GLEE 2×02: Britney/Brittany

Like some sort of truth in advertising campaign, this week’s GLEE focused on the homonyms Britney and Brittany – showcasing the music of one and the dancing of the other. The story focused on the power of fantasy, and several of the production numbers were like a dream come true.

While Will (Matthew Morrison) wanted to focus on easy-listening icon Christopher Cross, the kids – especially Kurt (Chris Colfer) – wanted to perform a Britney Spears number for the homecoming pep rally. But Will was completely against it, because he did not consider her a solid role model. And, strangely enough, Brittany (Heather Morris) was against drawing from the pop princess’ catalog. That’s because Brittany’s full name is Brittany Susan Pearce, making her Brittany S. Pearce, or “Brittany Spearce.”
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HAWAII FIVE-O 1.2: ’Ohana

Turns out that Steve McGarrett’s state police task force is staffed by some interesting characters – and this week’s HAWAII FIVE-O gave those people some room to breathe.

In the case of the week, Roland Lowry (Scott Cohen), an NSA expert in cyberterrorism, was kidnapped because he invented a software “skeleton key” that can be used to enter any computer system in the world, even those employing advanced asymmetric encryption. McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and posse track down the cyber bad guys through the liberal application of hard work, sideways thinking, gunplay, explosions, and a (literal) dollop of blood.
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MAD MEN 4.10: Hands and Knees

This episode was about the past catching up with you; chickens coming home to roost; reaping what ye sow – and any other clichés you care to mention about consequences and responsibilities. In this case, the causes were Don’t secret identity, Joan and Roger’s recent tryst, Roger coasting at work, and Lane’s marriage collapsing. They were facing the prospects of being suitably humbled; getting on their knees or holding out their hands to beg forgiveness. Actions have consequences, even for the great Don Draper. Perhaps especially for the great Don Draper Dick Whitman.

Joan (Christina Hendricks) told Roger (John Slattery) she’s late, and Greg has been gone for seven weeks, so “it” has to be Roger’s. And there’s no way she can go to her regular OB-GYN. Luckily, Roger knew a doctor, who was (slightly) less judgmental but still accused him of “ruining her”) and begrudgingly referred them to a clinic doctor who does abortions. Joan said she’ll “take care of it.” At the clinic, she encountered a mom whose 17-year-old daughter was having a procedure. The woman was devastated, and Joan (perhaps out of sympathy more than mere embarrassment) pretended to be there with a 15-year-old daughter. I suppose that was a sort of atonement, accepting social blame, but it seemed like Joan was dodging admitting she was the one who “got in trouble.”
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THE AMAZING RACE 17.1: They Don’t Call It the Amazing Race for Nothin’

And THE AMAZING RACE has not won all those Emmys for nuthin’, either! This is my favorite of the so-called “reality series,” an unscripted race around the world that plays like an edge-of-your-seat horse race crossed with an extended slo-mo trainwreck.

Now that I have officially given up on SURVIVOR: NICARAGUA because the cast is just too boring, I will be concentrating my unscripted attention on this show and UNDERCOVER BOSS.

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NIKITA 1.3: Kill Jill

NIKITA struck a blow for bloggers in the latest episode. Well, not really, but it was nice to see the-powers-that-be keeping up with the times for their reimagining. Newspapers and TV are so last decade.

Percy (Xander Berkeley) ordered muck-raking blogger Jill Morelli (Julie Gonzalo) silenced before her latest discovery — clandestine video of Division agents retrieving smuggled cocaine from an AirMerica crash site — can be published, ruining and its CEO Sampson (Christopher Cousins), a crony of Percy’s. Agent Donnegan killed newspaper editor Jeremy and framed Jill, but Nikita (Maggie Q) was able to stop Jill from being kidnapped.
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HELLCATS 1.3: Beale St. After Dark

It got a little harder to root for HELLCATS this week, considering there was little actual cheerleading, and the plotting was even more unfocused than last week’s episode. I did appreciate the continued emphasis on characterization, though.

Just like those feisty kids on GLEE, the Lancer Hellcats were dismayed to discover they had to foot the bill for their own road trip, because their funding was reallocated to the ladies volleyball team. These tortured attempts to make the cheerleaders look like some kind of oppressed, underdog minority are not ringing true, and are really starting to annoy me. And is everyone on the squad a scholarship student (except bitchy Alice?) It’s like we’re supposed to feel sorry for the beautiful people, because being attractive, talented and popular is such a burden.
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GLEE 2.1: Audition

GLEE faced the monumental challenge of following up last year’s breakout season as the critical darling or, if you prefer, the teacher’s pet of television. So what could GLEE do you do for an encore? Why, more of the same – only different, of course! And, for the most part, the sophomore season’s debut succeeded by quickly establishing a new status quo that was actually the old status quo with a fresh coat of paint.

Fresh off losing at Regionals (McKinley High finished third out of…three schools.); the members of New Directions find themselves back for another fall semester at the bottom of the social ladder. (They are the “plankton” of the food chain, Kurt (Chris Colfer) notes, wryly. Will (Matthew Morrison) decided the answer lay in recruiting new members. Two promising newbies presented themselves: Sam Evans (newcomer Chord Overstreet) and Sunshine Corazon (pop star Charice). The problem was, Sunshine was a little too good. Rachel (Lea Michelle) feared that Sunshine might hog the spotlight from her, so Rachel set about preemptively eliminating Sunshine before she got a chance to shine.
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HAWAII FIVE-O 1.1: Pilot

grace and some guysThe reboot of HAWAII FIVE-O was a triumph of form over substance. Which is not necessarily a bad think; I don’t mind a TV show set in Hawaii that looks really great. And who needs another procedural that gets bogged down in the intricacies of police procedure?

By now, I have seen so many procedurals I feel like I could not only investigate a murder, but follow it to court and prosecute it to conviction. So I really wasn’t looking forward to seeing an iconic 1970s series reworked for the meticulous modern age. And, luckily, that’s not what we got. In fact, HAWAII FIVE-O seemed remarkably uninterested in the nitty-gritty details of Steve McGarrett’s (Alex O’Loughlin) investigation into a terrorist family human-smuggling ring guy who killed his father. Or something like that.
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LONE STAR 1.1: Pilot

The premise of LONE STAR seems interesting yet limiting at the same time. Interesting because of how it amplifies the idea of a con man running a long con and escalates it all the way to faking his entire life. Twice over. And limiting because…where does one go with this high-concept in the future?

When I first heard about this concept, it sounded to me like an extended version of that horrible sitcom cliché, the dummy who accidentally makes two dates for Saturday night and decides to take both women to the same restaurant and try to juggle them. Hilarity is sure to ensue.

Well… not so much.
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CHASE 1.1: Pilot

If you’re going to call your TV show CHASE, it’s probably a requirement that it contain an actual chase sequence. NBC’s new CHASE gets that out of the way early by hitting the ground literally running, continuing the theme throughout the hour, and wrapping up with a chase by land, air and sea (well, river, at least).

The episode hits the ground literally running, with U.S. Marshal Annie Frost (Kelli Giddish) chasing a fugitive on foot through Fort Worth, Texas. She is joined in this pursuit by her partner, Jimmy Godfrey (Cole Hauser). Eventually Annie runs down the fugitive and after a vigorous bout of hand-to-hand combat, she subdues him.
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