and good riddance to him. We wish Jenny had not been let go. While everyone hated her, she sure brought drama. There is a new therapist to the rich on the show. Apparently she’s the only therapist in town, since everyone is seeing her. We thought she would just be Chuck’s new floozy, but she nailed his ass and proved herself to be up to the task of possibly fixing Chuck. We love her. This was just one example of how this show has gotten its emotional punch back. We think that’s the major triumph of the season so far. It’s made us care again, rather than write these characters off as silly people who never learn from their mistakes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Carrie and Brody, face to face again

Homeland - “Semper I”

Carrie has to remove all of her cameras from Brody’s house, but she’s not giving up. Not this girl. We sort of admire her determination to follow her gut and make sure that Brody doesn’t hurt anyone. She could get in huge trouble for her actions.

David gives Carrie and the rest of the agents a new assignment. They are to follow the money trial starting with the stolen necklace. They come up with a lot of people with access to the money and have to find all of those people and investigate them. Carrie gets a partner, Danny Galvez, and he’s mostly there to spy on Carrie for David. But David and Carrie seem to make up and apologize for the past over drinks together. We find out that they had an affair and David's marriage ended after that. Also, she took off and he followed her to New York, in classic clinger behavior.

Carrie and Danny follow Rakim Fizel, the man who bought the house near the airport. He is a professor who made recent trips to the Middle East, and we, the viewers, know that he is up to something. Carrie and Danny follow his car with theirs all day. Fizel’s wife is warned by a caller to let Fizel know not to drive home, so Carrie never gets to tie him to that location. Instead, he goes to an apartment of his. Carrie and Danny decide that he’s up to nothing interesting.

The chief advisor to the Vice-President, Elizabeth Gaines, sets up a lunch meeting with Brody with the intention of drafting him into politics. Mike wants Jessica to agree to tell Brody the truth about what happened between them, but Jessica doesn’t think it’s a good idea. Since they didn’t tell him right away, it’s become a big secret and it’s too late to tell. Big secret. He totally knows or at least really, really suspects.

Brody has a gun in his garage that he plays with during this episode. When the Brody family has a party, Brody kind of freaks out. Jessica lets Mike know that Brody has been acting like an unhinged person. Mike brought a date to try to throw Brody off the scent of his affair. Brody goes into the garage, gets his gun, goes outside, and shoots a deer, scaring everyone. Jessica goes outside to confront Brody and tells him that he needs to get help, because she can’t take it anymore. She even calls him out on the really bad “sex," which is totally called for.

To placate her, Brody agreed to go to a veteran’s support group meeting. When he drives off to the meeting, Carrie follows him in her car. Carrie goes inside the church and Brody recognizes her as the woman from his debriefing. Carrie immediately leaves and Brody follows her, insisting that she stay and telling her that he won’t tell the others what she does for a living if she needs to attend a meeting for support. They briefly mention Baghdad, because they both went there. Brody asks Carrie why it’s so hard to talk about it to people who weren’t there. Carrie asks him why it’s so hard to talking to people who weren’t there about ANYTHING. They laugh, and it’s all friendly.

What it really is? Awesome. Carrie has gone even further to investigate this man. Is she going to befriend him? She clearly made a good impression. Watching Carrie manipulate Brody could take this show to the next level. Some might say it’s reckless. We say it makes good TV. We’re excited for next week. This was yet another good episode from this show.

Episode grade: A-

Good news: This pilot got the best ratings of the new fall shows. And we're hoping it can keep the audience.

Once Upon a Time - Pilot

This show takes place in both our world and the fairy tale world. Two worlds is something these writers have juggled well before, so this excites us. In our world, Emma Swan is a Bail Bondsperson living in Boston. (Side note: does anyone know if this was actually filmed in Boston? One of the bloggers lived there for a few months, and that didn't look like any part of South Station she saw). On her 28th birthday, her ten-year-old son whom she gave up for adoption tracked her down. The son (named Henry Mills) insisted that she accompany him back to Storybrooke, Maine, because she is in the fairytale book he carries around and is the town’s only hope.

