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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Vampire Diaries- Growing Pains

Tomdog [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The dumb debates are taking over our TV, but they couldn't interfere with CW programming. Yay! We missed this show so much and expect a lot from it. It's one of our favorites. But nothing unexpected happened last night. Elena, Damon, Bonnie, Matt, Jeremy, and Stefan's reactions to Elena's transitions went exactly as we though they would. And then we had the council trying to kill vampires. Like we haven't seen that before. Everything was pretty rushed too. Having lots of action doesn't automatically make an episode interesting.

Hopefully this show has something new to do with these characters this season, other than having a formerly human being a vampire. Which, again, is something we've seen before. Bonnie might be able to cure Elena eventually anyway. The stuff with Gran, Bonnie, and the spirits was promising. Let's have angry spirits! Then our gang can team up with Klaus and Rebekah to defeat them.

Anyway, in this episode, Elena remembers everything Damon ever made her forget. But it's all for naught. She's sticking with her decision to pick Stefan for now. So far, the only new villain we have is Pastor Young. The finale scene was good. He's a crazyyy. We're glad Klaus didn't have sex with Caroline when he was in Tyler. He even tried to call that off (for like a second).

Elena's first feeding should have been on a character who mattered. (MATT-ered, if you're going by the books). We miss Elijah. There are few characters with any punch, mystery, or unpredictability anymore, and he's one of them. Klaus is a sappy, Caroline-loving baby. Damon won't be growing anytime soon. We know everything about everyone else.

Vampire Diaries premieres usually knock our socks off. Not this year. The title of this episode might reflect the current state of the show. It's season four. It's time for things to move forward. It seemed like we had watched nearly every scene in this episode before. We didn't cry. We weren't worried. We weren't creeped out. We didn't even think the Stelena stuff at the end was sweet anymore. It's getting cheesy.

Episode grade: C+

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Modern Family and Supernatural

By Kristin Dos Santos (originally posted to Flickr as Jared and Jensen) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Modern Family- "Schooled" and "Snipped"
Schooled was funny. It had lots of zingers, and Jay and Gloria had a good storyline for once. Gloria dropping her wrapped babydoll on the table when she was done and Jay trying to trade the black babydoll over to a black couple were golden moments. We also liked seeing Cam and Mitch unite against the lesbians, since they don't often unite in their storylines. Their plot didn't really go anywhere though. It defintely just died out somewhere near the end.

The scene where Phil accidentally grabs Haley's new roommate's butt was hilarious. Even we would be embarrassed, and we're more thick-skinned/less popularity conscious than Haley. We also laughed at Luke "literally masking his feelings." Snipped was fine, but not as funny as Schooled. The vasectomy plotline has been done to death. The Gloria and Manny stuff was boring. Claire stole the show with her impromptu haircut. The show is feeling less repetitive than last season. We approve.
Episode grades: B+ and B-

Supernatural- What's Up, Tiger Mommy?
Ugh. That episode title is a turn-off. But Linda turned out to be awesome, rather than some fresh-off-the-boat stereotype. She even knew it was best to keep Kevin with the Winchesters over angels. Cas! We got to see Cas! And his explanation for ditching Dean was fine. What's Dean's explanation for ditching him? He probably didn't do it on purpose. This is just yet another way for the show to pile tons of guilt on Dean's shoulders so that he can cry to Sam on the hood of the Impala. Hey, we're not complaining. Dean is hot when he cries.

We're not Kevin fans right now. Who would call Dean's speeches crappy?!! This episode was better than last week's. The best part was Sam using Thor's hammer. More of that, please. We didn't like that all the plans failed and the boys acted so stupid. They should be better and smarter than this. Everything went wrong. They walked into a terrible situation with no plan, they let the word of God go, they let Linda get possessed, and they didn't realize Kevin was going to ditch them. Come on!! They shouldn't be this monumentally stupid at this point in their lives. Dean's, like, 34 now, right?

