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Name: Michael
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Saturday, June 28, 2008
Bluegrass at the Ryman: The Infamous Stringdusters and Earl Scruggs

Originally uploaded by bigorangemichael
Thursday evening kicked off the 2008 season of the Bluegrass Nights series at the Ryman. As you may recall from last year, I've become a big bluegrass fan since I moved to Music City and I really enjoy the series. For one thing, I'm still a novice fan, so going to the concerts, I get to have a good sample of new- and old-school bluegrass.

One of the benefits of the concerts is that Eddie Stubbs "hosts" them. Having him come out on stage and share a bit about the group or individual performing helps give me a bit of context for them as well as a bit of background on the group or person.

This week, we got a taste of the new-school bluegrass and the old-school bluegrass.

The evening kicked off with a set from the Infamous Stringdusters. The sextet won several awards this year at the bluegrass awards and hearing them, I can see why. Their set was great. One thing I love about the series is getting to see a group play the Ryman for the first time. Or at least for what I figure was the first time. The guys in the group seemed honored that they were playing on the historic stage. But while they were honored and taking it seriously, they still had a great time. As they played, they were all bouncing off each other, working together and delivering some great music. I will say I thought their set was too short--but then again, it was an hour and it literally flew by. My only disappointment of the evening came when they didn't get enough applause to warrant an encore. So, I went and bought their second CD from them and am planning to order their first CD from their web-site.

Originally uploaded by bigorangemichael
xt came the act that I think a lot of people were there to see. It was the old-school bluegrass style of Earl Scruggs. I saw Earl last year and I came away impressed by the wide range and variety he had and also by my complete lack of knowledge about some of his songs. I hate to say it, but the two I recognized were the theme from Bonnie and Clyde and the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies. Of course, just as last year, Earl saved those for the end of his show and had the crowd rockin' along with them. (Well, to the Hillbillies theme, which has words). Before that, we got to hear some a highlight of songs from one of the guys who helped create the genre and is a legend not only in bluegrass but in all of music.

A great show and a nice way to start the season. And the best part--five more great shows to look forward to...


posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/28/2008 02:25:00 PM | |
Friday, June 27, 2008
Meeting Rick and Bubba 2008

Originally uploaded by bigorangemichael
Radio personalities Rick and Bubba made the final stop of their 2008 book tour in Music City last night and, just like last year, I was there. Headed out for the store early, figuring I might be one of the first people in line. Little did I know that there are Rick and Bubba fans even more detoved that I am. One gentleman was there from 11:30 yesterday morning until the book signing began at 5:30 p.m.

Barnes and Nobel had a pretty good system for the signing and containing the line. Everyone was given a ticket with a number when you walked in. I think part of this was crowd control but I think a large part of it was hoping you'd browse the store and purchase more books. As you know, book stores are Kryptonite to my self control because I think every book is announcing how great it'd be and how desperately it'd like to come home with me.

I went to the book signing with the new girlfriend. I'm not sure she was enthused about it as I was. Walking out of the store, I told her that since she'd gone with me, this meant she'd officially become part of the blog. I then asked if she'd like to use her real name, her first initial or a nickname when I referred to her. She voted for a nickname and then came up with the name Sweet Cheeks for herself. I liked it because it reminds me of the dimples when she smiles. So, from here on out, she'll be that or I'll shorten to SC.

After what seemed like forever, it was finally my chance to go up and see the guys.

The long wait was worth it. I've met a few celebrities in my life and, for the most part, they've all been very friendly. But Rick and Bubba took it to the next level, spending a few minutes talking to me, chatting, asking what I did and seeming to be impressed when I told them. (Bubba was since I work with technology). Rick joked about the long line and I then said, "Yes, but it was worth it and I even went so far as to drag my girlfriend with me."

At this point, Rick looked up and said, "So where is she?"

"Waiting in line," I said.

"Uh-huh," he said. "I see."

Originally uploaded by bigorangemichael
See, now a couple of months ago when they were giving one of the male interns on the show, Gump, a hard time about taking out various members of the intern staff, it was hilarious to hear him called out for it. When it was happening to me (jokingly, of course) not so much.

Of course, the hilarity didn't end there. SC came up and Rick talked to her and then it was time for pictures. And, of course, my camera batteries picked that moment to shuffle off this mortal coil to a better place.

