Merry Christmas from Joe, Matt, Amy and Arthur!

The best way I’ve found this year to wish everyone who reads this blog a Happy Christmas: DOCTOR WHO’s Matt Smith (the Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) and Arthur Darvill (Rory Pond) sing…er, well, maybe that’s optimistic… “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” (Is it time for the Christmas special yet? Is it? IS IT?!?!?!)

But seriously folks, Happy Holidays!!

Steven Moffat Wants to Melt My Brain…

The good folks over at Blogtor Who have cut together four official BBC preview clips teasing the forthcoming DOCTOR WHO Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol.” These teasers are exciting, funny, charming and slightly mad – in other words, quite like Matt Smith‘s 11th Doctor himself. The clips also feature the wonderful Karen Gillan as Amy and Arthur Darvill as Rory. Behold!

I am trying to manage my expectations for the annual special, but let’s face it, I’m failing. Damn you, show-runner Steven Moffat, why did you have to make this look so good? (Love the hilarious parenthetical explanation for why Amy is wearing her sexy kissogram costume and Rory is decked out in his centurion regalia.) Do you know how long it us until Xmas? My brain will be jelly by then! I’m like a kid on Christmas Eve… I can’t wait for it to be Christmas! What about you?

In case you missed it, here’s my entry featuring that terrific “Insider” look at the Christmas special.

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THE GOOD WIFE 2.9: Nine Hours

Two things stood out about this week’s episode of THE GOOD WIFE: the palpable tension as the clock counted down to an execution, and the way Alicia’s son, Zach, couldn’t take his eyes off Kalinda. (Hey, give the kid a break – who can take their eyes off her?)

We’ve all seen lawyer shows tackle the death penalty, and watched as myriad legal teams raced to save a wrongly condemned man. Frankly, the plot has been done to death! But I think what set this particular story apart was the sense of jeopardy. When it comes to lawyer shows, one can usually bank on the featured legal eagles saving the day. Occasionally, one sees a story in which the condemned man is actually guilty. But THE GOOD WIFE did two things right: It the lawyers did not pretend to know if Carter Wright (Chad L. Coleman) was innocent, and I really felt like there was a possibility that Carter would be executed in the end, no matter his guilt or innocence.
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BURN NOTICE 4.16: Dead or Alive

Usually the episodes of a series just before the season’s end look cheap because the producers have either run out of money, or are saving up for a blowout finale. But that was certainly not the case with BURN NOTICE, which turned in a visually striking (and, yes, explosive) installment setting up the season-capper.

Director Peter Markle made this one sparkle (sorry). My favorite moment came when Michael (Jeffrey Donovan), posing as yet another lowlife, wanted to have a conversation with crooked cop Pete that would make an impression. So Michael arranged to ignite a ring of fire – made of homemade napalm. The scene was shot at twilight, and the cold lighting contrasted perfectly with the bright heat of the flames.

And that wasn’t the end of the fireworks: Michael barely escaped with his life from a pretty spectacular boat explosion. And can I ask how Sam (Bruce Campbell) managed to miss a fleeing car with a sniper rifle? Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) got in a good line about decking a perp with her handbag, but otherwise I thought was she was underused.
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The end of the initial, six-episode season of THE WALKING DEAD was time to look back at the beginning of the zombie plague. The teaser segment revealed how Rick came to be left all alone in a hospital overrun with walking dead: Shane thought Rick had died because he couldn’t hear his heart beating during the army siege of the hospital. But on his way out, Shane propped a gurney against Rick’s door… and that kept the dim-witted, shambling walkers out of his room.

Back in the present day, Dr. Jenner (Noah Baumbach) left Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) band of survivors inside the remains of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and treated them to food, wine and hot water. Just about everyone got drunk – and good thing, too, because the next day, Jenner revealed that CDC was running out of power, and when that happened, the entire facility would be sterilized.
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BURN NOTICE 4.15: Brotherly Love

Interesting place for a “breather” episode, following on the heels of a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday and just three episodes before the end of the season, but it nonetheless was a welcome interlude. Anytime Michael’s little brother Nate drops by, hijinks ensue.

Looking at recent events though, it does make sense to give Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) a bit of a breather from the umbrella story to make sure his gunshot wound is healed up properly. Also, the NOC list the gang has been chasing was being prepared for auction, so this was a reasonable place to slow down the pace. But not stop it: Sam (Bruce Campbell) and Jesse (Coby Bell) resolved to steal the list before it could be auctioned after it was stolen from wreckage of John Barrett’s SUV. This week’s BURN NOTICE was structured so that Sam and Jesse had to stake out the area of the auction to assess security, freeing Michael for the case of the week.
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STARGATE UNIVERSE 2.10: Resurgence

The midseason finale of STARGATE UNIVERSE was trumpeted as a slam-bang game-changer, and I have to admit to being a little underwhelmed. I’m not sure why, but maybe I was anticipating even more slam with my bang. Clearly, a lot of work went into the production, but storywise, I think there have been a number of more impressive episodes this season. “Resurgence” left our intrepid band of characters even more stranded than ever before: Betrayed by their new alien “allies,” Destiny’s FTL drive and shields were down while under attack by automated alien fighters – all with a transmogrified Chloe on the loose.

At the midpoint of Season 2, I think the-powers-that-be really have a handle on what makes STARGATE UNIVERSE tick. The character conflict is wonderful, the acting is top-notch, the plots generally strong, the production values and special effects are unrivaled. I cannot understand why any science-fiction fan would not love this series.
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GLEE 2.9: Special Education

Last year, GLEE’s “Sectionals” episode was all about that scrappy collection of outsiders coming together to form a family (or at least a team) to win sectionals. This year, Show Choir Sectionals was an excuse to tear the team apart via outside influences and internal strife.

Believe it or not, Emma (Jayma Mays) actually gets the blame for sowing the seeds of discontent, because she suggested to Will (Matthew Morrison) that he should change things up for sectionals and not go with his rigid format. “You’re a constellation of stars,” Emma noted in pointing out that lots of glee club members are capable of singing and should be showcased. (She said this right after perfectly pegging his predictable program.) Will agreed that after devoting so much time to making everyone feel like a star, it’s actually time to make them stars.
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