We're glad the show has been doing the serialized thing so far this season. We're a little over the dull monster procedurals. The boys have met every monster by now, surely. This episode is getting a decent grade because Dean gave Castiel a hug. Awwwwwwww. It wasn't as boring as usual either. So far, season eight isn't embarrassing itself like the last two years.
Episode grade: B-

Nashville- Pilot

gdcgraphics [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
What happened: Rayna James is having trouble selling her album, so her record company gives her an ultimatum- open for the talentless Juliette Barnes or they will stop promoting her album. Rayna tells them where to stick it. She's having more trouble with her father, a rich man who managed to keep Rayna's sister on his side, but not his oldest daughter. Rayna's father is getting her husband to run for Mayor. Rayna doesn't like that. Juliette has trouble with her drug addict mother who is always calling for money. Juliette also seduces one of Rayna's guitarists, Deacon.

Meanwhile, Deacon's niece, a perky little blonde named Scarlett just got discovered in the Blue Bird cafe singing with her new male friend, a guitarist named Gunnar. Gunnar is determined to steal Scarlett away from her boyfriend, the songwriting Avery. If Gunnar is going to be the second half of Scarlett's duo, that might mean problems for her current relationship. We don't really care about this subplot yet, but Rayna's producer thinks this duo might save her career.

What we thought: Whoa, now there's the kind of drama we've been missing in dramas. For not being a singer, Connie isn't bad. She's convincing. I believe it. Her southern accent is more believable than Hayden's too. But Hayden is chewing up the scenery with her role of manipulative, damaged mean girl. She doesn't sound very country, but that's probably why she's referred to on the show as a "crossover artist."

We expected to be solidly on Rayna's side, but the character is surprisingly judgmental, proud, jealous, and unwisely living beyond her means. We liked when she apologized for her "diva dip" though. It's Juliette we're understanding more right now. Who's the protagonist here? Both of them? This is what Smash would have been had the Ivy/Karen rivalry been done right. We sympathize with Rayna wanting that threatening, powerful father out of her life. We like Rayna's balls and her line, "Well you can kiss my decision as it's walking out the door."

Rayna's husband, Teddy, is sweet and supportive, but he lost all their money and caves too easily to Rayna's evil father. Teddy won't be a mayor. He'll be a puppet. Deacon might be a better love interest for Rayna, but now that Juliette's got him, that can't work. We can't wait to see Rayna's reaction when she finds out.

In this show, the songs serve the scenes and story. The story isn't written around songs. We don't want to download any of them. Maybe the protagonist is Scarlett, the poet with the soft voice working as a waitress. She's more Karen than Juliette is. That's not necessarily a good thing. It's annoying that she never thought of turning her poems into songs, even though she lives in Nashville, works at the Bluebird Cafe, and has a nice singing voice. Come on. What a drip. Let's hope she was lying to Gunnar to be demure.

Scarlett's song fit the tone of the episode's ending so well. If we download any, it will be that one. It's haunting and hasn't been out of our heads since we watched the pilot last week (this post has been in draft form for a while. This episode was released on hulu early.)

Bottom line, this episode was entertaining the whole way through, and the blogger writing both this sentence and the initial draft of this post isn't interested in Nashville or country music. This pilot set a LOT up. This was a smooth hour of TV with drama that's not over-the-top. We can see why it's being called a must-see. We'll keep watching for now.

Episode grade: A-

Arrow- Pilot

Gage Skidmore [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
What happened: Oliver Queen, rich playboy, was shipwrecked on an island for five years. He came back determined to clean up his city, apologize to his lawyer girlfriend that he cheated on, and make sure his little sister stays off drugs. He reunites with his cute best friend, Tommy, to maintain the shallow billionaire facade. Tommy pretty much has everything figured out. Oliver's mother has him kidnapped and questioned, trying to find out how much he knows about how evil the family empire is. Answer: So evil his father shot himself in the head over it and made Oliver promise to right his wrongs. Oliver robs from a thieving jerk to give to the poor in this episode. It's implausible.

What we thought: Okay, this needs tightening up, but we liked it. Oliver using a high-tech green arrow shot into Hunt's wall to transfer money was laughable. IT'S UNTRACEABLE! Whatever. No one watching the CW knows anything about banks or technology, right? And Laurel the lawyer is all, "Hey, if money just shows up in your bank account and you think it's illegal, I just wouldn't question it." Nice.