Luckily, I brought back-up batteries, which seemed to impress Bubba, though he did make a disparaging remark about my probably using Windows. (He's a Mac guy...hey, we're not all perfect). I then thanked them for their patience.

Some people who know me wonder why I am such a fan of Rick and Bubba. My meeting them last night encapsulated it all. They're just two guys who have a radio show, who are completely transparent in their faith and walk. They're funny and they're authentic. They gave me a few minutes of time. And it wasn't just me--they were that way with all the people in line.

A great book signing, a lot of fun and a great memory.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/27/2008 04:15:00 PM | |
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Two big events today
I've been looking forward to today for a long time for two reasons.

The first is the final stop of the Rick and Bubba book-tour will take place in Nashville this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. The radio personalities (and candidates for the highest office in the land) will be signing copies of their latest book Rick and Bubba For President this evening at the Barnes & Nobel in Cool Springs. Of course, yours truly will be there, book in hand.

The second thing is that tonight is the kick-off of the summer bluegrass series at the Ryman. I enjoyed all of last year's shows (well, just about all of last year's shows. There was one group last year that I didn't much care for) and am really looking forward to this year's acts. Tonight, we kick things off with Earl Scruggs and in the coming weeks, we'll be treated to Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, the Grascals and (the one I am most eager to hear) Cherryholmes.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/26/2008 09:00:00 AM | |
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Random Thoughts
  • So, Javon Kearse got pulled over for DUI this weekend. Is it just me or does it seem like the Titans are just one step behind the Cincinnati Bengals in terms of negative off-the-field news when it comes to players? You gotta feel a bit for Jeff Fisher who probably thought he'd get to sleep better at night now that Adam Jones was gone to Dallas.
  • Speaking of, you want to get rid of the nickname Pacman because you feel it has negative connotations for your personal life. Well, I'm all for you getting a fresh start and trying to make amends and start over. What I wish was you'd shown even this scintilla of remorse and regret when you were here when this team took a chance on your and stood behind you during all of your antics. And let's be honest here. I think this is just a tactic by you to get your name out there in a positive story because from what I've seen, there's not really a lot of repentance happening. I mean, sure we can change your name, but we can't really change who you are. Only you can do that..and so far, I don't see any signs of a change happening.
  • While I'm happy Knoxville is in the running for the Titletown promotion on SportsCenter, I doubt we'll make it out of the first round. I'm just stunned ESPN acknowledged that sports are played there.
  • Also, there should never be any day in which a soccer highlight from Europe is the top play of the day. Or really any soccer highlight for that matter.


posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/24/2008 09:21:00 AM | |
Monday, June 23, 2008
Playing the game
The other evening, my nephew challenged me to a game of Memory.

Part of playing Memory with him is having to turn off my natural competitive tendency and help realize that the game is supposed to be fun for him and that we're working to help improve his memory skills. I doubt having Uncle Michael dance around singing, "I won, I won" as he cries is exactly the kind of memory we want to encourage.

But then again, I do have some pride and don't want him to wipe the floor with me. So, I've learned ways to encourage him and to reinforce the skills he's learning in the game.

Which is fine unless you're playing against both he and his sister. My niece is two years older and very good at the game. My nephew and I were about halfway into a game and he was out to a comfortable lead on matched sets of cards. Then, my niece wanted to join and her brother didn't object. (Which is no small thing).

Now, my strategy had to be a bit different. Actually, a lot different. I had to find a way for them both to beat me and for them to come out fairly evenly. Otherwise, if one or the other wins by too large a margin, we have hurt feelings and crying. To paraphrase the famous line, "There's no crying in Memory."

My saving grace was that my niece had started the contest later, so when she had fewer sets than her brother, she accepted that explanation. And luckily as she was challenging for a rematch, it was time to go home and go to bed.

So, dodge a bullet this time. Now as for next time....

posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/23/2008 07:12:00 PM | |

Doctor Who Meme
As we get ready for the season finale of series four, I found this meme about all things Doctor Who. I think it was around this time over twenty years ago that I watched my first episode of the show. So this meme seems appropriate. Plus, it saves me having to write an actual meaningful post...

1. When did you start watching?
It's been over 20 years since I started watching Doctor Who. In fact, it may be pretty close to the anniversary of my discovery of the show on a local (at the time) PBS station, KTEH in San Jose, California

1a. Why?
My dad asked if I'd seen this show called Doctor Who before and changed over to it.