Emma seems concerned that her child seems to have developed some weird beliefs and problems, but she drives him back to his adoptive mother, Regina, Regina is the mayor of Storybrooke. Henry is upset to be home and insists that Regina doesn’t really love him. Emma discusses the fairytale book and Henry’s strange ideas, and Regina seems to have no idea what Emma is talking about.

The fairytale book was given to Henry by his schoolteacher, Mary Margaret Blanchard. Henry believes that everyone in his town is actually fairy tale characters sent by an evil queen to live in our world, and Emma is the only hope to save them and awaken them to who they really are. Regina is the evil queen and Mary Margaret is Snow White. It’s really cute how Mary Margaret eats pears rather than apples and has an affinity for interacting with birds. Emma is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Yes, that seems to be his actual name back in the fairy world.

Henry runs away and Emma finds him. He asks Emma to stay in town for one week to see if she can help him. He knows that what he says is unbelievable, but he asks for one weeks of trust. Probably filled with guilt over giving him away, as well as empathy (Emma herself was found on the side of the road as a baby), Emma promises and checks into a B&B owned by real-world Rumpelstiltskin, who we like already. There was also a sweet moment when Emma confirms Henry’s theory that Emma gave him away “to give him his best chance.”

In the other world, we see the things that happened 28 years ago and brought the characters to our world. Prince Charming wakes Snow White with a kiss after the Evil Queen (Snow's stepmother) gave her a poisoned apple that nearly killed her. You know the story. Snow White is married in a large, pretty castle, but the Evil Queen shows up and threatens them. She curses the entire kingdom. Snow and Charming visit Rumpelstiltskin to get information on what the curse will entail and how to stop it.

Using this information, the couple has Gepetto make a wardrobe out of a magic tree that could transfer a person going into it to another world (our world). If a person goes through that, they could end up in Boston, China, or anywhere. Anyone who didn’t go through that wardrobe had to stay in Storybrooke when the Evil Queen transferred them to the real world. There, they would be safely under her thumb, unable to come and go, and unaware of who they are.

Charming and Snow had a baby, Emma. Since she is the only hope, the couple shoves her into the wardrobe shortly after she is born. Emma is born early, so her mother cannot go with her, because the wardrobe will only transport one person. There must not have been enough wood or enough magic to build two cabinets. One of the Evil Queen’s men crashes the castle just before the curse comes into effect, stabs Prince Charming, and opens the wardrobe to find baby Emma gone.

Back in the real world, we see Mary Margaret volunteering at a hospital. A comatose man in the hospital looks a lot like Prince Charming, so it looks like he survived the stabbing. May he rise again and get better at sword fighting. Like we said on Sunday night, we liked this show. For a pilot, this was pretty tolerable and we’re willing to suspend our more serious sides to give this show a chance to tell a fairy story. After all, we get to see Ginnifer Goodwin with both long and short hair in the same show. What more can we ask for?

Episode grade: B+

Hey Olmos: Since you are killing sluts, there's an intern we'd like to introduce you to....

Dexter - "A Horse of a Different Color"

You’re going to think we are total freaks for this, but we love when this show is extra gross. The Revelation reenactment theme is incredible, and that’s not just because one of us is one of the biggest Bible nerds you will ever meet. (Hey, the more you study it, read it, and read about it, the more you realize you have a lot of it wrong, there's more to it than you thought/it has layers, and the cooler it gets. Mos Def is right. You get something new out of it every time. That’s all I’m saying.) The four horses thing was horrible, as in prime horror imagery. That poor guy…but we like that this season is pulling no punches. We don’t think it topped the seven snakes, because anything with snakes already has a lot of creep factor. But it was pretty jarring. If we are meant to not like Edward James Olmos’ character, this gross stuff is working.

