DOCTOR WHO 5.12 (31.12): The Pandorica Opens

“The Pandorica Opens” was the…er, opening salvo in the two-part finale of DOCTOR WHO, marking the culmination of Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor, and the story served as a brassy, boastful shot-across-the-bow to viewers, warning them that this story was going to pull out all the stops.

After previous show-runner Russell T Davies completed his tenure by successively having Davros threaten to destroy all of reality and a combination of the Master and the Time Lords bring about the end of Time itself, it probably seemed like there was no way to escalate the threat behind a new season. And, in a way, that view was correct; but while the threat could not be ratcheted up any more, new show-runner Steven Moffat chose to, in effect, move sideways and boost the jeopardy. In this story, the suspense comes from the Doctor being threatened in a very personal way while the Universe was cracking and Time itself was being rewritten. The Pandorica was opening, and almost all the alien species ever featured in the series were coming to the party, from Autons to Zygons: “Everything that ever hated you is coming here tonight,” River Song warned him. “You can’t win this; you can’t even fight it.”
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BURN NOTICE 4.6: Entry Point

Oh, BURN NOTICE, how I missed you. Please don’t take another sabbatical so soon after coming back, okay?

Now, we all love BURN NOTICE for the fun and informative tricks o’ the trade Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) shares about being a spy. Well, this week he found a more productive use for his insider knowledge: getting a job. Specifically, getting a job as a fake security consultant by sharing his SpyTips with one Mr. Bocklage (played by Alan Dale – you remember him; dude last seen on LOST. The man with the best agent in showbiz, since he lands on all the best shows, up to and including TORCHWOOD). Michael showed Bocklage how a thief used infrared paint to map out an escape route for a robbery planned for that night. And Michael didn’t show this one to Bocklage, but how cool was that little trick of tying off the hydraulic arm on the door to create an instant lock? Brilliant!
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COVERT AFFAIRS 1.1: Not-so-secret agent

COVERT AFFAIRS is another entry in USA’s highly successful action/adventure lineup, and while it shares the spy-thriller niche with BURN NOTICE, it does not have nearly as much fun with the concept as the South Beach sizzler does. In fact, CA may take its CIA missions as seriously as the real covert-ops agency.

Piper Perabo plays Annie Walker, a CIA trainee plucked out of classes a few weeks early for a vital Agency mission. Annie’s unique qualifications for the operation were two-fold: She could speak Russian, and she could pass for a hooker. Her qualifications to be the central character of a new series: She’s inexperienced, cute and spunky, with a strong sense of initiative.
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Green Lantern’s New Duds Are a Dud

Another superhero, another costume controversy. Images from Entertainment Weekly of Ryan Reynolds in his CGI Green Lantern costume for the forthcoming Martin Campbell movie adaptation have hit the Internet thanks to sites like iFanboy and MTV Splash Page. My initial reaction: I hate the ringslinger’s uniform!

Upon further reflection, I loathe it.

I want the costume to die in a fire because it is way too different from the hero’s classic look. In my book, this qualifies as a completely different, brand-new uniform. One that belongs on a GL from some other sector, not Earth’s 2814; it is simply too alien-looking. Are those textured ridges supposed to mimic musculature? Why? Looking at the giant GL logo on the chest, it appears to me that the designer was trying to say, “See the logo, guys? Maybe nothing else looks the way it should, but this guy is Green Lantern because he’s got the frakkin’ logo! Oh, and because he’s green.” Yeah, he is green. All over. We cannot see the entire costume, but it appears to be completely green, with no black elements and no white gloves. The mask doesn’t even look like it’s actually on his face — which it apparently isn’t, since it’s a CGI element. The mask looks like graffiti on his mug. And giving GL pupils looks like an ill-fated attempt to make him appear blind.
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RESCUE ME 6.3: Comeback

This week’s RESCUE ME ended on shock image: Lou was found collapsed on the floor of the station, eyes open, apparently dead. That’s one hell of a cliff-hanger! But then, moments later, the previews for next week’s installment ruined the whole frakkin’ thing by showing Lou alive, and just as combative as ever! Spoilers, FX… spoilers!

Okay, okay, so I didn’t really think Lou was going to die; but how about making the effort to sell the illusion? That’s what episodic storytelling is all about: trying to get the audience to invest in a given week’s story when we all know that the status quo will be restored by the end of the story. So maybe FX was giving us viewers credit for being savvy enough to know John Scurti isn’t going anywhere, and so the network decided to wink at us through the promos. Yeah, that’ it! Way to get all meta on us, FX. In a way, that makes the network hip, doesn’t it? (Personal aside: um, no… no, it does not.)
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DOCTOR WHO 5.11 (31.11): The Lodger

“The Lodger” served as a bit of a palette-cleanser following the sublimely subtle “Vincent and the Doctor” and before the Sturm-und-Drang of DOCTOR WHO’s two-part finale, marking the end of Matt Smith’s first season as the Doctor.

Understandably, the story that “The Lodger” will be most compared to is “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood,” in which the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) employed technology to render himself completely human in order to hide amongst the populace of Earth. But that’s not what happens in “The Lodger.” No, here, the Doctor must do something far more difficult than transform his genetic structure: He must act like an ordinary human.
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EUREKA 4.1: Founder’s Day

EUREKA, they’ve done it! The-powers-that-be have come up with a way to freshen SyFy’s flagship series: by going back to the future forward to the past.

I have sometimes been indifferent to EUREKA, the series about an isolated town populated by supergeniuses, because the stories seemed too repetitive to me. It seemed like every time I tuned in, the plot was about somebody’s fabulous invention malfunctioning and causing havoc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but what bothered me was Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) and others being stumped about what was happening. Week after week. If I lived in that and cows suddenly started appearing on town roofs every morning, I would say, “Hey! Somebody’s experiment is malfunctioning, and causing havoc in town!” Case closed. (Of course, not every episode was like that; but of the ones I saw suffered from plot holes.)
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