2. What was your first serial/episode?
TimeFlight, Part One

3. Which serials/episodes have you seen?
All of them.

3a. Favourite?
"Curse of Fenric." Simply put, it's magnificent, brilliant and marvellous.

4. Are your friends/family interested in the show?
I do have friends who enjoy the show, some who wonder why I watch and others who tolerate my obsessive love of the show. My dad occasionally watches the episodes of the new series and my sister lives is constant fear I will turn my niece and nephew into Dr Who fans.

5. Which Doctor is your favourite?
Sylvester McCoy

6. Which Doctor is your least favourite?
Like them all

7. Which TV companion is your favourite?

8. Which TV companion is your least favourite?

9. Do you listen to the Big Finish audios?

9a. If so, which is your favourite?
Chimes of Midnight

9b. Also: which Big Finish companion is your favourite? Don't have one

10. Have you listened to any non-Big Finish audios?
If you mean the BBC releases of old Target novels on CD, yes. I've also listened to the narrated audios of the lost stories.

10a. If so, which is your favourite?
Evil of the Daleks

11. Have you read any of the novels or short stories?
Had a huge collection of the novelizations back in the day, yes. Faithfully read all the New Adventures and most of the Missing Adventures. Have been far more selective in the BBC range.

11a. Have you written any of the novels or short stories?

11b. Which is your favourite?
Target novel: Remembrance of the Daleks.

12. Have you read any of the comics?

12a. You guessed it - which is your favourite?
Don't really have one

13. Do you watch any of the spinoffs (e.g. Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures)?
Of course...I've even seen the spin-off pilot K-9 and Company back in the day. ::shudders:::

13a. Which is your favourite?
Honestly, I'd go with Sarah Jane Adventures because it's the most in keeping with what classic Who is.

14. Is there any particular episode/book/audio/comic you desperately want to watch/listen to/read?
Not really, no.

1. Do you write fanfic for Doctor Who?
I used to make up Doctor Who stories in my head when I was younger...does that count?

1a. If so, post a snippet of a work-in-progress (or several)!

2. Do you create Doctor Who icons?

2a. Let's see a sample!

3. Recommend a fanfic/icon/fanvid/fancomic/fancreation!
Can't really.

4. Have you been to any Doctor Who conventions?
Yes. Went to the Who-mobile back in the day. For those of you who don't recall what this is, it was a tractor trailer that had Who props in the back and you walked through, viewing them. It stopped at my local PBS station and McCoy was there just after he got the r

5. Have you ever dressed up as a Doctor Who character?
For Halloween, yes. My mom made me a Tom Baker-like scarf one year. I've still got it.

6. Do you own any Doctor Who merchandise?
Every available bit of footage on DVD or VHS. A couple of novels from the NA line I've kept.

7. Are you a fan of Russell T Davies?
In that he brought the series back, yes. As for his writing, not so much. He just can't do epic.

7a. Steven Moffat?
I believe the word you're looking for to describe me is fan-boy.

7b. Paul Cornell?
Yes, but more for his work on the NAs and the MAs.

8. What say you to Season 6b?

9. The UNIT dating controversy?
This is a subject that only the most obsessive Who fans debate..and yes, I have debated it. (And for those of you who don't know the show, this refers to the time frame the UNIT stories took place, not whether or not members of UNIT were dating...though that can be debated as well)

10. The Blinovitch Limitation effect?
Ahhhhhhhh, technobabble.

11. Multi-Doctor episodes?
If they're done right, it could be fun. Robert Holmes' outline for the Five Doctors was better than any multi-Doctor story we ever got on-screen...

12. What's your favourite Doctor Who technobabble?
"Reverse the polarity of the nuetron flow..?"

13. Have you watched other TV shows exclusively because of the presence of Doctor Who actors?
Some yes

14. Have you met any of the actors?
Sylvester McCoy

14a. Travelled to any filming locations?
No, but someday I will take a tour of the Rock Quarries of Dr Who.

15. What do you think of The Curse of Fatal Death?
It was hysterically funny.

16. Do you have any fannish opinions that you think are fairly unpopular?
I don't care for RTD, I'm sick of Rose and I think McCoy was a great Doctor. Oh and I don't care that much for Torchwood.