The new guy, Mike Anderson, is the first person to recognize the Bible motif. Yes, he is black. Dexter finds evidence in the form of papers in the victims’ eyes with the numbers 1242 and 1237 on them. The numbers are probably dates counting down to the end of the world, according to Batista. Dexter also figures out that the victims were killed with an old weapon, like a sword. It doesn’t take Deb long to name Edward James Olmos as her number-one suspect.

We LOVE how fast that moved. EJO’s “real” name is Professor James Gellar, and he is an expert in the book of Revelation. (Not RevelationS. Sorry. Pet peeve.) He was fired because he was accused of stealing an old sword that was said to belong to John the Revelator. Is that even a thing? Meanwhile, Dexter figured out there were two Religious Killers. He actually spotted Travis at the last crime scene, and he realized that he was Gellar’s accomplice! Keep in mind that this is episode four. With the main killers already identified, what crazy place is this season going to take us next?

Dexter gets some religion when Harrison gets appendicitis and spends the day in the hospital. Mos Def shows up to comfort him. To distract Dexter, Mos Def tells him that his father once used him to kill a man. Then he talked about his conversion moment in prison. Dexter goes to get coffee and prays for Harrison, trying to bargain with God for Harrison’s life. Dexter said that if there was a price for saving Harrison, Dexter would pay it. Man, he should have just asked. Now he has to come through, right?

The Mos Def/religion stuff is coming across better than we thought it would. It isn’t super trite or preachy. It’s just one guy saying, “This is how I roll,” and another guy opening up his mind to it. We truly doubt that Dexter is going to find Jesus or anything, but he may take SOMETHING away from it. A general belief in something, knowledge of it, a tool to connect with people, a motto, whatever. Maybe there’s a whole religion out there that isn’t for you, but it’s possible to take the pieces you like and graft them into what you believe already. That’s how we feel about Buddhism, at any rate. We are interested to see what Dexter takes away from his exploration of faith. What could possibly work for him, long term, as Dexter, living a serial killing life? Maybe he will reject it all. Who knows?

Travis meets a cute waitress and have a date. Gellar is not pleased, and he’s especially not pleased when Travis has sex with her. Sorry, “defiles” her. Of course, in true hypocrite fashion, Gellar watches the whole thing. What a freaking creeper. Gellar trusses the waitress up like an angel and sets her body up at a botanical garden. The cops show up and trip a wire which kills her. That’s what happens if you have sex, kids. Then the cops open up a cabinet full of locusts.

We’re happy that everyone loved Deb after her press conference but how dumb do you have to be to say the “f” word on TV during an official press conference? We guess it just slipped out, but she needs to have more control than that. Masuka and his stupid intern are over, because Masuka found out that she stole the ice truck killer mannequin arm and tried to sell it on the internet. Hopefully she is gone for good, but we don’t think she is. LaGuerta is the most unlikable person on this show. Now that she’s not Lieutenant, why are we keeping her around? This is a woman whose storylines were never interesting. Her only purpose is to stand in Deb’s way. We have actual criminals for that. Get rid of her.

Last season of Dexter was mildly entertaining, but this one is shaping up to be actually gripping. Who knew religion and Dexter would mesh so well? Things are moving along quickly. The killers remind us of the guy on Se7en, only possibly more unhinged and creepy. More time is spent on the main players and events than boring side stuff like Batista and LaGuerta’s doomed marriage. Now, the show just needs to get rid of the intern and make Masuka a wise-cracking side character again, and this show will be golden.

Episode grade: A-

Sunday, October 23, 2011


One of us is not into baseball at all, yet this blogger enjoyed this movie. It took something that this blogger would call dull and made a funny, moving film. Also, it has Andy from Parks and Recreation in it. This one is based on the true story of Billy Beane and the Oakland A's.

All of the actors did a good job, the whole thing moved along well, and it was all entertaining. It’s smart and subtle, and we think lots of people are going to miss it, but they shouldn’t. At least watch it when it comes out on DVD. We want to be sports managers now, haha.