We went into this show with absolutely no knowledge of the character Arrow or the comics and story. We think it's better for evaluating the show if we know whether it can stand on its own and tell a compelling story. Green Lantern needs to be a TV series, by the way. We hear there are seasons and seasons worth of rich storytelling in those comics that the movie just chose to ignore. If Arrow can get on TV, Green Lantern should absolutely get his own show. Just sayin'.

The beginning with the island stuff had us rolling our eyes. We bet Oliver would have sold his soul for a pair of shoes on that island. What kind of island was this? It teaches Russian? We need more flashbacks. That way we can design our own version of this island. It can be a camp where all spoiled playboys are sent by their concerned parents. We'd let everyone we went to grad school/law school with go free of charge.

Oliver and Speedy don't act like siblings, even siblings who have been away for a while. The relationship isn't believable yet. He acts more like a doting uncle or love interest. Who winks at their sibling? Seriously, picture yourself winking at your sibling as you left the dinner table at your house. Your sister would probably be like, "Okay, creeper, is there gum in my hair?"

We like Laurel (Ruby). She's a little vindictive at first though, eh? We like that she was sleeping with Tommy in the last five years. It makes her a little less perfect. Also, we like Tommy because he's the only non-idiot on the show. We like that Arrow can kill. That's one thing that can get annoying about Batman. Wait, that's crazy. There's nothing annoying about Batman. We take it back! We love you, Batman. You're way more realistic than this pilot.

How does island training teach you how to get out of zip ties? Those are, like, impossible to get out of. Maybe he had a knife at his back. That's the only way, right? The worst thing about the first fight scene was the fact that the gunfire would have hit him. There were about four times it should have. A really athletic guy still can't outrun bullets from a machine gun. They should have used regular handguns if they wanted it to be believable. Also, that hood doesn't hide Arrow's face, and he's famous. So that sucks too.

Another weird thing is Oliver's father shooting himself in the head...why? Why not stay alive and help your son right your wrongs? Why have a meltdown now? Because of the near-death experience? Does that wake up a conscience. All nitpicks aside, this episode was a lot more fun to watch than we expected. The reveal that the cop is Laurel and Sarah's father was great. We like Paul Blackthorne from the time we saw him in 24 (season three), and it's good to see him get a real part in this series. Evil moms are always a win too.

The show's pacing is good. Stephen Amell is decent in the title role. He's believable as a smart, driven guy, but also as the playboy. We love Katie Cassidy from Supernatural. She was the only version of Ruby with a personality. We think she looks prettier blonde, but other girls will like her better for being a brunette. We'll come back next week, but we hope this show gets its feet on the ground so we can believe what we're seeing enough to enjoy it more. But for the implausibilities, this would have been an "A."

Episode grade: B

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Girl, The Mindy Project, Parenthood,

By Genevieve (Max Greenfield) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
New Girl- Neighbors
Jess and Schmidt try to befriend young hipsters this week, until they realize young hipsters aren't really worth knowing. They are just super hard to impress. Been there... Jess's Urkel impression is a lot better than her Frasier Crane, which, to be fair, got cut off before we could really evaluate it. We like the development where Nick is some sort of pranks king, and we expect to see more of his elaborate pranks later. Schmidt is a perfect target. We hope Winston's new job gives him something to do. We also hope it helps the show define the character a little better. Seriously, describe the guy's personality. You can't do it as well as you can describe Jess, Nick, and Schmidt, can you? Winston is the show's weak link that can absolutely be fixed with a few good storylines, episodes, and lines.

But what kind of man should he be? He's kind of the responsible straight man now. Should they make him super responsible and together? Sort of the den mother for these three? Could they make him the cool, charming guy who everyone likes? We're going to stop brainstorming now, because it's not like any good idea we come up with will be used, haha. This show often touches on the awkward position of being an adult who hasn't quite grown up yet...we saw this theme when Jess dated Russell. We liked when Nick said that he likes growing older because he's growing into his personality. Ern feels the same way.
Episode grade: B

The Mindy Project- In the Club
This show is going to have a full season. Hopefully it can take that news and use it to plot how all the episodes are going to go and give this show some direction. Because it does need a little direction. One thing we liked this week was the character Morgan being less cartoonish, yet still funny and weird. We worried about his character when he was introduced last week, but he's being used alright so far. Sure, everyone could be funnier. We also need the hospital crew to be a more defined group. People we haven't been paying much attention to got added to the crew this week. This is fine, but they need to be distinct and memorable. We liked the loser girl who vomited. You know who we're talking about. Betsy. She's played by a funny, competent actress.

