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Wednesday, August 17, 2005
TV Round-Up
Battlestar Galactica: The Farm
Was it just me or did this episode really feel kind of incomplete?

Not that this is a bad thing, but as the fade to black set in, I wondered--gee, aren't there five or so more minutes left to go? Also, I felt really robbed that I wasn't watching the whole season on DVD and couldn't just jump to the next episode and continue the stories that were unfolding.

And I mean that in a good way.

After last week, when the Caprica storyline did zilch for me, I can honestly say that at least this week's actually was a bit better. Starbuck is captured by the Cylons and learns that the human females who can bear children have been turned into baby-making machines. And Starbuck could be next in line. From what I understand of the conversation that Caprica-Boomer has with Starbuck and Helo, the Cylons haven't quite mastered creating copies that can biologically have children. Honestly, as I watched this, I kept wondering if this was or is going to be simliar to Attack of the Clones where we'll later find out that the Cylon babies created here are accelerated to be older clones faster.

Meanwhile, the really juicy stuff is happening with the fleet. Adama's back and facing the mess that Tigh created while he was out of the loop. I loved the scenes of seeing Adama return and the conversation between Adama and Tyrol was great. I wonder if Adama was talking to Tyrol about the possibilty of seeing Boomer again or himself. The scene in the end where Adama confronts the dead body of Galactica Sharon was nicely done and the acting by Edward James Olmos makes up for the fact that for five weeks leading up to this, the most emotion he had to show was squeezing Apollo's hand. And you just get this sense of profound relief when he steps back in. Yes, the situation is still pretty much out of control, but Adama's back and he's going to make it right.

Of course, Roslin ain't helping much. She goes for "the religion card" and asks for ships to join her in returning to Kobol. Roslin's reluctance to accept this role is compelling, but it's also interesting that she's slowly embracing it more and more. And it takes less convincing for her to step into the role of a religious leader. At the end, a third of the fleet jumps to Kobol, after Adama assumed that only a few ships would go along with Roslin's "crazy fundamentalism."

I did like Lee not wanting to disavow his father though. And Zarek is being well used. Watching the original series, I never thought that Richard Hatch would be as good an actor as he displays here. He just does a great job and it's one of those pleasant surprises in a series that seems to be full of them.

But the nitpicky things. Sometimes they drive me nuts. Like the last time we saw Caprica-Boomer, she was taking Starbuck's ship? What happened to that? Did we miss some dialogue where it's established what happened to the ship and why? And since Six seems to have some connection to Boomer, does this mean the rebel base has been outed? Are the Cylons simliar to the Borg in that it seems they have a collective consiousness at times? If so, does that mean our plucky resistance group is in big time trouble?

These are the questions an obsessive fan like myself asks.

The 4400: Lockdown
In sports, there is often discussion of a tree of coaching. For example, a lot of today's successful college basketball coaches worked with Dean Smith.

In the world of TV writers, I like to look at the tree of writing. Specifically, anyone who has worked with Joss Whedon (which just to remind everyone here: Joss Whedon, good!). Douglas Petrie, the writer for this episode, was one of those writers. He worked on Buffy for several years, writing some great episodes. In fact, I think he may have been behind one of my favorite episodes of all-time "Fool For Love."

So, when his name scrolled across the opening credits here, I got a bit excited.

Which at that point was a good thing as I'd already rolled my eyes in the teaser. Once again, we had one of those openings where weird, wild stuff happens that is a bit out of character and we see a dramatic moment. Then the show flashes back x-amount of time to show you what lead up to this dramatic event--in this case, Tom and Diana going Face/Off and pointing guns at each other.

And, for the most part, what we got was pretty good stuff. On the day of Jordan Collier's b'day, NTAC is attacked by some type of virus that emites a signal that makes all the men go extra testosterone-y. Or if you've seen original Star Trek, everyone goes all "Naked Time." Or maybe it's more like everyone goes Fox Mulder on his worst day of trusting no one and suspecting everythng. However you want to think about it, hopefully you get the point.

Apparently it doesn't affect the women as much, though towards the end they do get a bit snarky. Of course, running around, having guns pointed at you, getting yelled at and/or shot can kind of ruin you day, I suppose and make you a bit cranky.

In the end, we find out it was one of the 4400 behind the attack, basically sending out the signal from her palm pilot. I had no idea these things could do that. Seriously, I need to look into getting one if I can hold major governmental agencies at bay with it. That could come in handy shortening the line at DMV, let me tell you.

Meanwhile, Kyle meets a new woman (what happened to hottie professor gal?) who helps him make up for his years in a coma, if you know what I mean. And Sean starts to lose his ability to heal, which I had seen coming long before now. I think I called this one a few weeks ago in wondering did Sean's ability have a "shelf life" or what happened if he couldn't "recharge" as it were. I guess we're gonna find out as we make the final run to the end of the season....

The Dead Zone: Babble On
After last week's season high point, I sort of expected a drop off. But hey, every series can suprise you and The Dead Zone did that this week.

Of couse, any week you can highlight David Ogden Stiers and the wonderful relationship between Johnny and Purdy, you've got pretty much dramatic gold. And let me just say that worked this week. Thankfully the script was self-aware enough to know the audience would figure out early the visions Johnny was accessing were from the dust in his house. I was worried we'd go all episode without this being figure out by Johnny and thus left to be disappointed come episode's end.

Instead, we establish this early and often and then go about creating a mystery of the week that is actually compelling and interesting. Sure, it follows the standard Dead Zone formula, but when the impact to Johnny's character is this well done, I can look past it. The idea that Johnny somehow had this vision as a boy and it was what slowly drove his father to a mental institution was a chilling way to end the story. And I have to admit, I liked it. Never saw it coming and it didn't feel forced or cliched as it easily could have.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/17/2005 07:53:00 AM | |
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