Moneyball: A-

Two Fairy Tales Compete For Your Love This Weekend

Since Once Upon a Time’s pilot is on imdb, we’ve already seen it (thanks for the tip, reader). Grimm aired Friday, so we are able to compare the two and decide which fairy tale we want to stick with. First, we wouldn’t recommend either show to anyone whose first reactions to the concepts are, “Fairy tales are silly/for kids.” You have to suspend your seriousness while you give these a chance. You have to go with it and accept the rules of these worlds, or you are not going to enjoy yourself. This is especially true with Once Upon a Time, because it's more outlandish.

The shows are really different, but everyone is comparing them anyway. There is the fairy tale aspect and people are putting these shows side-by-side in reviews because of it. We think it’s fitting just because most people only have room for one new show on their fall schedules after we’ve all picked up Revenge, right?

If you give one of these shows a chance, we urge you to make it Once Upon a Time. Sure, it’s weird and it might not be able to grab mainstream America, and it also has Jennifer Morrison in it. But we were entertained by the whole pilot and we are interested to see what the LOST writers will do with it. You know they are great with mythology. We think it’s worth letting this show have a free pass for a season just to see where the writers will go with it. Yeah, it could be a disaster that no one gets, but it could also turn out to be really creative and fun. It’s contemporary urban fantasy and we haven’t had that on TV with high production/in a way that is decent in a while.

There were a few things about Once Upon a Time that were cheesy or twee to us, but we really liked it, overall. It’s more unlikely than Grimm, but it’s also smarter, way more original, and more creative. This just has more potential. We also liked seeing both worlds. If you are going to have something as nerdy as fantasy, you have to aim it AT nerds by making it intelligent, twisty, and unpredictable. Nerds are brainy and imaginative. They aren't going to be blown away by a weekly monster ripped from childhood tales. Nerds want epics. The only people who are going to be able to roll with these outlandish premises are people with their faces buried in fantasy novels, and they have high standards for storytelling. A procedural won't do.

So fantasy or LOST lovers should watch the pilot of "Once" tonight, and we will recap/review it tomorrow and every week for as long as it stays. The main downside that we can see, at this point, is that bad guys and good guys are very well established in fairy tales. The characters could turn into simple, unrealistic, uncomplicated archetypes and stay that way. Hopefully the LOST writers have the good sense to give them some grey areas or introduce a Ben-like character who lives in the grey areas. We think they will. They were great at creating characters last time. Once Upon a Time has a stronger cast than Grimm too.

We were pretty bored by Grimm. We didn’t enjoy watching it, and it just felt clunky and uninspired. The leading actor has a nice face but no charisma. A fairy tale/cop procedural doesn’t sound like something we want to watch every week. We already have Bones, Prime Suspect, and Person of Interest. If we want to add some creepiness to crime procedurals, we have Fringe, which is also on Friday nights. Fringe isn’t stupid like Grimm is. One of us may stick with it for a while, because of her sheer love for crime procedurals, but the other blogger is done.

Grimm grade: C
Once Upon a Time grade: B+

Eight years, and Derek Shepherd still doesn’t have a house built on that lot.

Grey’s Anatomy - “Poker Face”

April puts on a deeper voice, punishes Alex Karev for his rudeness, and finally becomes a competent chief resident. She’s still mostly annoying though. We’ve defended her for a while, but now we are just annoyed that she seems to be dead weight on this show. The show needs to ditch either April or Bailey, because Bailey has become unlikable over the past few years. Callie performs a challenging spinal surgery with little help from Cristina, who is scared that the surgery will fail and hurt her stats. She learns her lesson though. Meredith proves that Derek needs her at work when she finds him a cool surgery and helps him save the life of a new mother.