Anyway, like we were saying, this show is going to work if we get an office-like ensemble going strong, like on New Girl and, well, The Office. Mindy's character is a one-trick pony. She's a romantic comedy heroine in a regular comedy body. While this gives Mindy ample opportunity to satirize and laugh at chick flick stereotypes and the ultra-girly among us, we need other jokes as well. Mindy's blonde best friend needs to find a place in the group and show if she's going to exist. We've got Mindy, Blonde, Danny, Betsy, Shauna (the girl in love with Danny), Morgan, and hot British guy. That's fine. This episode gave us more hope for the show. It was better than last week.
Episode grade: B

Parenthood- There's Something I Need to Tell You...
When Hank kissed Sarah, she did not pull away for a long time. The kissing scene really worked. His reaction afterward, kind of blaming her for the encounter and then insulting her, was icky though. He rectified it by saying, "You're funny, you're pretty, you're nice and I like talking to you. But I know you got somebody." But still. Sarah shows insecurity in her current relationship, making us think the Hank/Sarah ship might sale after all. We're so glad Victor hit that ball. The scene would have been so awkward if pushy Zeek had cost everyone the game. Ryan York now has a real purpose. A boy for Amber?!! We like it.

We always give Max crap for being a brat, but doing research on chemo and agreeing to play catch with Victor shows the heart beneath his social inabilities. Sydney's the real brat. Julia's situation was so realistic. As a lawyer, if you file something late, it could cost you big time. We loved Julia's honesty. We also love Kristina's. There is a temptation when you are sick not to tell your family. If you tell them, you look weak. You have to accept help and pity. It's actually stronger to tell and let people in.
Episode grade: B+

***EDIT*** A law school friend has told us that we weren't watching closely enough. We thought Julia didn't file a case, which can lead to heavy consequences. But she was late on an evidence-related request, which wouldn't exactly cost anyone millions of dollars/a judge would let it slide. The show needs one of The Good Wife's consultants.

Arrow and Nashville start tonight, mothalickas!

Hard Books to Finish

We're stalled on a book, guys. That's why we haven't been posting much about books. We need to just put it down and read something else, but we feel like we can't. We hate not finishing a book. We're really anal and feel like we have to read every word.

Wheel of Time series- Robert Jordan
We've started reading this series several times at different ages and stages. It never seems to hook us. So many people are obsessed with it, and we love fantasy, so what's the problem? It might be the weird names and the fact that too many characters are thrown at us too soon. It might be the length. We think it's really the dull, stuffy prose. If you just read the dialogue, it's alright. That's how we got through the second book. Does that count as reading it? We like Brandon Sanderson, the Mormon guy finishing the series for the late Jordan, so we want to make it to the last book where there might be writing that's easier to read. But it's soooo hard. We like the premise, the story, and at least two of the characters. We will finish this series. Of course, we've forgotten everything we read of it in high school, so now we're back to chapter five of book one. Ugh. It's a quagmire!
Status: We're going to get to it. Check back in a few years.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
A woman on an airplane told Ern to read this when Ern was 13, because she said she wept through it and couldn't put it down (she was a die-hard liberal Democrat, by the way; did she understand this book?) Ern is a freaking LIBERTARIAN (if she's anything), so, message-wise, this book should be something she'd enjoy. However, it's sat on her shelf, 100 pages read, for 12 years. One day. One day.
Status: Ern will read this in the next year.

Insomnia by Stephen King
We wanted to read this because it significantly connects to the Dark Tower series, which we love. We got about halfway through it and just got frustrated. This old man can't sleep...for hundreds of pages. He starts seeing weird stuff. There's stuff about abortions in there (we think. It's been a long time), and we're not particularly into that debate know...abortions in general (no one really is). It's just so long and not as eventful as other long King books (The Stand). We love his writing, even when he's wasting our time, but something needs to happen eventually.
Status: We want to do a re-read of all King's books, getting to the ones we haven't read. We'll get to the second half when we do that. OOOOH WE CAN DO AN ALL-STEPHEN KING POST AND RATE HIS BOOKS!