17. What's your favourite pairing?
The 7th Doctor and Ace

18. What pairing(s) won't you touch with a really long pole?
The Doctor and Adric


posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/23/2008 02:28:00 PM | |
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The Incredible Hulk
Saw The Incredible Hulk Friday evening and, for the most part, was pretty impressed. It's not quite the same level of greatness that Batman Begins or Spider-Man 2 is, but I will say that in many ways it's as satisfying as Iron Man was.

After sitting back and have a few weeks to contemplate Iron Man, I'm more and more convinced the last battle seemed like it was put in there just to have a colossal last battle and to give the video-game something to emulate. In Incredible, we have a final battle that actually works because the script builds up to and sure, it's two CGI characters going at in what could be an elaborate video-game sequence, but it's still fun and it actually works within the context of the film.

It's interesting to see The Incredible Hulk after reading the Peter David novelization. David wrote one of the definitive runs on the comic book and was the ideal writer to adapt the script for the printed page. And in case you missed it, there was some dispute between the Marvel Studios and the movie's director and Edward Norton over which cut to use. Marvel wanted the action heavy cut that was shorter and Norton and the director wanted a longer, more character-driven cut. From reading David's novelization, I think he was given a script from the longer more character-driven version. It's not that they're too radically different, but in the final act a choice Banner makes would have made a whole lot more sense had it been set up earlier in the film. And based on interviews with the director, the scene that was glaringly missing was filmed and will be put on the DVD and Blu-Ray release. (Along with 70 minutes of cut footage if the director gets his way).

Also during the movie, I found myself wishing that we lived in a time when they could keep some things under wraps more. The movie does a good job of keeping the Hulk in shadows for the first half, building up the moment when we fully see the Hulk on-screen. I'd argue the scenes in the bottling plant in South America with the Hulk hiding is shadows and smoke are more effective than the all-out shots we see of the Hulk taking on the Abomination at the end of the film. It's the whole "less is more" theory. But if we hadn't had leaked CGI of the Hulk in the trailers, fan boys would be up in arms, screaming about it. So I guess you really can't win for losing in this case.

Another thing I liked is how Marvel Studios is working to create an overall universe in its movies. While the Captain America cameo was cut (I am not sure it ever existed since they haven't cast the part yet), there are enough references to the Marvel universe and little things to catch that fans should be happy. And yes, the rumors you've heard about a certain character from another big summer Marvel movie making an appearance in there are true. But there are a lot of other references in there as well, making this one of those movies that it will be fun to catch all the little things and fan Easter eggs on the eventual DVD release.

Finally, there is no closing scene after the credits. I stayed all the way through and there was nothin'.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/17/2008 12:52:00 PM | |
Sunday, June 15, 2008
A day I never thought I'd see
A New York Times' piece on Doctor Who....

Here's a sample.

It is hard to overstate “Doctor Who’s” significance for Britons of a certain age. First broadcast in 1963, when many households here were just getting used to that novel new device, the television set, it was a triumph of family viewing, a science fiction show that (unlike, say, “Star Trek,” with its particular audience) parents and children stayed home to watch together.

The show followed the adventures of a time-traveling character whose spaceship was cunningly disguised as an old-fashioned telephone booth and who saved the universe by means of immortality, brilliance, a mordant sense of humor and an array of useful enemy-thwarting devices. It remained on the air in one form or another until 1989, the potential awkwardness of having a succession of different actors in the title role explained airily away by the Doctor’s ability to morph into a different body every few years.

The new “Doctor Who” is broadcast during Britain’s family friendliest hour — just after dinner on Saturday nights — and it too has morphed into something else altogether, science fiction that is playful, sophisticated, emotionally resonant and peppered with lightning-quick allusions to literary works, to classic “Doctor Who” episodes from long ago, and to historical events and people. But Mr. Davies presses his grown-up themes with a whisper and a laugh, not a shout. No one actually has sex on screen in “Doctor Who.” And when Captain Jack makes an appearance (only rarely, since he now has his own show), his sexuality is an issue only in that his constant, equal-opportunity flirting tends to annoy his colleagues, busy as they are fighting intergalactic evil.

