Viewed as three-hour finale, "Daybreak" is a nice coda to one of the great series in TV history. Was it perfect? No, not so much. But it did give us answers to a lot of questions and attempted to do a lot of resolution on the many on-going storylines that have unfolded for the past six years (or four season if you count it that way). It's interesting that in a three-hour finale, only about an hour of it was devoted to the action and space battles while the other two were all about the characters.
Last week, we saw Adama realize that Galactica has one last mission left--to save Hera from the Cylons. A lot of last week was a set-up for this week and it will be interesting to sit back and watch this entire storyline as one long, epic episode (it seems Ron Moore sees it this way since he stated he will do one long podcast commentary for Daybreak). From the standpoint of the effects and the drama, "Galactica" rarely gets better than Hera's rescue. A superbly put together piece of action television that really drew me in, had me on the edge of my seat and just enjoying the viseral thrill of it all. Seeing old school Centurions battling our heroes and the new school Centurions helping our heroes was a nice touch. I do wish we'd had one instance of a "By your command" in there just for so we could get giddy with geek glee.
Ron Moore did the virtually impossible with his script--he not only brought closure to a lot of long term arcs but he also pulled in all the pieces of the puzzle from the last ten or so episodes. In the course of two hours, we find out what the visions of the Opera House mean (the Opera House is Galactica...nice touch), character revlations that have been a long time coming are revealed, we find out why the music heard by the final Five is so important, we find out what Starbuck is and we find out that the Earth visited in the mid-season cliffhanger wasn't really our Earth after all. I'm sure if I really sat down and thought about it, there'd be some plot thread left dangling, but I am not going to do that. I was satisfied by what we got.
And I liked that the death of Cally came back to play a pivotal role. Cally turns out to be the turning point between peace and war. Tyrol discovers that Cally was killed, just as a peace and cease-fire has been brokered. The Cylons get what they want, our heroes get what they want and it seems that all is headed toward a happy ending. I will admit I was duped by this. I almost forget what show I was watching. Once Tyrol sees the vision of Cally's death, he reacts, killing Tory and throwing the entire situation into chaos. I did find it interesting that Ron Moore had promised a lot of characters wouldn't make it to the final scenes of the show, but in the end a lot of the deaths were Cylon.
I felt sure he was going to kill Helo, but it looks like he survived. I guess Moore decided that the Colonial fleet had enough losses and it would just be too cruel to save Hera only to force Athena to become a single mother.
Also, an accident sends nukes out, destroying what's left of the Cylons--or so we presume. I also imagine have Galactica jump while that close to the station couldn't help things. I am going to presume that balance talked about last week of being so near a black hole was thrown off, thus dooming what was left of Cavil's group. Or are they still out there?
Then, we finally find a home for the rag-tag fleet. And it's our earth, only 150,000 years ago. The fleet sets down, abandons their technology and decides to break the cycle. I find it an intersting choice, but am a bit surprised there was no dissenting vote on this one. But the Earth part isn't about that, it's about finding the long-promised home and giving the journey its closure. Earth is found, the story is over. Roslin gets to fulfill her place in prophecy and dies there. For all the deaths, this was one of the most moving in the hour, watching as Bill Adama grieves and then still continues to talk to Laura after she's gone.
So, in the end, "Galactica" wrapped itself up well and brought closure to a lot of the story. I will admit I was satisfied by the episode but wasn't quite as jaw droppingly thrilled as I was by the series finale of "The Shield" back in November. But they're two very different types of shows and both went out on top. You can't ask for more than that....
Am I losing faith in the team and Bruce Pearl like a lot of people I heard on a certain sports call in show this afternoon? No.
I still think the Vols have some kind of mental barrier that they just can't get over when it comes to advancing in a tournament--be it SEC or the NCAA. The frustrating part is you can see they have what it takes to get there--esp. under Pearl. Look at the Memphis game last year, look at the Florida game in Knoxville this year. I'm not sure how you get that intensity all the time, but we've got to find a way to do that.
And I think...no, wait make that I KNOW Bruce Pearl can do it. The man can sell ice to eskimos, so I know he can get this team to the promised land. And he will.
Though you wouldn't know it by the calls I heard on a certain sports call in show today. George Plaster never misses a chance to run down the Vols or cast dispersions Knoxville way, so I don't know why I should be shocked he'd do it now. I understand he's probably sore that Vandy didn't get an invite to the NIT, despite what we heard Kevin Stallins saying all week about how "Oh we got to 8-8 and that should count for something..."
I really think what I hear is a lot of petty jealousy that UT has the better coach. Kevin Stallings turned us down years ago and while in the short term, I was unhappy, in the long term it's been better for us. Bruce Pearl is a far better fit and exactly what the Big Orange want and need...and still believe in him and our team.