John Grisham books
We just lose the will to care partway through them. We heard from someone brilliant and awesome that his characters are just like real lawyers in practice, so one of us totally should read a few.
Status: Maybe someday? 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- by Stieg Larsson
Status: We'll never finish this. We've already seen two movies (and the second Swedish one), so that's okay. The movies are better.

The Lonely Polygamist- Brady Udall
Big Love is better. Unless someone tells us we should finish this book, we won't. We had no emotional connection to the characters and, once again, there were too many characters thrown at us at once. If the book had a chart of the women and their children in the front of a book, things might have turned out differently.
Status: Threw in the towel

The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold
We hear this is a lot better than the movie, but we got bored. Her heaven was weird and we couldn't get into a book where the main character was already dead and not going to pull a Jesus.
Status: We already saw the movie, so we know what happens

The Casual Vacancy- JK Rowling
This is the book we're currently stuck on. We were so excited to read this because we thought that even if it wasn't Harry Potter, Rowling would still be able to craft a good story with characters we'd fall in love with. So far, not really. We're bored and Rowling gave us too many names at once. There's no character we're attached to. They are all really slimy and selfish people. The book is sort of bleak too. It's like if the Harry Potter books had stayed on Privet Drive, only a Privet Drive robbed of all its whimsy. We're only 10% of the way through it (and Stephen King says you should always give a book 33% before you quit), but we aren't wanting to sit down and read more. Rowling, we love you and think you are a classy lady, but you're better than this.
Status: Still planning to finish...slowly

Do you know if any of these are worth finishing? What's a book you can't finish?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Revolution, The Good Wife, 666 Park Avenue, Downton Abbey

By ewen and donabel (original) Supernino (derivative work) (Flickr (original)) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Revolution- The Plague Dogs
It was good to see everyone reunited. Gettin' real tired of your s***, Miles. We cried a little when Maggie died, mostly because of the flashbacks. Now Miles really can't leave. Ha. It's becoming a thing for shows to kill off prominent characters after a handful of episodes (The Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time), so we didn't figure Maggie was safe. The stuff with Charlie being so important to Maggie came out of nowhere. In the pilot, we got the sense that they didn't get along and Charlie wouldn't be too bugged if Maggie died. We guess the last couple of weeks changed things.

We like that move. Danny's  moral conundrum was interesting this week. The right thing to do was obviously to keep the sink thing from falling on Neville somehow and then leaving him trapped under the wood, giving Danny the chance to run away. That thing was big, so it probably wasn't possible. So Danny could either let this guy die or show mercy. The second most right thing to do is what Danny did. Or is it? Neville will go on to kill and terrorize others. Danny might have been saving lives by ridding the world of Neville. There's no duty to save. Dude, we think we might have let Neville die. We're cold.

We're getting tired of detours, but this paranoid dude was interesting. It's time for Danny to get to Rachel and Monroe. Hilariously, saving Neville is only going to get Danny tortured in front of his mom. Two guys called a woman the word "bitch." We don't care for that. At least the guys were baddies. Never call us that, or you'll see what a bitch really is. In other news, Rachel really does love her kids and Miles likely knows that she is still alive, but he hasn't told Charlie.
Episode grade: B

The Good Wife- And the Law Won
It's a bad day for Alicia. She is soooo classy. "I'm not playing that game...Thunderdome." Lots of people dislike the Kalinda storyline right now, but we're into it as long as it goes somewhere important. It's interesting. Her husband is definitely an idiotic, psycho jerk. She should call the police and have him thrown back in jail. She's too smart to have lust cloud her judgment. Also, it's not like this guy is hot enough to get away with acting like this. The ice cream scene was hilarious, and he sure can drink a glass of Perrier menacingly. We knew that the jury can now turn questions over to the court, but we'd never seen TV take advantage of it before. Timely, show. Hopefully Maddie will be a good friend for Alicia. For some reason, we don't trust her. We're anxious to see what she's doing on the show. Will Gardner owned Richard Gilmore. That was a great case. We missed Cary this week. He was only in one scene.
Episode grade: B+

666 Park Avenue- Murmurations
Why is Tony so rude? Nona seems to know what's going on, but she also seems like a nice person. She clutched her rabbits foot and saw the future. So she has a psychic rabbit's foot...or she's psychic. We don't know. Why did the show choose to have Jane and Henry unmarried? Is that going to become important. Gavin did the right thing giving Louise and her playwrite husband that money. They got hurt in his building by his elevator. We think the show should make Jane a brunette or a redhead. That might make her more likable. It would also get rid of her roots.

