So there was the Destiny crew, minding their own business, trying to figure out the code from the beginning of time, when a shuttle suddenly appeared, carrying Dr. Caine and the seven other crew members who decided to stay behind on the artificial paradise planet in the last galaxy. Every single one of them – and the previously damaged shuttle – was in perfect condition. Well, except for not being able to remember much of anything about the planet they dubbed (wait for it…) Eden.
But then the prodigal team members began to die. And shards of memories began to return, thanks to Camile’s (Ming-Na) hypnotic influence. It turned out the eight were dying aboard Destiny because they had died on the planet and were imperfectly resurrected by the alien creators of Eden.
THE WALKING DEAD decided to put a bit of a spin on a couple of classic zombie-movie tropes — or clichés, if you’re feeling less than charitable: One member of the survivors is secretly bitten, and another refuses to release the corpse of a beloved family member to be disposed of properly. Sure, we’ve seen this stuff before, but not the way TWD handles it. Besides, the series is just trying to be faithful: Jim’s fate was dictated by the comic books…
Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) was bitten by a walker during the attack that killed Amy (Emma Bell). He tried to keep it a secret, but Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott) noticed fresh blood on his shirt and immediately ratted him out. That made sense; too often in these situations, a friend is recruited to keep the secret. “I’m okay,” Jim kept insisting, although everyone (including Jim) knew he was pretty effin’ far from okay. As he grew weaker, he had visions of himself turning into a zombie, which was creepy, but also kind of cool to get a glimpse of the transformation through the mind’s eye of a victim. Even knowing Jim’s inevitable fate, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) wouldn’t let Daryl (Norman Reedus) kill the infected Jim: “We don’t kill the living,” he warned, even as he pointed his weapon at Daryl’s skull.
Is it possible that GLEE finally managed to go too far with Sue Sylvester? (I don’t like to say “jumped the shark” because… D’oh!) Having Sue marry herself seemed to redefine self-absorption, even for Sue! What’s more, it seemed to come totally out of the blue. Y’know, like the blue of her tracksuit wedding dress. (Wow, that was hideous!)
The one bright spot in the story was the appearance of Carol Burnett as Sue’s dictatorial mother, Doris, the “famous Nazi-hunter.” It’s easy to see where Sue (Jane Lynch) gets her bullying attitude. Doris started tearing down Sue from the first sentence out of her mouth. And while Doris felt that Sue had shut her mother out of her life, Doris was reluctant to share any details of her own. (In fact, I began to doubt that she has been hunting Nazis all this time.) And I was not familiar with the song “Ohio,” or the fact that people wrote songs about Ohio. Notice that Sue’s father did not appear. I’m guessing the show is holding him back for next season.
This week’s WALKING DEAD continued to expand on the theme: “We have met the enemy, and they are us.” Even in a world overrun with flesh-eating zombies, the biggest obstacle is still our fellow man.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Glenn (Steve Yeun) and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) set off to find Merle, but instead ran into a self-styled gang of tough guys who took Glenn hostage and demanded Rick’s bag of guns in exchange. You heard right: While the world was falling apart around them, Rick’s group faced off against a street gang over the bag of guns that Rick dropped back in the first episode. Instead of joining forces with Rick, Guillermo’s (Neil Brown Jr.) crew pretended to be gangsters and everyone risked killing everyone else. Which was insanely stupid; with the world collapsed, why fight for petty power and influence over a tiny band of survivors? At least Rick was simply trying to get his man Glenn back from the Vatos. In truth, Guillermo was a janitor before the fall, and his lieutenant, Felipe (Noel G.), was a nurse, and the Vatos were defending not gang turf, but an old folks home full of helpless, senile elderly patients.
This week’s BURN NOTICE put the “case of the week” on the front burner, but did not neglect the season’s umbrella story, keeping it simmering nicely on the back burner, while also giving Sharon Gless a chance to shine as Maddie in maternal mode.
