Monday, September 22, 2008 TV Round-Up: Fringe The Same Old Story While not specifically addressing any of my concerns from the series premire, "Fringe"'s second epiosde felt a lot more complete than the first. It still hasn't quite hooked me as "must see" yet, but it's still got my interest, for now. (It's hard to recall that while the pilot for "Lost" was good, it was the fourth episode that elevated it to "can't miss" status).
After a quick, "hey, here's the premise and characters" recap (I guess Fox knew there's be lingering "House" fans for this week's story), Olivia, Peter and Howard are alerted to a case about a baby that rapidly ages from birth to death in about six hours. Turns out the case ties into an old case investigated by never solved by Olivia where women were picked up and then killed by extracting their pituitary glands. The killer went underground and now appears to have resurfaced.
And it all turns out, this ties into research Howard was doing back in the day on cloning. The problem turns out that while you could fast track clones, there wasn't any way to pause the growth process once you kicked it into fast forward. Seems that harvesting the glands of the young women and using them is doing the trick.
Looking at the plotline on paper, it all seems really coincidental and it does raise a lot of questions. For one thing, we find out that clone boy needs the hormones from the gland in the worst possible way or he'll die. So why was he able to drop off the radar for a couple of years? Given that he is killing people in such a way, it seems possible that he might alert some local authorities if he expanded his killing field. I was kind of hoping the story would maybe try to address this, but it never did.
That said, despite the huge coincidences involved in things, the story moved along at a brisk enough pace that it didn't leave you much time to ponder these things. I guess that's one of the benefits of shorter commercial breaks--less time for me to consider all the implications of things and start poking holes in them.
That said, the show's success comes down to the trio at the center of things and this week, that's what sells the thing. Seeing Peter and Olivia banter back and forth with Howard's out of left field observations works. Howard's comment about the seat warmers was a highlight of the story.
Of course, there were some other hints of things to come. One is the most obvious foreshadowing in history when Howard says, "You surely know the truth about Peter?" and then Olivia says "No" and Howard goes, "Oh...never mind." Not very subtle, but easy to see coming from a guy who doesn't exactly hold back from saying whatever comes to mind. And we had the whole "let's borrow some technology from the big mega corporation" story and the offer for Olivia to take a job there. I have a feeling this favor will be called in later and it makes me wonder if they're offering Olivia a job because of her abilities or because they're afraid of what she may investigate and find out.
On the unanswered questions front--what's with the three bodies on the table at the end? I couldn't figure out if that's the three victims we've seen so far? (Mark Valley, scientist dad and clone boy). Or am I missing the point entirely?
posted byMichael Hickerson at 9/22/2008 02:45:00 PM |
| Saturday, September 20, 2008 Words cannot begin to express....
...my complete and utter disappointment with the effort (or should I say complete lack of effort) by the Tennessee football team today.
The offense teased us with a few glimmers of moving the ball only to completely implode inside the five yard line twice! TWICE! Just thinking about it makes me mad. That's at least 14 points right off the board right there and a chance to maybe get back into the game, give the crowd some life and maybe reward a defense that while it wasn't their greatest game, it would give them a much needed spark.
Instead, you hand Florida the ball and the momentum. And it's not like they needed the favor.
I was hoping, expecting, praying for some inspired football from the Vols. But I didn't see it. I'm not sure who or if we have a leader on this team beyond the coaches. But someone in that locker room needs to step up and take some ownership of this team and lead both on the field and off. I would nominate Eric Berry since he was clearly the player who cared the most based on what I saw on the field today. I don't know if it's in him to do this, but I hope it is.
Of course, I have to throw in a few comments about the officiating and the coverage--both extremely Florida biased. At least two horsecollars by Florida not called and the coverage...dear heavens, if I never hear about how f****** great Tim Teabo is and how he's Mother Theresa and Joe Montana all in the same body it will be too soon. What the f*** is the love affair the media has with this guy? I don't get it at all. He's a good QB, he won the Heisman. I'll give him that. But he hasn't cured cancer and he hasn't walked on water...unless you listen to anyone at CBS or ESPN.
Of course, I'd give my right eye for someone in a national broadcast booth to come up with something nice to say about the Vols.
Gary Barnett's insult of the UT band, saying they only know one other song besides Rocky Top...that is just too much. TOO MUCH! Sorry if you don't like it, but it means a lot to some of us who love the Vols.
Of course, the problem is I think I care more about Rocky Top and what it stands for than the players on the field do. That much was painfully evident today.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 9/20/2008 05:56:00 PM |
| Friday, September 19, 2008 Mad dash for gas
The mad dash for gasoline continues in Smyrna. The local Home Depot fuel station had gas but ran out about an hour ago. The local Kroger gas has some but cars are lined up a dozen deep from all directions, trying to get some fuel. And there are several other stations in town that are out of gas.