Lots of people have been comparing this show to American Horror Story, with 666 Park Avenue coming in second place. There is room for this show and AHS in the world. They are both different. They are both enjoyable. We have more than one comedy. We can have more than one horror show. AHS is all shock factor with no build up. This show is in some trouble, ratings-wise, and we want to see where it's going and where the writers are going to take it before it gets pulled off the air, so do us a favor and check it out? This episode was creepy and entertaining. We just wish we were attached to the main characters.
Episode grade: B

Downton Abbey- Season/Series 3, Episode 4
We have Tom and Sybil back! Tom can't live in Ireland, so they are probably going to stay at Downton for a while and then move into a house in town. Little did we know last week when we saw the preview that Tom's troubles would equal good news for the viewers. We love those two. Charlie's grandfather is not someone we'd ever leave our child with, even if we were destitute. A man who judges and treats those beneath him "horribly" is not a man. That scene was really sad. Charlie is adorable. We hope that's not the end of Ethel's story and that she somehow gets her son back. Go Edith! We thought Sybil was the feminist of the family though. This show needs to be careful not to get repetitive. This was a quieter episode than most, but we were still entertained. We want more Mary/Matthew.
Episode grade: B

Worst News Ever

Louie won't be back until Spring 2014.

They also pushed Community back in order to market it better, which is sort of a good thing.

Popular Music 10/9/12

Taylor Swift- I Knew You Were Trouble, single
ANOTHER? Taylor, we'll hear the whole album before it drops. It's not very country and it has electronic elements. It's different from any of her other songs. Judging it as a regular song, we don't love it, but we can see it growing on us as good album filler when we get the entire contents of Red. The lyrics aren't that original or heartfelt, but it's another song about a past relationship, so her fans should eat the lyrics up. Whether they will accept a more Selena Gomez-sounding chorus is another question.
Grade: B

ADELE- Skyfall, single
It's not that this song is bad; it's that it's a little boring. It never hits the climax we wanted. It's pretty and sounds like a good James Bond movie song though, so it did its job. ADELE sounds good, as usual.
Grade: B-

The Script- #3
Pleasant. If you like their stuff, you'll like this album. The sound and lyrical content haven't changed except for becoming a little catchier and more mainstream. They've even thrown in some rap this time, which may annoy longtime fans. If you're new to The Script, we assure you that you're not. You've heard "For the First Time" and "Breakeven" on the radio. There aren't many standout songs, but there aren't many bad ones either. We don't necessarily recommend this band and we won't buy the album, but we wouldn't make fun of someone for listening to them either. When some of these songs hit the radio, we won't change the station.
Grade: B

Ellie Goulding- Halcyon
After the hit song "Lights," hopes are high for this one. She has a pretty (if sometimes breath-y) voice. Her voices is clearer on this CD, and she stays in her high register enough that some of these songs remind us of Celtec Woman. There are a TON of songs on the iTunes deluxe version (19). Is there a song like "Lights" on here? It's hard to tell, since Lights was a song that had to grow on most people. We liked the title track, "Halcyon." We also liked "Joy," "Hanging On," "Explosions," "Atlantis," and "I Need Your Love." We worried that the CD would be too electronic, robbing it of any rawness and turning it into noise. But there was a good mix. On her last album, we liked her version of Elton John's "Your Song," and we also liked "The Writer." We think this album is better and more mature than her last, overall, but everything is so high-pitched that if you listen to it all at once, you might get a headache.
Album grade: A-