We didn't make it this year...but we've got huge potential for next year. Once again, we see that most other SEC teams are still trying to catch up to Bruce Pearl and Tennessee. And here's the thing that scares them to death--the gap isn't closing...
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/20/2009 07:17:00 PM |
| Thursday, March 19, 2009 Strolling through the city
Part of my daily commute is a short hike up the hill and across several busy streets to get to my office. For the most part, the walk is usually fairly unevenful and can actually be kind of pleasant depending on the weather. (Walking in freezing cold as the wind rips through you like you're not wearing four layers...not so much).
Of course some days you take your life in your hands...like today, for example.
Here's the situation. A fairly busy intersection with a two crosswalks--one that goes across a lane to exclusive turn right and another across a lane to go straight or turn left. Waiting for the signal to cross both and it pops up. Look over to make sure nothng is coming and I see a van come flying up toward the right turn lane, clearly not intent on stopping for the red light. It doesn't, rolls right through the intersection, slowing a little but not coming to a complete stop.
At this point, a woman standing near me takes her bag and smacks it against the van. Which, of course, does nothing except make the van sputter as it heads out into traffic.
I observe all of this and move on with my day, but a thought strikes me. Yes, the guy rolling through the red light and not yielding right of way to pedestrians is a violation. But is slapping his van, causing him to sputter while merging really any better? It seems that both are hazards and dangers to various people in this story. And does it really accomplish anything?
Of course, it did remind me of a day last year when I was walking around downtown and stopped to utitlize one of the many crosswalks available. From experience I know drivers aren't necessarily going to stop, so I usually try to make sure it's clear and/or the drivers see me before I step out. Call me crazy but I prefer not getting run over. Well, one such car sees me and barrels on through. I let them pass and then cross, at the same time as two guys in suits are strolling down from Legislative Plaza.
As we pass, one of them says to me, "You know, I voted for legislation so you'd have the right of way."
Which is all well and good, I suppose. Except I couldn't recall which representative this was and whether or not I could vote for him (aka I didn't know if he represented my district).
It's a crazy world out there...be careful.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/19/2009 02:35:00 PM |
| Wednesday, March 18, 2009 TV Round-Up Dollhouse: "Stage Fright," "Grey Hour," "True Believer" I'm still watching "Dollhouse" but a lot of that is out of my blind loyalty to Joss Whedon. And the feeling that this show is just on the cusp of getting a whole lot better.
The past couple of weeks, I've been relatively less interested in what's going on with Echo and more interested in what's happening in the other plot threads. "Stage Fright" and "True Believer" were both guilty of this and while "Grey Hour" was interesting from the aspect of someone can wipe personalities on the fly, it never really connected beyond that. But given that Echo isn't a character we're supposed to be able to connect with every week because she's a different person each week, these episodes seem more designed to get us to like and accept Boyd as our point of entry into Dollhouse each week. Each episode has shown his loyalty to Echo and how he is the exception rather than the rule at the group. Boyd genuinely cares about Echo and will go against orders to keep her safe. How far will he have to go remains up in the air, but I have a feeling some kind of conflict is coming between his duty and his loyalty to Echo.
And could that come into play with the Agent Ballard plotline? Ballard's dogged pursuit got a bit of a SPOILed twist when we find out Vinnie is a doll and feeding Ballard false leads. Had Vinnie not been included in the promotional photos for the show, this little revelation would have been a bit more surprising. That said, I firmly believe the neighbor across the hall is somehow connected to things and may be in place to keep an eye on Ballard.
I do like that Ballard is being allowed to make progress with his investigation and it's not all a dogged pursuit that leads no where. And it easily could be. Again, I could see Boyd and Ballard becoming allies of a sort at some point in the future out of concern for Echo.
And then, there's the plotline that Echo may be retaining part of her imprints or the original Caroline personality is lurking under the surface . In the episode where Echo got wiped, I have to wonder if whoever did it implanted the equivalent of a trojan in her mind that will allow a good portion of her memory and personality to be wiped but still retain some small, essential portions. Or is the Caroline side of Echo strong enough to be trying to resist? Clearly some within the organization don't like Echo and want her taken out while others will try to keep her. I have to wonder if Echo is starting to retain things from each wipe but is just playing along with the mantra that is gone through each time she's wiped.
All of that is fascinating and compelling. What's not is the personality of the week storylines. I found myself less than fascinated by the rock star one and the religious cult one kind of bored me and followed all the standard beats. Nothing new or different here. And I know we can't reinvent the wheel every time, but at least put a new spin on it...
