RESCUE ME 6.2: Change (Turn and Face the Strain)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: RESCUE ME’s Tommy Gavin is gonna stop drinking. This time for real. Why are you laughing? Oh, right, this is Tommy Gavin we’re talking about. How many times have we heard those exact same words? And we viewers have only known Tommy for a few years. Imagine how often his friends and family have heard that one!

Yep, this week’s RESCUE ME represented yet another attempt by Tommy (Denis Leary) to climb aboard the wagon and stay on it for more than a few weeks. “I’m living in the moment,” he told Mickey (Robert John Burke). “I’m making some positive changes.” Unsurprisingly, his announcement was met with peals of laughter by his firehouse buddies. But Tommy was (mostly) sincere with his “making amends stimulus package”; after all, he did have a gun pointed at his head. Last week, Uncle Teddy (Lenny Clarke) promised to finish the job he started last season if Tommy strays off the straight-and-narrow. Problem is, nobody else believes Tommy is capable of quitting, and by the end of the episode, everybody was proved right.
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WAREHOUSE 13 2.1: Time Will Tell

WAREHOUSE 13 is back, beckoning us to return to America’s Attic for another season of runaway artifacts and the agents who live to “Snag it, bag it and tag it.” It marked a fun, suspenseful beginning to the SyFy series’ sophomore summer.

The most shocking aspect of the second-season premiere was not that Artie survived certain incineration in the wake of last season’s cliff-hanger finale, but the way he survived: He used the Phoenix charm to resurrect himself literally from ashes, just like the mythical bird. The downside, of course, is that someone else had to die in his place. When you think about it, that is a supremely selfish decision. Granted, Artie (Saul Rubinek) had to make the call in a split-second under the extreme duress of having a huge fireball bearing down on him, but still… I suppose he was weighing his value as caretaker of the warehouse and balancing that against some unknown person, but he had to know there was a chance Pete (Eddie McClintock) or Myka (Joanne Kelly) could have fallen victim, since it wasn’t established that they had touched the amulet. In fact, Pete’s coughing fit clearly implied that Artie and Myka thought he could die. Needless to say, I was thrilled that our friends all dodged the Reaper. I’m not saying it turned out all right just because a bit player bit the dust. Do you think you’re more important than your boss’ chauffeur?
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.2: All or nothing

Merci-fully, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT did not drag out the French invitational storyline. Just a week after being named to the national team for the special event, the ladies were sent to Calais this week, which proved to be the site of triumph and heartbreak for the girls from The Rock.

Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) was upset about going to France as an alternate, so her father, Steve (Anthony Starke) challenged her to do better. Instead, she did her worst: She waged psychological warfare on her teammates on two fronts. Lauren tormented Kaylie (Josie Loren) by talking about how happy she is with Carter (Zachary Burr Abel), emphasizing that they are having sex. Kaylie wanted to focus on the meet, but we could tell she was rattled. Then Lauren went to work on Emily (Chelsea Hobbs), needling her about Damon (Johnny Pacar) being in nearby Paris with Green Day – and tons of groupies. “As far as he knows, you blew him off,” Lauren hissed. Lauren’s twin objectives were to get Emily to screw up and get kicked off the team, then to destabilize Kaylie so Lauren could win the overall gold.
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ROYAL PAINS 2.5 and 2.4: No Doc is an Island

Hank became something of a “Hero of the People in Cuba” when he fought to save an “Enemy of the Cuba” with a heart problem in this week’s installment of ROYAL PAINS. Oh, and he also fulfilled his commitment as “house doctor” when he saved Boris’ life in the concluding chapter of a two-part sojourn to the communist island.

Well, Imagine my disappointment when Evan’s kidnapping in last week’s cliff-hanger turned out to be just what I feared/expected: the ol’ “We kidnapped us a doctor” plot, in which a medico is needed to treat someone who must stay hidden, but the doctor’s relative/friend/lover is nabbed by mistake. Happens all the time, right? At least the-powers-that-be changed it up slightly by making patient a dissident writer who was hiding from the government. He was presumed dead, so visiting a hospital would have exposed him and his family. So, of course the requisite complication required him to get an echocardiogram heart scan. Gee, if only Hank knew of a fully-stocked, private medical facility where he could perform the test in secret…
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Wonder Woman’s Extreme Makeover

Wonder Woman 2010

DC Comics icon Wonder Woman has a brand-new look, and it is quite a radical change. Designed by DC co-publisher Jim Lee, the new uniform debuted in Wonder Woman #600, released on June 30. Jammed with stories and pin-ups, the anniversary issue saw the beginning of a new storyline by new regular writer J. Michael Straczynski (of TV’s BABYLON 5 fame) and artist Don Kramer. The story itself is not without controversy, as Straczynski reworks Wondy’s origin so that she was spirited off Themyscira as a child and raised in Man’s World. So all the traditional aspects of her story – such as being the champion of Paradise Island and encountering pilot Steve Trevor after he crashes on the isolated island – are gone, replaced by…well, we will have to see what replaces all that. (Changing origin stories is sort of JMS’ signature move. He reworked Spider-Man’s origin a few years back, when he took over that Marvel title. And who knows what JMS has planned for his other new regular series, Superman?)

Still, no one can deny that the extreme makeover is already a fanboy disaster unmitigated success. That’s because, love it or hate it, the new duds have people talking about Wonder Woman — and when was the last time that happened? The-powers-that-be at DC are saying all the right things about reinventing and reinvigorating a reliable old familiar character, and helping solidify her role as one of the so-called Trinity of top heroes, alongside Superman and Batman. And this more modest costume is far more likely to work on the silver screen in that movie project that is continually rumored. Certainly, as a corporate entity, DC cannot be averse to freshening an aging property that most people hardly ever think about anymore. But I think the truth of the matter is, DC just wants people talking because, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
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