Derek doesn’t know that Meredith was involved, because she did all this through Lexie, who is on Derek’s service. We were so, so happy that Derek’s patient lived. Derek was really tolerable this episode too. Bailey is still mad at Meredith and Dr. Weber. Mark, lacking a sex life, starts cooking with Arizona, distracting Arizona from her marriage, much to Callie’s dismay. Lastly, Owen and Cristina are avoiding conversation by having tons of sex, everywhere. Yeah, that’s gonna end well… They look like they are embarking on a long storyline that may have a breakup in the middle of it, but it will probably end with both of them forgiving each other. For the most part, this episode got us emotionally and we were entertained. There were a few laughs too.

Not everyone is as pleased with this season as we are. Lots of people are getting sick of this show. They say that it’s repeating storylines, the show lacks “family values”, Bailey has too many rants, the characters having nothing to do, the characters are written so that they are annoying, and that the show has just been on too long. Lots of people don’t like all the new characters and miss the “Fab Five.” We understand that a show like this has to add and drop characters though. It’s never good to mourn for how a TV show used to be in its first and second seasons when the show is on season eight. You just have to either accept it or drop it. Tons of fans are dropping out. But, while we agree with some of the complaints, we still enjoy it, and we love how the show slowly grew Meredith up. She is a good and tolerable person now. We hope she gets Zola back too.
Episode grade: A-

A Gifted Man - “In Case of Loss of Control”

Michael makes a decision that jeopardizes his license and practice, but it saves a boy’s life and Michael is not prosecuted for it. Michael is upset with the doctors at the clinic because they lied to him in order to trick him into breaking the law, but he goes along with it anyway. Meanwhile, a teenage girl keeps her sexual activity from her father at the risk of her health. Things get hairier when an old flame shoots her for rejecting him. The father finally comes around to her new beau and Michael fixes everything. This episode wasn’t as good as last week’s and there was little in the way of character development for our long-range players. But both cases were pretty good, especially Monica, the teenage girl.
Episode grade: B-

We're not ready to commit, but this isn't goodbye

Boss - “Pilot”

First thing first: Kelsey Grammer is great in this role. He leaves Frasier Crane completely behind and looks to be having a lot of fun playing a bad guy. Some readers might snark that this is because he IS a bad guy (a philanderer with multiple marriages and a substance abuse problem who is also Republican), but we have a hard time judging him. He first began drinking at age nine. That’s the parents’ fault. We’ve never had to find solace or meaning in drugs, drinking, and women. We really can’t hate the guy. We certainly wouldn't marry him or anything, but we would watch a show with him.

Kelsey’s parents divorced when he was two, and he only saw his father twice after that before his father was shot and killed. Anyone who knows anyone without a father is aware that this alone does enough damage. Kelsey had a younger sister, but she was raped and murdered when he was in college, causing him to refuse to leave his dorm room and fail the semester. Then his two half brothers died in a scuba accident five years later. Fortunately, this means Kelsey has a lot of dark spots to draw from when he plays Chicago Mayor Tom Kane. Also, he seems happier now, so that's good.

Tom Kane is a Don Corleone type without the manners most of the time. He runs Chicago, but he recently found out that he has a degenerative brain disease. He only allows his doctor to know this, because he wants to keep doing what he’s doing. The character is fairly Shakespearean. We also love that Connie Nielsen is around. She’s the woman from Gladiator and the temptress from The Devil’s Advocate, two very decent movies. The show is a good character study, but we don’t think we want to watch it live this fall. Starz has already renewed this show for a second season, so we will get the first season on DVD after it all airs to see if we want to tune in regularly next year. We don’t really trust Starz, and our TV calendars are full.

Complaints- There is too much gratuitous sex. As we’ve said before, we don’t mind sexual content or nudity as long as it adds to the story or character development or tone in a way that is necessary. Here, it was just sex for the sake of spicing things up. Starz is the absolute worst culprit when it comes to this. HBO is usually more graphic, but it also uses sex better/more artistically. It's not just spice. Things need to be spiced up here, but with other elements. The show is too gloomy and slow. We don’t really care about what happens next. The show can also be preachy, which is a problem for some people, but we didn’t mind it here. We would have liked to see this be a two-hour movie. Sticking with this guy every week might depress us.

Episode grade: B-