Battlestar Galactica: "Deadlock," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Islanded in the Stream of Stars," "Daybreak, Part 1" Following the genius that was the mutiny storyline, "Galactica" has settled back into some solid episodes. Are they the pure nirvana that the whole finding of Earth and the mutiny were? No, not really. But they are necessary to set up things for the final few episodes, I think. I have a big feeling all of these episodes are all about putting the foundation in place for the series finale this Friday.
I'm hoping I'm right.
We bring Ellen back to the fleet, the Cylons get Hera, we get some indication that Hera and Starbuck are connected, Anders becomes the Galactica version of a hybrid and the fleet is forced to abandon Galactica. I have a feeling the old ship won't make it out of the finale and will be sacrficed like Pegasus was for the greater good.
That said, I kind of wish we'd found out the nature of Starbuck before the finale. What is she? I find it interesting that Anders in hybrid state tells her that she'll lead humanity to its destruction, echoing what we heard all the way back in "Razor." And it's also interesting that in her pursuading Adama to listen to Sam and try to make sense of the notes that Kara decides to leave his bit of information out. That coupled with Lebonen's reaction to finding her body on Earth makes me wonder what exactly the nature of Starbuck is and what it will mean to the mythology of the show.
I find it interesting that Adama's final mission for the ship is to rescue Hera. She's clearly vital to both sides. As Helo was begging Adama to rescue her, I recalled a line from Bill to Lee in season one. It's from the episode with Starbuck lost on the planet and taking over the Raider. The fleet had to leave before the Cylons caught up to them, but Bill tells Lee if it was Lee out there lost, Adama would wait forever to find him. I wonder if that occurred to him as he looked at the photo of Hera and made his choice.
And I don't think for a minute Baltar won't go. He'll go if only to try and prove he's unselfish.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/18/2009 03:15:00 PM |
| Monday, March 16, 2009 Drama in Denver
During the 2006 NFL Draft, a lot of debate on Nashville airwaves centered on who the Titans should pick at quarterback. Some people wanted Vince Young, some people wanted Matt Leinert and some wanted to draft hometown man, Jay Cutler.
We all know how history played out and while the jury is still out on which of these three will have the best NFL career (I'd say it's almost a two QB race at this point between Young and Cutler), I still think the Titans made the right choice. A feeling that only becomes clearer the longer this whole story of Jay Cutler vs the Denver Bronocs continues to grow and evolve.
I can see both sides. Cutler is irritated that his new coach actively purused a trade to bring Matt Cassell to the Broncos. The new coach (whose name eludes me) wanted a guy who he knew well and would fit into his system.
Both sides are acting like petulant children in this debate, but it's Culter who is coming off more like a spoiled brat than ever. I had my reservations about Culter during the 2006 draft and nothing he's done since that time has really made me re-evaluate that. He may have all the talent in the world, but he hasn't shown the ability to consistently win in either college or the NFL. He's had his moments (I'm sure he pulls out his DVD of Vandy beating UT to show his one bright moment from his college career), but he's remarkably inconsistent.
Now, he's demanding a trade and has put his $2 million home up for sale in Denver. (Has he checked the real estate market?) Even if he stays, he's disgruntled and wants out. And he's not exactly making himself look like an attractive prospect in the bargain. Do you really want this a guy this petulant on your team?
I am not saying Vince Young has shown he can be the model of maturity or consistency. But it seems like he's taken the being benched and taking a back seat to Kerry Collins with a lot more dignity than Culter has taken his situation in Denver. Of course, a lot of that could be chalked up to the influence of one Jeff Fisher. And maybe that Vince realizes that it's not all about him and that it's about the team.
All I know is it provides some drama to watch out in Denver...and to be thankful it's not drama surrounding either of my favorite teams.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/16/2009 01:09:00 PM |
| Sunday, March 15, 2009 So close, yet so far...
After two great games in the SEC tourney, the Vols picked the wrong time to go cold this afternoon, denying us our first SEC Tournament Championship in 30 years.
It was a terribly frustrating game to watch, especially given how the Vols just came out and took apart Alabama and Auburn the previous two days. If there was a team that should have been running on fumes, it was Mississippi State and not Tennessee. But the Vols were just sporadic on offense and it's not good when one of your big players has one of his worst days in the biggest game of the year.
Of course, all of that is magnified by the way the refs bungled the last ten seconds of regulation play in the game. So many mistakes in that final few seconds, so many terrible calls and so much bungling that it looked like amateur hour instead of the finals of a big-time conference.
So, good luck in the tourney Mississippi State. You certainly got the benefit of some bad calls to propel you there. I hate to root against the SEC, but I hope you go one and done...