I couldn't believe the lines. It looked like something out of the late 70's.
I was able to fill up this afternoon when the rush was only bordering on madness. Glad I did when I did.
It's UT vs Florida weekend
Earlier this week, I heard a supposed UT fan call into one of our local call in shows and say the worst thing that could ever happen would be for the Vols to win this weekend. His logic--if we win, it means the Vols could get ten wins this year, including a bowl win and we'd beat a big rival when we weren't supposed to. And then, they couldn't do what he wanted to see happen and for Phillip Fulmer to be fired.
Which made me wonder--is this guy really a fan at all? You know, the Big Orange fan bus can stop anytime and you're welcome to get off and root for someone else. In fact, please stop saying you're a fan because clearly you're not.
I don't know anyone who roots for their team to lose. At least that's a REAL fan.
I do appreciate honesty in assessments of things. Do I think that we have a big task before us tomorow if we hope to keep up with and/or beat the Gators? Yes, I do. Do I think we can do it? Yes, I do.
Here's the thing--when the Vols get their backs to the wall, that's when they come out and play their most inspired. And that will happen tomorrow. Will it be a pretty game? No, probably not. But, if we can establish the run and not abandon it at the drop of a hat, we have a very good shot at winning the ball game. If UT wins, it will be a 27-24 game. I just hope that insanity of kicking 50 plus yard field goals and missing them hasn't hurt the pysche of our kicker. Oh and that missing the kick in OT.
Am I drinking the orange and white Kool-Aid? Probably so. But you know, I wouldn't call myself a true fan if I was pulling for UT to lose.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 9/19/2008 05:01:00 PM |
| Sunday, September 14, 2008 Tennessee 35 ,UAB 3
It's nice to get back on the winning track, though I will admit I still have some concerns.
The fact that a spread offense was able to get some good chunks of yardage against us at times worries me for next week's game against Florida. And the fact that the offense lost some intensity in the second quarter. If we should get some breaks early and get up on Florida, we need to maintain for four quarters. You take a quarter off against the Gators and they could go crazy.
And it was nice to see the running game really take things over. That's our biggest strength on offense and it really showed.
But it was a win to open the home portion of our 2007 schedule. I love the renovations to Neyland Stadium, making the greatest stadium on the planet even better. And there is no better moment in all of sports than the Vols running through the T. Always gets me fired up for football.
So, a nice win and now we turn our attention to the evil that is Florida....
TV Round-Up: "Fringe" Pilot I wanted to like "Fringe" a lot more than I did. From a standpoint of setting up a series and creating some interesting characters, I'd say the show did fairly well, though it did take a couple of paths that were a bit predictable. The biggest being the revelation that Mark Valley would somehow be part of the conspiracy. I feel as though this was somehow tacked on in the end to motivate Olivia to become part of the group investigating these fringe happenings more than that it grew realistically out of the plot. I figured she'd take the job so she could continue her romance with the guy and not have it be against the rules any longer since they'd be in different departments. How much more interesting would it have been to have him be some kind of double agent and we slowly find out over the course of the season? In a lot of ways, his death felt like the same motivation we had for Sydney being involved in taking down SD-6 in the pilot of "Alias."
And may that's why I didn't like "Fringe" as much as I want to--because there were so many echoes of other J.J. Abrams shows in here that, at times, the pilot felt like a greatest hits of some Abrams other projects. Another big one is that you have charactes who have "daddy issues" in the show. I'm not saying the Walter and Peter Bishop dynamic can't and won't grow, but it still felt a lot like what we had with Sydney and her dad on "Alias."
Finally, the whole reasoning to keep Peter and Walter as part of the team seemed to be a bit hasty, especially Peter's agreeing. We did see some of Peter's desire to help the team in the show, but we don't really have any concrete motivation for it yet. He went from being blackmailed into helping to suddenly deciding he should help because...umm...well, he talked to dad off-screen and they really reconnected. You know, the pilot ran 83 minutes sans commercials. Why not go for 84 and put that scene in there so it feels like Peter really is motivated to want to help for other reasons than we're just trying to set up the dynamic of this series?
Because the central trio dynamic is what is going to make or break this series. The comparisons to "The X-Files" are extremely apt and I'd argue that what made that show great wasn't just the wacky cases, but the dynamic between Mulder and Scully. We got hints of that here between Peter, Walter and Olivia, but it could take an episode or two to see how the dynamic really works within the show itself. I do have to wonder if Walter is going to be the believer and expert in all the wacky, paranormal things going on and we'll have some kind of skeptic vibe from Olivia and Peter. In this episode, we saw Olivia was more ready to believe, but how much of that was her desire to believe and how much of it was a desire to save her boyfriend?