Brandon Heath- Blue Mountain
This album let us know that Brandon is the person who wrote the hella-lame "Jesus in Disguise." Ugh, Brandon, you can do better than that. Brandon is best known for actual good spiritual songs, like "Give Me Your Eyes" and "Your Love." On this new album, there are plenty of slow songs, and not much of that heartfelt, accessible pop. Lots of songs, most notably "Blue Mountain," even sound country. He needs to stick to his best genre, light pop, rather than swap on his fans. This is a disappointing album for fans because Brandon usually writes some of the best lyrics on contemporary Christian radio. They aren't as good here.
Album grade: C

Barbra Streisand- Release Me
The voice is still there. It's great. The songs Barbra chooses to cover, however, are not songs we want to own. This isn't a first for Barbra albums. "Home" from the Wiz is the best song.
Album grade: C (Voice: A)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Once Upon a Time, Dexter, Revenge, and Homeland

By Kristin Dos Santos (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Once Upon a Time- We Are Both
If the characters leave Storybrooke, they lose their memories of their real selves? Wow, that IS terrible news. Emma kind of sucks at curse breaking even more than we initially thought. We're glad August is alive though. We always liked him. We really want Graham back, but we don't think we are ever getting that. It was stupid of the characters to want to leave. We don't think that's a realistic reaction, even if they are scared of Regina.

Will there be any consequences to Regina using magic like Rumple hinted there would be? It was smart of her to keep the grimoire. You never know what might come up. Sadly, it was probably more due to vestiges of evilness than wisdom. Regina looked great in the black dress she was working. Regina wants redemption. That's fine with us. There are plenty of baddies and potential baddies left who are more fearsome than she is.

We were literally just thinking two days ago that we wished that little girl would come back to this show and mimic Ginnifer Goodwin again. Too bad she was only in one scene and has clearly grown a lot in a year. When we realized this was a Queen flashback episode, we were disappointed. We wanted a sideways episode. We guess the Queen's story's second half wasn't told yet, and it needed to be, especially since Cora is back in the leads' lives.

It looks like Rumple is upset because he can't leave town and look for his son. No sight of Belle this week, which is weird. Charming called David out on being weak and confused, which was good because he was frustrating last season to the point of being unhot and sleezy. How dumb was it for David to promise Rumple that he wouldn't interfere with Rumple's actions? That's going to come up to bite him later. It was good to see Snow and Emma at the end. Mulan is a dick. She couldn't even listen to them before treating them badly? This episode wasn't as good as last week's, but it wasn't bad either.
Episode grade: B

Dexter- Sunshine and Frosty Swirl
It's good that Deb sat and listened to the whole story right away. We thought she was going to run away and Dexter would have to track her down and tell her about his life at the very end of the episode. This season is speeding things up and really helping the show catch our interest again. We loved Deb's line, "I am the worst f***ing detective in the world." Her reaction was good. They debated the merits of Dexter's coping mechanisms, and Dexter got punched in the face which, to be fair, he deserved.

We've been liking Deb a lot more since she became lieutenant. She's not even annoying us here when she's naively trying to undo nearly 40 years of Harry's hard work. There's no way Deb can save Dexter. This episode showed that Dexter can resist his urges as long as he believes there is hope for himself in the long term. His hope was shattered in the great last scene though. Deb should have taken Dexter in after he gave her permission. She loves him though. This arrangement can't last long. It's too co-dependent to even be a good idea.

Greene hates Dexter for the dumbest reason. Too bad Dexter didn't kill him. Greene is such an annoying creeper. There's nothing we love more than Quinn and Batista shutting down that strip club every day. We forgot that LaGuerta and Doakes were close. She now knows the Bay Harbor Butcher was probably never caught. Where is this going? The tension is high this season, and the show isn't wasting much time with the side characters. It's committed to a) problems for Dexter and b) setting up the big bad Miami Metro will be going after. We're so afraid it's going to get bad again, but we're happy for now.
Episode grade: A-

Revenge- Resurrection
One of the rich kids reached out to Declan, and Declan couldn't at least be friendly. He's the worst. Then the rich kid turned out to suck too. Nolan forgetting Padma is proof he's really gay. She's gorgeous. We like that he offered her the CFO job. He's such a maverick. In real life, that would be a bad move though. We can't believe Amanda lied to Emily about the test results. Victoria is back where she belongs. That didn't take long. Charlotte continues to avoid annoying us this season. We like that the mother stuff was tabled until the end. We aren't interested in another show that postpones the meeting of some mother. We need to see her in the present, not just in flashbacks in order to care.
Episode grade: B

Homeland- Beirut is Back
Who else loves that Saul gave Carrie a hug when he first saw her? We wondered if their first meeting would be icy because of all the craziness last season and Carrie's latest little rebellion. We were thinking, "Carrie needs to realize she was right about Brody soon, for her own sanity." Saul, Carrie is not listening to you. Ever. Just roll with it. The shooters chasing Carrie in the second half was intense and not something we've seen this show do much of so far.