In fact, Maddie sitting down Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) and Jesse (Coby Bell) and forcing the men to reach a kind of détente was the highlight of an episode that was meant to be dominated by a showy appearance by Callie Thorne (Sheila, RESCUE ME) as the returning thief Natalie. Richard Kind was also back as Jesse’s former government handler, Marv, whom Sam (Bruce Campbell) suckered into providing intel on a planned auction of the NOC list derived from Simon’s bible. Sam pulled out his popular “Chuck Finley” alias to do the deed. (Chuck is practically a member of the team now, isn’t he?)
It’s time of year again: Time for the BBC Children in Need telethon, benefiting children’s charities in the United Kingdom. And the highlight of the telethon over the past five years has usually been special DOCTOR WHO material leading into the annual Christmas Special, and the 2010 broadcast also featured a treat for fans of the last Time Lord.
This year’s Xmas special will be Matt Smith’s first as reigning Doctor. (You will recall that last year’s Christmas present was “The End of Time Part 1,” David Tennant’s swan-song as the 10th Doctor. Smith’s debut in the role did not come for another week yet, in part 2.)
Here it is, the teaser for the 2010 Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol”…
Welcome to STARGATE UNIVERSE’s version of a breathless action episode: One that features a planet-wide manhunt, gun battles, deaths, anguish and recriminations. Lots of death and recriminations, in fact. Including the death of one well-liked recurring character, and a newbie who was growing on us.
Thanks to this week’s episode, we know what happens when a body is killed while its mind is swapped out using the Ancient communication stones: Both people die. Rush (Robert Carlyle) found Ginn’s (Julie McNiven) body after she had been killed by Simeon (Robert Knepper), the loose cannon of the Lucian Alliance. (I never trusted that guy – especially since he was played by Knepper.) Ginn had swapped with Dr. Amanda Perry (Kathleen Munroe), who was reported dead back on Earth.
Another GLEE episode that takes its title literally (see Britney/Brittany and Grilled Cheesus), this one was all about substitutions, both physical and emotional.
In the most obvious sense, Gwyneth Paltrow portrayed Holly Holliday, a substitute teacher called upon to cover Will’s Spanish class when he fell in. An enterprising Kurt convinced her to replace Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) at the head of glee club, and she did. Literally. Meanwhile, Mercedes (Amber Riley) was trying to substitute food for love, even as Sue (Jane Lynch) tried to substitute…healthy foods for Mercedes’ beloved tater tots. Also? Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) feared that Holly was trying to replace her in Will’s life,
The most effective substitution for me was probably Holly’s move to replace Will’s tired old songbook with a few more modern numbers. She also sought to usurp Will’s more autocratic style of “advising” the show choir by turning over most of the decisions about songs to the kids themselves. (Thus, the students became the masters — another substitution.)
THE WALKING DEAD has been racing up my Must-See TV list with all the relentlessness of a zombie trying to break down the door to a Mensa meeting.
One of the things I have found so remarkable about the first three episodes is that so much emphasis has been placed on characterization of the living. For an action series about brain-gobbling zombies the show has long stretches of quiet time. I was surprised that the narrative pace is not relentlessly up-tempo. In fact, it almost replicates the slower pace of the original comic book series. And that’s a good thing.
BURN NOTICE has returned to our screens – and not a moment too soon (Thursday at 10 p.m. has become a virtual wasteland, since THE MENTALIST is total crap this season). Welcome back, Michael, Fiona, Sam, Maddie and Jesse!
If you recall, BURN NOTICE left us with a cliff-hanger back in August: Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) had been shot through the chest by Jesse (Coby Bell), who was still smarting from the revelation that Michael burned him back in the season premiere. The season’s purported Big Bad, John Barrett (Robert Patrick) was shockingly killed, and…someone…walked off with the briefcase containing the NOC list that identifies everyone involved in burning Michael.