For those of you who still dismiss the show, I suggest you give the article a read and realize you're missing out....


posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/15/2008 06:43:00 AM | |
Saturday, June 14, 2008
TV Round-Up: Battlestar Galactica
Watching the mid-season finale of Galactica, I found myself wondering if SciFi's scheduling might not have helped bring the show to its early end. Each season, except the first, the writers and producers have been forced to build to two cliffhangers, two big events per season, two points of interest to keep the fans coming back. I'm not advocating that the series should have been kept going beyond its natural storytelling end, but I do wonder how the pressure of building to two massive cliffhangers per season took a toll on the show.

This year's mid-season cliffhanger felt like a season ending cliffhanger more than the mid-season one. It was one of those series-changing types of cliffhangers like we got at the end of seasons one and two. This may be the most intriguing series-changer since they jumped forward in time a year to end the second season.

I'm sure there's a lot of divided opinion on this, but I'm going to come out and say I'm intrigued they've already found Earth with ten episodes left to go. Of course, the fact that once they got down on the planet that it was not going to be all legend had cracked it up to be was fairly obvious. I know there's been some complaint this year that special-effects intensive episodes have been spaced out a bit. But when you get visuals like the fleet coming up to Earth such as we saw here, I can see why they'd put their eggs into one basket like this. The moment was stunning. Combined with the stirring soundtrack and it looked like an Emmy clip for best effects and best music.

And that was before we had the highlight reel for Edward James Olmos. I'm sure I'll only be annoyed when they announced the Emmy nods later this year that BSG was overlooked again. I'm not sure how you can see Olmos' superb work here and deny him a nod and give one to, say, James Spader. But I'm sure it will happen.

Watching Adama break down upon finding out that Tigh is a Cylon was superb. To see Adama's faith in himself shattered was incredible. Yes, this scene was shown in the previews, but even then it didn't capture the pure, raw and terrifying power of it. In a lot of ways, it felt like the torch of leadership in the fleet was being passed from Bill to Lee in the scene where Lee has to comfort and reassure his father.

On another level, I almost expected a bit more of a power struggle when Laura Roslin returned. I guess there's only so much you can put into an hour, but the fact that Lee provided the leadership and played hardball with the Cylons, including ordering the destruction of the basestar with half of the fleet's defenses on the ship was nice. Also, it does bring up a question of if Lee will survive the series since it turns out that he was (in a way) the leader who took them to Earth. And since we know that part of that prophecy is a dying leader will take them to Earth, are Lee's days numbered?

The entire standoff between the two fleets was some of the most suspenseful stuff we've seen all year. I was on the edge of my seat and that could easily have been the cliffhanger.

But that's the good thing about this show--it doesn't just go for the obvious choice. It will give you what you expect and then still pull the carpet out from under you, all in the same episode. And I'm glad they found Earth now. And I'm glad it wasn't something out of Galactica 80. The fact that it's not what we were promised and what do we do know should provide some fascinating material for the final ten episodes. And it also manages to keep the storyline for the final episode that much more of a mystery. Which is probably what Ron Moore wanted.

The only part of the story that I didn't like was Tori's new-found arrogance and acceptance of her Cylon heritage. Did the arrogant program switch on? Or is she playing politics and trying to side with the winners? Her arrogance toward Roslin seemed a bit much. This was someone who Laura held as part of the inner circle and while Roslin was hard on Tori at times, it seems a bit of a stretch that Tori would take the first chance she got to turn on her former boss.

So, we're left with a lot to ponder until next year. At least the wait won't be as long this time, though I'm sure that it'll seem a lot longer.

A couple of random things:
  • I found myself wondering if we're seeing some kind of circle. With Earth apparently destroyed by some kind of conflict, did the Colonials destroy themselves there, flee to the Colonies and create their own destruction again? Now they've come back and it would fit the "this has happened before and will happen again."
  • Speaking of Emmys, Michael Hogan needs one. His performance as Tigh was, as always, amazing.
  • I liked the reaction by the various members of the final four to being discovered. Tyrol almost seemed relieved, even though he was going to die. Just to stop living with the secret.
  • Will anyone else find out that Tori killed Callie?
  • Anyone else think the fifth Cylon is dead?
  • Has the discovery of Earth and the revelation of the Cylons within the fleet made finding out who the fifth is a bit anti-climatic at this point?
  • Loved the scene of Bill Adama picking up the dirt. And the long pan across the regular cast standing on the planet. Only person missing: Tom Zarek.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/14/2008 01:20:00 PM | |
Thursday, June 12, 2008
An open letter to the guy who shared my lap lane
To the guy I shared a lap lane with this evening,

I know you were unhappy about having to share a lap lane, but in all fairness I was in the lane first. I've shared a lap lane with you on previous occasions and each time you have been less than pleased about the fact.