At least the Vols should be in the field of 64...though the refs cost us seeding today. I predict a six or seven seed for the Vols.
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/15/2009 03:28:00 PM |
| Thursday, March 12, 2009 Meeting the neighbors
I've posted before about the various people who will, occasionally, wander by my door in the middle of the afternoon, all claiming to be part of some kind of contest for their school.
Well, it's happened again but this time it seemed a bit stranger.
To set the scene, it's a cold, rainy night here in the middle Tennessee area. We've had sleet and freezing rain today and the temperatures now are hovering at just the point that the precipitation coming down could be slushy or solid. Not exactly a night I'd choose to be out unless it was an emergency of some kind.
So, I have to admit a knock on my door was unexpected. I went to the door and peered through the peephole to see a shadow. I couldn't tell who it was but I'd not heard a car drive up. So, I flicked on the outside light to see who it was, thus meaning I'd probably have to acknowledge this person. It wasn't a familiar face so asked who it was and got some spiel about it being a project to meet everyone in the neighborhood and improve his public speaking skills.
Call me crazy, but that sounded about as likely as Bruce Pearl calling and asking me to call plays for tomorrow night's UT SEC tournament game.
Needless to say, the politeness of the guy wore off when I said, "No thank you" and went away from the door.
I had no idea that meeting the neighbors and improving your public speaking skills included such language....
posted byMichael Hickerson at 3/12/2009 07:56:00 PM |
| Tuesday, March 10, 2009 New "Trek" Trailer with Original "Trek" Footage
The final trailer for the upcoming "Star Trek" movie hit theaters and the Internet this weekend, finally giving us some clue as to what we can expect from the upcoming film.
I'll admit I am cautiously optimistic about the movie. I want to embrace it, but based on statements J.J. Abrams has made and his previous works, I can't get too gung-ho excited about it just yet. Oh, I will still be there opening day and I will see it on the IMAX. That goes without saying.
Anyway, the trailer was good but this mash-up trailer taking the trailer's audio with snippets from the original series is, in a word, awesome.
A half-court shot heaved up in desparatation as time expires that goes in and scores the game-winning bucket is a great thing...unless you're pulling for the other team. It happened yesterday in the UT vs Alabama basketball game and while on a sports-fan level, I can appreciate it as one of those rare one-in-a-millon things you don't see often, it still stinks like last week's garbage when it goes against your team. And knowing that we'll probably see it all week on ESPN and possibly until the end of time just makes it stink all the more...
Related to that, had the Vols actually done something crazy like show up for the first half of the game or make some free-throws, we wouldn't have to worry about a last second, miracle shot beating us. It'd be far easier to stomach if it were a heave as time ran out and we were comfortably enough in the lead that it didn't matter if the shot was good or not.
I've officially decided the less I heard about Alex Rodriguez, T.O. and whether or not the Dallas Cowboys will win next year the better. It's a shame that with some great college basketball races out there for slots in the tournament, that ESPN has to waste half of their broadcast time devoting attention to this.
Oh and one last thing--the Duke vs North Carolina basketball game is the most overrated, overhyped and overblown event in all of sports. It's a big game, I will give you that. But it's not the be-all-end-all of sports as many media outlets would have us believe. I also find it interesting how the relative importance of the game is measured by whatever network is showing the game.
All I can say is, I guess it shows you what you have to do for the Cowboys to cut you. You can be a drug addict, have run-ins with the law and be a pretty disreputable thug, but if you help the team win games and get far into the playoffs, they'll put up with you. (Exhibit A: Michael Irvin). It's only when the team doesn't make the playoffs and collapses down the stretch that you're cut. (Exhibit A: Adam Jones, T.O.)
I have to admit, there's a part of me that takes secret glee in hearing that T.O. has been cut.
And then, there comes the overwhelming feeling of dread that one of my two beloved teams might decide to take a chance on the controversial wide-reciever.
The good news for the Redskins is that by signing Albert Haynesworth, the team probably doesn't have the room under the salary cap to get T.O. Thank goodness, because this is exactly the type of bone-headed move Dan Snyder would do if he could. And if we get an inkling he's thinking about it, I implore Joe Gibbs to come out of retirement and smack some sense into Snyder.
And on the radio, they were discussing if T.O. should become a Titan. An on-line poll indicated it was 60% against, 40% for having him on the Titans. To that 40% I ask--are you insane?!? Do we really want to have that cancer on our team?!? We got burned as it is by Adam Jones. Do we need more of that?!?
That said, I don't see the Titans making this move. It makes little sense and apart from Adam Jones, the team has shown good sense in bringing in players who aren't going to be cancers in the locker-room.