That said, I can see "Fringe" quickly evolving into a formula. But then again, so could "The X-Files" and we see how well that all worked (at least the first five or so years).
For now, I think "Fringe" is good but not great. I wanted it to be a home-run like the pilot for "Lost" but unlike that pilot, I wasn't grabbed and immediately hooked or at least curious enough to want to tune in. ("Lost" really took off with the first Locke flashback, so I am willing to give "Fringe" at least that long to get things up and running). Or part of it could be that you've got an edgy, paranormal driven show with a potential conspiracy storyline setting up on FOX and I'm just not sure if I can get into it yet or not. This is FOX and it could be cancelled within three epsiodes...or it could run for nine seasons. Hopefully it will be somewhere in between...
posted byMichael Hickerson at 9/10/2008 01:00:00 PM |
| Tuesday, September 09, 2008 I guess he listened to the radio... USA Todayreports some of Vince's friends had some concerns about his state of mind. I'm guessing he made the mistake of tuning in to some of the sports call in shows yesterday...
"Last night, we received a call from people that are closest to Vince informing us that he had left his house in a state of mind that had them concerned; and that he was unreachable, having left his cell phone at the house," the Titans said in a statement released this morning.
"Not having all the facts available to us and approaching the matter prudently, we contacted Metro Police to make them aware of the situation and asked for their assistance in locating Vince," said the statement. "He was located at a friend’s house, where we made contact with him. He then came to the practice facility where it was determined that those initial concerns by his friends and family were unfounded and he returned home without incident.”
I'm not sure what's going on here, but this situation is becoming alarming. Beyond the value Young has to the Titans', there are the concerns over his mental state. Hopefully the Titans or someone will get through to him and get him some help (if he needs it) before this story has a tragic end...
Apparently we do have a QB controversy....
Sunday afternoon, I jokingly wondered if the Titans might not have a quarterback controversy given that Kerry Collins had come into the game and led the team on a drive that scored what ended up being the winning touchdown. At the time, I figured it would be similiar to what we had ten years ago with the Steve McNair vs Neil O'Donnell debate.
Little did I realize that an entirely different kind of QB controversy was brewing and ready to explode....
The question of whether or not Vince Young "quit" on the team Sunday afternoon. For those of you who didn't see it at on TV or don't know, here's what the Tennessean reports happened.
The quarterback appeared reluctant to re-enter the game after throwing a second interception and being booed by the home crowd. He sat on the bench alone at one point and brushed off teammates and coaches attempting to console him. When he went back in, he suffered the knee injury a few plays later.
Yesterday, reports were that Young had tweaked his hamstring and wasn't sure if he'd go back in. However, he didn't call over any of the coaches or training staff.
Now, I will admit that at the game, I was pretty annoyed when Young threw his second interception of the afternoon. It came right on the heels of the defense getting an interception from David Gerrard and setting up our offense with good field position and the chance to get some time off the clock and (hopefully) seal a victory. At the time, I recall saying, "Come on, let's get a touchdown and end this thing."
Some would say that the best strategy to employ would have been to go for the home run on first and ten. You've got the Jags demoralized and it's a time to put the final nail in the coffin. Yes, it goes against my hope to take some time off the clock, but if you can put them away with a long bomb to the end zone (assuming our recievers would do something silly like catch the ball, mind you), then you may have the Jags at a point that they simply roll over.
Instead, we go out and give them momentum right back. Recall that at this point, we're up by three and the interception is around mid-field. We've gone from the height of excitement to complete frustration in one play. And, there were boos. I'm sure a lot of them were for Vince and I'm sure a lot of them were for the circumstances.
And then Vince did...well, whatever he did. No one of the Titans' front will come out and say anything really. They're circling the wagons and protecting Vince, though that's not really flying with the fans. The worst part is that Vince is injured now and will be out two to four weeks. If he could play Sunday, he might have a chance of erasing the bad taste that a lot of people have right now. Instead, he'll be sidelined with Collins in there. Should Collins win a few games, I only expect the buzz to get louder and the debate more intense.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 9/09/2008 12:00:00 PM |
| Sunday, September 07, 2008 Titans 17, Jags 10
At least one of my three teams started the season off with a win, though they made it as nerve-wracking as humanly possible.