And while I understand that, it still doesn't forgive a couple of things.

One is thinking your half is down the middle of the lane. I'm not going to complain much if it happens once or twice, but when it happens on a consistent basis and you don't bother to do anything about it, it kind of starts to bug me.

The second thing is that because you're sharing a lane, that may mean you might not be able to do every swim stroke out there. For example, the butterfly, which really requires you to have an entire lane to yourself.

You know, there's a sign up by the pool that lists the rules and one of them asks us to show courtesy to one another. I really am beginning to believe I'm in the minority of people who reads and follows that rule. Because to be honest with you, I saw you come in and I recalled these exact issues from the last time we shared a lap lane (again, I believe I got there first). However, I also realized it was a busy time of day and that you had just as much right to swim as I do, so I tried to follow the rule.

I just wish maybe you'd show me the same courtesy.

That's all I'm asking.
Big Orange Michael

posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/12/2008 08:23:00 PM | |
Friday, June 06, 2008
Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?
It's Homer Simpson's favorite holiday--Donut Day!

You can celebrate with a free Krispy Kream doughnut. I am drooling just thinking about a hot, fresh Krispy Kream.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, donuts.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/06/2008 06:54:00 AM | |
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
TV Round-Up: Season Finales
Lost: There's No Place Like Home
While not nearly as series-changing as last year's season finale, there was a lot to like about this year's season finale.

I will say one thing though--Damon Lindelof and Carelton Cuse are right about one thing. The scenarios to explain things that we, the fans, dream up in our own heads are generally better than the ones the series gives us. I say this in reference to the whole "reason we all have to lie about the island" that has been building up as an undercurrent to every flash-forward this year. Frankly, I was expecting something a lot more than what we got. Yes, I understand that Jack, as the flawed leader of this group, makes a decision to protect everyone that was left behind. But somehow I expected the rift that grew between he and Kate over leaving Sawyer behind to be something a bit more significant. Sawyer makes a noble sacrifice by jumping out of the helicopter and swimming back to the island. Noble, yes. In character with Sawyer, yes. But such a huge decision that it will be a constant source of conflict between Jack and Kate? Not so much. Now, if Sawyer had died in order to get Kate off the island or Jack had somehow managed to do something wherein he got to leave with Kate and Sawyer got the shaft, I could see it. But what we got here seemed like the easiest way to go. Almost as if they went--well, we have to leave Sawyer behind and we've got to come up with something that doesn't kill him. Because you know if they killed off Sawyer there would be female fans of the show rioting in the streets.

Then, we get to the revelation of who's in the coffin. About halfway through I said it would either be Sawyer or Locke. And in the end, it turns out to be Locke. I will give Lost credit that it was one of those--huh, well now what? cliffhangers they excel at, for the most part. Well, unless they're doing a mid-season cliffhanger and then the producers don't seem to have a clue. ("Run, Kate!" and this year's anyone?)

Finally, has the show really done the ultimate X-Files crossover not only have an island that makes time go wonky but also has super soldiers. Seriously, did no one thing to check and see if the head of the Whitmore group of soldiers was dead? They couldn't spare a second to check for a pulse and maybe tie the guy up. And don't get me started on the whole--I've got the trigger tied to my heartbeat thing. I have to admit even my eyes rolled a bit at that one.

OK, so enough of what I didn't care for. Let's get to the bigger things that I did like.

First of all, it could still be possible for Jin to be alive. I'd love to see that. Mayhaps we'll see Whidmore find the island again and use that as some kind of leverage against Sun. That'd be one heck of a moment.

As with all good season finales, we got a few answers and many more questions. The biggest is--just where did the island move? And can it be found again? If so, how? Will Ben have to have Charles Whidmore's help to find the island? Or will they have Penny help them out? Of course, the fact that Ben has set out to kill Penny could throw a monkey wrench into that. And does going back mean they have to find and take Desmond with them? If so, I can imagine that conservation won't go well since we've seen Desmond spend three years to get off the island and back to Penny.