Dana is one of our favorite characters, even now that she's acting out more. We like the emerging subplot where she is friends (and maybe more?) with Finn Walden. Jessica needs to become more sympathetic. Her love Mike is back, and he's obnoxious even though he happens to be right. We can't believe Brody saved Nazir. Alright, we can. But whoa. He's so toast when he gets caught. Speaking of: DID THAT JUST HAPPEN? In episode two of the season?!! Saul knows Carrie was right. Unfortunately, they gave a lot away in the preview for next week. It looks gnarly.
Episode grade: A-

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Good shows that won't take too long to finish (unfortunately)

The 7 Best TV Shows That Only Lasted One Season

New Shows: Chicago Fire, Ben and Kate, and Emily Owens, M.D.

Chicago Fire- Pilot
On of the characters, Gabby, is really cool. She'll be a familiar face if you watched Lie to Me. We wanted to watch this because of her, but sadly, the rest of the characters are so flat we can't remember a name or characteristic about any other one. We're pretty sure this would just make real EMTs and Firefighters laugh. It's dumb, and not entertaining dumb either. We liked seeing Lady Gaga's boyfriend (because he's hot), but what's going on with him on the show is laughable. Steve from Sex and the City is on the cast too. The special effects with the fire are surprisingly good, and so was the first scene. We can see it entertaining people, but we preferred Trauma.
Episode grade: C

Emily Owens, MD- Pilot
We like Mamie Gummer and miss Off the Map. Mamie trying another medical show might be a bad move, especially since the show is so unoriginal and often immature. This is like Grey's Anatomy, Mean Girls, and Scrubs mixed together, only not as good and not as funny. Emily even had a patient code on her first day and had to save her because there were no other doctors around, like in Grey's Anatomy. Something uncommon also happens that puts Emily in surgery early too.

There were a bunch of good reveals in the end and everything came together, but the first half was rough. Emily is a huge, awkward dork, which is a good and funny thing. We like that she's insecure about everyone perceiving her as a loser when she doesn't know the reason she gives off that vibe. That's a realistic thing for a dork to feel and think ("Is there a sign on my shirt that just says, 'I'm different; don't be friends with me?'") We liked one of the patient plots (the one with the brothers).

What kind of dude has a long-term female friend he doesn't want to sleep with? Emily needs to be introduced to a product called Certain Dri. If you suffer from pit stains, let us change your life. Get Certain Dri, put it on before bed every night, and after two weeks, pit stains won't be a problem anymore. One of us wishes she had known about this in high school. Everyone on the show is overly mean and judgmental.

The worst thing about the show is the thing that kept us from picking it up or committing to watching a second episode. EMILY'S VOICEOVER. It's so annoying. It needs to stop. She says the worst things in the worst voice. It's constant. If the voiceover stops, let us know and we might jump back in. The show is okay. We can see the CW viewers really liking it if they introduce a good love story (we already spotted a love interest even though it's relatively subtle for the CW). Check it out for yourself if you're interested. You might not be annoyed by the voiceover and young tone.
Episode grade: B-

Ben and Kate- Pilot and Bad Cop/Bed Cop
We wish Ben were cute. Ben had braces and his teeth are still like that? At least he's funny. He could border on obnoxious for some people. The little girl is extremely adorable and not a bad actress. Too bad she can't be Lily on Modern Family. The woman playing Kate is good. The show can be heartwarming, and there is a truly hilarious scene in the pilot. We almost picked this show up, but we decided that Ben would get on our nerves eventually. Still, there's good stuff here. We understand if you like and watch this new comedy. It's better than most of the new comedies this year.
Pilot grade: B
2nd episode grade: C+