I know I will sound like a repeat of every post from last season, but there were some extremely questionable calls in the final five or so minutes of the game. The refs putting time back on the clock two plays in a row. Apparently Jack DelRio can freeze time and call time out the second the Titans' player hits the ground.
And then, a couple of free time outs for the Jags in the final two minutes when the Jags needed a rest. Two reviews of spots in a row, both going against the Titans. If I were a person who saw conspiracies everywhere, I'd say that looked like might suspect....I'm just sayin'.
So, I have a question...do we have a quarterback controversy in Nashville? Of course, it's easy for Kerry Collins to come in and be the hero. His leading the final drive after Vince Young got hurt was win, win for him. He does well, he's the hero. He doesn't do well, we all blame Vince. Or Jeff Fisher. I'm not saying Collins didn't look good, but he got a lot of help when a huge play that ate up turf, converted third and long and set up the Titans' winning field goal.
Of course, some turkey in front of me started lamenting we should have picked Jay Cutler. Yeah, but here's the thing--we wanted a winner. Someone who knew how to win. Also, Vince has more raw talent. Plus, consider that the Broncos actually put some emphasis on having better than average wide receivers. I love the Titans, but our lack of a big play receiver showed up again today. Part of it's Vince, but part of it is the receivers needing to make a play.
Thank goodness we have an awesome defense that was aggressive and got in David Gerrard's head.
And Chris Johnson....man, that pick just looks better and better all the time. I have a feeling he may be the steal of the draft come the end of the season....
posted byMichael Hickerson at 9/07/2008 04:44:00 PM |
| Wednesday, September 03, 2008 Well, that didn't take long...
So, one game into the season and we're already hearing the cries to "Fire Fulmer."
Am I disappointed we lost the game Monday night? Yes.
Do I think Fulmer bears part of the blame as head coach? Yes.
Do I also think that the players also bear some of the blame? Yes.
Do I believe Fulmer should be fire? No.
And why not?
It's one game, people. We're one game into the season. We're putting in a new offensive system. Fulmer went outside the Tennessee coaching tree to get a new, young offensive mind and, unfortunately, there will be a hiccup or two along the way. I think we saw a big hiccup Monday night when we stopped running the ball after the big fumble in the third quarter.
And who exactly are we going to get that's going to be better, at this point? You're not going to have a huge pool of talent one game into the season to choose from.
The bad part is the Vols don't play Saturday, thus allowing this insane conversation to linger and fester for another week.
I do know one way to make it go away...dominated UAB and beat then turn around and beat the Gators. That will silence (most of) the critics...
posted byMichael Hickerson at 9/03/2008 01:21:00 PM |
| Tuesday, September 02, 2008 UCLA 27, UT 24 (OT)
All the anticipation and excitement for a new football season, full of promise, hope and a ton of questions came to a climax last night when the Vols traveled to the West Coast to play UCLA. And, as with most trips to the West Coast, the Vols came away not doing so well.
The game was one full of excitement, hope and frustration. Can't really judge an entire season based on the first game, but I do have some concerns about seeing one game. The new offense was a stop and start affair. When their backs were to the wall and it was crunch time, they did some good to great things. However, there were times when the inexperience of Crompton showed. But yet, at times he looked good and the final two minute drive to get the field goal to send it to overtime was brilliantly done. Should we just go ahead and tell him they're all two minute drills since it seems he responds well to this pressure?
We left nine points on the field last night. If we get one of our three botched field goals (this doesn't count the miss in OT), we win in regulation.
The most frustrating part was the defense not adjusting in the fourth quarter and allowing UCLA to just shred us, after containing and bottling them up for three quarters. Exhaustion? Maybe. I'm not sure what happened there.
Finally, I think we showed a lack of the needed killer instinct. Driving the ball to start the third quarter, the Vols had a chance to punch it in and have UCLA be completely demoralized and down by two touchdowns. Instead, we fumble inside the five (a potential three gone, but most likely seven) and allow the Bruins to believe they could win. A great team punches it in at that point and then cruises to victory.
They say the biggest improvement comes between games one and two. It will be a long week and a half to wait and see what happens when UT opens up the season at home a week from Saturday. Until then, there will be a lot of wondering about how we let one slip away in week one...
Now, we're just a few hours from kick-off. And I'm pretty excited about it.
It should be an interesting game. Lots of unknowns on both teams--UCLA has a new coaching staff, UT has inexperience at QB and a new offensive coordinator. The Vols do have a solid run game, a solid offensive line and good defensive backs. Not sure about the defensive line and there are questions at quarterback. That said, I think we'll get a game plan that will emphasize the ground game first with enough passing to get Jonathan Crompton the confidence he needs to lead the team this year.