It was nice to see Walt in a flash-forward, coming to talk to Hurley. I do wonder if Locke came to see everyone after he left the island. Or did he only visit Jack since the two have the longest history of conflict. Or that Jack was the perceived leader now.

Speaking of Locke, I am fascinated to see what he does now as the leader of the Others. I do wonder just how Ben set him up to be the leader now. Does no one else want the job? It does seem rather thankless. And will the whole "things go bad" storyline come out of Locke's attempts to be Ben and not succeeding?

Wow, that's a whole lot of questions and not a lot of answers. But it did leave me ready for more. And that's what a good season finale can and should do.

House: House's Mind, Wilson's Heart
I usually don't write much about House on my blog. Why you ask?

Well, because it's not a show that really lends itself to much in the way of discussion. It's a good show, though fairly predictable and saved by fantastic work by Hugh Laurie. This season has been, overall, pretty good. Watching House try to find a new team was a fun reason to watch in the first half of the season and then watching the weird triangle of House, Wilson and Amber drove the last half of the season.

And so, we come to these two episodes that try to wrap-up or resolve the House, Wilson, Amber triangle. I've heard a lot of people raving about how these are the best episodes of House ever and I have to say, they're good but best ever. I just don't see it. Maybe it's because the whole mystery of who was the person House was trying to recall was pretty obvious from the first few hints we got. Or maybe I've just watched Jurassic Park recently on cable and seeing the amber there was too big a clue.

But I think my biggest beef is this--I've been burned too many times by this show in the past at the promise of series-changing, character-changing events only to see it all come to nothing or be forgotten within a few episodes. Clearly, what's happened here can and should change the friendship between House and Wilson. But will it? I'm not so sure. If you'll recall, there were series-altering events in season three with House's leg pain being healed and the Tritter arc. But then the producers found a way to magically press the reset button to keep House an addict, lonely and in pain and a huge liability to his employers and friends. I will admit that season four did a good job of at least not resetting the firing of the original team in last year's season finale, so there is some hope. But until the show actually steps up and dares to have consquences to this that go beyond two episodes, I'm not going to go all ga-ga over the show.

Also, this was a pretty blatant rip-off of season one's "Three Cases."

And you can also tell the producers are trying to get Hugh Laurie his much overdue Emmy with this one. And make no mistake--the man deserves one. His work on the show is nothing short of incredible. And how James Spader keeps winning is beyond me.

Smallville: Artic
If Lost was the most satisfying of the season finales, then Smallville is in the running for the least satisfying.

You could almost see the writing staff trying to wipe the slate clean and hope to start fresh next year. I hope you guys have a good time because, quite frankly, you've lost me.

After two years of Brainiac running around, being a legitimate threat, the character is dispatched in one scene. Clark finally decides he's had enough and uses high voltage to destroy Brainiac. Honestly, I'd rather they left this bit dangling and resolved it next year in more than, oh, five minutes of screen time. But maybe the availability of James Marsters was in question. I'm not quite sure, but the resolution here felt wholly unsatisfying.

But it was more satisfying than the resolution of the Lex storyline. So, this year Lex finally goes evil and then we have a couple of filler episodes? Surely in a strike-shortened season, we could have found a moment or two to show Lex being evil, couldn't we? No, instead let's do the umpeenth adaptation of It's A Wonderful Life for our show. Can you hear my eyes rolling?

So, Lex finally founds out Clark's big secret. And instead of being a dramatic, series-changing, incredible scene, it feels anti-climatic. Maybe that's because we had to mark time to get to that point and the plots marking that time--just terrible. Now, at last, the conflict between Lex and Clark can finally kick it into high gear and...well, Lex is gone. See, Michael Rosenbaum is gone from the show (he must have seen the writing on the wall), so Lex is gone. So this whole build-up...for nothing. Any fall-out...there won't be any. Any great potential drama from this...gone.

As the Fortress fell apart and sank into the Artic, so did my hopes for this show.

But, at least it wasn't a "world in peril" cliffhanger that Smallville usually does. Those at least intrigue me enough to come back and see how they get out of it this time. And I get sucked back into the show, wanting it to be good. This time, I'm left with a cliffhanger that honestly I could care less about how it comes out since I know Lex won't be back next year. And with that, I believe I'm officially done with Smallville.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/04/2008 02:00:00 PM | |

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